01 October 2007, 11:28
Russian patriarch says meeting with Benedict not planned
Moscow, October 1, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia has again denied that plans are afoot to organize a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.
"A visit by the pope is not being considered. But we have never rejected the possibility of personal talks with the pope, even in the most dramatic periods in our relations," the patriarch said in an interview with the French magazine La Vie posted on the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The Russian Orthodox Church has always viewed a possible meeting between "the leaders of the two largest Christian churches as real improvement in Orthodox-Catholic relations, not as a formal event to be covered by the world media."
Asked to assess Orthodox-Catholic relations, the patriarch said that the two churches' current task was "to assert Evangelical and Christian values and way of life" and that their joint testimony is based on the two churches' shared positions regarding many of today's issues.
"It is obvious that such tendencies as aggressive secularism, religious relativism, the confining of religion to the sidelines of public life, the propaganda of consumerism, and the revision of ethical norms require a joint Christian response, which the Orthodox and Catholic churches must provide," Alexy II said.
"Adhering to a traditional vision of Christian values, we must rise to the support of family values and again alert the public to the dangers of the much-popularized and sinful "culture of death," - abortions, euthanasia and same-sex marriages, he said.
The patriarch also said that the Russian Orthodox and Catholic churches have a positive experience of cooperation in defending and preaching Christian values in the world-at the level of European institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg, and at the UN, "where we represent the Christian view on the problems of social organization, human rights and human dignity," he said.
Alexy II begins an official visit to France on October 1.