The deputies of the Russian parliament charged the committee for public associations and religious organizations to address to the Russian Foreign Ministry with a request not to grant visas to the representatives of Vatican in connection with the intensification of the situation and their actions to change the status of the catholic diocese. Furthermore, the committee is supposed to analyze the situation that has been formed in connection with the active proselytism of the Catholic Church on the traditionally Orthodox territories.
As it was reported, there would also be another inquiry sent to the Russian Foreign Ministry about presenting the information pertaining to the violation of rights for freedom of conscience and religion on the part of the Catholic Church on the entire post-Soviet territory.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has already set out its concern about Vatican's decision. On February 12 the Russian Foreign Ministry recommended the Catholic Church to refrain from setting up the dioceses on the territory of Russia, and to regulate that question with the Russian Orthodox Church. As the statement from the foreign ministry said, they regretted that such an important decision was made without taking account of Russia’s opinion. The foreign Ministry of Russia confirmed its interest in establishing such relations between the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic churches – the relations, which would be based on the ground of equality and would not cause damage to the interests of the Russian Orthodox Church.
It all started with John Paul’s decision to establish the so-called province of the Roman Catholic Church. As the Pope believes, this province should consist of four dioceses: in Moscow, in Novosibirsk, in Saratov, and in Irkutsk. This is far from being an innocent initiative, this is the expansion on the part of the Catholic church. Vatican really wants to strengthen its positions in the Orthodox Russia.
The Russian Orthodox Church reacted immediately. It was said that it was a rough violation of the canonical principles, of the norms of the inter-church relations: “This is a challenge to the Orthodox church.”
The Moscow Patriarchy released a statement, in which it was said that the Catholic church existed in Russia for the spiritual needs of the Polish, Lithuanian and German people, living on the Russian territory, so there was no need in dividing Russia into the Catholic dioceses. The establishment of the so-called catholic province in Russia is a challenge for the Orthodox church, a thing like that has never happened before. Furthermore, this form of organization of the Catholic church is not typical even for the catholic countries, in which there are usually no church provinces. The Moscow Patriarchy does not at all see any reference to the catholic structures, which existed in Russia before the revolution of 1917, since the catholic dioceses were on the territory of Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus.
The head of the Russian Muslims, Talgat Tajuddin harshly criticized Vatican’s position. He claimed that the establishment of the catholic diocese in Russia looked like the premeditated provocation. Vatican has been running this policy since the time, when the joint Christian Church was divided in the Western (Catholic) and the Eastern (Orthodox) Church – since the era of crusades.
Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov