We are witnessing the emergence of a new kind of ecumenical work, one that respects theological differences, but recognizes that if the de-Christianization of culture continues, it would lead to cultural catastrophe (most likely a capitulation to Islam). This recognition also sharpens both the beliefs and values the Christian Churches share in common so that ecumenical activity in the future would be formed around cooperation in strengthening them.
ZE10071905 – 2010-07-19
Says Both Churches Can Work Together on Many Issues
MOSCOW, JULY 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russias says he and Benedict XVI often see eye-to-eye on many issues, especially with regard to those of a moral nature.
The Patriarch said this in statements on the occasion of his trip to Ukraine, reported today by the Russian agency Interfax.
"I must say that the position of the present Pope, Benedict XVI, leaves room for optimism," he said in an interview on Ukrainian television channels, on the eve of his visit to that country.
He reminded journalists that the Pope is often criticized by "liberal theologians and the liberal mass media in the West" for his opinions.
"However, in his approach on many public and moral issues, the Pope coincides fully with the approach of the Russian Orthodox Church. This gives us an opportunity to promote Christian values with the Catholic Church, in particular in international organizations and in the international arena," he asserted.
At the same time, the patriarch acknowledged that "very dangerous phenomena" are taking place in contemporary Protestantism, in which Christians "let sinful elements of the world enter their interior and justify these elements that the secular society offers them."
As a result, he said, "liberal secular philosophical slogans are repeated within the Protestant churches and grow roots in religious thought."
In this connection, Patriarch Kirill referred to the question of the ordination of women, which appears in the West when "the secular notion of human rights is incorporated to theology, to ecclesial practices," he said.
"Another similar issue is the attitude toward homosexuality. The Word of God is distorted to please the liberal secular standard. It is very clearly written that it is a sin," he added.
Patriarch Kirill addressed the Ukrainian media reminding them also of the importance that both countries, Russia and Ukraine, be integrated in Europe preserving their "national, cultural and spiritual identity."
"It is a great challenge in conditions of globalization," he said. "We must preserve the diversity and beauty of God’s world and at the same time promote good international cooperation and peaceful relations between nations."
In his opinion, if Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians reject their "basic values," the probable destruction of the "national matrix" will be "a great catastrophe of civilization — just as if other nations lose their identity."
"The world would be unified and horrible," the patriarch added. "The world would be easily manipulated. Why? Because this traditional spiritual culture of the majority of the population is the main criterion to distinguish good from evil."