01 June 2007, 15:02
Russian converts to Catholicism are particular cases, not
proselytizing policy result - Catholic archbishop
Moscow, June 1, Interfax - The ordinary of the Archdiocese of the
Mother of God in Moscow Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz reaffirmed
that the Roman Catholic Church does not aim at 'recruiting' those
Russians who were baptized as Orthodox.
'As for the notorious proselytism, I officially state that the
Catholic Church does not pursue a proselytism policy in Russia,'
Kondrusiewicz told Echo Moskvy radio.
According to him, when some Orthodox Russians convert to Catholicism
it is not due to an official policy, and 'we do not want it to be like that.'
'Of course, we ask each person, why he or she does not want to be
baptized or married in the Orthodox Church since he or she is
Russian. That we always do. But if the person decides for himself,
what can we do? Nothing, because it is his or her human right,' the
He recalled a Vatican II statement, according to which 'the Orthodox
Churches possess the same means of salvation as the Catholic Church.'
'When I enter an Orthodox church I am aware that there is the Blessed
Sacrament on the altar, so I kneel and venerate it as if it were in a
Catholic church. It is holy for me,' Kondrusiewicz said.
The Roman Catholic canon law, he said, allow the Roman Catholic to
receive Confession and Communion from an Orthodox priest if there is
a serious need, such as if no Catholic priest is available.
Today in Russia there are nearly 270 Catholic priests of whom 30 are