|Hey Leo, is that a graven image of YOU?|
|Pope John Paul II in Africa|
At one point, he accepted communion (Eucharist) from the iconoclast patriarch, Theodotus. He figured the dispute was really just church politics (ecclesiology) rather than true doctrine, but when he saw this aligned him with the prevalent faction against his own orthodox brethren, he renounced his decision. This renunciation earned him more time in jail, of course. This time he was locked up in the monastery of St. Glykeria, where the exarch Anthemus (a court eunuch) denied him adequate food, exercise, and light.
|Pope Benedict at the Blue Mosque in Turkey|
|Ecumenism in Assisi|
It seems to me that Nicetas had it right when he accepted the Eucharist from Theodotus. The Church is one body, even if believers have different approaches, different practices, even different dogma. The important things are our unity, our love for our neighbors, and our love for God. How we love God is less important than that we love God. Today, Christianity is divided into a couple thousand sects and denominations. The ecumenism of the last fifty years of Catholicism has been stridently opposed by conservatives in the Church. We must reassure these folks that we love them and will not abandon them or threaten their rites, but we must also insist that if the Pope wants to dance in a syncretic African ritual, that too is loving God. If he kisses a Qur'an and prays in a mosque, that too is loving God.
Post script: After writing this, I read an article detailing conservative Catholic exasperation with Pope Francis' non-traditional attitude toward the papacy. I hope this link to it remains active.