Pope Francis held an inflight press conference on his return flight from Mongolia, addressing various topics including the upcoming Synod General Assembly and his recent remarks to young Russian Catholics. He explained that his visit to Mongolia was to get to know the people, engage in dialogue, and respect their culture. The Pope emphasized that evangelization should not be about proselytizing but about dialogue with culture and the inculturation of the Gospel. He noted that the journey was successful and he was satisfied with the result.
When asked about Ulaanbaatar offering itself as a platform for dialogue between Europe and Asia, Pope Francis responded positively. He admired the city’s “third-neighbour mystique” and its yearning for universality and dialogue with the world. He commended Ulaanbaatar’s philosophy of seeking dialogue rather than domination.
Regarding China, the Pope expressed his respect for the Chinese people and their culture. He mentioned the ongoing dialogue between the Vatican and the Chinese government on the appointment of bishops, as well as the invitation of Catholic priests and intellectuals to Chinese universities. Pope Francis emphasized the need for better understanding and acceptance of Chinese culture and values within the Church.
Regarding Vietnam, the Pope described the positive dialogue and mutual sympathy between the Holy See and the country. He expressed optimism about the relationship, noting that although there have been challenges, progress has been made in understanding and cooperation. Pope Francis recalled a fruitful dialogue with Vietnamese parliamentarians and highlighted the importance of open and receptive cultures for dialogue to thrive.
In summary, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of dialogue, respect for different cultures, and the need to overcome barriers in religious understanding. He expressed satisfaction with his visit to Mongolia and positive outlooks regarding dialogue between Ulaanbaatar, China, and Vietnam.