Pope Francis’s Ecumenism Is Not Working in Greece

Source: FSSPX News

Some accorded a cold welcome to the Roman pontiff in Greece, some 20 years after Pope John Paul II's historic first visit to the country in 2001.

The request for forgiveness, made by Pope Francis, on December 4, 2021, in the presence of the leader of the Greek Orthodox, Hieronymos II, is part of the ecumenical process as the Holy See sees it: “Shamefully, patriarch – I acknowledge this for the Catholic Church – actions and decisions that had little or nothing to do with Jesus and the Gospel, but … gravely weakened our communion. In this way, we let fruitfulness be compromised by division.” 

And then he added: “History makes its weight felt, and here, today I feel the need to ask anew for the forgiveness of God and of our brothers and sisters for the mistakes committed by many Catholics.”

Fr. Hyacinthe Destivelle, director of the Institute for Ecumenical Studies of the Angelicum in Rome, contacted by Agence France-Presse, trying to justify the pontifical discourse, considering that “the Greek world has been the most hurt by relations with Western Christians, more than with other churches.” 

It’s hard to be optimistic about this. Upon his arrival at the headquarters of the Autocephalous Church of Athens, an Orthodox priest shouted at the Argentine pontiff, saying: “Pope, you are a heretic! Pope, you are a heretic!” before being forcibly removed by the security services. 

“You have to understand that there are still anti-Catholic fanatics like Archbishop Seraphim of Piraeus who called the Pope's visit immoral. They call Catholics papists,” said Nikos Dimou, sociologist and writer, who was trying to downplay the incident.

It should be added that during the papal visit, no religious office was celebrated in common. The possibility of praying the Our Father each in their own language was not even mentioned.

Finally, the Holy Synod – the council of Greek Orthodox archbishops - did not see fit to participate in the Mass celebrated by the Holy Father on Sunday, December 5, at the Megaron, the equivalent of the Palais des Congrès in the Greek capital.