Fr. George Morelli is the President of the Society of St. John Chrysostom - Western Region
Most all who keep up with current news about the spiritual leaders of the Apostolic Churches know of the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain. One influential American newspaper reported that even before the papal visit the attacks on the Holy Father, called by one Vatican official the "aggressive new atheism," were so vicious that there was a consideration of cancelling the papal visit before it even occurred. The article rightly poses the question that it is hard to imagine the use of words such as "disgusting" and "repellent" by British pundits about a prominent foreign Jewish or Muslim religious leader.
Inasmuch as I have written before about the marginalization of God and His Church in the modern world, I cannot agree more. In fact, the worst of Vatican fears did occur. The Holy Father was subject to the jeers of groups hostile to the pope and his policies: "on the role of women in the church, abortion and contraception, homosexuality. . . " and other issues. Nevertheless, he stood fast.
Previously (Morelli, 2010) I noted: "based on the Catholic and Orthodox Churches’ common reliance on Sacred Tradition (and Scripture in Tradition; (Morelli, 2009), apostolic succession, recognition of the Holy Mysteries and, as Archbishop Hilarion so eloquently phrases, 'the solidarity between the Catholics and the Orthodox on major points of moral teaching, including questions of family ethics, human sexuality, bioethics, etc., . . . . It is against this background that I have repeatedly suggested that a Catholic-Orthodox Alliance should be formed.’ The purpose of the alliance would be a united confrontation against Godless secularism, morality and values in the global world of the 21st Century."
Now is the time for all members of the Society of St. John Chrysostom to follow the spiritual leadership of our orthodox Bishops and our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, in witness and action, standing next to Christ who was crucified on the Cross for our salvation. It is so difficult and rare to be a stormy-weather follower of Christ, that is to say, being committed when it is disadvantageous or difficult. Let us reflect on those at the foot of the Cross: Mary, the Theotokos, the faithful women and the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John. They put their own lives on the line. After all, they could be accused of being followers of the 'criminal' Jesus and suffer His same fate: Crucifixion. However, they were and remained at the foot of the cross until the end. They did not hide; they were there. Their very presence was a witness of their commitment to Christ during the worst of times: 'stormiest of weather.'
Thank you, Holy Father, for witnessing the Orthodox-Catholic alliance proposed by Archbishop Hilarion. You placed yourself at the foot of the Cross that exists in the modern world. May we all follow your lead. May we all join together in an alliance in witnessing and announcing a 'true' Christ-like lifestyle.
Morelli, G. (2009c, November 17). The Power of the Name: Implications for Orthodox Psycho-Theology. www.orthodoxytoday.org/OT/view/morelli-thepower-of-the-name-implications-for-orthodox-psycho-theology.
Morelli, G. (2010, April 30). Toward Healing Church schism: Overview and Psycho-theological Reflection. www.orthodoxytoday.org/OT/view/toward -healing-church-schism-overview-and-psycho-theological-reflection.