The U.S. government believes the Vatican is an important voice in calling for an end to Russia's war against Ukraine and is "closely following" Pope Francis' repeated denouncements of the conflict, according to a State Department official.
"His very forceful denunciation of war yesterday was incredibly notable," said Daniel Nadel, director of the Office of International Religious Freedom, referring to Pope Francis' remarks during his March 6 Sunday Angelus in which he reiterated that the Vatican was willing to serve in any capacity to broker a peace deal.
Some experts, however, have cast doubt on whether the Roman Catholic Church could be viewed by Russia as a neutral negotiation given its complicated relationship with Russia's Orthodox Church, which split from the Catholic Church over a millennium ago and has strong backing from the Russian government.
Some are not satisfied with the tradition of quiet Vatican diplomacy and Francis, who has yet to publicly condemn Russia by name for its invasion of Ukraine.
The Vatican is ready to facilitate negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.
Francis said the Vatican "is ready to do everything to put itself at the service of peace" in Ukraine.
All of NCR's coverage of the war in Ukraine can be found here.
As one of the oldest members of the Millennial generation, Franciscan Fr. Daniel P. Horan says he admires and has the most respect for the young adults in Gen Z, those born after 1996.
"When I am asked what gives me hope in these precarious times, I say without irony or condescension that Gen Z gives me hope," Horan writes. "But it is a qualified hope because it can only translate into something real if us older folks step aside, relinquish our need for control, surrender our obsession with doing everything 'our way' and embrace the humility necessary to support and empower our younger siblings."