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Abolish Catholic dioceses and problems are solved, says Kirill

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=10952&size=A » 12/03/2007 18:17 RUSSIA – VATICAN Abolish Catholic dioceses and problems are solved, says Kirill by
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 4, 2007
      http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=10952&size=A

      » 12/03/2007 18:17
      RUSSIA – VATICAN
      Abolish Catholic dioceses and problems are solved, says Kirill
      by Daniil Dudochkin

      The head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department
      for External Church Relations wants the Catholic
      Church in Russia to turn back the clock to 2002.


      Moscow (AsiaNews) – How do you solve problems
      between the Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate?
      Abolish existing Catholic dioceses in Russia. Is
      this the harebrained idea of some dreamy
      visionary? No, it isn’t. Despite today’s
      widespread support for religious freedom,
      Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad,
      head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for
      External Church Relations, wants to see Catholic diocese abolished.

      “We shall never recognise them and will always
      dispute the presence of ordinary Catholic
      dioceses in the territory of Russia and consider
      it a challenge to our common idea of sticking to
      a territorial principle of Church
      administrature,” said Kirill in his address to an
      international forum on “Local Church and Canonic
      Territory: Canonic, Juridical and Interfaith
      Aspects” held in Moscow last Saturday. The
      Apostolic Nuncio to Moscow, Mgr Antonio Mennini, was also present.

      For the Orthodox prelate, the development of any
      dialogue between the Moscow Patriarchate and the
      Catholic Church depends on the Vatican’s
      readiness to confirm that a bishop’s jurisdiction
      must conform to the principle of Canonic
      territory and will therefore modify the status of
      Catholic dioceses in Russia, replacing them with apostolic administratures.

      For Kirill the decision taken by John Paul II in
      2002 to create four dioceses in Russia, was “a
      mistake, which indeed damages the
      Orthodox-Catholic dialogue and puts off a
      possibility of achieving our common aims.” In
      short, he wants to turn back the clock, with the
      status of dioceses “changed and brought back to
      the former level of apostolic administratures.”

      The hierarch tried to explain away
      counter-arguments which allege that the Russian
      Orthodox Church in Europe has its dioceses set up
      on the same principle as the Catholic dioceses in
      Russia in what the Moscow Patriarchate recognises
      as the canonical territory of the Catholic Church.

      “The dioceses of the Moscow Patriarchate in the
      Diaspora are not ordinary, nor are they connected
      to local jurisdiction. They were established to
      provide pastoral care for people in Diaspora, and
      do not have defined boarders. In a certain sense,
      they are unusual dioceses as we have always
      stressed in our dialogue with the Catholics,” he said.

      “If there was a notion of apostolic
      administrature in the Orthodox Church, the
      dioceses of the Moscow Patriarchate in Europe
      would be called that way. [. . .] The conflict
      comes from the fact that we do not understand why
      an appropriate term was changed to one that is inappropriate.”

      There has been no response so far by either the
      nuncio or the archbishop of the Mother of God
      archdiocese in Moscow, Mgr Paolo Pezzi.

      Among Russian Catholics reactions were altogether
      negative. Many point out that “Catholic dioceses
      have existed in Russia since the Middle Ages. The
      archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev for instance existed
      from the 18th to the 20th century. Why should we
      not have normal structures?” they insist.
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