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Metropolitan Hilarion's comments abo ut Pope Benedict’s retirement

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.pravmir.com/metropolitan-hilarion-of-volokolamsk-comments-on-reports-about-pope-benedict-xvis-retirement/ Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 12, 2013
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      http://www.pravmir.com/metropolitan-hilarion-of-volokolamsk-comments-on-reports-about-pope-benedict-xvis-retirement/

      Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk comments on reports about Pope
      Benedict XVI’s retirement
      Feb 12th, 2013

      On February 11, 2013, the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s
      department for external church relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of
      Volokolamsk, made comments to ITAR-TASS news agency concerning that
      coming reports about the retirement of the head of the Roman Catholic
      Church, Pope Benedict XVI.

      Reports about the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI have proved to be
      unexpected even for his closest associates. Cardinal Sodano described it
      as ‘a thunder out of a clear sky’. Really, there have been no precedents
      of this kind in the modern history of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope
      John Paul II remained in office to the end despite his serious health
      problems.

      Meanwhile, the office of the Roman Pontiff, just as that of any head of
      a Church, presupposes active work. It is not a ceremonial office. If
      one’s age and health prove to be an obstacle for effective work, the
      head of a Church may decide to retire. In recent years, the Catholic
      Church has come to face very serious challenges which require new
      incentives to come from the See of Rome. Perhaps, precisely this has
      made the pope to give way to a younger and more dynamic prelate to be
      elected by the conclave of cardinals. The Pope Benedict XVI’s decision
      to leave his office in the present situation may be seen as an act of
      personal courage and humbleness.

      We are grateful to Pope Benedict XVI for his understanding of the
      problems which impede the full normalization of Orthodox-Catholic
      relations, especially in such regions as western Ukraine. Only yesterday
      I spoke about Pope Benedict XVI in my talk on Russia-24 TV network with
      the new Russian ambassador to the Holy See, A. A. Avdeyev. I pointed out
      that relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman
      Catholic Church have acquired positive dynamic after his ascension to
      the See of Rome. He enjoys great respect in the Christian world. He is a
      prominent theologian, who is well versed in the tradition of the
      Orthodox Church while having the sensitivity that makes it possible for
      him to build relations with Orthodox Church on due level.

      My personal meetings and talks with Pope Benedict XVI remain memorable
      for me. There have been three meetings since I was appointed chairman of
      the DECR. In my talks with the pontiff I was always amazed by his calm
      and thoughtful reaction, his sensitivity to issues we raised, his desire
      to solve together the problems arising in our relations. Specifically, I
      set forth in detail to the pope my vision of the problems we have
      encountered in pan-Orthodox – Catholic dialogue (I made a report about
      these problems to the recent Bishops’ Council, and it made appropriate
      decisions). My attitude to the progress of this dialogue is very
      critical, which I frankly stated to the pope and he always showed
      understanding.

      Even before his ascension to the See of Rome, Cardinal Ratzinger
      declared war on ‘the dictatorship of relativism’ so typical for the
      Western society today. It immediately made him unpopular in the eyes of
      secular politicians and journalists. Pope Benedict XVI is not a media
      star. He is a man of the Church. In the mass media, he is continuously
      criticized for traditionalism and conservatism, but precisely these
      merits of his are of credit for millions of Christians, both Catholic
      and non-Catholic, those who seek to preserve traditional Christian
      spiritual and moral values.

      It remains only to hope that his successor will continue walking along
      the same path and that Orthodox-Catholic relations will continue
      developing progressively for the common good of the whole Christendom.
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