Pope Francis replies to the prospect of conflict in Ukraine by saying, “It causes pain in my heart.”

Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, has reacted to Russia’s threat of war on Ukraine.

According to the Vatican, the danger of conflict in Ukraine causes him “deep grief in his heart,” and he has condemned efforts that “destabilize international harmony and undermine international law.”

Russia has been accused by the West of breaking international law by sending soldiers into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine and acknowledging the breakaway separatist territories of Donetsk and Luhansk as autonomous republics.

The West has also imposed sanctions on Russia in response to its actions in Donetsk and Luhansk, claiming that an invasion is underway.

Francis challenged politicians to conduct “a profound examination of conscience before God” about the consequences of their acts, addressing in an impassioned tone at the close of his weekly general audience on Wednesday, February 23.

On March 2 of this year, he declared Ash Wednesday to be an international day of fasting and prayer for peace.

He denounced the “diabolic senselessness of violence” and prayed to the Madonna, “the queen of peace,” to deliver the world from war’s lunacy.

“The deepening of the situation in Ukraine causes me great grief,” Francis remarked, adding that he was distressed and scared, like many others around the globe, because peace was threatened by partisan interests.

“I implore all parties to refrain from taking any action that may cause further misery to the people, destabilize international coexistence, or undermine international law.”

Francis had called for an international day of prayer for peace in Ukraine for the second time. The first one took place on January 26.

“Jesus instructed us to respond to the diabolic senselessness of violence with God’s weapons, prayer and fasting,” Francis continued.

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