Pope Francis said Friday he understood why governments buy weapons to defend themselves in a world wracked by war, as he prepared to preside over a traditional Easter procession.
Francis has previously said that spending money on weapons stains humanity.
Pope Francis said in an interview with Italy's Rai that they understand those governments that buy arms.
I do not justify them, but I understand them. Ukrainian and Russian women are expected to carry a cross at the Via Crucis procession this year, which is held on Good Friday, the day in the Christian calendar that Jesus was crucified.
Ukraine's ambassador to the Holy See expressed concerns Tuesday over the plan, due to Russia's war in Ukraine.
The procession commemorates Jesus' suffering and death, from his condemnation to his burial.
The pope will preside over it for the first time since the coronaviruses epidemic broke out.
A scaled-down version of the procession was held in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican in 2020 and 2021.
Francis, who has repeatedly pleaded for an end to the Russian invasion, said that the whole world is at war. On Thursday, an 85-year old visited a prison in Civitavecchia, near Rome to wash the feet of 12 inmates in a rite performed yearly to commemorate Christ's Last Supper with the apostles.
Jesus is said to have washed the apostles' feet ahead of the meal in a gesture of humility.
On Saturday night Francis will preside over the Easter Vigil in Saint Peter's Basilica, followed by Easter mass on Sunday morning, after which he will perform the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing.