Ex-KGB Scrutinizing Church's Activity

MOSCOW, NOV. 19, 2002 (Zenit.org).- For the first time since the end of the Soviet regime, a Catholic priest is being regularly questioned by an officer of the FSB — the former KGB — «to discuss the prevention of religious extremism,» Keston News reports.

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The officer is asking about the activity of the Catholic Church «within the Moscow Patriarchate in particular,» the England-based service said.

The FSB agent is also reportedly asking for the names of teachers in higher educational institutions frequenting Omsk’s Catholic parish. He has also asked the priest about the German Catholic charitable foundation Renovabis, according to Keston.

The FSB officer then politely invited the priest to contact him should he receive «threats from extremists» and subsequently telephoned him every month to ask about his church’s activity.

In September, according to the priest, the officer asked about the Catholic Church’s missionary plans in Omsk region.

«From this I understood that the era of freedom is over,» commented the priest. «Again someone looking over my shoulder. I don’t like it.»

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