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Ecumenical Progress: Greeks Say the Pope is Repenting!

by Christopher A. Ferrara

In a recent column (“Pearls Before Swine”) I noted that on November 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II announced that the old church of St. Theodore on Rome's Palatine would be given away to the Greek Orthodox, and that they reciprocated by refusing to allow a papal visit to Greece.

Well, there has been a major ecumenical breakthrough! Yes, the Greek Orthodox synod has decided to allow a brief papal visit to Greece in May, after all. O thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. But why this sudden show of generosity? Because, according to Archbishop Christdolous, the head of the Greek Orthodox, John Paul II has shown “serious signs of repentance” for “the first time after centuries of Vatican intransigence.” [Zenit.org, March 23, 2001] However, Christdolous said “the Vatican must still take ‘many steps’ of repentance.”

Christdolous was obviously responding to the near-rebellion of Greece’s Orthodox priests, who object to the papal visit. Zenit reports that “Eustachios Kolas, president of the Association of Greek Clergy, representing 8,000 Orthodox parish priests, referred to John Paul II as the ‘grotesque, two-headed monster of Rome’ and a ‘wolf dressed in sheepskin.’”

The Pope gives the Greek Orthodox an historic church in Rome and they call him a two-headed monster. When is the Vatican going to admit, finally, that the “ecumenical movement” is a colossal failure which has descended to the level of an ongoing joke? When will the Vatican return to the simple teaching of the pre-conciliar Popes, summed up by Pius XI in Mortalium animos, that “the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it.”? When indeed will the Vatican remember and heed the simple words of Our Lady of Fatima, who came to earth with a message of conversion not ecumenism: “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted.”

Given what the impudent Christdolous has said, the Pope should decline to sully his office as Vicar of Christ by making a visit to Greece, which will now be seen as a further sign of the Pope’s “repentance.” Incidents like this should tell the Vatican that it is time to fold the ecumenical tent and go back to traditional Catholic teaching.

Sad to say, even the Southern Baptists have finally recognized the futility of ecumenism, and have broken off any further “ecumenical dialogue” with the Vatican after 30 years of getting nowhere. As the “Reverend” R. Philip Roberts, head of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, put it: “We're not ecumenists; we're evangelicals committed to sharing the Gospel.” [Zenit, March 23, 2001] If even the Baptists believe strongly enough in their false version of the Gospel to recognize that ecumenism is a dead-end, it is long past time for the leaders of the one true Church to recognize the same reality. Enough is enough.