First of all, the Holy Father is pope of the Catholic Church - west and east, which includes the Roman Catholic Church.
Well that's the Roman position. It is not the opinion of the Orthodox. We of course believe that we are the Catholic Church in its entirety. In the first millennium it was customary in both the East and the West to refer to the Church as Catholic and the faith as Orthodox. Hence correctly speaking we are Orthodox Catholics.
There are 22 different Catholic Traditions, including Byzantine, Armenian, Coptic, Chaldean, Melkite, Maronite, Ukrainian, and Ruthenian.
On a personal note I am aware of the Eastern Rites since it was a stop off for me on my road to Orthodoxy.
Fr. Hopko gets bonus points for acknowledging 'attachment to liturgy' as a stumbling block. Correct me if I am wrong, but I get the impression from some of my Orthodox friends here at FR that their respective churches fear Vatican imposition.
That would be accurate to a degree.
This has been a problem in the past, where well intentioned representatives from the Vatican burned the liturgical books of certain Eastern Churches...
This was not limited to the Maronites. And even today efforts by Vatican bureaucrats to extend the blessings of the Vatican II liturgical reform to the Eastern Rite churches have not gone unnoticed though so far they have not enjoyed much success.
We now have the example of the Anglicans who re-united with the Vatican, on the stipulation they could retain their liturgy, derived from the Book of Common Prayer.
That's not entirely accurate. The Anglican Use is not a rite and permission for its use is up to the local ordinary. Its application thus far has been quite limited. It is true that a handful of former Anglican clergy who entered into communion with Rome have been re ordained with a dispensation for their being married. Some of them have been allowed to use the so called Anglican Use liturgy. But there is no provision for this being a permanent arrangement. There are no Anglo-Catholic seminaries or bishops and there is no one training priests in the Anglican liturgical rites.
The agreement was concluded with the understanding that certain aspects of their liturgy needed to be updated to bring it into conformity with the teachings of the Magisterium. This is also true of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church which reunited with Rome during the past century.
What parts of our liturgy do you anticipate will need to be updated? It has worked quite well for us I think.
As for 'unleavened bread' and 'confirmation as a separate ritual', the majority (if not all) of the Eastern Catholic Churches have restored 'chrismation' along with the Sacrament of Baptism. There are also certain Eastern Catholic Churches that use unleavened bread - no problem whatsoever. Married clergy? All of the Eastern Catholic Churches allow for married priests, while some strongly encourage celibacy, for practical reasons.
These are not minor issues, though they are not beyond resolution. I think that it is in the matter of ecclesiology that you will find the problem. That is where the rubber is going to hit the road. Many of the claims of the papacy are simply not going to be accepted by Orthodoxy. I would suggest reading Fr. Hopko's other essay on the papacy for some ideas about our concerns. I don't agree with all of it. But many of the points he raises are serious issues. That article is linked in my #1 above.
My impression is that Father Hopko has not yet fully explored the Eastern Churches in full communion with Rome. Should he do so, he would gain great insight into how eastern theology blends perfectly into the Catholic Church. The Eastern Churches, like their Orthodox neighbors, fall under the leadership of a Patriarch.
I think Fr. Hopko is aware of the existence of the non Latin Rite churches in communion with the Pope of Rome. In fact I will go out on a limb here and say he probably knows more about them and their history than either you or I. That's just an educated guess based on his background though. The history of the Eastern Catholic Patriarchates is not a source of good feelings for Orthodox. since most of them were erected by the papacy to draw off Orthodox Christians and to challenge the authority of the Orthodox Patriarchs. It was a serious and very un-canonical intrusion upon the rights of the Eastern Churches (the real ones) which has been a source of ill feelings for a long time. The so called Unia remains a stumbling block to the restoration of communion not an aid to that end.
Naturally, the reunification of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches would open the door for a future pontiff, from the (former) Orthodox Churches. What a glorious celebration that would be!!
I think that the word "former" in front of the word "Orthodox" is quite telling about where we are both coming from. Orthodoxy is the faith of the undivided Church of the first millennium. You see Orthodoxy as something to be abandoned or made to conform to the Roman Church's magesterium (the end result would be the same). We see the process as not one of reunification but of the restoration of communion based on the return of the Latin Church to Holy Orthodoxy. In that future situation the Pope of Rome would again claim his place as primus inter pares among the Orthodox Catholic Hierarchs of the world.
But it would be without most of the theological baggage of the last thousand years that has cropped up in the west. The canons of the First Vatican Council especially are heresy to Orthodox Christians. This doesn't mean we don't want to revive the undivided Church of the first thousand years AD. Any Orthodox Christian who says he does not want that is in need of some serious spiritual counseling. But we believe that we are the Church. We don't see ourselves as a part of two halves. Orthodox Christianity is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ whole and complete. And you believe the same thing to be true of your church. That creates a problem.
Herein is the great tragedy of the present situation. There are for the first time in a thousand years honest people in both churches who are looking at each other and saying "How did this happen? This is not what God wanted." But the reality I think is that it has gone beyond the point of no return. Trent was a massive blow to any hope of reunification because of the theological innovations it codified. But IMHO the final nail in the coffin was Vatican I. That's a show stopper. The language in those decrees (see #3 above for one example) is flatly heretical to us. And it is so crystal clear that it just leaves no room for wiggling and parsing words. In so many ways our churches have grown apart. Your theology is now heavily based on the medieval scholasticism of Aquinas and Augustine, which is so inimical to Orthodoxy. This is true of your Eastern Churches too. They may have retained the outward forms of Eastern worship. But they are Roman Catholic in faith. In faith, ecclesiology, spirituality, and theology we have grown apart so far that we can't just put things back they way they were. Patriarch Bartholomew probably said it best when he noted that our two churches have become ontologically different.
You quote the fathers in an effort to support the papal monarchy. We quote the fathers to disprove it. We will never agree. If Rome agreed to anything even resembling Fr. Hopko's terms laid out in the other essay I linked it would cease to be the Roman Catholic Church. For us to restore communion with heretics would be to cease to be Orthodox. "Reunion" would mean that one or the other of our churches would wind up with the word "former" in front of its name. That is why I believe that absent a miracle of God there will never be a restoration of communion. And I weep with the angels because of it.
>> Well that's the Roman position. It is not the opinion of the Orthodox. We of course believe that we are the Catholic Church in its entirety. In the first millennium it was customary in both the East and the West to refer to the Church as Catholic and the faith as Orthodox. Hence correctly speaking we are Orthodox Catholics. <<
I think you misunderstand. When it is declared that the Pope is pope of the entire Catholic Church, East and West, in this context, by East is meant the other patriarchies in union with Rome.
>> This has been a problem in the past, where well intentioned representatives from the Vatican burned the liturgical books of certain Eastern Churches... This was not limited to the Maronites. <<
To be fair, the Maronites' books were not burned by force from the Vatican, but, rather, out of Maronite zeal for unity. It's a subtle distinction when considering the righteousness (or, perhaps, more accurately, lack thereof?) of the representatives, but a major one when considering the effects of liturgical differences in the future. Far more relevant is that the general policy of the Vatican is to accept theologically valid liturgy.
A very concise and realistic reply.
My thoughts exactly.
Where did your journey begin?
... efforts by Vatican bureaucrats to extend the blessings of the Vatican II liturgical reform to the Eastern Rite churches have not gone unnoticed though so far they have not enjoyed much success.
? Can you be more specific?
Again, I am limited in my response to only the Maronite Church and then, with limited experience.
In the beginning of their stay in Lebanon, isolated by the mountains and worried about the political unrest in the Near East, the Maronites faithfully adhered to the creed of the Catholic Church. But here is a paradox. Because the tradition of Antioch always preferred biblical expressions over dogmatic formulations the creed they professed did not contain the "new" formulations of the councils regarding the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Hesitations to accept these formulations, belonged to the sphere of theological terminology; they did not lessen the unshakable attachment of the Maronites to the Catholic faith. They did, however, become harmful to the reputation of the Maronites. No council condemned them, but in many publications, for example the article "Maronites" in the first edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia (vol. 9, 683-688), the Maronites are accused of the heresy of monothelitism which taught that there is only one will in Christ. In our day, as we experience once again the difficulty of translating into human language the mystery of the Ineffable, we can better understand the complexity of the theological situation in which the Maronites had to find their way.
In the Lebanon of the 11th and 12th centuries, the Maronites found themselves once more between two worlds; the Latin Church of the West and the churches of the East. The Latin missionaries found warm welcome in the Maronite community. They did not, however, understand or appreciate the profound value and the riches of the oriental traditions, and tried to impose, often with success, the juridical and liturgical structures of the Latin Church as the "only true Catholic"' structures. The Maronites, in turn, with their traditional spirit of moderation and openness, enjoyed enriching their oriental patrimony with the richness of Christian dogmas as it had developed in the West. They also introduced into the Oriental churches such expressions of Western devotional life as the rosary and the stations of the cross.
It would be easy to assume the Maronites of being responsible for the "Latinization" of the Eastern churches. but such would be an unfair accusation. The Maronites always kept and jealously guarded their Oriental traditions. They were convinced, however, and still are, that their own traditions can grow only in the always challenging contact with the universal church.
This contact with the Latin Church enriched the intellectual world of Europe in the Middle Ages. Maronites taught Oriental languages and literature at the universities of Italy and France. Thanks to their position between East and West, and to their knowledge of the occidental theological tradition, they successfully started the dialogue with the Orthodox churches of the Near East. The history of the Melkites and Chaldeans, of Catholic Armenians and Syrians, shows the important role of the Maronites in the foundation of these communities.
Insofar as restoration of liturgy, the ongoing wars in Lebanon have severely impacted the Church. In 2003, Patriarch Sfeir convened a 2 year Synod to decide on what changes should be made and how these would be implemented. In a recent interview (July 2006) with Fr. Mitch Pacwa (telecast on EWTN), the Patriarch spoke of these changes. As Maronites have fled Lebaonon, they have brought their liturgy to all parts of the world. This has resulted in an explosive growth of the Maronite Church, especially in North America, Australia, South America, Mexico, Europe and Africa. As a result of this expansion, the liturgy has attracted peoples residing in those parts of the world, who are not Lebanese. The liturgy, once limited to Arabic, now required translation into other languages. Some of those translations were hastily written. The Synod members have now formed committees to study those translations to improve upon and establish standardized texts to be used throughout the world. Initially, liturgical texts will be limited to Arabic, English, Spanish and French. In ALL Maronite churches, certain aspects of the liturgy will retain the authentic Aramaic/Syriac texts.
There are no Anglo-Catholic seminaries or bishops and there is no one training priests in the Anglican liturgical rites.
This may be true for the Anglican Use Rite (I wouldn't know), but not for the Eastern Catholic Churches which all have seminaries for the formation of their priests.
What parts of our liturgy do you anticipate will need to be updated? It has worked quite well for us I think.
All Catholics share three important things:
A Church is not the same as a rite. Within the Catholic Church there are 22 autonomous churches, each of which follows one of the 6 major rites. In these Churches, we recite a universal Creed and include the pope in our prayers. That is one area where a change would need to be made.
I think that the word "former" in front of the word "Orthodox" is quite telling about where we are both coming from.
The words "Orthodox Church" and "Catholic Church" are generally understood to represent our separate churches. When we eventually join together, some agreement will be made as to a proper terminology but until then, I could not come up with a better expression.
But we believe that we are the Church. We don't see ourselves as a part of two halves. Orthodox Christianity is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ whole and complete. And you believe the same thing to be true of your church. That creates a problem.
"Where Peter is, there is the Church".
There are for the first time in a thousand years honest people in both churches who are looking at each other and saying "How did this happen? This is not what God wanted." But the reality I think is that it has gone beyond the point of no return.
We are all entitled to our own opinions but here is where Fr. Hopko gets it right when he says:
We will never be one unless we desire it with all our hearts, and are ready to put away everything that we can to have it . Everything that doesnt belong to the essence of the faith. Language doesnt belong to the essence of the faith. Calendars dont belong to the essence of the faith. Certain liturgical customs dont belong to the essence of the faith. Even the Byzantine Rite Liturgy for us does not belong to the essence of the faith.
We must unite because that is the will of God!
It's really just that simple.
The God I worship (yes, I'm one of those dreaded Roman Catholic "heretics" ;'}) is well known for miracles both minor and major. Just yesterday, my Pastor preached on prayers of petition: he reminded us to pray unceasingly and unsparingly. If you think that healing the "Great Schism" would require a miracle from God (and I'm inclined to agree), than a miracle from God is precisely what we should be praying for.