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Alexy II Favors Ecumenical Ties. Says Orthodox-Catholic Partnership Is Important
MOSCOW, JUNE 15, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Expanding cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church will have significant implications for the future of Europe, according to Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia. The Orthodox leader said this Thursday at a meeting in Moscow with Cardinal Peter Erdo, president of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe, reported Interfax.
This statement came on the same day that Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promotion of Christian Unity, said that a meeting between Benedict XVI and the Russian Orthodox patriarch could take place next year.

Alexy II said that "this cooperation is extremely important on the European continent, which has deep Christian roots. Unfortunately, these Christian roots are being subjected to oblivion and even trampled upon today."

He said that current attempts to impose a secular mentality on society and oust religion to the periphery of public affairs are especially active in Europe.

The patriarch stated: "I think cooperation between our Churches is enriched by similarity in our positions on many important issues, such as globalization, the role of religion in society, human rights and dignity, family values, demography, bioethics, and many others."

Orthodox-Catholic cooperation can develop in various areas, Alexy II added.

He praised the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church have representations in the institutions of the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.

Alexy II regretted that relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and Catholics in Russia are not always problem-free: "I think these relations could be improved with the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe's involvement."

Cardinal Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, said that his meeting with the orthodox patriarch was "very cordial."

The cardinal said to Vatican Radio: "Our common conviction was that without God our objective vision of reality is not complete, and if only the world and the universe existed, but not God, then the universe has no value and every discourse on values loses its meaning."