Last week, Pope John Paul II traveled to Greece and came “very close” to apologizing for over 1,000 years-worth of grievances that the world’s 200 million Eastern Orthodox have with the world’s 1 billion Roman Catholics. While the Pope did acknowledge that during the Crusades some really bad things happened in Constantinople, he didn’t quite come up to that level when confronted with the papal silence over the events that divide the island of Cyprus. Still, appeasing even a few of the ornery and bearded Greek Orthodox clergy must be considered a big victory.
The Pope has big plans for reuniting the world’s two largest Christian churches. So, next he has to explain to the Serbians why the Vatican sidled up to the Nazis in World War II and to the Russians about confounding their territory with all those Jesuits. Not to mention that the Russians are none too happy about the Nazi thing, either. Ditto for the Ukrainians. Luckily for the Pope, he won’t have to explain anything to anybody in his native Poland since almost the entire population there converted from Eastern Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism just a short time back, ecclesiastically speaking. But, you know, he just might pull it off.
And if that happens, then what would we do? Get along? What kind of example do you think that sets for the rest of the world, to see Christians behaving like Christians? Will the Fanchers get their due in another 900 years?
After Greece, the Pope set off to Syria to visit a mosque. Holy Moly!! Christians and Infidels side by side! What’s the world coming to?
Catholics and Orthodox and Muslims at peace may be a big deal to some people, but not everyone.
For example, this weekend I was at Glover Nursery shopping for perennials (their new perennial guy is tops!) when I spotted Dave Evans, an old buddy from the Kennecott track gang days. He came up and the first thing he said was, “Hey, John, what’s in a chelada?” That happens to me a lot lately, but I usually mock my questioners. Not this day. Dave’s wife is the mayor of West Jordan, a city with 60,000 residents and no chelada outlets. I felt his pain. Also, Dave and Donna are Catholic. Although I’m Orthodox, I’ve never held Dave accountable for the Crusades, and I’m grateful to local Catholics for letting our kids play basketball with their kids. So, I simply followed the Pope’s lead and shared the recipe. A chelada moment.
My guess is that the Pope gets to feel that good every day. Then the bubble burst. Cheladas and apologies don’t matter much at times.
“Sounds like a cheap margarita to me,” said Bryce Glover as he shuffled a false spiraea.
And, you know, he’s right