The president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity believes that relations between the Holy See and the Russian Orthodox Church could improve markedly in the near future.
Speaking to a Vatican Radio audience on Saturday, April 27, Cardinal Walter
Kasper said that Catholics should look beyond the "sad and disturbing" state
of current relations between the Vatican and the Moscow Patriarchate. He
cited "signs of hope" in ecumenical activities.
Cardinal Kasper revealed that recent exchanges "through back channels" have
produced positive results. "We now hope to have regular contacts within a few
weeks," he said, "or at least a few months."
As another sign of hope, Cardinal Kasper cited the April 17 statement by
Moscow's Patriarch Alexei II, in which the Russian Orthodox leader said that
he was prepared to meet with Pope John Paul II to discuss the key issues that
trouble the relationship between Rome and Moscow. In the past, the Orthodox
prelate had always said that those problems must be solved before any "summit
meeting" could take place.
"We can't reach an accord without talking," Cardinal Kasper said. "So the
path is open, and we can think about preparations for a meeting between John
Paul II and Alexei II."