While in Kazakhstan for Pope Francis’ visit, Mongolian Cardinal Giorgio Marengo discusses with Vatican News the significance of the Pope’s visit to the Central Asian nation, saying it will draw attention to global conflicts , while working for concrete change and a long-awaited peace.
By Deborah Castellano Lubov – Nur-Sultan
Mongolian Cardinal Giorgio Marengo is convinced that Pope Francis’ visit to Kazakhstan marks a significant step forward in the task of dialogue and reconciliation as the world struggles with crises and wars.
In an interview with Vatican News in Kazakhstan, the Central Asian nation’s first-ever cardinal, now the youngest member of the College of Cardinals, shares his views on the pope’s 38th apostolic trip abroad.
He notes that this comes amid an ongoing war in Ukraine, saying the papal visit has the power to not only attract widespread attention, but also bring about concrete change.
Q: Your Eminence, would you say that it is right to consider the visit of the Holy Father as a missionary trip, in a sense?
Definitely yes. We like to see this Apostolic Journey as a missionary journey, which confirms Pope Francis’ attitude of being a true missionary of the good news.
His apostolic journey to Kazakhstan means a lot to all of us because we belong to the same episcopal conference, and we are sure that he will also promote bonds of peace and reconciliation throughout the region.
Q: The Holy Father’s participation in the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions is one of the main reasons he is here. From your experience in Central Asia, how would you say that this trip and the Pope’s presence has the power to promote peace and dialogue, even as war continues nearby?
I firmly believe that the presence of the Holy Father represents a step forward in this process of dialogue and reconciliation. Given the great reputation of the Holy Father, his participation in the VII Congress marks a special moment in this process.
And even from Mongolia, his participation is considered a great honor. In Mongolia, the Holy Father enjoys great admiration for his commitment to dialogue and the promotion of a culture of peace and brotherhood.
Q: Based on your experience in Central Asia and with interreligious dialogue, is there a barrier that you personally feel you need to overcome? Is there anything you think is necessary?
I would say that this region of the world has a history, a tradition of peaceful coexistence and collaboration. Perhaps the presence of the Holy Father will represent a kind of increase in the importance of this process, even in society, the broader society of these countries.
When a world leader like the Holy Father participates in such a meeting, it means that the attention of the public is also drawn there. And so, I would say that the presence of the Holy Father will help this process to become more concrete and more widely known.