02 October 2006, 17:49
Catholic archbishop regrets Vatican’s improper missionary activity in Russia and Eastern Europe in the 1990s (updated)
Moscow, October 2, Interfax - Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Catholic Archbishop of Milan, has expressed regret for the Roman Catholic Church's excessive missionary activity in Russia, saying the activity may have been insulting to the Russian Orthodox Church.
‘It gives us anguish to realize that some Western Christians including Catholics failed to discern and recognize the incomparable spiritual richness of Holy Russia and to appreciate and respect the religious and cultural heritage of the great Orthodox tradition’, Cardinal Tettamanzi said during his meeting with Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia at St. Daniel’s monastery on Monday.
He noted that since the 1990s, religious and missionary activity in Eastern Europe intensified through the individual initiative of various persons from the West.
But this initiative, he said, ‘does not always appear proper from ecumenical viewpoint’.
‘On the contrary, these initiatives may sometimes prove to be offensive for your Church, which had historically and continues to have the gift to proclaim the gospel on this earth and the mission to bear witness to it’, Cartinal Tettamanzi said addressing the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.
According to the cardinal, in the process of Christianization, ‘there must be no room for confessional competition in the name of the gospel’.
He also said that today proselytism ‘is condemned by many among not only the Orthodox but also Catholics’.