May 10

Solidarity

The word “solidarity” has an interesting history, I learned at the Sozialethik-Symposium: “Solidarität in der Krise” from 28 to 30 April 2011 in Vienna-Mödling. This conference was organised by the Institut für Sozialethik der Katholisch-Theologischen Fakultät (Vienna) and the Vereinigung für katholische Sozialethik in Mitteleuropa. Ever since the Middle Ages, one of the guest speakers explained, solidarity was the individual’s legal responsibility to pay collective debts. It meant, for example, that if two or more business partners had taken out a loan collectively, and one of them would go bankrupt, the remaining partner(s) had to repay the entire sum (“solidum”). Continue reading

May 05

Friends and Foes

In March 2011, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, visited Moscow. There, he met Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk. The visit was heralded in the media as a breakthrough in Russian Orthodox-Roman Catholic relations, but it remains to be seen, as to whether we will witness a new ecumenical era soon. With Pope biographer George Weigel, for example, one can ask if this really was a defining moment. Recently, Weigel harshly criticised the Russian Orthodox Church, and, to be honest, rightly so. It is obvious that the “the Russian Orthodox leadership is functioning as an arm of Russian state power” (Weigel) and, as a matter of fact, quite willingly (see a December 2010 Wikileak with Metropolitan Hilarion).
This post, however, does not aim at the Russian Orthodox Church as such. It rather wants to look at what might lay behind this desire for cooperation with the Roman Catholic Church on various moral and ethical issues, which was proposed by Metropolitan Hilarion, last March. Continue reading