Pope Francis made an unusual announcement today:
October 17, 2015
Pope Francis has called for a “healthy decentralization” of power in the Catholic Church, including a greater role for the laity, more decision-making authority for bishops’ conferences and even changes in the papacy.
Frances made his comments Saturday during a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops, which meets occasionally and advises the pope on various issues.
Francis said it is “necessary and urgent to think about a conversion of the papacy,” a possibility that was first addressed by the late Pope John Paul II in 1995. He did not explain what kind of changes he has in mind. http://www.voanews.com/content/pope-francis-calls-for-decentralization-of-catholic-church/3011982.html
Various parts of what he said will sound good some Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and certain Protestants. I believe that this is an ecumenical move.
When I was in Istanbul in May 2008, I visited the offices of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who was then, and is now, Patriarch Bartholomew. One of his people told me that when Pope Benedict XVI visited there, a papal representative of Benedict XVI told Patriarch Bartholomew) that Rome would change all doctrines necessary to attain full unity with the Orthodox, if the Orthodox would accept papal authority. The representative told me that while Patriarch Bartholomew was interested in ecumenical unity, that the subject of papal supremacy vs. primacy was the major sticking point to unity.
While the Eastern Orthodox accept that the ‘see of Rome’ has a certain primacy, they do not accept that this means it is to have supremacy over all the Greco-Roman churches. Certain modern Protestant leaders seem to have a similar view.
By indicating that the powers of the papacy need to be diminished and local bishops/leaders get more power/influence, this would seem to have been an announcement by Pope Francis to show how serious he is about addressing what seems to be the biggest issue in the type of ecumenical unity he wants.
Of course, Pope Francis can push for this and gain some ecumenical unity. A unity that leads to the type of system that the Bible warns of throughout the books of Daniel 7 & 11 and Revelation 13:1-18, 14:12, 18:4 and Zechariah 2:6-7.
The idea of ecumenical unity is not new. Notice something that happened decades ago according to the late Herbert W. Armstrong:
Now, by the way, let me interrupt right there and say the last time I was in Jerusalem, the Patriarch of the Eastern Church at Jerusalem came to see me in my hotel suite. And he gave me what he considered the highest prize he could give, which was the cross of Constantine — Constantine the Great — which dates back to 325 AD, 325 years after Christ. And Constantine is the one you know who called the Nicene Council, and who practically dictated a lot of the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Constantine was the ruler of the empire at Constantinople, and Constantinople was named after him. …
And I was the 129th person to receive that award since 325 AD. So they consider it a very high honor because very few have ever received it. Anyway, I asked the Patriarch of the Eastern Church… He is the Patriarch at Jerusalem. He considers he’s probably the highest man in the church, but I think generally the one at Athens is considered the highest. Nevertheless I asked him, “Do you think that there will be an Ecumenical movement so that the Eastern and the Roman Church will go together and be rejoined?” And the answer was, “We are praying for it.” (Armstrong HW. United States of EUROPE IS COMING! Sermon, November 27, 1982)
The leaders in Athens consider that they have high authority, whereas the Patriarch of Constantinople is often considered to have the highest authority within the Eastern Orthodox churches (Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has by far the greatest number of members and could be considered to have the most authority in that sense).
COGwriter has been one of the few non-Roman, non-Orthodox sites to warn against the coming unity for years...