Patriarch points to pope’s role in forging Orthodox-Catholic rapprochement
MOSCOW (Interfax) – Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and all Russia hopes for considerable rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church, noting the positive role being played by Pope Benedict XVI.
”The key of our relations has changed with the new pontificate,” the patriarch said.
“In his first address Benedict XVI said that the improvement of relations with the Orthodox churches was a priority of his ministry,” Alexy II said in an interview with the Russian television station, Pervyi canal.
He also expressed his hope for the problems that have complicated interchurch relations to be solved under the new pope.
As to his possible meeting with Benedict, the patriarchate is convinced that should this meeting take place, he said, but added that thorough preparations are needed and such a meeting “must bring about concrete actions for the improvement of our relations.”
”We find common platform for actions even now,’ Patriarch Alexy said.
He said both churches can in common on efforts aimed at maintaining moral values, “as secularization of society in the West worries the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, including the pope.” Last week, the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate said it remains in favor of the continuation of dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church on the problems of common concern.
The synod, which opened at the laura or monastery of the Holy Trinity and St. Sergius in Sergiev Posad July 17, pointed to human rights, human dignity and moral responsibility of the human person among the key issues for the dialogue with the Catholic Church.
These issues were raised during the May 2006 meeting between Metropolitan Kirill, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, and Pope Benedict XVI.
The synod noted the closeness of views of both churches on these issues and their wish to continue common work over a document that would fully reflect the positions of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches.
Bioethics, defense of the family and the right to life were seen as specific issues that the formulating of a common position of the two churches would be useful.
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Republished by Catholic Online with permission of the Interfax (www.Interfax-religion.com), based in Moscow, Russia, a Catholic Online Preferred Publishing Partner.
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