Vatican has no plans to convert Russia to Catholicism - cardinal Poupard
Moscow, June 18, Interfax - The Vatican does not want to convert Russia to Catholicism, and relations with the Moscow Patriarchate are improving, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture Cardinal Paul Poupard told students of the Orthodox St. Tikhon Humanitarian University on Monday.
Poupard said the Vatican never wanted to make Russia a Catholic country. The Holy See is praying for a Christian Russia and further preaching by Orthodox and Catholic disciples, he said.
The cardinal admitted differences between Orthodox and Catholic clerics as members of one and the same family.
The two churches want to speak about their belief, he said, adding that at the meeting he was wearing a cross he had received from Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II.
The atmosphere of inter-church relations has changed, Apostolic Nuncio to Russia Archbishop Antonio Mennini said. He said they could affirm Christian values together and be friends.
The Russian Orthodox Church feels that it is respected by the Holy See, the archbishop said. The Vatican regards the Russian Orthodox Church as the national church and welcomes the opportunity to meet and learn about the Russian religious tradition, he said.
May it please God to soften the hearts and open the minds of the Patriarchate of Moscow to understand the beauty of the Unity of the Faith!
And may the Orthodox also come to terms with the reality of our Eastern Catholic Churches. Accusations that we are mere dupes or saboteurs hoping to "Romanize" the Orthodox would be laughable if not that so many seem genuinely to believe them. It is irrational to demand that we Eastern Catholics cease to exist before the Orthodox agree to enter serious dialogues with Rome towards Reunification.
O Most Holy Trinity: Make the divisions of the Churches to cease!