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It Does No Good
for the Pope to Grovel

by Christopher A. Ferrara

During his just-completed visit to Greece the Pope apologized to his “Beatitude” Archbishop Christodolous, head of the Greek Orthodox Church, for all of the supposed sins Catholics have committed against their “Orthodox brothers and sisters” over the centuries, including the taking of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade — eight hundred years ago. Naturally, there was no possibility of any apology by his “Beatitude” for the sins of the Greek Orthodox Church against the Mystical Body of Christ, including the utterly unjustified schism of the Patriarch Michael Caerularius in 1054.

The Pope made his apology moments after his “Beatitude” had upbraided him in public for the many sins of the Catholic Church. The Pope took this abuse without the support of the Catholic prelates of Greece, none of whom his “Beatitude” would allow to attend the festivities, since our “Orthodox brothers and sisters” do not recognize the existence of the Catholic Church in Greece, where Catholics suffer harsh legalized discrimination in many forms.

Now, the defenders of the novel practice of papal apologies — apologies to just about everyone in the world for the alleged sins of just about every Catholic, living and dead — tell us that the visit to Greece was a “historic breakthrough.” Oh yes, it was a historic breakthrough alright — for the Greek Orthodox! After 1,000 years of their adamant schism and rejection of the Petrine primacy, the Pope came to them and basically groveled in an effort to win their hearts.

Did the self-abasing gesture work? Of course not. Within hours of the Pope’s departure from Athens airport (where no Orthodox prelate would deign to see him off), his “Beatitude” took a plane to, of all places, Moscow. There he commiserated with the Russian government-controlled head of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Aleksei II. The main topic of discussion was how much more groveling the Pope still had to do. His “Beatitude” Christodolous wished to assure Aleksei II that while “The pope's trip to Greece was first of all a pilgrimage, and we had nothing against this visit,” the Greek Orthodox had nonetheless “reserved the right to use this moment for reminding him of the wounds inflicted by the Roman Catholic Church on its Orthodox brothers,” and that the Greek Orthodox “are now waiting for further positive steps from the Roman Catholic Church.” [CWN.com news report] In other words, the papal apology has done nothing more than whet the appetite of the Greeks for more apologies.

According to CWN.com “Patriarch Aleksei reacted coolly to the apology, noting that it was addressed mainly to historical slights rather than more contemporary events, such as the continuing controversy over the presence of Catholics in Russia and traditionally Russian Orthodox countries.” So, the mere presence of Catholics in Russia and “traditionally Orthodox countries” is a matter of controversy. Therefore, the papal apology in Greece is not nearly enough. “We will have to see how this excuse is implemented in real life,” huffed Aleksei. The “conversion of Russia” marches on!

Our Lady of Fatima came to earth 84 years ago to announce the conversion of Russia, which at that time was predominantly Russian Orthodox. Heaven itself was telling us that the Orthodox would ultimately return to Rome and abjure their schism. The hardness of heart shown by Aleksei and his “Beatitude” Christodolous demonstrates that they and their fellow Orthodox prelates are in need of conversion — not papal apologies for the rashly presumed “sins” of long-dead Catholics. “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted.” This, not another papal apology, is what the Orthodox need to hear, for it is precisely what Our Lady of Fatima wishes to tell them. And there is no trace of an apology in Her message from God.