Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

Will the Orthodox respond?

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 02, 2004

In Rome this week, Patriarch Bartholomew I presided at the formal opening of an Orthodox parish, in a church donated to the city's Orthodox community by Pope John Paul II. The Pope's generosity, the Patriarch said, "will be appreciated throughout the Orthodox world, and will set an example to follow in ecumenical relations."

The Ecumenical Patriarch is 100% right; the Pope has set the standard. Now will Orthodox leaders meet it? Will they even try?

Put it this way: The Pope took a church that indisputably belonged to the Rome diocese, and gave it, as a free offering, to the Orthodox. Now if we can only convince the Orthodox leaders of Romania to give back the churches that belonged to Catholic parishes, and were confiscated by the Communist regime.

The Pope gave away what he owned. Now, just as a first step in following that example, maybe some courageous Orthodox leaders could return what the properties to which they have no rightful title.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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