The Catholic University of America

Msgr. Paul McPartlan, Carl J. Peter Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism, and Chad Pecknold, associate professor, theology, were interviewed for several stories on the Pope's meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. See below.

Pope Francis, Russian patriarch meet in Cuba

From: Our Sunday Visitor
Date: Feb. 17, 2016
Author: Michael Heinlein

... Msgr. Paul McPartlan, the Carl J. Peter Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., told Our Sunday Visitor that the meeting between pope and patriarch was a “dramatic example of the culture of encounter” so often emphasized by Pope Francis, and was an important step in overcoming obstacles between East and West, separated since 1054.

“Reconciliation is at the heart of the Gospel,” said Msgr. McPartlan, a member of both the international and North American Orthodox-Catholic dialogues. ...

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'Breakthrough' Meeting of Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis 'Big Step Forward'

From: Sputnik 
Date: Feb. 15, 2016
Author: Alexander Mosesov

... "The meeting marks a big step forward in Catholic-Orthodox relations," Catholic University of America Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism Msgr. Paul McPartlan asserted Sunday. "This meeting means that we now have strong, practical relations between Rome and all of the major Orthodox churches, and we can move forward together." ...

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Pope Francis Arrives for Historic Meeting 1,000 Years in the Making

From: ABC
Date: Feb. 12, 2016
Author: Meghan Keneally, Krit Radia, and Patrick Reevell

... Hatreds have cooled in the past century, and both sides now tend to avoid publicly calling each other heretics.

"There were both surface issues and deeper issues," Monsignor Paul McPartlan, a theology professor at Washington, D.C.'s Catholic University, told ABC News. He noted that the types of bread used for the Eucharist and the question of celibacy for priests were among the surface issues while the deeper issues related to the power structure and geographical spread of the church. ...

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“Finally,” Francis Exclaims as He Meets Russian Patriarch Face to Face

From: Aleteia
Date: Feb. 13, 2016
Author: John Burger

... Reacting to the meeting and the joint declaration, Msgr. Paul McPartlan, who has been a member of the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church since 2005, said it was an “outstanding example of the ‘culture of encounter’ that Pope Francis has emphasized so many times.

“The meeting required particular efforts on both sides, but it enabled the deep rapport between these major Church leaders with regard to the demands of Christian witness today to be expressed for all the world to see,” Msgr. McPartlan, who is also a professor of theology and ecumenism at The Catholic University of America, said in an interview. “The evident warmth of the meeting was a sign of grace and hope, not just for progress toward Catholic-Orthodox reconciliation but for the world at large, in which there is so much suffering and conflict.”

He added that the meeting marks a “big step forward in the dialogue of charity between Catholics and Orthodox. Almost all the primates of the major Orthodox Churches have now held meetings with the bishop of Rome in recent times, and we pray that we can now move ahead strongly together.” ...

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In historic encounter with leader of Russian Orthodox Church, pope set to meet staunch Kremlin ally

From: Washington Post
Date: Feb. 12, 2016
Author: Michael Birnbaum and Andrew Roth

...

Patriarch Kirill, who has led the Russian Orthodox Church since 2009, is meeting Pope Francis on Friday in a historic encounter, the first ever between the heads of the two churches. And though he has a sharply different personal style from the homespun Francis, both men have made building ties among Christians a major focus of their careers.

Kirill “has always been the face of Russian orthodoxy ecumenism in the West,” said Chad Pecknold, a theologian at Catholic University of America. “His entire career has been, in a sense, a preparation for this kind of meeting.”

...

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