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ROME - Somewhere back in the early 2000s, I found myself in Russia and ran into a journalist who ran a Catholic newspaper. It turned out I was catching him at a bad moment, because the paper essentially was being shut down.
The problem wasn’t circulation numbers or advertising income, both of which were going well. Instead, the problem - and, to be clear, I am not making this up - was that people were reading it.
Surreal - Word - Ambassador - Russia - Vatican
As surreal as it sounds, word had come down from the papal ambassador in Russia that as far as the Vatican was concerned, if a publication in Russia was going to offer a provocative and influential Christian take on current events, then it ought to be sponsored by the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow. Too much visibility for a Catholic paper, they judged, could upset the delicate ecumenical relations between the two churches.
It’s a small example of a much bigger picture, which is the way in which concern for Russian reaction has long dominated the Vatican’s thinking about almost any ecclesiastical question involving the former Soviet sphere, whether it’s the internal life of the Catholic community or ecumenical relations with other Orthodox churches.
Rome - Progress - Catholic/Orthodox - Dialogue - Choice
That’s logical enough, given that for Rome to make any progress at all in Catholic/Orthodox dialogue it felt it had no choice but to engage - critics, naturally, would say placate - the 800-pound gorilla of Orthodoxy.
Since the Russian Orthodox Church claimed two-thirds of the 270 million or so Orthodox Christians in the world, as well as a preponderance of clergy, money and infrastructure, one could easily say that all roads led to Moscow.
Until, that is, last Thursday.
On Oct. 11, capping decades of speculation, delays, theological rumination and ecclesiastical brinksmanship, the Patriarchate of Constantinople recognized the Orthodox church in Ukraine as “autocephalous,” meaning independent,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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