His Holiness Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev (1946- ), First Hierarch of the Local Church of Moscow and all the Russias (that’s a mouthful, no?), meeting with Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Faed Mustafa (1965- )… if we maintain friendly relations with those outside Christianity, what’s wrong with being friendly to heterodox Christians? Sheesh…
The Moscow Patriarchate and the Vatican, despite the difficulties in their relationship, can interact effectively in several areas. “Together with Roman Catholics, we stand together in facing aggressive secular liberalism, in defence of the traditional Christian understanding of family values and human life. We present a united front against certain sorts of medical-biological experimentation, as so much of it isn’t compatible with a proper respect for human dignity”, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias said at a meeting with Russian diplomats and students of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Federation in Moscow on Thursday. In his view, cooperation between the Russian Church and Roman Catholics is developing in several directions, mostly due to the outlook of the Pope of Rome, Benedict XVI Ratzinger. “Since 1980, we’ve engaged in a theological dialogue, in which we, together with other Orthodox Churches, discussed the points that divide us, primarily, the role of the Bishop of Rome and the problem of Uniatism, but there are many other differences”, His Holiness said.
Patriarch Kirill doesn’t believe that this dialogue can be smooth, saying, “We can’t quickly resolve problems that have divided the Christian East and West for over a millennium. Nevertheless, we need a thorough theological analysis of what happened, and, most importantly, we must examine our understanding of history, because very often our understanding of history is, in itself, a reason to maintain the division”. His Holiness expressed concern about developments in a number of Protestant communities, regarding liberalisation in the field of theology and Christian morality. Indeed, some Protestant communities have blessed same-sex “marriage” and the ordination of practising homosexuals to the clergy. At the same time, the Patriarch noted that most of the Christian confessions in the CIS and Eastern Europe, Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestant, “express commitment to the traditional understanding of Christian values. For example, Protestants in Russia and the Baltic States are closer to Orthodoxy than some of their brothers in faith in the West are, they don’t believe in liberalising their doctrine”.
18 November 2010
One should note that when His Holiness condemns “liberalism”, he also includes American “Conservatives” under that rubric, as gibbering poseurs such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin are Radical Neoliberals, not True Legitimatist Conservatives (Burke, Franco, Stolypin, and Bismarck would hurl at their crass money-worship and preening self-congratulation, that’s for sure). In addition, Russian Protestants have rejected American Sectarian attempts to contaminate them… they told the American interlopers that they have their own traditions, thank you very much. They’re going to stand up for prayer, sing the Our Father, and honour the Mother of God… and the American Sectarians with their sit-down prayers, “praise music”, and ill-disguised Mammon worship can go straight to Hell (bully for the Russian Proddies… they told the Americans “what for”).
In addition, His Holiness points up an important fact, the Real Church takes a balanced view on inter-Christian relations. It avoids both extremes… it doesn’t condemn contact with the heterodox out of hand, as the GOCs and rightwing konvertsy do, but it also condemns the ecumania of leftwing konvertsy, SVS/St Sergius in Paris, and New Skete. We believe in the traditional view… “Send us no letters on doctrine; send us letters of friendship only”. KMG is sending a message to the papists… the Boy Wonder is all wet, Zenit and AsiaNews are boobs for quoting him; we’re not going to accept the papist view of papal supremacy, nor are we going to accept the Uniates as “legit” bodies (they’re a dagger of the ultramontane faction in the Curia, pointed directly at our heart).
Roman Catholics and Orthodox should take their relationship to a new level. We should bring the “theological dialogue” to an end… we’ve reached a point where both sides have come to their “non-negotiable verities”… any further discussion would be circular and pointless (only a pseudo-intellectual would see any utility in it, a very good reason for rolling it up). This doesn’t mean that we retreat into our respective Emerald Cities and throw spitballs at one another. It means that we maintain friendly relations, knowing that the other is “other”, that they are what they are, and that they aren’t going to change any time soon (or any time later, for that matter). We should keep up communications, and share our earthly joys and sorrows… that’s only decent and right. If there are societal issues where we share common concern, we should stand together, anyone who condemns that is a raving nutter, and should be committed to a rubber room post-haste. However, the palaver of overpaid and overweening self-appointed “experts” should end… all it does is confuse the faithful and scandalise them.
Richard… Agent 99… Mark Shea… Julio… shall you open our gate and come into our house? Sit down and have a warm, you’re welcome guests (Richard! Will you get me the church key? I’ve obligations as a hostess…). However, “fences make for good neighbours”… wouldn’t you agree?