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    Thursday, August 30, 2007

    Holy fear


    ROME. Aug 29 (Interfax) - Pope Benedict XVI of Rome and All Europe welcomes Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow's initiative to promote inter-church dialogue, but said some terms must be fulfilled before a personal meeting with the patriarch could take place.
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    "Patriarch Alexy has said on many occasions that he wants to promote dialogue and cooperation with the Roman churchs, and this is a positive occurrence," Benedict XVI said in an interview published by the Italian newspaper Il Giornale on Wednesday.
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    A meeting with the patriarch must be thoroughly prepared, he said. "It must not be merely an occasion for a few photos or for an appearance before TV cameras. It must strengthen ties between our two churches," Benedict said.
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    "Even now, some of the Orthodox bishops and missionaries see Europe as a territory of missionary activities. But Europe, Holy Europe, which has been permeated with faith for centuries and the Roman church, guarded with God's blessing, is not a place for missionary activities," he said.
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    Benedict XVI said that it is the first issue to be settled before organizing a meeting. The second one is the activities of the Greco-Catholics church. "We are concerned about the Uniates as a phenomenon and we can see this tendency even in the regions where it was not common - in eastern Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and even in Europe," the pope said.
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    "When these issues are settled an opportunity will emerge for a meeting, and it will have sense then," Benedict XVI said.
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    I don't know about you, but when in dialogue, my brain automatically fast forwards to consider the capabilities and background of the source so that I can understand what the speaker is really saying... where he or she is coming from, so that what is said can be put in context.
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    This tendency though, makes observing the mistakes of the other speaker harder to recognize. With kids, it would be like automatically excusing Tommy for hitting playmates because "that's the way he is". That doesn't help Tommy or his playmates in the long run.
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    Can you imagine Pope Benedict acting defensive and territorial regarding Orthodox missionary work in Europe? Of course not. The Pope does not act out of fear. Even with dancing, swooning, speaking in tounges Latin American Evangelicals luring Catholic folk to their auditoriums and storefronts, the Bishops only talk about further need for catechesis, not the need for protection from Evangelical missionaries.
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    I know that the Russian Orthodox have only recently emerged from the heavy veil of communism, and that they are still adjusting to freedom. But the old days of one Russia, one rite, are not going to magically reappear. Bringing people to the Church again will take work. Real Catholic work.
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    For Rome and the Orthodox to embrace again, fear of losing geographic boundaries can not be an valid issue. With God there is no geography, only hearts and souls.
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    And within the two Catholic groups, there is the same Faith. Two rites, two developed theologies that need to merge and strengthen, but one Faith. That is all that is important... not geography and not geographic fear.
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    Perhaps in another 10 years, the Russians will be more accustomed to a world view for Christ. Their fear of literally losing "ground" should be relegated to history.
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    Forgive me for messing with the news. The real story........
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    ROME. Aug 29 (Interfax) - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia welcomes Pope Benedict XVI's initiative to promote inter-church dialogue, but said some terms must be fulfilled before a personal meeting with the pope could take place.
    ---
    "Pope Benedict has said on many occasions that he wants to promote dialogue and cooperation with the Orthodox churches, and this is a positive occurrence," Alexy II said in an interview published by the Italian newspaper Il Giornale on Wednesday.
    ---
    A meeting with the pope must be thoroughly prepared, he said. "It must not be merely an occasion for a few photos or for an appearance before TV cameras. It must strengthen ties between our two churches," Alexy II said.
    ---
    "Even now, some of the Catholic bishops and missionaries see Russia as a territory of missionary activities. But Russia, Holy Rus, which has been permeated with faith for centuries and the Orthodox church, guarded with God's blessing, is not a place for missionary activities," he said.
    ---
    Alexy II said that it is the first issue to be settled before organizing a meeting.
    ---
    The second one is the activities of the Greco-Catholics church. "We are concerned about the Uniates as a phenomenon and we can see this tendency even in the regions where it was not common - in eastern Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and even in Russia," the patriarch said.
    ---
    "When these issues are settled an opportunity will emerge for a meeting, and it will have sense then," Alexy II said.

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