13 April 2006, 11:33
Vatican’s representative in Russia disagrees with the US Congress’s negative assessment of religious freedoms in Russia
Moscow, April 13, Interfax - Archbishop Antonio Mennini, representative of the Holy See in Russia, does not share the US Congress’s critical remarks on the infringement of religious freedom in Russia and considers the Russian legislation to be optimal for local Catholics.
In mid-March, the US Congress House of Representatives adopted a resolution stating once again that the rights of believers are violated and the freedom of religion is restricted in Russia.
‘Unfortunately, I am not aware of any specific facts prompting the US Congress to make this kind of reproaches. Therefore, it is easier for me to base my answer on what I know not through hearsay. I am delighted to testify that the current Russian legislation provides for a real opportunity for the communities and structures of the Catholic Church in Russia to exist normally and to develop’, Archbishop Mennini said in an interview to Interfax.
He also said that the Catholic parishes and communities, schools and charities can act in Russia ‘without any obstructions’ and ‘without any restrictions from outside’.
The representative of the Holy See also stressed that in his opinion ‘the existing mechanism of resolving particular local conflicts makes it possible to reach a desired and lawful result almost in any case.’
As for harsh public accusations as a means of solving problems, they, the archbishop believes, ‘give only temporary advantages, but do not help in any way to build reliable partnership relations’.
See the full text of interview under the Exclusive heading.
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