NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Catholics react skeptically to Cardinal Parolin’s visit. First visit by a senior Vatican official since 1999 offers some peace, conjecture.” – National Catholic Reporter/ Jonathan Luxmoore

Saint Peter's Basilica

“When Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, ended his official trip to Russia on Aug. 24, news reports were full of praise for the latest expression of closeness between Rome and Moscow. But there are signs that not everyone is satisfied with the aloof tone of the four-day visit — or confident about its benefits for Catholics. …

While Orthodox representatives attended Parolin’s Moscow Mass, critics point out that his stay failed to include any ecumenical service — or any apparent discussion of a papal visit, which clearly evoked little interest on the Russian side. Parolin declared himself “honored and thrilled” with his one-hour meeting with Putin, but critics note the cardinal had to travel to Sochi on the Black Sea for the privilege, a location pointedly close to eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

If this is to reflect well on the Vatican, it will have to be followed by meaningful steps to help Russia’s Catholics, as well as the prospects for international co-operation. The results should at least be clear by next January, when Russia’s Catholic bishops, headed by their Italian-born archbishop, Paolo Pezzi, visit Rome for “ad limina” talks with the pope. …”