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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

Vatican Throws in Towel, Transfers Bishop Mazur

by Christopher A. Ferrara

On April 17, 2003 Inside the Vatican reported that “the Holy See has decided to move Polish-born Bishop Jerzy Mazur from Irkutsk, Siberia, to a diocese in Poland, and to replace him in the Diocese of St. Joseph in Irkutsk with a native-born Russian — Bishop Cyryl Klimowicz, born in 1952 in Amangeldy (Kazakhstan).” (It does not appear that the new bishop actually resides in Russia today. Rather, it appears that he remains in neighboring Belarus, where he was first made a bishop by John Paul II in 1999.)

The decision comes almost a year to the day after Bishop Mazur was expelled from Russia without explanation by the regime of Vladimir (“the Practicing Christian”) Putin. At least five other clerics who belong to the tiny Catholic apparatus in Russia have been expelled — also without explanation.

Inside the Vatican notes that: “The decision is a bit of a surprise, since many Vatican watchers had expected Rome to hold firm and insist that Mazur be permitted to return to Irkutsk as a matter of religious freedom.” Well, this writer is not surprised. The capitulation on Bishop Mazur’s expulsion is just another sop being tossed to the schismatic Russian Orthodox in the never-ending quest for “ecumenical progress” with these adamant anti-Romans. Inside the Vatican itself notes that, indeed, “This could also be read as another step toward better relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church” — better relations meaning, of course, yet another concession to the Russian schismatics, who have never made the least concession to the Catholic Church in return.

The absurd disparity of “ecumenical dialogue” with the Russian Orthodox is captured by Inside the Vatican’s own description of relations between them and the Catholic Church: “Publicly and privately, Russian Orthodox Church officials have said in recent years that they fear Rome wishes to ‘poach’ converts from Russian Orthodoxy, not simply to offer pastoral care for Roman Catholics in Russia…. Rome for its part has expressed esteem for the Russian Orthodox Church….”

So, the Russian Orthodox continue to denounce the “poaching” of the Catholic Church — otherwise known as the divine commission to make disciples of all nations — while Catholic Church continues to profess its undying “esteem” for these stiff-necked schismatics. What else is new?

Why does the Catholic Church continue to suffer these indignities in Russia? Answer: it’s all for the cause of “unity” with the Orthodox. As Inside the Vatican observes: “John Paul II this winter replaced his nuncio in Moscow, Giorgio Zur, with an energetic Italian, Monsignor Antonio Mennini, giving Mennini one instruction: smooth over relations with the Orthodox. And now, unexpectedly, he has transferred Mazur. Why these steps? Because John Paul, now 82 (he turns 83 in May) is persuaded that the reunion of the ‘two lungs’ of Christianity, Eastern and Western, Greek and Latin, is urgent. He has stated this on numerous occasions and written it in various encyclical letters. The problems impeding such a reunion are multiple and serious, and theologians have been working for 40 years to come to closer agreement.”

Well, the theologians can work for another 400 years and they will come not one step closer to unity with the schismatic Russian Orthodox. The reason is very simple: with all due respect to the Pope, Christianity already has both of its “lungs” — they are found in the Mystical Body of Christ, which, as Pius XII taught, is “one and the same thing” as the Roman Catholic Church. Only when the Russian Orthodox return to the Church to which they have stubbornly refused to submit for so many centuries will they find unity with us.

The return of the Russian Orthodox to Rome will happen, not through the work of theologians or further concessions by the Pope, but only through the means Heaven has decreed: the consecration and conversion of Russia. That is precisely why Our Lady came to Fatima.