Russian Catholics Upset by Lawmaker's Charges
Catholic World Report, 3/13/2001
Vatican - Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Moscow says that he is "indignant," and the Catholic faithful are "seriously concerned," in reaction to accusations by the nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky that the Catholic Church is acting as an expansionist power in Russia.
Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, the apostolic administrator for European Russia, made his remarks in a March 13 interview with the Italian daily Avvenire. He was responding to a statement in which Zhirinovsky, a representative in the Russian Duma (parliament), had urged the government to "curb Catholic expansionism." He had also led Duma members in asking for an investigation of Catholic activities.

Catholics in Russia are doing their best to promote "constructive dialogue with civil society," the archbishop said. The Church maintains an attitude of "mutual respect" with other faiths, and the Duma's call for an investigation of the Catholic Church contradicts the parliament's obligation to protect the rights of religious minorities, he charged. Archbishop Kondrusiewicz said that he hoped the calls for such an investigation would prove to be based on "misunderstandings, caused by insufficient information," and not "the signal for the start of a political campaign" against the Catholic Church.
© Catholic World Report
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