He Pope Francisco explained this Monday that did not praise Russian imperialismbut rather encouraged “to preserve the heritage” and “to transmit Russian culture” when he addressed a group of Russian students with a few words about “Great Russia” that created great discomfort in the Ukrainian authorities.
The pope addressed the controversy caused by his statements, which according to the Ukrainian authorities wanted to spread Russian imperialism, during the press conference on the flight in which the pontiff was returning from his visit to Mongolia.
“In a dialogue with Russian youth, in the end I sent them a message that I always repeat: Let them take charge of their inheritance. And it is the same thing that I say everywhere, the need for dialogue between grandparents and grandchildren. this was the message”, he clarified.
And he added that to highlight his message he spoke of “Great Russia” because “the Russian heritage is very good and very beautiful and one only has to think about the field of literature, music until reaching the writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who speaks to us about humanism”.
recognized that maybe “she was not very lucky” the third part, in which he reiterated the heritage discourse and in which he cited Great Russia, “not geographically but culturally”, and named Peter the Great or Catherine of Russia, but that “they will have to historians speak.
“I said it because it is what I studied at school,” he added. And he stressed: “What I wanted to say is that they have to inherit their culture, that you can’t buy anywhere else, and that Russian culture is beautiful and deep and it will not be frozen despite the fact that Russia has had dark moments”.
He reiterated that I did not think 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. They are heirs of the great Russia: the great Russia of the saints, of the rulers, the great Russia of Peter the Great, of Catherine the Great, of that great enlightened empire, of great culture and great humanity,” the pope told Young.
The pope’s words praising Russia’s history were criticized by the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in kyiv, Oleg Nikolenko, who considered that they defended “Russian imperialism.”
harder to travel
Francis, of 86 yearssaid that his trips that are becoming more difficult due to his movement limitations, on the plane back after his visit to Mongolia.
With its nine-hour flight and its long days with numerous transfers, the journey has been hard for the Pope due to his limited mobility and the need to use a wheelchair.
Therefore, he explained that for now the trip to Marseilles next September 22 and 23 and a visit to a “small country in Europe” is being studied, which, as he explained in a previous interview, will be Kosovobut added that “it is not known if we will be able to do it.”
“And to tell you the truth, taking a trip now is not as easy as it was in the beginning, I have limiting walking problems. We will see”, he said, this time with a veil of sadness.
For this reason, when asked about a possible trip to Vietnam, he stated: “We will have to go to Vietnam, but I don’t know if it will be me or John XXIV”.
Relationship with China
Francisco reaffirmed his respect and admiration for China and on the dialogue undertaken for their bilateral relations, non-existent since 1951, he explained that work must be done “so that Chinese citizens do not think that the Church does not accept their culture or values or that it depends on another foreign power.”
During the Pope’s visit to Mongolia, a country bordering China, several groups of Chinese Catholic pilgrims arrived, although the regime did not allow the bishops to leave the country in a new setback for the Church.
“There is an agreement for the appointment of bishops, a Vatican commission is taking care of it and there has been dialogue for a long time, in addition Catholic priests and intellectuals are invited to Chinese universities. There is an open space in this sense”, explained the Pope.
But what “we have to go further in the religious aspect to understand each other more” and so that “Chinese citizens do not think that the Church does not accept their culture and their own values or that the Church depends on another foreign power”.
“This friendly path is being followed by the commission chaired by the Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, and they are doing a good job, also on the Chinese side. Relations are like this, on the way and I have great respect for the Chinese people,” he added.
While on the possible visit of Cardinal Matteo Zuppi to Beijing, within the scope of his mission to Ukraine, the Pope limited himself to saying that it will be “later”, without giving more details.
China and the Holy See signed in 2018 the historic pact between the two countries for the election of the bishops, which previously only named Beijing and now the last word rests with the pope.
(With information from EFE)