2 Officials Thank Group for Fostering Orthodox Ties

Cardinals Laud Work of Aid to the Church in Need

VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Aid to the Church in Need is helping to foster ties between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches, said two Vatican officials.

In separate meetings last week with leaders of the Germany-based organization, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Benedict XVI’s secretary of state, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, expressed their appreciation for the work.

Cardinal Bertone stressed the Holy See’s commitment to nourishing unity between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. In the context of this commitment, he said the aid organization is a “focus of closer contacts with the Orthodox Church,” a statement from the group reported.

Aid to the Church in Need has supported the formation of Orthodox seminarians and priests. It also has endeavored to promote a positive portrayal of the Catholic Church in Russia. It sponsored a documentary film about Benedict XVI that was broadcast April 16 by Russian state TV, along with a message of greeting from the Pope to the Russian people.

In his meeting with the delegation, Cardinal Kasper emphasized the broad areas of shared faith between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. He said he regards it as particularly important that Catholics and Orthodox should strive reciprocally for true and accurate information about each other.

Aid to the Church in Need is an international pastoral charity of pontifical right, meaning it is directly answerable to the Holy See.