Holy Moly: Pope Under Fire For Controversial Comments

Pope Under Fire for Controversial Comments

Pope Under Fire for Controversial Comments

(ReliableNews.org) – Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was supposed to have asked, cynically, “How many battalions does the Pope have?” Now, the Kremlin and the Vatican are facing off again, after Pope Francis infuriated the Russian leadership with an interview about the war in Ukraine. Did the Pope really make “racist” comments, or is Russia just trying to distract attention from its army’s brutality?

On November 28, the US edition of a Catholic magazine, The Jesuit Review, published an interview with the 85-year-old Argentinian pontiff. In the wide-ranging discussion, Francis said that “the cruelest” of President Vladimir Putin’s soldiers are “those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition” — then highlighted two Russian ethnic minorities, the Buddhist Buryats and the Muslim Chechens.

Within hours, the Russian regime had ferociously condemned the Pope’s comments, accusing him of racism against the minorities he named. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova insisted, “We are one family with Buryats [and] Chechens,” ignoring the fact that Russia has waged two hugely destructive wars against Chechnya in the last 25 years.

Not all the condemnation came from Putin loyalists, though. Buryat leader Alexandra Garmazhapova, an outspoken opponent of Russia’s leadership and the war in Ukraine, said Francis should have condemned Putin personally, and his comments about ethnic minorities were “wrong on so many levels.”

Pope Francis doesn’t have a good record on the subject of Ukraine. In fact, it seems like every time he mentions the subject, he manages to upset someone. Ukraine has regularly criticized him for failing to condemn Putin and his government, and the Pope’s latest comments aren’t going to help there. Francis has also claimed that Russia’s invasion was “perhaps somehow provoked” by NATO.

Should he keep to less controversial subjects from now on?

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