Posted by b on May 04, 2001 at 20:24:20:
In Reply to: Re: The Pope's visit to Greece posted by GS on May 03, 2001 at 03:55:58:
Thanks for your feedback. Just afew counterpoints (I hope these will come across non-argumentative, for that is there intent).
Regardless of who split from who (or course as Catholics we feel the break was the other way around), there can be little doubt that the split was politically motivated. I wish I was a beter historian and could give more specifics, but at the time before the schism, three were esentially six heads of the Christian Church. Each with controlling power, both religiously and politiically over their perscribed reign. I am not fool enough to think that what ever the Pope (or the Roman Bishop as he is still recognized by the Orthodox Church today) was up to was on the up and up. When ever you are selling salvation (literally) you are most certainly stepping over your duties as a religious leader. However, the practice of politics was certainly not confined to the Pope. All six leaders of the "original" chruch were either leaders of a theocracy, or trying to establish one. Even today the Pope is still very active in terms of politics, in particular world affairs. The Pope Joh Paul is widely credited for being the drivng force behind the bringing down of the Berlin Wall as well as the move to democracy in Eastern Europe. The Pope John Paul's power, not as a religious figure head, but as a purveyor of peace has allowed him to have possibley the greatest affect of any workd leader in the later part of the 20th centruy. I know of no other world leader whom Fidel Castro (who had made it illegal in Cuba to practice Catholicism) gave everyone the day of when the Pope arrived and encouraged them to meet the Pope at the airport. And They DID!!! In terms of WWII, I really don't know what to say. I know the Churches official stance, but I also know that Pope John Paul personally smuggled a large number of Jews out of Poland during the Nazi occupation. Additionally, there were a number of Catholic Priests and Nuns who were put to there death in concentration camps as well.
In terms of the Pope only doing things for his own benefit. I feel you have greatly undersestimated Pope John Paul. It is very difficult for us regular folk, the common Christian not to understand the motivation of someone like the Pope, or a Metropolitian, Priest, etc. That is why we are none of these people. These people have a special calling, one far beyond our comprehension. I don't dare defend it, I can't even begin to understand it. But I appreciate it. And I Am certainly not smug enough to throw stones at it.
I understand the Greece is not a Theocracy, but I also know that the Greek Population is over 98% Orthodox. There is a great amount of influence that the Church has over matters of State in Greece (and rightfully so). As I recall there stil exists a great amount of tension between Muslim Turks and Christian Greeks. I haven't heard anyone making blanket appologies for that either.
I would like to dwell on your first statement though. the differences between the two religions tends to be in the details (deep in the details I might add). WIth the exception of Infalability (which by its very nature is rather moot) I think most Orthodox and most Catholics (theologins aside) woud agree that the two religions are essentialy the same. It is a shame that political differences that existed 800 years ago, between Churches whose purpose at that time reflects very little of what their purpose and function is today. And Yes corruption ran deep in the Orthodox Church as well (and in some cases still does, e.g. whomever was the last representative of the Greek Orthodox Chruch in the United States, like an Orthodox Cardinal sort of. ) He was all but run out of this country by the Orthox Clergy here. His efforts took the Orthodox Church in the United States "20 years backward", and that is a quote from Constantinople. The both Churches still deal with issues concerning their priests (why Catholic Priests can't marry totally mistafies me. Anyway, I do hope that the micro differences and apparently macro misconcpetions will some day be able to be set aside.
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