Pope Francis and the Importance of Western Rite Orthodoxy
George Alexander – Guest Contributor (OCP-COS-MARP) – 30/10/2020
The opinion stated by Papa Francis on LGBT has become an interesting point of conversation in the public sphere amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He became the first Pope to endorse same-sex civil unions. However, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches have taken a stiff stand against LGBT issues.
The declaration by Papa Francis with no doubt has negatively affected many conservative Roman Catholics. They might look for the next best option. I do not expect that a large number of Roman Catholics would immediately leave their Church to join Orthodox Churches. However, there might be at least a few Roman Catholics who would like considering other ecclesiastical options. For them, the Orthodox Church will remain the next most preferred option, especially Western Rite Orthodoxy. If in case any of the Roman Catholic communities express an interest in Orthodoxy, they shall be welcomed as a Western Rite unless they are willing to completely integrate themselves into Eastern Orthodoxy.
The idea is to provide them with an ample opportunity to explore Orthodox Christianity and decide for them instead of persuading to choose a specific rite. The scope and importance of Western Rite Orthodox are on the rise. It is one of the best gifts that can be offered by the Orthodox East to lost brothers in the West. This will enable them to reconnect to their ‘lost Orthodox past.’ However, these things depend on the willingness and flexibility by the orthodox hierarchy in nurturing Western Rite Orthodoxy.