Putin: Catholic Church in Russia must register with the government as “a foreign agent”.

On March 15, a Catholic parish in Novocherkassk was ordered to pay a 450,000-rouble ($14,600 U.S.) fine for allegedly failing fire safety standards.

Fr. Aleksi Polisko, rector of the city’s Most Blessed Virgin Mary parish, which has just 50 regular Massgoers, told Agence France-Presse the fine was around 150 times the parish’s weekly income, but said the local procurator had threatened to close his church unless it was paid within a month.

The director of Caritas in St. Petersburg, Natalya Pevtsova, told the Interfax news agency that officials had “examined everything … from the state of our toilets to our charity documents,” during the raid of her offices.

Russia’s million-strong Catholic Church has long complained of discrimination in Russia and protested when a Moscow charity house belonging to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity was bulldozed in 2011 and a Catholic parish in Pskov was barred from building its church because of “legal technicalities.”

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Editor’s note: I wonder if Putin might be able to help us reign in the outrageous USCCB Catholic Campaign for Human Development, right here in the good old USA?