Monday, October 09, 2006

Catholic clergy asked to leave Belarus

... continuing this spate of "global" stories, this is a disquieting one from Belarus. It seems to have been a routine practice in neighboring Russia, to harass the Church this way. Not a good thing that it's spreading to Belarus as well.
Catholics in the former Soviet republic of Belarus are praying and scratching their heads at the expulsion of 12 Roman Catholic Polish religious, 7 priests and 5 nuns, from service in their country.

According to Forum 18 News Service, Fr Yan Kuchynski, the Dean of Grodno's Catholic Cathedral, said “no reason whatsoever” has been given for the refusal of Belarusian authorities to renew the visas of the 12 religious, all of whom have been serving Belarusian Catholics for almost 10 years.

The priests and nuns have been ordered to leave Belarus by 2007.

Although Belarus has no official religion, the Belarus Orthodox Church is the only recognized religion in the country. Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has continued to consolidate power since his election in July of 1994 and many international bodies are keeping an eye on Lukashenko’s policies which have clamped down on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion.

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