Catholic cardinal wants to prevent rupture of dialogue with Orthodox
CARDINAL KASPER SPEAKS AGAINST CREATION OF GREEK CATHOLIC PATRIARCHATE IN
Portal-credo.ru, 1 March 2004
The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity,
Cardinal Walter Kasper, spoke out against the creation of a Greek Catholic
patriarchate in Ukraine, Blagovest-info reports, citing CWN. "Nobody wants
to see a breaking of all connections that the pope managed to establish
with the Orthodox churches," the cardinal declared; he recently returned
from Moscow where he conducted talks with Patriarch Alexis II and other
hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox church.
The decision whether the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church (UGKTs) should be
given the status of a patriarchate can be made only by John Paul II
himself, the prelate reminded reporters. At the same time, Cardinal Kasper
is convinced that this decision should be made soon in order to put an end
to disagreements as quickly as possible.
Even before his trip to Moscow Cardinal Kasper was known as an opponent of
the creation of the patriarchate, for which several other hierarchs of the
Catholic church had spoken in favor. In particular, the head of this
organization, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, who at the present time bears the
title of Supreme Archbishop of Lviv, has actively promoted the granting of
patriarchal status to UGKTs.
The prospect of the creation of the patriarchate was sharply condemned by
Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and all-Rus. His position was supported by
the primates of other Orthodox local churches, led by Ecumenical Patriarch
Bartholomew II. The patriarch of Constantinople sent the pope a letter in
which he called the pontiff to refrain from this step because of which
relations between the Vatican and Orthodox churches could suffer serious harm.
"It is necessary to take account of the arguments of the Orthodox,"
Cardinal Kasper stated. "Dialogue with Orthodox churches must not be
interrupted because of this." The prelate also expressed the hope that his
visit to Russia would lay a foundation for a new stage in relations between
the Catholic church and the Moscow patriarchate. At the time of the
cardinal's visit to Moscow he and the head of the Department of External
Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate, Metropolitan Kirill of
Smolensk and Kaliningrad, agreed on the creation of a joint commission
which will review the accusations of proselytism on the canonical territory
of the Russian Orthodox church, which have been made against
representatives of the Catholic community. (tr. by PDS, posted 1 March 2004)