Some days ago, we posted a comment on the first-time ever meeting between the Pope and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch.
Our view on the joint document that was signed during the meeting was, and still is, very positive regarding what is said on marriage and the family. Upon a more careful second reading, however, we feel we must express a more critical view with what the document says about the situation in Ukraine.
It generally seems that the Russian Orthodox Church has had more influence on the drafting process than the Catholic Church. This is probably what has led to a very good outcome with regard to marriage, family, and the right to life – subjects on which the Catholic Church’s public statements have been suffering from a regrettable lack of clarity during the current pontificate. On the other hand, the section on Ukraine appears to be seriously misrepresenting the current political situation in the country, which is characterized not only by internal strife, but also by an invasion from outside. Indeed it is unprecedented in Europe since 1945 that one country has not only invaded and occupied another country’s territory, but indeed annexed a part of it.
The document also contains some questionable statements regarding “Uniatism” and its history. In this regard we recommend our readers the insightful comments by Roberto de Mattei, an eminent expert on Church history.
The consternation and severe criticism that this document has provoked in Ukraine is thus understandable, even though we maintain that at this point in time the clear positioning of both Churches with regard to family and the right to life is a very important achievement.