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Pope Francis in Kazakhstan, messenger of peace. The opinion of Cardinal Matteo Zuppi

Pope Francis’ trip to Kazakhstan, on the occasion of the VIIth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, takes place in a global climate of great delicacy.

Why, we ask Cardinal Matteo Zuppi (President of the Italian Episcopal Conference and Archbishop of Bologna) is it a complex journey? Because the historical moment in which it takes place is so; because, in this phase, relations between religions are increasingly important. A meeting with Patriarch Kirill was planned, but he will not attend. 

Religions are a decisive element in international relations and, Zuppi maintains, must help the search for peace.

Kazakhstan, as Cardinal Parolin said, is a country with which relations are frequent and fruitful.

The last few years of our history have been characterised by the exacerbation of divisions and separations. The Pope, with great realism, has spoken of a ‘world war in pieces’. After the pandemic, Cardinal Zuppi emphasised, and the great prospect of the encyclical ‘Fratelli tutti’ (Brothers All), this journey takes on special importance.

We will propose passages from that extraordinary encyclical in the coming days. Here we recall just one phrase: Francis did not wage a war of words aimed at imposing doctrines; he simply spread the love of God.

Peace begins with words of peace. It is necessary to build, by re-finding the complexity of negotiation, a culture of peace that is not sterile (absence of war) but structural and visionary (peace as a permanent historical project).