NDuring a press conference on the flight on which he was returning from his visit to Mongolia, the Pope addressed the controversy raised by his statements when he addressed a group of Russian students, who, according to the Kiev authorities, intended to spread “Russian imperialism “, indicated the news agency Efe.
“In a dialogue with young Russians, I finally sent a message that I always repeat: that they take care of their heritage. It’s the same as I say everywhere, the need for dialogue between grandparents and grandchildren. That was the message”clarified.
The Pope added that he referred to “Great Russia” to underline his message, because “the Russian heritage is very good and very beautiful and it is enough to think of the field of literature, of music, until you reach the writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who speaks of humanism”.
Francis acknowledged that the third part of his address, in which he reiterated the speech on inheritance and referred to Greater Russia “perhaps it was not very happy”, but indicated that “it was not a reference to the geographical plan but rather cultural”, also when named Peter the Great and Catherine of Russia, a matter “which it is for historians to describe”.
“I said it because it was what I studied in high school,” he added.
“I wanted to say that they have to inherit their culture, which cannot be bought elsewhere, and that Russian culture is beautiful and deep and will not remain frozen despite the fact that Russia has recorded dark moments”, he underlined.
The Pope reiterated that he was not thinking of “imperialism”, because “there are imperialisms that want to impose their own ideology and when culture is distilled and transformed into ideology it becomes poison”.
“Never forget your heritage. You are heirs of the great Russia: the great Russia of the saints, of the rulers, of the great Russia of Peter the Great, of Catherine the Great, of that great enlightened empire, of great culture and great humanity”, he said. the Pope to young people.
These words of the Pope were criticized by the spokesman for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oleg Nikolenko, considering that they defended “Russian imperialism”.
The military offensive launched on February 24, 2022 by Russia in Ukraine — justified by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, with the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security – was condemned by the international community in general, which has responded by sending arms to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.
Still in today’s statements and in a reference to China, Pope Francis insisted that the Vatican’s relations with the great Asian power are positive, but said that more efforts must be made to demonstrate to Beijing that the Catholic Church is not dependent on a power. foreign.
Francis was referring to the Holy See’s relations with China, and when his trip to Mongolia, which has a large Buddhist majority, was also marked by the issue of repression of religious minorities attributed to Beijing.
The Pope sent a telegram of greetings to the President of China, Xi Jinping, when he flew over Chinese airspace on his journey to and from Mongolia.
Previously, and at a mass in Ulan Bator, the Mongolian capital, he also issued a special greeting to the Chinese people and was accompanied at the altar by the current bishop and the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, to demonstrate his “strong” affection for the population of China.
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