The Devil is in the Details of Dialogue
Taming the Wild Beast
Dialogue Can Overcome Catholic-Orthodox Split, Says Pope
Assesses Visit of Ecumenical Patriarch
VATICAN CITY, JULY 4, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II insists that the force of "dialogue of truth" and "of charity" can overcome the problems that separate Catholics and Orthodox.
The Pope expressed that view today in the wake of last week's visit to Rome by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the "first among equals" of the Orthodox Churches, on the occasion of the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul and the 40th anniversary of the encounter between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I.
"We were able to address some problems and misunderstandings that arose recently, offering a concrete sign of how Christians can and must always collaborate, even when there are divisions and conflicts," John Paul II said before praying the midday Angelus.
"It is an eloquent way of proclaiming the Gospel of peace in a world characterized unfortunately by imbalances and violence," he said from the window of his study, addressing thousands gathered below in St. Peter's Square.
"Acknowledging the positive steps taken until now and without forgetting the obstacles that still exist, we reaffirmed the resolve to continue, more than that, to intensify ecumenical dialogue, whether on the level of fraternal relations --dialogue of charity -- or on that of doctrinal comparison -- dialogue of truth," the Holy Father added.
At the end of the visit, John Paul II said that he and Bartholomew I signed a joint declaration "which confirms and relaunches the commitment of Catholics and Orthodox in the service of the great cause of full communion of Christians."
In particular, the Pontiff explained, the patriarchal visit served to remind Catholics and Orthodox that they "are called to work together so that the European continent will not forget its own Christian roots."
"Only in this way will Europe be able to play its full role in the dialogue between civilizations and in the global promotion of justice, solidarity, and the safeguarding of creation," he said.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said "it was the most friendly visit" of the three that Bartholomew I has made to Rome, something the patriarch himself confirmed before bidding farewell to the Eternal City.
The cardinal told Vatican Radio that the past week's meetings have "facilitated" the future of ecumenism, particularly the papal homily of the Mass of Sts. Peter and Paul, which presented the ecumenical journey as "irreversible" and as a "commitment" for anyone who believes in Jesus Christ.
The above article from ZENIT is typical of the calls for ecumenism, which are now referred to as "irrevocable," and "irreversible" at the highest levels of the Vatican. No matter that what is being called ecumenism has nothing to do with converting to the One True Faith for eternity's sake, per Christ's admonition to His disciples at the end of the Gospel of Matthew. This statement is made because there is no evidence that the Orthodox have any desire to change the errors of their ways regarding the filioque, contraception (the Orthodox see nothing wrong with artificial contraception), the doctrine of Original Sin, and the Marian dogmas (The Immaculate Conception, The Assumption), to name some of the major problems, - all of which are diametrically opposed to Catholic teaching.
Any quick search on the internet regarding the teachings of the Orthodox Church will quickly confirm these claims. Moreover, the Orthodox have the unmitigated gall to throw roadblocks to Eastern Rite Catholics such as the Byzantine Catholic Church in rightly reclaiming their former Churches which were confiscated by the Communists.
As far as the questions of the "primacy of Peter," which has traditionally been considered THE stumbling block for any serious talks of "union" between the Orthodox and the Catholic Church, why should this be a problem for Rome anymore? After all, there is no primacy of Peter recognized in the Western Church when any bishops' conference blows away Magisterial documents on faith and morals at will, dialoguing them into oblivion, before the ink is dry, without so much as a whimper from Rome.
So the Orthodox have nothing to fear regarding a Petrine primacy, which no longer exists in the Church thanks to the Vicar of Christ on earth who evidently cares less about the needed discipline out of love for what's left of the faithful by reining in the dissenters for the sake of the souls of all concerned, not the least of which are their own.
You can't have a Petrine primacy when you de facto allow the creation of as many popes as there are bishops heading congregationalist churches that bear no resemblance to Catholicism due to a "collegiality-run-amok mindset," which has never been Catholic teaching! You can't have a Petrine primacy when you allow the propagation of dissent from Magisterial teaching on faith and morals, which have been encouraged by these congregationalist bishops, dissent which spawned a sodomite subculture in the priesthood that, shamefully, Rome has done nothing to deter in the way of directives with TEETH! You can't have a Petrine primacy when Catholics worldwide feel that their ill-formed private consciences are their guide regarding all aspects of Church teaching, contrary to even Vatican II, and its Catechism. You can't have a Petrine primacy when Peter is seen to syncretistically indifferently reduce the Catholic Church, in a lowest common denominator sense, to being just another religion mollifying the masses through his symbolic "ecumenical" actions whereby false gods are allowed to be worshipped on Catholic altars at the most sacred of Catholic shrines. You can't have a Petrine primacy when Peter's apologists decry needed Catholic actions such as the Crusades and the Inquisition without making it unmistakably clear that it is the excesses that occurred during these actions which deserve condemnation, not the actions as a whole, which were very appropriate to defend the Faith from the attacks of the devil. And finally, you cannot have a Petrine primacy when your curial officials tell the world that: 1) it is no longer necessary to convert to the One True Faith, since the recent council did away with such nonsense; 2) the Messiah hasn't come for all, and 3) the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can be continuously changed so that it becomes at best a meaningless Protestant prayer devoid of any transcendent Catholic mystery, and at worst, New Age paganism - both tending toward a priest-less, i.e., sacrament-less, church that is no longer Catholic.
Actions speak louder than words, especially when the words are summarily trashed by those destroying the Church from within who don't want to hear them because it will make them uncomfortable with their vices. Gary L. Morella