The Pope concluded his three-day trip on Tuesday for Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia visiting the latter country, which he publicly endorsed in his aspirations to enter the European Union. Skopje has been negotiating with Brussels for almost fifteen years and even changed its name in 2018 adding the geographical mention to put an end to the old pulse that it maintained with Greece, which has a so-called equal region. After celebrating "the multi-ethnic and multi-religious composition" of the former Yugoslav republic, the Pontiff pointed out that these "particular characteristics have significant significance on the way to greater integration with European countries."
In his address to the authorities at the Presidential Palace in Skopje, he called for "such integration to develop positively throughout the Western Balkan region, as well as for it to be achieved while always respecting diversity and fundamental rights". The Macedonian President, Gjorge Ivanov, thanked Francisco "for the continued support" to get into the EU and took the opportunity to criticize the conditions imposed by Brussels, responsible in his view to provoke a "political and moral crisis" in the country.
In his conversation with the journalists who accompanied him on the flight back to Rome from Skopje, the Pope ruled out an upcoming approval of the female diaconate. Three years ago the International Union of Superiors General, the institution that brings together the institutes of consecrated women to which more than 450,000 nuns belong, got her to commit herself to create a commission to study the role of deaconesses in the first centuries of History of the Church The experts of this working group delivered their conclusions before last summer. "There is no certainty that the ordination was in the same form and with the same purpose as the masculine ordination," said the Pope, stressing that we must "move forward" in the investigation before giving a "definitive answer" on the possibility to recover the female diaconate.
During his visit to Northern Macedonia, Francisco paid homage to the most famous of the Catholics born in the country, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Before visiting her monument, she reminded this saint that she "made charity towards her neighbor the supreme law of her existence, arousing admiration throughout the world and inaugurating a specific and radical way of putting herself at the service of those who are abandoned, of the discarded, of the poorest ».