Pope praises Mongolia but warns of corruption, environmental ruin

Author Avatar


Joined: Oct 2016

ULAANBAATAR – Pope Francis invoked the “wisdom” of the Mongolian people Saturday, in harmony with nature and embracing spirituality, while warning the young democracy of such modern-day risks as corruption and environmental ruin.

The 86-year-old Francis, on the first papal visit to the Asian nation sandwiched between China and Russia, was feted with an official welcome ceremony that included a phalanx of Mongolian horsemen in metal armour parading past the State Palace.  

The pope, who waved to the crowd in front of a massive bronze statue of Genghis Khan as a group of young Mongolian Catholics yelled ‘Viva il Papa!’, is seeking a neutral ally in the sensitive region as he seeks to improve Vatican relations with both of Mongolia’s neighbours. 

Welcomed by President Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, who donned the traditional “deel” tunic, Pope Francis called himself a “pilgrim of friendship” and extolled the virtues of the country, including its “ranchers and planters respectful of the delicate balances of the ecosystem”.

Mongolia’s Shamanist and Buddhist traditions of living in harmony with nature and its creatures “can contribute significantly to the urgent and no longer deferrable efforts to protect and preserve planet Earth”, he said.

Francis also praised Mongolia for its religious tolerance and nuclear-free policy, but warned that corruption was “the fruit of a utilitarian and unscrupulous mentality that has impoverished whole countries”.

Religions can “represent a safeguard against the insidious threat of corruption, which effectively represents a serious menace to the development of any human community”, he said.

The visit by the Argentine Jesuit will provide a boost to local Catholics, one of the smallest and youngest communities in the global reach of the Church at only about 1,400 members — including just 25 priests, two of them Mongolian, and 33 nuns.

The trip represents his desire to bring the Church’s message to remote, largely ignored areas far from Rome, but it also has the undeniably geopolitical aim of helping the Vatican keep the door open to the greater region.

Francis’ trip to the doorstep of China, which has never extended an invitation for the pope to visit, drew some Chinese Catholics, with about a dozen waving the country’s flag during the welcome ceremony. 

The Holy See renewed a controversial deal last year with Beijing that allows both sides a say in appointing bishops in China, a move critics have called a dangerous Vatican concession to Beijing in exchange for a presence in the country.

Beijing’s Communist Party is officially atheist and exercises strict control over all recognised religious institutions, including vetting sermons and choosing bishops.

The pope, who underwent a hernia operation in June, appeared to have difficulty walking Saturday, gingerly taking steps with a cane when not in a wheelchair. 

On Sunday, Francis will lead an interreligious meeting and conduct mass inside a newly built ice hockey arena.

Read Full details From Source


0 %

User Score

0 ratings
Rate This