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Russia: mgr. Vert (Novosibirsk), “follow the way of dialogue”. Challenges for the local Church. Bishops’ plenary assembly starting tomorrow

“Dialogue is not relativism. Relativism has no inner strength and stands, its powerless hands down, before any historical event. The walk of dialogue instead enables people to look joyfully at other people, to overcome an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion, to meet other people and reveal Christ’s face”. This has been written by the Bishop of Novosibirsk (Russia), Josif Vert, to his congregation on the opening of the pastoral year, calling the faithful to “look amazedly at what surrounds us”, to “welcome the people who come to us as someone who makes us richer”, to “follow the way of dialogue”, even if surrounded by a world that “very quickly and intensely challenges us”. God listened to the “millions of people in the world” who prayed for the conversion of Russia at the request of Our Lady of Fatima, and “the persecution of the Church is over”, even if many challenges still await freedom: the distance between parishes, the small number of parishioners, financial problems for the communities, the temptation that “God’s minister turns into a manager”, and the risk of “an immoderate use of the personal pronoun ‘me’”. Because of this, the Bishop mentions three areas that must be kept into account in one’s walk: God’s mercy, the charisma of one’s call, and openness to dialogue. In this spirit, tonight at 7.00 pm the Bishop will receive the Archbishop of the Russian Lutheran Church, Dietrich Brauer, in the Catholic Cathedral for a celebration to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. From tomorrow, also in Novosibirsk, the Russian Bishops Conference will be holding their two-day autumn plenary assembly.

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