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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

Don’t Hold Your Breath

by Christopher A. Ferrara

More than two weeks after Russia expelled Bishop Jerzy Mazur permanently from Russian territory, leaving the whole of Siberia (where most Russian Catholics are found) without a bishop, the regime of the Practicing Christian (a/k/a Vladimir Putin) has yet to be heard from.

As reported by Zenit.org on May 7, 2002 “Russia has yet to give an explanation for why it expelled a Catholic bishop two weeks ago.” When interviewed about the expulsion, Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls said that “The Vatican intervened immediately to ask the Russian Federation’s Minister of Foreign Affairs for an explanation of the reasons that led the border authorities to deny the bishop entry.”

An explanation? Is there some explanation the Vatican would accept for the groundless expulsion of a Catholic bishop from Russia and his permanent blacklisting as an “undesirable”? What “explanation” could possibly suffice? And why has the Vatican asked for an "explanation" from the Minister of Foreign Affairs as opposed to the Practicing Christian himself? Does not the Minister of Foreign Affairs take his orders from the Practicing Christian?

And where is the Vatican’s official public protest of this action, as opposed to its timid demand for an “explanation”. Oh, I forgot — Ostpolitik. We must wait for Cardinal (“Fatima belongs to the past”) Sodano to work his diplomatic magic, while the Vatican avoids any condemnation of Russia’s persecution of the Church. After all, we can see the great breakthrough Sodano has forged in Red China with his carefully crafted papal apology to the Jiang regime.

Navarro-Valls told Zenit that “Surprisingly, it must be said that after a little over two weeks the requested information has yet to arrive.” The requested information? Excuse me, but the Russians have wrongfully expelled a Catholic bishop from the country, permanently barring his reentry and leaving the great bulk of Russian Catholics with no shepherd. What “information” is the Vatican expecting? In any case, don’t hold your breath. With the laughably feeble “pressure” the Vatican is applying, why should the Russians provide any “information” at all?

While the Vatican awaits an “explanation” and “information” about persecution of the Catholic Church by the “formerly communist” regime of the Practicing Christian, according to Zenit, the Duma (the Russian parliament) has asked the Practicing Christian “to close the four Catholic dioceses recently created by John Paul II in the (Russian) federation.” At the same time, Bishop Mazur is forced to deliver his sermons by telephone!

In view of these developments, my good friend Jim Bendell came up with the line of the month: “The conversion of Russia — brought to you by Sprint Wireless.”

If you don’t laugh, you have to cry.