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The Repentance of the Vatican Needed

Speaking in front of 200 Russian Orthodox bishops, gathered from around the world, at the Episcopal Council in Moscow on Wednesday 2 February, His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill spoke of the problems caused by Roman Catholic aggression in the Ukraine. Here, he said, ‘as a result of the violent actions of Greek Catholics in the late 80s and early 90s Orthodox believers had been deprived of their churches and their rights are still trampled on to this day. This problem has not been resolved and requires practical and concrete steps by the Catholic side’.

However, on the very next day, Thursday 3 February, it was revealed in a recently-published book, The Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times, that Pope Benedict XVI hopes to meets Patriarch Kyrill. Nevertheless, he recognised that he may not live long enough to see this and that ‘many in Russia fear the Catholic Church, so, there must be patience, we must not do anything hastily’. Pope Benedict also believes that a rapprochement between Orthodox and Catholics is of great importance for ‘the future of world history’.

There is an interesting note of realism here, which refers indirectly to what Patriarch Kyrill said the day before - many in Russia do ‘fear the Catholic Church’. Already in the thirteenth century Russia was invaded by papally-sponsored crusaders, the Teutonic Knights, who came pillaging and raping. This effectively was a stab in the back, for Russia had been invaded at the same time from the east by the Mongols and Tartars. Indeed, their yoke proved to be much lighter than that of the Catholics. The papacy has still not apologised for this, which at least it recently did for the sack of the Christian Capital of Constantinople and the barbarian massacres perpetrated there by Catholic invaders in 1204.

Then Russia was invaded four times between 1812 and 1941 by Catholics, in 1854 by a Catholic-Protestant-Muslim alliance, preached by the French Catholic authorities as a crusade against the Church of God. After 1917 Catholic interventionists attacked the Orthodox Church in the Ukraine, forming an anti-Orthodox Uniat pact with the atheist and satanic Bolsheviks. The same Uniats provided recruits for the Waffen SS in the Second World War. In the 1940s, and again as recently as the 1990s, the Vatican also encouraged massacres of Orthodox in Serbia, with over 700,000 dead.

Many of the worst Catholic war criminals in the 1940s were Franciscan monks, who from 1945 on were protected by the Vatican through their ‘ratlines’, so that they could evade hanging with other war criminals. Their leader, Archbishop Stepinac, was actually recently canonised by the Vatican, joining other serial murderers among its ‘saints’, like ‘St’ Josaphat and ‘St’ Andrew Bobola, the robber of souls, canonised in 1938. Then, as mentioned above by the Patriarch, there is what the Catholic Church did in the west of the Ukraine less than twenty years ago.

‘Fear the Catholic Church’ – yes, of course, the facts of history mean that, like all Orthodox, Russian Orthodox do fear it. However, more correctly, we should say ‘fear the Vatican’, for relations with ordinary Catholics are good and indeed Orthodox find many Catholics very close to them in spirit, only lapsed in certain respects. Average Catholics generally have no idea of the atrocious crimes committed down the centuries in their name but behind their backs by their institutionalised Church. On discovering them, they find them horrific and obscene.

Let us suppose then that the Vatican, humbled by its present situation in the atheist European Union, which it helped to give birth to and form, can give up proselytism and arrogance, show humility and repent of its crimes committed in both the distant and recent past. Having done this, what next would it have to do in order to gain the confidence of the Orthodox Church, Her people and civilisation, and prove that it is actually Christian and will never repeat such obscenities? What deeds, and not mere words, are necessary?

We would state three areas of action:

1. Renounce the papal claims and papal infallibility, admitting in humility that these pretensions are anti-Scriptural and anti-Ecclesial. This would mean returning theologically to the situation of the popes in the first millennium, when they were bishops like all others.

2. Renounce the filioque heresy, reinstating the Christian Creed and accepting the authority of Universal Church Councils as superior to that of any bishop, including the bishop of Rome. This would mean returning to the theology of the Apostles and the Church Fathers, turning away from the scholasticism and rationalism of the second millennium, ceasing the veneration of scholastic and rationalist so-called ‘saints’, and renouncing such medieval and post-medieval inventions as communion of unleavened bread and under one kind, several masses per day on the same altar or by the same priest, instrumental music in church, purgatory, indulgences and the immaculate conception.

3. Renounce medieval and post-medieval innovations such as, on the one hand, obligatory clerical celibacy and its pedophilia, and, on the other hand, the anti-ascetic, worldly and secular ethos of its services, reinstating confession and fasting.

Today, 4 February 2011, 144 Catholic theologians have signed a petition calling for reform of the Catholic Church. Above, we have just done the same. Only when the radical overhaul and indeed, complete abolition, of the Vatican machine has taken place can there be any meaningful meeting between Pope and Patriarch. We Orthodox also believe that a rapprochement of the Vatican through repentance for its millennial errors and its acceptance of Orthodoxy is of great importance for ‘the future of world history’. However, for this, fine words are not enough, deeds are required.

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