The Moscow Patriarchate denies rumors that Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia is sick, and has been hospitalized. In an interview with RIA Novosti Wednesday, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, second in charge of the Moscow Patriarchate's external church relations department, reported that Alexis II had spent the past few days working. According to our interviewee, Alexis II has a very busy schedule, and cannot attend all the ceremonies at which he is expected, especially during the holiday season. The church official said it was, in the very least, impolite to explain the Patriarch's failure to show up by his imaginary illness. Alexis II is now working in his Moscow office, in Chisty Pereulok, said Archpriest Chaplin.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.