During the Crusades the Christians of Europe slaughtered not only Muslims and Jews, but also Orthodox Christians. In the 15th century during the decade's long siege by Muslims of Constantinople, (Istanbul) the seat of Orthodox Christian civilization, the Vatican (the West) refused to provide military assistance. When Constantinople was conquered, Rome celebrated. This history teaches that when a religion becomes the state religion, the religious arm of the state, theological differences develop into political factions, and the religion loses its moral character. The rift between Eastern and Western Christianity started with theological questions and ended in tragedy. Since 1870, when the Vatican lost the Papal States, the political monopoly of the pope over a large region of Italy ended. Italy is no longer a Catholic state, and the Italian Catholic majority couldn't be happier. True freedom of religion comes from the separation of religious power from secular power. People need to be free to chose their personal ethical standards, and if they wish to follow the teachings of their religion they are also free to do so. But they are not free to impose the restrictions of their religion on others using the state as its secular arm. Reconciliation between Western and Easter Christianity is a necessary and healthy development for Christians worldwide and in keeping with the teachings of Jesus. This goal is the principal interest of Pope Francis in his visit to the Holy Land.
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from the article: The gospel according to Francis I