As Pope Kazakhstan Go to Ends, Conservative Critic Speaks Out

NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) – Pope Francis wrapped up a visit to Kazakhstan on Thursday as certainly one of his most outspoken critics overtly questioned the worth of mega religion conferences such because the one the pontiff attended, calling them “a grocery store of religions” that diminished the standing of the Catholic Church.

On the final day of his three-day go to Francis presided at a gathering of bishops, monks and nuns within the cathedral of Kazakh capital.

In attendance was native bishop Athanasius Schneider, an arch conservative who has typically pointedly criticised the progressive pope on a bunch of points.

The principal motive for the pope’s go to was to handle the Seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, a gathering that brings collectively Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and lots of different, principally smaller, faiths.

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While praising the congress’ capacity to “promote mutual respect on the earth,” Schneider, 61, mentioned he believed it risked the “hazard” of placing Catholicism on the identical aircraft as different religions.

“It might give the impression of a grocery store of religions, and that’s not right, as a result of there is just one true faith, which is the Catholic Church based by God himself,” Schneider instructed reporters on the cathedral.

Conservatives equivalent to Schneider have criticised some facets of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, which urged dialogue with different religions.

They additionally say Catholics ought to actively proselytise to transform others to Catholicism and oppose Francis’ insistence that potential converts needs to be drawn to the religion by nothing greater than the instance of Christians.

Schneider, who speaks excellent English and is internationally recognized due to his frequent appearances on conservative Catholic media, mentioned the Vatican ought to re-think its presence at such congresses. Dialogue was higher left on the native degree, he mentioned.

He additionally defended his proper to criticise the pope publicly, calling it a fraternal responsibility that’s useful for your entire 1.3 billion-member Church.

“We aren’t staff of the pope, the bishops, we’re brothers. When in good conscience I really feel that one thing shouldn’t be right or ambiguous I’ve to say it to him, with respect, fraternally,” Schneider mentioned.

He mentioned bishops who disagreed with the pope needed to be forthright, and shouldn’t be caught in “adulations and incense” or “behave like an worker to a boss”.

Francis addressed the congress on Wednesday and is because of make one other speech to the delegates on Thursday afternoon earlier than returning to Rome.

About 70% of Kazakhs are Muslim and about 26% Orthodox Christians. There are solely about 125,000 Catholics among the many 19 million inhabitants of the huge Central Asian nation.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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