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Amid Russia’s struggle, pope says religion can not justify such evil

NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan — Pope Francis instructed the Russian Orthodox hierarchy and different religion leaders Tuesday that faith must not ever be used to justify the “evil” of struggle and that God must not ever “be held hostage to the human thirst for energy.”

Towards the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Francis opened an interfaith convention within the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan by difficult delegations to unite in condemning struggle. He cited a Kazakh poet in warning that “he who permits evil and doesn’t oppose it can’t be considered a real believer. At finest he’s a half-hearted believer.”

Within the viewers of the 80 imams, patriarchs, rabbis and muftis was Metropolitan Anthony, in command of international relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, which has firmly backed Russia’s invasion. His boss, Patriarch Kirill, was imagined to have participated within the congress however canceled final month.

Kirill has justified Russia’s invasion on religious and ideological grounds, calling it a “metaphysical” battle with the West. He has blessed Russian troopers going into struggle and invoked the concept Russians and Ukrainians are one individuals.

Francis didn’t point out Russia or Ukraine in his remarks, which alongside these of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev opened the gathering of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Taoist and different religion teams aimed toward selling interreligious dialogue and fraternity as a pressure for peace on this planet.

However talking from Russia’s southern neighbor because the seven-month struggle rages on, Francis instructed the religion leaders that they themselves wanted to take the lead in selling a tradition of peace, saying it was hypocritical to anticipate that non-believers would promote peace if non secular leaders don’t.

“If the creator, to whom now we have devoted our lives, is the creator of human life, how can we who name ourselves believers consent to the destruction of that life?” he requested. “Conscious of the wrongs and errors of the previous, allow us to unite our efforts to make sure that the Almighty won’t ever once more be held hostage to the human thirst for energy.”

Francis then laid down a problem to all these within the room to commit themselves to resolving disputes by means of dialogue and negotiation, not with recourse to arms.

“Could we by no means justify violence. Could we by no means enable the sacred to be exploited by the profane. The sacred must not ever be a prop for energy, nor energy a prop for the sacred!”

The non secular leaders included Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, the seat of Sunni studying in Cairo, who warmly greeted Francis with a kiss on the cheek when the pope arrived in a wheelchair.

Francis and al-Tayeb signed a joint Christian-Muslim doc selling human fraternity as a pressure for peace in 2019 — a doc that Tokayev cited in his personal speech opening the congress.

There had been hypothesis that Francis may meet with Kirill on the sidelines of the congress after each confirmed their presence earlier this yr. The 2 met for the primary time in 2016 in Cuba — the first-ever assembly of a pope and Russian patriarch — and spoke by videoconference within the early weeks of the struggle.

Francis afterward publicly criticized Kirill’s justification of Ukraine’s invasion and warned that he mustn’t develop into “Putin’s altar boy.”

Related Press faith protection receives assist by means of the AP’s collaboration with The Dialog US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely answerable for this content material.



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