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Cablegate: The Pope and the Romanian Patriarch: Reinforcing

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

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

-------
SUMMARY
-------
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 VATICA 05138 01 OF 02 221043Z

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.

--------------------------
ROLLING OUT THE RED CARPET
--------------------------

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
UNCLASSIFIED

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.

--------------------------------------------- ----
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

PAGE 04 VATICA 05138 01 OF 02 221043Z
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."

--------------------------------------------- ----
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 SOCI RO VT VTPREL
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
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 VATICA 05138 02 OF 02 221043Z
EMPTY," VIRGIN TERRITORY BY THE NEW MOVEMENTS WHEN IN
REALITY CHRISTIANITY IS MILLENNIA-OLD AND DEEPLY-ROOTED IN
MOST OF THEM.

-------
COMMENT
-------

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

PAGE 03 VATICA 05138 02 OF 02 221043Z

UNCLASSIFIED

>

2002VATICA05138 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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