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Monday, April 4, 2005

The ecumenical pope.

Jaroslav Pelikan, the great historian of Christian doctrines, writes today about John Paul II's ecumenical accomplishments: "The Great Unifier," New York Times 3.4.05, reg req'd.

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 4 April 2005 at 8:29 AM

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April 4, 2005 04:14 PM | Permalink for this comment

Thanks for posting this. I've been deleting the NYTimes and all the other papers I normally read from my inbox the last few months for my own mental health. But, it means I miss good articles like this.

As a Byzantine (Greek) Catholic in one of those parishes with links to Central and Eastern Europe, I started crying as Pelikan said that one can't help but feel that the chance for the Church to finally breath with both of it's lungs was missed with the Holy Father's passing. I pray the next Holy Father will continue his work in this regard.

I'll probably write a bit more about this on my blog, but really wanted to thank you for posting this so I could write about it. :)


April 4, 2005 06:14 PM | Permalink for this comment

As the article correctly says, the main approach has occurred with the Eastern churches, with the exception of Russia because the Catholic Church has been very evangelistic in that country and the Orthodox have resented this. Although some progress was made with the Anglicans, the process stopped when they started ordaining women to the priesthood. As for Protestants, they are not considered "Churches" in their own right, but rather "ecclesiastical communities" (few people know that this is Vatican II doctrine, but still this Pope has actualized the concept), so not much ecumenism has been done in that respect.

The key issue here is the apostolic tradition. If the Church has an apostolic tradition (if it derives directly from the Apostles), then the Pope has worked actively for greater closeness, that's why his effort were concentrated on the East and not so much on the Protestant side. It is a consequence of his theological convictions about legitimacy.


April 7, 2005 03:37 PM | Permalink for this comment

He may have worked to bring the churches together, but he split Catholics. He was the most polarizing pope since Pius IX.

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