Are we witnessing the beginning of Christian re-unification with the Roman Catholic Church?
In the era of the “New Evangelization,” as described by George Weigel and other Catholic commentators, the Church is undergoing a transformation. As a result of Vatican II, Catholics like myself have realized the need to evangelize in a world controlled by the dictatorship of relativism.
Indeed, the Catholic Church is the greatest warrior for God’s objective truth in the world today.
But what about Orthodox Christians, Anglicans, Protestants, and Evangelicals? Where do they fit in this global struggle for the truth?
Just last week, Pope Francis and Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople agreed to schedule an “ecumenical meeting” in Nicaea in the year 2025.
Patriarch Bartholomew revealed that he and the Roman Pontiff had "agreed to leave as a legacy to ourselves and our successors a gathering in Nicaea in 2025, where the Creed was first promulgated."
The symbolism of the location is probably the most significant part. Pope John Paul II laid the seeds for this meeting in 2001, when, in Athens, he asked for forgiveness for Catholic sins committed against “their Orthodox brothers and sisters.” JPII’s visit to Greece was the first by a pope since the Great Schism of 1054.
Those seeds grew over time as Pope Francis rose to the papal chair; with his acts of great kindness, compassion, and love, it is not surprising that more are opening their hearts to the Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Protestants are actively debating their future. Some, such as Peter Leithart of First Things, argue that Protestants should just give up the fight and become “Reformational Catholics.” He writes:
[Protestants should] turn the protest against Protestantism and to envision a new way of being heirs to the Reformation, a new way that happens to conform to the original Catholic vision of the Reformers.
Granted, Leithart is in the minority on the topic of rejoining the Catholic Church. However, there was a theological debate on the matter at an event titled “The Future of Protestantism” in April.
I don’t know what God has in store for the next century. Yet I’m more and more hopeful that both the Catholic Church and other denominations will expand with open arms for all that seek Christianity.