What happened between last Friday’s papal prohibition of Ukrainian bishops’ making further political speeches and, less than 100 hours later, the Ukraine’s top bishop’s blasting of Russia, with help from Vatican Radio, and even help through the occasionally papally favored USA outlet, the Boston Globe’s CRUX website. Yes, CRUX even reported the Ukraine bishop’s blasting of the pope for using Soviet style propaganda!
Angela Merkel visited the pope, that’s what happened!
On Friday (2/20/15), as reported, “Pope Francis tells Ukrainian bishops to stay out of politics” here,
[National Catholic Reporter]
On Saturday (2/21/15), Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, fresh from her futile efforts with Russia’s President Putin over the Ukraine invasion, met with Pope Francis, along with 15 of her aides and the pope’s key foreign policy aides, reportedly to discuss the conflict in eastern Ukraine, women’s rights and equality, children’s health issues in developing countries, etc., as considered further below.
On Monday (2/23/15), the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, held a press conference about his Vatican meetings last week, as reported by Vatican Radio, in “Ukrainian Archbishop calls on Christians to help end conflict” here:
Also on Monday, the Vatican’s often favored US media promoter, the CRUX website, reported “Ukrainian Catholic leader urges pope to be tougher on Russia” here,
mportantly, what happened over the 100 hour weekend period apparently was an ominous and decisive visit to the Vatican from the world’s most powerful woman, the daughter of a Lutheran minister, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. For a recent superb and incisive overview of the remarkable Angela Merkel, please see “Angela’s Assets” here,
Germany still has a religiously divided Christianity, as it paradoxically prepares to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of Luther’s “revolt” in less than two years. As the pope, who studied in Germany, and the Lutheran Chancellor, both must know well, many of the Vatican’s sins that Luther challenged are still pervasive in Rome. These “sins” are funded now by direct German subsidies, rather than through sales of indulgences . Moreover, but for Luther, Merkel’s father likely would never have been able to have been a married cleric.
The pope should have been on guard, perhaps, when he received as a gift from Merkel a box of CDs of the music of the Lutheran genius, Bach, (and not of the Roman Catholic born German genius, Beethoven).
The pope had been preparing, before Merkel arrived, for a week long Lenten retreat with his Vatican officials. This was to be a “spiritual break” after an intense period that began with the pope’s public Christmas shaming of his administrative team, continued with his failed Philippine trip, and ended with his unusually secretive meetings with all of his cardinals.
Did Pope Francis and his likely successor, Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, really want to or even need to spend so much time now with Merkel and her entourage of 15 German officials?