Pope Francis said today (14) that God does not lead religions to war. The statement is considered an implicit criticism of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who supports the invasion of Ukraine and boycotted the conference of religious leaders.
On his second day in Kazakhstan, Francis addressed the Seventh Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions, a gathering that brings together Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and other religions.
Kirill was to attend, but withdrew.
The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) sent a delegation headed by its number two, Metropolitan (a sort of Archbishop) Anthony, who later met briefly with the pope.
“God is peace. He always guides us on the path of peace, never on the path of war,” Francis said, speaking at an enormous round table at the Independence Palace, a massive, modern structure made of steel and glass in the capital of the former Soviet republic. .
“Let us therefore commit ourselves even more to insisting on the need to resolve conflicts not by the inconclusive means of power, with weapons and threats, but by the only means blessed by heaven and worthy of man: meeting, dialogue and patient negotiations,” he said. .
The pope, who this year said Kirill could not be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s altar boy, declared at the conference: “The sacred must never be a support for power, nor power a support for the sacred!”
Kirill has supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the patriarch sees as a bulwark against a West he calls decadent.
Francis later quoted Ukraine, at the end of a mass for about 6,000 members of Kazakhstan’s small Catholic community, asking “how many deaths will still be needed” before the conflict gives way to dialogue.
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Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News