Monday, March 21, 2005

From Fr James Tucker via blog member Samer al-Batal
Christian acrimony threatening Easter
No matter that it’s from a Moonie* paper: it’s all too true

One senior [Roman] Catholic clergyman in Jerusalem described Patriarch Irineos as a "lightning rod for trouble." He said: "We had good relations with the Greeks before now, but since he was elected, it has gone from bad to worse. This is a serious crisis for all of the churches here in the Holy Land, because we increasingly look like a laughingstock."
S al-B: The violent incidents involving Christian factions in Jerusalem have always remained a pitiful disgrace for Christians and a series of shameful spectacles for the world to see. Sadly, the state of affairs in areas under Jerusalem’s jurisdiction is markedly more hostile than in those under Antioch’s. The Franciscans and the Greeks — ethnic Greeks, not Arabs, control the Orthodox patriarchate — are not known for enjoying stellar reputations for observing good conduct. [End.]

For generations and centuries a Muslim family have owned the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre/Resurrection. That and the fact that the various Catholic groups all fight each other, even literally with fists, point both to fallen human nature and in the midst of that, as an acquaintance suggests, a divine sense of humour.

I thought the Zionist government didn’t like the Greek patriarch, which spoke well of him.

Greek control of the local Orthodox may be the reason why the Franciscan custody/Latin patriarchate there, a Crusader arrival, has become a successful, largely Arab and Arab-run church.

The Orthodox and Melkite Arabs are also mediæval converts, in this case byzantinized. Before that they were probably Muslims, or Christians of the West Syrian rite.

*Like the Mormons they’re non-Christians and it seems that they blend into the American Protestant culture whence they partly came (Sun Myung Moon like many Koreans was a born Presbyterian) and like the evangelicals the paper may appeal to, they may have a bias against the Catholic world and thus may be quite happy to report on it when it’s not at its best.

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