It all depends on how you look at it – and this is fairly typical for a visit by a head of State or government to the Pope. These stories refer to the visit Saturday by Ukraine’s president who met the Pope and then Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, and Abp. Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
Vatican press office communiqué:
Talks in the Secretariat of State were mainly devoted to the humanitarian situation and to the search for peace in the context of the conflict that, since 2014, is still plaguing Ukraine. In this regard, the hope was shared that all parties involved show maximum sensitivity towards the needs of the population, the first victims of violence, as well as commitment and consistency in dialogue. Issues related to bilateral cooperation and the contribution of the Catholic Church, present in the country in various rites, were also examined.
Secular news media:
(Breitbart) – ROME — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Pope Francis in the Vatican Saturday, during which Zelensky asked the pope to intervene to secure the release of Ukrainian prisoners of war. While an official Vatican communiqué said that discussions between the Ukrainian leader and Vatican officials focused on “the humanitarian situation and the quest for peace,” President Volodymyr Zelensky became much more specific in a tweet he sent out to followers in both Ukrainian and Italian.
(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked Pope Francis on Saturday for help to win the release of prisoners of war held by Russia and Russian-backed separatists. “(The pope) does everything possible to achieve peace and harmony throughout the world,” Zelenskiy said in a tweet after their meeting at the Vatican. “I asked for help with the release of Ukrainians captured in Donbass, Crimea and Russia.” Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and its subsequent support for separatists in a conflict in eastern Ukraine.)
Interestingly enough, if you go to the Vatican site http://www.vatican.va, (the original portal) and go to the News summaries, the same stories do not appear on all language sites. For February 8, English had only two papal addresses and no mention of the visit by the president of Ukraine. The press office communique on the visit was in Italian and appeared only on the Italian language site.
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS MARK CENTENARY IN ROME
Pope Francis this morning received members of the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus, led by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and noted, they are in Rome on a pilgrimage to “mark the centennial of the charitable activity of the Knights of Columbus in this city.”
“In fact, it was one hundred years ago,” said Francis, “that my predecessor Pope Benedict XV invited the Knights of Columbus to provide humanitarian aid to young people and others in Rome following the terrible conflict of the First World War. The Knights responded generously, establishing sports centers for youth that quickly became places for education, catechesis and the distribution of food and other essentials so needed at that time.
The Holy Father pointed out that, “in this way, your Order proved faithful to the vision of your founder, Venerable Michael McGivney, who was inspired by the principles of Christian charity and fraternity to assist those most in need.”
He underscored the work of the knights today, “in particular, your faithful witness to the sacredness and dignity of human life, evident at both the local and national levels. This conviction has also led the Knights of Columbus to aid, both materially and spiritually, those Christian communities in the Middle East that are suffering the effects of violence, war and poverty. I thank all the members of your Order for seeing in our persecuted and displaced brothers and sisters of that region neighbours for whom you are a sign of God’s infinite love.
He also noted the Order’s “unswerving devotion to the Successor of Peter. The establishment of the Vicarius Christi Fund is a testimony to this devotion, as well as to the desire of the Knights to share in the Pope’s solicitude for all the Churches and in his universal mission of charity. In our world, marked by divisions and inequalities, the generous commitment of your Order to serve all in need offers, especially to young people, an important inspiration to overcome a globalization of indifference and build together a more just and inclusive society.”
The knights are in Rome from February 7 to 13.
POPE FRANCIS TO TRAVEL TO MALTA MAY 31
The Holy See Press Office announced this morning that Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Journey to Malta and Gozo on May 31. He has accepted invitations from Malta’s president and civil and religious authorities.
The Vatican will publish the itinerary at a later date but today did reveal the logo and the motto: “They showed us unusual kindness” Acts 28, 2 (vaticannews photo. Church of St. Paul)
The logo of the visit shows hands pointing towards the Cross, coming from a ship at the mercy of the waves. The hands represent a sign of the Christian’s welcome towards his neighbor and assistance to those who are in difficulty, abandoned to their destiny. The boat recalls the dramatic story of the shipwreck of the Apostle Paul on the island of Malta (see Acts 27.27-44) and the welcome given by the Maltese to the Apostle and shipwrecked (see Acts 28.1-10).