But even in snarky commentary I often find redeeming elements. In the case below the redemption comes in the form of clarity. The tone is obviously polemical and intentionally insulting. But if you can move past that the message is important. However sneering the language, the points made are fundamentally an accurate reflection of Roman Catholicism's historic attitude towards us. And that is something we should never forget.
Rome is not interested in restoration of communion as equal parts of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Rome wants submission. To restore communion with Rome is to concede that Innocent III was within his rights to appoint the Patriarch of Constantinople. It is to concede each and every addition to the Deposit of the Faith by the Latin Church including those promulgated by Lyons, Florence, Trent and yes... Vatican I without reservation or equivocation. It is to concede that we are and have been for a thousand years, schismatics and yes, heretics.
Every Orthodox Christian should read this essay.
L’Osservatore Romano recently published Pope Benedict’s birthday greetings to the schismatic Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I. The successor of Peter prays in his letter that the Lord will sustain the Patriarch with his strength and grace as he carries out his exalted ministry of Pastor, Preacher of the Gospel and Teacher of spiritual life.Read he rest here.
The Pope’s words presuppose that the sacrament of Order has perdured in Constantinople. Through his sacramental consecration as a bishop, Bartholomew has received the high priestly character whereby a bishop is rendered an apt subject to receive a canonical mission in teaching, ruling and sanctifying the Church. Not only that, the Pope also addresses him as Archbishop of Constantinople and Patriarch, just as Pope Eugene IV in the fifteenth century treated the holder of the See as Patriarch when he invited him and all the schismatic bishops to sit at the Council of Ferrara-Florence, where the Greeks would come to agreement with the Latins and co-define the Filioque and papal primacy. In other words, even though the de facto Greek Patriarchs of Constantinople since Cerularius’s schism have not been in communion with the successor of Peter, the successors of Peter have generally been willing to accept their elections, even as they hoped for their return to the unity of the Church. Thus the schismatic Patriarchs accepted to a certain extent by the Pope can be considered as having a “colored” but true title to the See of Constantinople.
However Leo XIII taught in the Encyclical Satis Cognitum, “[b]ishops are deprived of the right and power of ruling, if they deliberately secede from Peter and his successors; because, by this secession, they are separated from the foundation on which the whole edifice must rest. They are therefore outside the edifice itself; and for this very reason they are separated from the fold, whose leader is the Chief Pastor; they are exiled from the Kingdom, the keys of which were given by Christ to Peter alone.” Bartholomew is no different from his Greek predecessors since the Middle Ages in rejecting the authority of the successor of Peter over the whole Church. That is to say, he adheres to the schism of his predecessors and has been known over the years to come out with particularly strong statements of his positions against Catholic doctrine...