Skip to comments.World: Catholics, Orthodox Look To Bridge Historic Divide
Posted on 12/03/2006 12:31:55 PM PST by sergey1973
ISTANBUL, November 30, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Are Christianitys biggest churches heading toward a holy alliance?
In a historic step today, Pope Benedict XVI and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual head of Orthodox Christians, celebrated mass together at Istanbuls St. George Church. They then signed a joint declaration calling for uniting our efforts to preserve Christian roots, traditions and values in Europe.
Benedict called the millennium-old division of the worlds 1 billion Roman Catholics and 250 million Orthodox a scandal.
"The divisions which exist among Christians are a scandal to the world and an obstacle to the proclamation of the gospel," the pope said.
Their statement did not amount to a breakthrough in relations between the two churches, although it was not expected to. Instead, their meetings, which began on November 29 and end on December 1, are part of an ongoing process of rapprochement between Catholics and Orthodox Christians, who face many common challenges.
Historian Robert Moynihan, editor in chief of the magazine Inside The Vatican, explains some of the motivations bringing the two churches nearer
(Excerpt) Read more at rferl.org ...
Catholic/Orthodox PING ! Let's hope for a more substantial steps in Orthodox-Catholic reconciliation.
It would not suprise me if this happens, a move towards greater unity because this would make the Christian faith stronger.
Unity is the only way we can drive off the muzzies.
Chances of reunion are pretty dim if you ask me, considering the vast differences in ecclesiology and theology, such as divorce and remarriage, the papacy, phyletism on the Orthodox side, etc.
"Chances of reunion are pretty dim if you ask me, considering the vast differences in ecclesiology and theology, such as divorce and remarriage, the papacy, phyletism on the Orthodox side, etc.
What a mindset! Differing ways of dealing with divorce and remarriage will prevent a reunion of the Churches! That speaks volumes about where you are coming from, JDeM, unless of course you are speaking of a fundamental difference bewteen East and West about what the Holy Mysteries of The Church really are. And phyletism? Boy, that's rich!
I suspect we could add rather more to your list, JDeM, like the Orthodox don't want to end up like the American Catholic Church, the Irish Catholic Church, the French Catholic Church, the Canadian Catholic Church, the Croatian Catholic Church....
Are you a young fellow, Joe? If you've some years on you, you'll remember the days when an Irish Catholic would no more go to the French or Italian Catholic parish than he would to the local Baptist Church. And if you don't and you're in an area where parishes are being "twined", have you heard any of the people saying they wouldn't attend Mass with those (fill in the blank with your favorite ethnicity) people?
There are theological issues, like the problem of grace being created or uncreated which has serious implications for understanding the sacraments, which may well be insurmountable. There are elements of post schism Catholic dogma which may be heretical from an Orthodox pov, though I personally doubt it. Clearly there are no Orthodox dogmas which are heretical since every one we have comes from the 7 Ecumenical Councils. But a council can work those issues out. The only ecclesiological issue revolves around the proper exercise of papal primacy. My bet is that that gets worked out relatively soon, and on terms acceptable to the East. But there still won't be a reunion with anything like the Latin Church today. The leftist national Catholic bishops' conferences won't go along; the leftist, liberated 1st world Catholics won't go along. The national Churches of Western Europe are hardly worth the name anymore. They'll go along but they don't have many people. And the knuckle dragging, Dictatus Papae rightists will rage and go into schism because the East not only won't "submit, submit, submit", the East won't even be asked to! And we wouldn't have anything to do with those groups, save perhaps the remains of the Western European churches, anyway.
At some point there'll be a reunion, but a good chunk of the Latin Church won't like it one bit.
Also the Christians in the west do not appriciate the fact that the Church of the east has to more or less fight to be able to survive in a more growing hostle Muslim world where often then not, they are the minority community.
Also if you are very knowledgebale about the history of for example, of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches in this country, ( USA ), as I have been doing some research, online and off, these branches of the Catholic family tree were not always treated in the best ways possible. Often the Latin Rite bishops would try to impose, early in the 20th century the pratice of "Latinizing" the Eastern Rites. I have read somewhere that it was so bad that some of the churches left Rome once again and joined up with an American branch of the Orthodox Church. So it is great that you can go in-depth with your comments.
The phyletism wasn't a dig. It's fact, and it's key reason why Orthodox in the U.S. can't form a single Church. The Greeks and Russians hate each other, and in the Oriental Orthodox communion, the Copts and the Ethiopians can't stop squabbling, not to mention the ridiculous fights among the Malankara Church over who's the top banana.
Look at the situations in the Ukraine and elsewhere in the Orthodox world where rival hierarchies each claim to be the real Orthodox hierarchy in a particular country. They recoil at any suggestion of allowing the ecumenical patriarch to help resolve the disputes.
No Orthodox will ever go along with papal infallibility or papal supremacy, or the Immaculate Conception, which the Roman Catholic Church considers non-negotiable.
My impression is formed by the countless Orthodox laity and clergy who I have met over the years.
Being a Byzantine Catholic who has tried living as Orthodox under Papal jurisdiction, I have gotten hit on both sides.
I'm not Catholic enough, and I'm not Orthodox enough. That's what colors my thinking that there isn't any middle ground because people are set in their ways.
"It's fact, and it's key reason why Orthodox in the U.S. can't form a single Church."
No, you're wrong. Phyletism has virtually nothing to do with it, at least not in the way you're thinking of it. The reason there isn't a single Orthodox Church in America is sitting on the Patriarchal Throne in Constantinople.
"Look at the situations in the Ukraine and elsewhere in the Orthodox world where rival hierarchies each claim to be the real Orthodox hierarchy in a particular country. They recoil at any suggestion of allowing the ecumenical patriarch to help resolve the disputes."
There are three churches which claim Ukraine. The UGCs, the Moscow Patriarchate and the Autocephallous Orthodox Patriarchate of Kiev. The first isn't likely to ask the EP for anything since they are in communion with Rome, for now. Their major-archbishop is insisting he be made a Patriarch...which +BXVI isn't going to do so they might take a hike and join up with Kiev or Constantiople (the latter unlikely right now) The Moscow Patriarchate speaks for itself and the Kiev Patriarchate HAS asked Constantinople for recognition but Constantinople wisely hasn't gotten involved, at least not yet since it is arguable that Ukraine is within the canonical jurisdiction of Moscow.
"No Orthodox will ever go along with papal infallibility or papal supremacy, or the Immaculate Conception, which the Roman Catholic Church considers non-negotiable."
Oh, you are quite right. Papal infallibilty as you understand it and especially "supremacy" will go. They are "negotiable", at least as most Catholics understand them. The IM is a necessary product of the way Blessed Augustine explains the Sin of Adam, a way which isn't even remotely within the consensus patrum, but the IM can be understood in other ways, nuanced, so as to be acceptable to all. It won't be a problem.
"My impression is formed by the countless Orthodox laity and clergy who I have met over the years."
Then I would suggest the laity with whom you have been speaking are not well informed an please, for me, tell the priests they ought to go back to the seminary and pay attention this time.
What is phyletism? Thanks for the answer response ahead of time.
If we Christians can go back to take a look again at John Chapter 17 about the prayer that Jesus prayed for his followers, then the issues being fought over would look trivial.
Funny story. When my bride and I were doing our premarriage stuff, the priest was an old Nebraskan who grew up in a time like you said. He joked that his father would rather go to the local Lutheran church (they were German after all) than the Irish Catholic church.
"He joked that his father would rather go to the local Lutheran church (they were German after all) than the Irish Catholic church."
That's exactly what I mean! :)
This is what I found on phyletism. Basically, as far as I understand, it means tribalism and establishing of separate Orthodox Parishes based on ethnicity. Constantinople patriarchate denounced these practices.
Not exactly. Phyletism means placing ethnicity before the catholicity of the Church. In other words, it's the attitude of, if you're not Greek, Russian, etc., you're not Orthodox.