Andrea Pin is Associate Professor of Comparative Public Law, University of Padua, and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University.
The media that have been covering the Catholic Church’s handling of the war raging in Ukraine have often focused on two details. On the one hand, the Pope went to visit the Russian Ambassador to the Holy See in Rome a few days before tanks invaded Ukraine—a very unusual move for a Pontiff. On the other hand, the Church has so far avoided blaming Russia explicitly for the destruction of cities and the thousands of deaths in Ukraine. This silence, the story goes, would fit with the Catholic agenda. After the epochal meeting between the Moscow Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis that took place in Cuba in early 2016, the Vatican would try to avoid any attrition with the Russian Orthodox Church’s leader, who seems to support Putin’s invasion. Actually, there is more than what meets the eye.