The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a recording from the press conference of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Bishop Paul Gallagher. In the video, Gallagher speaks about the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border but defines it purely as a “humanitarian crisis.” He adds that the Church in Poland has “criticized the actions of the Polish government towards the refugees.”
The recording is a video clip that was redacted by Russian services following the meeting between the Russian top diplomat and Gallagher, whose statement does not seem to have been taken out of context.
What exactly are we dealing with here?
We are facing a situation in which a Vatican representative in the Kremlin of all places is perpetuating the main theses of Eastern propaganda concerning the hybrid warfare which is being carried out against Poland: claims about a “soulless” Polish government and “refugees” which they do not want to accept.
This is all taking place during a real attack against Poland and the EU’s Eastern border — an attack that is, above all else, threatening the safety of Polish citizens and which could be called a humanitarian crisis.
Although Gallagher’s words shocked me on one hand, I was not surprised on the other. Why? Because this is not the first time that the Vatican has humiliated and degraded the Catholic nations of Central Europe during the current pontificate.
The Vatican treated Croatians in the same manner when it suspended the canonization of Cardinal Alojzy Stepinac.
Despite the confirmation of a miraculous healing through his intercession in February 2014, his canonization still has not taken place. It has not happened due to an objection filed by the Serbian Orthodox Church and due to false accusations concerning the cardinal’s alleged cooperation with fascists. According to some sources, Bartholomew I of Constantinople had personally appealed to Pope Francis regarding the matter, and the pope is on good terms with the patriarch.
For the first time in the history of the Church, there has been a suspension of canonization at the behest of another Church, despite the fact that all conditions for canonization have been fulfilled. Croatians have accused the Vatican and the pope of building good relations with the Orthodox Church at the cost of a blessed cardinal, all while the Church in Croatia is becoming the victim of these so-called improving relations.
The situation has now repeated — yet this time the stakes are even higher because it concerns the safety of the Polish state and its citizens. Due to political games and diplomatic relations, the Vatican’s diplomacy has turned away from Poland and has ignored the fact that a real war is being waged against Polish Catholics.
The rules of Ostpolitik, the Vatican’s failed policy on entering compromises with Moscow in the 1960s, seems to be the policy once again.