In Georgia, Pope speaks of ‘world war’ against marriage, decries gender theory; ‘never proselytize the Orthodox!’ [CWN]

On October 1, the second of his two days in the Caucasus nation of Georgia, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the Catholic community, paid tribute to charity workers at a health-care clinic run by the Camillian order, and visited the Georgian Orthodox patriarchal cathedral.


Never get involved in a land war in Asia, never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line, and never proselytize the Orthodox! :smiley:

In case anyone is confused, this does not mean that we should seek trying to reconcile individual EO Christians to the Catholic Church. (I am sure the Pope is not intending to exclude anyone and wants to work toward the end of making all people on earth Catholic–that is the ultimate purpose of his job, after all). From the CDF:

In this connection, it needs also to be recalled that if a non-Catholic Christian, for reasons of conscience and having been convinced of Catholic truth, asks to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church, this is to be respected as the work of the Holy Spirit and as an expression of freedom of conscience and of religion. In such a case, it would not be a question of proselytism in the negative sense that has been attributed to this term.[49] As explicitly recognized in the Decree on Ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council, “it is evident that the work of preparing and reconciling those individuals who desire full Catholic communion is of its nature distinct from ecumenical action, but there is no opposition between the two, since both proceed from the marvelous ways of God”.[50] Therefore, the work of ecumenism does not remove the right or take away the responsibility of proclaiming in fullness the Catholic faith to other Christians, who freely wish to receive it.

This perspective naturally requires the avoidance of any undue pressure: “in spreading religious faith and introducing religious practices, everyone should refrain at all times from any kind of action which might seem to suggest coercion or dishonest or improper persuasion, especially when dealing with poor or uneducated people”.[51] The witness to the truth does not seek to impose anything by force, neither by coercive action nor by tactics incompatible with the Gospel. By definition, the exercise of charity is free.[52] Love and witnessing to the truth are aimed above all at convincing others through the power of the word of God (Cf. 1 Cor 2:3-5; 1 Thess 2:3-5).[53] The Christian mission resides in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the truth itself which is proclaimed.

[49] The term proselytism originated in the context of Judaism, in which the term proselyte referred to someone who, coming from the gentiles, had passed into the Chosen People. So too, in the Christian context, the term proselytism was often used as a synonym for missionary activity. More recently, however, the term has taken on a negative connotation, to mean the promotion of a religion by using means, and for motives, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel; that is, which do not safeguard the freedom and dignity of the human person. It is in this sense that the term proselytism is understood in the context of the ecumenical movement: cf. The Joint Working Group between the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches, “The Challenge of Proselytism and the Calling to Common Witness” (1995).

“You do not know, dear brothers and sisters, you do not know how much children suffer, the little ones, when they witness the arguments and the separation of parents! Everything should be done to save a marriage.”
Isn’t it the same for many marriage annulments, which must be preceded by a civil divorce in the USA?

I thought it was a mortal sin to try to convert an EO to Roman Catholicism?
" “But should I make efforts to convert him or her?” There is a very grave sin against ecumenism: proselytism. We should never proselytize the Orthodox! They are our brothers and sisters, disciples of Jesus Christ."
The Catholic teaching is that if you do not repent of a mortal sin, then you will go to hell?

Big difference between proselytism and faith sharing …

We always and everywhere seek to convert or deepen the conversion of ourselves and all we meet and that includes our EO brethren. We are both lungs of Christ’s church. We need to always be humble and charitable in all our interactions with others. The Holy Spirit will do the rest…

No, I don’t think it is.

Since Orthodox have valid bishops, there is no reason to try to convert them as individuals. It would be inappropriate to do so.

I don’t think Pope Francis is a big fan of proselytizing Protestants either, but there’s much more justification for that given Catholic teaching about the nature of the Church.


I thought that to convert and to proselytize meant the same thing. At least according to the dictionary where it defines to proselytize as to convert. Apparently, it is a mortal sin for a Roman Catholic to try to convert an Eastern Orthodox Christian to Roman Catholicism? Or not?
AFAIK, Eastern Orthodox do not accept the doctrine of the infallibility and universal supremacy and jurisdiction of the Pope and disagree with other Catholic teachings such as the Catholic teaching on artificial birth control for married couples. The 1848 Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, outlines some of the disagreements.

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