FaithWorld

Splash of cold water on warming Vatican-Moscow ties

June 2, 2008

Cardinal Walter Kasper and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy meet in Moscow, 29 May 2008/Alexander NatruskinSeveral news outlets (this blog included) noted an interesting warmer tone during a meeting in Moscow between Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican’s top ecumenical official, and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy last week. The Rome-based Catholic news agency Asianews.it didn’t see it that way. Maybe the news we’ve been waiting for — the announcement of a meeting between Pope Benedict and Patriarch Alexiy — will take longer in coming after all.

Asianews.it wrote: “For some Russia experts Cardinal Kasper was supposed to meet the Orthodox leader to jumpstart the Joint Orthodox-Catholic Theological Commission but apparently he failed to do so.

It also reported a pretty strong remark by Alexiy about the statement that came out of the Ravenna meeting of theologians that Russian Orthodox delegates walked out of: “The problem is not only that a statement was approved without our participation but the way it was done confers upon Constantinople a status like that of the Vatican for Catholics.”

The Vatican praised the Ravenna statement by Catholic and non-Russian Orthodox theologians in October 2007 as a first small step towards a possible healing of their millennium-long East-West Christian schism. Kasper warned against premature hopes, saying: “The road is very long and difficult.” Going by the remarks reported by Asianews.it, it looks quite long and difficult indeed.

Comments
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The theological problem is far greater than any political or hierarchical problem because in not acknowledging the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, the Orthodox deny the logical primacy of the Word, that is, of the will in the order of things. So it’s of little consequence to stage meetings and “joint statements” when a theological barrier exists that involves the foundation of the Christian religion and even the necessary order in all things: the logical requirement that the intellect and the will precede action. Diplomacy is one thing. Right doctrine, however, is non-negotiable.

Posted by Charlotte | Report as abusive
 

I am sorry to say that you have no idea what you are talking about Charlotte.

Posted by tony | Report as abusive
 

Maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about. That could be. But judging from the superficiality of your comment, you clearly aren’t the person to set me straight.

Posted by Charlotte | Report as abusive
 

Charlotte is correct that the Orthodox Church must accept that the Egg precedes the Chicken before any kind of accord can be struck between them and real Christians. It’s plainly obvious that as chickens come from eggs, in order for there to be a chicken there must first be an egg, and anyone who thinks otherwise is just a silly.

Posted by Joel | Report as abusive
 

Charlotte, the difference is not in the very foundation of Christian faith. The schism raised when the controversial doctrine was adopted by catholics. Or do you think, that before the schism Cristianity was lacking “the very basics”?

And some more words about ‘logic’. Who has dictated direct analogy “that the intellect and the will precede action”? Is the mystery of Trinity so simple?

The meeting of Pope and the Patriarch is not intended as reunion of Church. Because until catholics do not abandon their “renovations” of Symbol of Faith, and some other controversial doctrines (ex cathedra, etc) they will be heretics to us.

 

“It’s plainly obvious that as chickens come from eggs, in order for there to be a chicken there must first be an egg, and anyone who thinks otherwise is just a silly.”

Anyone who thinks, that it is smart idea to compare Trinity with eggs and chikens should be sent to the Middle Age voyage to the catholic Spain.

 

So, do you see, my young western theologists, the gap is too wide. There will be no discussion on the egg/chicken level, nor on the will/action level. Oversimplification, rationalisation, along with – strange but true – overmisticism is a catholic way of mind.

 

‘Anyone who thinks, that it is smart idea to compare Trinity with eggs and chikens should be sent to the Middle Age voyage to the catholic Spain.’

But if you travelled back in time to mediaeval Spain, and then took a course of action which prevented the time-machine from being built later in the timeline – OMG paradox!

This is one function of the trinity concept – by adopting a paradoxical definition, the heretical idea of being able to define God (and then to go on to claim knowledge of His actions, will, beliefs, etc.) should be impossible. A nice try, I guess; ultimately it underestimates people’s capacity for convenient doublethink.

Posted by Joel | Report as abusive
 

In deference to an earlier comment, I admit in advance that I may be incompetent even to talk. But I say this: To proclaim or understand the complete mystery of the Trinity isn’t a necessity for each individual Christian. The necessity is that no dogmatic fact can be denied willfully, and the Orthodox denial of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and Son is a considered denial of a dogmatic fact. Even more, it’s a denial of elementary logic. The infinite Holy Spirit proceeds from the infinite Word, the Son. The procession of the will (and, finally, action) from the human intellect mirrors this procession in human terms. The denial of these processions is first a denial of the Trinity and therefore of God; and second a denial of the primacy of Reason. God’s charity proceeds from the Word. The simplicity of this fact requires that the Roman Catholic Church not negotiate its truth.

Posted by Charlotte | Report as abusive
 

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