Russian Prelate Notes Good Church-State Relations

Describes Mutual Problem-Solving Commitment

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MOSCOW, Russia, JULY 19, 2009 ( The archbishop of the Mother of God Archdiocese in Moscow is expressing his satisfaction regarding the improvement of relations between the Catholic Church and the Russian government.

Archbishop Paolo Pezzi stated this to L’Osservatore Romano, affirming, «In the Russian Federation there are emerging positive and concrete signs of improvement in the relationships between the Catholic community and government authorities, that give good hope for the future.»

The prelate also expressed the hope that this represents «the establishment and growth of full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Russian Federation.»

The archbishop described «an improvement in the relationship between the Catholic Church and the civil powers, equally at the central and at the local levels.»

He noted that this could aid the positive resolution of «some questions related to the presence of the Church in Russia.»

Archbishop Pezzi explained that these questions include «the recognition of the Catholic community at different levels» and defining «places of worship.»

«There is an openness to dialogue and to acknowledging our concerns,» he said, and a desire to «find a solution.»

However, the prelate also recognized that there are problems in certain localities: «In some communities there are positive signals of cooperation; in others the difficulties remain.»

He continued, «Nevertheless, where there are difficulties, we notice a great interest and involvement of the central political power in responding to our questions.»

Archbishop Pezzi affirmed, «We must be aware that our hope rests on our faith and it is precisely this that gives us an optimistic and thus a constructive outlook in our relations with political powers.»

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