Skip to comments.A Holy Alliance between Rome and Moscow Is Born
Posted on 05/24/2010 9:12:53 AM PDT by GonzoII
The common objective: the "new evangelization" of Europe. A delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church visits the Vatican, which publishes an anthology of the patriarch's writings. A meeting between Kirill and Benedict XVI keeps getting closer
by Sandro Magister
ROME, May 24, 2010 – Benedict XVI will soon create a new "pontifical council" expressly dedicated to the "new evangelization." Not for mission countries where the congregation "de propaganda fide" is already at work. But for the countries of ancient Christian tradition that are today in danger of losing the faith.
Pope Joseph Ratzinger wants to link his pontificate to this initiative. And this was the main topic that he discussed one morning in the spring of 2009, at Castel Gandolfo, with four prominent cardinals he had called for consultation: Camillo Ruini, Angelo Bagnasco, Christoph Schönborn, and Angelo Scola, the last being the most resolute in promoting the institution of the new office.
Meanwhile, one great ally has already united with the pope from outside of the Catholic Church, in this enterprise of a new evangelization.
This great ally is the Russian Orthodox Church.
On the afternoon of Thursday, May 20, immediately before the concert given for Benedict XVI by the patriarchate of Moscow began in the audience hall, the president of the department of external relations for the patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (in the photo), said exactly this to the pope: that the Catholic Church will not be alone in the new evangelization of dechristianized Europe, because it will have at its side the Russian Orthodox Church, "no longer a competitor, but an ally."
The positive relationship that has been established between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of Rome is one of the most stunning achievements of Benedict XVI's pontificate. It is also stunning for its rapidity. In fact, it's enough to look back just one decade to note the chill that dominated between the two Churches.
To a question from www.chiesa on the factors that led to this extraordinary change, Metropolitan Hilarion responded by indicating three of these.
The first factor, he said, is the person of the new pope. A pope who receives "the positive regard of the whole of the Russian Orthodox world," even though this is pervaded by age-old anti-Roman sentiments.
The second factor is the common view of the challenge posed to both Churches by the dechristianization of countries that in the past were the heart of Christendom.
And the third reason is their mutual embrace of the grand Christian tradition, as the great highway of the new evangelization.
To the question about a meeting – the first in history – between the heads of the two Churches of Rome and Moscow, Hilarion replied that "this is a desire, a hope, and we must work to make it happen." He added that a few obstacles will have to be smoothed over first, above all the disagreements between the two Churches in Ukraine, but he said that he is confident that the meeting will take place soon: "not between just any patriarch and pope, but between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict."
One proof of how much closer the positions of the heads of the two Churches have become is given by two books published just a few months apart, and without precedent in history.
The first was published last December by the patriarchate of Moscow, and presents in Russian and Italian the main writings by Ratzinger on Europe, before and after his election as pope, with an extensive introduction written by Metropolitan Hilarion.
The second, released a few days ago, is published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana and collects writings by Kirill before and after his nomination as patriarch, on the dignity of man and the rights of the person, with an introduction by Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the pontifical council for culture.
A selection from Hilarion's introduction to the first volume was presented by www.chiesa back when it was published. And an extract of a text by Kirill from the second volume is reproduced below.
Both the publications were promoted by an international association based in Rome: "Sofia: Idea Russa, Idea d'Europa." The association has produced an Italian-Russian academy, "Sapientia et Scientia," inaugurated last May 20 in the context of the "Days of Russian culture and spirituality" held in Rome by a delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow guided by Metropolitan Hilarion.
The Days had two culminating moments. The first on May 19, on the premises of the new Russian Orthodox church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, built a few years ago in Rome, a short distance from the Vatican. There Metropolitan Hilarion, Archbishop Ravasi, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the pontifical council for Christian unity, discussed the issue "Orthodox and Catholics in Europe today. The Christian roots and common cultural patrimony of East and West."
The second important moment was the concert given for the pope on May 20 by Patriarch Kirill I. Compositions by great Russian musicians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, like Mussorgskij and Rimski-Korsakov, ?ajkovskij andRachmaninov, were performed. Commenting on them at the end of the concert, Benedict XVI emphasized "the close, original connection between Russian music and liturgical singing." A connection that is also fully visible in the evocative "Canto dell'Ascensione," a symphony for choir and orchestra in five parts composed by Metropolitan Hilarion, performed at the same concert and highly appreciated by the public and the pope.
In his message, Patriarch Kirill recalled that in Russia, "during the years of persecution, when the majority of the population had no access to sacred music, these works, together with the masterpieces of Russian literature and the figurative arts, contributed to bringing the proclamation of the Gospel, proposing to the secular world ideals of the highest moral and spiritual caliber."
And Benedict XVI, in his final speech, remarked on how in the musical compositions performed, "there is already realized the encounter, the dialogue, the synergy between East and West, as also between tradition and modernity." A dialogue that is all the more urgent in order to let Europe breathe again with "two lungs" and restore to it the awareness of its Christian roots.
Both Benedict XVI and Metropolitan Hilarion are utterly convinced that Christian art is also a vehicle of evangelization and a leaven of unity between the Churches.
Before arriving in Rome to meet with the pope, Hilarion stopped in Ravenna, Milan, Turin, and Bologna. The first of these cities was the capital of the Eastern Christian empire in Italy, and its basilicas are a marvelous testimony to this. In his conference on May 19, Hilarion said that he had admired in the mosaics of Ravenna "the splendor of a Church in harmony, not yet wounded by the division between East and West." And he added: "If this harmony was real for our ancestors, it can be real for us as well. If we are not able to recreate the harmony evoked by the mosaics of Ravenna, the blame will be ours alone."
The following is an extract from the first of the texts by Patriarch Kirill collected in the volume published in recent days by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
Another part of this text was published in the May 17-18, 2010 issue of "L'Osservatore Romano."
The original, in Russian, was published in the February 16-17, 2000 issue of the "Nezavisimaja Gazeta"
NORM OF FAITH AS NORM OF LIFE
by Kirill I, patriarch of Moscow and all Russia
A religious way of life – in our case, a Christian-Orthodox way of life – is distinguished by its foundation in the tradition of the Church. Tradition presents itself to us as a collection of truths that by means of the witness of the holy apostles were accepted by the Church, are preserved by her, and are developed in relation to the challenged posed to the Church in the various historical periods. In short, tradition is the vital flow of the grace of faith in the life of the Church. Tradition is a normative phenomenon, it is nothing other than the norm of faith. [...] Only a life that corresponds to tradition as norm of faith can be considered a truly Christian-Orthodox life. [...]
Preserving this norm and affirming it in society as a fundamental ontological value is a task of every member of the Church. [...] This norm is stable and fragile at the same time. The experience of contact with other cultural and social models tells us that from that contact, this norm can emerge damaged or even destroyed, or unharmed and even strengthened. [...] When the models of life different from our own are also based on their respective traditions, then most of the time they do not constitute a threat to the values on which the Christian-Orthodox way of life is founded. Historically, the Orthodox have coexisted, coexist and interact in Russia with Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and other Christian confessions. They have always lived peacefully beside the members of other confessions and religions; except for the cases in which a faith or a way of life seen as foreign has been imposed on our people by force or by means of proselytism. Then the people have risen up in defense of their own faith and their own norm of life. As a rule, these are cases that have taken place following aggression on the part of foreign powers. [...]
The problem is that today there are no defenses capable of protecting the spiritual health of the people, their historical-religious uniqueness, from the expansion of foreign and destructive socio-cultural factors, from a new way of life that has emerged outside of any tradition and has been formed under the influence of the postindustrial reality.
At the foundation of this model of life are the ideas of neoliberalism, which combine pagan anthropocentrism, established in European culture at the time of the Renaissance, with features of Protestant theology and elements of philosophical thought of Jewish origin. These ideas were definitively formed at the end of the age of Enlightenment. The French Revolution is the conclusive act of this philosophical and spiritual revolution, which is the basis for the rejection of the normative significance of tradition.
It is by no means a coincidence that this revolution began with the Protestant Reformation, because it was precisely the Reformation that rejected the normative principle of tradition in the realm of Christian doctrine. Tradition, in Protestantism, ceased being a criterion of truth. It was replaced by the application of reason to the Sacred Scriptures, and by personal religious experience. From this point of view, Protestantism essentially presents itself as a liberal interpretation of Christianity.
I would like to say a few words about ecumenism in this regard. When there is a slowing or a crisis in ecumenical dialogue, this is to be attributed in the first place to an insufficiency of a methodological nature: instead of agreeing immediately on the most important things, meaning on the understanding of sacred tradition as norm of faith and criterion of theological truth, Christians undertake to discuss individual questions, which are certainly relevant, but particular. Even if there were success on some of these individual points, this would have no great repercussions: what permanent significance could there be, in fact, to a specific doctrinal agreement when one of the parties – I am thinking, for example, of a significant proportion of the Protestant theologians – does not recognize the very concept of norm of faith? So new ideas and new arguments can always revise or annul what has been established previously, leading constantly to new disagreements and divisions.
If we look at the question of female priesthood or that of the admission of homosexuality, is not this perhaps precisely what happens today? Both of the questions confirm, among other things, the thesis about the liberal nature of Protestantism, as previously defined. It is absolutely evident that the introduction of female priesthood and the admission of homosexuality have taken place under the influence of a certain liberal vision of human rights: a vision in which these rights are radically opposed to sacred tradition. And a part of Protestantism has resolved the question in favor of this conception of human rights, ignoring the clear norm of faith in the tradition.
The new way of life in the postindustrial age is based on the exercise of individual freedom at any cost and without limits, except those imposed by the law. How can this vision be defined from a theological point of view? The conception of neoliberalism is based on the idea of the liberation of the human person from everything that he believes could limit the exercise of his will and his rights. This model presumes that the purpose of human existence is the affirmation of individual freedom; and it affirms that from this, the person derives his absolute value.
I would like to observe that theologians, including Orthodox theologians, do not deny the freedom of the individual. Affirming this does not betray the doctrine of the Church of Christ. The Lord himself, who created man in his image and likeness, has infused in him the gift of free will. [...] But when the apostle Paul calls us to freedom, he is talking about the predestination of man to be free in Christ, meaning free from the burden of sin. Because true freedom is acquired by man to the extent to which he is free from sin, from the obscure power of instinct and from the evil that weighs upon him. [...]
But the liberal ideal – as previously described – makes no appeal to liberation from sin, because it is the very concept of sin that is absent in this liberalism. There is no room for the concept of sin; an action is illicit when, with a given behavior, the individual violates the law or compromises someone else's freedom. We could say that the neoliberal postindustrial doctrine revolves around the idea of the emancipation of the individual sinner, meaning the unleashing of the full potential of sin that exists in man. Man emancipated in this sense has the right to free himself from everything that obstructs him in the affirmation of his "ego" wounded by sin. This is – the claim goes – a private affair, of the sovereign, autonomous individual, who is not dependent on anyone else but himself. In this sense, neoliberalism is diametrically opposed to Christianity. It can be defined as anti-Christian, without fear of sinning against the truth.
As for the gravity of the challenge, a qualitative leap is presented by the fact that the modern conception of liberalism [...] has penetrated and has spread in all the spheres of human activity: economic, political, legal, religious. The neoliberal idea determines the structure of society, it determines the common significance of civil liberties, of the democratic institutions, of the market economy, of the freedom of speech, of the freedom of conscience, of everything that is included in the concept of "contemporary civilization."
Whenever any objections to the neoliberal doctrine are advanced, some are struck with an almost sacred terror, they see these criticisms as an attack on the "sacred principles" of freedom and human rights. One commentator said that in one of my articles published in 1999 in the ""Nezavisimaja Gazeta," entitled "The conditions of modernity," I was proposing nothing less than the foundation of a society similar to the one envisioned by the Ayatollah Khomeini, and that I wanted to light up the skies of Russia with the bonfires of the Holy Inquisition. Society today must understand that neoliberal ideas can be criticized on the basis of different conceptions of political economy. The plurality of opinion, moreover, takes its place quite naturally in the system of values that liberal doctrine itself defends. [...]
But let's return to the initial question: what is, what should be the response of the individual person, of society, and finally of theology to the fundamental challenge of our time, the one issued by neoliberalism?
It is in the first place appropriate to emphasize how today there are at least two widespread points of view on this subject. [...] The first is the one that we could call the isolationist model. [...] It is a point of view that is present both in some political circles and in a certain part of our ecclesial reality. And nonetheless a question arises: is isolation vital and creative, is it truly effective, all the more in an open world, in an age characterized by the integration of science, economics, information, communication, and even politics? Such a defense against the outside world is perhaps possible for a small group of persons in the desert or in the dense forests of Siberia; although even those "old believers" in Siberia who for many decades defended themselves from "this world" were not able in the long run to preserve their cherished solitude or their form of existence. But is it possible to isolate, to cloister a Church and a great nation? Would this not mean rejecting the mission given to the Church by the Savior Jesus Christ himself, that of witnessing to the truth before the entire world?
The second model consists in accepting en bloc the idea of neoliberal civilization – as it has been developed in the West up until our time – in order to transplant it artificially to Russian Orthodox soil, to impose it on the people by force, if necessary. Unlike similar attempts made in the past, today the power of the state and its institutions is no longer necessary to attain this goal. It is sufficient to use the mass media, to use the overwhelming power of publicity, to exploit the possibilities offered by the educational system, and so on. This model asserts that the religious and historical-cultural tradition of our country has been exhausted, that only "common human values" have the right to exist, that the axiological unification of the world is the indispensable condition for integration. There is no doubt: if this point of view wins, the Orthodox will be confined to a sort of spiritual reservation. [...] Not unlike the first model, this model also has its followers: both in the political world, and, to a certain extent, in the ecclesial camp.
It is clear that the two models are mutually exclusive. It is also evident that both enjoy strong support. The opposition between these two points of view is to a great extent at the basis of the climate of tension and confrontation in social life; a tension that also impacts the life of the Church.
Is it possible to face and to resolve this challenge peacefully, meaning without sinning against the truth? Is it possible to offer an effective model that would lead to cooperation between the values of tradition and liberal ideas? [...] Christian and Orthodox theology must expose the heart of the matter: it must forcefully assert that the existence of liberal institutions in economic, political, and social life and in international relations is reasonable and morally justified only on the condition that the neoliberal vision of man and society is not imposed along with them. [...] The main task for theology is the elaboration of a Christian social doctrine of the Russian Orthodox Church, a doctrine rooted in tradition and responding to the questions facing contemporary society, a doctrine that could serve as guide for the action of priests and laity, and that correctly reflects the position of the Church on the most important problems of modernity. [...]
Thinking of the tasks of theology in regard to the relationship between Church and world, I would like to conclude by saying this: the norm of faith, engraved in the apostolic tradition and preserved by the Church, will reveal itself to us in its fullness as norm of human life when man himself is full of the desire to realize that what he has learned. Attaining this is not a task for theology alone, but for the entire Church in its fullness, guided by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is entirely proper to refer to Vatican II documents to define the Catholic teaching on ecumenism with the East since the lifting of the anaphemas that reversed the previously schismatic course of Eastern Orthodoxy occurred recently. Thia is what Church councils are for: to steer the Church in light of latter-day developments.
I was baptised Russian Orthodox and switched to the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church in 1994, where I happily am to this day. I believe that all that the Holy Catholic Church teaches, confesses and proclaims is inspired by God.
Now, are you Catholic? It is not every day that I meet one who believes that her church "speaks with a forked tongue" and remains in it.
Indeed. I never said otherwise. Those Orthodox who harden in their desire for separation put their souls in grave danger. So do many nominal Catholics who deny what their Church teaches.
If you throw a from in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out. If, however, you put it into a pot of room temperature water, and slowly bring the water to a boil, the frog will lay there and fall asleep, die, and be boiled. That is what has happened to Catholics around the world, they have listened to the progressivist/modernist/liberal/effeminate clergy de-catholicize the faith, till they were cooked, they lost the faith, or learned a false Catholicism, if they even stayed long enough. Most, don't go to mass anymore. In Austria a Catholic country, scarcely 5% go to mass on Sunday. And of the ones that go, few are left that have not been un-catholicized, Protestantized, they don't know much, about the Faith.
It is not every day that I meet one who believes that her church "speaks with a forked tongue" and remains in it.
One does not leave the ONLY TRUE CHURCH, the Catholic Church, because it's hierarchy speaks with a forked tongue on fallible matters. You don't leave the Church because a pope lived an immoral life. The Church and her infalllible doctrines are not affected by the fallible actions of men. Let them leave if they want.
That is not correct. Heresy, doctrinal errors, do not invalidate the sacraments if the heretical church maintains apostolic succession, valid clergy, the proper intention, and matter, ALL of which the Anglicans abandoned. A church can be in schism and heresy, and still have valid sacraments. A Catholic priest can leave the Church,go into heresy, schism, adultery, homosexuality, and he will still be able to confect valid sacraments. Sin, heresy, and schism do not automatically invalidate the sacraments.
On the other hand an Anglican priest can convert and renounce all his heresies and his schism, and have the proper intention, but he will not be able to confect valid sacraments, unless he is ordained by a bishop with apostolic succession.
I hope that helps you to understand.
For a long time prior to the Schism (1054), various precursors of the movement, among them Photius (886), defended the heresy according to which the Third Person of the Holy Trinity would not proceed from the First and the Second. Cerularius and other Schismatic Greeks also adhered to this error. Therefore, in the 11th century when the Catholic Church declared this movement schismatic, she was exercising mercy, because the normal procedure would have been to declare it heretical. Until today, the Greek and Russian schismatics defend the same error. In addition to denying this dogma, there are at least three others that are not accepted by the Greek and Russian schismatics: they are the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception, the Papal Primacy, and Papal Infallibility. Therefore, in reality, for quite some time the self-proclaimed Orthodox church has ceased to be orthodox and has been heretical.
It is not correct to say, as you imply, that all of the doctrines of the so-called Orthodox Church is in agreement with Catholic doctrine. There are major divergences, since the Orthodox Church denies the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, which is a dogma Catholics profess in the Creed. It also denies the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, as well as the dogma of Papal Infallibility. Besides these dogmas, there are still many other doctrinal points, such the monarchical structure of the Catholic Church,the role of the Sovereign Pontiff in this monarchy that it rejects, Limbo, purgatory, andthe indissolubility of marriage, to name but a few. These mentioned differences are more than enough to show that the Orthodox are not orthodox at all, but normally should be called heretics, since they deny at least three Catholic dogmas. Until Vatican II the Catholic Church called them schismatics rather than heretics as a kind of courtesy, given that the closest historical motive that led Greek Schismatics to be separated from the Catholic Church was disobedience to the Pope.
To your recent three posts.
I don’t know what difference it should make to you that I converted, — or, more accurately, switched over to the Catholic Church. All my Christian education, save the barest foundation of it, I received as an adult and as Catholic. I have an actual dislike for the Russian Orthodox Church in particular, given its shameful servility under Communism.
But you, if I may comment on thsi personal matter, do have a problem as a professed Catholic. You do not go around second-guessing the councils of the Church no matter how modernizing they seem to you; you certainly do not insult your Mother Church with “forked tongue” regardless of what her teaching is about. I also have a problem with much of how Vatican II was understood and applied; I fully understand that the state of the Church in the West is quite deplorable. That being said, the ecumentical stance of the Church toward the Orthodox happens to be clearly formulated by the Holy Father, the Vatican II council, as as we’ve seen did not even originate with Vatican II. As a Catholic you owe obedience to your Church even if some of her positions do not sit well with you. Infallible or not, it remains a well articulated position of the Church that the theological differences with the East do not constitute a heresy.
It is true that the Orthodox deny the recent Catholic dogmas. But that does not constitute heresy because heresy implies that the knowledge was revealed and then denied. Since the dogmas are new, they were not revealed to the Orthodox Churches. Obviously, no reunification will be possible till an agreement is reached on them in an ecumenical council. Till such time, the Orthodox are in schism also on that score, but not in heresy.
The Filioque is a matter of church governance, because it was adopted without consulting the East. That is the principal grievance that the Orthodox have about it. The Catholic Church allows the Filioque to be omitted in the Creed as it is said in the Eastern Catholic Churches. The underlying theology does not seem to be all that divergent in the East. Naturally, that remains an obstacle for reunification as well, at least int he mind of the Orthodox, but it does not happen to be an obstacle for us.
"Well articulated"? where is your "well articulated". Not classifying them in the category of heretics in the Catholic encyclopedia is not "well articulated". You have not provided any "well articulation".
All the Eastern Orthodox are in heresy, I articulated just some of the doctrines in which they are in heresy, there are many more. Is there a new definition of heresy that you've come up with?
If a Catholic denies the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage, he is a heretic. The Orthodox can get divorced twice and married three times. Heresy means heresy.
Enough is enough, stop writing your own musings, you are just winging it. There is no point in discussing anything with you because you live in your own world. Heresy is a defined term that anyone can look up in one second.
from : MY CATHOLIC FAITH
71. Schism and Heresy
What is schism; and what is heresy? --Schism is the refusal to submit to the authority of the Pope; heresy is the formal denial or doubt by a baptized person of any revealed truth of the Catholic Faith.
What were the most important schisms and heresies that have tried to destroy the Church? ......
The greatest schism suffered by the Christian Church was that of the East, resulting in the establishment of the Orthodox Eastern Church. The Eastern emperors, desiring more power in the Church, tried to make the patriarchs of Constantinople independent of Rome. Finally, Photius, with the support of the emperor, held a council of Eastern bishops in the year 867, and broke from Rome.
The cause of the schism was not doctrinal, but rather political and material,- jealousy between the East and the West. It has resulted in the separation from Rome of 145 million people with valid priesthood and sacraments. In the United States there are a number of schismatical churches, among them the Greek Orthodox, and the Russian Church.
After minor schisms and misunderstandings between East and West in 1054 there was a final break by Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, continuing today.
Today the Orthodox Eastern Church remains in schism, but does not spread. It is a withered branch, having cut itself off from the parent tree.
The Orthodox Eastern Church denies the Catholic dogma that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. It also teaches that the souls of the just will not attain complete happiness till the end of the world, when they will be joined to their bodies; and that the souls of the wicked will not suffer complete torture in hell until that last day. These are heresies against the doctrines of the Church.
Thus it can be seen that today the Orthodox Eastern Church is not merely schismatical, but truly heretical; for it holds primary doctrines in a different light. But it has valid orders. (See Chapter 55 on The Catholic Eastern Church; Rites)
I did. Refer to my #35. Cannot be clearer.
you live in your own world
There is not really any question of doctrine involved. It is not a heresy, but a schism. The Decree of Florence made every possible concession to their feelings. There is no real reason why they should not sign that Decree now. They deny papal infallibility and the Immaculate Conception, they quarrel over purgatory, consecration by the words of institution, the procession of the Holy Ghost, in each case misrepresenting the dogma to which they object. It is not difficult to show that on all these points their own Fathers are with those of the Latin Church, which asks them only to return to the old teaching of their own Church.