14 September 2005, 13:21
Russian Orthodox Church: if Union is a bridge between East and West, it is mined and dangerous for walking
Moscow, September 14, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate does not share Vatican’s optimistic look at the state of Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.
Deputy head of the Department for external church relations of the Russian Orthodox Church archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said this to Interfax, while commenting on recent words of President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity Walter cardinal Kasper, who said that atmosphere of dialogue between the Catholics and the Orthodox has improved.
‘On the one hand, we are glad that cardinal Kasper stated again that the Catholic Church did not intend proselytism towards Orthodox Christians. On the other hand, I would not share a carefree optimism of the Catholic hierarch over the state of our relations’, Fr.Vsevolod told Interfax.
He complained that ‘the Vatican diplomacy’s tactic is rather primitive. It is to advance and then say before long: Now let us forget all this.’
‘Orthodox Christians have good memory. Unfortunately, offensive actions of the Catholic Church make most Orthodox faithful think that the Catholic Church is unfriendly in spite of all broad smiles’, the agency’s interviewee said.
‘Cardinal Kasper says that the Uniate church is a bridge between East and West. I think that even if it is so, the bridge is mined and dangerous for walking’, the priest emphasized.
The representative of the Russian Orthodox Church gave his comments to Interfax on the phone from Lyon where he takes part in the annual interreligious meeting sponsored by the community of St. Egidio, a Catholic charity and peace organization.
Summing up, Fr. Vsevolod expressed his hope for ‘the Catholic Church, in which we have many friends, as the Lyon meeting demonstrated once again, to pluck up its courage to give up missionary competition with Orthodoxy and open up an honest and constructive cooperation as Pope Benedict XVI has recently said’.