Belarus FM meets with nuncio after controversial caricature appears in state newspaper

The information about meeting with the representative of the Vatican is reported on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus.

Meeting between the Apostolic Nuncio and Uladzimir Makei. September 9, 2021. Photo:

It is noted that during the meeting, Minister Uladzimir Makei and Apostolic Nuncio to Belarus, Archbishop Ante Jozic discussed “topical issues of bilateral agenda, humanitarian cooperation and cooperation between the two countries within the framework of international organizations.”

The meeting took place against the background of a scandal with an offensive publication of the propaganda newspaper “Minsk Prauda,” which actually equated Catholic priests to Nazis. In the picture, a cross was transformed into a swastika. The publication of the “Minsk Prauda” caused a wave of indignation among Catholics, representatives of other confessions, and even atheists.

The Catholic bishops of Belarus made a statement and called the cartoon and the article of the “Minsk Prauda” an “intentional and malicious distortion of the truth, slander, and insult.” They also expressed their hope that “the appropriate state authorities will give a proper legal assessment of this cartoon and the publication in the “Minsk Prauda.”

The press release of the Foreign Ministry did not mention the controversial story directly. Still, it said that Makei emphasized “the inviolability of the official approach to the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus, the inadmissibility of the incitement of religious intolerance and the importance of preserving ethnic and religious harmony in the country as a whole.”

“In this context, we should not attach any importance to separate, exclusively subjective, attempts to paint the situation differently,” said the press service of the ministry.