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Alexy II Calls for Catholic-Orthodox Cooperation

Zenit News

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MOSCOW, JUNE 8, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Russian Orthodox Patriarch AlexyII appealed to Catholics and Orthodox to address together the"negative anti-Christian tendencies" present in Europe.

The patriarch made his plea Tuesday when meeting with Pier Ferdinando Casini, president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

In his exhortation, reported by Vatican Radio, the patriarch of Moscow and All Russia presented one of the "crucial" challenges that Catholics and Orthodox must address together: to bring Christian values back to Europe.

Alexy II criticized the "absurd tolerance" that in a secular Europe virtually "impedes Christian from making public profession of their own values."

"It is strange that in a society that presents itself as free, Christians are impeded from expressing the faith freely," lamented the patriarch, who explained to Casini that he followed closely the case of Rocco Buttiglione, Italian candidate for European Commissioner who was "persecuted because he thought in a different way."

"Second-class"

Buttiglione was Italy's nominee to the European Union's executive commission. He stood down last year after he was sharply attacked by Europarliamentarians and the press for his traditional Catholic views about the sinfulness of homosexual acts.

Alexy II said that he counts very much on Benedict XVI to work together "against violence, egoism and moral relativism."

The president of the Italian Chamber summarized his conversation with the patriarch saying that "that there is great fear that, in the new Europe, Christians will be considered as second-class citizens."

Moreover, Alexy II pointed out "the opportunity lost by the European Constitution, in which there is no specific reference to the Christian identity," reported Vatican Radio.

Russian Patriarch: Cooperation Does Not Imply Proselyte Activities

07/06/2005 16:31 MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) head made it a point at talks with an Italian official that inter-church cooperation meant that churches must not convert members of other churches.

"Cooperation with the Roman Catholic Church must exclude the forms of proselytism (i.e. the Vatican spreading its influence to what the ROC sees as its canonical territory) that have been pursued recently," Alexis II, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, said at a meeting with Pierferdinando Casini, the chairman of Italy's Chamber of Deputies, in St. Daniel's Monastery in Moscow on Tuesday.

His Holiness Alexis II said in the face of globalization Christians must join efforts to "counter negative global challenges like violence, egoism, and moral relativism."

The Russian church leader added the ROC pinned much hope on new Pope, Benedict XVI.

His Holiness Alexis II said globalization processes could lead to the loss of self-identity, if "the man's religious belonging is not given due heed in the architecture of the future."

The patriarch said an individual pursuing his/her religious traditions would find a place in the world, whereas people without traditions would get lost in the globalization environment.

"Therefore, we have made persistent attempts to introduce the Basics of Orthodox Culture "in school curricula that show our roots and traditions," the patriarch said. He added Europe had tended to "hush the spiritual roots of the European civilization."

"Tolerance has been reduced to an absurd, and sometimes Christians cannot openly say what they believe is a sin and what is a virtue,"the patriarch said.

European Constitution Should Take Into Account Christian Traditions - Russian Patriarch

07/06/2005 17:29 MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - The European Constitution does not take into account moral traditions which causes protests against this document, Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia said.

"In my opinion, protests against the European Constitution are caused by its failure to meet the interests, moral traditions and history of France and Holland," Alexis II said after the meeting with Speaker of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Pier Ferdinando Casini on Tuesday.

"In this case, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church have a common position. We believe that the European Constitution should mention common Christian roots as the basis of European culture," Alexis II said.

"Ignoring this means countering the real truth," he added.

Casini agreed with the churches' position on this issue.

According to the patriarch, striving for bringing Europe back to common Christian roots will promote rapprochement of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.

"The return to common Christian roots, the basis of European culture, may promote rapprochement and ecumenical development between European churches," Alexis II said.

The Moscow patriarchate said that "ecumenical development" meant" common interests of Christian churches against de-Christianization of Europe and solution of other problems."

Alexis II and Casini agreed that the draft constitution "had no soul."

The sides also discussed the problems of proselytism and sects, which destroy the Christian culture.

Read this article on the Zenit News website (new window will open).

Posted: 15-Jun-05



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