The next stop on the Papal Apology Tour, Turkey.
The Pope recently expressed, “sorrow over Constantinople.”
Not Istanbul, but Constantinople.
Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Much like the Crusaders couldn’t resist some rape and pillage during the sacking of the city in 1204. The Pope thought it had been a bad idea, and wanted to apologize to Orthodox leaders while Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians, was in Rome this week.
The Pope said he welcomed the patriarch to the Vatican with “joy” and hoped for a healing in the long rift between Eastern and Western Christianity. “We are praying that the Lord of history purifies our memories of every prejudice and resentment and allows us to freely proceed on the road of unity,” he said.
Al Maviva asked why I couldn’t accept the apology of the Pope as that of an institution, trying to make things right.
Then and now the apology looks like an attempt to curry public favor and gain political favor. The church is losing adherents because of sex abuse scandals, doctrinal differences, the church being out of touch, and a dying Pope.
The ground work for re-unification will be most easy for the current Pope, as he is basically a lame duck, and he can humble himself with no real loss of face. That makes it easier for his successor to follow up with a clean slate, and start things fresh.
This is a good thing for the institution, but it is not a wholly altruistic act.
I don’t know if unity is even possible, as the two churches have some major theological and political differences. I also don’t even know if it a good idea that the two churches merge. Some might suggest that a unified Christian Church would balance out the rise of Islam in the world. That certainly would bring back some bad memories for the Arab nations.
Why, there might be a slot on the Apology Tour for a future Pope, after the Unification Crusades of 2020.