I congratulate you on your election to the eminent and responsible position of being the First Hierarch of the Roman Catholic Church. Under your predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, the relationship between our churches received new momentum and positive dynamism. I sincerely hope that Your Holiness would promote co-operation between our two churches in the spirit of brotherly love and mutual understanding.
At your accession to the papacy, you choose the name Francisco, which brings to mind famous Catholic saints, denoting your example of sacrificial devotion to alleviating people’s suffering and to your zealous preaching of the Gospel. One can see this in your desire to continue to care for the poor and the afflicted, which you showed in compassion and love over the many years of your service in Argentina, carrying the message of Christ crucified and resurrected to the modern world. This same mission is now a priority for our Church, which opens the possibility for co-operation and interaction with Roman Catholics. Today, Orthodox and Catholics should be determined to work together to protect harassed and persecuted Christians in various parts of the world, as these people need our support and aid. We need to labour together for the propagation of traditional moral values in modern secular societies.
Please accept, Your Holiness, my best wishes for peace, spiritual strength, and physical vigour, so that the generous support of God would come to you in the carrying out of your responsible ministry.
With fraternal affection in the Lord,
Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias
14 March 2013
Official MP Website
Firstly, this is the greeting of one equal to the other. Indeed, Kirill is the senior of the two, having been a First Hierarch for four years longer than Francisco has been. The Pope of Rome isn’t the “head of the church” nor is he some sort of “super-bishop” with special powers over all Christendom. HH offers his greetings in that spirit.
Secondly, the Catholics and we do NOT see eye-to-eye on all moral issues. For instance, we have SERIOUS differences on birth control, marriage, and the role of the church and state in symphonia. Having said that, there are many things that Orthodox and Catholics could do together without engaging in the syncretistic indifferentism that marks all too many Orthodox and Catholic modernists (they do think, act, and sound alike, don’t they? There was no difference between the dynamic duo of Schmemann and Meyendorff and the blowzy pair of Schillebeeckx and Küng. Shitbirds of a feather DO flock together). In short, HH says to Francisco, “We share some of the same opponents… we should watch each other’s backs and help each other out”. It’s nothing more or less than that. It isn’t a capitulation to the papist ideology… no way… on the other hand, nor is it mere wind, “chopped liver” at an empty ecumenical love-feast. It’s a simple, “The neighbours are so nice… you could use a hand… shall you accept ours?”
Shared communion… no, that’s a pipe-dream of bookish ivory-tower gargoyles. Cooperation on this or that… yes, that’s possible; decent grounded people should go for it. In some fields, the enemies of the papists are our enemies, too. We should pool our resources at such points. It’s nothing more than that, but it isn’t a mere piffle, either. All shall depend on Francisco and in what spirit he responds to HH. That remains to be seen…