Pope Francis broke with diplomatic protocol by personally making a visit to the Russian embassy in Rome. Normally, the Vatican would call on the Russian ambassador to come to the Vatican, but in this case, clearly recognizing the urgency of the situation in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Francis took it upon himself to travel to the embassy. According to reports, he spent 30 minutes at the embassy, though no reports have come out of what he said to Alexander Avdeev, the Russian Ambassador.
Prior to the invasion, Pope Francis had called on international leaders to examine their consciences before God and avoid taking action that would break international law or lead to war. The Holy Father also asked all people, believers in particular, to make March 2, Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and prayer for Ukraine.
For my part, I don’t understand the response of the U. S. or the West to the invasion of Ukraine. The U. S., according to reports, is still purchasing oil from Russia. Russia has been described as little more than a huge gas station. Cut off their ability to export oil for profit, and you cripple the Russian economy. Why aren’t we doing that? Why are we still purchasing oil from Russia, which only allows them to continue to finance and fuel this invasion? Russian exports of oil and natural gas have not been affected by the invasion. So long as Putin can sell his oil, there’s nothing else that will seriously impact the Russian economy to the point where he will be pressured to withdraw from Ukraine.
For some inexplicable reason, President Biden has turned the U. S. from a country that was energy independent to one that is now dependent on importing foreign oil. Much of that oil comes from Russia. If Biden re-opened the U. S. energy industry, we could be independent again and relieve much of Europe from their dependence on Russian oil, isolating Putin economically from the West. Yes, he would sell his oil to China. But the loss of revenue would be huge. The U. S. economy is 15 times larger than Russia’s (heck, Texas’ economy alone is larger than Russia’s!). We could and ought to cripple Russia’s economy to pressure Putin out of Ukraine. Ukraine is likely only Putin’s first step in trying to restore the borders of the old Soviet Union in eastern Europe. He can’t be allowed to succeed.
There is good news. Apparently, there are a lot of Russians who are opposed to the war. Protests have broken out in dozens of Russian cities calling for an end to the invasion. Arrests have been made of some of the protesters, but I think they will continue. If Putin receives enough pressure from inside Russia, enough pressure from the West, and more of a fight from the Ukrainian people than he expected, this may turn out to be a boondoggle for him and, perhaps, even lead to his downfall. We can only hope and pray.
Continue to pray for the people of Ukraine. If you can, donate to Catholic Relief Services in Ukraine. You can go to this link to do so.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.