10/04/2007, 00.00
FRANCE – RUSSIA

Alexy II: Catholics and Orthodox remain united against threat of “persecution” in Europe

The Moscow Patriarch met with the Catholic community in Paris and repeated the need for collaboration between the two Churches against the challenger of modernity. “Threat of marginalization” overshadows Christianity.
Paris (AsiaNews) – In the modern society a new “persecution” of the Church is in act and so Catholics and Orthodox are called to stand together in defence of Christian values.  Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia believes the Orthodox and the Catholics should seek answers to today’s challenges together. The highest ranking spiritual leader of the Russian Orthodox Church is currently in France, where on October 2nd he spoke to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and yesterday visited the Cathedral of Notre-Dame to venerate the relics of Our Lord’s crown of thorns, in the presence of Archbishop André Vingt-Trois of Paris and numerous faithful.
 
Meeting with the president of the French Bishops Conference Card. Jean-Pierre Ricard, Alexy II denounced modern society, particularly in Europe, there are “attempts are made to bring in a worldview that, in its destructive force, can well be compared to the external persecution against the Church”. “In a situation where any external persecution seems to be absent, a threat has emerged for religion in general and Christianity in particular to be marginalized”. This is why we must remain united on some fundamental questions (abortion, family, bioethics, secularization); issues which seem to be the basis on which the new reconciliation between the two Churches is being built.
 
“We Christians – he declared in the Parisian cathedral yesterday evening – we must find possibilities to witness together the truth of the Gospel and its eternal moral values.  In fact, we see that contemporary society is losing its ethical base and is following false values.  It is being increasingly dehumanised and becoming a cruel generator of conflicts not only between people but between communities”.
 
At the European Parliament Alexy II criticised the “new generation of rights” of humanity “which are in contrast with morals” and in various interviews with global press spoke of a meeting with Benedict XVI in the next couple of years.
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