Pope, a Devil’s Advocate

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During his televised address to the Russian Catholic youth, a clip of which was posted online, Pope Francis told those in the audience to hold on to the ‘legacy’ of a ‘great empire’: “Never forget your heritage. You are the heirs of great Russia: great Russia of the saints, of large Russia of Peter I, of Catherine II, of that empire – great, enlightened, of big culture and big humanity. Never reject that heritage… You are heirs of great Mother Russia. Go forward with it… Thank you for your way to exist, for your way to be Russian”. The Pope’s decision to praise Russia’s imperialist past, especially considering the Kremlin’s ongoing war in Ukraine sparked instant outrage. People in Eastern Europe desired to remind Pope Francis that Catherine II was the one who almost annihilated the Polish Commonwealth and that the Catholics of Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus raised uprisings three times against that “enlightened empire”. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church also condemned the pope’s words with the Chairman of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Svyatoslav Shevchuk said in a statement: “The examples given by the Holy Father actually contradict his teachings on peace, since he has always condemned any form of manifestation of imperialism in the modern world and warned of the dangers of extreme nationalism, stressing that it is the cause of the ‘third world war in segments.” Pope Francis made some other controversial remarks, seemingly blaming NATO for the war Russia started against Ukraine. He has also refused to denounce Putin by name. In this aspect, Pope Francis starts resembling Pope Pius XII who, according to historians, used a Nazi prince to negotiate with Adolf Hitler. Update: Lithuania Summoned Vatican Ambassador.

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The WSJ article shows that World War II-era Pope Pius XII was aware thousands of Jews were being killed in Nazi gas chambers, undercutting earlier Vatican arguments justifying the pope’s wartime silence on the Holocaust

Check “Ukraine & the United States” book to learn of Catherine II’s attempts to partition Ukraine the way she partitioned Poland.

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