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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Religion Bill May Include Catholicism

The State Duma will not back down from its controversial plan to restrict "nontraditional" religions in Russia, but will likely add Roman Catholicism to the list of main faiths, the speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament said Monday.

Gennady Seleznyov said the legislation will not be changed in principle, but the deputies will take into account proposals made by President Boris Yeltsin, who last month rejected the bill.

The bill, which won overwhelming support in parliament, would give special standing to the Russian Orthodox Church while pledging "respect" to Islam, Buddhism and Judaism.

Roman Catholicism and Protestant faiths were among the "nontraditional" religions that could be restricted under the measure, which drew strong criticism from the Vatican.

The U.S. Senate also threatened to cut off aid to Russia if the bill became law.

Last week, Yeltsin ordered a commission representing various religious and political groups to write a new version and "eliminate the points that breach the constitution."

Seleznyov said Roman Catholicism is likely to be put on the list of traditional religions.