Perhaps I'm obtuse, but I can't see what the Holy Father has done wrong in Constantinople. In the Blue Mosque he bowed a silent head; what else would anyone do (though I'd like to know exactly what it was the Grand Mufti was saying, and it would have been jolly if the Pope had then taken the Mufti into a Catholic church and, kneeling with him before the Tabernacle, had said the Trinitarian Gloria Patri).
When he visited Hagia Sophia, the very neat things he wrote in the book there ... the Greek and then the Latin ... seem to me to make perfectly clear that he visited the place qua the consecrated Christian Church of the Most Holy Wisdom. An elegant and clever piece of contextualising and I would feel quite proud if I'd dreamed it up myself.
Then later, they say he asked Patriarch Bartholomew for a blessing; but all I saw was His All-Holiness instead* giving him a friendly kiss on the Zucchetto; and then attempting unsuccessfully to kiss his hand.
The Patriarch appeared to be wearing a cappa magna ... those wretched things get just everywhere, don't they?
*I suspect that not everybody in the Orient would necessarily approve of the Patriarch blessing the Pope ... some of those Athonite monks have strong views ... I wonder if Pope Francis thought of that side of things ...
29 November 2014
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I choose to interpret the blessing/kiss as nothing more than one bishop exchanging a loving greeting with his brother. The Usual Suspects will (and apparently already have) read all manner of ulterior motive and calumny into the gesture, but there's no pleasing some people.
Orthodox bishops often play a little game with hand-kissing. They like to kiss the hands of others, but many of them absolutely hate to have their hands kissed. When one has dealings with such a bishop, one needs to employ diversion tactics to get one's lips planted on the hand before it is whisked away.
I didn't see a problem with it either. One of my friends said that it was clear from this behavior that the Pope is a Modernist. I found that somewhat funny given that our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters in the Middle East are generally very far from being Modernists. One might think it more plausible that a close relationship with them would indicate a lack of closeness with Modernist heresy.
The first two paragraphs of Mortalium Animos delineate why praying with a leader of a false faith is wrong.
Such actions ineluctably lead to Indifferentism.
There has always only been one religion (bond with God established by God) and as it is the case that God is unchanging there can only ever be one religion whereas it is a conceit of the new theology that a new and better way has been arrived at - a way in which we honor and value false faiths and its adherents rather than oread the Gosepl.
Of course, 1 Cor teaches that if one does not preach the Gospel one commits a mortal sin but effete ecumenism and dialogue has supplanted that.
O, and remember that Vatican 1 confessed that the enemies of the Catholic Church are daily increasing in their hatred of His Church whereas the fathers of Vatican Two embraced the fatal error that our enemies are our friends
Fr. Ray Blake, at his blog, recounts a conversation with an Orthodox friend who suggested that a Pope asking an Orthodox patriarch for a blessing for the Church of Rome would be experienced, by the Patriarch, as rather like a same-sex couple asking to have their "marriage" blessed.
Which reminds me of another Orthodox priest who wrote, some time ago (while outlining something like the Orthodox understanding about "women priests"), that Western ecumenism is a narcissistic affair, conducted entirely on our own terms, motivated by our own self-loathing and guilt, and which even in its desire to be seen deferring to the sensibilities of other faiths, doesn't actually take their sensibilities into account.
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