- Apr 18, 2021
A Belarusian archbishop who has been denied entry back into his own country said the Vatican was doing everything in its power to resolve the situation and help him return.
“We tried to argue that it was in the interests of everybody, church and state, that he be allowed to return to the country,” said British Archbishop Paul Gallagher. “They do not share that opinion, and I’m not overly optimistic that they’re going to move on that one.”
Catholic representatives in Belarus said they were not invited to talks between Vatican and government officials and criticized a “lack of information” about the fate of their exiled bishops’ conference president.
Both Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope’s most senior aide, and British Archbishop Paul Gallagher, head of the pope’s diplomatic service, have been on the road trying to carry the pope’s message in the absence of his physical presence.
As the Vatican foreign minister met with officials in Belarus, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace urged prayers for Belorussians during their sociopolitical crisis.
Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk is currently in exile in Poland after being denied reentry into Belarus by the government of longtime President Alexander Lukashenko, dubbed “Europe’s last tyrant,” who’s currently facing massive street protests after a disputed reelection victory in early August.
Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz said he had obtained legal advice about being barred from reentering Belarus and counted on Vatican help in correcting the illegal action against him.
Some small part of the revolution now on display in the streets of Minsk and other Belarusian cities may have begun in Catholic, rural Ireland in the 1990s. It was there that Belarus’ main opposition leader, who is currently in exile, visited for a month each summer for 10 years, when she was ages 12-22.