- Dec 8, 2019
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has said that if Pope Francis were to visit Ukraine, the conflict tearing its eastern regions apart would come to an end.
A leading Ukrainian prelate says that by visiting the onetime mother church of the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine today, Pope Francis is sending a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin — “violence and aggression are unacceptable.”
Most of the attention being given to Cardinal Pietro Parolin to Russia surrounds his meetings with President Vladimir Putin and Moscow Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. But Russia’s small Catholic community hopes the visit by the Vatican’s Secretary of State will help them get back Catholic churches taken from them in the Soviet era, and convince Catholic leaders to have a louder voice in the country.
Vatican Secretary of State, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed a vast array of topics during their meeting on August 22. On the agenda were the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, religious freedom and violence in Venezuela.
On August 21 Vatican Secretary of State sets off for his visit to Russia where he will visit the President Vladimir Putin and the Patriarch of the Russian Catholic Church Kirill. The main topics on the agenda will be the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, will have to navigate difficult waters with both the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church during his upcoming visit to Moscow. Although the purpose of the visit has nothing to do with planning a trip to Russia by Pope Francis, the cardinal said he hopes “nonetheless, with God’s help, that it may offer some contribution in this direction.”