Tuesday 19th March 2019

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Meeting Of World Historical Importance . . . Pope And Patriarch To Discuss Common Beliefs, Christian Persecution

February 16, 2016 Featured Today No Comments

By ROBERT MOYNIHAN

(Editor’s Note: Robert Moynihan is founder and editor-in-chief of Inside the Vatican magazine. The article below was dated February 5, a week before the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill. This week’s issue of The Wanderer was published on February 11, one day before the meeting. Moynihan’s commentary is reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Dr. Moynihan holds a Ph.D. in medieval studies from Yale.)

+ + +

There are several points to keep in mind in the run-up to the two-hour meeting in Cuba between Pope Francis, the Bishop of Rome — and so the head of the Roman Catholic Church — and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, scheduled for February 12 at the airport in Havana.
The Pope will be traveling from Rome to Mexico, where he will make a week-long pastoral visit. So the meeting has been added on to the beginning of his trip.
Kirill will be in Cuba for a visit to a Russian Orthodox community in the country, and after meeting the Pope, he will proceed to visit other Russian Orthodox communities in several countries in South America. So the meeting has been inserted into the middle of his continental visit schedule.
1) The importance of the meeting:
Such a meeting has never occurred before.
Because it is unprecedented, it is of world historical importance.
It is of importance for the history of the Church, that is, for the history of the Christian faith. It is also, therefore, important for salvation history.
Finally, it is important for the history of Western culture, and therefore for the history of the world.
2) Prior attempts to have such a meeting:
Such a meeting almost occurred 20 years ago between Pope St. John Paul II and Patriarch of Moscow Alexi II.
But that meeting was canceled at the last minute, for reasons that have never been made entirely clear, and it has been postponed each year since, for two decades now.
3) Reasons the meeting has not been held:
The postponement of such a meeting has largely been due to disagreements involving:
a) alleged Catholic “proselytism” among the Orthodox Russians in Russia;
b) theological and pragmatic disagreements between the two Churches over the existence and activity of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine.
Note: The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church dates back to 1596, when it reunited with Rome. Then, some 350 years later, Stalin suppressed the Church, declaring it illegal in 1946. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church went underground for 45 years, re-emerging only after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
It is based primarily in the western part of Ukraine, in the area close to Catholic Poland and Catholic Austria. It is a Church which celebrates its liturgies according to the Eastern (Byzantine) Rite — just as the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox do — but is in communion with Rome, and so is a part of the Catholic Church. The Russian Orthodox Church itself has a strong presence in Ukraine — about one-third of the Russian Church’s bishops are in Ukraine.
This is the background of disputes during the past 25 years over who owns churches which were Catholic prior to 1946, then Orthodox between 1946 and 1991, then Catholic again after 1991, and are today claimed by both Churches.
3) The “diplomacy of music” and of “exchange of gifts”:
In recent years, the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox have been in contact through many and diverse channels, creating a number of opportunities for conversation and improved mutual understanding.
These channels included exchanges of gifts, including musical exchanges (concerts), which were effective in allowing contacts to take place in a non-polemical context.
a) A key moment in this process was the decision of Pope John Paul II, in the last months of his life, to return to the Russians the much-revered Russian icon known as The Icon of the Blessed Mother of Kazan, a “wonder-working” icon which is known popularly in Russia as “the Protection of Russia.”
The icon returned to Russia on August 28, 2004, and is now in the Cathedral of Kazan.
b) Another key moment came in Rome on March 29, 2007, when a Russian orchestra and choir presented The Passion According to St. Matthew, composed by the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, who has now become the “foreign minister” of the Russian Orthodox Church (our magazine, Inside the Vatican, helped to organize that concert, which took place in the Auditorium on via della Conciliazione).
c) Another key moment came on December 17, 2007, when a second composition by Hilarion, called Christmas Oratorio, was presented in Washington, D.C., in the largest Catholic church in the United States, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, to a standing-room only audience.
At the same time, a moving exhibit on The Spiritual Renewal of Russia, which included a wooden icon of Mary pierced by bullet holes, was offered in the crypt of the basilica (Inside the Vatican also helped to organize that concert and exhibit).
d) Still another key moment came on May 20, 2010, when Benedict XVI attended a concert in Rome in which a number of the pieces had been composed by Hilarion.
Hilarion attended that concert and sat next to Pope Benedict during the performance.
e) A pivotal moment also came on November 12, 2013, when a “Concert for Peace” was presented in Rome in honor of Pope Francis following the Pope’s calling of a day of prayer for peace in Syria and the Middle East in September 2013 (Inside the Vatican and our Urbi et Orbi Foundation for Church Unity also helped to organize that concert).
f) Finally, on December 17, 2015, in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, the choir of the Moscow Patriarchate sang alongside the Sistine Chapel choir, the choir of the Pope, as a gift to Pope Francis on his 79th birthday, which fell on that day. Pope Francis was not in attendance at the concert, but Kurt Cardinal Koch was.
All of these events — and many others too numerous to list — made up the “diplomacy of music” and the “diplomacy of gifts” which helped prepare the way for this historic meeting in Havana, Cuba.
4) Why now?
It is not entirely clear why the meeting is being held precisely now, in Cuba, and announced publicly only a week before it takes place.
Both leaders are clearly concerned about the dramatic turn of events now occurring in Syria, and have publicly lamented and warned about the dangers of a wider war.
Since August, Russian troops have been directly engaged in Syria, in a battle against the forces of ISIS seeking to overthrow the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad.
Recently, the events in Syria have taken on an even more dangerous complexion.
As of this writing, there are unconfirmed reports that thousands of Turkish troops are massing on the Syrian border in what seems to be a prelude to an incursion.
Since Russia is now in Syria, defending the Assad regime, such an incursion might lead to Russian casualties, with the possibility of igniting a conflict between Russia and Turkey.
Since Turkey is a member of NATO, such a conflict would have the potential of growing wider.
Pope Francis on several occasions has alluded to the danger of a “Third World War” developing from the various conflicts now occurring in the Middle East, Ukraine, and elsewhere.
It seems possible that, in this context, Francis and Kirill both desire to have a face-to-face talk, to exchange views and information without any intermediary.
It is well-known that Kirill is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has openly declared his support of Russian Orthodoxy in post-Soviet Russia.
In this context, the meeting takes on the significance of a possible effort by two religious leaders to forestall the eruption of a wider war in the Middle East, which could spread outside of the Middle East.
And the choice of Cuba for the meeting — the place where a conflict between the West and the Soviet Union almost erupted in 1962 at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis — seems, in this context, fitting.
5) What will be the result of the meeting?
It is impossible to know, of course, but clearly a new historical phase is opening up.
The two religious leaders are concerned first of all about spiritual matters, the lives of their Churches, the lives of Christian believers, the preaching of the message of Christ in the world, the ending of the Great Schism of 1054, which has divided Catholics and Orthodox since that time — now almost 1,000 years.
But they are also concerned about the events of our time, particularly the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, where 2,000-year-old Christian communities — some still speaking the Aramaic language used by Jesus Himself — are being threatened, scattered, and killed.
It is believed that the common statement that Pope Francis and Kirill will sign will address this ongoing persecution, and call for action to protect the Christians of the Middle East.
At the same time, even though some unresolved theological disagreements remain, the leaders of the two Churches are expected to call for collaboration in defense of certain fundamental values and institutions, like the dignity of human life and the defense of the traditional family.
So two important Christian leaders will be meeting for the first time, and the world is watching with considerable interest to see what results from their meeting.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Moral teachings are precisely such because they are not up for “discussion”: they are morally binding on all the faithful through submission of the intellect and will. The role of the bishop is to teach such and lead by example, not discuss changing them out of cowardice or evil.

Maike Hickson on Twitter

“Dt. Bischoefe starten "einen synodalen Weg", um "ein Paket mit Vorschlägen zu Moral, Zölibat, Ehe und Homosexualität, dessen Inhalt sich als...

twitter.com

Load More...

Nancy Pelosi: ‘I Myself, as a Catholic, Believe…’

(CNSNews.com) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) said at her press briefing on Thursday that she wants to “salute” the Green New Deal and went on to explain that “as a Catholic” she believes—“as do many of our Evangelical friends”—that…Continue Reading

Pope Francis warns against gossip, forgetting one’s own sinfulness

Rome, Italy, Mar 3, 2019 / 01:30 pm (CNA).- In a visit to a Roman parish on Sunday, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to stop gossiping and ruminating on the shortcomings of other people, and to instead focus on repenting of…Continue Reading

Catholic network Salt + Light stands by CEO Fr. Rosica despite plagiarism

TORONTO, March 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation is standing by Father Thomas Rosica, the network’s CEO, despite revelations of his extensive plagiarism going back almost 30 years. Meanwhile, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops says…Continue Reading

Measure to protect babies who survive abortion fails in Senate 53-44

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Senate in an evening vote Feb. 25 failed to pass a measure sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, to require that babies born alive after an abortion be given medical attention and “the same protection of…Continue Reading

Prosecutors drop second trial against Cardinal George Pell

Melbourne, Australia, Feb 25, 2019 / 06:21 pm (CNA).- Prosecutors have abandoned a planned second trial against Australian Cardinal George Pell, who was convicted in December 2018 on five charges of the sexual abuse of minors. Pell is reported to…Continue Reading

Rosica resigns from college board after plagiarism apology; Jesuits withdraw award

Washington D.C., Feb 25, 2019 / 02:47 pm (CNA).- A Canadian priest who apologized last week for plagiarism has resigned from the governing board of a Catholic college affiliated with the University of Toronto. “As a sign of contrition and…Continue Reading

Abuse Survivor: Pope’s Devil Comments ‘Outrageous’

Pope Francis’ latest slam on church critics as cohorts of Satan stunned survivors of priest sex abuse and their advocates, who called the pontiff’s remarks “outrageous” on the eve of his clergy summit on the long-running scandal. “It’s outrageous ……Continue Reading

Pope picks liberal cardinals Cupich, Marx, Tagle for featured talks at Vatican Abuse Summit

ROME, February 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany, and Cardinal Antonio Tagle of the Philippines will be featured speakers at the Vatican’s upcoming summit on clerical sex abuse titled, “The Protection of Minors…Continue Reading

SD BISHOP CALLS CATHOLIC GROUP ‘EVIL’ FOR OPPOSING CARDINAL CUPICH

RAPID CITY, S.D. (ChurchMilitant.com) – A bishop is calling a Catholic apostolate “evil” for being critical of Cdl. Blase Cupich. Bishop Robert Gruss of Rapid City, South Dakota issued a statement to be read from all parish pulpits the weekend of Feb. 9–10 condemning…Continue Reading

The Christian Faith: The only valid and the only God-willed religion

The Truth of the filial adoption in Christ, which is intrinsically supernatural, constitutes the synthesis of the entire Divine Revelation. Being adopted by God as sons is always a gratuitous gift of grace, the most sublime gift of God to…Continue Reading

Roberts joins Supreme Court’s liberal wing in blocking Louisiana abortion law

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Supreme Court’s liberal wing on Thursday in temporarily blocking a Louisiana law that would have placed restrictions on abortion clinics, in the high court’s first major ruling on abortion since the confirmation of Associate Justice…Continue Reading

Supermodel Takes On Catholic Poland With Sex Education Campaign

Supermodel Anja Rubik could be a symbol of any modern, progressive European country. After joining a campaign to defend women’s rights, she started tackling school sex education and published a book for teenagers that sought to counter the teachings of…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

US bishops’ anti-poverty charity gave $60,000 to pro-gay Marxist group last year

March 15, 2019 (Lepanto Institute) — The 2017–2018 Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants list shows that the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) received $60,000, bringing the total this organization has received to $290,000 since 2005. In 2012, the Reform CCHD Now coalition alerted the US bishops to serious problems with NWBCCC including homosexual activism and the promotion of Marxism. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan of the A

Cardinal DiNardo hospitalized after ‘mild stroke’

Houston, Texas, Mar 16, 2019 / 06:33 pm (CNA).- The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference was hospitalized March 15 after suffering a mild stroke, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, which has been led by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo since 2006. “It is expected that Cardinal DiNardo will remain hospitalized for a few more days of testing and observation, followed by a transfer to another facili

Democrats Demand Right to Life for Kittens, But Block Bills to Stop Infanticide

What do cats have that newborn babies don’t? Democrats’ support. In one of the sickest ironies no one is talking about, Senate liberals picked this moment — 17 days after they voted to kill America’s perfectly healthy infants — to fight for the humane treatment of kittens. Maybe the DNC’s strategists are out to lunch, or maybe the Left really is this shameless, but I can’t wait to see so

Survey: More than a third of US Catholics question loyalty in wake of scandals

(RNS) — A new survey reveals that more U.S. Catholics are questioning whether they should remain in the church today than when news of the “Spotlight” child sex abuse scandal broke in the Boston Archdiocese in 2002. According to a poll released Wednesday (March 13) by Gallup, more than a third of U.S. Catholics — 37 percent — surveyed in January and February said they have questioned whether they should remain in the church. That’s up…Continue Reading

Australian cardinal sentenced to prison for child sex abuse

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The most senior Catholic convicted of child sex abuse was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison for molesting two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral in a crime that an Australian judge said showed “staggering arrogance.” Victoria state County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd ordered Cardinal George Pell to serve a minimum of 3 years and 8 months before he is e

Advertisement(2)

My Reply… An Eastern Orthodox Writer’s Attempt To Justify Divorce And Remarriage

By JAMES LIKOUDIS An Eastern Orthodox correspondent has taken issue with Catholic teaching rejecting adultery as a legitimate ground for divorce and remarriage. His arguments stem from ill-digested readings drawn from both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox sources. The writer, in effect, rejects Catholic doctrine regarding the absolute indissolubility of sacramental marriage. That doctrine, based on…Continue Reading

How Middle America Is To Be Dispossessed

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In all but one of the last seven presidential elections, Republicans lost the popular vote. George W. Bush and Donald Trump won only by capturing narrow majorities in the Electoral College. Hence the grand strategy of the left: to enlarge and alter the U.S. electorate so as to put victory as…Continue Reading

Love And The Virtue Of Love

By JUDE DOUGHERTY At some time in the last century, perhaps due to the influence of John Dewey and other influential academics in this country, the concept “the values we hold dear” came to replace the notion that we may be accountable to a moral order quite independent of ourselves. Politicians, educators, and journalists commonly…Continue Reading

Support Abortion?… Then You Better Know How It’s Done

By BARBARA SIMPSON (Editor’s Note: This column first appeared on WorldNetDaily, March 1, 2019.) + + + Anyone following the ongoing controversy about late-term abortions should be aware of the grisly descriptions of the procedure. While the media do their best to keep that kind of information or photographs of those abortions away from the…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Beyond Abortion: Further Down The Path Of Legitimizing Killing The Innocent

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bi-monthly]. He is a professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Heaven, The Promised Land

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday Of Lent (YR C) Readings: Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15 1 Cor. 10:1-6, 10-12 Luke 13:1-9 In the readings today we hear about both the justice and the mercy of God. The first reading is all about God’s mercy. The people of Israel had been enslaved in Egypt for 430 years, but in that time they…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Cardinal Pell: The Pendulum Swings

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The pendulum means nothing on its own and functions only by means of a power external to itself: the law of gravity. The swing of the pendulum is a symbol of the lack of balance, for the forces at work upon it which keep it in constant motion prevent its rest in a central position…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In his weekly bulletin at the Church of St. Michael in New York City, Fr. George Rutler, after noting that John Henry Cardinal Newman of England will soon be proclaimed a saint and Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary will be declared venerable, said that “Mindszenty was not Newman’s intellectual peer, but his life was the most muscular testimony…Continue Reading

The Church In The Midst Of The Storm . . . “Come To Me All Who Are Weary”

By FR. SHENAN J. BOQUET (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission of Human Life International, www.hli.org. It first appeared at www.hli.org on March 4, 2019. Fr. Boquet is the president of HLI.) + + + “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me” (John 14:1). Holy Mother Church is in the…Continue Reading

Our Citizenship Is In Heaven

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Lent (YR C) Readings: Gen. 15:5-12, 17-18 Phil. 3:17-4:1 Luke 9:28b-36 In the first reading God establishes a covenant with Abram and makes the promise by which the “Promised Land” is known: “To your descendants I give this land. . . .” A religious covenant is an agreement between God and His people.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Cuthbert

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Melrose Abbey in Scotland, which is located about 30 miles south-southeast of Edinburgh, attracts more visitors than just about any other attraction in Scotland. Although mostly in ruins now, the abbey boasts a museum and other sites of interest, such as the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce. Mel Gibson revived interest in him with the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Jane Frances De Chantal

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church was reeling from the Protestant Reformation, which led to the Council of Trent (1545-1563) to renew the Church. In addition, God provided many holy men and women to help usher in a spiritual revival as well. Some of those champions of the Counter Reformation were St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556),…Continue Reading