Splash of cold water on warming Vatican-Moscow ties
Several 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.