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 Niceno – Constantinopolitan 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.