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"Ecumenical Follies" Update

Roman Church Another Pope Gives Away
More Pearls Before Swine:

by Christopher A. Ferrara

In this column I have noted, again and again, the utter futility of "ecumenical dialogue" with the Protestants and even the obdurately schismatic Orthodox. After more than thirty years of kow-towing to the schismatic Orthodox, beginning with Pope Paul VI kissing the feet of Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Meliton back in 1972, they remain as far from reunion with Rome as ever.

But the currently reigning Pope continues to cast his pearls before swine  —  apologies for the Catholic Church’s supposed sins, joint liturgies with Orthodox prelates and the gift of parish churches in Rome. Now, reports AP the Pope is turning over another church in Rome to the Orthodox. This time Bulgarian Orthodox "believers" will receive "the use of a church near the Trevi Fountain. The Vatican said the church will be officially turned over Saturday in the presence of an Orthodox delegation from Bulgaria and Prime Minister Simeon Saxcoburggotski, Bulgaria's former king. Vatican officials and diplomats accredited to the Vatican have also been invited."

The last time the Pope did this kind of thing was November 30, 2000, when he gave away the old church of St. Theodore on Rome's Palatine Hill to the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. And what has been the response of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, to this gesture? As noted in an earlier column, he figuratively has spat in the Pope’s face. Bartholomew I now sides with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II (a former KGB agent) in denouncing Catholic "proselytism" in Russia, and even demands an end to the Eastern rite Catholic parishes in Russia.

And now the Pope wants to give the Icon of Kazan to the Russian Orthodox in yet another useless gesture  —  useless because Alexy II has already said that turning over the icon will not even get the Pope a visit to Moscow! As reported by Zenit.org (May 23, 2003), "the Patriarchate of Moscow said that the return of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan is not a reason for a visit by John Paul II, and criticized the creation of two new dioceses in Kazakhstan. ‘The attempts to link the returning of this icon with the question of a visit of the Pope of Rome to Russia are astonishing, the more so that the Vatican has not negotiated such a visit with the Russian Orthodox Church.’"

How much longer will this lunacy go on? When will the current Vatican apparatus learn that they cannot bribe the adamant Orthodox into unity with us? When will they recognize that the words of our Lord apply here: "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet." (Mt. 10:14)?

Enough, enough, enough of the ecumenical circus! It is time  —  it is long past time  —  to return to seeking Christian unity the old fashioned way: by imploring the return of the dissidents to the one true Church  —  and not, for Heaven’s sake, by giving them Catholic churches for their schismatic worship.