Patheos: Like Pope Francis, The Church Breathes With One Lung

Patheos: Like Pope Francis, The Church Breathes With One Lung


In the weeks leading up to the historic meeting of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, many of us have focused solely on the ways our own Church would respond to this event. It is natural to see the world from your perspective, but I always find that it helps me to step out of my perspective sometimes and look for what I might see if I had other eyes.

In this case, I wonder how I would feel about this event if I were a Catholic. This has been on my mind especially as I recall the way His All-Holiness took care of Pope Francis during the event, with friendship, even with tenderness. I think of it also when I remember Pope Francis kissing Bartholomew’s hand.

The following article was shared with us this week. It was written by Billy Kangas, for, and Mr. Kangas offers us a Catholic perspective, both on the event itself and on the Great Schism and its aftermath.

Like Pope Francis, the Church Breathes with One Lung

by Billy Kangas

There are few things in the World that break my heart as much as reading about the tragic moments in the Church’s history that have caused schism. Perhaps the greatest wound the church has endured is the severing of its Eastern and Western lungs, the schism of the East from the West.

For nearly 1,000 years, half of our history, the West has lived divorced from the wisdom of much of the Eastern Church, and Most of the Eastern Churches have lived divorced from the wisdom of the West. The wounds have been tended too, but have never fully healed.

Like Pope Francis, we both breathe with one lung. Francis lost his lung because of a contagion which infected it when he was a teenager. We lost our lung because of contagions as well. The Church fell to contagion of pride. We cut one another off rather than work together. We did not see differences as a gift, but as a challenge. We condemned the eye for not being an ear and the ear for not being an eye, and mutilated the flesh of Christ. This disunity is a grave sin indeed, and one that I pray we may be healed from every day.

Read the complete article here.  Be sure to click on the links to his reflections on what the East can teach the West, and vice versa.

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