Voices from Russia

Friday, 18 September 2009

Here We Go Again… Some in the Vatican are Drunk on the Thunderbird, Yet Again

Walter Cardinal Kasper (1933- ), President of  the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Cardinal Kasper! A pleasant chat with Hilarion Alfeyev is not equal to a change in policy… do bear that in mind, sir!

Editor’s Foreword:

Shall they EVER learn? The following article is based upon no factual statement of Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev, nor is it founded upon substantive developments as reported by reliable sources such as Bishop Mark Golovkov or Fr Vsevolod Chaplin. Kasper is ga-ga over the latest politeness from the mouth of Hilarion Alfeyev (do recall that KMG took large portions of the DECR away from him… considering his abysmal performance during the Osborne crisis in England, rightly so (the MP had to send Fr Mikahil Dudko to clean up his mess)). The article follows below, with an acerbic commentary afterwards. God willing, Benedict Ratzinger has better advisers than this in pectore, if not… he is being badly-served, indeed!

BMD

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Vatican Sees End to Tensions with Russian Orthodox

Relations with the Russian Orthodox Church have vastly improved, possibly paving the way for a papal visit to Moscow or a historic meeting between the pope and the Orthodox patriarch outside of Russia or the Vatican, a senior Vatican cardinal said Thursday. Cardinal Walter Kasper told Vatican Radio, “We have overcome all the tensions in recent years”. He spoke after meeting with Archbishop Hilarion, head of external relations for the Moscow patriarch’s office. Hilarion is scheduled to meet Friday with Pope Benedict XVI.

Kasper said “yes” when asked if a trip to Moscow was a “little bit closer”, but, said that was not on the agenda for the moment. More likely was a meeting between Benedict and Patriarch Kirill in another country. “They are not refusing a meeting with pope: this will probably not take place in Moscow or Rome but in a third location”, Kasper said.

The previous pontiff, John Paul II, was frustrated in his efforts to visit Moscow, a trip that would be seen as an important sign that differences between Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity were being narrowed. The Moscow church blocked any visit, accusing the Vatican of poaching for converts in Russia and other traditionally-Orthodox lands of the former Soviet Union. The Vatican always denied the charge. Kasper said the two churches plan to resume theological talks soon in Cyprus. As part of signs of an improving climate, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev told Italian reporters in July that Moscow wants to improve its ties with the Vatican.

Victor L. Simpson

Vatican City

17 September 2009

Associated Press

http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2009/09/17/vatican_sees_end_to_tensions_with_russian_orthodox/

Editor’s Afterword:

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), former Deputy Head of the DECR, now head of the MP Directorate for Cooperation with the RF Government. His office was taken away from the DECR… that is, KMG did not wish him to be under Alfeyev… ponder that, if you please!

Mr Simpson! Why didn’t you vet this piece with those with real ties in Moscow… you could have asked Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, for instance. You would have found out that the position of the Patriarchate of Moscow and all the Russias has not changed in the least. It would have saved you from writing such a meretricious example of papist propaganda. By the way, that is why I quoted the entire article; no one can accuse me of picking it to pieces out of context. In short, it is a report entirely without merit or foundation.

The conditions for a meeting between His Holiness and the Patriarch of the West remain as they have always been. Firstly, the papists must restrain their Galician Uniate attack dogs and they must cease their support of the “Ukrainian” successor-state (although the latter has never been stated openly, it is implicit in the demand that Uniate proselytism must cease absolutely and completely). Rome shows no sign of doing so. Ergo, there is no chance whatsoever of any meeting between His Holiness and the Pope of Rome. Cardinal Kasper has had a pleasant conversation with his buddy Alfeyev… that is all that occurred. In secular terms, it is nothing but GIGO… not an iota of substance has changed one whit.

In any case, the papists do not understand that we do not see the world as they do. Implicit in the Orthodox weltanshauung is the understanding that Christian Rome did not fall in 476, rather, the western provinces fell to barbarian incursions, that’s all. That is not unimportant, indeed, it is the basis of the conflict in ideology between the Church and the Pope of Rome. It would not be unfair to point up that we reject the papal ideology that we Orthodox are a part of a notional “Eastern Church”.  If one thinks on that for a moment, it is not tenable. There is only the Church and those outside of Her.

In point of fact, we accept very few of the papal postulates, particularly, we do not hold to “papal infallibility” (to be fair, neither do most papists either, however, they cannot say so openly). Save for concurrence in some limited moral issues, there is much disagreement between the Church and the Pope of Rome, and not merely on “jurisdictional” questions, it must be noted.

There is a reason that I use the word “papist”… it is NOT pejorative, it is descriptive. In the theology of the papal confession (including all Uniates, incidentally), there is a central and essential role given to the Pope of Rome and Patriarch of the West (to use his actual and ancient title). All other bishops are his subordinates, and such subordination is the sine qua non of faithfulness to Christ. I would be remiss if I were not to point up that we Orthodox reject such a stipulation absolutely and without equivocation.

If you wish to know what the Church believes, well, I am not a scholar… However (shades of Chukcha the Wise)… do read two essays by Aleksei Stepanovich Khomiakov, The Church is One and On the Western Confessions of Faith. Our stance has not changed since these were written. Am I being “nasty?” I think it better that our western friends should know where we stand. Then, we can end the fruitless “ecumenical” talks (which only interest a tiny coterie of windy pseudo-intellectuals, in any case) and concentrate on good and neighbourly relations between decent God-fearing peoples. I believe that all believers would find that agreeable.

As for President Medvedev’s statement, that can be handled easily. He is speaking of the relations between the Russian state and the Vatican State. It has no bearing on Church questions. Sorry, Charlie…

BMD

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