As I have been noting for some time now, tt is becoming increasingly harder, if not impossible, for me to keep up with everything that Jorge Mario Bergoglio says and does. Additionally, there is little that this apostate does or says that is "new" and that has not been the subject of much commentary before on this site.
What I want to do at present, though, is to use this Feast of Saint Josaphat Kuncewicz to contrast his willingness to lay down his life to convert the Orthodox with the counterfeit church of conciliarism's aboslutely prohibition of such "proselytism."
To wit, let me remind you of a passage from an address that the Argentine Apostate gave in the Republic of Georgia twenty-five and one-half months ago:
And now one final thing, who said it? Precisely Kote, yet again: the problem of ecumenism. Never fight! Let the theologians study the abstract realities of theology. But what should I do with a friend, neighbour, an Orthodox person? Be open, be a friend. “But should I make efforts to convert him or her?” There is a very grave sin against ecumenism: proselytism. We should never proselytise the Orthodox! They are our brothers and sisters, disciples of Jesus Christ. Due to historical circumstances which are so complex we are where we are today. Both they and we believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and we believe in the Holy Mother of God. “And so what should I do?” Do not condemn. No. I must not do this. Friendship, walking together, praying for one another. Praying and carrying out works of charity together, when this is possible. This is ecumenism. But never condemn a brother or a sister, never refrain from greeting an Orthodox brother or sister because they are Orthodox. (Meeting with Priests, Presbyters, Religious, Pastoral Workers, Tblisi Georgia, Saturday, October 1, 2016.)
The Orthodox do not believe in the doctrine of the Filioque as they believe that God the Holy Ghost proceeds only from the God the Father, not from God the Father and God the Son. The Orthodox belief in the Procession of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity is heretical. They do not believe in the same Faith as Catholics.
Indeed, there are a number of other matters, "minor" little things such as Papal Primacy, Papal Infallibility and the Marian dogmas proclaimed in the Second Millennium, that are outlined in the Appendix A below.
The Orthodox do not possess the true Faith, and they have no "mission" from Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to preach in His Holy Name or to sanctify souls.
Once again, with emphasis, therefore members of heretical and schismatic churches do not give “witness” to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as they defect from the teaching that He has revealed to us exclusively through His Holy Catholic Church for Its eternal safekeeping and infallible explication under the guidance of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, Who did not fail Church Fathers or our true popes in the Second Millennium who explained the meaning of various articles contained in the Sacred Deposit of Faith.
Heretics such as the conciliar “popes,” however, have been contending for over fifty years now that the decisions made at Holy Mother Church’s true general councils in Second Millennium are not binding upon the Orthodox as their representatives were not present at them, save for the Council of Florence. This means that dogmatic truths proclaimed under the infallible guidance of God the Holy Ghost do not apply to those whose representatives were not part of—or dissented from—their formulation and promulgation. Such a belief is heretical.
Yet it is that this heretical belief is at the cornerstone of what the then Joseph “Cardinal” Ratzinger wrote in Principles of Catholic Theology:
Turning then to refer specifically to "the study of a crucial theme in dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox: 'the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church in the first millennium'", a study which will subsequently "also extend to the second millennium", the Holy Father recalled how he had asked Catholics to pray "for this delicate dialogue which is so essential for the entire ecumenical movement". (Continue to Pray for the Unity of All Christians, a Vatican News Service report on Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's January 21, 2010, general audience address.)
After all, Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, in the same bull in which he excommunicated the Patriarch Michael Cerularius and thus inaugurated the schism between East and West, designated the Emperor and the people of Constantinople as "very Christian and orthodox", although their concept of the Roman primary was certainly far less different from that of Cerularius than from that, let us say, of the First Vatican Council. In other words, Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium. (Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, pp. 198-199)
“Pope Benedict XVI” made sure that various parts of Principles of Catholic Theology got promulgated in one form or another with his direct approval. Thus it is that the Ravenna Document, October 13, 2007, which is one of those “unofficial” documents issued by a “satellite” commission, namely, Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, contains passages that are almost identical to those contained in Principles of Catholic Theology.
It remains for the question of the role of the bishop of Rome in the communion of all the Churches to be studied in greater depth. What is the specific function of the bishop of the “first see” in an ecclesiology of koinonia and in view of what we have said on conciliarity and authority in the present text? How should the teaching of the first and second Vatican councils on the universal primacy be understood and lived in the light of the ecclesial practice of the first millennium? These are crucial questions for our dialogue and for our hopes of restoring full communion between us.
We, the members of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, are convinced that the above statement on ecclesial communion, conciliarity and authority represents positive and significant progress in our dialogue, and that it provides a firm basis for future discussion of the question of primacy at the universal level in the Church. We are conscious that many difficult questions remain to be clarified, but we hope that, sustained by the prayer of Jesus “That they may all be one … so that the world may believe” (Jn 17, 21), and in obedience to the Holy Spirit, we can build upon the agreement already reached. Reaffirming and confessing “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4, 5), we give glory to God the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who has gathered us together. (The Ravenna Document)
Future discussion of "primacy at the universal level in the Church?
Difficult questions remain to be clarified?
God the Holy Ghost needs to help reach "an agreement" on Papal Primacy?
Pope Leo XIII dealt with the false assertions contained in Principles of Catholic Theology and in The Ravenna Document while at the same time completely refuting Jorge Mario Bergoglio's October 1, 2016, contention that Catholics should not seek to conver the Orthodox, which was simply one of many times this lay Jesuit heretic has directly contradicted the mission that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gave to the Apostles before He Ascended to His Co-Equal and Co-Eternal God the Father's right hand in Heaven on Ascension Thursday:
First of all, then, We cast an affectionate look upon the East, from whence in the beginning came forth the salvation of the world. Yes, and the yearning desire of Our heart bids us conceive and hope that the day is not far distant when the Eastern Churches, so illustrious in their ancient faith and glorious past, will return to the fold they have abandoned. We hope it all the more, that the distance separating them from Us is not so great: nay, with some few exceptions, we agree so entirely on other heads that, in defense of the Catholic Faith, we often have recourse to reasons and testimony borrowed from the teaching, the Rites, and Customs of the East.
The Principal subject of contention is the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff. But let them look back to the early years of their existence, let them consider the sentiments entertained by their forefathers, and examine what the oldest Traditions testify, and it will, indeed, become evident to them that Christ's Divine Utterance, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, has undoubtedly been realized in the Roman Pontiffs. Many of these latter in the first gates of the Church were chosen from the East, and foremost among them Anacletus, Evaristus, Anicetus, Eleutherius, Zosimus, and Agatho; and of these a great number, after Governing the Church in Wisdom and Sanctity, Consecrated their Ministry with the shedding of their blood. The time, the reasons, the promoters of the unfortunate division, are well known. Before the day when man separated what God had joined together, the name of the Apostolic See was held in Reverence by all the nations of the Christian world: and the East, like the West, agreed without hesitation in its obedience to the Pontiff of Rome, as the Legitimate Successor of St. Peter, and, therefore, the Vicar of Christ here on earth.
And, accordingly, if we refer to the beginning of the dissension, we shall see that Photius himself was careful to send his advocates to Rome on the matters that concerned him; and Pope Nicholas I sent his Legates to Constantinople from the Eternal City, without the slightest opposition, "in order to examine the case of Ignatius the Patriarch with all diligence, and to bring back to the Apostolic See a full and accurate report"; so that the history of the whole negotiation is a manifest Confirmation of the Primacy of the Roman See with which the dissension then began. Finally, in two great Councils, the second of Lyons and that of Florence, Latins and Greeks, as is notorious, easily agreed, and all unanimously proclaimed as Dogma the Supreme Power of the Roman Pontiffs.
We have recalled those things intentionally, for they constitute an invitation to peace and reconciliation; and with all the more reason that in Our own days it would seem as if there were a more conciliatory spirit towards Catholics on the part of the Eastern Churches, and even some degree of kindly feeling. To mention an instance, those sentiments were lately made manifest when some of Our faithful travelled to the East on a Holy Enterprise, and received so many proofs of courtesy and good-will.
Therefore, Our mouth is open to you, to you all of Greek or other Oriental Rites who are separated from the Catholic Church, We earnestly desire that each and every one of you should meditate upon the words, so full of gravity and love, addressed by Bessarion to your forefathers: "What answer shall we give to God when He comes to ask why we have separated from our Brethren: to Him Who, to unite us and bring us into One Fold, came down from Heaven, was Incarnate, and was Crucified? What will our defense be in the eyes of posterity? Oh, my Venerable Fathers, we must not suffer this to be, we must not entertain this thought, we must not thus so ill provide for ourselves and for our Brethren."
Weigh carefully in your minds and before God the nature of Our request. It is not for any human motive, but impelled by Divine Charity and a desire for the salvation of all, that We advise the reconciliation and union with the Church of Rome; and We mean a perfect and complete union, such as could not subsist in any way if nothing else was brought about but a certain kind of agreement in the Tenets of Belief and an intercourse of Fraternal love. The True Union between Christians is that which Jesus Christ, the Author of the Church, instituted and desired, and which consists in a Unity of Faith and Unity of Government.
Nor is there any reason for you to fear on that account that We or any of Our Successors will ever diminish your rights, the privileges of your Patriarchs, or the established Ritual of any one of your Churches. It has been and always will be the intent and Tradition of the Apostolic See, to make a large allowance, in all that is right and good, for the primitive Traditions and special customs of every nation. On the contrary, if you re-establish Union with Us, you will see how, by God's bounty, the glory and dignity of your Churches will be remarkably increased.
May God, then, in His goodness, hear the Prayer that you yourselves address to Him: "Make the schisms of the Churches cease," and "Assemble those who are dispersed, bring back those who err, and unite them to Thy Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." May you thus return to that one Holy Faith which has been handed down both to Us and to you from time immemorial; which your forefathers preserved untainted, and which was enhanced by the rival splendor of the Virtues, the great genius, and the sublime learning of St. Athanasius and St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzum and St. John Chrysostom, the two Saints who bore the name of Cyril, and so many other great men whose glory belongs as a common inheritance to the East and to the West. (Pope Leo XIII, Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae, June 29, 1894. See also the excellent discussion of the the history of what led up to the Greek Schism that is contained in Fathers Francisco and Dominic Radecki's Tumultuous Times.)
The conciliar “popes” have given Catholics and non-Catholics alike a distorted view of history and they have made it appear as though the new ecclesiology's concept of the "church as communion" has replaced the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church that there is no "Christian Church" outside of her. She is the one and sole embodiment of Christianity. The schismatic and heretical sects of Orthodoxy may have true sacraments because they possess true apostolic succession and have liturgical rites that that were used, at least for the most part, long before the Greek Schism of 1054. They do not have the Catholic Faith. Only those who adhere to the totality of the Deposit of Faith and are in full communion with a true and legitimate Successor of Saint Peter possess the Catholic Faith:
Agreement and union of minds is the necessary foundation of this perfect concord amongst men, from which concurrence of wills and similarity of action are the natural results. Wherefore, in His divine wisdom, He ordained in His Church Unity of Faith; a virtue which is the first of those bonds which unite man to God, and whence we receive the name of the faithful - "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. iv., 5). That is, as there is one Lord and one baptism, so should all Christians, without exception, have but one faith. And so the Apostle St. Paul not merely begs, but entreats and implores Christians to be all of the same mind, and to avoid difference of opinions: "I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms amongst you, and that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Cor. i., 10). Such passages certainly need no interpreter; they speak clearly enough for themselves. Besides, all who profess Christianity allow that there can be but one faith. It is of the greatest importance and indeed of absolute necessity, as to which many are deceived, that the nature and character of this unity should be recognized. And, as We have already stated, this is not to be ascertained by conjecture, but by the certain knowledge of what was done; that is by seeking for and ascertaining what kind of unity in faith has been commanded by Jesus Christ. (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896.)
Neither Ratzinger nor Bergoglio believe that "believers" have to agree on everything taught by the Catholic Church. It is enough for there to be that nebulous "Christian Christianity" referred to by Bergoglio nearly three years ago now.
The Orthodox hold a particular appeal to Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and Jorge Mario Bergoglio as "Greek theology" is said to go back to "original sources" without the supposed distorted "filter" of the Scholasticism of Saint Thomas Aquinas that the two-headed "pope" monster contends has corrupted both the meaning of Sacred Scripture and the writing of the early Church Fathers, which is why it is important, Bergoglio believes, to “uncage” God the Holy Ghost so that He can “restore” what is said to be a primitive form of Christianity without the “accoutrements” of “complex dogmas” and “ossified, formulaic” liturgies.
Thus is that all of the “joint declarations” issued by the conciliar "popes" and various patriachs of the Orthodox churches spit in the face of the work done by the likes of Saint Hyacinth and Saint Josaphat, who was martyred by the Orthodox for the success he had in converting the son of a Russian prince.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio could care less that Saint Josaphat Kucenewicz, whose feast is celebrated today, Wednesday, November 14, 2018, laid down his very life in defense of the truths of the Holy Faith as he sought to convert the Orthodox back to the true Faith from which their ancestors had separated themselves nearly five hundred seventy years before. No, he, like Ratzinger/Benedict before him, cares only about a “communion of the heart,” one which “difficult” differences can be glossed over by means of a “shared witness” to a generic Christianity in the world.
Ah, Saint Josaphat Kuncewicz did not care for such a “communion of hearts” as he sought refused to be intimidated into relenting in his efforts to bring souls into the Catholic Faith. Moreover, did not care about threats and he did not complain about the obstacles that faced him in his apostolic endeavors. He accepted calumnies with perfect equanimity, seeing in his detractors the loving hand of God to purify him for the sake of His greater honor and glory and the sanctification and salvation of souls.
Saint Josaphat's martyrdom, however, came, the conciliarists and their “joint declarations” with members of various Orthodox Churches would have us believe, with an "expiration" date, that of October 28, 1958, which was the dawning of the age of conciliarism, an age wherein purported "popes" have told the world that it is no longer necessary to seek to convert the Orthodox, something that they have formalized in the Balamand Statement that was made leaders of various branches of Orthodoxy:
23. Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Eastern, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox. It aims at answering the spiritual needs of its own faithful and it has no desire for expansion at the expense of the Orthodox Church. Within these perspectives, so that there will no longer be room for mistrust and suspicion, it is necessary that there be reciprocal exchanges of information about various pastoral projects and that thus cooperation between bishops and all those with responsibilities in our Churches can be set in motion and develop.
23. The history of the relations between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Catholic Churches has been marked by persecutions and sufferings. Whatever may have been these sufferings and their causes, they do not justify any triumphalism; no one can glorify in them or draw an argument from them to accuse or disparage the other Church, God alone knows his own witnesses. Whatever may have been the past, it must be left to the mercy of God, and all the energies of the Churches should be directed towards obtaining that the present and the future conform better to the will of Christ for his own.
24. It will also be necessary--and this on the part of both Churches--that the bishops and all those with pastoral responsibilities in them scrupulously respect the religious liberty of the faithful. These, in turn, must be able to express freely their opinion by being consulted and by organizing themselves to this end.
In fact, religious liberty requires that, particularly in situations of conflict, the faithful are able to express their opinion and to decide without pressure from outside if they wish to be in communion either with the Orthodox Church or with the Catholic Church. Religious freedom would be violated when, under the cover of financial assistance, the faithful of one Church would be attracted to the other, by promises, for example, of education and material benefits that may be lacking in their own Church. In this context, it will be necessary that social assistance, as well as every form of philanthropic activity, be organized with common agreement so as to avoid creating new suspicions. (The Balamand Statement.)
Yes, the martyrdom of Saint Josaphat is considered to be "out-of-date" for the conciliarists, part of the "past" about which there needs to be a "purification of memory." Those in the Orthodox churches have no need to fear of their eternal salvation. Saint Josaphat's life stands as a rebuke to Jorge Mario Bergoglio and to “Patriarch” Kirill as his holy work for souls provides a stark contrast to the heresies of conciliarism that leave so many souls into error and others in peril of losing their souls.
Dom Prosper Gueranger explained the courage and zeal of this great martyr's life and his heroic death:
Josaphat Kuncewicz, contemporary with St. Francis de Sales and St. Vincent de Paul, might have been taken for a Greek monk of the eleventh century or an ascetic of the Thebaid. A stranger to the intellectual culture of the West, he knew only the liturgical books and sacred texts use din his own church; as a priest, an archimandrite, a reformer of his own Order of St. Basil, and lastly as archbishop, he combated his life the consequences of the schism of Photius, and closed the struggle by culling the palm of martyrdom. Yet all this took place in the heart of Europe, in the countries then subject to Catholic Poland, during the reign of most of its kings. How is this mystery to be explained?
Immediately after the Mongolian invasions Poland received into her arms, rather than conquered, the Ruthenian nation--that is to say, the Slavs of the Greek rite from the Dnieper and the Dwina, who had formed around their capital and religious metropolis, Kiev, the nucleus of the power now known as Russia. Had she granted a participation in her own national life to these brethren separated from, but not enemies to, the Roman unity, who came to her full confidence in her strength and her justice, Poland would have secured the triumph of the Catholic cause, and her own dominion throughout Slavonia. The union of the newcomers with the Roman pontiff, which a little more political insight and religious zeal might have brought about in the fourteenth century, was not concluded until 1595.
This was the union of Brzsec. By the compact signed in this little town of Lithuania, the metropolitan of Kiev and the other Greek bishops declared that they returned to the communion of the holy Apostolic See. Being the spiritual superiors of the half the nation, they thus completed the union of the three peoples, Ruthenian, Lithuanian, and Polish, then subject to Sigismund III. Now, a religious reform, even if decreed by a council, does not become a reality until men of God, true apostles and if need be martyrs, came forward to consummate it. This was the vocation of St. Josaphat, the apostle and martyr of the Union of Brzsec. What he did not himself carry out was completed by his disciples. A century of glory was secured to the nation, and its political ruin was delayed for two hundred years.
But Poland left in a state of humiliating inferiority the clergy and people of the Graeco-Slavonic rite, who had taken shelter in her bosom; her politicians never admitted practically that Christians of the Greek rite could be true Catholics on a equality with their Latin brethren. Soon, however, the Latin Poles were engaged in deadly combat with the Muscovites, and we know how the former were vanquished. Historians lay down the causes of Poland's defeat:; but they usually forget the principal one, which rendered it irremediable--viz., the forced return to schism of the immense majority of the Ruthenians whom St. Josaphat had brought into the Catholic Church. The consummation of this execrable work contributed, far more than political circumstances or military triumphs, to establish Russia's victory. Poland, reduced to nine or ten million Latins, could no longer struggle against her former rival now become her stern ruler.
The power of the Slavs separated from Catholic unity is on the increase. Young nations, emancipated from the Musselman [Mohammedan] yoke, have formed in the Balkan Peninsula. Fidelity to the Graeco-Slavonian rite, identified in their eyes with their nationality and with Christianity, was alone to save these peoples from being stamped out by the Turkish forces. Victorious over the universal enemy, they cannot forget whence came their safety: the moral and religious direction of these resuscitated nations belongs accordingly to Russia. Profiting by these advantages with consummate skill and energy, she continues to develop her influence in the East. In Asia her progress is still more prodigious. The Tsar, who at the end of the eighteenth century ruled over thirty million men, now governs one hundred and twenty-five millions; and and by the normal increase of an exceptionally prolific population, the empire, within another half-century, will reckon more than hundred millions of subjects.
Unhappily for Russia and for the Church, this power is guided at present by blind prejudice. Not only is Russia separated from Catholic unity, but political interest and the recollection of ancient strifes convince her that her greatness depends upon the triumph of what she calls Orthodoxy, which is simply the Photian schism. yet the Roman Church, ever devoted and generous, opens wide her arms to welcome back her wandering daughter; forgetting the injuries she has received, she asks but to be greeted with the name of mother. Let this word be uttered, and a whole sad past will be effaced.
Russia becoming Catholic would mean an end to Islamism, and the definitive triumph of the Cross upon the Bosphorus, without any danger to Europe, the Christian empire in the East restored with a glory and a power hitherto unknown; Asia evangelized, not by a few poor isolated priests, but with the help of an authority greater than that of Charlemagne; and lastly, the Slavonic race brought into unity of faith and aspirations, for its own greater glory. This transformation will be the greatest event of the century that shall see its accomplishment; it will change the face of the world.
Is there any foundation for such hopes? Come what may, St. Josaphat will always be the patron and model of the future apostles of the Union in Russia and in the whole Graeco-Slavonic world. By his birth, education, and studies, by the bent of his piety and all his habits of life, he resembled far more the Russian monks of the present day than the Latin prelates of his own time. He always desired the ancient liturgy of his Church to be preserved entire; and even to his last breath he carried it out lovingly, without the least alteration or diminution, just as the first apostles of the Christian faith had brought it from Constantinople to Kiev. May prejudices born of ignorance be obliterated; and then, despised though his name now is in Russia, St. Josaphat will no sooner be known than he will be loved and invoked by the Russians themselves.
On Graeco-Slavonian brethren cannot much longer turn a deaf ear to the invitations of the Sovereign Pontiff. Let us hope, then, that the day will come, and that before very long, when the wall of separation will crumble away for ever, and the same hymn of thanksgiving will echo at once under the dome of St. Peter's and the cupolas of Kiev and of St. Petersburg. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year: Time After Pentecost: Book VI, pp. 266-269.)
Can you understand now why Our Lady called for the conversion of Russia in the Cova da Iria near Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, as the fruit its consecration to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart? Our Lady was not simply speaking about Communism, which had yet to take over Russia in its entirety, although its spirit was strong following the abdication of Czar Nicholas II and Empress Consort Alexander on March 15, 1917. Our Lady was referring also to the errors of Modernity wrought by Orthodoxy. Saint Josaphat understood the importance of Russia to the entirety of Catholic world order. He laid down his life to convert souls to bring about the conversion of this country that is so near and dear to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Concerned about Robert Mueller's effort to oust the man, Donald John Trump, and the promises made by the incoming Democatic Party committee chairmen in the United States House of Representatives to launch endless investigations of the president, his family, his finances and his policies?
Remember, there would have been none of the mess of American politics if the errors of Russia had not been spreading since 1054 A.D., errors that would influence the mind of Martin Luther and result in his own diabolical revolution against the Divine Plan that God instituted to effect man's return to Him through the Catholic Church. Russia is critical to the re-establishment of Christendom. To effect the conversion of Russia, of course, Saint Josaphat laid down his very life in a manner described in the Divine Office for his feast, which falls on November 14:
Josaphat Kuncewitz was born of noble Catholic parents at Vladimir in Volhynia. Once as a child, as he listed to his mother tell the story of the Passion, a dart came forth from the side of Christ on the crucifix and wounded the boy in the heart. Set on fire with love of God, he devoted himself to prayer and works of charity with such zeal that he became the admiration and the model for youths far older than he. When Josaphat was twenty years old he was professed among the cloistered followers of the monastic rule of Saint Basil. Almost at once he made remarkable progress in evangelical perfection. He went barefoot, even in the severe winters of that country. He never ate meat, and drank wine only when obliged to do so under obedience. He disciplined his body by wearing rough hair-shirts until the day of his death. He kept unspotted the flower of chastity which in his youth he had dedicated to the Virgin Mother of God. He became so celebrated for virtue and learning that despite his youth he was made superior of the monastery at Byten, and the Archimandrite of Vilnius. Finally much against his will, but to the very great joy of the Catholic people, he was made Archbishop of Polotsk.
In this dignity he relaxed nothing of his former manner of life; and had nothing so much at heart as the divine service and the salvation of the sheep entrusted to him. He energetically defended Catholic faith and unity, and laboured to the utmost of his power to bring back schismatics and heretics to communion with the See of Peter. The Sovereign Pontiff and the plenitude of his power he never ceased to defend, both by preaching and by writings full of piety and learning, against the most shameless calumnies and errors of the wicked. He vindicated episcopal rights, and restored ecclesiastical possessions which had been seized by laymen. Incredible was the number of heretics he won back to the bosom of mother Church; and the words of the pope bear witness how greatly he promoted the union of the Greek and Latin churches. His revenues were entirely expended in restoring the beauty of God's house, in building of dwellings for consecrated virgins, and in other pious works. So bountiful was he to the poor, that on one occasion, having nothing wherewith to supply the needs of a certain widow, he ordered his Omnophorion, or episcopal pallium, to be pawned.
The great progress made by the Catholic faith so stirred up the hatred of wicked men against the soldier of Christ, that they determined to put him to death. He knew what was threatening him; and foretold it when preaching to the people. As he was making his visitation at Vitebsk, the murderers broke into his house, striking and wounding all whom they found. Josaphat meekly went to meet them, and accosted them kindly, saying : "My little children, why do you strike my servants? If you have any complaint against me, here I am." Hereupon they rushed on him, overwhelmed him with blows, pierced him with their spears, and at length dispatched him with an axe and threw his body into the river. This took place on the twelfth of November, 1623, in the forty-third year of his age. His body, surrounded with a miraculous light, was rescued from the waters. The martyr's blood won a blessing first of all for his murderers; for, being condemned to death, they nearly all abjured their schism and repented of their crime. (As found in The Liturgical Year.)
The authentically incorrupt body of this great martyr, Saint Josaphat, was on display under an altar on the right transept of the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome until the middle of the last decade. The incorrupt body of this great saint, who spent himself tirelessly for the conversion of the schismatic and heretical Orthodox, was moved to a different, less prominent location in order to make way for the artificially preserved body of the thoroughly corrupt Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII, who promised silence about Communism in order to purchase the presence of "observers" from the schismatic and heretical Russian Orthodox Church at his "Second" Vatican Council.
The aggiornamento of Angelo Roncalli has nothing to do with the conversion of men and nations to the Social Reign of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen, thus helping to make more possible the madness of a world made mad by the overthrow of this sweet, gentle reign of our King and our Queen. We can never be party to silence on any point of doctrinal or moral truth in "exchange" for some concession given by those steeped in error and/or immorality. Not one compromise. Ever. For any reason.
The Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church complement those of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. This is beyond question. Those in the Eastern Rites must, however, believe in everything taught by the Catholic Church or suffer from doctrinal emphysema in their lungs. The Eastern Rites and the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church (as well as the little used Ambrosian Rite and the Mozarabic Rite proper to parts of Spain) each must breathe the clear, unpolluted air of the totality of the Deposit of Faith exactly as Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ entrusted It to Holy Mother Church without any shadow of alteration, change, ambiguity or contradiction whatsoever:
These and many other serious things, which at present too long to list, but which you know well, cause Our intense grief. It is not enough for Us to deplore these innumerable evils unless We strive to uproot them. We take refuge in your faith and call upon your concern for the salvation of the Catholic flock. Your singular prudence and diligent spirit give Us courage and console Us, afflicted as We are with so many trials. We must raise Our voice and attempt all things lest a wild boar from the woods should destroy the vineyard or wolves kill the flock. It is Our duty to lead the flock only to the food which is healthful. In these evil and dangerous times, the shepherds must never neglect their duty; they must never be so overcome by fear that they abandon the sheep. Let them never neglect the flock and become sluggish from idleness and apathy. Therefore, united in spirit, let us promote our common cause, or more truly the cause of God; let our vigilance be one and our effort united against the common enemies.
Indeed you will accomplish this perfectly if, as the duty of your office demands, you attend to yourselves and to doctrine and meditate on these words: "the universal Church is affected by any and every novelty" and the admonition of Pope Agatho: Therefore may the unity which is built upon the See of Peter as on a sure foundation stand firm. May it be for all a wall and a security, a safe port, and a treasury of countless blessings. To check the audacity of those who attempt to infringe upon the rights of this Holy See or to sever the union of the churches with the See of Peter, instill in your people a zealous confidence in the papacy and sincere veneration for it. As St. Cyprian wrote: "He who abandons the See of Peter on which the Church was founded, falsely believes himself to be a part of the Church." (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, August 15, 1832.)
The Russian Orthodox not only falsely believe that they belong to the "church" despite defecting from the Faith in numerous ways (see Appendix A below) they have been reaffirmed in this false belief by Ratzinger/Benedict, whose words and actions and long held and frequently expressed beliefs are at odds with the papal pronouncement after papal pronouncement, dogmatic declaration after dogmatic declaration
These firings, therefore, with all diligence and care having been formulated by us, we define that it be permitted to no one to bring forward, or to write, or to compose, or to think, or to teach a different faith. Whosoever shall presume to compose a different faith, or to propose, or teach, or hand to those wishing to be converted to the knowledge of the truth, from the Gentiles or Jews, or from any heresy, any different Creed; or to introduce a new voice or invention of speech to subvert these things which now have been determined by us, all these, if they be Bishops or clerics let them be deposed, the Bishops from the Episcopate, the clerics from the clergy; but if they be monks or laymen: let them be anathematized. (Sixth Ecumenical: Constantinople III).
They [the Modernists] exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of tradition, so as to rob it of all its weight and authority. But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those "who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind...or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church"; nor that of the declaration of the fourth Council of Constantinople: "We therefore profess to preserve and guard the rules bequeathed to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, by the Holy and most illustrious Apostles, by the orthodox Councils, both general and local, and by everyone of those divine interpreters, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church." Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs, Pius IV and Pius IX, ordered the insertion in the profession of faith of the following declaration: "I most firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church.'' (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907.)
Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. . . . The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way. (Pope Saint Pius X, The Oath Against Modernism, September 1, 1910.)
Saint Josaphat is proof that Catholicism can never be reconciled with conciliarism, and that Jorge Mario Bergoglio' statement made twenty-six days ago now is in direct defiance of the Catholic Faith.
Most of us will not be asked to give our lives for the Holy Faith. Like Saint Josaphat, however, we must be willing to do so at all times.
We must, however, be willing to suffer the white martyrdom of ridicule and criticism and rejection and ostracism for refusing to recognize or associate with any of the spiritual robber barons of the counterfeit church of conciliarism who are so blithe in the offenses they commit against God so regularly and who are so dismissive of the gravity of error (save for "defections" from conciliarism by fully traditional Catholics and save for any effort to review the nature and the extent of the crimes of the Third Reich as such defections are "unforgivable" errors that must be "corrected") that do so much harm to the souls for whom Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on the wood of the Holy Cross in atonement for our sins.
Obviously, we must, as always, spend time in prayer before Our Lord's Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament, if this is at all possible where one lives, and pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, using the shield of Our Lady's Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel and the weapon of her Rosary to protect us from the contagion of apostasy and betrayal that is all around us. We must also, of course, make reparation for our own many sins by offering up all of our prayers and sufferings and sacrifices and humiliations and penances and mortifications and fastings to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, especially in this penitential season of Lent.
The final victory belongs to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We must pray to her so that we can be instruments, unworthy though we may be, of planting the seeds for the restoration of Holy Mother Church and of the Social Reign of Christ the King so that everyone in the whole will exclaim with hearts consecrated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saint Josaphat, pray for us.
Various Ways in Which the Orthodox Defect From the Deposit of Faith Entrusted to the Catholic Church
1. Papal Primacy.
2. Papal Infallibility.
3. The doctrine of Original Sin as defined dogmatically by the Catholic Church. The ambiguous doctrine of the Orthodox was noted by Pope Pius VI in Auctorem Fidei, August 28, 1794, when discussing the Greek rejection of Limbo that is, of course, shared by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and his protege, William "Cardinal" Levada, whose "International Theological Commission" issued The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized on April 19, 2007:
Very few Greek Fathers dealt with the destiny of infants who die without Baptism because there was no controversy about this issue in the East. Furthermore, they had a different view of the present condition of humanity. For the Greek Fathers, as the consequence of Adam's sin, human beings inherited corruption, possibility, and mortality, from which they could be restored by a process of deification made possible through the redemptive work of Christ. The idea of an inheritance of sin or guilt - common in Western tradition - was foreign to this perspective, since in their view sin could only be a free, personal act. (International Theological Commission, The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized, April 19, 2007.)
Droleskey interection: This is what the Orthodox still believe, which makes them fit "partners" for "ecumenical dialogue" with Bergoglio and Ratzinger/Benedict before him, who told us in his own murky way that he is of one mind with them on the matter of Original Sin, which he called in 1995 an "imprecise" term (!).]
Here is a statement on Original Sin from the Orthodox Church in America:
With regard to original sin, the difference between Orthodox Christianity and the West may be outlined as follows:
In the Orthodox Faith, the term "original sin" refers to the "first" sin of Adam and Eve. As a result of this sin, humanity bears the "consequences" of sin, the chief of which is death. Here the word "original" may be seen as synonymous with "first." Hence, the "original sin" refers to the "first sin" in much the same way as "original chair" refers to the "first chair."
In the West, humanity likewise bears the "consequences" of the "original sin" of Adam and Eve. However, the West also understands that humanity is likewise "guilty" of the sin of Adam and Eve. The term "Original Sin" here refers to the condition into which humanity is born, a condition in which guilt as well as consequence is involved.
In the Orthodox Christian understanding, while humanity does bear the consequences of the original, or first, sin, humanity does not bear the personal guilt associated with this sin. Adam and Eve are guilty of their willful action; we bear the consequences, chief of which is death.
One might look at all of this in a completely different light. Imagine, if you will, that one of your close relatives was a mass murderer. He committed many serious crimes for which he was found guilty and perhaps even admitted his guilt publicly. You, as his or her son or brother or cousin, may very well bear the consequences of his action - people may shy away from you or say, "Watch out for him - he comes from a family of mass murderers." Your name may be tainted, or you may face some other forms of discrimination as a consequence of your relative’s sin. You, however, are not personally guilty of his or her sin.
There are some within Orthodoxy who approach a westernized view of sin, primarily after the 17th and 18th centuries due to a variety of westernizing influences particularly in Ukraine and Russia after the time of Peter Mohyla. These influences have from time to time colored explanations of the Orthodox Faith which are in many respects lacking. (Orthodox Church in America, Questions and Answers on Original Sin)
Another interjection: This is not Catholic doctrine. This matter cannot be "bridged" by concerts of music composed by Russians.
4. The Filioque, that God the Holy Ghost proceeds from both the Father and the Son.
5. The doctrine of Purgatory as defined by the authority of the Catholic Church.
6. The doctrine of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception as defined by the authority of the Catholic Church.
7. The doctrine of Our Lady's Assumption body and soul into Heaven as defined by the authority of the Catholic Church.
8. The doctrine of the indissolubility of a sacramentally valid, ratified and consummated marriage; the Orthodox hold that a person can marry up to three times following two divorces. Here is the Orthodox "consensus" (as there is no ultimate ecclesiastical authority within Orthodoxy to decide doctrinal matters) on the issue:
Marriage is one of the sacraments of the Orthodox Church. Orthodox Christians who marry must marry in the Church in order to be in sacramental communion with the Church. According to the Church canons, an Orthodox who marries outside the Church may not receive Holy Communion and may not serve as a sponsor, i.e. a Godparent at a Baptism, or as a sponsor at a Wedding. Certain marriages are prohibited by canon law, such as a marriage between first and second cousins, or between a Godparent and a Godchild. The first marriage of a man and a woman is honored by the Church with a richly symbolic service that eloquently speaks to everyone regarding the married state. The form of the service calls upon God to unite the couple through the prayer of the priest or bishop officiating.
The church will permit up to, but not more than, three marriages for any Orthodox Christian. If both partners are entering a second or third marriage, another form of the marriage ceremony is conducted, much more subdued and penitential in character. Marriages end either through the death of one of the partners or through ecclesiastical recognition of divorce. The Church grants "ecclesiastical divorces" on the basis of the exception given by Christ to his general prohibition of the practice. The Church has frequently deplored the rise of divorce and generally sees divorce as a tragic failure. Yet, the Orthodox Church also recognizes that sometimes the spiritual well-being of Christians caught in a broken and essentially nonexistent marriage justifies a divorce, with the right of one or both of the partners to remarry. Each parish priest is required to do all he can to help couples resolve their differences. If they cannot, and they obtain a civil divorce, they may apply for an ecclesiastical divorce in some jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church. In others, the judgment is left to the parish priest when and if a civilly divorced person seeks to remarry.
Those Orthodox jurisdictions which issue ecclesiastical divorces require a thorough evaluation of the situation, and the appearance of the civilly divorced couple before a local ecclesiastical court, where another investigation is made. Only after an ecclesiastical divorce is issued by the presiding bishop can they apply for an ecclesiastical license to remarry.
Though the Church would prefer that all Orthodox Christians would marry Orthodox Christians, it does not insist on it in practice. Out of its concern for the spiritual welfare of members who wish to marry a non-Orthodox Christian, the Church will conduct a "mixed marriage." For this purpose, a "non-Orthodox Christian" is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, or one of the many Protestant Churches which believe in and baptize in the name of the Holy Trinity. This means that such mixed marriages may be performed in the Orthodox Church. However, the Orthodox Church does not perform marriages between Orthodox Christians and persons belonging to other religions, such as Islam , Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any sectarian and cult group, such as Christian Science, Mormonism, or the followers of Rev. Moon. (The Stand of the Orthodox Church on Controversial Issues.)
9. The absolute prohibition against the use of any form of contraception whatsoever. This is from the website of the Greek Orthodox Church in America:
General agreement exists among Orthodox writers on the following two points:
- Since at least one of the purposes of marriage is the birth of children, a couple acts immorally when it consistently uses contraceptive methods to avoid the birth of any children, if there are not extenuating circumstances;
- contraception is also immoral when used to encourage the practice of fornication and adultery.
Less agreement exists among Eastern Orthodox authors on the issue of contraception within marriage for the spacing of children or for the limitation of the number of children. Some authors take a negative view and count any use of contraceptive methods within or outside of marriage as immoral (Papacostas, pp. 13-18; Gabriel Dionysiatou). These authors tend to emphasize as the primary and almost exclusive purpose of marriage the birth of children and their upbringing. They tend to consider any other exercise of the sexual function as the submission of this holy act to unworthy purposes, i.e., pleasure-seeking, passion, and bodily gratification, which are held to be inappropriate for the Christian growing in spiritual perfection. These teachers hold that the only alternative is sexual abstinence in marriage, which, though difficult, is both desirable and possible through the aid of the grace of God. It must be noted also that, for these writers, abortion and contraception are closely tied together, and often little or no distinction is made between the two. Further, it is hard to discern in their writings any difference in judgment between those who use contraceptive methods so as to have no children and those who use them to space and limit the number of children.
Other Orthodox writers have challenged this view by seriously questioning the Orthodoxy of the exclusive and all-controlling role of the procreative purpose of marriage (Zaphiris; Constantelos, 1975). Some note the inconsistency of the advocacy of sexual continence in marriage with the scriptural teaching that one of the purposes of marriage is to permit the ethical fulfillment of sexual drives, so as to avoid fornication and adultery (1 Cor. 7:1-7). Most authors, however, emphasize the sacramental nature of marriage and its place within the framework of Christian anthropology, seeing the sexual relationship of husband and wife as one aspect of the mutual growth of the couple in love and unity. This approach readily adapts itself to an ethical position that would not only permit but also enjoin sexual relationships of husband and wife for their own sake as expressions of mutual love. Such a view clearly would support the use of contraceptive practices for the purpose of spacing and limiting children so as to permit greater freedom of the couple in the expression of their mutual love. (For the Health of Body and Soul: An Eastern Orthodox Introduction to Bioethics.)
Droleskey Afterword to Appendix A:
Such heretical beliefs are not the foundation of any kind of true reconciliation between the Orthodox and the Catholic Church, admitting that the counterfeit church of conciliarism can indeed "live" with these differences in the name of a false notion of "unity" and "love."
Several Example of Past "Joint Declarations" or "Common Statements" Made by Conciliar "Popes" and Greek Orthodox "Patriarchs:
Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I give thanks in the Holy Spirit to God, the author and finisher of all good works, for enabling them to meet once again in the holy city of Rome in order to pray together with the Bishops of the Synod of the Roman Catholic Church and with the faithful people of this city, to greet one another with a kiss of peace, and to converse together in a spirit of charity and brotherly frankness.
While recognizing that there is still a long way to go on the road toward the unity of all Christians and that between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church there still remain points to clarify and obstacles to surmount before attaining that unity in the profession of faith necessary for re-establishing full communion, they rejoice in the fact that their meeting was able to contribute to their Churches rediscovering themselves still more as sister Churches.
In the prayers they offered, in their public statements and in their private conversation, the Pope and the Patriarch wished to emphasize their conviction that an essential element in the restoration of full communion between the Roman Catholic Church on the one side and the Orthodox Church on the other, is to be found within the framework of the renewal of the Church and of Christians in fidelity to the traditions of the Fathers and to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit Who remains always with the Church.
They recognize that the true dialogue of charity, which should be at the basis of all relations between themselves and between their Churches, must be rooted in total fidelity to the one Lord Jesus Christ and in mutual respect for each one’s traditions. Every element which can strengthen the bonds of charity, of communion, and of common action is a cause for spiritual rejoicing and should be promoted; anything which can harm this charity, communion and common action is to be eliminated with the grace of God and the creative strength of the Holy Spirit.
Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I are convinced that the dialogue of charity between their Churches must bear fruits of a cooperation which would not be self-seeking, in the field of common action at the pastoral, social and intellectual levels, with mutual respect for each one’s fidelity to his own Church. They desire that regular and profound contacts may be maintained between Catholic and Orthodox pastors for the good of their faithful. The Roman Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate are ready to study concrete ways of solving pastoral problems, especially those connected with marriages between Catholics and Orthodox. They hope for better cooperation in works of charity, in aid to refugees and those who are suffering and in the promotion of justice and peace in the world.
In order to prepare fruitful contacts between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, the Pope and the Patriarch give their blessing and pastoral support to all efforts for cooperation between Catholic and Orthodox scholars in the fields of historical studies, of studies in the traditions of the Churches, of patristics, of liturgy and of a presentation of the Gospel which corresponds at one and the same time with the authentic message of the Lord and with the needs and hopes of today’s world. The spirit which should inspire these efforts is one of loyalty to truth and of mutual understanding, with an effective desire to avoid the bitterness of the past and every kind of spiritual or intellectual domination.
Paul VI and Athenagoras I remind government authorities and all the world’s peoples of the thirst for peace and justice which lies in the hearts of all men. In the name of the Lord, they implore them to seek out every means to promote this peace and this justice in all countries of the world. (Common Declaration of Paul the Sick and the Ecumenical Heretic of Constantinople, Athenagoras I.)
This year we thank God in particular for the meeting of the Joint Commission which took place in Ravenna, a city whose monuments speak eloquently of the ancient Byzantine heritage handed down to us from the undivided Church of the first millennium. May the splendour of those mosaics inspire all the members of the Joint Commission to pursue their important task with renewed determination, in fidelity to the Gospel and to Tradition, ever alert to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in the Church today.
While the meeting in Ravenna was not without its difficulties, I pray earnestly that these may soon be clarified and resolved, so that there may be full participation in the Eleventh Plenary Session and in subsequent initiatives aimed at continuing the theological dialogue in mutual charity and understanding. Indeed, our work towards unity is according to the will of Christ our Lord. In these early years of the third millennium, our efforts are all the more urgent because of the many challenges facing all Christians, to which we need to respond with a united voice and with conviction. (Letter to His Holiness Bartholomaios I, Archbishop of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch, on the occasion of the feast of St. Andrew, November 23, 2007.)
(So much for the “unofficial” nature of The Ravenna Document.)
1. Like our venerable predecessors Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras who met here in Jerusalem fifty years ago, we too, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, were determined to meet in the Holy Land “where our common Redeemer, Christ our Lord, lived, taught, died, rose again, and ascended into Heaven, whence he sent the Holy Spirit on the infant Church” (Common communiqué of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, published after their meeting of 6 January 1964). Our meeting, another encounter of the Bishops of the Churches of Rome and Constantinople founded respectively by the two Brothers the Apostles Peter and Andrew, is a source of profound spiritual joy for us. It presents a providential occasion to reflect on the depth and the authenticity of our existing bonds, themselves the fruit of a grace-filled journey on which the Lord has guided us since that blessed day of fifty years ago.
2. Our fraternal encounter today is a new and necessary step on the journey towards the unity to which only the Holy Spirit can lead us, that of communion in legitimate diversity. We call to mind with profound gratitude the steps that the Lord has already enabled us to undertake. The embrace exchanged between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras here in Jerusalem, after many centuries of silence, paved the way for a momentous gesture, the removal from the memory and from the midst of the Church of the acts of mutual excommunication in 1054. This was followed by an exchange of visits between the respective Sees of Rome and Constantinople, by regular correspondence and, later, by the decision announced by Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Dimitrios, of blessed memory both, to initiate a theological dialogue of truth between Catholics and Orthodox. Over these years, God, the source of all peace and love, has taught us to regard one another as members of the same Christian family, under one Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to love one another, so that we may confess our faith in the same Gospel of Christ, as received by the Apostles and expressed and transmitted to us by the Ecumenical Councils and the Church Fathers. While fully aware of not having reached the goal of full communion, today we confirm our commitment to continue walking together towards the unity for which Christ our Lord prayed to the Father so “that all may be one” (Jn 17:21).
3. Well aware that unity is manifested in love of God and love of neighbour, we look forward in eager anticipation to the day in which we will finally partake together in the Eucharistic banquet. As Christians, we are called to prepare to receive this gift of Eucharistic communion, according to the teaching of Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (Against Heresies, IV,18,5, PG 7,1028), through the confession of the one faith, persevering prayer, inner conversion, renewal of life and fraternal dialogue. By achieving this hoped for goal, we will manifest to the world the love of God by which we are recognized as true disciples of Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 13:35).
4. To this end, the theological dialogue undertaken by the Joint International Commission offers a fundamental contribution to the search for full communion among Catholics and Orthodox. Throughout the subsequent times of Popes John Paul II and Benedict the XVI, and Patriarch Dimitrios, the progress of our theological encounters has been substantial. Today we express heartfelt appreciation for the achievements to date, as well as for the current endeavours. This is no mere theoretical exercise, but an exercise in truth and love that demands an ever deeper knowledge of each other’s traditions in order to understand them and to learn from them. Thus we affirm once again that the theological dialogue does not seek a theological lowest common denominator on which to reach a compromise, but is rather about deepening one’s grasp of the whole truth that Christ has given to his Church, a truth that we never cease to understand better as we follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Hence, we affirm together that our faithfulness to the Lord demands fraternal encounter and true dialogue. Such a common pursuit does not lead us away from the truth; rather, through an exchange of gifts, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it will lead us into all truth (cf. Jn 16:13).
5. Yet even as we make this journey towards full communion we already have the duty to offer common witness to the love of God for all people by working together in the service of humanity, especially in defending the dignity of the human person at every stage of life and the sanctity of family based on marriage, in promoting peace and the common good, and in responding to the suffering that continues to afflict our world. We acknowledge that hunger, poverty, illiteracy, the inequitable distribution of resources must constantly be addressed. It is our duty to seek to build together a just and humane society in which no-one feels excluded or emarginated.
6. It is our profound conviction that the future of the human family depends also on how we safeguard – both prudently and compassionately, with justice and fairness – the gift of creation that our Creator has entrusted to us. Therefore, we acknowledge in repentance the wrongful mistreatment of our planet, which is tantamount to sin before the eyes of God. We reaffirm our responsibility and obligation to foster a sense of humility and moderation so that all may feel the need to respect creation and to safeguard it with care. Together, we pledge our commitment to raising awareness about the stewardship of creation; we appeal to all people of goodwill to consider ways of living less wastefully and more frugally, manifesting less greed and more generosity for the protection of God’s world and the benefit of His people.
7. There is likewise an urgent need for effective and committed cooperation of Christians in order to safeguard everywhere the right to express publicly one’s faith and to be treated fairly when promoting that which Christianity continues to offer to contemporary society and culture. In this regard, we invite all Christians to promote an authentic dialogue with Judaism, Islam and other religious traditions. Indifference and mutual ignorance can only lead to mistrust and unfortunately even conflict.
8. From this holy city of Jerusalem, we express our shared profound concern for the situation of Christians in the Middle East and for their right to remain full citizens of their homelands. In trust we turn to the almighty and merciful God in a prayer for peace in the Holy Land and in the Middle East in general. We especially pray for the Churches in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, which have suffered most grievously due to recent events. We encourage all parties regardless of their religious convictions to continue to work for reconciliation and for the just recognition of peoples’ rights. We are persuaded that it is not arms, but dialogue, pardon and reconciliation that are the only possible means to achieve peace.
9. In an historical context marked by violence, indifference and egoism, many men and women today feel that they have lost their bearings. It is precisely through our common witness to the good news of the Gospel that we may be able to help the people of our time to rediscover the way that leads to truth, justice and peace. United in our intentions, and recalling the example, fifty years ago here in Jerusalem, of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, we call upon all Christians, together with believers of every religious tradition and all people of good will, to recognize the urgency of the hour that compels us to seek the reconciliation and unity of the human family, while fully respecting legitimate differences, for the good of all humanity and of future generations.
10. In undertaking this shared pilgrimage to the site where our one same Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and rose again, we humbly commend to the intercession of the Most Holy and Ever Virgin Mary our future steps on the path towards the fullness of unity, entrusting to God’s infinite love the entire human family. “ May the Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (Num 6:25-26). (Jorge and Bartholomew‘s Common, 25 May 2014.)
4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate. Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.
5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17:21).
6. Mindful of the permanence of many obstacles, it is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!
7. In our determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited, we wish to combine our efforts to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world. Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimously witness in those spheres in which this is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change. Our Christian conscience and our pastoral responsibility compel us not to remain passive in the face of challenges requiring a shared response. (Bergoglio-Kirll Joint Declaration, February 12, 2016, Feast of the Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites.)