Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Vatican Moscovite Alliance?

Interfax is reporting that the Russian Orthodox Church envisions a strategic alliance with Roman Catholics as a possible solution to the encroachment of Christian Values and as a combined effort to prevent proselytizing by Protestants who have created "a light version of Christianity, without apostolic succession, without sacraments, without strict dogmatic teaching and what is also important they don't require sticking to Christian moral norms."

The Bishop who issued the statement said that "We must realize that Orthodox and Catholic believers are no longer rivals. We are allies. The rivalry must be gone once and for all. If we understand that, proselytism will stop," he said.

These statements come after Benedict issued a similar call to reflection on what it means to be Christian in a meeting with other denominational leaders.

Too often those who are not Christians, as they observe the splintering of Christian communities, are understandably confused about the Gospel message itself. Fundamental Christian beliefs and practices are sometimes changed within communities by so-called "prophetic actions" that are based on a hermeneutic not always consonant with the datum of Scripture and Tradition. Communities consequently give up the attempt to act as a unified body, choosing instead to function according to the idea of "local options". Somewhere in this process the need for diachronic koinonia - communion with the Church in every age - is lost, just at the time when the world is losing its bearings and needs a persuasive common witness to the saving power of the Gospel (cf. Rom 1:18-23).

My dear friends, the power of the kerygma has lost none of its internal dynamism. Yet we must ask ourselves whether its full force has not been attenuated by a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies, which, in alleging that science alone is "objective", relegate religion entirely to the subjective sphere of individual feeling. Scientific discoveries, and their application
through human ingenuity, undoubtedly offer new possibilities for the betterment of humankind. This does not mean, however, that the "knowable" is limited to the empirically verifiable, nor religion restricted to the shifting realm of "personal experience".For Christians to accept this faulty line of reasoning would lead to the notion that there is little need to emphasize objective truth in the presentation of the Christian faith, for one need but follow his or her own conscience and choose a community that best suits his or her individual tastes. The result is seen in the continual proliferation of communities which often eschew institutional structures and minimize the importance of doctrinal content for Christian living.
The Orthodox Bishop did not say that this would lead to any sort of unity of theopolity as has been the goal with the Patriarchate of Constantinople and other Orthodox Patriarchates in the Ravenna Document. The Russians after all are still suffering from ex-superpower syndrome and this is playing out in their church as well which is why they're cool to the notion of actual reunification.

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1 comment:

Gashwin said...

Wouldn't put too much stock on what Orhtodox Bishops say unilaterally. The Vatican, of course, would never make such a statement. The "alignment" seems to be so far about combatting secularism.

On which front, both the Catholics and the Evangelicals in Russia seem to be doing a lot better than defensive Orthodox prelates dreaming of Tsars and Empire.

And we both could learn a thing or two from evangelicals.