15 April 2005

Ecclesiastical 'politics'

If Patriarch Alexy of Moscow has been a principal obstacle to reunion between the Roman and Orthodox churches, he would also seem to be an impediment to democratic reforms in the region, if Zeyno Baran and Emmet Tuohy are to be believed. According to the authors, although Samuel Huntington argues for a civilizational boundary separating the west from the Orthodox world, it would be more correct to note that the Russian Orthodox Church is increasingly isolating itself from the west and the rest of Orthodoxy alike by stubbornly resisting democracy.

In the meantime, in Rome, where the papal conclave is scheduled to meet on monday, more than a hundred cardinals are quickly trying to get to know each other so as to be able intelligently to choose a new pope from their number. The press is trumpeting Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the frontrunner, but John Paul II's official guardian of church doctrine also has his opponents. Is the outcome of the conclave something about which Reformed Christians should be praying? Definitely.

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