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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

Russian Catholics Barred from
Moscow “Tolerance” Meeting

by Christopher A. Ferrara

As Vladimir Putin slowly but surely brings the Iron Curtain down again in Russia, the benighted status of the tiny Catholic minority in Russia grows worse by the day.

On March 2, 2004 CWNews.com reported from Moscow that “Religious leaders from the former Soviet republics are holding a meeting on religious tolerance this week — but have purposefully excluded any Catholic representatives.”

CWN notes that “More than 300 Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist leaders from the Commonwealth of Independent States were to participate in the conference, which began on Tuesday. But Catholics and other Christians were excluded because they are not recognized by the Russian government as indigenous to the country.”

That is a reference to Russia’s 1997 law on “freedom of conscience”, according to which only Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism are recognized as “indigenous” Russian religions. Catholicism is treated as a foreign religion that requires official permission to exist on Russian soil. As I have chronicled in this column over the past several years, the Putin regime, working hand in glove with the Russian Orthodox hierarchy, has used the 1997 law and the Kremlin’s control over visas to expel five key members of the fledgling Catholic hierarchy in Russia, including the Bishop of Siberia, where the vast majority of Russia’s Catholics still reside.

Now, notice something very telling here: The conference was attended by representatives of the “former Soviet republics”, and yet none of these “former Soviet republics” dared to include a single Catholic in its delegation, nor did any of these “former Soviet republics” utter a peep of protest over the Putin regime’s exclusion of Catholics from the Moscow conference on “religious tolerance”. And this was true even in the case of the Ukraine, which has a very large Catholic population. The lockstep behavior of these “former Soviet republics” seems awfully reminiscent of their subjugation by the Kremlin in “the former Soviet Union.”

But what am I talking about? As the Fatima revisionists assure us, Russia has been “miraculously transformed” by the “consecration of Russia” in 1984 — and without Russia even being mentioned in the ceremony! After all, as Msgr. Bertone at the Vatican declared in June of 2000, “any further discussion or request” for the consecration of Russia “is without basis.”

No, we must not even discuss the consecration of Russia any longer. Nor must we allow our eyes to see the evidence of what is happening to the Catholic Church in that poor nation. For the Vatican bureaucracy has spoken, and therefore — so the Fatima revisionist dupes among the laity tell us — we are bound to accept blindly its dictates on the matter, or else we are guilty of Protestant “private judgment”.

But in truth, nothing could be more un-Catholic than to ignore the evidence of our own senses, to allow a false notion of obedience to overshadow reason itself. This Catholic, for one, will go on reporting what anyone with eyes to see can see — that there is no conversion of Russia because there has been no consecration of Russia. It is that simple.