Before the authorities of Kazakhstan, the lesson of democracy of Pope Francis

In the middle of the lobby of the presidential palace, a pope entered in a wheelchair. François was welcomed with all honors on Tuesday, September 13, by the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokaïev, the national anthem that echoed in the great glittering hall, sung by soldiers dressed in full yellow and blue uniforms, surrounded by columns of fake marble.

This demonstrative welcome was even more remarkable when listening to the speech given a few minutes later in front of all the country’s leaders placed on the red velvet armchairs of the Qazaq Concert Hall. There the pope strongly criticized the “widespread injustice” threatening him “integral development” in the world.

Early elections

In a highly political speech, the first of a series of five speeches he plans to deliver to the nation, Francis encouraged his audience to continue the internal reforms that had begun after the January riots. Advice far beyond this famous Central Asian state, whose president launched a constitutional reform, and called early elections for the fall of early September.

This country, where Catholics are an ultra-minority (they make up less than 1% of the population), experienced the first waves of violence in January in thirty years. At least 225 people died in the violence, while 10,000 more were arrested. At that time, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev reprimanded “bandits sent from abroad and international terrorists” and criticized an attempt at “rebellion”.

“Everything is watched”

“A better distribution of power” subject to a “Important and necessary process”, hammered the pope. This reform includes the implementation of “Measures against corruption”Francois added. “Every country in the world needs it”, he said, to make it clear that what he was talking about was not just about Kazakhstan. Although the country is one of the 80 most corrupt countries on the planet, according to the Transparency International ranking in 2021.

In this country where, according to the words of a religious who was there for a long time in the mission, “everything is watched”Francis also praised the virtues of “freedom of thought, conscience and expression”. Three qualities of “guarantee”insisted François, in addition to “religious freedom”which consists, according to the pope, “The best cradle of civil coexistence”.

Almost twenty years after the visit of John Paul II, which Francis also mentioned several times in his speech, the pope praised a “healthy secularism”. That is to say a secularism that “recognizes the valuable and irreplaceable role of religion and faith, and opposes the extremism that undermines it”.

it “meeting country” which Pope Francis considers to be the one “where the notes of two souls resound, the Asian and the European”the pope will participate, on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 September, in the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

call for peace

François intends to rely on this summit to launch an appeal for peace, from Kazakhstan, which has a 7,000 km border with Russia. “It’s time to avoid promoting rivalries”asked François, who spoke “the crazy and terrible war over the invasion of Ukraine”. Speaking of the Cold War, he also lamented the constitution of “matching blocks” to each other.

“We need leaders who, at the international level, allow people to understand each other and communicate”continued François, claiming to be a “strengthening multilateralism”. A constant of Vatican diplomats, who are among the most ardent defenders of multilateral bodies, whose weakness they also often blame.

Dialogue “with all”

This need to dialogue with everyone has been one of the central points of Pope Francis’ speeches since the start of the war at the end of February. And the diplomats of the Apostolic Palace have repeatedly said that in order to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, it is necessary to leave everything “open the doors” – including, therefore, with Russia – so that a dialogue is possible.

Before the Kazakh authorities, Pope Francis continued on this path, calling “building a stronger and more peaceful way of thinking in the world in new generations”. “To do this, we need understanding, patience and dialogue with everyone”, added the pope. Before insisting: “I’ll be back. To everyone. »

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