Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Desire for Unity in Moscow

Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, recently assigned to the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, is a member of CL's Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of Saint Charles Borromeo. In an interview with L'Osservatore Romano as reported by ZENIT, he spoke of his desire for unity in his diocese among Catholics and the Russian Orthodox.
Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, in Rome last week to receive the pallium from Benedict XVI, spoke to L'Osservatore Romano about the relations between the two Churches.

He said that "on too many occasions, one perceives the concern to defend one's plot or wanting to maintain a distance."

"Certainly there are some knots that have not managed to be undone, and so are transformed into obstacles," the prelate said. "If there is no real desire to move toward full unity, dialogue becomes difficult. Where there is a real desire, on the contrary, dialogue can be engaged in with honesty, sincerity and always in truth."

Nevertheless, Catholics and Orthodox in Moscow are making efforts to collaborate, he affirmed.

"We try to carry out concrete forms of collaboration between the Churches, but also to engage in sincere friendship. Above all, we try to walk in the same direction," the prelate said.

Archbishop Pezzi affirmed that his relationship with Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow is warm and cordial.

"He has invited me to the Orthodox liturgy, both at Christmas and Easter," the archbishop said. "I must say that on all occasions I was warmly received. Patriarch Alexy has always been cordial and warm in his expressions to me.

"I remember, for example, that after the Christmas liturgy -- it isn't a secret -- the patriarch greeted me publicly and stressed our common concern to care for God's flock. These were significant words.

"However, he did not have words for me alone. [He] greeted and raised a prayer for Benedict XVI. In a word, he manifested respect for the Catholic Church. Essentially, I would say that I immediately noted a positive reception."

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