Polish Catholic commentator Tomasz Terlikowski joined a chorus of Poles criticizing the pope’s remarks that one of the causes of the war in Ukraine may have been “NATO’s barking at Russia’s door” and calls them naive.
Terlikowski was commenting on social media of Pope Francis’s interview with “Corriere della Sera” which Terlikowski called “dramatic from both an intellectual and political standpoint”.
In the interview, the pontiff declared his readiness to meet Putin in Moscow, expressed his lack of willingness to travel to Kyiv and remarked that one of the causes of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine may have been “NATO’s barking at Russia’s door.”
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Terlikowski commented that he could not decide what was worse in the interview: “naivety, unworldliness or the frankness of the remarks,” and criticized Pope Francis for expressing doubts about sending arms to Ukraine:
“I can’t answer, I’m too far away, to the question of whether it is right to supply the Ukrainians. The clear thing is that weapons are being tested in that land. The Russians now know that tanks are of little use and are thinking of other things. Wars are waged for this: to test the weapons we have produced. This was the case in the Spanish Civil War before the Second World War. The arms trade is a scandal, few oppose it.”
The pope’s recollection of a meeting with Viktor Orbán also drew Terlikowski’s ire, according to Polish news outlet wp.pl. He says that he feels that the pope demonstrates a total lack of realism when he takes Orbán seriously in his claims that Putin will end the war of May 9. Terlikowski feels that the pope has totally misunderstood the claim about ending the war as Putin’s intention clearly is to gain as much as possible by May 9 and that Putin’s declarations are a sign of escalation rather than the end of the war.
“It’s extraordinary that the pope should be relaying such things to the Italian media,” says Terlikowski.
Pope Francis has been criticized in Poland for his stance on the war. There is irritation at the pontiff’s strategy of keeping equal distance between Russia and Ukraine and the fact the pope has been reluctant to categorically condemn both Putin and Russian aggression against Ukraine.
In Poland, the pope has been condemned for equating what Poles see as the victims, Ukraine, with the Russians not sufficiently treated as the aggressors.