Vatican protests at attempt to discredit Franciscans in Moscow

 The following declaration was made yesterday by Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls following false reports in the Russian media about a community of Franciscans in Moscow: "The Holy See has received worrisome news concerning a dishonourable operation aimed at discrediting the community of Franciscan Friars Minor Conventual in Moscow and, through them, the Catholic Church. "Unbeknownst to them, the Religious saw an apartment that they owned - which they had rented to a private person who stated that he wished it for a work of charity - turned into a house to be used for prostitution. "Recently, a noted daily paper in the capital, as well as the first and third television channels, spread a subtly false news story, including images of persons attired in religious dress and portrayed in immoral behaviour, with the evident intention of harming the reputation of the Catholic community. "The pontifical representative in Moscow has energetically protested to the competent authorities. At the same time the local superiors of the Franciscan Order distributed a press release in which they rejected every accusation and denied the false information being spread in Moscow. "The Holy See joins these legitimate protests and hopes that justice runs its course, as is becoming to a State of law." source: Vatican Information Services

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