Pope Francis has already arrived in Mongolia. The media have diligently reported on his travel stages so far. The program again includes numerous economic and diplomatic meetings, a few “obligatory sacramental units” and, on the other hand, a little bit of Mongolians who have been baptized Catholics.
Inhalt / Content
Media accompany Pope Francis
The church-oriented media, whether Catholic or Protestant, seem to want to report in minute detail on Pope Francis’ trip to Mongolia. Headlines reported on his imminent departure, followed by headlines on his embarking on the journey to give an interim report on the arrival.
Catholic growth rate over 100%
With a “good will” Mongolia can also be described as a country in which Catholicism has a high growth rate. After all, the number of Catholics has more than doubled since 2011. That’s one point of view. The other perspective is the absolute numbers of around 700 Catholics to currently around 1,500 Catholics in all of Mongolia. The Catholic Church achieved this brilliant success within “just” a little more than three decades. In addition to the baptized Catholics, a total of 29 priests and 36 nuns are currently accommodated in nine Catholic churches or institutions in Mongolia. That makes an average of around 23 parishioners for every “full-time Catholic”. This is almost called personal support. Well, the country is around four and a half times the size of Germany and is home to around 3.3 million people, with the largest concentration in the capital Ulaanbaatar. The population density is just 2 people per square kilometer (Germany: 236).
Kazakhstan is followed by Mongolia
In view of the fact that the Catholic religion in Mongolia does not appear to be a mass phenomenon, the question of the actual motives of the pontiff for his planned trip arose. The Pope would also meet around 1,500 baptized Catholics in a remote village in the foothills of the Alps in Upper Bavaria. As early as mid-September 2022, the Pope traveled to the capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana, not to be confused with Satana). Francis took part there in the seventh “Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.” However, his place on the stage was not somewhere on the sidelines, but rather, as usual, very central and present. After all, it was an official apostolic journey for the Pope.
Diverse program on the plan
Just as the log of the trip to Kazakhstan reveals a whole package of economic and diplomatic topics of conversation, according to the “Schedule” the focus for the current stay in Mongolia is primarily on the temporal (worldly). The meeting with the President of Mongolia scheduled for the morning of Saturday will be replaced by a meeting with representatives of the authorities, civil society and diplomats. Further meetings with the President of the Grand State Khural and a conversation with the Prime Minister follow. Only in the afternoon does the Pope plan to meet with people from his own ranks.
Pope Francis will be in his element on Sunday. A six-hour ecumenical and interfaith meeting is on the agenda. This is followed by the obligatory “Holy Mass” (Eucharistie). Monday starts with an inauguration of the “House of Mercy” with Caritas employees. This is followed by the procedure for the return journey on the “Shepherd One” plane to Rome.
Mongolia will be “thinned out” of Catholics again
With the departure of the Pope, by far the largest proportion of Catholics present on this occasion will also be on their way home, causing the number of Catholics present in Mongolia to fall to the normal level of around 1,500. Just as a comparison: the audience hall, the hall with the unprecedentedly ugly depiction of Jesus (Info), in the micro-state of Vatican City holds 6,500 people and after the seating arrangement has been broken down, around 12,000 people can fit in.
Further course will be set
It will be interesting to see what topics Pope Francis will address in his economic and diplomatic talks, at least those that will be made public. With Mongolia, the pontiff is now moving on the direct border with China, in contrast to Kazakhstan. A country that has reduced relations with the Vatican to zero at the official diplomatic level. Pope Francis couldn’t resist a swipe during his trip to Kazakhstan when he discussed a “new Silk Road”. On the other hand, the head of the Church of Rome has never been able to criticize China’s authoritarian system. This will probably never happen, because China’s social points system is very, very close to the ideas of Roman Catholic social teaching. Yes, in mid-July the pontiff even accepted the bishop in Shanghai chosen by the Chinese government “just like that”. A truly unusual act of accommodation.
One can safely assume that in Mongolia too, the obviously presented part of the Catholic rituals and the obligatory program on Sunday is only a partial aspect of the package with which nails are made on an economic and diplomatic level.
The wrong concept is obvious
Around 1,500 people baptized Catholics in Mongolia within a good 30 years. So around 50 per year. Presumably, this not exactly intoxicating number is due to the wrong concept of presentation and, above all, imparted teaching. After all, the Holy Spirit only becomes active in people when the Word of God is accepted and not the ideas of Assisi, Aquinas and other pagan thinkers. If the Word of God is communicated to people as it is written, it is also possible to have 3000 (non-Catholic) baptized people in a single day, as Acts 2:41 shows, for example. Only the pure gospel unfolds the power of God, which works in people for their salvation. But for that to happen, the salvation of the people would first have to be the goal of the church in Rome.
Another subtle difference: The people with the taught true gospel can be saved, while the 1500 Catholic baptized went from bad to worse. But there is still a way out for them too (Revelation 18:4).
For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Bible verses from King James Version