Skip to comments.Ecumenism with Orthodox is near to Pope's heart, cardinal says
Posted on 12/16/2013 4:02:39 AM PST by NYer
.- The relationship between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches is very important to Pope Francis, said the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
“I think the ecumenical issue and the ecumenical challenge is very close to his heart,” Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch told CNA on Dec. 13.
From Dec.14-19, Cardinal Koch will travel to Russia to meet with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church. He will meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow as well Metropolitan Hilarion, who is president of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“The possibility or the opportunity of a meeting between Pope Francis and his Holiness Kirill” would require “a very good and profound, deep preparation,” the cardinal explained.
“I hope this (trip) can be a little path in the way of preparation.”
Like his predecessor, Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has entered the papacy with personal knowledge of the challenges of ecumenism.
Just as Pope Benedict understood “the ecumenical situation in Germany, with all the churches and ecclesial communities (that) came from the reformation, Pope Francis knows very well the situation in Latin America” where there is “very big growth” of the “Evangelical and Pentecostal communities,” noted Cardinal Koch.
“We must speak today about the ‘pentecostalization’ of Christianity or a ‘fourth form’ of Christianity: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and now (a) Pentecostal form of Christianity.”
The cardinal went on to highlight that the pontiff’s experience of ecumenism also includes the eastern Christian Churches.
“As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis was responsible for all the oriental Catholic Churches,” thus “he knows very well also the oriental tradition, and very important for the ecumenical dialogue is the orthodox and the oriental orthodox churches.”
“I think we have a very beautiful continuation between Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, (of) what belongs in the ecumenical issues,” he added.
Cardinal Koch’s itinerary includes attendance at a theology conference on the progress of Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, a visit to the monastery of Alexander Nevsky Lavra, and pastoral meetings with Catholic clergy on the topics of ecumenical dialogue and the Second Vatican Council.
The cardinal will also preside at a celebration of the jubilee of the basilica of St. Catherine of Alexandria in St. Petersburg.
It seems that the Pope’s emerging policy is ecumenical toward all strands of Christian faith — except Catholic traditionalists — and of good will toward all people except the rich and the capitalist creators of income, wealth, and material progress. Pope Francis has a good heart, but his head is muddled by half-baked ideas from the Left. I hope and pray that time, reflection, and the Holy Spirit will remedy these faults or at least limit their mischief.
What personal expression or statement by the pope would alter this notion?
The fastest and friendliest ecumenism with the Orthodox can happen by jumping on the momentum Putin has created for that purpose: in effect, making Moscow the new Constantinople.
To explain, in the old Roman Empire, Rome was in decline, surrounded by barbarian hordes, so an eastern capital of the Empire was created in Constantinople (now Istanbul), in 330AD. So when Rome fell to the barbarians, the eastern Roman Empire continued, with Constantinople as the new capital of Christianity.
Under great pressure in the West, but flourishing in the East, by the time Constantinople fell to Islam in 1453AD, Moscow assumed that it would take up the mantle as the center of eastern Christianity, to again rule in tandem with Rome, by then again somewhat restored.
Divisions within the Orthodox churches interfered with this, but it has remained a long term dream of Russia since then. A dream that is being brought back to life by Putin.
He managed to pull off an unbelievable conclave of the Orthodox churches in Moscow that was almost all “sweetness and light”, and now he seeks to bring the Vatican into the entente. The Vatican also grasps the value in this.
As the Protestant churches in the west are to a great extent withering under the stress of liberalism, paganism and atheism, a Catholic-Orthodox confederation would be a huge shot in the arm for Christianity.
Putin, as his reward, would almost certainly be declared a saint of the Orthodox churches, which might even be recognized by Roman Catholicism. Russia would become *the* destination for Christian tourism, as part of a “Christian Renaissance.”
If what you say is true, he’s in for a big shock with Kirill, who is a traditionalist through and through. He doesn’t mince words.
Seems a little like some kind of drunk fantasy Putin would have. St. Putin? Really?
But I agree that we are seeing Christianity shift geographically in a huge way.
Middle East ——> Africa
Western Europe & America ——> Eastern Europe & Asia
Just look at the explosive growth in China.
Christianity really shouldn’t be as divided as it is today. Its not like our texts are so obscure that they are open to a variety of interpretations. We just have a lot of people who want to ‘modernize’ the Word with radical left wing theory. How anyone could reconcile infanticide with Christianity is a mystery to me.
Whatever aids in the growth and flourishing of the faith is good in my book, and we need to start clearing out detritus like the Universalist Unitarians.
That is good to hear.
That growth stems from the people and the Chicoms have slapped it down by nationalizing the Catholic Church, separating it from the See of Peter. In so doing, those catholics who adhere to authentic teaching have been forced underground where they continue to suffer persecution and martyrdom.
As for the shift from the Middle East to Africa, here again, it not a loss of faith but persecution that has resulted in christians fleeing from their homelands. Insofar as Africa, here too, persecution prevails. Consider, for example, the situation with St. Bakhita. Bakhita's story of a slave who was forced to convert to Islam and later chose Christianity represents a conflict between Christianity and Islam. In May 1992 news of her beatification was banned by Khartoum which Pope John Paul II then personally visited only nine months later. On 10 February 1993, facing all risks, surrounded by an immense crowd in the huge Green Square of the capital of Sudan, he solemnly honored Bakhita on her own soil. "Rejoice, all of Africa! Bakhita has come back to you. The daughter of Sudan sold into slavery as a living piece of merchandise and yet still free. Free with the freedom of the saints."
As for Western Europe and America, freedom to worship also equals freedom not to do so. However, should the government outright ban worship, there would be a ground swell to restore it. We are beginning to see the effects of oppressive government on the French. Suddenly, they are waking from their reverie and reclaiming their christian legacy.
Yes, the growth in China is underground, it is in the ‘house churches’. That’s what scares the government. They can’t control it.
Persecution is a huge problem in the Middle East and Africa (Boko Haram in Nigeria for example), but we’re seeing Christian Africa start to fight back now, in places like CAR, where an Islamic minority seized power in a coup, and now the Christians are wanting their country back.
France is a very interesting case, and we’ll see where that one goes next election. It would appear Marine Le Pen is likely to make the presidential final there, and if she does that, I can see her winning it. While not a leader I agree with on many things, she is for returning to traditionalist ways. It’s alwayts the same story. They pass legislation they know is unpopular not through referendum, but in the places they can’t be assailed from. Here the courts, there the corrupt legislature stacked with socialists at an all time low approval rating. That’s how they mutilated marriage.
The TLM is practiced in various communities and dioceses. If Pope Francis had an issue with the TLM, why would he single out this particular community and not the others? There must be some practice in the community that needs correction.
There are issues, but tradition-minded Catholics are alarmed that the Pope’s appointee to reform the group has virtually suspended the practice of the Latin Mass among a group specially dedicated toward it. Equivalent heavy-handedness is simply not applied to even the most rebellious Catholic organizations on the Left.
Putin is very dedicated to restoring Russia as a world power. Uniting Christianity would definitely help in this, with minimal cost and maximum benefit. And because the west has become so disdainful of Christianity, it is a golden opportunity for him.
Since "there are issues", then you need to place your trust in patience and prayer. More importantly, reflect on what our Lord's prayer says: "Thy will be done". The outcome may not be your will but, as a catholic, you should place your trust in the will of God. To do otherwise, is to emulate others who have denounced the Chair of Peter.
I am a Roman Catholic, raised pre-VCII with the Latin Mass and witness to the changes that took place afterwards. The RC diocese in which I reside is ultra progressive and I have first hand experience on how far contemporary ideologues can shift and alter catechesis. That said, I am also most blessed to have found my home in a Maronite (Eastern) Catholic Church. In the process, I have been humbled by their devout faith and staunch defense of the papacy. They trace their heritage back to Antioch where Peter served as bishop before going to Rome. Of all the Eastern rite Churches, the Maronite Church is the only one known by the name of a personSt. Maron. Born in the middle of the fourth century, St. Maron was a hermit, who, by his holiness and the miracles he worked, attracted many followers. After his death around the year 410, his monastic disciples built a large monastery in his honor, from which other monasteries were founded.
The followers of St. Maron, both monks and laity, were always faithful to the teaching of the Pope. The Maronite Church is the only one among the Eastern Churches that has always maintained its bonds with Rome and the Successor of St. Peter. In fact, in 517, as controversy continued to rage over the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon (451) regarding Christ as true God and true Man, persecution of the Maronites broke out which resulted in the martyrdom of 350 Maronite monks on account of their defense of the Councils decrees. Because of this, the Maronites were also known as the Chalcedonians. Even today, on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, our liturgy prays: O Lord, preserve your children from all error or deviation, grant us to live and die proclaiming: Our faith is the faith of Peter, the faith of Peter is our faith! During the seventh century, the Maronites again suffered persecution and fled for refuge to the mountains of Lebanon. There they maintained and grew in their Christian faith and culture. At the time of the Crusades, close bonds were established by the Maronites with the West which have endured to this day. Later on, the Holy See sent missionaries to Lebanon, and in 1584, Pope Gregory XIII established the Maronite Seminary in Rome. Thus throughout history, there have been continuous and close relations between the Maronites in the East and western countries in Europe.
Now we come to an interesting series of events. When the Vatican missionaries arrived in Lebanon, they reviewed the liturgical books used by the Maronites, that were written in Syriac and Arabic. The missionaries declared that certain books were not in conformity with the teachings of the Catholic Church and insisted that these be burned. The Maronites did not hesitate or put up a fight; they immediately complied. Why? Because they believe that "Where Peter is, there is the Catholic Church".
Rome's response was to send them gifts, including mitres to be worn by their bishops. In reality, many of the bishops from the Eastern Catholic Churches, wear "crowns" but the Maronites continue to embrace the gift of the mitre from the pope. During the centuries that followed, not only were their books burned but their liturgy was "latinized". Ironically, it was VCII that promoted a return to the authentic origins of the Eastern Catholic Churches. For the Maronites, this has been a tenuous move in that some of that history was destroyed by the Vatican emissaries.
Most remarkable, there is NO RESENTMENT! None! On the contrary, they embrace their attachment to the Chair of Peter.
Pope Francis and His Beatitude Bechara Peter Rai, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East for the Maronites.
On November 9, 2013, Pope Francis Appointed Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Mar Beshara Peter Rahi as member in the Catholic Council for Education in the Vatican for five years. The main activities of this council are to spread the principles of Catholic education and apply it in the Catholic schools, universities and seminaries.
This council has the power to authorize the establishment of canonic universities and institutes, to organize its laws and regulations, and to preserve the Catholic doctrinal education within such centers, and to promote collaboration and communication between them.
Cardinal Rai is also member in several councils, among them the Council for Oriental Churches, the Papal Council for Media, the Papal Council for Expatriates and others.
Perhaps the Latin Rite traditionalist can learn a lesson here on faith and acceptance.
To trust in and submit to God’s will does not require the suspension of one’s capacity for judgment. Pope Francis is a deeply good and caring man, but, like many pastoral popes, he also seems prone toward impulsiveness and carelessness in expression and decisions. At the level of the papacy, such traits can unintentionally sew ill-will and dissension — as happened with Vatican II and the wreckage left in the wake of its optimistic, well intended reforms.