31 January 2018

A Small Church but Great Commitment to Education and Life

The Ad Limina Visit of the Russian Bishops to the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life

A vast territory with few priests, “new Christians” who need formation, and great commitment in defense of life. This is, in short, the situation of the Catholic Church in Russia told about by the Bishops who came to the Dicastery a few days ago during their ad limina visit.

Most of the priests in Russia (17 million km2) are foreigners, and the long distances imply that many communities live without pastoral guides. In spite of this, and despite the persecutions, Christianity has survived in Russia thanks to the simple but very solid religion of parents and grandparents who, even without formation, have been able to pass the fundamentals of the faith on to their children and grandchildren.

The few but large Catholic families have given many priests and religious to the Church. In the absence of religious buildings, the families have indeed been real “itinerant domestic churches,” gathering, in different homes, for prayers and liturgical celebrations. Today, the situation is entirely different.

With regard to the themes of life, there are still many problematic issues concerning motherhood and welcoming life.