Baku (Fides Service) – Relations between the local Catholic Church and the government in Azerbaijan are excellent Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, Nuncio in Baku tells Fides Service.
Not long after a recent visit to Azerbaijan by Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran (14 September) and his meeting with Raik Aliev head of the government commission for collaboration with religious bodies, some local media reported friction in the talks and that the Church had been accused of “illegal religious propaganda.”
Archbishop Gugerotti, questioned by Fides Service said: “Reports by some journalistic sources about difficulties in relations between the Azer government and the local Catholic Church are false. We are certain that the local authorities will deny this unfounded information”.
Father Daniel Pravda, serving at the Baku mission sui uris also voiced surprise at these statements because “the government never said anything of the kind and relations are excellent. We continue with our pastoral work without any propaganda, administering the Sacraments and giving witness of faith with our presence”.
A proof of the good relations between the Azer government and the local Church is that the latter has granted a piece of land for the building a new Catholic church. Once building permission is obtained work will begin on the church which will be neo-Gothic in keeping the facade of the old church destroyed under Communist rule. PA (Fides Service 6/10/2003 EM lines 37 Words: 380)