PopeWatch: Ecumenicalism Uber Alles

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Pope Francis continues the desperate attempts of his immediate predecessors to attain unity with an Orthodox Church that could clearly care less:


Francis kicked off his final day in Turkey with a liturgy alongside Bartholomew in the Orthodox Church of St. George, where incense mingled with hypnotic chants on an important feast day for the Orthodox Church.

The Catholic and Orthodox churches split in 1054 over differences on the primacy of the papacy, and there was a time when patriarchs had to kiss popes’ feet. At the end of a joint prayer service Saturday evening, Francis bowed to Bartholomew and asked for his blessing “for me and the Church of Rome,” a remarkable display of papal deference to an Orthodox patriarch that underscored Francis’ hope to end the schism.

In his remarks Sunday, Francis assured the Orthodox faithful gathered in St. George’s that unity wouldn’t mean sacrificing their rich liturgical or cultural patrimony or “signify the submission of one to the other, or assimilation.”

“I want to assure each one of you gathered here that, to reach the desired goal of full unity, the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any conditions except that of the shared profession of faith,” he said.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, acknowledged the novelty in Francis’ message. While experts from both churches continue to debate theological divisions between them, Francis and Bartholomew are “pushing with incredible strength toward union” through their frequent and warm personal contacts, Lombardi said.

Go here to read the rest.  I am afraid that the actual attitude of the powers that be in the Eastern Orthodox Churches to the Catholic Church are better reflected in this story from earlier in the year:


One of the signatories is new to these kinds of actions but this time the mile-long letter (89 whole pages of it) sent to Pope Francis by two Metropolitans of the Greek Orthodox Church – Andrew of Dryinoupolis, Pogoniani and Konitsa and Seraphim of Piraeus and Faliro – has been published in Greek and English on a popular Greek religious website.


The two Greek Metropolitans address the Pope as “His Excellency, Francis, Head of State of the Vatican City”, making no mention of his Bishop status. In the opening line of their missive they state that their letter is addressed to him with “sincere love” and motivated by the need to remind “heretics” of their “holy obligation to return to the Orthodox Church” which the “Pope” (whose title appears in quotation marks throughout the text) decided to detach himself from. The authors of the letter separate themselves (though they really need not have, it is obvious) from “western and especially ecumenist “Christianity””, branding Rome’s “heresy” and “spiritual and ecclesiastical delusion” as “Papism”. The two Greek bishops say they “unceasingly pray that our Lord Jesus Christ gather together the deluded “Pope” and his followers, through repentance and the renunciation of your delusion and heresy, into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church.”


The pages about ecumenism which they describe as “syncretistic” are especially harsh: The letter’s authors do not recognize the Catholic Church as a Church, neither do they see its sacramental celebrations as valid or recognize the Pope’s status as Bishop. They define the “Petrine” primacy of power over all the Church” as “blasphemous” as well as “Scripturally and Patristically groundless and non-existent”. The doctrine of “Papal Infallibility”, meanwhile, is described as “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” which shows “the satanic pride of which” the Pope is “possessed”. “Papism” is not a “Church” but a religious community, a parasynagogue, a heresy … a total perversion of the Truth,” the two Orthodox Metropolitans write in their long letter.


The letter also gives a detailed description of what the two Metropolitans see as the most grave sins of the Catholic Church, including “accept[ing] the Devil’s proposal to make you almighty earthly rulers in return for your allegiance to him.” They then bring up the age-long issue of the “Filioque” in the NicenoConstantinopolitan Creed, infallibility, jurisdiction, Baptism by sprinkling and the separation of it from the mystery of Chrismation, the method of Eucharistic consecration, the depriving of the Blood of Christ to the laity and of Holy Communion to children, the dogma of the “immaculate conception” and the “bodily assumption” of the Mother of God, purgatory, indulgences, the mandatory celibacy of the clergy and the recognition so-called Uniate communities.


More accusation-packed pages follow, with references from websites and newspapers, to try to prove that the Vatican is a breeding ground for sin and obscenities. The letter mentions some “romantic” and pornographic films were allegedly downloaded onto Vatican PCs and it recalls how Vladimir Luxuria was given Communion during the funeral held for Don Gallo.

Go here to read the depressing rest.  Popes waste quite a bit of time seeking reunion with peoples who clearly do not wish it.


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Crashing Immaculate Conception

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  1. I guess the Orthodox Church does not believe in St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Joan of Arc or Saint Francis or Saint Claire or Saint Francis Xavier or Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus.

  2. Maybe I am in a minority here, but I thought that Francis and Bartholomew reaching out to each other was a good thing. I do however object to this constant ingratiation that was made to Islam during this trip. But I understand the need to be diplomatic. My idea of diplomacy – a thermonuclear detonation over the Kaaba – should probably not be implemented. 😉
    As for those Metropolitans of the Greek Orthodox Church, even Orthodoxy has its own version of SSPX. I wonder if those clerics even represent a majority of Orthodox attitudes. I worked with an Orthodox man once who sometimes, due to lack of an Orthodox Church in the area, would attend a Catholic Mass. But a statistic of one is hardly valid.
    But remember this: the very best thing about Patriarch Bartholomew blessing and kissing Pope Francis is the resentment which that act must have aroused in Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarious – I mean Hilarion. Oh to be a fly on the wall in the Kremlin, listening to Putin, Kirill and Hilarious – er, darn keyboard – Hilarion!

  3. Paul, the SSPX is not in schism with the rest of the Catholic Church. They are in an irregular status but they teach NOTHING contrary to the deposit of the Catholic faith. I do not attend an SSPX Mass, but I am sorely tempted. +Zubik warned Pittsburgh Diocese Catholics not to go to an SSPX Mass, even though +Zubik sees nothing wrong with participating in “ecumenical” prayer services that include Orthodox and Protestant clergy. Pot calling kettle……..
    The SSPX basically says that certain aspects of the Second Vatican Council and the Mass of Paul VI are garbage. Therein lies the rub.

  4. Mary, to continue our earlier friendly discussion about the Eastern Catholic Churches….the Latin Church law on priestly celibacy doesn’t apply to them and they don’t care what disagreeing Latin Church Catholics think.

    Neither the Eastern Orthodox Churches (Constantinople) nor the Oriental Orthodox Churches accept as valid any Saint canonized by the Catholic Church after the twelfth century – and many before that.

    Pope St. John Paul II regarded the Great Schism as one of the great tragedies of Christendom. Poland’s history is replete with Catholic-Orthodox struggles and JPII saw an opportunity for better relations after the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

    Instead, old grievances, slights and struggles have reemerged. The Moscow Patriarchate considers all of Ukraine as hers (same as Putin) and the MP HATES the existence of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. The Moscow Patriarchate was complicit with the KGB in the repression of the UGCC and confiscation of its property. Other significant nastiness has emerged in Romania between the Orthodox (who have kept Romanian Catholic churches awarded to it by the Communists) and the Romanian Catholic minority. What’s more, the MP and Patriarch Bartholomew hate each other. The Turkish government is hell bent on strangulating the remnant of Orthodox in Constantinople. Rather than help, the MP sees itself as the “third Rome” – when in truth at its highest levels it is a tool of whoever runs Russia.

    The Greek Orthodox monks (Orthodox and Eastern Catholic monks are celibate, their bishops are celibate or widowers) in Mount Athos hate the Catholic Church perhaps more than the works of Satan and will NOT agree to any reunification with Rome short of the Second Coming of Christ, and maybe not even then. Greek Orthodox bitterness at the Sack of Constantinople in the year 1204 will NOT be forgotten or forgiven. They blame Rome more than the Muslims for the loss of Constantinople.

    Eastern Orthodoxy conveniently forgets that most heresies evolved in the Christian East (Arianism, Monophytism, Iconoclasm, Islam) and that it was the Roman Pontiff who put an end to the Iconclast heresy (the belief that having icons was idol worship). This decision by the Roman Pontiff is celebrated as the Triumph of Orthodoxy. I’m serious.

    As for Eastern Orthodoxy’s claims that they teach the complete and unchanged Apostolic Faith, this is BS. The Eastern Orthodox allow a second marriage after divorce (likely due to pressure from the Muslim emperors of Istanbul) . They did not before the Schism. The Eastern Orthodox have nothing like Humanae Vitae. The Eastern Orthodox did at one time ACCEPT the Pope of Rome as the Vicar of Christ. So, they have changed.

    The Catholic Near East Welfare Organization assists Catholic and Orthodox Churches in places like Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa.

    The EO whining about the Immaculate Conception rings hollow. Nobody other than Mary was addressed as “full of grace”. It was so well put by Father Pablo Straub that being full of grace meant a total absence of sin. This was clearly a special gift from God that NOBODY else has ever received. The EO think that Mary “chose not to sin”. Yeah, right. The filioque has been beaten to death and the West isn’t giving it up.

    For those Orthodox who want a warmer relationship with Rome, great. For those who don’t, they can pound salt. They are what Rorate Coeli calls them – schismatics. It wasn’t the Orthodox who defeated Islam in Portugal, Spain, Lepanto and Vienna and it wasn’t Orthodoxy but the Catholic Church that won the fight against Communism in Eastern Europe.

  5. Point taken, Penguins Fan:
    “Paul, the SSPX is not in schism with the rest of the Catholic Church. ”
    I should have made a better comparison, maybe with one of the sedevacantist groups. The Eastern Orthodox have their groups on the fringes (left and right), and so does Roman Catholicism (left and right).
    By the way, your history lesson addressed to Mary DeVoe was excellent – thanks.

  6. Thank you, Penguins Fan. Your comment is very interesting. However, I still find myself unable to confess my sins to a married priest. Thinking about married priests, I think it would be impossible for me to live my life as a priest’s wife. I remember Father John Corapi who said that one of the reasons that priestly celibacy is encouraged is that the devil can hold the priest’s wife and his family hostage to turn the priest away from God. We need priests. Pray for priests. Good priests will turn the faithful to God.

  7. @Mary De Voe Your very practical comment made me recall the following verse:

    For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. – 1 Cor 1:25

    While the world cannot grasp the gift of celibacy, there is unfathomable wisdom of God behind it.

  8. Penguins Fan: “The EO whining about the Immaculate Conception rings hollow. Nobody other than Mary was addressed as “full of grace”. It was so well put by Father Pablo Straub that being full of grace meant a total absence of sin. This was clearly a special gift from God that NOBODY else has ever received. The EO think that Mary “chose not to sin”. ”
    The Eastern Orthodox believe that, Mary, the Mother of God freely willed to be the Immaculate Conception, the Mother of Jesus. Mary said “Be it done unto me according to they will.” At the Incarnation, Mary’s fiat resounds through all eternity, to the very first moment of her existence. Saint Augustine, in his “Confessions”, returned to his conception in grace, as all sinners are forgiven and allowed to return to the beginning of our existence in grace.
    God did not create concupiscence or sin. God creates, infuses and endows the rational, immortal soul in pure legal and moral innocence. In Justice, man carries in his heart a desire for God. When man opens his heart to God, God fills man’s heart with grace and he becomes full of grace.
    Francisco Suarez says that human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights; a man full of grace. Duns Scotus says that Mary was preserved from original sin from the very first moment of her existence. Mary was preserved from sin by God and Mary willed to remain an innocent virgin and therefore Mary was full of grace and was able to become the Mother of Jesus Christ when Mary was approached by Gabriel.
    Like Mary, the newly begotten human being is created in moral and legal innocence, infused with a soul endowed with sovereign personhood, free will, intellect, intuition, talent, and conscience. In his heart, which can be measured beating at eighteen days after conception, the human being desires to know, to love and to serve God. Without the will to live, the will to survive, the newly begotten perishes through a miscarriage. The person must will to live. Mary willed to live and have life more abundantly in Jesus. Mary is not only the Immaculate Conception, Mary is the Mother of God, Mother of the Church and Mother of mankind.
    God fulfilled Mary’s desire for God from the very first moment of her existence. Adhering to her innocence, Mary freely willed to remain innocent and in the fullness of time, Mary became the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
    Virginity, moral and legal virginity, does not come piecemeal. One is a virgin or one is not a virgin. It is the legal definition of virgin. Mary was preserved from sin by choosing God. Mary is virgin and full of grace by her own choosing and blessed by God for choosing virginity.
    God created all men in innocence to choose God. And Mary is our Mother. All men are free to choose God from the very first moment of our conception and with the help of the Sacrament of Penance all men may return to their original innocence and freely will to choose God and become full of grace.
    P.S. The horror of abortion is that it denies life, free will and sovereign personhood to the newly conceived. Abortion denies time to make his peace with God to the unborn, denying him freedom of worship, freedom of speech and peaceable assembly.
    Amendment 9 – Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791.
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
    The Ninth Amendment to our Constitution ratified in 1791 Declares that there are some rights that the human being has that are not enumerated in the Constitution. The fundamental right to time to make our peace with God is one of these rights.

  9. What Christian Unity are we talking about?
    1) Unity with the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
    2) Unity with Mary, Ever-Virgin
    3) Unity with the holy Angels and the holy Saints
    4) Unity with the Sacred Scripture (including the Deuterocanon)
    5) Unity with the Church Fathers
    6) Unity against the Ancient Enemy of Man, called the Dragon
    7) Unity of Prayer and Penance
    This then is Christian Unity in these difficult End-Times.

    Not merely a unity of *ecclesiastical politicians*; and not a unity of those playing to the public gallery of sinful men.

    But rather a unity embedded in the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Jesus and the Spirit of the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; may His name be praised, be exalted, be glorified forever.
    Read more: http://www.popeleo13.com/pope/2014/06/30/category-archive-message-board-69-peter-paul-unity/

  10. “Neither the Eastern Orthodox Churches (Constantinople) nor the Oriental Orthodox Churches accept as valid any Saint canonized by the Catholic Church after the twelfth century – and many before that.”
    True, and we recognize none of theirs either. A rather sad state of affairs, given the obvious holiness of all these saints. Interestingly, the Anglican and Lutheran churches can be more ecumenical on this matter: they recognize some saints from both Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Now if they would just recognize more of their own…

  11. “Eastern Orthodoxy conveniently forgets that most heresies evolved in the Christian East (Arianism, Monophytism, Iconoclasm, Islam) and that it was the Roman Pontiff who put an end to the Iconclast heresy (the belief that having icons was idol worship). This decision by the Roman Pontiff is celebrated as the Triumph of Orthodoxy.”
    Of course, and without irony, because at that time Catholicism was Orthodoxy, and vice versa.

  12. “They blame Rome more than the Muslims for the loss of Constantinople.”
    Well, the truth is they should blame themselves above all. How did Islam escape the Arabian peninsula? Because the Byzantines persecuted the Oriental Orthodox Copts in Egypt, and because they made war on Persia with its large Nestorian church population. The Byzantine attempt to unify Christianity by force only weakened it. A true 7th century Christian ecumenism would have left Islam isolated to Arabia. We were fools then. Are we fools today?

  13. “My idea of diplomacy – a thermonuclear detonation over the Kaaba – should probably not be implemented.”
    You are correct Paul. The word over is not the most effective adjective for that sentence.

  14. It is not either one, or the other. It is one and the other. Both are the truth except that there is more truth, more truth than any book can hold.
    In the same manner as Luther and Saint James differed on Faith and works. Accepting the gift of Faith from God is an act of Faith, a work directed at oneself. A person cannot be saved by Faith alone if one does not make an act of Faith to accept God’s blessing.
    The Eastern Orthodox believe Mary chose to remain a sinless virgin in perpetuity. The Catholics believe that Mary is the Immaculate Conception. Mary said so at Lourdes to Saint Bernadette. Again, it is not one or the other. It is both. God preserved Mary from original sin in perpetuity from the very first moment of her conception; Immaculate, and Mary chose to be a sinless perpetual virgin. “I do not know man”. To claim one or the other is to shortchange God.
    Certainly, God is not contradicting Himself when he grants Mary’s desire to remain a perpetual virgin. Nor is God contradicting Himself when He establishes Mary’s perpetual virginity in her Immaculate Conception.
    All of humanity’s souls are created in sovereign personhood and virginity with free will and intellect. Like Mary, every individual person’s soul is created in perfect moral and legal innocence and endowed with free will. Mary made a free will choice to remain sinless for God and God accepted her vow and respected her vow, for Mary to become the Virgin Mother of His Son.
    Saint Augustine came to realize this in his “Confessions.” Each and every person is capable of making the vow of perfect virginity and with God’s help each and every one of us will keep our vow of sinlessness.
    And for this reason Jesus Christ died on the cross, gave us His mother and instituted His church.

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