6. März 2007

Verbündete, keine Rivalen

Und wo wir gerade bei Zenit unterwegs sind, noch eine Passage aus einem aktuellen Interview mit dem russisch-orthodoxen Bischof von Wien und Österreich, Hilarion Alfeyev:
Q: If you meet the Pope, what will you say to him?

Bishop Alfeev: I would say to him that, in my view, the time has come for a much closer collaboration between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches.

I do not believe that the restoration of full Eucharistic communion between East and West after almost a millennium of separation is something that is going to happen in the foreseeable future and I do not think that the theological problems that exist between us could be easily solved by the Joint Theological Commission.

But it seems to me that we should not wait until all the problems are solved and full harmony is achieved. It may never happen.

We must begin a much closer collaboration here and now, without any further delays. The challenges we are facing in Europe and elsewhere, such as relativism, militant secularism, radical Islam, are those we could and should address together.

I was deeply satisfied when I read Cardinal Ratzinger's speech during the conclave in which he declared war on relativism. I also noted that in his Regensburg lecture he went beyond the limits of political correctness because he felt that the issue he was addressing was important. The reaction that followed only confirmed that he had touched the heart of the matter.

Traditional Christianity nowadays needs to be defended from both the external challenges I mentioned, and the internal challenge of growing liberalization of doctrine and morality within some Protestant communities. I feel, and I often say openly that ecumenical relations with the Protestant world become ever more problematic and ever less hopeful.

The gap between traditional and liberal versions of Christianity is widening, and it is mostly Catholics and Orthodox -- including non-Chalcedonian Churches -- who stay on the traditional side, while many Protestant communities adopt liberal standards.

We, Catholics and Orthodox, are allies, not rivals. The sooner we come to understand it, the better.

Such understanding also implies that every form of proselytism should be excluded from our everyday missionary practice. We have a common mission, and we must work together in order to bring Christ to people.

Our task is not to convert the Orthodox to Catholicism, or Catholics to Orthodoxy, but to convert nonbelievers into faith, non-Christians into Christianity."

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