|Russia||JESUITS' REJECTION WORRIES RUSSIAN CATHOLICS||
The Russian Federation's prohibition of the
Society of Jesus from establishing communities on its territory is not
limited to the Jesuits is likely to affect all Catholic orders and congregations in
Adviser to the Slavonic Province Jesuits Fr Boguslaw Steczek said that the Jesuits were the first victims of a new 1997 law because they were the first to present their application to the authorities of the Ministry of Justice.
The Society of Jesus was approved by a law promulgated in 1992, during the time of Mikhail Gorbachov. But a much more selective law favouring traditional Russian religions was published in 1997.
"In a certain sense, we were expecting something like this to happen because, the way the current law was drawn up, makes it virtually inapplicable. Among other things, it requires every order to have at least three communities in the country, with ten Russian religious in each. A condition which no congregation can meet at present or will be able to for quite some time," Father Steczek explained.
The Moscow Ministry of Justice's arguments have been refuted by the Jesuit provincial, Father Stanislav Opiela, who has reiterated his request for re-registration. Father Opiela is also secretary of the Episcopal Conference and, as such, in charge of the Catholic Orders and Congregations in Russia.
The Jesuits are determined to denounced the rejection of their re-registration in Russia before the European Union. "We expect a long battle. All religious should be abreast of events so that we can decide together the best way to proceed," Father Steczek said.
|10:18am 27/4/99 / Zenit|