04 April 2007, 15:36
Moscow Patriarchate: there are no essential changes in relations with Catholics in Russia and Ukraine
Moscow, April 4, Interfax - Catholic attempts at proselytism in orphanages in Russia and Uniates' actions in Ukraine continue aggravating Orthodox-Catholic relations, an official of the Russian Orthodox Church has stated.
'The missionary fervor (of Catholics - IF) has not fully faded away, of course. The activity of Catholic missionaries in orphanages continues to be unacceptable to us', Rev. Igor Vyzhanov, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's department for external church relations secretariat for inter-Christian relations, writes in an article published in the NG-Religii newspaper on Wednesday.
He says journalists have often accused the Russian Church, asking her, 'Would it be better if the children remained in the street?' 'But it is not from the street that the Catholics have taken the children but from state-run institutions', the priest objects.
'This has happened predominantly in regions and should become a matter of concern for the central authorities. Indeed, it is foreigners from religious organizations based abroad who come to orphanages to take children. Why are they trusted with Russian children?' the priest wonders.
He also notes that 'the Ukrainian problem' remains unsettled.
"It seems to me that a certain missionary consciousness is characteristic of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics today. Why does it happen is not altogether clear. Many bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC) are former emigrants who were born in the West. Perhaps they don't quite understand the post-Soviet realities. Hence such fantastic projects as 'One Church of Vladimir's Baptism' conceived by the Greek-Catholic Patriarchate or the construction of a 'patriarchal cathedral' in Kiev", Father Igor writes.
He believes the Uniates will come to their senses at best 'to see that their projects do not work and at worse they will divide the country irretrievably on religious grounds'.
"Certainly, Rome can hardly influence the messianic consciousness of the Uniates. But the Greek Catholics do maintain contacts with the self-proclaimed Kievan Patriarchate and the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, arguing they have 'excellent relations' with the Orthodox!" he says.
'In this situation, can't the Pope of Rome pull up the UGCC leader, Cardinal Lubomir Husar, and order him to restrain from communication with the schismatics? Of course he can! Naturally, Rome does not want to quarrel with the Uniates. But there are things to be simply pointed out to them', he concludes.