Cardinal Kaspar slams Russian Orthodox 'ideological' stance
Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, has criticised Moscow's Orthodox Patriarchate for reacting "ideologically" following its suspension of relations with Rome.
Catholic World News reports that the cardinal also asked Catholics to be patient, because the current Orthodox position "cannot last".
After the elevation of the four Russian apostolic administrations to dioceses last month, the Moscow Patriarchate announced the suspension of official relations with the Holy See. It also blocked plans for Cardinal Kaspar to visit Moscow. The Orthodox leaders viewed the Vatican move as provocative and evidence of proselytism by Catholics.
"It became clear that behind the debate on the principle of canonical territory and proselytism hide arguments of a substantially ideological nature," Cardinal Kasper said in an article in the Italian Jesuit review La Civilta Cattolica.
He said the Russian Orthodox Church "defends not only a reality which no longer exists, but also a relationship between the Church and the people which is problematic on the theological level."
Cardinal Kaspar also criticised an "ecclesiological heresy" evident in "not recognising in the Catholic Church her missionary dimension in the name of a concept of proselytism unduly amplified in its significance."
Pontifical Council for Christian Unity
Catholic Church in Russia
La Civilta' Cattolica
15 Mar 2002