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Catholics in Ukraine Struggle As Pope Francis’ Approval Rating Is at an All-Time Low

After meeting with Zuppi, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a statement that while the Vatican’s intentions are appreciated, especially regarding charitable efforts, its mediation is not needed. In an interview published last weekend, top Ukrainian official Mykhailo Podolyak rejected any mediation offered by the Vatican and called Pope Francis a “Russophile.”

Shevchuk said the statement was a “delicate misunderstanding” and stressed the Ukrainian government is still open to collaborating with the Holy See in promoting peace and helping the local populations.

Regarding Zuppi’s mission, the archbishop said he handed the cardinal all the information on Russian war crimes. “He brought to Moscow everything we handed to him,” he said, adding that the current visit to China is “a sign of hope.”

It remains unclear whether the Vatican and Pope Francis’ vision for peace is compatible with the Ukrainians’ idea of a just peace. Answering questions by reporters, Shevchuk said that “the word has seen its meaning change” over recent years. “Based on what we hear from Cardinal Zuppi, a just peace means a peace that is beholden to certain moral values. Certain principles of international law,” he said.

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Ukraine can agree with the Vatican’s vision for peace only “if it’s just and secure,” said Archbishop Borys Gudziak, the Greek Catholic Metropolitan bishop of Philadelphia, during the news conference.

Countries that have experienced Soviet dominion “understand what it means to be under the yoke of an empire and why imperialism must be stopped,” Gudziak added. Only once the aggressor is stopped can there be dialogue and peace, he said.

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This article originally appeared on ReligionNews.com.