Pope hopes for trip to Kyiv in August

Archbishop Gallagher, secretary for relations with states, said the possibility of a trip to Kyiv will be considered after the pope returns from Canada.

On a trip to Kyiv, “the pope remains very convinced that if he could make a visit, it could also have positive results,” Bishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for relations with states, said in an interview. to the Italian newspaper. channel TG1 on July 8, 2022. The British Archbishop explained that such a trip will be studied after the pontiff returns from his trip to Canada at the end of July and that it is “possible” that this will happen in August.

“I wouldn’t rule it out, but a lot depends on the results of the trip to Canada,” he said, explaining that it was necessary to see “how the pope will cope” with this “very demanding” transatlantic trip before to decide. . A reference to the delicate health of the pontiff who, due to severe knee pain – including a “small fracture” – canceled a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan in early July.

The head of Vatican diplomacy also recalled that the pontiff “has always been ready to go to Moscow and meet the Russian authorities”. Indeed, in an interview with Reuters on July 2, Francis expressed his desire to visit both Kyiv and Moscow, saying he wanted to go to the Russian capital to “try to help in one way or another.” ‘another one”. No pope in history has ever set foot in Russia.

Francis spoke in the same interview of a “very open” and “very cordial” dialogue between Russia and the Vatican. Moscow responded through the Foreign Ministry, saying there was no “substantial contact” between the two sides over a papal trip to Russia.

Archbishop Gallagher, in his interview with Italian television, said contacts with Russia are “rather institutional” at the moment, mainly through the nuncio in Moscow and the Russian ambassador to the Holy See in Rome. .

He believed that a meeting between Patriarch Cyril and Pope Francis would take place if the two men traveled to Kazakhstan for the major interreligious meeting organized by the Kazakh government on September 14-15. “We have to try to overcome difficulties and misunderstandings. for the unity of the Church,” he insisted.

Concern for peace in the Balkans

In the interview, the Briton explained that the current concern of the Holy See is not only for Ukraine in Europe but also for the Western Balkans. Last March, the diplomat made an official trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Pope Francis has repeatedly raised the possibility of a trip. Notably, on the flight home from the Apostolic Visit to Malta held in April, the pontiff said, “Yes, it is on the table.”

A source told i.Media, “The Pope cannot visit one side of this conflict without visiting the other.” This means that according to Vatican diplomatic protocol, in order to travel to Kyiv, the pontiff would also have to travel to Russia.

Renewed concern for the Ukrainian people

In remarks following the Sunday July 10 Angelus, speaking from the balcony of the Apostolic Palace in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis renewed his concern for Ukraine. The pope said, “I renew my closeness to the people of Ukraine, who are tormented daily by the brutal attacks that ordinary people are paying for.” He assured the Ukrainians of his prayers saying: “I pray for all the families, especially for the victims, the wounded, the sick. I pray for the elderly and for the children. He concluded his remarks by imploring Almighty God for and for war, saying, “May God show the way to end this senseless war.”

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