Viewing cable 02VATICAN3527
Title: VATICAN KEEPING "DOORS OPEN" TO RUSSIAN ORTHODOX

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
02VATICAN35272002-07-17 05:52:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 003527 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI), DRL/IRF (FARR) EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/16/2012 
TAGS: PREL PHUM KIRF PHUM KIRF VT RU VTPREL RU
SUBJECT: VATICAN KEEPING "DOORS OPEN" TO RUSSIAN ORTHODOX 
DESPITE CONTINUED TENSIONS 
 
REF: A. A) VATICAN 2239 
     ¶B. B) VATICAN 3492 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: CLASSIFIED BY D. BRENT HARDT, CDA, REASON E.O. 12958 1.5 
 (B,D) 
 
 ¶1. (C)  SUMMARY: CARDINAL WALTER KASPER, THE  VATICAN 
OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY (INCLUDING THE 
DIALOGUE WITH RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH) SAID THAT THE HOLY 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        VATICA  03527  01 OF 02  170549Z 
SEE'S ATTEMPTS AT DIALOGUE WITH THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH 
(ROC) ARE IN A DIFFICULT MOMENT AND NOT ADVANCING.  KASPER 
TOLD INCOMING DCM THAT THE ROC REMAINS TOO NATIONALISTIC AND 
FALSELY PERCEIVES AS A THREAT THE TINY MINORITY OF CATHOLICS 
IN RUSSIA -- JUST OVER 251,000 BAPTIZED CATHOLICS.  ACCORDING 
TO KASPER, THE POPE IS NOW RESIGNED TO THE LIKELIHOOD THAT HE 
WILL NEVER VISIT RUSSIA.  THE ROC NEVERTHELESS CONTINUES A 
GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH VARIOUS CATHOLIC INDIVIDUALS AND 
AGENCIES - NOTABLY THOSE THAT FUND ROC ACTIVITIES.  DESPITE 
THE BECALMED HOLY SEE/ROC DIALOGUE, THE VATICAN WILL BE 
PATIENT AND KEEP ITS DOORS OPEN TO COOPERATION WITH THE ROC 
WHEREVER POSSIBLE. END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------- 
DIALOGUE RUNS AGROUND 
--------------------- 
 
¶2.  (C)  INCOMING DCM PAID A CALL JULY 16 ON CARDINAL WALTER 
KASPER, PREFECT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR PROMOTING 
CHRISTIAN UNITY.  QUERIED ON THE STATE OF CATHOLIC/RUSSIAN 
ORTHODOX DIALOGUE, KASPER CONCEDED THAT IT WAS STALLED.  HE 
SHARED VATICAN DFM  MIGLIORE'S CONCERNS (REF B) AT THE GOR 
REFUSAL OF VISAS TO CATHOLIC CLERGY -- ESPECIALLY BISHOP 
MAZUR.  HE SAID THE HOLY SEE HAD SENT A FORMAL, WRITTEN QUERY 
FROM THE POPE TO PRESIDENT PUTIN SIX WEEKS AGO ASKING FOR 
CLARIFICATION OF THE GROUNDS OF THAT VISA REFUSAL, BUT AS OF 
YET HAD HAD NO RESPONSE (SOMETHING HE CHARACTERIZED AS 
EXTRAORDINARY, UNDIPLOMATIC AND IMPOLITE).  HE ALSO EXPRESSED 
DISMAY AT THE RECENT HARSH RHETORIC COMING FROM THE RUSSIAN 
PATRIARCH'S SPOKESMAN ACCUSING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OF 
COMPETING WITH THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        VATICA  03527  01 OF 02  170549Z 
 
--------------------------------- 
RUSSIAN FEARS, VATICAN ASSURANCES 
--------------------------------- 
 
¶3.  (C)  CARDINAL KASPER SAID THAT THERE WERE MANY REASONS 
FOR THE LACK OF PROGRESS IN HOLY SEE/RUSSIAN ORTHODOX 
DIALOGUE: THE ROC IS "TOO NATIONALISTIC," UNFOUNDED FEARS OF 
A CATHOLIC THREAT TO ROC POWER AND INFLUENCE FROM THE 251,000 
(BAPTIZED) CATHOLICS IN RUSSIA (VS. 105 MILLION RUSSIAN 
CITIZENS), AND "HISTORICAL" CONCERNS RELATING TO 
POLISH/RUSSIAN CONFLICTS IN CENTURIES PAST.   (NOTE: IN REF A 
WE REPORTED VATICAN NIS COUNTRY DIRECTOR TRICARICO'S MORE 
UNVARNISHED ASSESSMENT: "THEY ARE ALL FORMER COLLABORATORS 
WHO HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO SHAKE OLD HABITS." END NOTE.) 
KASPER REPEATED THE VATICAN ASSERTION THAT THE CATHOLIC 
CHURCH ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT "PROSELYTIZE" IN RUSSIA.  HE SAID 
THE CHURCH WOULD NOT TURN AWAY A RUSSIAN WHO IN GOOD 
CONSCIENCE SOUGHT TO JOIN, AS THIS WAS A MATTER OF FREEDOM OF 
RELIGION.  BUT HE POINTED OUT THAT EVEN THE NUNS WHO CARE FOR 
RUSSIAN ORPHANS ENSURE THAT THOSE CHILDREN GO TO ORTHODOX, 
NOT CATHOLIC, CHURCHES EVERY SUNDAY.  HE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT 
SOME CATHOLICS MAY HAVE BEEN OVERZEALOUS, AS WERE SOME 
ORTHODOX.  BUT THAT WAS NOT VATICAN POLICY. 
 
¶4.  (C)  KASPER EXPLAINED THAT THE RECENT CREATION OF FOUR 
DIOCESES IN RUSSIA WAS NO MORE DECLARING RUSSIA TO BE 
"VATICAN TERRITORY" THAN WAS DECLARING THE 300-PLUS DIOCESES 
IN THE U.S.A. TO BE VATICAN TERRITORY.  HE SAID THE CHURCH 
HAD AN APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATION IN RUSSIA IN CZARIST TIMES. 
THE RENEWED APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATIONS IN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE 
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PAGE 04        VATICA  03527  01 OF 02  170549Z 
AFTER 1990 HAD ONLY BEEN TEMPORARY MEASURES.  ELEVATING THOSE 
AREAS TO DIOCESES WAS NEEDED TO PROVIDE PASTORAL CARE TO THE 
LARGELY ETHNIC POLES, LITHUANIAN, AND OTHER MINORITIES THAT 
HAD BEEN DISPERSED THROUGHOUT THE SOVIET UNION BY STALIN. 
 
------------------------------------- 
POPE GIVING UP HOPE ON A MOSCOW VISIT 
------------------------------------- 
 
¶5.  (C)  ASKED WHETHER THE POPE STILL HOPED TO VISIT MOSCOW, 
KASPER REPLIED THAT IN HIS VIEW THE POPE HAD COME TO TERMS 
WITH THE FACT THAT HE WOULD NOT HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO MEET 
WITH RUSSIAN PATRIARCH ALEXIY AND HAD GIVEN UP ON THAT 
"DREAM."  IT WAS PARTICULARLY TROUBLING TO THE PONTIFF 
BECAUSE HE HAD MET WITH ALL OF THE OTHER ORTHODOX PATRIARCHS 
AND HAD BEGUN TO BUILD BRIDGES.  KASPER THOUGHT THAT AS 
FELLOW SLAVS, THE POPE AND ALEXIY WOULD HAVE A COMMON 
VOCABULARY FOR LAUNCHING AN HISTORIC RECONCILIATION.  ALAS, 
IT NOW APPEARS THIS BRIDGE WOULD HAVE TO BE BUILT UNDER 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7778 
 
PAGE 01        VATICA  03527  02 OF 02  170550Z 
ACTION EUR-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    ACQ-00   CIAE-00  DODE-00  DS-00    VC-00 
      TEDE-00  INR-00   LAB-01   VCE-00   NSAE-00  SSO-00   SS-00 
      DSCC-00  DRL-02   SAS-00     /003W 
                  ------------------CC3A4B  170550Z /38 
O 170552Z JUL 02 
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 
INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 VATICAN 003527 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI), DRL/IRF (FARR) EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/16/2012 
TAGS: PREL PHUM KIRF PHUM KIRF VT RU VTPREL RU
SUBJECT: VATICAN KEEPING "DOORS OPEN" TO RUSSIAN ORTHODOX 
DESPITE CONTINUED TENSIONS 
 
DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES. 
 
¶6. (C)  NOTWITHSTANDING CURRENT OBSTACLES, KASPER MADE CLEAR 
THAT THE CHURCH WOULD BE PATIENT AND "KEEP ITS DOORS OPEN TO 
THE ORTHODOX."  KASPER NOTED (INNOCENTLY RATHER THAN 
IRONICALLY) THAT ALTHOUGH THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH WON'T 
TALK TO THE HOLY SEE, IT DOES HAVE FRUITFUL CONTACTS WITH 
CATHOLIC INDIVIDUALS AND AGENCIES -- ESPECIALLY THOSE, LIKE 
THE SEVERAL GERMAN CHURCH FUNDING AGENCIES, WHICH PROVIDE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        VATICA  03527  02 OF 02  170550Z 
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR ROC OPERATIONS AND ASSISTANCE.  HE 
ALSO NOTED THE CATHOLIC/ORTHODOX DIALOGUE WORKS WELL IN 
WESTERN COUNTRIES, WHICH KASPER ASCRIBED TO A MORE MODERN AND 
OPEN WORLDVIEW OF MOST CITIZENS IN THE WEST. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
¶7. (C) KASPER'S ASSERTION THAT THE POPE HAD GIVEN UP ON 
VISITING MOSCOW WAS THE STRONGEST AFFIRMATION WE HAVE HAD 
FROM A SENIOR CURIAL OFFICIAL THAT THE POPE HAS ACCEPTED THE 
PROBABILITY THAT HE WILL NOT FULFILL HIS VISION OF OUTREACH 
TO THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH.  HE CONVEYED A STRONG SENSE 
THAT HE AND THE POPE WERE TROUBLED BY THE HARDNESS OF RUSSIAN 
ORTHODOX ATTITUDES, AND THAT HE WAS UNCERTAIN HOW TO OVERCOME 
THEM.  "IF PUTIN AND BUSH CAN COME TOGETHER," HE WONDERED, 
"WHY CAN'T THE PATRIARCH AND THE POPE?"  KASPER AGREED THAT 
CHANGES WOULD PROBABLY COME ONLY WHEN RUSSIA WAS BETTER 
INTEGRATED WITH THE WEST AND HAD COME TO ACCEPT WESTERN NORMS 
ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION. 
 
¶8. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED:  THE COUNCIL FOR PROMOTING 
CHRISTIAN UNITY ORIGINATED IN THE VATICAN II REFORMS AND IS 
RESPONSIBLE FOR PROMOTING DIALOGUE AND MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING 
WITH OTHER CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS AS WELL AS WITH THE JEWISH 
FAITH.  CONSERVATIVES WITHIN THE ROMAN CURIA BELIEVE THE IDEA 
OF DIALOGUE AS EQUALS WITH OTHER DENOMINATIONS VIOLATES CORE 
PRECEPTS OF CATHOLICISM, AND THUS THEY ARE EQUIVOCAL ABOUT 
THE COUNCIL'S WORK.  KASPER IS AN IMPORTANT THINKER ON THE 
CHURCH'S ROLE IN THE WORLD, AND FREQUENTLY ADDRESSES THE NEED 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        VATICA  03527  02 OF 02  170550Z 
FOR BROADER DIALOGUE AMONG DIFFERENT FAITHS -- WHICH IS 
TECHNICALLY OUTSIDE OF HIS BRIEF.  OUR SANT'EGIDIO FRIENDS, 
WHO HELP ORGANIZE THE POPE'S EPISODIC INTERFAITH DAYS OF 
PRAYER (MOST RECENTLY IN ASSISI IN JANUARY), TELL US THEY 
BELIEVE KASPER IS ONE OF THE FEW SENIOR CURIA OFFICIALS WHO 
"GET IT" ON INTERFAITH DIALOGUE AND THE NEED TO TALK TO EVEN 
THE MOST DIFFICULT INTERLOCUTORS IF THE CHURCH IS TO AVOID 
THE MUCH FEARED "CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS."  END COMMENT. 
HARDT 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 
 

 2002VATICA03527 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL