HomeReligious“I SHAMEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGE THIS FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH...” POPE FRANCIS APOLOGIZES

“I SHAMEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGE THIS FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH…” POPE FRANCIS APOLOGIZES

ATHENS, GREECE — Pope Francis asked forgiveness for the historical “mistakes committed by many Catholics” against Orthodox Christians during a Dec. 4 meeting with the head of the Greek Church, as he urged Catholics and Orthodox believers to pursue greater unity. 

“I Shamefully acknowledge this for the Catholic Church, actions and decisions that had little or nothing to do with Jesus and the Gospel, but were instead marked by a thirst for advantage and power, gravely weakened our communion,” the pope said during the first day of his three-day visit to Greece. 

Francis is the first pope to visit the Greek capital since Pope John Paul II in 2001. During that visit, mass protests filled Athens with signs labeling the pope as the “anti-Christ.” 

Despite some lingering tensions between the two traditions and the grey skies over the city, Francis’ reception was much warmer, with His Beatitude Ieronymos II, the Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, describing Francis as the “ground-breaking primate of the Roman Catholic Church.” 

“I have absolute trust in your power of judgment, your spiritual greatness and long ecclesiastical experience,” Ieronymos said to Francis as the two met at the archbishop’s residence. 

The Roman Catholic Church has been separated from the Orthodox Church since 1054. Following his election in 2013, Francis prioritized ecumenical relations with the Eastern churches, repeatedly acknowledging the sometimes bitter rivalry between the two traditions and regularly meeting with his Orthodox counterparts to deepen their relationships. 

In Athens, Francis sought to recall their “common roots that have endured over the centuries” as faiths in the apostolic tradition. 

Despite the “twists and turns of time” and roots that have been “poisoned” by “weeds of suspicion,” Francis said that “what God planted continues to grow and bear fruit in the same spirit.”   

While warning against proselytization, Francis said that for the two churches to “testify before the world to the harmony of the Gospel,” Christians should not be separated.

“How can we proclaim the love of Christ who gathers the nations, if we ourselves are not united?” Francis asked. 

“The openness of Pope Francis and his constructive and positive approach to sensitive issues concerning the Orthodox tradition are promising signs in the common path of Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches toward full communion,” Pantelis Kalaitzidis, director of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies…

Read More @ https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/pope-francis-apologizes-catholic-wrongs-against-orthodox-believers-urges-unity

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