The Daily Telegraph

Defence is love, says Pope

- By Our Foreign Staff

POPE Francis has said it is morally legitimate for nations to supply weapons to Ukraine because fighting to defend your country is “love”.

On a flight returning from Kazakhstan yesterday, he told reporters that self-defence is “an expression of love for the homeland”.

“Self-defence is not only licit but also an expression of love for the homeland. Someone who does not defend oneself, who does not defend something, does not love it. Those who defend (something) loves it,” he said.

Francis spoke out after a three-day visit to Kazakhstan where he attended a congress of religious leaders from around the world of which Ukraine was the backdrop to the meeting.

During a 45-minute-long airborne news conference, a reporter asked if it was morally right for countries to send weapons to Ukraine.

“This is a political decision which can be moral, morally acceptable, if it is done under conditions of morality,” Francis said.

Explaining the difference between when it is moral or immoral to supply weapons to another country, Francis said it can be immoral if the intention is to provoke more war , or to sell arms or to dump arms that a country no longer needs. “The motivation is what in large part qualifies the morality of this action,” he added.

The Pope was asked whether Ukraine should negotiate with the country that invaded it.

“I would not exclude dialogue with any power that is at war, even if it is with the aggressor . ... Sometimes you have to carry out dialogue like this. It smells but it must be done,” he said.

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