CWN - One of the leading theologians of the Orthodox world has said that he sees prosecpts for “quick progress” toward full Christian unity under Pope Francis.
Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamon, the co-chairman of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, told the Vatican Insider that Pope Francis has brought new excitement to ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox world. “The way in which he is carrying out his ministry removes the many apprehensions and fears of the past.”
Metropolitan Ioannis pointed particularly to the Pope’s statement, during his recent visit to Constantinople, that the Catholic Church “does not intend to impose any conditions except that of shared profession of faith.” He said that in the past, “the Orthodox believed that the Pope wanted to subjugate them. And now we see this is not in any way true.”
The Orthodox theologian said that ecumenical discussions should now focus on whether the shared profession of faith would include doctrinal teachings that have been developed by the Catholic Church since the schism—as he put it, “dogmatic definitions which were established unilaterally by the Catholic Church.”
Metropolitan Ioannis also admitted that ecumenical progress could be delayed by opposition within the Orthodox world. He said that some influential Orthodox leaders are “adopting the old attitudes of hostility” toward Catholicism and toward the papacy.