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Orthodox May Be Ready
to Talk to Pope
Metropolitan Filaret, head of the Orthodox Church in Minsk and patriarch of Belarus, came to Italy in late August for the ostensible purpose of participating in an academic debate in Rimini about the rationality of believing in the divinity of Christ.
He took the occasion, however, to let it be known that there are no real obstacles to a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church. See:"Catholic, Russian Orthodox Churches Embrace".
The Metropolitan is presumably not speaking without some sort of authorization, and delicate negotiations are often conducted in seemingly offhand ways rather than through official channels that might raise expectations or involve commitments.
Filaret said that "the time is ripe for a meeting" between the Pope and Patriarch Kirill. "It might even be possible in 2011; in principle, I see no obstacles."
Filaret appears to be saying: "My boss is ready if Pope Benedict is ready."
This is the latest in a series of overtures involving the Orthodox. See: "Serbian Patriarch Proposes Summit with Pope". Its significance may be much greater than the media might appreciate. Attending the meeting in Rimini was Cardinal Peter Erdo, who embraced Filaret during a photo opportunity. The photo appeared with the caption: "Europe's Brothers."
The meeting was sponsored by Catholic Communion and Liberation, one of the relatively new ecclesial groups that have sprung up since Vatican II. The meeting, the 31st of its kind, was titled "Friendship Among Peoples." The topic of the debate was one on which both the Cardinal and the Metropolitan could agree: That a modern, educated European could, without intellectual embarrassment, give assent to the doctrine of the Incarnation.
Everything about the event seemed designed to indicate a growing closeness between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. We have yet to learn of any response from Rome, but that does not mean that one was not given. There are many avenues of communication.
What might this thaw in relations with the Orthodox portend?
We know that Russia will play a key role in this great battle between Our Lady and satan that was announced at Fatima.
We know that the supposedly great ecumenical obstacles to the consecration are exaggerated and essentially do not in reality exist. See Cathy Pearson's article "Now Is The Time" in The Fatima Crusader, Issue #91.
We also know that the Orthodox are aware of the Fatima Message and the role in salvation history assigned to the Russian nation by Heaven's emissary, Our Lady of Fatima. In light of this, two possibilities are clear.
Either Patriarch Kirill is not averse to the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and earnestly wants the graces such a consecration would bring about for his nation and the world.
Or, Patriarch Kirill is anxious to draw the line between the Orthodox and the Catholic Church, making certain that no consecration takes place and that his position is secure and of equal dignity with the Bishop of Rome.
The first appears the more likely possibility. For years — for centuries — the Orthodox have vilified Rome and rebuffed any attempt to draw them into significant ecumenical discussions. They have used political influence to prohibit the expansion of the Catholic Church within their borders and have even had Catholic clergy expelled.
If they wished to continue to maintain their complete autonomy, they need not have changed their behavior. In terms of worldly power, they hold all the cards. In terms of spiritual power, however, there is Our Lady of Fatima calling them home, prophesying the peace that will come to the world when that blessed event occurs.
We must pray hard for the Pope and the Patriarch. We know from Our Lady that Her triumph is inevitable and that Russia will be consecrated. But the sooner this happens, the more the world will be spared the terrible chastisements of which She spoke.
So many people appear eager to use Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Great Britain this month to push their particular agenda that a coalition has formed under the umbrella name: "Protest the Pope." Atheists, secularists and gay rights groups are united by their opposition to one thing: the Catholic Faith.
But apart from the coalition, as a separate voice of protest, is Catholic Women's Ordination (CWO). The group is paying about $23,000 dollars for posters on metro buses that bear the message: "Pope Benedict — Ordain Women Now!" See: "'Ordain women,' London bus ads will urge Pope".
The 15 buses that will bear the message include those that travel past the Palace of Westminster, where the Pope is scheduled to deliver an address. So much controversy has been building that the main purpose of the Pope's visit — to beatify John Cardinal Newman — is becoming almost incidental.
It seems that Cardinal Newman has always found himself in the center of controversy, even now when his virtues are being recognized and the path opened for his canonization. See: "That Still Small Voice".
Pope Benedict and Cardinal Newman are in many ways alike. As was Cardinal Newman, Pope Benedict appears to be shy, scholarly and gentle. He is a man of intellect, preferring the quiet of his study to the public stage. Yet, Providence has chosen him as the Vicar of Christ in our time, and he finds himself the target of all the animosities, both new and ancient, that are directed at the Church.
Pope Benedict has told us that the prophecies of the Third Secret of Fatima are unfolding now and that the Church, including the person of the Pope, will have much to suffer. We must pray for the Holy Father. The world appears to be closing in on him, and on the Church.
We must pray that the Holy Father will realize that Our Lady of Fatima is his only hope — and ours — and that he very soon honors Her requests for the disclosure of the full Third Secret and the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
Latest Fatima Perspectives
That Still Small Voice — Among the many casualties of the Second Vatican Council lay the careful words of John Cardinal Newman concerning conscience. A great load of doctrinal dissent has been placed on the frail Cardinal's shoulders as a result of his entirely orthodox statement made in the context of a dispute about the fitness of Catholics to be loyal subjects of the British Crown.
Of Vanity, Vice and Vampires — There are consistent themes in the Marian apparitions approved by the Church: the call for prayer and sacrifice and deeper conversion; and warnings of disasters that will afflict this world if we do not heed this call. There is another aspect of these visitations from the Queen of Heaven: the seers are usually chosen from among the humblest of children. The seers are almost always illiterate and poor, with a simple but deep Faith. This article explains why.
Diabolical Disorientation Update — While Pope Benedict is engaged in the quiet pursuit of literary composition at his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, Rome is roiled in yet another priestly sex scandal. The popular Italian magazine Panorama has been busy following priests through the gay bars of Rome and chronicling their double lives: priest by day, homosexual reveler by night.
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