Tuesday, February 19, 2008
In a Zenit article Cardinal Kasper rejoices over a "Breakthrough" in Orthodox-Catholic relations reflected in the "Ravenna Document" which lays groundwork for discussing the Church at various levels including the primacy, which is the Pope, and what it can mean for East and West. According to the article:
the real breakthrough, he said, was that "the Orthodox agreed to speak about the universal level -- because before there were some who denied that there could even be institutional structures on the universal level. The second point is that we agreed that at the universal level there is a primate. It was clear that there is only one candidate for this post, that is the Bishop of Rome, because according to the old order -- 'taxis' in Greek -- of the Church of the first millennium the see of Rome is the first among them.
"Many problems remain to be resolved, but we have laid a foundation upon which we can build."
The Ravenna document was so named because the talks took place October 8-14, 2007 at the plenary assembly of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, held in Ravenna, Italy.
While Cardinal Kasper rejoices at progress, Patriarch Alexiy II offers a different view in a "Christian Today" article:
The leader of Russia's powerful Orthodox Church played down hopes of an imminent reconciliation with Rome in an interview on Monday, saying Catholic missionary activity in Russia prevented the churches from restoring ties. ...
"Stopping us from restoring relations are some unsolved issues between our churches," Alexiy told the Polish daily Dziennik in an interview published on Monday.
"We have many questions about the missionary and charitable activities of Catholic monks and clergy in Russia and CIS (former Soviet) countries." ...
"We have always said that a Russian visit of (former) Pope John Paul was possible only when all the problems between our churches were resolved. Unfortunately, it has not happened until now," Alexiy said.
"In Russia and Ukraine, Catholics always treated the Orthodox believers more as enemies than as brothers in faith ... the activities of Catholics in Russia have created many challenges for the dialogue of our churches."
"These matters need to be resolved".