In recent days there has been much talk about the "impending reunion" of the Orthodox with Rome (especially of the Bulgarians, who don't even want to continue the dialogue with Rome). While I am certain that all true Catholics desire to see the return of the Orthodox to unity with Rome -- a unity that above all should be a unity of faith -- I have to ask if people realize that such misleading reporting, far from hastening this reconciliation, is actually a major obstacle to true reunion. False reporting accomplishes nothing except to create the momentary illusion that doctrinal differences have been resolved or are of no real consequence (or are not really differences at all), and that false ecumenism works.
To see where things really stand, we only need to turn to the words of Archbishop Hilarion of Volokalamsk, who -- in an interview recently published by the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia -- gives the following opinion:
In this situation, I suppose that a consolidation is needed in the efforts of those churches which consider themselves "Churches of Tradition," that is, the Orthodox, Catholics and pre-Chalcedonians. I am not talking about the serious dogmatic and ecclesiological differences which exist between these Churches and which can be considered within the framework of bilateral dialog. I am talking about the need to reach an agreement between these Churches on some strategic alliance, pact, union for defending traditional Christianity as such—defense from all modern challenges, whether militant liberalism, militant atheism or militant Islam. I would like to underline that a strategic alliance is my own idea, not the official position of the Moscow Patriarchate.
We do not need union with the Catholics, we do not need "intercommunion," we do not need compromise for a doubtful "rapprochement." What we do need , in my opinion , is a strategic alliance , for the challenge is made to traditional Christianity as such. This is especially noticeable in Europe , where de-Christianization and liberalization are occurring as persistently as the gradual and unswerving Islamization. The liberal, weakened "Christianity" of the Protestant communities cannot resist the onslaught of Islam; only staunch, traditional Christianity can stand against it, ready to defend its moral positions. In this battle, the Orthodox and Catholics could, even in the face of all the differences accumulated over the centuries, form a united front.
In September 2009, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem also issued a press release on the visit of some German Catholic bishops to Patriarch Theophilus III, wherein we find the following passage:
As regards the theological dialogue, we are in favour; however, we do not look to it with any anxiety. We believe that we should be striving for a unity of faith, and not of administration.»
Continuing his address, His Beatitude said that the ecclesiastic dialogue should also include monks, who do not confuse «speculation with revelation»; they know that Christianity does not involve speculation. They know what the truth is: that a Christian's goal is deification. The representatives of the theological dialogue between the Churches and the leaders of the Churches should be pleased, if both levels of dialogue were to coexist; that is, love and truth. Not love alone.
His Beatitude stressed that it is about time both Churches examined what divides them, and not what the elements that unite them are.
«The elements that unite them have been discussed exhaustively in the past. The beginning of our unity in the faith is found in the recognition of our weaknesses. It is time that we operated on our wounds.»