Repentance in Rome and Elsewhere?

On 4 December Pope Francis met the Archbishop of Athens Jerome II and other bishops of the Local Orthodox Church of Greece. During this meeting he stated that on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church he expressed repentance for the sins of Roman Catholics and acknowledged that its ‘actions and decisions had been motivated not by the Truth of Christ and the Gospel, but by the thirst for supremacy and power and these had seriously undermined communion between East and West’.

If the Pope is sincere, now we can hope for actions, rather than words. First of all, he will have to renounce the Roman Catholic alteration to the universal fourth-century Christian Creed and so the filioque heresy of the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son. Then he will have to renounce the eleventh-century Papal claims, which were dogmatised by the filioque (the Holy Spirit proceeds from Christ, Whose Replacement is the Pope of Rome) and so led to the Roman Catholic, or Western, Schism.

However, beyond this, there are all the practices of Roman Catholicism which will have to be renounced. For example, there is compulsory priestly celibacy which for a thousand years had led to a priesthood, marred by homosexual and pedophile scandals, or else the distortions of sacramental life and shocking lack of ascetic life, which means that Roman Catholics generally do not fast, and in particular before communion, at which they are also deprived of the Blood of Christ. For Roman Catholics are the first victims of the millennial delusions of their leaders and they deserve our help and compassion.

The list of distortions is very long. However, repentance is always possible, and not only for Roman Catholic Popes. For here there can be no triumphalism, as there are Orthodox Patriarchs and Bishops who have also fallen into exactly the same thirst for supremacy and power. And they have also marred themselves in homosexual and even pedophile scandals (especially in the pseudo-Orthodox sects, as recently in Birmingham, England, but also in Eastern Europe), putting themselves above the canons and making their otherwise innocent flocks victims of their delusions. But all is still possible through repentance.