Jesuits in Moscow have denounced the Russian Government's rejection of their application for registration under the 1997 law on religion.
    The The Tablet reports that it has emerged that officials of the Ministry of Justice recommended that the Jesuits should register as part of the local apostolic administration instead of as a separate body. But Jesuit officials consider that this would rob the order of its independence, and have appealed to the ministry to reconsider its decision. The order has submitted documents to show that it has existed in Russia for longer than the 50 years required by the 1997 law.
    The new law also stipulates that a religious order wishing to register must have at least three communities, each with at least 10 Russian members. Fr Boguslaw Steczek SJ, an official at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome, told an Italian Catholic paper that "in a country where religion was outlawed until a few years ago" this requirement was "even more absurd" than the need to register again after having already done so in 1992.

2:12pm 17/5/99 / Tablet


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