Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cold, Cold Water

I love the folks at Rorate, but man, they sure know how to bring a dude down. Check out their recent entry on relations with the Orthodox.

From Metropolitan Hilarion (the guy who thinks it was ok for the Soviets to force Ukrainian Catholics into Orthodoxy). His comments are focusing on the Pan-Orthodox Council, which is an idea that's been knocking around for decades and still hasn't materialized:

He assured all those doubting that the Council will not be the Eighth Ecumenical Council and will not rescind or review the decisions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. “The Council will not cancel fasts, nor will it introduce married episcopate or allow a second marriage to clergyman. It will not recognize the authority of the Pope of Rome over the Orthodox Church or sign union with the Catholics. The long and short of it is that the Council will do nothing of that what some “defenders of Orthodoxy” fear, displaying zeal that exceeds reason. In case something adverse to the spirit and the letter of the Seven Ecumenical Council happens, the Russian Orthodox Church will renounce this Council and its decisions as she renounced the Council of Ferrara and Florence in 1441. I believe, however, that the other Local Orthodox Church (sic) will renounce it, too.”

I don't see Moscow agreeing to any sort of gathering like this until Constantinople has finally been destroyed. After that, it will be a great forum for Russia to announce its primacy among the Easterners.

Speaking of Constantinople, here's another sad bit. This one is from Patriarch Bartholomew:

The Ecumenical Patriarch said that he has repeatedly stressed in the past "the essential differences between Orthodoxy and other confessions." Referring especially to the dialogue with the Catholic Church he emphasized that the Orthodox Church always prays "for the union of all" and may not refuse herself when invited to a dialogue on the purpose of attaining this union, "as is desired by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself", but not without substantial conditions:

"Union is the ultimate goal, but before that there should be the identity in the faith."

"Speaking years ago to our Roman Catholic brothers I pointed out the path regularly followed by the Roman Catholic Church by accepting more and new doctrines, and in its journey towards our Church, instead of converging towards union, it has departed and driven further apart one another" (Georgetown University, 21 October 1997), added Mr. Bartholomew. He said further:

"Furthermore, it is not true that we overlook the preconditions to the union of churches, nor is it true that we overlook the differences which prevent union."

For me, this is another point where all the efforts of ecumenism seem to have fallen flat. Having meetings and slapping each other on the back is one thing. It doesn't really accomplish anything until people start acknowledging the differences. Rorate mentions Bishop Farrell's comments about Catholics and Orthodox having the same faith. These echo the naivete exhibited by Cardinal Husar a while back. Maybe somebody should talk to the Orthodox hierarchy before making comments like these and looking so foolish in the process.

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