When Pope Francis spoke for the first time of the Church as a “field hospital after a battle,” he had in mind what he terms a “piecemeal world war.” In his Easter 2022 Urbi et Orbi message, he listed a few of these “pieces”: Ukraine, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Sahel, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa. He had done the same previously, but the map is destined to always be incomplete.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is thus the latest tragic piece of a bloody puzzle. The poor people are the ones who pay the price, as always. After the Angelus of February 27, 2022, the pope said: “Those who make war forget humanity. They do not start from the people; they do not look at the concrete life of the people, but put partisan interests and power before everything.” Therefore, “they distance themselves from the ordinary people, who want peace and are the true victims in every conflict. They pay for the follies of war in their own skin. I think of the elderly, of those at this moment who are seeking refuge, of mothers fleeing with their children…”
We see the war in the form of its images, the stories told by so many journalists who, as Francis himself said, are there “to guarantee information” and “put their lives at risk,” allowing us “to be close to the drama of that population.”
In this reflection we will see, between lights and shadows, some pictures in a kind of sacrilegious gallery, which is this war: pieces of a puzzle in which political and religious leaders interact.