Ukraine's Eastern Rite Catholic bishops told Pope Francis on Wednesday that his recent comments in which he lauded the “great Russian Empire” caused “pain, suffering” and “a certain disappointment” among Ukrainians.

During the meeting at the Vatican, they said the remarks were “painful and difficult for the Ukrainian people, who are currently bleeding in the struggle for their dignity and independence.”

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In a video message to young Catholic Russians on August 25, the 86-year-old pontiff said they should remember they were "children of great Russia, of great saints, of kings, of Peter the Great, of Catherine II, of a Russian people of great culture and great humanity".

Referencing the fact that the Kremlin had welcomed the Pope’s remarks, the Ukrainian bishops added they had been “used by Russian propaganda to justify and support the murderous ideology of the 'Russian World'.”


According to a statement released after the meeting, the Pope said in response: "The fact that you doubted whom the pope is with was particularly painful for the Ukrainian people.

“I want to assure you of my solidarity with you and constant prayerful closeness. I am with the Ukrainian people."

The Pope’s original comments caused outrage in Ukraine. One of Peter the Great’s most notorious acts was to have his own son tortured to death. Whereas Catherine conspired to have her husband deposed and killed in order to take the throne.

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To Ukrainian ears, it would seem the Pope had chosen the very tsars who had made it their policy to destroy any Ukrainian national consciousness whatsoever.

Peter I destroyed the Cossack fortress of Baturyn in 1708, killing upwards of 10,000 civilians, while Catherine II liquidated the Zaporozhian Cossack Sich in 1775 and imposed serfdom on Ukrainian lands.

Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko described the unscripted remarks as reminiscent of "imperialist propaganda" and "very unfortunate".


"I wasn't thinking about imperialism when I said that, I was talking about culture," Pope Francis told reporters on the papal plane following a trip to Mongolia.

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Comments (3)
Joseph Swanson
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The "pope" is a communist just like communist russia. This is the same dope of a pope who accepted a crucifix displaying Jesus nailed to a hammer and sickle given by former Bolivian President Evo Morales. Now, can you imagine the world outcry had it been a swastika? communism always gets a pass.
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You will notice how this Pope, who named himself after a supposedly universally loving Saint, Francis of Assisi, who harmed NO animals, had attempted to blame Ukrainian churchies : "The fact that you doubted whom the pope is with was particularly painful for the Ukrainian people."
Attempting to deflect Ukrainian criticism through saying to Ukrainian churchies :

Reprehensible BEYOND BELIEF.

Yet, MOST people of Ukraine ARE religious, and far too many elsewhere, so this abdication of personal responsibility WILL further fragment families, due to religious inculcation, which supplants our NATURAL LOVE for family, those around us, those more distant, and all living things.

Instead this Pope, and ALL churches foster violence and hate for those outside its control
This in fact occurred to me when my aged grandmother needed family, and priest offensively counseled uncle to turn against the only person who cared for her - priest saying "we have food and visiting staff."
Religions are inherently lies, as all neuroscientists KNOW, and exist to create feudal subjection of populace, turning family against itself.
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This is far from the first time comments from the Vatican have cause great pain to others because of lack of understanding and thoughtfulness. Look how long the Catholic church was involved in child abuse and rape in some cases. In my country, the USA, they have caused great separation in our people because they and their followers and othesr that are not catholic themselves have fallen for the Catholic line on abortion and make all sorts of non scientific claims about birth and pregnancy which has now resulted in actually taking rights away from women and making a woman's body the ownership of the state when it comes to pregnancy. The time is long past when people around the world stop paying attention to these religionist that turn people against each other. In particular, the Catholic church and the evangelical fundamentalist that are actually Fascist that proclaim a twisted form of christianity that is no where near the teachings of Jesus or remotely close to it. Look around the world and see the countless millions that have died because of religious extremism that sets people's against one another. People of the world need to wake up and stop allowing themselves to be played by these clueless religionist that think them selves capable of denying heaven or sending anyone to hell.

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@Tom, I completely agree - my cousin was raped by a priest when he was 10; his entire extended family sided with the Church. leaving him to grow up, do time in prison , and cut contact with our religious maniac relatives.

Religion ALSO DIRECTLY causes emotional disregard for children, who then pass the delusion along as the "only answer."

The full stories of our family disintegration by Catholic religion - and ANY OTHER - are atrocious. The parental, the important grandparental ABDICATION of modeling, teaching, transferring of ESSENTIAL familial love, AND, perhaps MORE important the extinguishing of the NATURAL Aloha, the "you are Welcome Into My heart" so ABSENT from nearly ALL cultures worldwide. Children, then adults no longer have recognition of the pain and vulnerability of other living beings distant from oneself.

We aren't able to change others when their brains have literally formed limits to compassionate connectivity of living sensory experiences, with inclusive love.
Love to religions is NOT inclusive - enemies are "evil" rather than what they are in reality, Crippled Forever.
THIS is WHY religion and extreme organized violence - WAR, persists. Religion was the original quashing of questioning, of open discourse and criticism of those close, when they are vested as "holy" which itself MEANS Not-to-be-questioned.