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CHRISTIAN UNITY: Pope John Paul II in Athens

The Jewish and Muslim religons were established by the military victories of Joshua and Mohamed and have the use of force in their essence. Christ used persuasion and non-violence. Given the perversity of human nature, this was too good to last, and the history of Christianity is as marked by violence as the other two. The Muslim theory of the umma, the Islamic community, according to which Muslims do not fight Muslime, is betrayed by the war between Iraq and Iran. Christian brotherhood had a historic split between Rome and Byzantium

Pope John Paul II, retracing the travels of St. Paul, arrived in Athens, where he got a mixed reception. While Jews and even Muslims welcomed him to Jerusalem, in Athens there was demonstrations against him led by Orthodox priests. The Pope was his usual humble self, and apologized for the crimes of Catholics against the Orthodox, referring to the sacking of Byzantium by the Crusaders in 1204. He did not mention that Pope Innocent III was horrified by this, and thus the Catholic Church itself could not be blamed. In any case, the Athens demonstrations against Pope John Paul II called the attention of Westerners to a schism of which they were only vaguely aware. Armando Romero has sent us as an attachment a detailed and scholarly account of these divisions in Christianity. I recommend it strongly to those who are interested in religion, but the others should skip it:

Ronald Hilton - 5/4/01

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