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Card. Koch rejected Cyril’s offer. “It surprised me”

Card. Koch noted that he had unambiguously rejected the proposal of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. “I knew Cyril’s ideas. Nevertheless, I would not expect him to go so far as to legitimize aggressive war. It surprised me a lot,” said Koch.

He pointed out that Cyril criticized the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church connected with Rome “at every meeting”. He accused him of “poaching” against the followers of the Orthodox Church. Card. Koch stated that he had repeatedly rejected these allegations.

Moreover, he said that there was still no “concrete answer” to the Pope’s proposal to go to Moscow and meet President Vladimir Putin and Cyril. He also considers a papal trip to Ukraine at present unlikely. “Doctors advise against traveling by train to Kiev. The Pope is full of energy, but the condition of his knee still forces him to move in a wheelchair,” said the cardinal.

According to card. He loves the supply of weapons to Ukraine is not a problem. “Absolute pacifism, which stands aside when violence is used, is not Christian. When there is unjust violence and I can intervene, I must intervene” – said Cardinal Koch. He recalled the words of Pope Francis on his way back from Kazakhstan, who described the supply of weapons to Kiev as morally justified, “when it comes to helping victims of aggression in their defense.”

In an interview, Card. Koch also repeated the Pope’s criticism of the German “synodal way”, identifying himself fully with it. He recalled that Francis criticized the synodal way, among others for the fact that only a small part of the faithful are involved in it. “In fact, these are largely people with various functions that are now shaping the discussion about the future of the Church,” said Cardinal Koch. He explained that he himself had followed the various “synodal way” debates via internet broadcasts and had difficulty understanding some of them. “Is a meaningful, genuinely synodal discussion possible if speaking time is limited to one minute? There is too little space to really discuss the controversial points,” said the cardinal.

Card. Koch believes that the questions posed by Pope Francis are more important than the so-called hot potatoes, such as the priesthood of women or compulsory celibacy. In his opinion, the participants of the “synodal path” revolve too much around structural questions, rather than focusing on the basic questions: “What is our message? And how can we pass it on?” “This is what it should be about” – noted Cardinal Koch.

The cardinal admitted that, as a professor of theology in Lucerne (1989-1995), he considered the possibility of ordaining women priests. “At this stage, the question of the priesthood of women was openly discussed,” he explained. “But if the Magisterium of the Church decided this question negatively, it also had consequences for every theologian, and even more for a cardinal,” he noted.

Card. Koch believes that the resignation of Pope Francis in the near future is unlikely: “I do not have such an impression” – he noted. In his opinion, when Francis says, for example, as he did last week in relation to the World Youth Day in Lisbon in 2023, that “there will certainly be a pope – Francis or a new pope such as John XXIV”, it is not an announcement of imminent resignation, but rather a “humorous statement”.

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