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Home arrow In Brief arrow Cuba call by Pope Francis + Patriarch Kirill on Christians' Unity for Humanity's Future

Cuba call by Pope Francis + Patriarch Kirill on Christians' Unity for Humanity's Future

Written by ACM
Friday, 12 February 2016
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*Angelo Marcopolo/- In an Unprecedented in History Summit,  "at the Crossroads of North and South, East and West", i.e. "in Cuba"' Island,  at the eve and near USA's forthcoming Presidential Elections, full of various Topical BioEthic and Religion-relevant Political issues, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, "meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World” of Rome and Moscow, during "2 Hours", launched a Vibrant Joint Call mainly for "the Future of Humanity", "much of" which "will depend on" All Christians"', Catholics' and Orthodox'+, "Capacity to give Shared witness to the Spirit of Truth, in these Difficult Times", "United not only by the Shared Tradition of the Church of the 1st Millennium, but also by the Mission to preach the Gospel of Christ ....Today", "Responding Together to the Challenges of the Contemporary World", as they noted.

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    - In particular,"the Manipulation of Human Life represents an Attack on the Foundations of Human existence, Created in the Image of God", they stressed in Conclusion. Therefore, "Concerned about the development of BioMedical Reproduction Technology", they "Believe that it is (their) Duty, to recall the Immutability of Christian moral Principles, based on Respect for the Dignity of the Individual (Person), called into being, According to the Creator’s Plan".


    => That's one more reason for which "Orthodox and Catholics share the Same Conception of the (Natural) Family", "Based on Marriage, ....between a Man and a Woman", "Consecrated in the Biblical Tradition, of Paternity and Maternity", "...as the Distinct vocation of Man and Woman in marriage is (currently) being Banished from the public Conscience", by "Other forms of Cohabitation (which) have been Placed on the Same Level": s(A Fact) that "We Regret", as they Denounced on the Controversial and UnPopular Same Sex Marriage in some Countries, including even Children submitted to Homosexuals' and/or Technocrats' Power for Artificial ReProduction of Human Beings, obviously Dangerous for all Humankind.


    - Because "Family is the Natural Centre of Human Life and Society", and, "Concerned about the Crisis in the Family in many Countries" Today, Christians "witness that it is a Path of Holiness, testifying to the Faithfulness of the Spouses,....their Openness to the Procreation and rearing of their Children", as well as to "Solidarity between the Generations and to Respect for the Weakest", as they reminded.


    => In this regard, f.ex., "the Emergence of so-called Euthanasia, leads Elderly People, and the Disabled begin to Feel that they are a Burden on their Families, and on Society in general". So that "Millions are Denied the very Right to be Born into the world. The Blood of the Unborn (Child) Cries out to God", (f.ex. in the recent Scandal of "Controlled Parenhood"'s acknowledgment that it Sells Human Parts of Unborn Children to Researchers throughout the USA, etc).

     - As a matter of a Wider and basic Principle, "Our Christian Conscience and our pastoral Responsibility compel us Not to remain Passive in the face of Challenges requiring a shared response",n because, Today, ""Human Civilization has entered into a period of Epochal Change", they stressed from the outset. Therefore, "Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give Unanimously Witness in those Spheres in which this is possible and Necessary", and for which "we experience, with a particular sense of Urgency the need for the Shared Labour", in order "to Combine our efforts" in "Responding Together to the Challenges of the Contemporary World".


- Based on the Historic Fact that "we Share the Same spiritual Tradition of the 1st Millennium of Christianity", which includes as "Witnesses" "the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints we venerate", "among" which "are innumerable Martyrs (from the Era of the First Christians, who had notoriously Faced heavy Persecution and even Killings, obliging them to Hide in Catacombes, but had a Strong Spiritual Force, Energy and Enthousiasm, United Together), who have given witness to their Faithfulness to Christ and have become the “Seed of Christians”, stimulating their original spread all over the World.


- That's why, "meeting Far from the longstanding Disputes of the “Old World” (Europe), and "Mindful of the persistence of many Obstacles", but "Determined to undertake all that is necessary to Overcome the historical Divergences we have inherited" from a part of the 2nd Millenium, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill expressed their , "Hope" that this "may contribute to the re–establishment of this Unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed", and "inspire Christians throughout the World" a "Renewed Fervour for the Full Unity", n a world which yearns not only for our Words but also for Tangible Gestures", as they pointed out.

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    Europe, (but also the USA, etc) is at the Heart of the matter, in real practice :

- "We Call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to Unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its Soul, shaped by 2 Thousand Years of Christian tradition", their Joint Declaration stresses.


    - Because, "while remaining Open to the Contribution of Other Religions to our civilization, it is our Conviction that Europe must remain Faithful to its Christian Roots", they underlined, touching upon a quite Popular issue nowadays.

    - In this regard, even if it's a Fact that "the process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was Welcomed by many with Hope, as a guarantee of Peace and Security", "Nonetheless, we invite Vigilance against an integration that is Devoid of respect for Religious Identities", as they denounced, critizing certain recent abuses by some.


    - Also because, despite a "current unprecedented Renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other Countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes", where, f.ex., "Thousands of New Churches have been Built over the last Quarter of a Century, as well as hundreds of Monasteries and Theological institutions", while "Christian communities undertake notable works in the fields of Charitable aid and Social development, providing diversified forms of Assistance to the Needy", "Orthodox and Catholics often work(ing) side by side",

   + nevertheless, "at the same time, we are Concerned about the situation in many Countries" (i.e. including in the USA, where even a Woman Democratical Elected as Senior Official, was Jailed for refusing to "Marry" personaly Homosexuals, while in France many Mayors were Threatened by Heavy Fines and/or Jail for a similar Pretext, etc), "in which Christians are increasingly confronted by Restrictions to religious Freedom, to the Right to witness to one’s Convictions and to live in Conformity with them".


    - "In particular", "Grave Threat(s) to Religious Freedom" are observed during "the Transformation of some Countries into Secularized societies, Estranged from all reference to God". Because "there is a current Curtailment of the Rights of Christians, if not their outright Discrimination, when certain Political forces, guided by an often very Aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the Margins of public life", they jointly Denounced.


    + At the same time, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill "Deplore(d) the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many Victims, inflicted innumerable Wounds on peaceful Inhabitants" (mostly Civilian People), "and thrown society into a deep Economic and Humanitarian Crisis"


    => Therefore,. they "Invite(d) our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social Harmony, to Refrain from taking part in the Confrontation, and to Not support any further development of the Conflict". On the contrary, "All the parts involved in the conflict" are "Invited... to Prudence, to social Solidarity and to action aimed at constructing Peace".


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    - But, in our troubled times, a Priority was given, in fact, on the current need to "Firstly turn to those Regions of the World where Christians are Victims of Persecution", (as also a recent EU Parliament's Resolution, adopted in Strasbourg, has strongly denounced, Comp., f.ex. : ....) :


    - In particular, "In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely Exterminated. Their Churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects Profaned, their Monuments Destroyed. It is with Pain that we call to mind the situation in Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East, and the massive Exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was First Disseminated and in which they have Lived since the time of the Apostles, (i.e. 1st Century AC), Together with Other Religious communities"


    - "Thousands of Victims have already been claimed in the Violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other Millions withOut a Home or means of Sustenance". Thus, "We Bow before the Martyrdom of those who, at the Cost of their own Lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring Death to the Denial of Christ. ...these Martyrs of Our Times, who belong to various Churches but who are United by their Shared Suffering, are a Pledge of the Unity of Christians" Today.


    + At the same time, "in raising our voice in defence of Persecuted Christians, we (also) wish to express our Compassion for the Suffering experienced by the faithful of Other Religious traditions, who have also become Victims of Civil War, Chaos and Terrorist Violence", they added.

    => In consequence, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill "Call(ed) upon the International Community to act Urgently in order to Prevent the further Expulsion of Christians from the Middle East", and "Urge(d)" "to seek an End to the Violence and Terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through Dialogue to a swift return to Civil Peace".


    In particular, "Large–scale Humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many Refugees seeking safety in Neighbouring lands", (i.e. Lebanon, Jordany, Turkey, and even ...Armenia, where many Christians have reportedly seeked Refuge in order to avoid Turkey's Camps, denounced as Dominated by an Oppressive "Islamist" Leadership, Similar to several Violent Aggressions that Christian Refugees faced even in some Dormitories in Europe, often controlled by Private "Security" Companies entrusted to Turkish-origin guards, as the German Press denounced). + On this occasion, they also "Call(ed) upon all those whose influence can be brought to bear upon the destiny of those kidnapped, including the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul and John Ibrahim, who were taken in April 2013, to make every effort to ensure their prompt Liberation", (speaking of an important City, near the Turkish Borders, which is currently close to return back to the Syrian Government's control, supported by Russian Aviation, after Years of occupation by various Armed Gangs and Terrorist Groups).

    ++ In "addressing, in a fervent appeal, All the Parts that may be involved in the Conflicts to demonstrate good will and to take part in the Negotiating table", Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill also "ask(ed) for the return of Peace in the Middle East, ... so that Fraternal Co–Existence among the Various populations, Churches and Religions may be strengthened, enabling Refugees to return to their Homes, Wounds to be Healed, and the Souls of the slain innocent to Rest in peace"

    >>> +++ But, in parallel, "at the same time, the International Community must undertake every possible effort to End Terrorism", (as, f.ex., that of ISIL's atrocious Killers and BeHeaders even of Innocent Civilian People) "through common, Joint and Coordinated Action", the Ecumenical Cuba Declaration stresses timely, while also "call(ing) on all the countries involved in the struggle against terrorism to responsible and prudent action".


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    ++++ Moreover, Advancing well Beyond all that, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill also Feel the Need, Today, to "Exhort all Christians and All Believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world, to Protect His creation from Destruction, and Not permit a New (3rd) World War", as they Warn.


    => For that purose, "in order to ensure a solid and enduring Peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to ReDiscover the Common Values Uniting us", they pointed out.


    - Inter alia, "InterReligious Dialogue is indispensable in our disturbing times", because "Differences in the understanding of Religious truths must Not Impede people of Different Faiths to live in Peace and Harmony", specialy "in our current context", whenb "religious Leaders have the particular Responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is Respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions".


    => On the contrary, "Attempts to justify Criminal acts with Religious Slogans are altogether Unacceptable", also because "No Crime may be committed in God’s Name".

    However, all this cannot make anyone disregard "the Growing InEquality in the distribution of material Goods", since many People are "facing Serious Difficulties, who live in extreme need and Poverty, while", on the ontrary,"the Material Wealth of Humanity Increases", augmenting also "the feeling of the InJustice of the International order", while "Christian churches are called to Defend the demands of Justice, ...and an authentic Solidarity towards All those who Suffer", Cuba Ecumenical Declaration stresses.

    - Last, but not least, they also "address Young Christians" : - "Do Not be Afraid of going Against the current, Defending God’s Truth, to which contemporary Secular Norms are often Far from conforming", Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill Encourage them, while also stressing that Young People have "the Task of ...Using all the Abilities God has given you, to confirm Christ’s Truth in the world, incarnating in your own Lives the evangelical commandments of the Love of God and of one’s Neighbour"


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    By a Coincidence, this Historic Top Move, was preceded also by a Humble Collective Meeting around Strasbourg Cathedral's community on Ecumenism's perspectives Today, where "EuroFora"s co-Founder mainly supported that, a much needed ReVitalisation could be inspired from the First Christians, who were  United Together and notoriouly Active and Enthousiast, despite Persecutions, while Today, a series of Challenges of Crucial Importane even for all Humankind, incite all like-minded Christians to Unite Together for Urgently needed Joint, Adequate and Efficient Responses, (from BioEthics up to Europe's identity and roots, as well as in order to Face Deadly and particularly InHuman Terrorism, etc.), a good part of which was also evoked by various other fellow participants, in several Converging ways.


    It was a great, and good Surprise, to find, soon afterwards, that most Key parts of those observations appeared Confirmed as more or less Just, by the present, Historic Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill at Cuba...



(../..)

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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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