China, Ukraine, euthanasia, travel… What Pope Francis said on the plane returning from Kazakhstan

After three days of travel “dense” in Kazakhstan, Pope Francis responded to reporters, during a 45-minute press conference, on the plane that brought him back Thursday, September 15 from Noursultan to Rome.

► Ukraine. Dialogue with Russia? “It stinks, but we have to do it”

We must continue the dialogue “everyone”. Against all odds, said the pope, essentially. “I believe that it is always difficult to understand the dialogue of States that provoke war”, he admitted. Before, however, to protect this option.

“I will not include itno dialogue with a country at war, no matter what it is, even if it is the aggressor”, Francis insisted, without mentioning Russia. “Dialogue happens like that. But we have to. It stinks, but we have to do it. »

Also asked about a country’s ability to defend itself, the pope admitted that distributing weapons to Ukraine could “be moral”as long as certain criteria are met. “Self-defense is not only in accordance with the law, but it is also an expression of love for the country. If we don’t defend ourselves, we can’t love. When one loves, one defends oneself. continued the pope.

For Francis, the moral judgment to be passed on the distribution of arms therefore depends on “encouragement” this. A decision that has already been made by Bishop Paul R. Gallagher, the “foreign minister” of the pope, or by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state, but Francis is not very clear.

but “It would be immoral if done with the intention of causing more wars, selling more weapons, or getting rid of obsolete weapons”specified the author of the encyclical Fratelli tutti. Which also changed the strict condemnation of the production of weapons. “A killer business”, he said.

► Euthanasia? “Killing is not human”

Asked about euthanasia, as the end-of-life debate rages in France, François recalled some words of the Catholic Church’s classic position on the subject. “Killing is not human. Point, he answered. If you kill with a motive, you kill too. It is not human. Kill, leave that to the animals. »

► The understanding of China, “it takes centuries, it is a man of infinite patience”

As the Vatican and Beijing actively negotiate a renewal of the agreement on the appointment of Chinese bishops, which expires in October, the pope has defended himself. “The way of dialogue” made with China.

“It took centuries to understand” China, he said. “There is a Vatican-Chinese bilateral commission, which is progressing well, slowly, added the father. Because the Chinese rhythm is slow. They have forever to go on. They are a people of infinite patience. » This road to mutual understanding goes through the discussions in Beijing, continued François. “It is not easy to understand the mentality of the Chinese, but it must be respected. »

Shadows of China in Kazakh travel

Asked about the fate of Cardinal Zen, Archbishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, who is scheduled to appear before Chinese judges on Monday, September 19, Pope Francis seems to want to be cautious. “Cardinal Zen is an elder who will be judged today, isn’t he? carefully asked the father. He said what he felt, that there were limits (on religious freedom) », Françoi continued, without further comment.

► Next trips: Bahrain, South Sudan, DR-Congo

François did not stop traveling. Even if they stay “difficult”he admitted, “because the knee is not good yet”. The director of the Holy See Press Room confirmed a “travel plan” last November in Bahrain.

But Francis also raised the possibility of an upcoming trip to South Sudan and DR Congo, where he was due to go in July, before the Vatican canceled the trip due to his health condition.

Confronting the Congolese in Rome, Pope Francis’ strong appeal for peace

“I was talking the other day aboutwith Bishop Welby and we know that it is a possibility in February to go to South Sudan”, Francis confirmed, citing the name of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Primate of the Church of England (Anglican). “We have to (y) let’s go the three of us, the head of the Church of Scotland, Bishop Welby and I,” Francois added. A visit to South Sudan will accompany, as planned in July, a trip to the DR-Congo, the pope specified.

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