Moscow Patriarch Stresses Need to Censure "Proselytism"

MOSCOW, SEPT. 26, 2003 ( Patriarch Alexy II of the Russian Orthodox Church says that if a meeting with John Paul II is to take place, «proselytism» must be censured.

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Referring to what would be the first meeting between a Russian Orthodox leader and a Pope, the patriarch told journalists Thursday that «at least proselytism must be condemned.»

«I don’t want it to be a meeting in front of television cameras, which would not obtain any results,» the 74-year-old patriarch said. «We should meet and talk about certain concrete issues, especially proselytism.»

The Orthodox Church has accused the Catholic Church of proselytism in Russian territories.

In a July 2002 interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said he was willing to analyze, together with the Orthodox patriarchate, what is understood by the term «proselytism.»

«The Holy See’s policy with the Russian Orthodox Church is clear,» he said on that occasion. «We want dialogue, we want collaboration; we reject proselytism, we want ecumenism, we want to promote the pastoral care of our Catholics.»

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