26 March 2008, 14:51
The Moscow Patriarchate objects to media’s unscrupulous coverage of Orthodox-Catholic theme
Moscow, March 26, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church called journalists to be scrupulous when covering religious life in Russia.
Thus the Church reacted on the recent report on Easter mess in the Moscow Catholic cathedral when 35 people were baptized. Its author claimed the Moscow Patriarchate’s representative had attended the sacrament and cited a Catholic nun as saying “We are very pleased that the Russian Orthodox representative was sympathetic and didn’t object to the baptism of Russians.”
The mentioned Orthodox priest has criticized the way his visit to the Catholic cathedral was reported. It was the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations secretary for inter-Christian affairs Fr. Igor Vyzhanov.
He told Interfax-Religion that he considered “the presentation unfair.”
“In spite of the author’s claims I didn’t greet the newly baptized, it was just a welcome address to everyone present and among other things I mentioned Christ’s presence in life of every Christian. The act of baptism wasn’t specially emphasized,” Fr. Igor said.
He stressed that baptism was carried out in the Moscow Catholic cathedral every Easter.
“Baptized are adults, some of them are foreigners who came to Russia, so the theme of their conversion and proselytism (converting to another confession – IF) is hardly actual in this case. Besides I didn’t express any sympathy or my attitude to this baptism,” the interviewee of the agency said.
He further said the Russian Church could hardly be “sympathetic” when people baptized in Orthodoxy were converted to Catholicism. “Surely, it’s their private business, but we don’t approve of such steps. I don’t know why a Catholic nun got such an impression,” he said.
The Russian Church’s representative is convinced that “such quotations falsifying real events and such way of presentation are unacceptable, especially in so subtle and responsible questions as relations between Catholics and Orthodox in Russia.”
“I am perplexed that on the basis of the mentioned report journalists concluded that the Russian Church’s representative approves of proselytism,” Fr. Igor said and urged mass media “to observe professional ethics.”
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