So Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Pope Francis have proposed a 2025 event to mark the great Council of Nicea.
Line up, religion-news consumers, to ask your big questions. Father James Martin, you go first:
Whoa! Huge news. Pope, Patriarch call for Ecumenical Council in 2025. Vatican III? No. Nicea III. East/West together. http://t.co/abrV3rjVse
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) May 30, 2014
So no Vatican III?
But a proposal for Nicea III?
Slow down. First things first. Was this a proposal for a true Ecumenical Council between the ancient churches of East and West?
It quickly became clear, from Rome and Istanbul, that this was not the case.
FYI #Vatican's Fr Lombardi says Bartholomew's idea for 2025 Nicea is for a common commemoration, NOT an ecumenical council. Tranquilli…
— Nicole Winfield (@nwinfield) May 31, 2014
But what did it mean, really, to say that this date — so far off in the future — is now on the calendar for an ecumenical gathering to celebrate the great Ecumenical Council of Nicea? That, of course, is the gathering of the church fathers best known because of the Nicene Creed and its proclamation of the Holy Trinity.
Once again, I was amazed that the big guns in the mainstream media didn’t jump in on this story. Amazed.
During this week’s Crossroads podcast chat, host Todd Wilken and I pondered, once again, why journalists concluded that the Pope Francis pilgrimage to the Middle East was primarily a political event about statecraft. It was not, repeat NOT, as the Vatican kept stating, an event that grew out of the highly symbolic invitation by Bartholomew for the pope to meet him in Jerusalem. (Click here to listen in.)
The symbolic leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox Christians, the successor to the Apostle Andrew, had earlier invited Francis, the successor to the Apostle Peter, to join him in Jerusalem to mark the 50th anniversary of the breakthrough meeting between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I. Their embrace ended 900-plus years of mutual excommunication in the wake of the Great Schism of 1054.
So why wasn’t this gathering newsworthy? Why was it missing from the vast majority (kudos to the Associated Press for being a major exception) of the mainstream reports about this trip?