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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

Church Worse off in Russia Than Under Czars

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Almost hourly, it seems, new evidence emerges to demonstrate what an utter mockery the neo-Catholic version of the “conversion of Russia” has become. On December 27, 2002 Catholic News Service (CNS) published a news item entitled “Church in Siberia takes step backward from freedoms of czarist Russia.”

The article notes that “In the very heart of this sprawling city (Irkutsk) of 650,000, near the seat of regional government and next to two of the city’s most beautiful Russian Orthodox churches stands a brick Gothic structure — originally a Roman Catholic church built in 1887. The Catholic Church’s prized location says much about the good standing of the Faith back then, even when Russian Orthodoxy was the official religion funded and controlled by the czarist government.”

But what about today, following the “miraculous changes” in Russia since the “consecration” of Russia in 1984? CNS notes the supreme irony: “Now, when Russia is a democracy, the local Catholic community cannot reclaim the original church that was seized and closed by Communist authorities in 1938. The building functions as a concert hall, with a small section in the basement carved out as a chapel.” Of course, Russia is not a “democracy”, but that is another matter.

The article observes that after having been “denied full use of the original building by local officials, Bishop Jerzy Mazur of the Siberian Diocese of St. Joseph in Irkutsk dropped Catholics’ claims to it and accepted a parcel of land on the other side of town where he constructed a new cathedral, which was dedicated in 2000.” Since then, of course, Bishop Mazur has been expelled from Russia, with no apparent prospect of a return. Thus, the vast bulk of Russia Catholics, who still reside in Siberia, are without a bishop, who is reduced to sending faxes and e-mail to his own “diocese”.

CNS rightly notes that “These property woes are evidence of how, in some respects, the Catholic Church enjoyed more religious freedom under the czarist autocracy than today’s democracy….” Here CNS cited the eyewitness testimony of Divine Savior Father Ignacy Pawlus, “a Polish monk who arrived in 1991 and is the longest-serving Catholic priest in Irkutsk.”

But the neo-Catholic establishment, with its neo-Catholic version of the Message of Fatima, is not about to let anything as bothersome as reality intrude upon its new “vision” of the Church. As neo-Catholic commentator Sandra Miesel wrote recently in Crisis, the neo-Catholic journal of post-conciliar correctness: “Radical traditionalists [read: Catholics who have remained the same since Vatican II] are convinced that recent changes [in Russia] are all illusions… The Fatima Crusader claims that Russia would convert to Catholicism in a day if only the Pope would wave his crosier and consecrate it — accept no substitutes — to the Immaculate Heart.”

How very clever Miesel must think she is. For her, the Message of Fatima is some sort of joke — accept no substitutes! Ha ha ha. But here she outwits herself by implicitly conceding the very point The Fatima Crusader has been making for the past 18 years: that there has been a substitution for what the Mother of God requested. And that is no joke, but a tragedy of potentially apocalyptic proportions.