Russian Catholics welcome consecration to Mary

Although Russia’s Catholics hold different views about the conflict in Ukraine, a spokesman for the country’s bishops said all are united in welcoming Pope Francis’ plan to consecrate their country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25 in a service at the Vatican.

However, a Catholic professor in the country said the pope’s plan was likely to provoke a negative reaction from the Russian Orthodox Church, which could see it as infringing its “canonical territory.”

“For Catholics, this gesture isn’t about faith, but about people and peace between two countries — but Orthodox bishops will wonder why the pope is consecrating two predominantly Orthodox countries in this way,” the professor, who asked not to be named, told Catholic News Service on March 17.

Father Kirill Gorbunov, spokesman for the Russian bishops’ conference, said because there had been disinformation and propaganda attacks in Russia and Ukraine, the bishops had restricted their remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” to avoid “contradiction and conflict” among Russian Catholics.

“But although everyone acts on their own understanding and we can’t always agree about what’s being done, we are all absolutely united in our deepest desire that the suffering of innocent people should stop immediately — and profoundly grateful for all efforts being made to stop the bloodshed,” he told CNS. Continue reading

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