Thursday, 24 April 2008

Orthodox Bishop Speaks on Ecumenism

Sofia, Bulgaria, Apr 24, 2008 / 02:02 am (CNA).- Bishop Hilarion, the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Vienna and Austria, has said in an interview that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches are allies who could form a strategic alliance to defend Christian values, Interfax reports. He also criticized many Protestants for having a “light version” of Christianity.

Speaking to the Bulgarian magazine Christianity and Culture, Bishop Hilarion said, “We must realize that Orthodox and Catholic believers are no longer rivals. We are allies. The rivalry must be gone once and for all. If we understand that, proselytism will stop.”

The bishop said that “romantic ecumenism,“ which he said characterizes the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches, is not viable. He said that many Protestants have created a “light version of Christianity, without apostolic succession, without sacraments, without strict dogmatic teaching and what is also important they don't require sticking to Christian moral norms.”

He said this version of Christianity, when it revises Christian theological or moral teachings to become more “modern” or “politically correct,” becomes “a direct way to spiritual death.” He said this version of Christianity had stopped recognizing centuries-old sins, and now even promotes them.

Bishop Hilarion’s statement comes just days after Pope Benedict addressed an ecumenical gathering in New York where he also denounced versions of Christianity that contradict apostolic teachings. At the gathering of about 300 people, the Pope said that Christian churches which change their beliefs by so-called ‘prophetic actions,’ often use a method of interpretation that is inconsistent with Scripture and Tradition.

The Holy Father added that this causes those interested in Christianity to become “understandably confused about the Gospel message itself” because they see Christians splintering and disagreeing about the beliefs of the faith.


Rob said...

I was having a chat with my College Chaplain yesterday and he said quite wisely that the Schism between East and West is the most important reconciliation. The Anglicans and Protestants (or seperated brethern) can wait!

John Paul said...

My Housemate is an evangelical and know a lot of her friends and so on. It's interesting because they have a lot of the same views I do as a Catholic in terms of Morality, in everything other than contraception. But it's clear the weaknesses in the system as a lot of people doing their own thing within the evangelical movements and there is no one voice, no set doctrine and this leads to many problems.

Ottaviani said...

We need the Pope to speak like this. Today's ecumenism is just about pious platitudes!