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A sacramental sharing might well result in a higher level of charity and understanding. Hopefully, just as the Orthodox and Catholic churches one day realized that they had gradually parted ways at the beginning of the second millennium, so too will they discover a blessed unity has reappeared among them at the beginning of the third millennium. Perhaps forgiveness for our sinful divisions will be given in the form of a solution to the complex problems involving the papacy.

We must be patient. After all, Catholics entered the arena of ecumenism only 35 years ago in an attempt to heal 1,000 years of estrangement. It is a paradox that the Successor of Peter, declared to be the greatest obstacle to ecumenism, is perhaps the key figure in the Church of Christ with the necessary authority and resources to effect such a radical change in the unity of Christians.

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Maronite Chorbishop John D. Faris is CNEWA’s Assistant Secretary General.

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Tags: Unity Catholic Eastern Christianity Orthodox Church Pope John Paul II