The head of the Polish bishops' conference has done what Pope Francis has so far avoided doing: He publicly condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and urged the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to use his influence with Vladimir Putin to demand an end to the war and for Russian soldiers to stand down.
"The time will come to settle these crimes, including before the international courts," Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki warned in his March 2 letter to Patriarch Kirill. "However, even if someone manages to avoid this human justice, there is a tribunal that cannot be avoided."
Gądecki's tone contrasted sharply with the comparative neutrality of the Vatican and Francis to date. The Holy See has called for peace, humanitarian corridors, a cease-fire and a return to negotiations, and even offered itself as a mediator. But Francis has yet to publicly condemn Russia by name for its invasion or publicly appeal to Kirill, and the Vatican offered no comment on the Russian strike on Europe's largest nuclear plant that sparked a fire Friday.
Pope Francis said Sunday that the Vatican "is ready to do everything to put itself at the service of peace" and is sending two cardinals to Ukraine: Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who runs the office of papal charities, and Canadian Cardinal Michael Czerny, interim president of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
In a commentary for NCR, Joan Rosenhauer, the executive director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, writes about the importance of marking International Women's Day, an important and necessary recognition of the needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls.
"Having served for many years in leadership roles for Catholic organizations, I am especially aware of how the Catholic Church is called to engage women in all that we do," Rosenhauer writes. "We need to serve women, but we also need women to serve."