I was going to post the release below a few days ago but decided against because, well, it had that ring of Constantinopolitan triumphalism to it. I’m jaded by Constantinople’s global warming initiative where the full moral force of the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate (as well as the complete administrative resources of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese) was pressed into service on behalf of the global environmentalist lobby.
Even a rudimentary search at the time when global warming was heralded as “settled science” would have given the independent observer pause; too many questions about the veracity of global warming “science” were raised by qualified scientists, unqualified political celebrities (Al Gore and others) were elevated to champion what ostensibly was a project of the scientific academy, too many adherents viewed environmentalism in quasi-religious terms (employing a twisting of the traditional moral vocabulary to justify their beliefs), and so forth. That the Ecumenical Patriarch, his advisers, and the Washington lobbying firm orchestrating much of the Patriarchal response did not heed these indicators shows something was, and probably still is, seriously wrong. Further, that the EP urged the passage of the Copenhagen Protocols, an endorsement totally inappropriate for a man of his position, compounded the error. (At the time I tried to warn them of the danger.)
Clearly the plan was to ride the crest of a wave that seemed certain to break near shore in short order. That didn’t happen. Instead the emails from East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit were leaked (a free press can be a very good thing) and the house came tumbling down. We haven’t heard a word about global warming from either Constantinople or the GOA Press office since and appropriately so. (Actually, not quite true. A sentence crept into a recent encyclical but it was buried so deep you needed a magnifying glass to find it – a message to true believers?)
So when Constantinople announced that union between Rome and Orthodoxy was much further along than it actually is, I concluded that it probably was more grandstanding, that is, positioning Constantinople into an appearance of prominence that it does not in fact possess. So I ignored it. Looking back, especially after the clarification by Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church that was released this morning, I see that was a mistake. These pronouncements are important — even when what is reported is a misrepresentation — and so it is important to post them along with my misgivings.
One more point, the fact that Reuters reported it also gave me pause. Reuters makes only a pretense of reportorial objectivity in matters of morals and religion, a problem that is compounded when religion is the sole focus of an article since they understand it so poorly. Still, it does not mean that the facts, even if skewed, should be ignored.
What follows below is the original report that I ignored. Immediately above this post is the clarification by Met. Hilarion.
Roman Catholic and Orthodox theologians reported promising progress on Friday in talks on overcoming their Great Schism of 1054 and bringing the two largest denominations in Christianity back to full communion. Experts meeting in Vienna this week agreed the two could eventually become “sister churches” that recognize the Roman pope as their titular head but retain many church structures, liturgy and customs that developed over the past millennium.
(Photo: Metropolitan John Zizioulas (L) and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn in Vienna, 24 Sept 2010/Leonhard Foeger)
The delegation heads for the international commission for Catholic-Orthodox dialogue stressed that unity was still far off, but their upbeat report reflected growing cooperation between Rome and the Orthodox churches traditionally centred in Russia, Greece, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Read the entire article on the Reuters website.