Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Russian Orthodox Prelate proposes "World Alliance of Traditional Churches" (or some such)

In all our discussions of the relative merits of Orthodoxy and Catholicism, we must not lose sight of the fact that we belong together as (what Russian Orthodox Bishop Hilarion of Vienna has called) "Churches of Tradition". He is suggesting, in fact, that we form a strategic alliance "in the defense of traditional Christain values".
Personally, I believe that it is quite premature and unrealistic to expect restoration of full Eucharistic communion between East and West in the foreseeable future. Nothing, however, prevents us, both Catholics and Orthodox, from witnessing Christ and his Gospel together to the modern world. We may not be united administratively or ecclesiastically, but we must learn to be partners and allies in the face of common challenges: militant secularism, relativism, atheism, or a militant Islam.
He goes on to say:
For me, it is not words that matter but rather the connotation behind them. I used the word "alliance" not in the sense of a "Holy Alliance," but rather as it is employed for "The World Alliance of Reformed Churches," i.e., as a term designating collaboration and partnership without full administrative or ecclesial unity.
And most pointedly:
Our churches are on their way to unity, but one has to be pragmatic and recognize that it will probably take decades, if not centuries, before unity is restored. In the meantime we desperately need to address the world with a united voice. Without being one Church, could we not act as one Church? Could we not present ourselves to secular society as a unified body?
Or, as Papa Benny might say: Cannot we not live "veluti si unitatis daretur"?

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