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Papal Primacy (A surprisingly non-polemical Orthodox discussion of the Roman primacy)
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America ^ | Emmanuel Clapsis

Posted on 05/08/2006 8:39:16 PM PDT by pravknight

The decision to study the primacy of the bishop of Rome in the universal Church of Christ indicates that the Orthodox;Roman Catholic consultation is moving towards the centre of the issues that have separated our respective communions. In this process, our deliberations must take seriously into account the theological statements of the bilateral dialogues between Roman Catholics and Anglicans, Lutherans and others. It must also take into consideration the reflection of Roman Catholic theologians who are seeking to reform; but not to reject ‑ the primacy of the Roman church.[1] Orthodox‑Roman theological reflection of the primacy of the Roman church in the universal Church of Christ must proceed, however, from the theological convergence that we have reached, based on the doctrine of the Trinity and the eucharist, concerning the nature of the Church as koinonia.[2] This will help us to transcend, not ignore, some divisive and inconclusive references to historical events.[3] In my view, the primacy of the bishop of Rome thus needs to be debated, reinterpreted, and justified from the developing ecclesiology of communion; this view of the Church is becoming the meeting point of our respective ecclesiologies.[4]

The ecumenical discussions

It has become increasingly apparent in ecumenical circles that many non‑Roman theologians and churches are actually coming to regard some exercising of primacy by the Roman see as "normal", "desirable", ..useful", or (to some degree) "required". There is, however, a considerable difference between the official Roman Catholic view of primacy and the type of primacy that non‑Roman theologians, churches and communions would be ready to accept for the well‑being of the Church![5]

In the bilateral dialogues of Roman Catholics with Anglicans, Lutherans and Reformed, the primacy of the bishop of Rome is discussed in the context of communion ecclesiology. The eucharist is seen

* First printed in the Greek Orthodox Theological Review vol. 32, no. 2, 1987.

as the effectual sign of koinonia, episkope as serving the koinonia, and primacy properly understood and exercised as a visible and possibly necessary link between all those exercising episkope within the koinonia. The local church (a diocese) manifests the fullness of the Church. The communion of faith, love and order of all local churches reveals the unity of God's Church that subsists in fullness in each local church.[6] The communion of the local churches, attributed to bishops of prominent sees, views the function of overseer of their regions as one of the ways of maintaining the faithfulness and the unity of the local churches to Christ's gospel.[7]

Partly as a result of this development, the see of Rome, whose prominence was associated with the deaths of Peter and Paul, became the principle centre in matters concerning the universal Church.[8] The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) statement of Venice (1976) states that the ministry of the bishop of Rome among his brother bishops was "interpreted" as Christ's will for his Church; its Importance was compared "by analogy" to the position of Peter among the apostles.[9] Classic Roman Catholic tradition maintained that the universal primacy of the bishop of Rome was divinely instituted by Jesus Christ. This was derived from the Petrine texts, and from the gospel accounts of Matthew (16:17‑19), Luke (22:32)and John (21:15‑17) according to the Roman tradition, they all refer not simply to the historical Peter, but to his successors to the end of time.[10]

Today, scriptural scholars of all traditions agree that we can discern in the New Testament an early tradition which attributes a special position to Peter among Christ's twelve apostles. The Church built its identity on them as witnesses, and responsibility for pastoral leadership was not restricted to Peter.[11] In Matthew 16:19, Peter is explicitly commissioned to "bind and loose"; later, in Matthew 18:18, Christ directly promises all the disciples that they will do the same. Similarly, the foundation upon which the Church is built is related to Peter in Matthew 16:16, and to the whole apostolic body elsewhere in the New Testament (cf. Eph. 2:10).It is thus possible to conclude that, although the distinctive features of Peter's ministry are stressed, his ministry is that of an apostle and does not distinguish him from the ministry of the other apostles. In addition, the New Testament does not contain an explicit record of the transmission of Peter's leadership, nor is the transmission of apostolic authority in general very clear. As a result, the Petrine texts of the New Testament have been subjected to differing interpretations from the time of the Church Fathers on. Many theologians regard Roman "primacy" as having developed gradually in the West due to the convergence of a number of factors, e.g., the dignity of Rome as the only apostolic Church in the West; the tradition that both Peter and Paul had been martyred there; Rome's long history as a capital of the Roman empire; and its continuing position as the chief centre of commerce and communication.[12] This view, however, does not necessarily consider the primacy of the bishop of Rome as contrary to the New Testament. It is possible to accept the primacy of Rome in a qualified way as part of God's purpose regarding the Church's unity and catholicity even while admitting that New Testament texts offer no sufficient basis for it.[13] Whether or not Peter's role can be transmitted in its totality, it would not exclude the analogical continuation of his ministry of unity, guided by the Spirit, among those who continue the apostolic mission. This "Petrine function" is necessary for the unity and catholicity of the Church. It may be executed by the pope, as Vatican I suggests, in consultation with but not independently from the bishops of God's Church.

For Roman Catholics, the relationship of the bishop of Rome with the ecumenical synods is not clearly defined, as Avery Dulles points out:

Vatican I, which placed supreme authority in the pope, left some uncertainty regarding the relations between the papacy, the universal episcopate, and ecumenical synods (which are not necessarily mere meetings of bishops). Since this uncertainty was not fully cleared up by Vatican II. the question of the supreme directive power in the Church still requires further discussion within the Roman Catholic communion.[14]

Lumen Gentium located the ministry of both the pope and the episcopal college within the one people of God; its statements on the local church's full ecclesial reality lead us to believe that Vatican II opted for an ecclesiology of communion in defining the nature of the Church. The real theological problem lies in specifying the exact relationship between the episcopal college and the pope, who can act Without juridical dependence on the college of which he is the head or on the communion of the local churches whose unity and truth he safeguards by being the central member of it.[15] Karl Rahner proposed that there can only be one organ possessing supreme potestas in the universal Church: the universal episcopal college with the bishop of Rome as its head. The episcopal college can only exercise its supreme potestas in union with its head: neither can the pope ever exercise supreme potestas in the universal Church except as head of the episcopal college (there are 110 juridical limitations on the exercise of this primatial power and no juridical response from the decisions of the legitimate pope ).[16] It is a truism that Vatican II, through its doctrine of episcopal collegiality, placed the primacy of the bishop of Rome in a new and much needed conciliar interpretative framework, but it simultaneously maintained (without synthesizing) the supreme and, to a certain degree, uncontrollable authority that Vatican I had attributed to the bishop of Rome. [17]

The ambiguity of this theological advance of Vatican II led the ARCIC participants to note: "Communion with the bishop of Rome does not imply submission to an authority which would stifle the distinctive features of the local churches. The purpose of the episcopal function of the bishop of Rome is to promote Christian fellowship in faithfulness to the teaching of the apostles."[18] The critical question here is whether this kind of ministry has been truly exercised by the bishop of Rome in a consistent manner that justifies its claims of importance. The ARCIC statement NOTES:

The theological interpretation of this primacy and the administrative structures through which it has been exercised have varied considerably through the centuries. Neither theory nor practice, however, has ever fully reflected these ideals. Sometimes functions assumed by the see of Rome were not necessarily linked to the primacy. Sometimes the conduct of the occupants of this see has been unworthy of his office. Sometimes the image of this office has been obscured by interpretations placed upon it, and sometimes external pressures have made its proper exercise almost impossible.[19]

I wonder whether, in moments of divisive theological or ecclesiastical quarrels, it would be possible for the bishop of Rome to exercise his primacy with the approval of all Christians in order to safeguard the unity, the truth and the catholicity of Christ's Church. By the same token, it is difficult to justify ecclesiologically the juridical independence of the bishop of Rome from the college of bishops of which he is head. Does this juridical independence not lead to authoritarian abuses of the pope's ecclesiastical power if and when he chooses? What administrative structure is necessary for the proper function of the primacy in the life of the Church? More significantly, what are the ecumenically accepted rights (of diakonia) and limits (of authority) of the bishop of Rome within a Communion of local churches who have been judged to be fully catholic? One of the most effective and normative means which the Church has for resolving the conflicts and debates which endanger its unity or threaten to distort itsgospel is to appeal to the Tradition embodied in scripture, conciliar creeds, canons and patristic writings. Bishops in such situations have a special responsibility to safeguard the unity and the truth of the Church: it is their collective as well as individual responsibility to defend and interpret the apostolic faith in unity with all God's people.[20]

It is possible, however, for the bishops to be intolerant, fallible in judgment, and distorting of the truth. But since Christ will never desert his Church, we remain confident that ultimately the Holy Spirit will lead Christ's Church to all truths and unity.[21] By the grace of the Holy Spirit the Church is infallible when it meets in synods to clarify the Church's understanding of the central truths of salvation once these synods have been recognized by the people of God as true and catholic expressions of the apostolic faith. [22] In such a context the universal primacy of the bishop of Rome would have him be the president as well as the spokesman of the Church and, in times of need, he would be the Church's unitary voice, reflecting and expressing its conscience.

"A primate exercises his ministry not in isolation but in collegial association with his brother bishops."[23] Thus primacy fulfills its purpose by helping the churches to listen to one another, to grow in love and unity, and to strive together towards the fullness of Christian life and witness; it respects and promotes Christian freedom and spontaneity; it does not seek uniformity where diversity is legitimate, or centralized administration to the detriment of the local churches.[24]

As for the Roman claim that the pope possesses universal immediate jurisdiction over the life of the local churches (the limits of which are not clearly specified), many Christians fear that this jurisdiction may be subject to an illegitimate and uncontrolled use.[25] The ARCIC statement of Windsor defines jurisdiction as "the authority of power (potestas) necessary for the exercise of an office"[26] and it proceeds to accept the "universal immediate jurisdiction" of the bishop of Rome as inherent to his office due to his call to serve the unity of the koinonia "as whole and in each of its parts".[27] This "universal immediate jurisdiction" should be exercised, however, not in isolation, but in collegial association with his brother bishops, who are equally concerned for the unity and truth of the universal Church (the result of their office and not of their association with the bishop of Rome).

Yet the bishop of Rome, the Windsor statement declares, has the right in special cases to intervene in the affairs of a diocese and to receive appeals from the decision of a diocesan bishop. It is because the universal primate, in collegial association with his fellow bishops, has the task of safeguarding the faith and the unity of the universal Church that the diocesan bishop is subject to his authority.[28]

However this kind of authority, although it is defined not as autocratic power over the Church, but as a service in and to the Church, which is a communion in faith and charity of local churches, needs in its practical application to be safeguarded against any abuses which may lead to suppression of theological and liturgical traditions of which the bishop of Rome does not approve.

The Orthodox position

What is the Orthodox view on the bishop of Rome's primacy, especially as reinterpreted by Roman Catholicism in its dialogue with other Western Christian churches? One may rejoice that Western Christians have begun to recover his importance for the unity of Western Christendom, but from an Orthodox perspective it is imperative to study the primacy of Rome in the context of the primacies of the patriarchs of the East and their role in the universal Church .[29]

It would be impossible for us to reach any convergence on the significance of the bishop of Rome if our consultation were to begin with a comparison of classic Roman Catholic and Orthodox views of the papacy. Our common reflection on this issue must be situated in the common ecclesiology of communion that our respective churches have begun to share, especially after Vatican II.[30] In 1974 our consultation stated: "The Church is the communion of believers living in Jesus Christ with the Father. It has its origins and prototype in the Trinity in which there is both distinction of persons and unity based on love, not subordination."[31] It also affirmed that the eucharistic celebration "both proclaims the most profound realization of the Church and realizes what it proclaims in the measure that the community opens itself to the Spirit".[32] This kind of ecclesiology leads to an affirmation of the full catholicity of the local church ‑ provided it lives by the Spirit of God which makes it the living body of Christ in communion of love with other local churches that share the same faith and life pattern. Within the unity of the local churches, "a real hierarchy of churches was recognized in response to the demands of the mission of the Church"[33] without, however, the fundamental equality of all churches being destroyed. How should we understand the churches as having a hierarchy if they are fundamentally and irreversibly equal to each other as a result of God's full presence in them? What is the qualitative theological difference between a local church which exercises primacy and another local one over which this primacy is exercised? If a local church is fully catholic, how is it enriched by its relation with a primatial church? In 1974, the Roman Catholic members of this consultation vindicated the primacy of the bishop of Rome (as defined by Vatican 1) with no reference to the advances of the Second Vatican Council through which a more communitarian image of the papacy could be advanced.[34] Although the institution of primacy (regional or universal) from an Orthodox perspective is taken for granted by the very fact of its existence, I will agree with Father Alexander Schmemann, who noted that we badly need the clarification of the nature and function of all the primacies, and especially the very concept of primacy.[35] It is imperative that Orthodox ecumenical witness develop an ecclesiologically sound interpretation of primacy.

If primacy is defined as a form of power, then we encounter the question of whether in the Orthodox church there is a power superior to that of a bishop, i.e., a power over the bishop, and hence the church of which he is head. Theologically and ecclesiologically the answer must be an unconditional no: there is no power over the bishop and his church. In the canonical and historical life of the Church, however, such supreme power not only exists but is conceived as the foundation of the Church; it is the basis of its canonical system. According to Father Schmemann, this reflects the alienation of canonical tradition from ecclesiology and its reduction to canon law in the context of which the life of the Church came to be expressed in juridical terms.[36]

Our theological statement on the nature of the Church (1974) and the Munich statement of the international Orthodox‑Roman Catholic dialogue have indirectly rejected the idea of a universal ecclesiology in which the Church is the sum of all local churches, which all together constitute the body of Christ. This kind of ecclesiology means that each local church is only a part, a member of the universal Church that participates in the Church only through belonging to the whole.[37] Thus, if the Church is a universal organism, it must have as its head a universal bishop as the focus of its unity and as the organ of supreme power. Consequently, the model of ecclesiology makes imperative the necessity of universal primacy as divinely instituted for the essential being of the Church. This is the kind of ecclesiology which, together with other historical causes, gave birth to the image of papacy defined by Vatican I in 1870.

Eucharistic ecclesiology affirms the catholicity of the local church, and allows no room for the categories of "parts" or "whole". It is the very essence of this ecclesiology that the universal Church subsists in toto in the local church.[38] This kind of ecclesiology excludes the idea of primacy, understood as power over the local church and its bishop. The local churches, however, are not self‑sufficient monads but are united with each other, not in terms of "parts" and "whole", but with regard to their identity of order, faith and gifts of the Holy Spirit which make each one and all of them together the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Trinitarian ecclesiology also develops the insight that there is one Church just as there is one nature in God; the best way to express the oneness of the Church, however, is the communion of the many local churches. It is very important, on the other hand, to emphasize that the multiplicity of the Church should not be subjected to its oneness; in eucharistic and Trinitarian ecclesiology, communion and oneness coincide and, therefore, the multiplicity of the Church is constitutive of its oneness. In the life of the local church this means that the "one", the bishop, cannot exist without the "many", the community, and the many cannot exist without the one. This implies that all pyramidal notions disappear in ecclesiology: the "one" and the "many" coexist as two aspects of the same being. There is no ministry, which does not need the other ministries. On the universal level this means that the Church manifests its oneness through a ministry which comprises simultaneously a primus and the synod of which he is a primus. From this perspective, it is thus possible to accept the universal primacy of a bishop, which cannot, however, be conceived apart from the synod or over it.[39]

The communion of local churches, ontologically identical in faith, order and charisms of the Holy Spirit, bear witness to their unity when they gather themselves together through their bishops, in synods.

The synod is not "power" in the juridical sense of the word, for there can exist no power over the Church, the Body of Christ. The synod is, rather, a witness to the identity of all churches as the Church of God in faith, life and "agape". If in his own church the bishop is priest, teacher and pastor, the divinely appointed witness and keeper of the Catholic faith, it is through the agreement of all bishops, as revealed in the synod that all churches both manifest and maintain the ontological unity of tradition.[40]

As a result of church life and mission in the context of history, moreover, in times of discord the synod becomes the common voice, the common testimony of the ontological unity of several (or all) churches. For Orthodoxy the truth that a synod affirms thus makes the synod an authority in the life of the Church; the basis of its primacy is derived from this as binding for the historical life of God's Church. The primacy of the synod cannot, however, be conceived as power over the local church but rather as a charismatic instrument through which the churches of God witness and express their ontological unity in the truth of the gospel. The primacy of the synod, through which the local churches witness and express their unity in the salvific truths of Christ, does not exclude the primacy of the first bishop or the metropolitan. In regional synods, in which all the bishops of the area must participate, the primacy of the first bishop must be acknowledged and respected as the famous 34 Apostolic Canon states: "The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent... but neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity..." From this canon, it is thus evident that the regional primacy can be conceived not as power or jurisdiction but only as an expression of the unity and unanimity of all the bishops, and consequently of all the churches, of an area.

We must understand the universal primacy of the Roman Church similarly. Based on Christian Tradition, it is possible to affirm the validity of the church of Rome's claims of universal primacy. Orthodox theology, however, objects to the identification of this primacy as "supreme power" transforming Rome into the principium radix et origio of the unity of the Church and of the Church itself.[41] The Church from the first days of its existence undeniably possessed an ecumenical centre of unity and agreement. In the apostolic and Judaeo‑Christian period this centre was first the church of Jerusalem and later the church of Rome ‑ "presiding in agape" according to St Ignatios of Antioch.[42] For the Orthodox, the essence and the purpose of this primacy is to express and preserve the unity of the Church in faith and life; to express and preserve the unanimity of all churches; to keep them from isolating themselves into ecclesiastical provincialism, losing the catholicity, separating themselves from the unity of life. It means ultimately to assume the care, the sollicitudo of the churches so that each one of them can abide in that fullness which is always the whole of the Catholic tradition and not any one "part" of it. The idea of primacy thus excludes the idea of jurisdiction but implies that of an "order" of Church which does not subordinate one church to another, but which makes it possible for all churches to live together this life of all in each and of each in all.[43]

In summary, Orthodoxy does not reject Roman primacy as such, but simply a particular way of understanding that primacy. Within a reintegrated Christendom the bishop of Rome will be considered primus inter pares serving the unity of God's Church in love. He cannot be accepted as set up over the Church as a ruler whose diakonia is conceived through legalistic categories of power of jurisdiction. His authority must be understood, not according to standards of earthly authority and domination, but according to terms of loving ministry and humble service (Matt. 20:25‑27).[44]

Before the schism, in times of ecclesiastical discord and theological controversies, appeals for peaceful resolutions and mediation were made to the pope from all parts of the Christian world. For instance, in the course of the iconoclast controversy, St Theodore the Studite (759‑829) urged the emperor to consult the pope: "If there is anything in the patriarch's reply about which you feel doubt or disbelief... you may ask the chief elder in Rome for clarification, as has been the practice from the beginning according to inherited tradition."[45] From an Orthodox perspective, however, it is important to emphasize that these appeals to the bishop of Rome are not to be understood in juridical terms. The case was not closed when Rome had spoken, and the Byzantines felt free on occasion to reject a Roman ruling.[46]

In a reintegrated Christendom, when the pope takes his place once more as primus inter pares within the Orthodox Catholic communion, the bishop of Rome will have the initiative to summon a synod of the whole Church. The bishop of Rome will, of course, preside over such a synod and his office may coordinate the life and the witness of the Orthodox Catholic church and in times of need be its spokesman. The role of acting as the voice of the Church is not, however, to be restricted to any hierarchical order within the Church, still less to a single see. In principle, any bishop, priest or layman may be called by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the true faith.

NOTES

[1] Anglican‑Roman Catholic International Commission, The Final Report, London, SPCK, 1982; hereafter referred to as The ARCIC Statement;

Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue, V.‑ Papal Primacy and the Universal Church, Paul C. Empie and T. Austin Murphy, eds., Minneapolis,

Augsburg, 1974; Patrick Granfield, The Papacy in Transition, Garden City, NY, Doubleday, 1980; Hans Kung The Church, New York, Sheed

& Ward, 1968, pp.444‑48; Hans Kung ed., Papal Ministry in the Church: Concilium 64, New York, Herder & Herder, 1971; Karl‑Heinz

Ohlig, Why We Need the Pope: The Necessity and Limits of Papal Primacy, St. Meinrad, Abbey Press, 1975; J. Meyendorff et al. eds., The

Primacy of Peter in the Orthodox Church, London, Faith Press, 1963; J.M.R. Tillard, The Bishop of Rome, Wilmington, DE, M. Glazier, 1983;

Raymond Brown et al. eds, Peter in the New Testament: A Collaborative Assessment by Protestant and Roman Catholic Scholars, Minneapolis,

NY, Augsburg, 1973.

[2] It is the basic assumption of this paper that no progress can be accomplished in our discussions of the Roman claims of primacy of the bishop of Rome in the universal Church unless it is seen as an instrinsic ecclesiological issue which needs to be refuted or justified on theological rather than on historical grounds.

[3] This view is based upon the ecumenical findings of biblical scholars that "the papacy in its developed form cannot be read back into the New Testament", Brown, Peter in the New Testament, p.8. It is therefore anachronistic to apply terms such as "pope" or "primacy" to the place, which Peter held within the New Testament. From an historical perspective, there is no conclusive documentary evidence from the first century or the early decades of the second of the exercise of, or even the claim to, a primacy of the Roman bishop or to a connection with Peter, although documents from this period accord the church at Rome some kind of pre‑eminence. However, by the time of Pope Leo I (440‑61), the bishops of Rome "have developed a self‑image which represents them as the heirs and successors and, in a sense, the continuing embodiment of Peter", but "this view is tolerated in the Christian East when it is in the interest of the East to do so, otherwise it tends to be rejected in practice". See the article of Arthur Carl Peipkorn, "The Roman Primacy in the Patristic Era: IL from Nicaea to Leo the Great", in Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue, V : Papal Primacy and the Universal Church, p.97. See also G. Larentzakis, "I ekklisia Romis kai o episkopos avtis", Thessaloniki, 1983; Megas Pharamos, "To papikon proteion, Dogmatiki Theorisis, eks epopseos Orthodoxou," Dogmatika kai ithika, Athens, 1983, pp.149‑91; Emilianos Timiadis, "Tu Es Petrus: An Orthodox Approach", in Byzantine and Patristic Review, vol. 2, 1983, pp.5‑26; Vlassios Pheidas, "I Thesis tou protou ton episkopon episkopon eis tin xoinonian ton topikon ekklision," in Eglise locale et Eglise universelle, Chambesy, Centre Orthodoxe du Patriarcat oecoumenique, 1981,

pp.151‑75.

[4] Olivier Clement. "Orthodox Ecclesiology as an Ecclesiology of Communion", in One in Christ, vol. 6, 1970, pp. 10 1‑22; John D. Zizioulas, Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church, Crestwood, NY, St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1985; J. Hamer, The Church is a Communion, London, New York, Geoffrey Chapman, 1964; Michael A. Fahey, "Ecclesial Commmunity as a Communion", in The Jurist, vol. 36, 1976, pp.4‑23; Robert Kress, "The Church as Communion: Trinity and Incarnation as the Foundation of Ecclesiology", ibid. pp. 127‑57.

[5] Tillard, The Bishop of Rome p. 10.

[6] John D. Zizioulas, "The Local Church in a Eucharistic Perspective: An Orthodox Contribution", in In Each Place: Towards a Fellowship of Local Churches Truly United, Geneva, WCC, 1977, pp.50‑61; idem, "The Eucharistic Community and the Catholicity of the Church", in The New Man: An Orthodox and Reformed Dialogue, J. Meyendorff and J. McLelland, eds, New Brunswick, NJ, Agora Books, 1973, pp. 103‑3 1; E. Lanne, "The Local Church: Its Catholicity and Apostolicity", in One in Christ, vol. 6, 1970, pp. 288‑313; H. de Lubac, Les Eglises particulieries dons I'Eglise universelle, Paris, Aubier Montaigne, 197 1; S.J. Killian, "The Meaning and Nature of the Local Church", in CTSA Proceedings, vol. 35, 1980, pp.244‑55; P. Granfield, "The Local Church as a Center of Communication and Control", in CTSA Proceedings, vol. 35, 1980, pp.256‑63; J. Komonchak, "The Church Universal as the Communion of Churches", in Where Does the Church Stand?: Concilium 146, G. Alberigo and G. Gutierrez eds, New York, Seabury, 198 1, pp.30‑35. For the biblical and patristic documentation of the theology of the local church see: Raymond E. Brown, "New Testament Background for the Concept of Local Church", in CTSA Proceedings vol. 36, 198 1, pp. 1‑ 14; Michael Fahey, "Ecclesiae Sorores Ac Fratres: Sibling Communion in the Pre‑Nicene Christian Era", in CTSA Proceedings, vol. 36, 198 1, pp. 15‑38

[7] Vlassios Pheidas, "'I Thesis", p.155.

[8] On the patristic development of the primacy of the bishop of Rome see: Gregorios Larentzakis, Ekklisia Romis; James F. McCue, "The Roman Primacy in the Patristic Era: The Beginnings Through Nicea", in Papal Primacy and the Universal Church, pp. 44‑72; Piepkorn, "The Roman Primacy", pp.73‑97; Michael Miller, "The Divine Right of the Papacy in Recent Ecumenical Theology", Analecta Gregoriana, vol. 218, Rome, Universita Gregoriana Editrice, 1980; J. Meyendorff, "St. Peter in Byzantine Theology", in The Primacy of Peter, pp.7‑29.

[9] The Venice Statement of ARCIC no. 12.

[10] Denzinger‑Sch6nmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum, Freiburg, Herder, 1963, no. 3055; hereafter cited DS.

[11] Brown, Peter; G. Kretschmar, "St. Peter's Place in the Apostolic Church", in The Ecumenical Review vol. 9, 1956‑57, pp.85‑90; R. Pesch, "The Position and Significance of Peter in the Church of the New Testament: A Survey of Current Research", in Papal Ministry in the Church: Concilium 64, Hans Kung, ed., New York, Herder & Herder, 1971, pp.21‑35; B. Rigauz, "St. Peter in Contemporary Exegesis", in Progress and Decline in the History of Church Renewal: Concilium 27, Roger Aubert, ed., New York, Paulist Press, 1967, pp. 147‑79; J. Blank, "The Person and Office of Peter in the New Testament", in Truth and Certainty: Concilium 83, Edward Schillebeeckx and Bas van lersel, eds, New York, Herder & Herder, 1973, pp.42‑55; 0. Cullman, Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr: A Historical and Theological Essay, Philadelphia, Westminster, 1962; C. Journet, The Primacy of Peter from the Protestant and from the Catholic Point of View, Westminster, MD, Newman, 1954; R. Schnackenburg, "The Petrine Office. Peter's Relationship to the Other Apostles", in Theology Digest, vol. 20, 1972, pp. 148‑52; Burgess, Joseph Anders, A History of the Exegesis of Matthew 16:17‑19 from 1781 to 1965, Dissertation, Basel 1966, Ann Arbor, MI, Edwards Brother, 1976; S. Agourides, "The Purpose of John 21", in Studies in the History and Text of the New Testament in Honor of Kenneth Willis Clark, Boyd L. Daniels and M. Jack Suggs, eds, Salt Lake City, Univ. of Utah Press, 1967, pp. 127‑32; Veselin Kesich, "The Problem of Peter's Primacy in the New Testament and the Early Christian Exegesis", in St. Vladimir's Seminary Quarterly, vol. 4, 1960, pp.35‑46; Nicolas Koulornzine, "Peter's Place in the Early Church", in The Primacy of Peter in the Orthodox Church, pp. 111‑34.

[12] Avery Dulles, "Papal Authority in Roman Catholicism", in A Pope for All Christians: An Inquiry into the Role of Peter in the Modern Church, Peter J. MacCord, ed., New York, Paulist Press. p.53; Kilian McDonnell, "Papal Primacy: Development, Centralization, and Changing Styles", in Papal Primacy and the Universal Church, p.174.

[13] The Windsor Statement of ARCIC no. 7. This view, however, has been repudiated by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 29 March 1982 in its comments on the Final Report of ARCIC.

[14] "Papal Authority", p.55; Tillard, The Bishop of Rome, p.41.

[15] This position can be found in Lumen Gentium no. 25: "... And this is, the infallibility which the Roman pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith and morals. And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment... The infallibility promised to the Church resides also in the body of bishops, when that body exercises the supreme magisterium with the successor of Peter..."

[16] Commentary on Lumen Gentium nos. 18‑27; Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, H. Vorgrimler, ed., New York, Herder & Herder, 1967, 1, pp. 196‑218.

[17] For the reactions of the Orthodox see: John Meyendorff, Orthodoxy and Catholicity, New York, Sheed & Ward, 1966, pp. 15‑165; idem, "Rome and Orthodoxy: Authority or Truth?" in A Pope for All Christians, p.144.

[18] ARCIC, Authority in the Church, 1, para. 3.12.

[19] Ibid. For Lutheran reservations see: Joseph A. Burgess, "Luther and the Papacy: A Review of Some Basic Issues", in A Pope forAll Christians, p.37. For an Orthodox criticism of papacy see: Megas Pharantos, To papikon proteon kai i Orthodoxos Ekklisia, Athens, 1983, pp.193‑217.

[20] For an ecumenical evaluation and study of episkope see: Episkope and Episcopate in Ecumenical Perspective, Faith and Order Paper no. 102, Geneva, WCC, 1979. For an Orthodox view see: John Zizioulas, Enotis tis ekklisias en ti Theia efvharisita kai to episkopo kata tous treis protous aionas, Athens, 1965.

[21] The ARCIC Statement of Venice no. 18.

[22] For an ecumenical study of the councils see: "Councils and the Ecumenical Movement", in World Council Studies, no. 5, 1968; Peter Huizing and Knut Wolf, eds, The Ecumenical Council ‑ Its Significance in the Constitution of the Church: Concilium 167, New York, Seabury, 1983; Kallistos Ware, "The Ecumenical Councils and the Conscience of the Church", in Kanon: Jahrhuch der Gesellschaft fur das Recht der Ostkirchen, 1974, pp.217‑33.

[23] The ARCIC Statement of Venice no. 2 1.

[24] Ibid.

[25] The ARCIC Statement of Venice no. 24d. It is important to note that Roman Catholicism relies primarily on Christian prophetic protest to compensate for the lack of juridical limitations on the exercise of papal primacy. For ecumenical purposes a more official acknowledgment of the moral limitations on the exercise of papal authority is needed.

[26] No. 16.

[27] Ibid. no. 18.

[28] Ibid. no. 20. This unlimited papal primacy of jurisdiction is predicated, of course, only to a certainly legitimate pope. The emergency procedures which would have to be invoked in the case of an insane or heretical pope are not discussed in any official Catholic document.

[29] Vlassios Pheidas, Proupotheseis diamorphoseos tou Thesmou tis Pentarchias, Athens, 1969.

[30] For the evaluation of Vatican II's conciliar texts which favour an ecclesiology of communion see: Lanne, "The Local Church", pp.288‑312; de Lubac, Les Eglises particulieres pp.29‑56; Kilian, "The Meaning and Nature of the Local Church", pp.244‑55; H. Legrand, "The Revaluation of Local Churches: Some Theological Implications", in The Unifying Role of the Bishop: Concilium 71, Edward Schillebeeckx, ed., New York, Herder & Herder, 1972, pp.53‑54. J. Komonchak calls this kind of ecclesiology a Copernican revolution in ecclesiology and he states: "The Church is not universal in the sense of a transnational corporation which from a central office establishes branches in major cities around the world. The universal, catholic Church arises, if you will, from below, because in every local church the full reality of what is called 'the Church' is realized: the communion of believers in the holy things won for us by Christ. The Church universal comes to be out of the mutual reception and communion of the local church"; pp.58‑59 of his article: "Ministry and the Local Church", in CTSA Proceedings, vol. 36, 1981.

[31] Edward J. Kilmartin, Toward Reunion: The Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, New York, Ramsey, NJ, Paulist Press, 1979, p.77.

[32] Ibid., p.78.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid., p.79.

[35] "The Idea of Primacy in Orthodox Ecclesiology", in The Primacy of Peter, p.31.

[36] Ibid., p.34.

[37] This was done through the affirmation of the catholicity of the local church. For a Roman Catholic refutation of the universalistic ecclesiology see Komonchak, "The Church Universal", pp.30‑35.

[38] Nicolas Afanassieff, "The Church Which Presides in Love", in The Primacv of Peter pp.57‑ 111; J. D. Zizioulas, "The Eucharistic Community and the Catholicity of the Church", in The New Man: An Orthodox and Reformed Dialogue, pp. 107‑31; idem, "The Local Church in a Eucharistic Perspective", pp.50‑61.

[39] J. D. Zizioulas, "Christology, Pneumatology and Ecclesial Institutions", in Being as Communion.

[40] Alexander Schmemann, "The Idea of Primacy in Orthodox Ecclesiology", p. 44; J. Zizioulas, "The Development of Conciliar Structures to the Time of the First Ecumenical Council", in World Council Studies, no. 5, 1968, pp.34‑51.

[41]Schmemann, "The Idea of Primacy", p.48; Kallistos Ware, "Primacy, Collegiality and the People of God", in Orthodoxy: Life and Freedom: Essays in Honour of Archbishop lakovos, A.J. Philippou, ed., Oxford, Studion Publications, 1973, p.120.

[42] 12 Pheidas, I Thesis; E. Timiadis, Tu es Petrus, pp. 12‑16.

[43] Schmemann, "The Idea of Primacy", p.50; Roman Catholic theologians have digested the Orthodox position and beginning with J. Ratzinger, Karl Rahner and Heinrich Fries believe that there is one solution on this issue. Ratzinger, before his elevation to the present position, stated: "Rome must not require more of a primacy doctrine from the East than was formulated and experienced in the first millenium. In Phanar, on 25 July 1976, when Patriarch Athenegoras addressed the visiting pope as Peter's successor, the first in honour among us, and the presider over charity, this great church leader was expressing the essential content of the declarations of the primacy of the first millennium. And Rome cannot ask for more. Unification could occur if the East abandons its attack on the Western development of the second millenium as being heretical, and accepts the Catholic church as legitimate and orthodox in the form which it experienced in its own development. Conversely, unification could occur if the West recognized the Eastern Church as orthodox and legitimate in the form in which it has maintained itself"; see J. Ratzinger, "Die okumenishe Situation ‑ Orthodoxic, Katholizismus und Reformation", in Theologische Prinzipienlehre: Bausteine zur Fundamentaltheologie, Munich, E. Wewel, 1982, p.209. This makes the pope a patriarch of the West and instantly limits his claim of universal jurisdictional primacy over the universal Church. Orthodox theologians must reflect whether this view can be accepted within the boundaries of legitimate diversity and uniqueness characteristic of the Western Church.

[44] Zizioulas, Being as Communion, p.223. Letters, 2, 86 (PG 99.1332A).

[45] Letters, 2, 86 (PG 99.1332A).

[46] Larentzakis, I Ekklisia Romis

Copyright: 2000

Source: Orthodoxy in Conversation

Editor: WCC Publications


TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; Ecumenism; History; Orthodox Christian; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholicsm; orthodox; orthodoxy; papacy

1 posted on 05/08/2006 8:39:23 PM PDT by pravknight
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To: pravknight
(A surprisingly non-polemical Orthodox discussion of the Roman primacy)

Wrong forum pal!

We require that blood be spilt o­n FR or it ain't a real discussion.

:)

2 posted on 05/09/2006 1:25:19 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: PetroniusMaximus; pravknight

"A surprisingly non-polemical Orthodox discussion of the Roman primacy)

Wrong forum pal!

We require that blood be spilt o­n FR or it ain't a real discussion."

Well, that title could lead to bloodshed! :)


3 posted on 05/09/2006 4:15:58 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: pravknight

I noticed Meyendorff was referenced repeatedly. From what I understand he is not thought too much of in Orthodox circles.


4 posted on 05/09/2006 7:15:12 AM PDT by Cheverus
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To: Cheverus

As far as Meyendorff is concerned, it depends upon who you talk to in Orthodox circles. The Old Calendarists despise him, but I have read Pope Benedict XVI holds him in high esteem.


5 posted on 05/09/2006 9:01:01 AM PDT by pravknight (Christos Regnat, Christos Imperat, Christos Vincit)
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To: Kolokotronis

"The Church consists of many churches in communion among themselves; the network of communion that the Church thus forms finds its fixed points in the Bishops: as the post-apostolic continuation of the Collegium Apostolorum [College of Apostles], they are responsible for the purity of the word and communion.

"With this as departure point, we can also realize the earliest meaning of the Primacy of the Roman Bishop .... It merely signified that the Roman Bishop of the sedes Sancti Petri [seat of St. Peter] was the central point of orientation in the unity of communion ....

"The Primacy of the Pope was not understood, therefore, in the administrative sense, but was wholly derived from a eucharistic ecclesiology. This means .... that Rome incarnates the true communio and, therefore, is the determining point of the horizontal relationship, without which a community cannot remain truly ecclesia"

(Joseph Ratzinger, "Il Concetto della Chiesa nel Pensiero Patristico," in I Grandi Temi del Concilio, Rome: Paoline, 1965, pp. 154-155).


6 posted on 05/09/2006 9:24:58 AM PDT by pravknight (Christos Regnat, Christos Imperat, Christos Vincit)
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To: Cheverus; pravknight

"I noticed Meyendorff was referenced repeatedly. From what I understand he is not thought too much of in Orthodox circles."

His writing is very Western. Fr. Clapsis' generation is quite enamored of him, subsequent generations not so much.


7 posted on 05/09/2006 10:26:33 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: pravknight

"The Church consists of many churches in communion among themselves; the network of communion that the Church thus forms finds its fixed points in the Bishops: as the post-apostolic continuation of the Collegium Apostolorum [College of Apostles], they are responsible for the purity of the word and communion."

Well, yes and no. What the pope wrote is certainly true, but expressed as he did, this can lead one to the distinctly Western conclusion that the fullness of The Church does not exist in a single diocese which is what the Fathers, from +Ignatius of Antioch on taught.


8 posted on 05/09/2006 10:28:52 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: pravknight

I basing my perception on the attitude I've percieved from the Orthodox on this site have made, which to me seem pretty bad.


9 posted on 05/09/2006 10:45:44 AM PDT by Cheverus
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To: Kolokotronis

I think the Catholic response would be St. Ignatius was saying the Catholic Church is made present immediately through the local Church.


10 posted on 05/09/2006 12:45:45 PM PDT by pravknight (Christos Regnat, Christos Imperat, Christos Vincit)
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To: pravknight

"I think the Catholic response would be St. Ignatius was saying the Catholic Church is made present immediately through the local Church."

No doubt, no doubt! Orthodoxy has a somewhat more ancient view and therein lies one of the differences in ecclesiology between the churches. It is, as this article and others from both sides of the schism make clear, more than just semantics.I have been told that +BXVI ascribes to the patristic view of the East, namely that the fullness of the Faith reposes within a local diocese. In that ecclesiology, the appropriate exercise of the the papacy is somewhat different from what it in fact or in appearence has been in the past. That said, there is no question but that the primacy of the "Elder brother at Rome" is very real and of necessity implies a sufficient "power" to exercise that office effectivly. Met John Zizoulias, as representative of the EP described it well last fall in an interview with the Italian press given during the Rome Synod. Its posted somewhere on FR.


11 posted on 05/09/2006 1:18:22 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: pravknight; Kolokotronis

I think that the stars haven't aligned for the unity in historical and political terms, even though there can be detected a genuine desire to work toward union on the part of the Orthodox and the Latins.

That is because the basis for unity that we perceive as we look East, is incompatible with the basis for unity we perceive as we look West. In the East we have a near-unity of theology and ecclesiology. It often seems that if a proper formulae were found regarding the Creed, the papacy and mariology, the whole thing would come together with a stroke of a pen. One thing that no one wants is uniformity of praxis that might lead to an erosion of the splendid Orthodox liturgy. It is therefore toward a greater conciliarity that we in the West should move in order to embrace the sister Church in the East.

The situation is exact opposite in the West, where we have a case after case of erosion of praxis, most gravely with the Protestant desacralization of service and manifest within the Catholic Church herself in the rush to modernize and capitulate to the state. The basis for unity in the West therefore is centralized authority, that would, the theory goes, rescue the remnant of traditional piety in the Anglican and Lutheran denominations.

The East wants unity of sisterhood. The West wants authority of fatherhood. When I am pope, I will look to the East first, and will let the spoiled children of Rome work out their prodigalities for another couple of generations. Who said we are short of time?


12 posted on 05/09/2006 1:22:15 PM PDT by annalex
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To: Kolokotronis

I think the Orthodox view regarding the unity of the local churches on the universal level is a bit foggy, and I think a lot of Orthodox questions have been defined Rome says A so we think B.

We Uniates are point C, stuck in between, being neither Roman nor Orthodox.



13 posted on 05/09/2006 1:32:05 PM PDT by pravknight (Christos Regnat, Christos Imperat, Christos Vincit)
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To: annalex
I think that the stars haven't aligned for the unity in historical and political terms, even though there can be detected a genuine desire to work toward union on the part of the Orthodox and the Latins.

When this flag starts flying over Christian countries the "desire" will intensify.


14 posted on 05/09/2006 1:55:52 PM PDT by Straight Vermonter (The Stations of the Cross in Poetry ---> http://www.wayoftears.com)
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To: Kolokotronis
... the distinctly Western conclusion that the fullness of The Church does not exist in a single diocese ...
I've never heard of such a conclusion. That's like saying that the fullness of Christ does not exist in a single host. Who or what expressed this drivel?
15 posted on 05/09/2006 2:10:34 PM PDT by eastsider
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To: pravknight; Kolokotronis; annalex; Cheverus
For Roman Catholics, the relationship of the bishop of Rome with the ecumenical synods is not clearly defined, as Avery Dulles points out:
Vatican I, which placed supreme authority in the pope, left some uncertainty regarding the relations between the papacy, the universal episcopate, and ecumenical synods (which are not necessarily mere meetings of bishops). Since this uncertainty was not fully cleared up by Vatican II. the question of the supreme directive power in the Church still requires further discussion within the Roman Catholic communion.
. . .

We must understand the universal primacy of the Roman Church similarly. Based on Christian Tradition, it is possible to affirm the validity of the church of Rome's claims of universal primacy. Orthodox theology, however, objects to the identification of this primacy as "supreme power" transforming Rome into the principium radix et origio of the unity of the Church and of the Church itself. The Church from the first days of its existence undeniably possessed an ecumenical centre of unity and agreement. In the apostolic and Judaeo?Christian period this centre was first the church of Jerusalem and later the church of Rome ? "presiding in agape" according to St Ignatios of Antioch.

. . .

In summary, Orthodoxy does not reject Roman primacy as such, but simply a particular way of understanding that primacy.


While complete unanimity on theological and canonical levels is desirable, is it not possible to recognize a sacramental unity before all the details are worked out? A practical unity could be achieved if, on the Orthodox side, they would put into practice what they claim about the Petrine office. In other words, if the Orthodox would unequivocally recognize the validity of Catholic sacraments, allow inter-communion, and reinsert the name of the Pope into the prayers of the Church while at the same time saying to the Romans: "we disagree with your understanding of the primacy but will not let that be a hindrance to our communion." On the Catholic side there should likewise be the acceptance that the different understanding by the Orthodox of the Petrine primacy does not break the communion between us. I would also like to see this real, if incomplete, unity proclaimed to the whole world by a Liturgy presided over by the Pope and concelebrated by the Eastern patriarchs, after which they could all turn to one another and say: "now let us continue to discuss these issues that are disputes within the Church and not disputes between churches."

This does not imply that this different understanding is unimportant but that a real communion does exist even as we continue in an imperfect way to come to a fuller understanding of the truth.

16 posted on 05/09/2006 3:59:29 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: pravknight; Kolokotronis; annalex; Cheverus
From Alexis II, the Patriach of Moscow as reported by ANSA via RORATE CÆLI:
Benedict XVI will be the Pope of the ecumenical turning point. Who says this, in an interview to ANSA, is Alexis II, Ecumenical [sic] Patriarch of all the Russias: "We expect from him concrete facts to solve the existing difficulties; one may expect that, exactly for this reason, the pontificate of Benedict XVI will become famous and will be remembered". The Patriarch of Moscow adds: "The declarations of Benedict XVI on the will to develop the relations with the Orthodox Church inspire hope that the situation will change for the better."

17 posted on 05/09/2006 4:12:35 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: Petrosius

"While complete unanimity on theological and canonical levels is desirable, is it not possible to recognize a sacramental unity before all the details are worked out? A practical unity could be achieved if, on the Orthodox side, they would put into practice what they claim about the Petrine office. In other words, if the Orthodox would unequivocally recognize the validity of Catholic sacraments, allow inter-communion, and reinsert the name of the Pope into the prayers of the Church while at the same time saying to the Romans: "we disagree with your understanding of the primacy but will not let that be a hindrance to our communion." On the Catholic side there should likewise be the acceptance that the different understanding by the Orthodox of the Petrine primacy does not break the communion between us. I would also like to see this real, if incomplete, unity proclaimed to the whole world by a Liturgy presided over by the Pope and concelebrated by the Eastern patriarchs, after which they could all turn to one another and say: "now let us continue to discuss these issues that are disputes within the Church and not disputes between churches."

Won't work. The extent and understanding of Petrine Primacy must be decided upon by the whole Church first. Once Orthodoxy and Rome are in accord on the proper exercise of that primacy, then we can have sacramental communion and work out the theological details at an Ecumenical Council. To pretend to a sort of communion and give that visible manifestation by sacramental intercommunion when in fact we still disagree on the main problem would be totally unacceptable to any Orthodox Christian. It would be a denial of the true meaning of communion, which, Petrosius, as you certainly know is a matter of the relationship between bishops, contrary to popular belief.

Your comment about us simply commemorating the Pope in our liturgies is born of a misunderstanding of Orthodox ecclesiology. Our priests and the laity do not commemorate, for example, the EP in our liturgies. We commemorate our local hierarch, in my parish's case our Metropolitan. The Metropolitan commemorates the Patriarch. In countries which have autocephallous churches, the national hierarch would be commemorated. I suspect that in a reunited Church, it would be the heads of the "particular churches" who would commemorate the Pope.


18 posted on 05/09/2006 6:46:56 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: eastsider

"I've never heard of such a conclusion. That's like saying that the fullness of Christ does not exist in a single host. Who or what expressed this drivel?"

I believe either +JPII or +BXVI. I'll try to find a link. I know we have discussed this point here on FR a number of times in the past.


19 posted on 05/09/2006 6:49:15 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis
Once Orthodoxy and Rome are in accord on the proper exercise of that primacy, then we can have sacramental communion and work out the theological details at an Ecumenical Council.

But is not this backwards. There has never been a requirement for complete theological agreement in the Church, otherwise there would be no communion between the Greeks and the Russians. Communion in the Church should be the assumption, only to be broken by heresy or schism. Since, from an Orthodox point of view, an ecumenical council has never explicitly taught on the subject then there can be no just cause to break communion. Until an ecumenical council recognized by the Orthodox rules on the matter, the Orthodox position can be no more than theological opinion.

As for an act of schism, this can only come from the Orthodox side since the Eastern patriarchs claim no jurisdiction over the West. If the Pope were to take the position that a true and complete understanding of the Petrine office is still an open question and that the Orthodox position does not rise to the level of schism, then what is the justification for denying communion between the local churches?

Your comment about us simply commemorating the Pope in our liturgies is born of a misunderstanding of Orthodox ecclesiology.

I was referring to the practice of including the name of the pope in the diptychs, the removal of which by the Patriarch of Constantinople signaled the start of the schism. I was under the impression that his name would have been included throughout the East but from you comments I take it that it was only included in those of the patriarchs.

20 posted on 05/09/2006 7:45:51 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: Kolokotronis
Perhaps this contains what you're looking for? "Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion," Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Joseph Card. Ratzinger, Prefect), 28 May 1992:
The Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, is the universal Church, that is, the worldwide community of the disciples of the Lord(31), which is present and active amid the particular characteristics and the diversity of persons, groups, times and places. Among these manifold particular expressions of the saving presence of the one Church of Christ, there are to be found, from the times of the Apostles on, those entities which are in themselves Churches(32), because, although they are particular, the universal Church becomes present in them with all its essential elements(33). They are therefore constituted "after the model of the universal Church"(34), and each of them is "a portion of the People of God entrusted to a bishop to be guided by him with the assistance of his clergy"(35).

8. The universal Church is therefore the Body of the Churches(36). Hence it is possible to apply the concept of communion in analogous fashion to the union existing among particular Churches, and to see the universal Church as a Communion of Churches. Sometimes, however, the idea of a "communion of particular Churches" is presented in such a way as to weaken the concept of the unity of the Church at the visible and institutional level. Thus it is asserted that every particular Church is a subject complete in itself, and that the universal Church is the result of a reciprocal recognition on the part of the particular Churches. This ecclesiological unilateralism, which impoverishes not only the concept of the universal Church but also that of the particular Church, betrays an insufficient understanding of the concept of communion. As history shows, when a particular Church has sought to become self-sufficient, and has weakened its real communion with the universal Church and with its living and visible centre, its internal unity suffers too, and it finds itself in danger of losing its own freedom in the face of the various forces of slavery and exploitation(37).

9. In order to grasp the true meaning of the analogical application of the term communion to the particular Churches taken as a whole, one must bear in mind above all that the particular Churches, insofar as they are "part of the one Church of Christ"(38), have a special relationship of "mutual interiority"(39) with the whole, that is, with the universal Church, because in every particular Church "the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and active"(40). For this reason, "the universal Church cannot be conceived as the sum of the particular Churches, or as a federation of particular Churches"(41). It is not the result of the communion of the Churches, but, in its essential mystery, it is a reality ontologically and temporally prior to every individual particular Church.

Indeed, according to the Fathers, ontologically, the Church-mystery, the Church that is one and unique, precedes creation(42), and gives birth to the particular Churches as her daughters. She expresses herself in them; she is the mother and not the product of the particular Churches. Furthermore, the Church is manifested, temporally, on the day of Pentecost in the community of the one hundred and twenty gathered around Mary and the twelve Apostles, the representatives of the one unique Church and the founders-to-be of the local Churches, who have a mission directed to the world: from the first the Church speaks all languages(43).

From the Church, which in its origins and its first manifestation is universal, have arisen the different local Churches, as particular expressions of the one unique Church of Jesus Christ. Arising within and out of the universal Church, they have their ecclesiality in it and from it. Hence the formula of the Second Vatican Council: The Church in and formed out of the Churches (Ecclesia in et ex Ecclesiis)(44), is inseparable from this other formula: The Churches in and formed out of the Church (Ecclesiae in et ex Ecclesia)(45). Clearly the relationship between the universal Church and the particular Churches is a mystery, and cannot be compared to that which exists between the whole and the parts in a purely human group or society.

10. Every member of the faithful, through faith and Baptism, is inserted into the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. He or she does not belong to the universal Church in a mediate way, through belonging to a particular Church, but in an immediate way, even though entry into and life within the universal Church are necessarily brought about in a particular Church. From the point of view of the Church understood as communion, this means therefore that the universal communion of the faithful and the communion of the Churches are not consequences of one another, but constitute the same reality seen from different viewpoints.

(31) Cf. Mt 16, 18; 1 Cor 12, 28; etc.
(32) Cf. Acts 8, 1; 11, 22; 1 Cor 1, 2; 16, 19; Gal 1, 22; Rev 2, 1.8; etc.
(33) Cf. PONTIFICAL BIBLICAL COMMISSION, UnitJ et diversitJ dans l'Eglise, Lib. Ed. Vaticana 1989, especially, pp. 14-28.
(34) Const. Lumen gentium, n. 23/a; cf. Decr. Ad gentes, n. 20/a.
(35) Decr. Christus Dominus, n. 11/a.
(36) Const. Lumen gentium, n. 23/b. Cf. ST. HILARY OF POITIERS, In Psalm., 14, 3: PL 9, 301; ST. GREGORY THE GREAT, Moralia, IV, 7, 12: PL 75, 643.
(37) Cf. PAUL VI, Ap. Exh. Evangelii nuntiandi, 8-XII-1975, n. 64/b.
(38) Decr. Christus Dominus, n. 6/c.
(39) JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Roman Curia, 20-XII-1990, n. 9: "L'Osservatore Romano", 21-XII-1990, p. 5.
(40) Decr. Christus Dominus, n. 11/a.
(41) JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Bishops of the United States of America, 16-IX-1987, n. 3: as quoted, p. 555.
(42) Cf. SHEPHERD OF HERMAS, Vis. 2, 4: PG 2, 897-900; ST. CLEMENT OF ROME, Epist. II ad Cor., 14, 2: Funck, 1, 200.
(43) Cf. Acts 2, 1ff. ST IRENAEUS, Adversus haereses, III, 17, 2 (PG 7, 929-930): "at Pentecost (...) all nations (...) had become a marvellous choir to intone a hymn of praise to God in perfect harmony, because the Holy Spirit had brought distances to nought, eliminated discordant notes and transformed the varieties of the peoples into the first-fruits to be offered to the Father". Cf. also ST. FULGENTIUS OF RUSPE, Sermo 8 in Pentecoste, 2-3: PL 65, 743-744.
(44) Const. Lumen gentium, n. 23/a: "it is in these and formed out of them that the one and unique Catholic Church exists". This doctrine develops in the same line of continuity what had been stated previously, for example by PIUS X, Enc. Mystici Corporis, as quoted, p. 211: "out of which the one Catholic Church exists and is composed".
(45) Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Roman Curia, 20-XII-1990, n. 9: as quoted, p. 5.


21 posted on 05/09/2006 8:09:27 PM PDT by gbcdoj (Let us ask the Lord with tears, that according to his will so he would shew his mercy to us Jud 8:17)
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To: Petrosius; Kolokotronis; pravknight
While complete unanimity on theological and canonical levels is desirable, is it not possible to recognize a sacramental unity before all the details are worked out?

This (from a Catholic perspective) doesn't seem possible at least until there has been agreement on all points that we consider de fide divina - to be held by the theological virtue of faith. The permission of concelebration in particular is impossible without this prerequisite. Bl. Pius IX wrote in the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus (1854):

We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.

Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart.

Similarly one might cite the anathemas of the Vatican Council against those who deny the primacy, universal jurisdiction, and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. If such remain the Catholic belief - and they must - then how can there be unity without agreement? The Church is united not only by hope and charity, but by Faith as well (cf. Eph. 4:5). Sacramental unity presupposes theological unity: "The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. ... A 'being together' which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers his communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart." (John Paul II, Encyclical Ut Unum Sint, §18).

22 posted on 05/09/2006 8:31:36 PM PDT by gbcdoj (Let us ask the Lord with tears, that according to his will so he would shew his mercy to us Jud 8:17)
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To: Petrosius

"There has never been a requirement for complete theological agreement in the Church, otherwise there would be no communion between the Greeks and the Russians."

On dogmatic matters there is complete theological agreement between, for example, Moscow and Constantinople.

"If the Pope were to take the position that a true and complete understanding of the Petrine office is still an open question and that the Orthodox position does not rise to the level of schism, then what is the justification for denying communion between the local churches?"

If a pope were to take such a position, that might allow for a reestablishment of communion to the extent necessary for a council to resolve the other dogmatic issues which separate us. Such a communion would at the parish level have to be a communion marked by economia until we could work out those differences. I doubt any pope is ready to do that.

"I was referring to the practice of including the name of the pope in the diptychs, the removal of which by the Patriarch of Constantinople signaled the start of the schism. I was under the impression that his name would have been included throughout the East but from you comments I take it that it was only included in those of the patriarchs."

Certainly the name of the Pope would be included in the diptychs. Commemoration of the pope at the local Divine Liturgy would imply a universal immediate jurisdiction which would be foreign to Orthodoxy. As I said earlier, communion is a matter between and among hierarchs.


23 posted on 05/10/2006 3:55:50 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: gbcdoj; eastsider

"Sometimes, however, the idea of a "communion of particular Churches" is presented in such a way as to weaken the concept of the unity of the Church at the visible and institutional level. Thus it is asserted that every particular Church is a subject complete in itself, and that the universal Church is the result of a reciprocal recognition on the part of the particular Churches. This ecclesiological unilateralism, which impoverishes not only the concept of the universal Church but also that of the particular Church, betrays an insufficient understanding of the concept of communion."

That's the piece. Thanks. I'm glad to see I didn't dream this! :)


24 posted on 05/10/2006 3:58:46 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: gbcdoj; Petrosius; pravknight; Tantumergo

"This (from a Catholic perspective) doesn't seem possible at least until there has been agreement on all points that we consider de fide divina - to be held by the theological virtue of faith."

From an Orthodox pov also.

"Similarly one might cite the anathemas of the Vatican Council against those who deny the primacy, universal jurisdiction, and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff."

And therein lies the rub. How indeed can Rome change this, even change the general understanding of this? If it didn't change, it is equally silly to think that Orthodoxy will change its position on this to the extent of accepting the Vatican I dogmatic pronouncements.

"Sacramental unity presupposes theological unity"

Exactly, except to the extent that we arrive at a place where for a time "intercommunion" can take place by economia but as between Rome and the Orthodox Churches, even that can't occur without a true acceptance of hierarchial communion.

"In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. ... A 'being together' which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers his communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart."

This too is exactly right. However, beyond the question of the proper exercise of papal primacy, I suspect that a council could deal with the frankly very few dogmatic differences between Rome and Orthodoxy. Deacon Tantumergo and I had a discussion about the Immaculate Conception a couple of years ago which, without compromise, "nuanced" the issue to the extent that agreement could be possible. The Assumption is even easier to deal with. Filioque has been dealt with already to a great extent. I do wonder about the created/uncreated grace issue and its implication for the nature of the priesthood and more importantly the sacraments.

In this context, I must say that the Eastern Rite/Greek Catholic Churches, especially my favorites the Melkites, do seem to be in something of an anomolous position, professing as they do to be fully Orthodox in communion with Rome. Either they are not fully Orthodox, which I believe to be the case, or they have a sort of false, form over substance communion, which I believe to be the case with the Melkites.


25 posted on 05/10/2006 4:20:03 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: Kolokotronis; gbcdoj

Thanks. I'll take a look and get back to you.


26 posted on 05/10/2006 7:23:38 AM PDT by eastsider
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