04 October 2007, 13:56
Alexy II compares modern time with time of persecution against Church, calling upon Catholics to defend Christian values together
Paris, October 4, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia believes the Orthodox and the Catholics should seek answers to today’s challenges together.
“We share our positions on very many issues: for us abortion, euthanasia, “same-sex” marriages and other unnatural things, which are pressed hard on us as a norm, are equally unacceptable. The reason for this convergence is our common roots and similar ideas of commitment to the Holy Tradition and traditional values. In this I see a solid basis for further cooperation”, the patriarch stated during the reception given by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in France, on Wednesday in Paris.
The primate of the Russian Church noted that the Church in France, just as in Russia, experienced in the past “very difficult times”, giving to the world a great number of confessors of faith and outstanding theologians. In the modern society, however, especially in the European one, the patriarch said, “attempts are made to bring in a worldview that, in its destructive force, can well be compared to the external persecution against the Church”.
“In a situation where any external persecution seems to be absent, a threat has emerged for religion in general and Christianity in particular to be marginalized”, Alexy II said. In his opinion, the new challenges “compel us again and again to speak of the need for all the traditionally-thinking Christians to unite their efforts for the defense of the evangelical values”.
For the Russian Church, which has taken pastoral care of its flock in France for a long time, “the building of a good dialogue with the Catholics in this country is a priority, first of all because the Catholic Church is the guardian and bearer of the spiritual principles of the French people”, the patriarch said, stressing that it was not without reason that France was historically called “the senior daughter of the Catholic Church”.
Greeting Alexy II, Cardinal Ricard also pointed to the common tasks of the Roman Catholic and the Russian Orthodox Churches, which “know what makes society human and what makes it inhuman”.
The president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in France reminded his listeners that Europe’s Christian roots were not only an historical heritage, “and we should bear witness to the fruitfulness and vitality of our values”.