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Trouble for Catholics in Kazakhstan

by Christopher A. Ferrara

As the “conversion of Russia” proclaimed by the Fatima revisionists rolls merrily toward oblivion, things are not looking good for the Catholics of Kazakhstan either.

Just before the Pope’s visit to Kazakhstan, a news report by Zenit.org-Fides (September 19, 2001) presented the declining situation of Catholics in a country beset by rising Islamic fundamentalism. Father Edoardo Canetta, an Italian missionary to Kazakhstan, admitted that there is “less request” for Catholic evangelism in Kazakhstan than there is for pastoral care of the existing Catholic minority. Indeed, Kazakhstan’s Catholic populations, the result of Stalinist deportations from Russia, are shrinking rapidly. For the remaining Catholics life with the Kazakh Muslims is becoming increasingly difficult.

Father Canetta notes that there is virtually no effort to make converts to the Faith in Kazakhstan, and if there are any conversions this happens sporadically. Meanwhile, the few remaining Catholics are being squeezed by Islamic fundamentalists on one side and the Orthodox on the other. The Patriarch of Moscow, ex-KGB operative Alexy II, is “pushing to have the Orthodox community recognized as the only representative of all Christian communities.”

Ironically, while both the Muslims and the Orthodox claim they are the “original” religion of Kazakhstan, Father Canetta notes that the history of the Catholic Church in Kazakhstan is longer than that of either religion. “Traces of the Catholic Church can be found in Kazakhstan as early as the third century.”

Just as in Russia, legal moves are being made to hem in the Catholic Church so as to preclude any possible growth at the expense of the Orthodox. Father Canetta warns that “Until now, Russia laws regarding freedom of religion, registration control, annual registration, and even three month visas for Catholic missionaries, have not affected Kazakhstan … But recently pressured by the Patriarchate of Moscow, the government is considering introducing stricter regulations.”

Meanwhile, the “grand mufti” of Kazakh Islam has declared that Kazakhstan needs to set up an Inquisition — no doubt similar to the one which sentences Muslims to death in Afghanistan for the crime of converting to Christianity.

An interesting sidelight here is Father Canetta’s confirmation of what we knew already: that Vladimir Putin, while claiming to be a practitioner of Russian Orthodoxy, has no intention of challenging Russia’s regime of abortion-on-demand. In other words, Putin is a pro-abort. Further, the Russian Orthodox Church is de facto a pro-abortion body since it does nothing whatever to condemn Russia’s abortion holocaust, which claims two children for every child born. Now Russian Orthodoxy wants in Kazakhstan the same legal stranglehold on the Catholic Church which it exercises in “converted” Russia.

And that’s the latest on the “miraculous” story of Russia’s conversion. Stay tuned for more good news, as the dupes of Fatima revisionism continue to proclaim triumph where there is only ruin.