John Allen om møtet mellom paven og den russisk-ortodokse kirken

John Allen skriver interessant og nøkternt om dette møtet som nylig ble avholdt på Cuba. Han uttrykker lede over at møtet mellom de to kirkelederne endelig skjedde, men fortsetter slik:

Alas, and without trying to rain on anyone’s parade, there are also good reasons for caution, in large part because Moscow’s motives — both in terms of the Russian church, and the Kremlin under Vladimir Putin — are open to serious doubt.

(The Russian Orthodox Church is a close ally of Putin, and most observers believe Friday’s meeting would not have happened without his encouragement.)

In recent decades, the Catholic Church has bent over backwards to improve relations with Moscow. Given fears that Catholics try to poach Orthodox worshipers, for instance, the Church in Russia has been under what amounts to a quiet “no-growth” policy. Pastors have received instructions that if a Russian seeks to convert, he or she should be sent back to an Orthodox congregation.

Yet despite a slew of similar accommodations, Russian Orthodox leaders still routinely exude hostility. ….

Han kommer med mange flere interessante observasjoner (les gjerne hele artikkelen) og avslutter slik:

Given all that, how will we know if Friday’s meeting was more than a photo-op?

First, the Russian Orthodox could stop making life difficult for other Christians in their sphere of influence, whether that means Greek Catholics in Ukraine or other Orthodox Christians who want to be independent (the term in the East is “autocephalous.”)

Second, Kirill could officially reject claims by arch-conservative traditionalists in his church that Catholic sacraments and ministries aren’t valid. Catholic experience shows doing so won’t make those folks go away, but it will at least prevent them from claiming they speak for the church.

Third, Orthodox clergy could stop providing religious cover for Putin’s imperial ambitions and establish genuine independence from state control.

Fourth, Pope Francis and the Vatican could make the preceding three steps a precondition for moving forward.

If those things occur, then Friday’s get-together will represent a sea change. Longtime observers, however, may be forgiven for not holding their breath.

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