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    AT THE MOMENT VATICAN DOES NOT THINK THAT POPE'S VISIT TO MOSCOW IS POSSIBLE

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    MOSCOW, February 23, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Olga Lipich) -- Cardinal Walter Casper, chairman of the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians, stated that at the moment visit of Pope John Paul II to Russia was out of the question.

    Prior to his departure from Russia cardinal Casper stated to journalists in Sheremetyevo-2 airport: "We can not do that against the will of the Russian Orthodox Church. This issue has to be discussed with the Moscow Patriarchy. We are hopeful for the situation to change and the visit will take place." At the same time the Cardinal pointed out that the Pope would very much like to visit Russia.

    The Vatican representative was confident that step by step the dialogue between the two churches would continue.

    The cardinal finished his visit to Russia, which started on February 7th on the invitation of the conference of Russian catholic episcopates.

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