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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

The Door Closes Again

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Again and again since communism overcame her, Russia has opened itself to the world for a brief time, lulling the West with promises of a new liberalization and freedom for the Catholic Church. Again and again the dupes of the Western media — and, in recent years, the dupes of the Fatima-revisionist Catholic press — have fallen for the ruse, only to watch the door slam shut in their faces.

The door is slamming shut again in Russia. But don’t take my word for it. As reported by the Financial Times of London (September 14, 2002), “A total of five Catholic priests have been refused access to Russia so far this year, in a campaign denounced by the Vatican as ‘persecution’.” The article quotes one of the expelled five, Father Stefano Caprio, as follows: “If you read Russian history, periods of being open to the west are always very short, and then followed by closure and the expulsion of Catholics. I think it’s happening again.” Father Caprio, an Italian citizen, was based in Russia for 13 years “until the authorities confiscated his visa in April.”

As the Financial Times notes: “Father Stefano had previously applied for Russian residency in his parish of Yaroslavl near Moscow, but was told it was rejected by the authorities ‘for religious reasons’. He asked for citizenship, but officials said he could only obtain it by marrying — hardly an option for a celibate Catholic priest.”

According to the Times, “The Orthodox church denies any role in the visa conflict, but it makes no secret of its growing irritation at the Catholics, and it has succeeded in drawing the Russian government directly into the battle.” Further, says the Times, “Local priests report periodic harassment by authorities; the construction of a Catholic cathedral in the north-western city of Pskov has been held up; and the Kremlin appears sympathetic to the Orthodox church’s persistent opposition to a visit to Russia by Pope John Paul.”

In the meantime, “zealous government officials appear to be taking the initiative, interpreting silence from the Kremlin over the Catholics as a sign of encouragement for old-style Soviet-era suspicion and intimidation of foreigners. The foreign ministry went as far as issuing its own formal statement in February condemning the Catholic Church for the creation of its new diocese structure, and warning of the need to ‘not inflict harm upon the interests of the Russian Orthodox church’.” That’s the foreign ministry of the Practicing Christian, aka Vladimir Putin, folks. Yes, the regime of the Practicing Christian is behind it all.

In the immortal words of Gomer Pyle: Surprise, surprise, surprise! But none of this is surprising to the millions of Catholics who agree with Father Nicholas Gruner that Russia has yet to be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Indeed, what else could one expect but the slamming of Russia’s door to the world yet again? For those who could do what the Mother of God requested at Fatima will not do it. And if they will not do what the Mother of God requested, it is certain that they cannot obtain what She promised in return.