Pope Francis: ‘Status quo must be maintained’ for Eastern Catholics and Orthodox

LifeSiteNews | 6/26/2019 | Staff
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BUCHAREST, June 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — On his recent visit to Romania, Pope Francis recalled the words of St. John Paul II that the Church “breathes with two longs” but added that the “status quo” of division between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches “must be maintained.”

During a congenial repast on May 31, Pope Francis fielded questions from Jesuit priests. At the end of the first day of his apostolic visit to Romania, he met at the papal nunciature the 22 Jesuits working in the country. They were introduced to the pontiff by Fr. Gianfranco Matarazzo, provincial of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Jesuits, which includes Italy, Malta, Romania, and Albania.

Visit - Romania - Pope - Liturgy - Catholic

It was during his visit to Romania that the Pope celebrated a liturgy in which seven Catholic bishops of Romania were beatified as martyrs to the Faith. Following the occupation of Romania by forces of the Soviet Union in the wake of World War II, the Eastern-rite (Greek) Catholic Church was officially dissolved by the communist government. In his homily, the pope paid tribute to the bishops and fellow Catholics who endured decades of persecution.

In reference to Eastern-rite Catholics, with whom the Orthodox share aspects of liturgy and spirituality, Father Basile Tofane asked the pope during the meeting with fellow Jesuits:

Greek - Catholic - Church - Role - Country

The Greek Catholic Church has played a very important role in our country. Some, however, say that this Church has fulfilled its historical role and that the faithful should choose to enter the Latin or Orthodox Church. But tomorrow you will beatify seven martyred bishops. This makes me understand that this Church has a future. What do you think?

The pope responded:

Position - Saint - John - Paul - II

My position is that of Saint John Paul II. The Church breathes with two lungs. And the eastern lung can be Orthodox or Catholic. The status quo must be maintained. There...
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