The Pope’s recent comments about Russia have sparked outrage. The Ukrainian bishops now want to talk to him. “The Pope does not understand Russia, its history, or its current crimes,” Archbishop Svyatoslav Shevchuk said.
Representatives of the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine want to talk to Pope Francis about his position on Russia. “The pope does not understand Russia, its history or its current crimes,” Archbishop Svyatoslav Shevchuk said before the Synod of Bishops in Rome that began on Sunday. “And we are the ones who must be the voice of truth for the Ukrainian people, even before the Holy Father in Rome.” The head of Ukraine’s Roman Catholic Church announced that the bishops of his church, meeting in Rome until September 13, would also meet with Francis.
Statements at youth events
Recently, the Pope’s comments at a Catholic youth event in Russia sparked intense anger among Ukrainians. Francis, who participated in the event in St. Petersburg via video broadcast, departed from the manuscript of the speech and called on young Russians not to forget their heritage. “You are the heirs of Great Russia: the Great Russia of saints and kings and the Great Russia of Peter the Great and Catherine II,” he said.
The Pope was then accused of spreading the ideology and propaganda of the Russian superpower. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that Pope Francis, with his spontaneous words, encouraged Russian youth to preserve what is positive in Russia’s great cultural and spiritual heritage. He did not intend to praise in any way the imperialist concepts and personalities of previous eras.
Shevchuk also expressed his criticism. He stressed that the statements caused “deep disappointment” in Ukrainian society. Archbishop Halych of Kyiv will celebrate the service in St. Peter’s Basilica on September 10 with other bishops of his church gathered in Rome. The Synod ends on September 13.
The Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine is the largest Eastern Catholic Church. In predominantly Orthodox Ukraine, about one in ten residents is Roman Catholic. (sic)
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