reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
Thursday, July 20, 2023
USCCB Prez gives interview about Zuppi visit to America
US Archbishop Broglio: Cardinal Zuppi’s mission focused on humanitarian concerns
Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, shares his perspective on Cardinal Matteo Zuppi’s visit to Washington, DC as Pope Francis’ envoy for peace in Ukraine, saying the Church is seeking to provide humanitarian assistance in any way possible.
By Thaddeus Jones & Devin Watkins
Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi traveled to the US Capitol on 17-19 July in his capacity as Pope Francis’ special envoy to seek a peaceful solution to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The Holy See Press Office released details about the Italian Cardinal’s peace mission on Wednesday evening.
His visit included an extensive meeting with US President Joe Biden, as well as talks with the Helsinki Commission and with several members of Congress.
Following his visit, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), spoke to Vatican News’ Thaddeus Jones about the Cardinal’s peace mission to Washington.
The Archbishop of the US Military Services highlighted the significance of Cardinal Zuppi’s lengthy meeting with President Biden.
He also noted that the Cardinal focused his efforts on humanitarian issues, rather than on seeking to mediate between the parties in the war.
“It was more about: let's at least talk about peace; let's at least see if we can end the hostilities,” he said. “I think that's certainly what the Holy See was trying to do, and I would say I think that's what Pope Francis was trying to do.”
Concern for escalation and civilian casualties
In the interview, Archbishop Broglio expressed concern about the US decision to supply cluster bombs to Ukraine, saying cluster munitions kill indiscriminately.
“There’s always a danger in war that the innocent will be injured or will be harmed or can even lose their lives in almost on the peripheries of a military action, and that certainly should always be avoided,” he said.
The Archbishop praised the response of US Catholics in praying for peace in Ukraine and in sending humanitarian assistance to people who are suffering.
“I participated in at least two moments of prayer for peace with Ukrainian Catholics in the United States here at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception,” he noted.
Archbishop Broglio concluded the interview by thanking Pope Francis for appointing Cardinal Zuppi as his special envoy.
“I would just like to express gratitude for the decision of the Holy Father to do everything that he can to echo the message of peace, which is really the message of our Savior.”
The following is a transcript of the interview with Archbishop Broglio:
Q: Regarding the meetings and your discussions with Cardinal Zuppi, are you able to share anything with us about how his visit went and all of his meetings?
I'm certainly able to share the very clear idea with which Cardinal Zuppi came, which is certainly not mediation, but an opportunity to see what the Holy See could do to help in an eventual end of hostilities in Ukraine.
So, the Church is concentrating on what we do best, which of course is humanitarian assistance, so that was the primary focus of Cardinal Zuppi's intervention. Then, with the President, I think it's important to note that the President received the Cardinal and the Nuncio at length. The meeting was over an hour long, which I think gives an indication of how much importance the President of the United States attributed to the gesture on the part of Pope Francis to send the Cardinal to the United States.
I think an hour-long meeting is an extraordinary gesture on the part of the President of the United States. Now, admittedly, things take a little bit longer because translation was necessary from Italian into English and then from English into Italian. However, it's still an extraordinary amount of time.
They talked about humanitarian responses; they talked about the hope that the hostilities could be ended, even though at the present time that seems somewhat unrealistic. That's in essence what I know and am able to share.
Q: Would you say that these meetings with leaders here in Washington and then before that in Kyiv and in Moscow are examples of how the Holy See can try to contribute to peace and to at least get people talking about it?
I think it is one of the examples, and I think it's very important though to stress that at no time was this the concept one of mediation.
It was more about: let's at least talk about peace; let's at least see if we can end the hostilities. I think that's certainly what the Holy See was trying to do, and I would say I think that's what Pope Francis was trying to do.
Q: About the Church in the US, how would you say efforts have been underway to try and contribute in any way to peace and helping the people affected by this terrible war?
Well, certainly in the United States the response has been immense, and it's been basically in terms of humanitarian aid sent to Ukraine. I think we saw our brothers and sisters in the faith very much affected by the destruction that has occurred in Ukraine.
So, Catholics in the United States tried to respond the best way we could which was first of all praying. I participated in at least two moments of prayer for peace with Ukrainian Catholics in the United States here at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, but I know there have been many other initiatives of prayer throughout the United States. Then secondly there's been a tremendous response in sending assistance to Ukraine.
Q: In terms of the provision, now they're saying of even greater weapons like cluster bombs to Ukraine. Are you concerned in the US about a possible escalation?
I certainly am concerned about that and obviously any escalation is going to be dangerous, and I think Bishop Malloy, who is the Chairman of our Committee on International Justice and Peace, published a statement in which he decried the use of cluster bombs aligning ourselves with the position that the Holy See has taken about those kinds of weapons which are, here I'm speaking a little bit out of my field, but they're indiscriminate in the victims.
So, that's always a danger in war that the innocent will be injured or will be harmed or can even lose their lives in almost on the peripheries of a military action, and that certainly should always be avoided.
Q: In conclusion, is there anything else you would like to add?
I think that I would just like to express gratitude for the decision of the Holy Father to do everything that he can to echo the message of peace, which is really the message of our Savior. So, I'm very grateful for this gesture.