Pope Francis is likely to focus not only on religious issues, but also on social exclusion and emigration problems during his planned visit to Lithuania next year, the country's former ambassador to the Holy See said on Wednesday.
Pope Francis
© MEGA / Scanpix

Irena Vaišvilaitė thinks that the pope's visit should not be linked to Lithuania's centenary celebrations in 2018.

"It is definitely not a commemorative visit or marking of some anniversaries. No doubt, it is a pastoral visit. The pope never goes to some group of the faithful; he goes to society of the country he is visiting," Vaišvilaitė, who is currently Lithuania's ambassador to UNESCO, told BNS.

"I believe the visit will touch upon important and, I'd say, painful issues: we have to think about emigration, the enormous social exclusion and external threats as experienced by society," she added.

The diplomat underlined that the issues of social justice and mercy are also on the agenda of each papal visit.

"This is joyful news. It would be the second papal visit to Lithuania and the region and it would come after a long break," she said.

Vaišvilaitė said that Francis' planned visit should not be compared with John Paul II's unusually long visit to Lithuania 25 years ago, which she described as "a unique event that will never be repeated".

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė's office confirmed earlier in the day that the 80-year-old Argentinian pontiff plans to visit Lithuania in the autumn of 2018.

Pope John Paul II paid the first, and so far only, papal visit to Lithuania in 1993.

Some 77 percent of Lithuanians identify themselves as Roman Catholics, according to the last population census in 2011.

BNS
It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.
Leave a comment
or for anonymous commenting click here
By posting, you agree to terms
Read comments Read comments

Walmart pledges to stop selling Soviet-symbol T-shirts after Lithuania's criticism

US retail giant Walmart has pledged to remove T-shirts with Soviet symbols from sale in response to...

Lithuanian energy minister off to Japan to discuss renewable energy, Ignalina closure

Lithuanian Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas in on Tuesday leaving for Japan to discuss...

Lithuania won't appeal EU commission's decision in Gazprom probe

Lithuania will not appeal against the European Commission 's decision regarding its anti-trust...

Over 90,000 invitations to meeting with pope in Kaunas issued

Authorities have issued over 90,000 invitations to attend a meeting with Pope Francis in a park in...

Lithuania among best EU states in terms of compliance with AAQ directive

Lithuania has been named among EU member states which effectively comply with the EU Ambient Air...