Pope John Paul II apologizes
May 5, 2001 12:11 AM   Subscribe

Pope John Paul II apologizes for the Sack of Constantinople and other atrocities committed by the Crusaders against the Greek Orthodox as he goes on with his controversial trip to Greece retracing the steps of his namesake.
[I am gonna miss the guy when and if he passes away.]
posted by tamim (19 comments total)
Apparently he's already like 120 years old, maybe god just doesn't need another brown-nosing assistant.

Yeah, Vatican was weird at those times, they're weird now. If they had properly sized military power today, they'd so smack our ass with an ultimatum demanding all parts of government be converted to Catholicism.

Greek Orthodoxy is just as cocky as other religions, but just never had good timing or luck, constantly being oppressed by other religions or governments.
posted by tiaka at 6:09 AM on May 5, 2001

It's pretty easy to apologize for things that happened 800 years ago. It's more amazing that people can hold a grudge that long. All the wrangling over Kosovo, for example, goes back to a battle fought in the 1360's.

properly sized military power today

properly sized for what? Vatican City or for the number of Catholics in the world. Properly sized for Vatican City pretty much equals the Swiss Guard, if you ask me.
posted by briank at 7:07 AM on May 5, 2001

Did anybody really expet the Crusaders to go off into the hot desert and go get their butt kicked for a fourth time when when there was perfectly fine city to pillage, and only half the distance.
posted by brucec at 7:29 AM on May 5, 2001

brothers in the EAST
posted by roboto at 8:02 AM on May 5, 2001

If they'd double-bagged that sack, they wouldn't have had to apologize.

Whatever else you think of this Pope, you have to admit the guy thinks big. I mean, reaching back to the FIFTH CENTURY to heal divisions, possibly bringing the Eastern and Roman churches into some form of ecumenical union? Wow. There have also been efforts to reach out to Lutherans (and by extension, all Protestantism).

I'm actually a Congregationalist (though now technically a Baptist) and our 50-year-old efforts to build ecumenical union among Protestants seem pitiful by contrast with John Paul II's visionary work. Still, there's a difference between building bridges and erasing borders, and the Catholic church has only begun to reach out.
posted by dhartung at 8:37 AM on May 5, 2001

I admire the Pope for his strength in keeping going on - he is very old and very frail and he refuses to stop. He stands up for what he believes in.

But I have to object to his view of the role of women in the church, refusing them the sacrament of Holy Orders (ordination to the priesthood) and also his stance on contraception.
posted by tomcosgrave at 11:26 AM on May 5, 2001

While we're on the subject of apologies, I'd like to see the Pope (or his successor, for that matter) apologize for all the crimes committed by its priests in the name of the Catholic Church as tools of colonization in past centuries, like organized theft (plunder on the grandest scale, actually), murder, rape and forced conversion. I'm dreaming, of course, but it would be nice.
posted by lia at 12:33 PM on May 5, 2001


a priest i was speaking to the other day had the same comment you did-- he also said he was hoping (praying?) that the next pope would continue in the same vein as this one, except to channel his energies into those 2 issues.
posted by FPN at 3:22 PM on May 5, 2001

I dunno if that will happen, FPN. The present Pope has made sure to elect cardnals that hold to his conservative views. This means that the cardinal who is chosen to follow after John Paul will also be a conservative. Which is a huge shame. If the church goes on like this I will simply leave it - I haven't actually gone to Mass regularly in quite a few years, but if it keeps on I will simply go to another Christian Church and join that. And I know that I won't be the only one - 99% of my friends don't go to Mass, although they consider themselves to be Christian.
posted by tomcosgrave at 4:27 PM on May 5, 2001

Hmm.. a liberal Pope? How does that work?

Free sex for everyone! Love one each other my children!. Eek.

heh, lia.
posted by tiaka at 4:39 PM on May 5, 2001

Bet he ain't gonna be happy if all HE gets is an apology during his upcoming trip to Ukraine. A lot of churchs were confiscated during Soviet times. He's going to want the Russians to do something he's unwilling to do - put their money where their mouth is - pay for their 'sins'. He recently tried to get the Czechs to do it but they told him to take a hike.
posted by chillyblue at 6:43 PM on May 5, 2001

Anyway who cares? Constantinople is now called Istanbul and is no longer part of the Roman Empire.
posted by lagado at 5:38 AM on May 6, 2001

Why did Constantinople get the works? That's nobody's business but the Turks'.
posted by kindall at 11:53 AM on May 6, 2001

And if the Pope has a date in Constantinople, she'll be waiting in Istanbul.
posted by OneBallJay at 1:40 PM on May 6, 2001

Just for the record, this tidbit from the New York Times (11/97): Pope John Paul II has asked forgiveness for sins, crimes and errors committed in the name of his faith more than any other Pope in history.

Each additional apology just further secures his record.
posted by jbushnell at 3:09 PM on May 6, 2001

Even old Yew York was once New Amsterdam!
posted by muppetboy at 3:12 PM on May 6, 2001

How do you apologyze for this kind of thing?

"OOppps! We killed thousands of people in the name of the religion we sustain today! Sorry!!!"
posted by papalotl at 9:26 AM on May 7, 2001

It's no more empty (and, conversely, no more meaningful) than Bill C. apologising for slavery - in and of itself. However, the symbolism behind the Papal apologies -- that there is a desire to do away with longstanding animosity in favour of unity and peace -- is immense. You can denegrate the doctrines of Catholicism all that you want, but you cannot deny that JPII has made incredible strides towards bridging some of the worst chasms caused by less-forward thinking predecessors.
posted by Dreama at 1:25 PM on May 7, 2001

The Pope sees the importance in trying to eliminate cultural boundaries that get in the way of true communication. As he did in saying that he didn't hold Jews responsible for Jesus' death, he is looking at the larger issues not the details of the past. I am more outraged that he would sit through the speeches he sat through yesterday where Syria's president all but committed the pope to destroying Israel. The pope has declined comment for politics but it was an underhanded move by the syrian and reveals that the Pope doesn't care about truth but politics, big surprise.
posted by wsfinkel at 5:07 PM on May 7, 2001

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