Bishops of Belarus react against blocked Archbishop of Minsk return

Last Sunday 30th, the government of Belarus prevented Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk, from returning to his country. He was in Poland celebrating the First Communion of a relative.

Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz

Minsk (September 3, 2020 Gaudium Press) In Belarus, the drama continues.

After weeks of protests undergoing government repression, following the disputed presidential elections of August 9, Belarus lived through a chapter that undoubtedly recalls a bygone past:  when communism, after taking over a country, expelled the Catholic clergy.

Last Sunday 30th, the government of Belarus prevented Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk, from returning to his country. He was in Poland celebrating the First Communion of a relative.

“I was not allowed to cross the border Buznica-Bialystok”-he expressed. “No explanation was offered to me, although I am a citizen of Belarus. I was only told that I was forbidden to enter Belarus, nothing else,” he said.

Bishop Kondrusiewicz is now in Bialystok, Poland, about 60 kilometers from the border with Russia.

Read also: Putin threatens to send ‘police’ to Belarus: Archbishop of Minsk protests against Church blockade

Belarusian Bishops reaction

In view of the unjust impediment, the bishops of Belarus have issued a communication demanding that Bishop Kondrusiewicz be allowed to return:

“It is inadmissible that a bishop of the Catholic Church, who is the pastor of the faithful entrusted to him, is deprived of the opportunity to be in his own diocese and to carry in it the ministry entrusted to him by [Pope Francis],” the Belarusian bishops said yesterday.

The ban on the re-entry of the Archbishop of Minsk is not only illegal, the Belarusian bishops said but is detrimental to the relationship between the Catholic Church and the State.

“The Conference of Catholic Bishops in Belarus hopes that the refusal of Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz to enter the Republic of Belarus is only an unfortunate misunderstanding that will be resolved as soon as possible and that such incidents will not occur in the future,” the bishops concluded, asking all Catholics to pray for the safe return of the prelate.

The Catholic Church is the second-largest religious group in the country, after the Orthodox. It comprises about 15% of the 9.5 million total population.

Outstanding role

The Archbishop of Minsk emerged at this juncture as a defender of citizens’ rights.

On the 19th he walked to the detention centre in Akrestsin Street where many of the Aug 9th demonstrators were still detained. The Archbishop of Minsk prayed a rosary of Divine Mercy and wanted to enter but was forbidden to do so. He had already asked, with no results, that priests be allowed to give spiritual assistance to the detainees.

More recently, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz protested to the government because anti-riot police prevented people from entering the church of Saints Simon and Helen, as demonstrators were seeking refuge after police repression. The church was blocked for 40 minutes by the police.

With information from The Catholic Herald

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