Article by Marc Aupiais
Despite media reports in the likes of EuroNews: that Russia's new Patriarch, will likely reunify Rome and Moscow, Reuters quotes a top Vatican Source saying otherwise. (With the bearded, scary and conservative look of the Patriarch; it did not seem on the surface: that he would be anything but loyal to his cause.)
Cardinal Walter Kaspar, Having met Russian Orthodox leader: Kirill: informed Reuters of his skepticism.
""What he said in the last weeks and what he told me today, it's the same line," Kasper, who is head of the Vatican office on Christian unity and Jewish relations, said in an interview. "So I do not see any change in his attitude.""
(Reuters (Secular; British; Independent) 02 / Feb / 2009)
Benedict XVI: has reportedly used Kaspar to deliver a congratulatory letter: to his Russian counterpart, and possibly adversary. The two churches, had split nearly a thousand years ago: and remained split; after some hopes earlier of reunification (the Russian church, itself has split from others since, nor is this to say that it was the Russian church that was split with).
So far, mutual concerns were discussed: social issues, global issues: such as ethics: something hot on every intelligent leader's mind: after the global meltdown of many markets: something Benedict XVI predicted decades ago: of a market with less regulation.
As to communication: morality has always been an issue for the churches to look into. Kirill will have to navigate away from Kremlin influence, if he wants the world to see his church as independent from his motherland. If Kirill were to choose to criticize Moscow on human rights, or democracy, or other such issues: it would be very hard to do: Moscow has propped up the Russian church since the Atheistic Communists were defeated by time and dust.
Navigating between Rome and Moscow: global, political East and West: will be a hard place to be: truly between a Rock ("You are Peter (Rock) and On this rock"), and a hard place (with all that ice).
Benedict XVI: is a master at relations between Christian churches: and has achieved much with the Islamic religion also: his lack of success with some Jewish sources: may lay in the difference between relations with every other group, than with the Jewish religious. Jewish "Ecumenism", seems mostly focussed at getting people to be friendly to Jews, and attempting to make public statements nice towards them: in a sort of new Holocaust fear the group seems to have. With other groups: such as Islam: sticking to one's religious needs, or the "saving" of souls: is seen as more acceptable; even if with some level of statements. The Jewish Ecumenism:: seems to aim purely at uplifting the Jewish people, in their constant statements, this seems the case.
In either case: the rift between east and west is deep: but Kirill will need Vatican Backing if he wants to gain any real, and visible autonomy from the Kremlin. The Vatican would be as interested in gaining better relations with the Russian church: as they are at reunifying the SSPX to their belt: even as the SSPX, is still technically operating without license, and therefore also still has the same status: as what a Vatican Document noted to be a "Schism".
The Russian Orthodox Church, falls into the same category, as such in many ways, though is perhaps more distant in the eyes of Canon Law: SSPX may be considered to be Schismatic: but is certainly viewed as much more Catholic than the East: in fact, most would call it a Catholic Schism, while the Eastern Churches would simply be independent schisms.
Either way: while the words seem to be the same: expected, for a leader of a church which is highly conservative, as compare the international claims in news services about its leader: there is always a small hope that the Russian church will join other Eastern Orthodox groupings: in meetings with Rome: and that finally: some true gains can again be made between the two great so-called "lungs" of religion.
The Eastern churches acknowledge that the Vatican: as the successor of Peter: has a special place: but they do not in general accept Papal infallibility: but in general believe in listening to what the pope has to say. Churches are important in politics: protecting human rights, and preventing genocide: has caused nations to crumble and fall. A more westernized Russian Orthodox Church: could certainly have ramifications for the possibility to Russian democracy.