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 archbishop added.
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 Russian citizens.