Sections 1-7 are pious rhetoric.
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.I don't hate Russia, quite the opposite, but it's far from perfect. Fr. Andriy Chirovsky, Ukrainian Catholic, is understandably knee-jerk anti-Russian, given what the Soviets did to the western Ukraine (they hated the Ukrainian Catholic Church because they couldn't own it), and thus a shill for the Western powers' anti-Russianism, but he also knows what's what in Msgr. Kirill's church (jurisdiction comes from the Pope; bishops who are real but lack jurisdiction are "Monsignor"):
Few took notice of the assurances to powerful conservative elements in the Russian Orthodox Church by Hilarion that there will be no praying going on at the meeting, which will be held in the spectacularly secular environment of an airport lounge in Havana.They are allowed to believe that of us. For all I know, Msgr. Kirill doesn't think Pope Francis is really a bishop or even baptized. We aren't allowed to believe that of them.
That’s a lucky thing for Kirill, since many in his Church consider Catholics worthy of re-baptism, rejecting all notions of Rome constituting a “sister-church” with real priesthood and real sacraments.
Anyway, that Pope Francis had this meeting is good in a "big picture" Catholic vision, not trying to use the Ukraine to get back at Russia, but trying to bring Russia and her sisters back into the church together.
In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom...No, Christ and his truth are the foremost values; religious freedom is at most a relative good, a means to those ends. If playing into the secular overlords' frame is the best that apostolic churchmen are doing right now, no wonder so many men quit going to church, become evangelical, or even become interested in Islam.
While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.That's a little better.
The Christian churches are called to defend the demands of justice, the respect for peoples’ traditions...ANY traditions? Edmund Burke was better than that.
The family is the natural centre of human life and society... The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf. Gen 4:10). ...Sections 19 through 21 are the difference from politically correct boilerplate (which is largely Christian ethics and thus true with a little error thrown in), sexual and bioethical matters, hitting secular people where they live, positions now seen as peculiarly Catholic as Marian devotion but until recently (the 20th century) were generally Christian. The apostolic ministry speaks here.
Are sections 24 and 25 relativistic? As far as I can tell, the only way you can square these with our doctrine (Balamand is not doctrine) is to remember our long-term goal of bringing these dioceses (local churches) back to us all at once; we aren't trying to break up their families or damage their rite (which is better than the Novus Ordo; the first traditional Mass I got to attend was Ukrainian Catholic). Of course we accept individual conversions, given our true-church claim, like theirs, and not just for lame "freedom of conscience." To borrow a title a Pope gave to the king of England, a bishop isn't a "defender of faith" like a politician; he's a defender of THE faith.
I REALLY would have been impressed if Pope Francis came clean to Msgr. Kirill that the Novus Ordo was a mistake. Not heretical, a mistake. Ecumenical confabs never say this, and Byz Anti-Cath Dot Org sees sympathy for the Tridentine Mass as a failure to put away childish things, no matter how committed to their rite you are; snooty.
- The Kyiv Patriarchate: Again we're not trying to break up Orthodox communities but in a way to us one estranged particular church or diocese is the same as another. In other words, canonical Orthodox and uncanonical Orthodox are the same.
- He's not a born Uniate like the Ukrainian exiles I met 35 years ago but, like them: I am a uniate, and I am not ashamed of being a uniate. The imperative of union — however problematic its execution — is from the Lord. By the way, you DON'T have to self-latinize the way the Ukrainian Catholics did to be Catholic.