God does not support war, says Pope in candid criticism of Russian patriarchy

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NUR-SULTAN, Sep 14 (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Wednesday that God does not direct religions to war, an implicit criticism of Russian Orthodox patriarch Kirill, who supports the invasion of Ukraine and a group of faith leaders. boycott the conference.

On his second day in Kazakhstan, Francis addressed the Seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, a meeting that brings together Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and other religions.

Kirill was supposed to part, but he dropped out. read more

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The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) sent a delegation led by its number two, Metropolitan Anthony, who later met briefly with the Pope.

“God is peace. He always guides us in the way of peace, never in the way of war,” said Francis, speaking at a huge round table in the Independence Palace, a huge modern built of steel and glass in the former capital Structure Soviet Republic.

“Let us commit ourselves to asserting the need to resolve conflicts, not by indeterminate means of power, with weapons and threats, but by only one means worthy of heaven and man: encounter, dialogue and patience. conversation,” he said.

The pope, who said earlier this year that Kirill could not be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “altar boy”, said at the convention: “The holy should never be a recourse to power, nor should the holy be a recourse to power.” should!”

Kirill has enthusiastically supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the patriarch sees as a bulwark against a West he calls decadent. read more

Pope-Patriarch’s meeting still possible

His stance has caused a rift with the Vatican and sparked an internal rebellion that has led some local Orthodox churches to break ties with the Russian Orthodox Church. read more

Metropolitan Anthony told reporters that his meeting with the pope was “very cordial”, but added that Francis’ “altar boy” remarks about Cyril were “not helpful to the unity of Christians” and that the Russian Orthodox Church was shocked. .

Anthony said that the Pope told him he wanted to have a second meeting with Kirill. The first was in Cuba in 2016.

Francis also said that, while violence in the name of God was never justified, the “virus” of hatred and terrorism would not be eradicated without first eradicating injustice and poverty.

He said that religious freedom is essential for peaceful coexistence in any society and no sect has the right to force others to convert.

“It is time to realize that fundamentalism corrupts and corrupts every creed,” he said. “Let us free ourselves from those derogatory and destructive notions that offend the name of God by forms of harshness, extremism and fanaticism, and profane it through hatred, bigotry and terrorism, as well as the image of man. spoil it too.”

But merely condemning extremism was not enough.

“As long as inequality and injustice continue to grow, there will be no end to a virus worse than COVID: the virus of hatred, violence and terrorism,” he said.

Francis, who wrote a major paper on the need to protect the environment in 2015, called for religious leaders to be on the front lines in addressing climate change and the dangers of extreme weather, especially its effects on the poor and vulnerable of society. needed.

About 70% of Kazakhs are Muslim and about 26% are Orthodox Christians. Of the vast Central Asian country’s population of 19 million, only 125,000 are Catholic.

Francis will hold a Mass for the small Catholic community on Wednesday afternoon.

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Reporting by Philip Pullela; Editing by Michael Perry and Alex Richardson

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principals.

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