Belarusian Catholic Bishops: Government Accusations Are Baseless Insults of Church

At an unscheduled plenary meeting on January, 30th the Catholic bishops of Belarus have discussed recent accusations of Polish priests having ministry in Belarus and of Catholic Church not being interested in educating Belarusian priests.

According to catholic.by, the bishops state: “We, as well as Catholic believers, are deeply concerned with these accusations, that we find a baseless insult of Catholic Church and fomentation of interconfessional hatred”.

The bishops underline that from 1989 the number of local Catholic priests had risen from 60 to 360. “Is not it an evidence of our Church putting a great effort in educating local priests? The problem is that during the Soviet period there was not a possibility  to prepair local priests due to the lack of a seminary. Thank God, now it is possible, however we must remember that priest is not a profession, it is a vocation and nobody can be sent to the seminary by force”, – state the bishops.

They underline that the priests from abroad are engaged in pastor and charity activities, build and restore the shrines that they will not take with them, but will stay here. It is stated in the message, that “without their help many believers will remain without pastor’s care”.

Also, the bishops remind that priests are invited from the countries other than Poland as well, but some of them had not been given a permission to serve in the country.

Belarusian bishop also addressed to Commissioner for Religion and Nationalities Leanid Hulyaka to provide the exact facts concerning the accusations and to discuss in future similar problems directly with CCEB.

“Despite the existing difficulties, we express our hope of continuing constructive dialog between Catholic Church and society, with other confessions, first of all with with Belarussian Orthodox Church for the benefit of people, their moral education, consolidation of society and development of interconfessional and international peace”, – state the hierarchs.

As KRYNICA.INFO had reported before, Leanid Hulyaka stated on January, 22nd that several priests from Poland are engaged in Belarusian politics and that Catholic Church is not interested in educating Belarusian priests.

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko stated during the press-conference on January, 29th that he is not satisfied with work of several Polish priests.

Belarusian Catholics, being outraged with Leanid Hulyaka’s insinuations, began signature collection under the open letter to the government, stating that baseless critics made by a high-ranking government official insults the believers, their pastors and their religious feelings.