Catholics and Orthodox Finding Unity on Social Topics

Pontifical Council Invites Russian Church for More Talks

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MOSCOW, NOV. 30, 2005 ( The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has invited officials of the Russian Orthodox Church to meet in Italy to continue discussions on social and religious topics.

That was one of the fruits of the visit of Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the pontifical council, to Orthodox Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad.

Their meeting, which took place Tuesday in the office of the Department of Religious Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, showed clearly that both the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches share the same viewpoint on topics such as the family, abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia.

They agreed that contemporary societies often try to deny the existence of truth and ignore everything related to the spiritual life.

During the meeting, Cardinal Martino presented to Metropolitan Kirill a copy of the Russian-language Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

In statements to ZENIT, Father Igor Byzhanov, secretary for Inter-Christian Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department of Religious Relations, who was also present at the meeting, mentioned that both sides spoke of the need for future cooperation in social matters.

«The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has invited us to meet to work on social topics,» said Father Byzhanov. «We are still not at the stage of defining dates or the location of meeting, but it might possibly be in some Italian city,» he added.

Also present at the meeting, among others, were Archbishop Antonio Mennini, apostolic nuncio to the Russian Federation; Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; and Father Alexander Petshik, director of Caritas-Russia.

On Thursday, Cardinal Martino will present the Russian translation of the Compendium in Moscow.

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