by: John Tyrrell
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On Friday, in a meeting organized by Raoul Castro, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kiril, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, will meet in Cuba. They are going to discuss Christian unity.
A meeting between a pope and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has never taken place before, though popes have met with other Orthodox patriarchs and discussed unity with them.
It's been talk, talk, talk in these previous meetings. Unity has not occurred.
My fearless prediction (not prophecy) is that unity will not come out of these new talks. There probably will be some carefully drafted document with glowing words on the benefits of union which both the pope and the patriarch will sign. Actual union will not happen... not next year... not in the next century... not in a thousand years. It's not just that Kiril is in a symbiotic relationship with the Russian state (and in particular with Putin) which he will not give up, and that the Pope is (as far as Catholics are concerned) God's representative on Earth which he will not give up, but there are also genuine doctrinal differences* which cannot be bridged.
Watch for pretty photographs of men in dresses with promises of eternal devotion in the weekend news. Beyond that, just empty words and no real action.
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