world vill follow Christianity at all.rnWell, setting aside Orthodox suspicionsrnthat papal supremacy is likeK’ to remainrnless negotiable than other differences,rnand that any prospective unionrnwould mean, as it always has in the past.rnOrthodox subordination to Rome, andrntherefore precisely a question of whatrnbrand of Christianity the union produces,rnthis seeming indifference to dogmahcrnquestions is indicative of how littlernthe West understands the East. Some ofrnthe o’er-the-top Greek rhetoric obscuredrnthe fact that, for manv Orthodox, “F/7-rnioque” (not to menhon “Vicar of Christ”)rnis still fightin’ words. Catholic ecumenistsrnmay prefer to think the vehementrnanti-Romanism of doctrinally andrnmoralh conservahve Orthodox is simplyrnthe mark of retrogrades and obscurantistsrn(oh, flatterers!), and they are entitied torntheir opinion. They may console themselvesrnwith the notion that the Orthodoxrnsimj^h have not come to terms with modernismrnor, as has been suggested by somern(both Catholic and Orthodox), have notrneen noticed it. To which 1 reply: Oh,rn\e’e noticed modernism all right; it’srnjust that we don’t like it very much. Inrnfact. Orthodoxy in the last centur)’ alonernhas suffered at its hands to an extent thernWestern confessions can scarcely imagine.rnBut it is hard for conservative RomanrnCatholics to understand that, fromrnour perspective, Rome (and not just post-rnVatican H) is not an antidote to modernismrnbut part of it, John Paul’s ownrnmoral witness on some important issuesrnnotwithstanding. (One very importantrndistinction should be noted here. SomernRoman Catholics who pass for moralrn”conseratives” nowadays, mostly becausernthev are pro-life, have long sincernmade their peace with modernism up tornVatican II and beyond. Some of thern”conservatives” who make a point of hailingrnJohn Paul II, perhaps mistakenly, asrnone of their own barely conceal their underlyingrndisdain for what they see as Orthodoxrnbackwardness. Their interest inrnthe East does not, I believe, extend muchrnbe ond an urge to devour us. More tragic,rnat least from the Orthodox perspective,rnare those truly conservative exemplarsrnof the best of the Roman Catholicrntradihon who, like some of their Protestantrncounterparts, desire reconciliationrnwith East precisely because they see ourrnbackwardness for what it is: loyalty to thernancient traditions. But they are caught inrna circle that cannot be squared: If theyrnthink Dostoevsky’s parable of die GrandrnInquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov isrnjust about socialism, they had better readrnit again.)rnPart of the reason for Catholic ecumenists’rnincomprehension is that theirrnunderstanding of Orthodoxy is derived almostrnexclusively from contacts with Orthodoxrnecumenists, too many of whomrnare exactly the type of Eastern-rite Episcopaliansrn(in the Bishop Spong sense)rnthat Rome would end up with if therernwere a union. Any foreseeable unionrnwould cause a schism in our Church,rnand Rome would mostly find itself inrncommunion with people who, as muchrnor more than Catholic modernists, wantrnnothing so much as the approval of a godlessrnworld. There are exceptions, ofrncourse, but Catholics should ask themselves:rnIf these Orthodox are willing tornunite with Catholics professing views onrnauthority in the Church, the Filioque,rnetc., that run counter to their own tradition,rnhow pro-life would they turn out tornbe? Those Catholics who sec union as arnmeans to reinforce the best elements inrntheir own confession might find that itrnleads to the exact opposite.rnIn sum, the Greek trip was a big setbackrnfor John Paul IPs well-know n desirernto go to Russia, and prospects for unionrnduring his pontificate are virtually dead.rnEven as far as his own agenda is concerned,rnit was almost entirely counterproductive.rnTry to see it from the perspectivernof real Orthodox Greeks: the Churchrnof Greece, which knew he wanted to advancernhis ecumenical agenda, did notrnwant him to come. So the socialist governmentrn(pro-aborhon, pro-homosexual,rnpro-“Emope”) preempts the GreekrnChurch by inviting John Paul as a headrnof state. And then he doesn’t expect to bernreceived as a political figure? When yournsincerely court someone and the answerrnis “no,” why force your attentions? Isn’trnthis just asking for things to get ugly,rnnoKvithstanding efforts by the Greek hierarchyrnto strike a note of civility duringrnthe yisit itself? On this Rome —probahlyrnnot the Pope himself but his diplomatshasrnmade an unfortunate blunder.rnErom the Orthodox perspective, werncan unite with Roman Catholicismrnwhen, and only when, what we sincerelyrnregard as the latter’s errors of the past millenniumrnare rejected, and the former patriarchaternof the old imperial capital returnsrnto Orthodoxy. No one expects thatrnto happen anytime soon. “Frying to forcernthe issue by dismissing the disagreementsrnas so much fussing, and by placing unityrnabove truth, is an insult to faithful Catholicsrnand Orthodox alike. Better that wernaccept that we fundamentally disagreernon important matters of faith but canrnstill—and must—cooperate on moral andrncultural issues.rnThe primate of the Greek Church,rnArchbishop Christodoulos of Athens,rnmade that appeal in his meeting withrnJohn Paul II, stating thatrnthe time has come for us to co-ordinaternour efforts to assure that Europernremains a Christian land, awayrnfrom the apparent tendency to transformrnher nations into atheist states,rndenying their Christian identity.rnLikewise, there is little for any RomanrnCatholic or Protestant worth)’ of his ownrntradition to disagree within the socialrnconcept published by the Moscow patriarchaternin August 2000. Serious Christiansrnof various confessions have plent)’ ofrnreasons to view one another as friendsrnand comrades in the twilight strugglernagainst the modern social pathologiesrnand their effects, exemplified by the demographicrncrisis that threatens all ofrnChristian Europe. If moral alliance, notrnEucharistic unity, were the focus of thernPope’s eastern policy, even many Orthodoxrnzealots would be recepti’e. But hisrnGreek pilgrimage, however well-intentioned,rnwas not the way to go about it.rn/.G. ]atras, an occasional contributor,rnwrites from Virginia. His disturbingrnresemblance to certain monks seen inrnnews photos of the Pope’s visit to Greecernis purely coincidental.rnTHE OLD REPUBLICrnThe DangerousrnMyth of AmericanrnExceptionahsmrnby Joseph E. FallonrnOne thing that distinguishes thernFrench from the Americans is thatrnthe French have the good grace to numberrntheir failed political experiments —rntwo kingdoms, two empires, and fivernrepublics.rnOCTOBER 2001/51rnrnrn