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Orthodox leader to Vatican – capitulate! September 13, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Ecumenism, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, sickness, Society.
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There have been suggestions of closer ties between the Roman Church and the schismatic eastern churches, especially the Russian Orthodox Church.  Proper ecumenism should always have union with Rome (and acceptance of all Church Doctrine) as its goal.  But it seems there are frequently strings attached to Russian offers of rapproachment.  A case in point is the Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Catholic Church (of which we are graced to have one in our Diocese).  During communist times, Stalin squashed the Catholic Church and gave over 500 parishes to the Orthodox Church.  Since the fall of communism, those communities have reverted, rather naturally, to being Catholic.  Now, the Orthodox are apparently demanding them “back” as evidence of ‘good will’ towards Rome:

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan (Archbishop) Hilarion, urged the Vatican to show “some signs” of readiness to resolve a decades-long conflict between Orthodox and Catholics in Ukraine that has been blocking a meeting of the two world religious leaders.

An unprecedented meeting between Benedict and Patriarch Kirill could begin to heal the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, which split in the Great Schism of 1054.

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the Russian Orthodox Church has accused Catholics of using their new freedoms to poach souls from the Orthodox, a charge the Vatican denies. [Good grief, ever hear of evangelization?  Are Russian Orthodox unable to defend themselves from rapacious Catholic evangelizers?  Given the pathetic state of evangelization in North America and Europe, I find it incredible that there are hordes of charismatic Catholics converting legions of Orthodox.  Is Metropolitian Hilarion admitting that Orthodox cannot compete?  Of course, the Catholic Church does have an unfair advantage – the fullness of Truth.]

But the biggest bone of contention concerns the fate of many church properties that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered confiscated from Eastern Rite Catholics, who worship in an Orthodox rite but owe their allegiance to Rome.

Stalin gave the property to the Russian Orthodox Church but after the fall of communism, the Eastern Rite Catholics took back more than 500 churches, mostly in Western Ukraine. [There has been a resurgence of all religious expression in the former Soviet Union.  It is my understanding that these churches just reverted to what they always were – Catholic churches populated by Catholics.  Hilarion seems to be asking that the Vatican simply abandon Ukrainian Catholics to a false ecumenism, allowing the properties to be ‘re-stolen’ by the Orthodox in the hopes that might somehow placate them.  This is bad.  ]

“Not very much was done or is being done in order to solve this problem,” said Hilarion, who is head of the external relations department of the 165-million-member Russian Orthodox Church and one of the closest aides to Patriarch Kirill.

There is much I admire in the Orthodox Church.  I admire their liturgy, the beauty of their churches, their chant, and their adherence in many respects to traditional Christian dogma.  But there are aspects I do not like, such as their intransigence and one-sided view of ‘compromise.’   I do not like their national identities, and their theological/ecclesialogical development seems……glacial.  In past attempts at ecumenism, the Vatican has tried to give much, always to be rebuffed by some further, ridiculous demand.  I believe this latest situation  is yet another in the long, slow game played by the Orthodox in rejecting the Primacy of the See of Peter.  Don’t hold your breath with regard to any reunion. 

There is also a political element to all this.  The Russian government wants to totally dominate the Ukraine, and seeks to expunge all Western elements from that country – this could be a related effort.

 

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