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Orthodox Priest: Pope Benedict Helped Heal East-West Divide

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On Catholic Online, Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse praised Pope Benedict XVI for his “deep understanding” of the Christian patrimony of Christendom. “The Christian foundation of culture should be self-evident to most, but in our post-Christian (and poorly catechized) age our historical memory has grown increasingly dim,” he said.

Jacobse, a priest in Naples, Fla., and president of the American Orthodox Institute, also lauded the pope for his work at healing the East-West divide between Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. “The Orthodox wonder about Pope Benedict’s replacement,” Jacobse said. “If the new Pope is a cultural conservative in the mold of Popes Benedict and John Paul II, then we know that the rapprochement of the last four decades will continue. If not, it will be more difficult to find common ground.”

Benedict, he said, also had a deep understanding of the Orthodox patrimony within Christendom.

The Regensburg Address is perhaps the most penetrating analysis of the contribution of Hellenism to Christianity offered by a Western Christian in centuries.

Regensburg was met with immediate hostility by the Muslims and thus misinterpreted by the mainstream press. The press seems to have a congenital inability to comprehend any idea outside of an immediate political context. In actual fact, the Address is a historical and theological tour-de-force and gently reminds the Christian West that ignoring the patrimony of the Christian East is like looking at history with one eye closed.

We should be careful not to underestimate the importance of Regensburg. It may have significant impact down the road. Pope Benedict already started the discussion by drawing out ideas about the non-coervice nature of the the Christian faith, considerations that require much more elaboration especially as the hostility towards the Christian faith increases in coming years and as Christendom faces the the historical problem of Muslim expansion once again.

Read “Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse: An Orthodox Priest Reflects on the Retirement of Pope Benedict XVI” on Catholic Online.

And take a minute to watch this brief video of Fr. Hans talking to an audience of college students about “the intrinsic value of a human being.”

John Couretas John Couretas is Director of Communications, responsible for marketing and advertising, media relations, and print and online communications at the Acton Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience in news and publishing fields. He has worked as a staff writer on newspapers and magazines, covering business and government. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.

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