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Bishop Joseph Werth Spoke at the Renowned Boehler-Club in Bonn
 
Hoffmann, Dr. Alexander. "Bishop Joseph Werth Spoke at the Renowned Boehler-Club in Bonn." Volk auf dem Weg, May, 2009, 30-31
 
This translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado

Bishop Joseph Werth
On March 10 of this year Bishop Joseph Werth, the President of the Russian Catholic Conference of Bishops, discussed the relationship between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church in the Russian Federation.

In his well-attended presentation, the Bishop emphasized that the Catholic Church was established and active in Russia not in the 20th Century, but some centuries before. As early as the 18th Century there were Catholic communities, in the largest cities, but also in Siberia and on the Volga.
 
Before the Revolution, there existed in Russia -- as in other countries of Europe by then as well -- ecclesiastic structures, i.e., parishes, dioceses, and church-conducted schools of higher learning. In St. Petersburg there was a seminary for priestly training and a spiritual academy.
 
The actual structure of multiple dioceses, however, was not restored until 2002, post-Soviet time, even though it faced strong opposition from the Orthodox Church. This restoration did not lead to normalization of ecclesiastic work in the country, as the Catholic Church in Russia experienced a hostile counter-reaction and even severe damage from the Orthodox Church, in which State organs participated at times.
 
At the same time, the Bishop also spoke protectively about the Orthodox Church of Russia, for its traditional strengths, such as liturgy and mysticism, offer an answer to the crisis of faith in the modern world. And now there also appear to be encouraging signs of a sincere and genuine friendship, which comprise the precondition for any ecumenical work. The leadership of the Orthodox Church appears to recognize that cutting itself off and cultivating of hostile images are not ways that lead into the future. In this relationship with Orthodoxy, one must recognize and consider old sensitivities, ways of thinking and traditions, to be able to take trusting steps into the future and together to provide answers to the challenges of the times.
 
Lastly, the President of the Russian Conference of Bishops emphasized that, despite all difficulties that come up regarding certain questions, he feels the value of and a love for the Orthodox sister church in Russia.

Our appreciation is extend to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.

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