A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors


Pope to Putin

The Vatican released today the letter sent by Pope Francis to President Putin of Russia. Francis wrote:

The meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the twenty most powerful economies, with two-thirds of the world’s population and ninety per cent of global GDP, does not have international security as its principal purpose. Nevertheless, the meeting will surely not forget the situation in the Middle East and particularly in Syria. It is regrettable that, from the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, one-sided interests have prevailed and in fact hindered the search for a solution that would have avoided the senseless massacre now unfolding. The leaders of the G20 cannot remain indifferent to the dramatic situation of the beloved Syrian people which has lasted far too long, and even risks bringing greater suffering to a region bitterly tested by strife and needful of peace. To the leaders present, to each and every one, I make a heartfelt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution. Rather, let there be a renewed commitment to seek, with courage and determination, a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation of the parties, unanimously supported by the international community. Moreover, all governments have the moral duty to do everything possible to ensure humanitarian assistance to those suffering because of the conflict, both within and beyond the country’s borders.

About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.



Commenting Guidelines

  • All

Fr. Imbelli, your link to the letter did not work for me, but I also found it here:

It is interesting that the Holy Father should choose to reach out person-to-person to Putin, rather than addressing the G20 leaders as a whole.  This Chicago Tribune news report on the letter implies that it may be because Putin has Christian inclinations.

Putin always attends major religious festivals of the Russian Orthodox Church and has deepened his ties with the Church in recent years as part of a conservative course he has taken as president to rally voters behind him following street protests by the opposition.,0,5616513.story

On the other hand, the conspiratorially inclined may see the hand of Putin pulling strings in the Syria crisis, as described in this report, headlined "Did Vladimir Putin Bait a Trap for the United States in Damascus?"


Terrific letter from Francis. He spoke on behalf of all Syrians, not just the Christians there. He signed the letter only with "Francis."  Doce nos.

Dear Jim P.,

Thank you for supplying a workable link. My computer is giving me "agita."

Your own link to "Tablet" is clearly not "THE Tablet."


The REAL Tablet (London, not Brooklyn) reported this:

Thank goodness Pope Francis has spoken out against war. I had feared this was going to drag on forever, but surely now it will be quickly resolved. 

How can Putin not dedicate himself wholeheartedly to peace and an end to all the killing after such an appeal? Shame on Obama for even thinking of military intervention. Perhaps Putin can have a word with our president and put him on the right track. 

David N:  which hurts more:  your tongue or your cheek?

Add new comment

You may login with your assigned e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.

Or log in with...

Add new comment