2013 is set to be an important year for both the Catholic Church, which elects a new pope, and Croatia, which will become the 28th member of the European Union (EU), writes Alex Sakalis for openDemocracy. These two entities share a long history, with the former wielding significant, yet often ignored, influence on political life in the latter.
The successor to the Pope Benedict XVI needs to build on the work done by his predecessor in attempting to encourage peace with justice in the Middle East and North Africa, regional expert and Ekklesia associate Dr Harry Hagopian told Premier Christian Radio on 12 February 2013.
One of the possibly unintended consequences of Benedict’s announcement that he is to step down as Pope - something unprecedented in the modern era - is that it might set in motion a dynamic that creates renewed opportunities for ecumenical dialogue by offering a new perspective on the role and place of the papacy, writes long time observer Dr Stephen Brown. He offers an assessment of both the plusses and minuses of the pontiff's period in office from the perspective of inter-Christian relations.
Ecumenical advisor, Middle East analyst and political consultant Dr Harry Hagopian, who is also an Ekklesia associate, has been doing the round of television stations today (11 February 2013), commenting on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the wider implications of the decision about who will succeed him.
Not long before he died in August last year (2012), the Catholic Archbishop of Milan and papal candidate Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini's final comments on the Church were that its leadership was “200 years out of date” - bureaucratic, pompous, autocratic, inflexible and seemingly remote from the spirit of Christ on key issues.