02VATICAN5138 / 2002-10-22 09:57:00
Embassy Vatican
                UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 005138 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI), EUR/NCE, 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL, SOCI, RO, SOCI, RO, VT, VTPREL 
SUBJECT: THE POPE AND THE ROMANIAN PATRIARCH: REINFORCING 
BRIDGES TO ORTHODOX EUROPE 
 
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SUMMARY 
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                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
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1.   (U) IN THE VATICAN, WHERE GESTURES AND SYMBOLS CARRY 
WEIGHT, POPE JOHN PAUL II PULLED OUT ALL THE STOPS DURING 
ROMANIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH TEOCTIST'S OCTOBER 7-13 VISIT TO 
VATICAN CITY AND THE CITY OF ROME.  IN A SERIES OF EVENTS 
CULMINATING IN A SPECIAL MASS IN ST. PETER'S, THE PATRIARCH 
WAS ACCORDED THE HIGHEST OF HONORS PEPPERED WITH WARM 
FRATERNAL EMBRACES.  THE VISIT WAS REMARKABLY SIMILAR IN 
POMP AND PROTOCOL TO A PAPAL VISIT ABROAD, AND WAS INTENDED 
TO RECIPROCATE THE WARM RECEPTION THE POPE RECEIVED IN 
ROMANIA IN 1999.  WHILE THE POPE AND THE PATRIARCH ARE GOOD 
FRIENDS, THE HEARTY WELCOME TEOCTIST RECEIVED IS A CLEAR 
SIGN TO THE REST OF EUROPE'S ORTHODOX COMMUNITY THAT THE 
HOLY SEE INTENDS TO CONTINUE ITS VIGOROUS PURSUIT OF CLOSER 
RELIGIOUS AND GEOPOLITICAL TIES TO ORTHODOX EUROPE IN ORDER 
TO FURTHER POPE JOHN PAUL II'S LONG-HELD VISION OF EUROPE 
EXTENDING FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE URAL MOUNTAINS. END 
SUMMARY. 
 
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ROLLING OUT THE RED CARPET 
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2. (U) PATRIARCH TEOCTIST'S "UNOFFICIAL" INTRODUCTION TO 
VATICAN CITY STATE BY THE POPE OCCURRED BEFORE AN AUDIENCE 
OF SOME 250,000 PILGRIMS ATTENDING THE CANONIZATION OF THE 
FOUNDER OF OPUS DEI.  THE HOLY SEE USED THE OCCASION TO 
HONOR TEOCTIST'S STATUS AS A NATIONAL ORTHODOX LEADER -- 
THROUGHOUT HIS VISIT HE WAS SEATED ON THE SAME LEVEL AS THE 
POPE IN AN IDENTICAL CHAIR.  PATRIARCH TEOCTIST'S SCHEDULE 
INCLUDED VISITS TO ROME'S MAJOR BASILICAS.  IN EACH HE WAS 
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PAGE 03        VATICA  05138  01 OF 02  221043Z 
ACCORDED THE HIGHEST OF HONORS.  THE PATRIARCH ALSO VISITED 
THE SANT'EGIDIO COMMUNITY WHERE HE SPOKE OF CONSTRUCTING A 
CHRISTIAN EUROPE AND ON THE PERSECUTION SUFFERED BY ORTHODOX 
CHRISTIANS AT THE HANDS OF THE COMMUNISTS.  PATRIARCH 
TEOCTIST WAS GIVEN THE PULPIT DURING A MASS IN ST. PETER'S 
BASILICA THAT MARKED THE CONCLUSION OF HIS VISIT.  IN HIS 
SERMON, HE URGED CHRISTIANS TO FILL THE VOID LEFT IN THE 
EUROPEAN PSYCHE BY SECULARIZATION AND EXPRESSED HIS 
GRATITUDE TO THE SANT'EGIDIO COMMUNITY FOR ITS INTERNATIONAL 
EFFORTS TO PROMOTE DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE WORLD'S PEOPLES. 
 
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OVERCOMING DIFFERENCES:  PROPERTY AND PROSELYTISM 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
3. (U) IN A COMMON DECLARATION ISSUED OCTOBER 12, POPE JOHN 
PAUL AND PATRIARCH TEOCTIST CALLED FOR CLOSER RELIGIOUS TIES 
AND URGED ROMANIA'S CHRISTIANS TO SETTLE THEIR DISPUTES 
AMICABLY.  (COMMENT: CATHOLICS IN ROMANIA ARE SEEKING 
RESTITUTION OF PROPERTIES CONFISCATED DURING THE COMMUNIST 
ERA AND HANDED OVER TO ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS. END COMMENT). 
ALSO AT ISSUE ARE CONVERSIONS TO CATHOLICISM AMONG NON- 
BELIEVERS WITH AN ORTHODOX HERITAGE.  THE ORTHODOX CHURCH 
CONSIDERS SUCH NON-BELIEVERS TO BE THEIR NATURAL 
CONSTITUENCY, WHILE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH VIEWS THEM AS OPEN 
TO CONVERSION.  THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN ROMANIA, AS IN 
RUSSIA, HAS MAJOR CONCERNS ABOUT LOSING CONSTITUENTS TO 
CATHOLICISM THROUGH SUCH "CONFESSIONAL COMPETITION."  THE 
TWO LEADERS EFFECTIVELY SIDE-STEPPED THIS ISSUE BY CALLING 
FOR COOPERATION RATHER THAN COMPETITION IN THEIR RESPECTIVE 
MISSIONARY WORK AMONG NON-CHRISTIANS.  THE POPE, HOWEVER, 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
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INSISTED THAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SEEKS TO SUPPORT THE 
MISSION OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH, WHILE BEING ABLE TO CARRY 
OUT ITS OWN PASTORAL TASK FOR ITS FAITHFUL "AND FOR THOSE 
WHO TURN FREELY TO HER." 
 
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COMMON CONCERNS:  EU ENLARGEMENT AND EVANGELICALS 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
4.   (U) THE LEADERS WERE IN FULL AGREEMENT ON THE NEED TO 
ENSURE THAT EUROPEAN UNION EXPANSION, WITH ITS SECULAR 
ORIENTATION, IS COMPLEMENTED BY RELIGIOUS VALUES AND 
INCREASING RELIGIOUS UNITY.   TO THIS END, THE POPE AND THE 
PATRIARCH AGREED TO WORK TOGETHER TO GET THEIR ISSUES ON THE 
EU'S AGENDA.  THESE INCLUDE THE SANCTITY OF LIFE, THE 
DIGNITY AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE HUMAN PERSON, JUSTICE 
AND SOLIDARITY, PEACE AND RECONCILIATION, THE IMPORTANCE OF 
THE FAMILY, AND PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT. 
 
5. (SBU) BOTH LEADERS EXPRESSED CONCERN OVER WHAT THEY 
REGARD AS THE ENCROACHMENT OF "NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS AND 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
                           UNCLASSIFIED     PTQ1657 
 
PAGE 01        VATICA  05138  02 OF 02  221043Z 
ACTION EUR-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   CIAE-00  DODE-00  DOEE-00  SRPP-00 
      DS-00    ED-01    UTED-00  VC-00    HHS-01   H-01     TEDE-00 
      INR-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  NSCE-00  OMB-01 
      PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00   SP-00 
      SS-00    TEST-00  TRSE-00  T-00     USIE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00 
      PRM-00   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /007W 
                  ------------------FC2114  221044Z /38 
R 220957Z OCT 02 
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 
INFO AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST 
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 
AMEMBASSY ATHENS 
AMEMBASSY SOFIA 
USEU BRUSSELS 
 
UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 VATICAN 005138 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI), EUR/NCE, 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL, SOCI, RO, VT 
SUBJECT: THE POPE AND THE ROMANIAN PATRIARCH: REINFORCING 
BRIDGES TO ORTHODOX EUROPE 
 
SECTS" INTO FORMERLY COMMUNIST STATES. (NOTE: "NEW RELIGIOUS 
MOVEMENTS" IS A VATICAN EUPHEMISM FOR U.S.-BASED PENTECOSTAL 
CHURCHES. END NOTE).  THE POPE AND THE PATRIARCH LAMENTED 
THE FACT THAT THESE COUNTRIES WERE SEEN AS "SPIRITUALLY 
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EMPTY," VIRGIN TERRITORY BY THE NEW MOVEMENTS WHEN IN 
REALITY CHRISTIANITY IS MILLENNIA-OLD AND DEEPLY-ROOTED IN 
MOST OF THEM. 
 
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COMMENT 
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6.   (SBU) POPE JOHN PAUL II USED HIS PERSONAL FRIENDSHIP 
WITH ROMANIAN PATRIARCH TEOCTIST, AS HE HAS PREVIOUSLY WITH 
AN ARMENIAN ORTHODOX LEADER, TO BOLSTER ECUMENICAL RELATIONS 
WITH THE ORTHODOX CHURCH.  IN THE FACE OF PERCEIVED RUSSIAN 
ORTHODOX INTRANSIGENCE AND INCREASING PRESSURE FROM RUSSIAN 
AUTHORITIES ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN RUSSIA, SUCH BRIDGE- 
BUILDING PROVIDES A USEFUL COUNTERPOINT FOR THE POPE TO 
DEMONSTRATE THE POSSIBILITIES OF CATHOLIC-ORTHODOX DIALOGUE. 
AS LONG AS THIS POPE REMAINS IN OFFICE, THIS DIALOGUE WILL 
REMAIN A PRIORITY.  IN FACT, THE POPE SUGGESTED THAT THIS 
DIALOGUE BE GIVEN AN INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE THAT WOULD 
PROVIDE FOR A MORE REGULAR ORTHODOX-CATHOLIC EXCHANGE.  THE 
HOLY SEE AND ORTHODOX CHURCHES IN GENERAL VIGOROUSLY PROMOTE 
EUROPE'S HISTORICALLY CHRISTIAN HERITAGE IN THE CONTEXT OF 
EU EXPANSION TO FORMERLY COMMUNIST STATES.  THE WELCOME 
TEOCTIST RECEIVED IN ROME IS PART OF A BROAD VATICAN 
STRATEGY TO CEMENT ECCLESIASTICAL ALLIANCES TO MATCH THE 
SECULAR ONES CENTERED ON BRUSSELS AND STRASBOURG, AND ALSO 
TO SHOW THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX THEY HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR FROM 
THIS POPE AND FROM CATHOLICISM. 
 
HARDT 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
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 2002VATICA05138 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED 


            
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