Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

The Pope arrives in Mongolia, the “heart of Asia”

ULAN-BAATAR, Mongolia (CNS) — Greeted with “aaruul,” a dried yogurt cheese, which he tried, Pope Francis has arrived in Ulaanbaatar for a four-day visit.

After the nine-hour night flight from Rome, the pope’s arrival on September 1 went smoothly. Battsetseg Batmunkh, Mongolia’s foreign minister, met him at Chinggis Khaan International Airport and had a brief talk with him in the airport’s VIP lounge.

Members of a Mongolian honor guard march past Pope Francis’ arrival at Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on September 1, 2023. The Pope was planning a four-day stay in Mongolia to visit the country’s small Catholic community and encourage tolerance and harmony. . (CNS Photo/Lola Gomez)

Afterwards, the Pope was driven into the city for a day of rest at the headquarters of the Catholic Church in Mongolia, the Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar.

On his flight from Rome, the pope, who said he was traveling to the ‘heart of Asia’, told reporters traveling with him that Mongolia is a vast country with a very small population and a great culture which must be better understood with the senses than with the intellect. He also suggested that they listen to the music of the 19th century Russian composer Alexander Borodin, who wrote “In the steppes of Central Asia”.

The ITA plane carrying the pope flew over northern China rather than Russia, giving the pope the opportunity to send his greetings to Chinese President Xi Jinping, in keeping with the usual telegram when flying over a country.

“I send my best wishes to Your Excellency and the Chinese people as I cross your country’s airspace en route to Mongolia,” the papal telegram reads. “Assuring you of my prayers for the welfare of the nation, I invoke upon you all the divine blessings of unity and peace.”

The Vatican and China have had a rocky relationship for decades, and tensions have persisted even since Pope Francis and Chinese leaders first signed an agreement in 2018 on the appointment of bishops of Chinese dioceses.

In fact, in July Pope Francis regularized a bishop who had been appointed by the government in April without consulting the Vatican, an appointment that prompted a protest from the Vatican. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, said the Vatican subsequently recognized the appointment for the “greater good of the diocese.”

Researchers estimate that China has about 12 million Catholics, split between those whose leaders have joined the patriotic association and those who refuse to do so. The US State Department and various human rights organizations continue to report excessive restrictions and even persecution of religious believers in China, including Catholics.

Cardinal-designate Stephen Chow Sau-yan of Hong Kong was to lead a delegation of Hong Kong Catholics to Ulaanbaatar for the papal visit. Catholic missionaries in Mongolia also expected Catholics from mainland China to come to see the Pope, although America magazine reported on August 31 that a Communist Party department had issued an order prohibiting bishops and the faithful from cross the border for the papal visit.

Also during the flight to Mongolia, a Spanish journalist presented Pope Francis with a canteen riddled with bullet holes. A priest in Lviv, Ukraine, had sent him the gourd, explaining that the soldier carrying it had been hit by Russian machine gun fire and had survived. He donated the canteen to the parish. Pope Francis blessed the canteen, which will be returned to the church.

Pope Francis was also asked about his comment that there is a strong and reactionary element within the Catholic Church in the United States; comments made to the Jesuits in Portugal in early August were later published by the Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica.

The pope said he knew some people were upset by the remarks, but the Church must keep moving forward.

Also see

Copyright © 2023 Catholic News Service/American Conference of Catholic Bishops


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

Back to top button