Belarus' Ministry of Interior on December 29 published its website an official statement in response to the open letter of Metropolitan of Minsk and Mahilou Tadeush Kandrusevich. The archbishop wrote to Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich about wrong calculations of the faithful during Christmas celebrations. He reckons that "in the recent years, one can observe a trend when the number of Roman Catholics taking part in sermons is artificially lowered."
The Interior Ministry notes that the information published in the Latest section is unofficial and often requires additional clarifications. As for the number of the faithful, the police calculated only those who attended the Christman sermons in Catholic churches on the night of December 25. The statement also stressed that it was not a mandatory duty of the police to make such calculations.
The Interior Ministry also said that "for the purpose of avoiding manipulations with information published on the website in the future, it decided to use "the data about the number of citizens taking part in religious celebrations" "exclusively for official duty without making openly accessible. The statement said Roman Catholic Church in Belarus could make its own calculations. The Interior Ministry also said the information about the number of participants in the Christmas sermons on the night of December 25 was deleted from the Interior's website.