During an interview with an Italian newspaper, Pope Francis Recalling a conversation with a powerful Russian bishop, he criticized him for being “Putin’s altar boy.”
In a recent exclusive interview with an Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Francis discussed his efforts to meet the Russian President Russian President Vladimir Putin Before mentioning a conversation he had with Patriarch Kirill, also known as Vladimir Gundyaev, head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“I spoke with Kirill for 40 minutes via Zoom,” Francis said. “For the first 20 minutes he read from a piece of paper that he had in his hand all the reasons justifying the Russian invasion. I listened to him and then answered him: I don’t understand any of this.”
During the video call with Kirill, the Pope went on to say “Brother, we are not clergy of the state, we must not speak the language of politics, but the language of Jesus. We are the shepherds of the same holy flock of God. That is why we must look for a path to peace, we must stop the fighting.” A patriarch cannot come down from himself to become Putin’s altar boy.”
The head of the Roman Catholic Church added: “I had a meeting with him, which was scheduled for June 14 in Jerusalem. Our second meeting could have been face to face, not related to the war. But we canceled it, we agreed that it could be It sends the wrong message.”
In the interview, Francis added that he had been invited to Ukraine several times, but said: “I am not ready to travel to Kyiv, not yet.”
He added: “I have sent my envoys, Cardinal Michael Cherny (Head of the Department for the Advancement of Human Development) and Cardinal Konrad Kragowski (Pope Almonair). The latter has visited Kyiv for the fourth time. But I feel that I should not go there. Not yet. “
“First, I must go to Moscow,” Francis continued. “I want to meet Putin first. But in the end I am just a priest, what can I achieve? I will do what I can.”
Ukraine requested the Pope’s guidance before the invasion seem. On February 14, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Holy See, Andrei Yurash, told Reuters that Ukraine was open to the Vatican’s mediation as tensions between Russia escalated at the border for the first time.
NEWSWEEK I contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment.