Cardinal's Visit Stirring Russian Catholics' Hopes

MOSCOW, FEB. 19, 2004 ( Russian Catholics hope that Cardinal Walter Kasper’s visit to Moscow will serve to create ties of friendship between Orthodox and Catholics.

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So said Father Alexandre Pietrzyk, a member of the Church’s Ecumenical Commission here, after Wednesday’s conference on «Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church,» held in Moscow’s Catholic cathedral.

«Our hope is that the visit will bring Orthodox and Catholics together again in friendship and might be able to change, or at least clarify, many of the problems which make these relations so difficult,» the priest told the SIR agency.

Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, addressed the Catholic clergy in his talk.

«The cardinal asked us to make an examination of conscience, as the Pope did for the Jubilee Year: an examination of conscience to ask for forgiveness, as we do when praying the Our Father,» Father Pietrzyk said.

Regarding the Orthodox Patriarchate’s accusations against the Vatican, Father Pietrzyk said: «I hope that the presence of Cardinal Kasper in Moscow might lighten for Russian Catholics the accusations leveled at us for years, ever since the apostolic administrations were raised to the rank of dioceses. The accusations against the Greek-Catholic Church also cause us great tension.»

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