"It's not my fault"

The Mac "Breakthrough" ad captures in a humorous way precisely "The Spirit of Catholicism" as personified by the many "apologies" that Pope John Paul II made during his pontificate.

Here's how one Orthodox priest received those "apologies":

"In any event, the Pope did not apologize on behalf of the Roman Church for anything, did he? Instead, he asked God to forgive some sons and daughters of the Roman Church who were involved in some wicked acts. That is not exactly an apology....And we, in fact, can go one better than the Romans, because the Romans cannot admit that their Church as Church, the Papacy, the Petrine institution actually did wrong... only certain sons and daughters of the Church did wrong. But we are free to say that our Church as an institution has been wrong-headed or syncophantic or mean or obtuse or unjust or nasty - from the very top down. (In this regard, the recent words of the Patriarch of Moscow concerning the persecution of the Old Rite, and asking forgiveness in the name of the Russian Church, was utterly refreshing)....

The issue isn't history. It is ecclesiology. The point is, may I reiterate, that the historical atrocities committed by 'westerners' - and the attempted subversion of our Churches by the 'agents of Rome' - ONLY took place BECAUSE the Roman Church saw the Orthodox world as 'other', as "not-subject-to-Rome" and therefore as "not-truly-Christian." Thus we became the legitimate object of the Roman imperative: persuasion, evangelization, subordination, domination.

If Rome had seen us as fellow Christians, sister-Churches, as the local Church wherever we were when they arrived in our home places - there would have been no theory and excuse to justify or sanction atrocities and polemics, no need for persuasion, evangelization, subordination, domination. So the issue is not really one, or only one, of grievances concerning historical acts - we have enough historical acts for which we need to repent, too - but one of fundamental theological vision, of ecclesiology. 'That is truly and only the Church which subsists in communion with the See of Rome' says Rome. Period.

In fact, in this address of the Pope, the universalist pretensions of Rome are implicit in everything the Pope read out....
(Written to an Orthodox internet list as a commentary on a Rod Dreher opinion piece published in the May 8, 2001 edition of The Wall Street Journal entitled "When Will the Orthodox Learn to Love the Pope?")