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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis shares reports from his envoy in Ukraine: “Savagery, monstrosities”

During his General Audience, Pope Francis shared what his envoy to Ukraine, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, has seen in the country. He was visibly moved and worried.    

Yesterday he called me. He is spending time there helping around Odessa and nearby. He told me of the pain of these people. The savagery, the monstrosities, the tortured bodies they find. We join ourselves to this noble and martyred people.

During the audience, the Pope recalled his trip to Kazakhstan to participate in a congress with interfaith leaders. There, he signed its final declaration which asks the international community to commit itself to peace, and condemned religious extremism—efforts Pope Francis says the Church has long supported.

I like to see this as a step forward, a fruit of a path that began long ago. Naturally, I think of the historic interfaith meeting for peace called for by Saint John Paul II in Assisi in 1986. 

The Pope also spoke of his meeting with Kazakhstan's Catholic community, a land of martyrs that suffered greatly under the Soviet regime, and which remains very small, despite now living in peace.    

Catholics are few in this vast country, but this condition, when lived with faith, can bear evangelical fruits. Above all, the beatitude of smallness, of being yeast, salt and light, depending only on the Lord and not on any human strength. 

After the audience, the crowd fell silent to listen to members of the Croatian navy who sang Marian hymns, before the Pope greeted the crowds.