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Facts and Rumors…

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A Third Council of Nicea in 2025?
Do Francis & Bartholomew want a new Ecumenical Council?

Rumors are making the rounds in the blogosphere today as AsiaNews.it released a story according to which the Eastern Schismatic (“Orthodox”) Patriarch Bartholomew I revealed that “Pope” Francis and he “agreed to leave as a legacy to ourselves and our successors a gathering in Nicaea in 2025, to celebrate together, after 17 centuries, the first truly ecumenical synod, where the Creed was first promulgated.”

The full story can be read here:

When you read the text, you can see that it really doesn’t say anything about a new “ecumenical council” to be held in 2025, only that there will be a gathering in Nicea to commemorate the First Council of Nicea of 325 AD.

Yet, when the Novus Ordo flagship site Catholic Culture reported on this story, it went a step further and titled: “Pope, Orthodox Patriarch look to new council at Nicea.” The report begins thus: “Pope Francis and Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople have agreed to plan for an ecumenical meeting to be held in Nicea in 2025, the AsiaNews service reports” (italics added).

A day after the initial report, Catholic Culture has now modified the word “council” in its title to “meeting” and added this clarification: “An earlier version of this CWN story referred to a ‘council’ at Nicea. The nature of the meeting described by Patriarch Bartholomew is not entirely clear, and could change in the intervening years. But it would be premature, at the least, to say that the plan is for an ecumenical council. We apologize for using a word that could be misleading in this context.”

Beforehand, a blogger at Commonweal had written: “The exact nature of the planned meeting at Nicea (now Iznik, Turkey) is not known. But how could it be, over a decade in the future?” (Peppard, “Nicea III in 2025?”). La Stampa’s “Vatican Insider” page also has a report on this, and the Novus Ordo Jesuit America magazine has posted a blurb on the subject here.

On June 1, the Vatican’s press secretary “Fr.” Federico Lombardi chimed in and called the proposed meeting at Nicea a “nice idea,” though he had virtually no details on the matter.

Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican rightly pointed out that it would be impossible, if there were to be a new council at Nicea, for it to be a council of “Catholics” (i.e. Novus Ordos) & Eastern Orthodox together, because this would involve a “Catch-22”:

But, for an Ecumenical Council involving both Catholic and Orthodox bishops to occur, many other preliminary steps would have to be taken. Above all, there is at present no theological understanding or agreement which would allow for such a Council.

In the Catholic understanding, only bishops already in full communion with Rome could be full, voting participants at such a gathering.

In other words, a real union between the Churches would have to reached prior to the summoning of such an ecumenical council, if bishops from both sides were to be present as voting members.

But precisely that real union would seem to be one of the subjects for discussion at such a Council.

So, such a Council could not be called before the Churches were again united, but, the Churches cannot be again united (seemingly) without the summoning of such a Council.

This is the apparent “Catch-22″ that would have to be resolved before a “Nicea III” could occur.

(Robert Moynihan, Letter #19: “Nicea III?”, May 31, 2014)

Let’s see how this develops. If anyone could pull another fake Modernist ecumenical council, it would be Francis. Stay tuned.

JUNE 3, 2014 UPDATE: Vatican Declines to Confirm 2025 Ecumenical Gathering in Nicea