04 April 2007, 14:13
Catholic community in Russia agrees haste inappropriate over Alexy II’s meeting with the Pope of Rome
Moscow, April 4, Interfax - The matter of Pope of Rome’s meeting with the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia is not a priority in the dialogue between the two Churches, leaders of the Catholic community in Russia maintain.
‘Actually a meeting between the patriarch and the pope is not viewed at present as a strategic task in the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue. For such a meeting to take place a thorough preparation is needed. We here share the point of view of the Russian Orthodox Church: developments should not be spurred up’, Rev. Irog Kowalewski, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops in Russia, writes in an article published in the NG-Religii supplement on Wednesday.
He notes that what is required of participants in inter-Christian dialogue is patience and humbleness. ‘Fast results are not to be expected. Relations should develop not only between hierarchs but also locals. Even if the mass media does not pay special attention to the local level, this is where conditions are basically created for a meeting between the heads of the two Churches’, Father Igor maintains.
He believes the Orthodox and the Catholics should ‘overcome the atmosphere of mutual suspicions, stereotype thinking and sometimes even open animosity’. “Suffice it to recall that many Orthodox disapprove of the very term of ‘ecumenism’. I try to avoid using it, speaking in Russian, and replace it with such an expression as ‘inter-Christian dialogue”, the author writes.
He also rejects the accusations leveled by the Moscow Patriarchate that the Catholics are engaged in enticing the faithful and assures that ‘the Catholic Church in Russia is not engage in the activity of this kind’.
‘The ROС leaders also agree that the Catholic Church has no strategy of proselytism in Russia. The See of St. Paul sees in Russia a Christian, predominantly Orthodox country with a Catholic minority. Our Church in Russia is not subject to the Vatican’s decasteriums (units), which are responsible for the so-called missionary countries,’ the general secretary of the Conference stressed.
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