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Vatican Tries to Make clear Pope Francis’ Remarks on Russia

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Pope Francis didn’t intend to “glorify imperialistic logic” in off-the-cuff remarks final week about expansionist 18th-century Russian rulers, the Vatican stated on Tuesday, looking for to calm an outcry over feedback that some critics stated have been too near President Vladimir V. Putin’s justifications for invading Ukraine.

In a video speech to younger Russian Catholics on Friday, “The Pope meant to encourage the youth to protect and promote all that’s optimistic within the nice Russian cultural and non secular legacy,” the Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, stated in an announcement. “Certainly to not glorify imperialistic logic and authorities personalities.”

On the conclusion of his speech, during which Francis inspired younger Catholic Russians to construct bridges between generations and unfold seeds of reconciliation, he invoked the legacy of the “Nice Russia of saints, rulers, Nice Russia of Peter I, Catherine II, that empire — nice, enlightened, of nice tradition and nice humanity.”

These feedback appeared to deviate from his ready remarks, which have been launched in a Vatican bulletin that didn’t point out the extemporaneous references to the 2 former Russian tsars, who invaded components of Ukraine within the 18th centuries.

These feedback have been instantly criticized in Ukraine and in different former Soviet nations. Mr. Putin, who in contrast himself to Peter the Nice in a speech final 12 months, has talked about the concept of rebuilding the Russian empire in reference to the conflict in Ukraine, which was a part of the Soviet Union till its collapse in three a long time in the past.

A spokesman for Ukraine’s Overseas Ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, wrote on Fb that it was “very unlucky that Russian grand-state concepts, which, actually, are the reason for Russia’s continual aggression, knowingly or unknowingly, come from the Pope’s mouth.”

The chief of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, additionally expressed “ache” and “disappointment” over the pope’s remarks, which he stated contradicted Francis’ doctrine of peace.

Within the early months of the conflict set off by the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the pope was criticized for not taking a powerful sufficient stance in opposition to Russia, apparently following a typical technique of the Holy See to keep away from alienating any warring aspect earlier than doable peace negotiations. However because the conflict has continued, Francis has reversed course and known as Ukrainians “martyrs” in a “morally unjust” conflict.

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