Pope Francis said his Sept. 13–15 visit to the Central Asian country reminded him of Kazakhstan’s many martyrs who “suffered so much for the faith during the long period of persecution: murdered, tortured, imprisoned for the faith.”
“And credit … must be given to the Kazakh government, which, having freed itself from the yoke of the atheistic regime, now proposes a path of civilization clearly condemning fundamentalism and extremism,” he said.
The primary purpose of the pope’s trip to Kazakhstan was to take part in an interreligious conference, the Seventh Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
On the final day of the congress, delegates representing the world’s major religions voted to adopt a declaration calling religious pluralism an expression “of the wisdom of God’s will in creation.”
Pope Francis said that the congress aimed to put “religions at the center of efforts to build a world where we listen to each other and respect each other in diversity.”
“And this is not relativism,” he added. “It is listening and respecting.”
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