Catholic Organization Will Continue Helping Russian Orthodox

Despite Accusations Against Catholics

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ROME, JULY 9, 2002 ( The founder of Aid to the Church in Need said his organization will continue to help the Russian Orthodox, despite their accusations against Catholics.

Father Werenfried van Straaten explained to the Vatican agency “Fides” that with this decision he hopes to promote the “ecumenism of solidarity,” requested by John Paul II 10 years ago, when he said “support the Orthodox Sister Church to prepare the way for unity and reconciliation.”

Father van Straaten’s organization has worked primarily to promote the formation of priests and to set up means of social communication to help “the Orthodox Church, marked by 70 years of Communist regime.”

Aid to the Church in Need gives priority to ecumenical projects to help Catholics and Orthodox overcome prejudice and build friendship. However, “in places where the Orthodox bishop takes an active part in anti-Catholic activity, our aid is temporarily suspended,” Fr. van Straaten said.

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