Woke Pope

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The Eastern Church Draws the Line

By Victoria White Berger

 

Pope Francis’ recent scandal regarding blessings of gay marriages has spawned a serious regression in the Western Catholic Church’s decades-long efforts to merge with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Already many bishops in America, and far more in Africa, have objected to the presumptuous move of Pope Francis in his December 2023 Vatican press release regarding the permission of ‘blessings’ for gay couples within the Catholic Church.

The ‘split’ between the Eastern and Western branches of the Catholic Church dates back to the 11th Century, with the “Great Schism,” of Christianity:

“On July 16, 1054, Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius was excommunicated from the Christian church based in Rome, Italy. Cerularius’s excommunication was a breaking point in long-rising tensions between the Roman church based in Rome and the Byzantine church based in Constantinople (now called Istanbul). The resulting split divided the European Christian church into two major branches: the Western Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. This split is known as the Great Schism, or sometimes the “East-West Schism” or the “Schism of 1054.”

While many of the differences between these two branches of Catholicism remain, in one form or another — liturgical, theological, and political — the central Christian tenets of both branches are agreed, and much Catholic practical and theological cooperation and practice has been demonstrated by both.

For this enduring communion and other practical and political influences, negotiations aimed at settling (or compromising on within reason) all differences and reuniting entirely. To reunite these two mighty branches of the Catholic faith, both Popes John Paul and Benedict made great diplomatic and practical progress, over their modern papacies, towards the restoration of the two branches to complete comity.

Then, enter Pope Francis in December of 2023 with his statement on same-sex blessings. Following what would seem to be this entirely politically ‘woke’ impulse by the current pope, the talks between Roman and Coptic Orthodox Churches have, as of this past week, publicly and sensationally broken down. It may be two more decades, or never, before progress is restored:

“The Coptic Orthodox Church has confirmed that its decision last week to suspend dialogue with the Catholic Church was due to Rome’s “change of position” on homosexuality.”

“In a video released on Friday, Coptic Orthodox spokesman Father Moussa Ibrahim said “the most notable” of nine decrees emanating from the church’s annual Holy Synod, which took place last week in Wadi El-Natrun in Egypt, was “to suspend theological dialogue with the Catholic Church after its change of position on the issue of homosexuality.”

The video message followed the conclusion of the Holy Synod the day before and an accompanying statement in which Coptic Orthodox leaders had said they were suspending dialogue with Rome.

“After consulting with the sister churches of the Eastern Orthodox family,” they wrote, “it was decided to suspend the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church, reevaluate the results achieved by the dialogue from its beginning 20 years ago, and establish new standards and mechanisms for the dialogue to proceed in the future.”

Pope Francis’ December 2023 salvo on same-sex blessings has spawned this serious breach with the Coptic Orthodox Church. Francis’ highly ambiguous recommendation of the ‘blessing’ of gay couples within the Catholic Church is, predictably enough, in continued and fierce debate among Western Catholics.

Above and beyond the Western response, Eastern or Orthodox Catholics are indicating to the Vatican — by their institutional dismissal of the hopeful negotiations — a solidarity of unanimous moral rebuke not allowed any more in the West:

“After consulting with the sister churches of the Eastern Orthodox family,” they wrote, “it was decided to suspend the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church, reevaluate the results achieved by the dialogue from its beginning 20 years ago, and establish new standards and mechanisms for the dialogue to proceed in the future.”

The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Western (“Roman” or “Latin’) Church have been in association for centuries, but with a rugged history, beginning long before the Protestants and an ever more fractured and vulnerably divided Christianity began:

“Eastern Catholics — in contrast to Western, or Latin, Catholics — trace their origins largely to the failure of the ecclesiastical authorities at the Council of Ferrara-Florence in 1439 to unite Christians of the East and West. Stimulated by this unsuccessful beginning, however, and encouraged also by the later missionary activities of such monastic orders as the Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Capuchins, the proponents of the goal of the eventual reunion of Eastern and Western Christians began to achieve some elements of success.”

As the Coptic Orthodox Church is rooted in Egypt, the implications for Catholicism in Africa — largely due to Pope Francis’ leftist ideology made public and integrated most unfortunately into the frequent political opinions and attitudes of his Papacy — the Coptic Orthodox disinclination to continue serious talks with its Western brothers and sisters — in perceived moral freefall — may soon be seen to snowball to more consequential reaction and disappointment from African Catholics at large, and their bishops. And this is progress?

4 COMMENTS

    • I was somewhat hopeful that you would comment nasska, that church is the complete opposite to when I was at a catholic school that is for certain. I left the church a long time ago after many events that caused me to go mmmmmmm it’s not for me. The so called pope is supposed to be infallible hahahaha(isn’t that the biggest joke ever) so guess he is saying that it is perfectly good to be gay and its law for the catholics now

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      • Very sensible Lizzie. But what of our friend ROL who risks buggery every time he attends confession? Will he be bent over the altar biting down on his rosary beads to assuage the pain?

        Perhaps we of the YSB commentariat should chuck a few shekels in the hat to buy him a rubber ring cushion & a flagon of calamine lotion. 🙂

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