Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Papal magnanimity

We’ve been prepared for over forty years by populist but really quite ignorant uniphobes, warning us of the coming ‘one world religion’ in which the antichrist and the false prophet will establish the worship of the beast, and other such nonsense. I blush to remember that I too was once taken in by these goof balls. Their other pronouncements, just as imposing to the ear but just as ridiculous now that most of them have fallen flatter than pancakes, are evidence I hope we won’t forget, as they take one more shot at the movement toward Christian unity.

So here we have a pope who, I just found out today, has reached out, not only to the Eastern Orthodox (my confession), the Anglicans, and other historic Protestant churches which are still rather close to Catholicism, but even to the pariahs of modern Christianity, the Pentecostals, namely to Kenneth Copeland ministries, calling Copeland ‘brother’ and asking for him and his followers to pray for him. This has really gotten out of hand, hasn’t it? Has His Holiness no shame? Has he forgotten who he is? He’s the pope for Pete’s sake! Yet he acts and talks as if he’s nothing more than the bridge builder and the shepherd of souls!

I’ve been writing about Christian unity for as long as I can remember, and at the same time confessing that I do not believe in ecumenism, at least not in the movement that takes this name. That’s because I don’t see anything much but talk at the top, and the occasional joint effort at disaster relief. The kind of unity I write about, that I believe has never been lost but only gone unrecognized, is exactly what it looks like Pope Francis is preaching, and seeking as well. Instead of making ex cathedra pronouncements and dogmatizing in a way that would only perpetuate anti-Catholic feeling, he’s ‘coming out’ and treating other Christians as if they and he were already one.

Amazing! I can’t help but laugh at those ‘one world religion’ guys, because they’ve missed the point completely and are on the verge of losing their very lucrative business, that of dividing Christians and sowing seeds of fear and distrust to keep them that way. The Pope is not hiding behind a battlement of Roman Papal infallibility but neither is he abandoning Catholic (and therefore Orthodox) tradition and doctrine as he goes forth to announce the end of the Great Schism. No, not the one we call ‘great’ and date to A.D. 1054. That was nothing compared to the one that has pulverized the Body of Christ these last five hundred years till we are no longer recognized as standing on the Rock, but appear to be sinking in the sands, our own.

This pope (I can’t decide whether or not to capitalize this word) seems to have forgotten all protocol, and though I am small enough to still have issues with some of the people he is extending the hand of fellowship to (the Copelands, for example), I somehow sense that the magnanimity of which he is capable, through his position in the Body of Christ, just might be the leverage against the devil that we need to move the mountains (and yes, even the molehills) we have let divide us for centuries. There is only One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism, and therefore according to the promise of Christ, only One Church. It has never been divided and never can be, which is what ‘the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it’ means.

And as I have said till I was hoarse, if you think it’s divided, then you have a problem.


Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh, bless you for this! You always seem to cut through the haze and into the heart of the matter.

(I chuckle to see the captcha below begins with 666!)

GretchenJoanna said...

I do so appreciate your own magnanimity; you are a good example in your faith and hope. Bless you, Romanós, and may your Lent be joyful.