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Russian patriarch ‘very frustrated’ by Ukrainian Catholic criticism of statement

February 26, 2016

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow told reporters that he was “very frustrated” by Ukrainian Greek Catholic criticism of his February 12 joint declaration with Pope Francis, according to a Russian news report.

The patriarch made his remarks in Brazil as his trip to Latin America drew to a close.

“I am very frustrated by the negative reaction in Ukraine because this declaration also gives a chance for dialogue with the Greek Catholics,” he said. “If they operate within the paradigm outlined by this declaration, this is the foundation for normalization of the relations.”

Stating that the Eastern Catholics “spoke out directly against the Pope or, at least, against the position the Pope has taken,” Patriarch Kirill added that “instead of rejecting it at once, straight away, talking about the aggressor church, about having no fratricidal war, instead of using political clichés they should think and say: stop, stop, stop, it is opening a chance for us. But apparently, this is not the way people there are reasoning now.”

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, had told Catholic News Service that many of his people felt betrayed by the Pope’s support for the joint statement. At the same time, while expressing his own reservations about the statement, the Ukrainian prelate remarked that the Pope was “inviting us to lower our voices. You cannot have a dialogue shouting.”


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