This unfortunate statement was made in such a fragment of a spontaneous farewell – said the metropolitan of Łódź, cardinal nominee Grzegorz Ryś, in “Fakty po Faktach”, referring to the Pope’s words about “great Russia”. He also said that the Holy Father’s statements were not intended to be part of “real politics.”
Piotr Marciniak talked in “Fakty po Faktach” on TVN24 with the cardinal nominee, Metropolitan Archbishop of Łódź, Grzegorz Ryś. The priest commented, among other things Pope Francis’ words about “Great Russia”. At the end of August – after reading the prepared text during a remote conversation with Russian Catholic youth – Francis said: – Never forget your heritage. You are children of the great Russia. The great Russia of the saints, the king, the great Russia of Peter I, Catherine II, this great empire, with such great culture and great humanity.
Later, during a meeting with journalists, the pope assured that when he spoke of “Greater Russia”, he did not mean imperialismbut the heritage of Russian culture.
Archbishop Ryś: words “indefensible”, but “the pope has the right to be wrong”
– I must admit that I was also surprised when I read this text, but I immediately read the whole thing. Because that’s what I usually do in situations when there are doubts or accusations, especially regarding Francis, said Archbishop Ryś.
According to him, “the entire conference he had for those 400 Russians who, for obvious reasons, were not in Lisbon (for World Youth Day – editor’s note) was a beautiful conference.” – Actually, it summarizes everything that the Pope taught young people in Lisbon – he said. – And this unfortunate statement was made in such a fragment of a spontaneous farewell – he pointed out.
The Pope – said Archbishop Ryś – first said “about the heritage of saints, about the heritage of culture and then this very inappropriate formulation.” He admitted that the Holy Father’s words were “indefensible.” – However, we can only accept the translation given by the Pope himself. I think he turned out to be much more humble than many people when asked about their mistakes, he said.
He emphasized that “the pope has the right to make mistakes.” – We sometimes approach many church statements in shortcuts, too quickly. There are several levels of adjudication in the Church and in our country there are really too many moments of taking the Pope at his word where his statements do not have any unique rank of solemn teaching – he said. – However, we pay too little attention to these statements to which he attaches great importance – he added.
Metropolitan of Łódź: the Pope does not practice real politics
The cardinal nominee was asked to assess the pope’s statements about Russia made in the months since the outbreak of the full-scale war in Ukraine. The Holy Father spoke, among other things, about “NATO barking at Russia’s door” or that “we are all guilty“. Although Francis has repeatedly appealed for peace on… Ukrainehe avoided pointing out who the aggressor was, for which he was criticized.
The Metropolitan of Łódź said that he interprets Francis’ statements in “two keys”. – Firstly, these are not statements that are supposed to be part of so-called real politics. Besides, I don’t think anyone expects this from the Church, at least at the level of declarations. The Pope does not practice real politics, he emphasized.
– Secondly, and this is more important to me, the Pope says that winning the war does not mean bringing peace. This is a fragment of reflection that is actually absent from the discourse on the war. Peace is not just the absence of war, he continued.
He also argued that “when Francis said, for example, that we are all guilty, he did not want to minimize Russia’s guilt, he just wanted to say: we have not created a world where peace reigns.”
“Moral judgment is always related to a specific context”
The next topic of conversation was the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border. The hierarch was asked whether the political assessment of Alexander Lukashenko’s hybrid actions obscures the moral assessment related to the fate of refugees.
Archbishop Ryś noted that “moral assessment is always related to a specific context.” – There are moral principles that are unchangeable, but people must apply them and ultimately everyone does it in their own conscience – he said. As he said, “the moral principle that the Church has preached, will preach and is currently preaching is that every person has the right to live in the place they consider best for themselves.”
– He, his family, man is, as we say, his own providence. That is, he decides where he wants to live and how he wants to live. And wherever he chooses this place to live, he has the right to be himself. We also demand this for all of us, for our compatriots who live all over the world, he noted. – This is unchanging teaching, but this unchanging teaching must always be related to specific, real, current contexts – he emphasized.
Main photo source: TVN24