War and the art of meeting

It was the Archbishop’s visit. Paul Gallagher in Ukraine Are you preparations for Pope Francis’ visit to this country? The answer is related to the papal vision of politics.

Exactly on Christmas 2021, Vatican media reported that Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States in the Secretariat of the Holy See, was preparing the way for the planned papal visit to the country. “There is no ideal time for a visit, but it is likely that Francis will visit South Sudan next year,” the Vatican’s foreign minister said at the time.

On May 13, by accepting the members of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), the Pope confirmed his intention to perform the pilgrimage to South Sudan. Archbishop Justin Welby and Principal of the Church of Scotland, Dear Brothers, have revealed to my traveling companions when we can finally in a few weeks time go to South Sudan. run out. Unless some unexpected circumstances arise, Francis will visit South Sudan from July 5-7.

The example of an African nation created only in 2011 as a result of the secession from Sudan shows not only the performance of what is known as Vatican diplomacy, but also reflects Francis’ understanding of politics and related gestures. In April 2019, the Pope kissed the feet of South Sudan’s feuding politicians, begging them to end the civil war.

The Vatican’s head of diplomacy, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, said Sunday, May 22, after spending several days in Ukraine. In an interview with Vatican media, he stressed that the parties to the conflict “must sit at the negotiating table.”

Before he begins his visit to our eastern neighbor, Archbishop Gallagher asserted in a television interview that the Pope recognizes the legitimacy of any security regime, and therefore legitimate defense, as long as it is “proportionate.” He noted that the war in Ukraine also required thinking about ecumenical relations with the Moscow Patriarch Cyril and the Orthodox Church. “There is an undeniable religious dimension to this conflict,” he said, noting the growing tension in the Orthodox Churches and the difficulties the Russian Church is facing in taking a different stance from the country’s authorities.

During his stay in Ukraine, the Vatican diplomat met with politicians and the clergy. He was in Bokza, Erbiu and Würzl, which have been described as places of Ukrainian martyrdom. “It will take a long time to restore peace with Russia with the people who took part in this terrible conflict,” he said after visiting the crime scene in Russia. After a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, he explained that his visit aims to demonstrate the closeness of the Holy See and Pope Francis to the Ukrainian nation, “especially in light of the Russian aggression against Ukraine.”


Among the many meetings, the archbishop. Gallagher, during his visit to Ukraine, there was also a conversation with three Polish archbishops who came to this country at the same time. Are these two trips a coincidence? It is hard to believe.

It is clear that in connection with the visit of the head of the Vatican’s diplomacy to Ukraine, questions have returned about the possibility of the Pope’s visit to Ukraine. According to Archbishop Paula Gallagher, Francesc understands that the Ukrainians want this visit. “When I return to Rome, I will tell him what I saw, what the people say and what they expect. I am sure that he will take it seriously and that what he decides in the end will be in the interest of the Ukrainian people and peace in the world.”

At the same time, when Archbishop Gallagher and representatives of the Polish episcopate were visiting Ukraine, Pope Francis met with young politicians from the Chemin Neuf Political Brotherhood. He explained to them what political activism should look like from a Christian point of view. He said, “Politics is in the first place the art of meeting,” noting that this meeting must take place through the acceptance of another person and the acceptance of the other in a respectful dialogue.

but that is not all. Francis explained: “We are called to live a political encounter as a fraternal encounter, especially with those who agree less with us, and that means recognizing the person with whom we are conversing as a true brother, a beloved son of God.” Politics, the art of meeting begins with a change of view towards another person, with unconditional acceptance and respect for his person. “If this change does not take place, politics may turn into a brutal confrontation, so that my thoughts, my interests, and the common good do not prevail” – he warned and emphasized that one cannot make politics with the help of ideology.

The activities of the Vatican diplomats are an implementation of Francis’ view of politics as the art of sociology. From this perspective, Archbishop Gallagher’s visit in Moscow. There is hardly anything that indicates the imminent presence of Francis in Ukraine.

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