Skip to comments.Orthodox-Catholic Commission to discuss primacy of the Pope at the meeting in October in Italy
Posted on 05/29/2007 8:53:16 AM PDT by kawaii
28 May 2007, 12:17
Orthodox-Catholic Commission for Theological Dialogue to discuss primacy of the Pope of Rome and Patriarch of Constantinople at the meeting in October in Italy
Vienna, May 28, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate intends to assert its own position in the discussion on the primacy of the Pope of Rome in Christendom at the second meeting of the Joint Orthodox-Catholic Theological Commission to take place in October in Ravenna, Italy.
Our principal affirmation is this: primacy in the Church is necessary, also on the universal level, but on the level of the Universal Church it cannot be the primacy of jurisdiction but only the primacy of honour, Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, Russian Church representative to European organizations, told Interfax on Monday.
There can be no compromises in this matter for the Moscow Patriarchate, he said. The aim of the theological dialogue is not to make a compromise but to identify the original understanding of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome in the early undivided Church, he noted.
Historically, the primacy of the Bishop of Rome in the Christian Church, from our point of view, was that of honour, not jurisdiction. That is to say, the jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome was never applied to all the Churches, the bishop stressed.
He recalls that in the second millennium, the Pope of Rome have become de facto Patriarch of the West, while in the East the Church is headed by four patriarchs of local Orthodox Churches.
After the breakup with Rome, primacy in the Orthodox world shifted automatically as it were to Constantinople, though all the early canons ascribe to the Bishop of Constantinople the second place after the Bishop of Rome; no canon speaks of the primacy of Constantinople, the bishop noted.
We consider it (the primacy of Constantinople - IF) exclusively as primacy of honour, while the See of Constantinople itself tends occasionally to give a broad interpretation to this primacy. These are the questions I believe around which principal problems will emerge, Bishop Hilarion said.
He says the Moscow Patriarchate is drafting a special document to reflect the official point of view of the Russian Orthodox Church on primacy in the Universal Church in general and the primacies of the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople in particular.
See the full text of interview under the Exclusive heading.
Question: These Patriarchs of local Orthodox Churches, do they have the same level of authority (or Jurisdiction) as the Pope has in the West, over their local Church? If so, why is there a rejection of the concept of Papal supremacy?
they aren’t able to declare an aspect of doctrine infailably if that’s what you mean...
Would one be impertinent to wonder out loud how this same argument might apply to the Moscow patriarchate? ;)
In all sincerity, I would be interested in your interpretation of this passage
they tried actually.
it applies to the Church as a whole.
At the risk of sounding like Arnie. . I'll be back
I’m curious, by what means is a doctrine declared infallible, or unchangable, or dogmatic, in the Church today and what are some relatively modern (post 16th Century) examples of this practice?
I can’t speak for an Orthodox interpretation, but I don’t think a Catholic interpretation would be totally dismissive of kawaii’s point either. The power to bind and loose is given to the Apostles corporately in Matt 18:18 after it is given to Peter singularly in Matt 16:
To frame the issue as an either-or doesn’t quite capture the complexity of Matt’s text. The “binding and loosing” which Peter is given personally is also shared among the Apostolic College, but as a body and not singularly.
How that balance is to be achieved between the Primus and the College of Bishops is above my pay grade, but it seems clear that some sort of balance is demanded in Scripture.
Here I am defending the Orthodox LOL...
But see Matt 18:18 for the Scripture behind kawaii’s logic, which clearly ascribes the power to bind and loose in the plural. I don’t think Catholics can be so dismissive of his point.
And as to Orthodox pride being the cause for schism....well, as a traditionalist Catholic, I’ve seen too much self-congratulatory pride on my side of aisle to offer that as an argument against the East.
1, Rome called the crusade, and never excommunicated the Bishops who preached that the crusaders were pre-forgiven for any sins in it’s taking. Further Rome has never returned the ‘booty’.
2. I don’t beleive the Pope is forbidden entry into Russia. Either way since the Pope is not the leader of a church in communion with the Orthodox, why would he be treated as anything other than the leader of a non-Orthodox group?
3. The filioque was added outside of a council so regardless of primacy the Pope excommunicated himself according to the canons of the councils which forbade changes.
4. There is no such primacy in scripture, where questions of doctrine are resolved in councilar form in the presence of the Holy Spirit, not by someone who arbitrarily decides they’re infailable by suggesting they were sitting down when they issued they’re decree however heretical or blasphemous it might actually be.
5. Of 5 Sees only one left the church, and that same one has since decided that it’d patriarch is infailable. He’ll have ex-ray vision soon too if there is not a return to deffering to the councils and the holy spirit.
I don’t beleive the Orthodox have declared anything infailable since well before the schism.
II. THE POWER OF THE KEYS
981 After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles “so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.”526 The apostles and their successors carry out this “ministry of reconciliation,” not only by announcing to men God’s forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith; but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in Baptism, and reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys, received from Christ:527
[The Church] has received the keys of the Kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit’s action. In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us.528
982 There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. “There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest.529 Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin.530
983 Catechesis strives to awaken and nourish in the faithful faith in the incomparable greatness of the risen Christ’s gift to his Church: the mission and the power to forgive sins through the ministry of the apostles and their successors:
The Lord wills that his disciples possess a tremendous power: that his lowly servants accomplish in his name all that he did when he was on earth.531
Priests have received from God a power that he has given neither to angels nor to archangels . . . . God above confirms what priests do here below.532
Were there no forgiveness of sins in the Church, there would be no hope of life to come or eternal liberation. Let us thank God who has given his Church such a gift.533
yet according to the CCC the whole episcopacy exercises the power of the keys which is given to THE CHURCH:
In Benedictus, a daily Meditation assembled from the writings of Pope Benedict, he recently commented on this passage. The words “love” are a play on words in the Greek. I don’t have the time to type this entire mediation, but it is directed at Peter’s primacy especially in view of his recent denial of Christ. See the note following 21:17
21:15. When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.
Cum ergo prandissent dicit Simoni Petro Iesus Simon Iohannis diligis me plus his dicit ei etiam Domine tu scis quia amo te dicit ei pasce agnos meos
21:16. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.
Dicit ei iterum Simon Iohannis diligis me ait illi etiam Domine tu scis quia amo te dicit ei pasce agnos meos
21:17. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.
Dicit ei tertio Simon Iohannis amas me contristatus est Petrus quia dixit ei tertio amas me et dicit ei Domine tu omnia scis tu scis quia amo te dicit ei pasce oves meas
**Feed my sheep... Our Lord had promised the spiritual supremacy to St. Peter; St. Matt. 16. 19; and here he fulfils that promise, by charging him with the superintendency of all his sheep, without exception; and consequently of his whole flock, that is, of his own church.**
21:18. Amen, amen, I say to thee, When thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee and lead thee whither thou wouldst not.
Amen amen dico tibi cum esses iunior cingebas te et ambulabas ubi volebas cum autem senueris extendes manus tuas et alius te cinget et ducet quo non vis
21:19. And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had said this, he saith to him: Follow me.
Hoc autem dixit significans qua morte clarificaturus esset Deum et hoc cum dixisset dicit ei sequere me
mediation = meditation
The short answer is yes. The Patriarchs have the authority to write new canons, change the liturgy, and pass judgement on cases. They can call councils, depose Bishops and priests under them, judge and regulate monasteries, and discipline clerics, monks, and nuns, as well as the lay faithful. All these things they have done in the past.
If so, why is there a rejection of the concept of Papal supremacy?
Because the Pope claims the jurisdiction of final appeal over all these things for the whole Church, and the right to intervene in the affiars of every Church, and not just the lands under him as Patriarch in Rome.
they arent able to declare an aspect of doctrine infailably if thats what you mean...
When the Patriarch of Constantinople presided over the Palamite Councils of 1341-1351, did he think they were not definitively settling doctrine under his guidance, but just issuing opinions?
When Dositheos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, made his profession of faith against Cyril Lukaris and Co. in 1672, did he think he was not definitively setting forth the position of the Orthodox Church against the inroads of Calvinist heresy, but just offering an opinion which one could take or leave at will?
One of the areas that could use much more examination by both sides here is the powers inherent in the office of Bishop, and the level of guidance provided by the Holy Spirit in preventing Bishops from falling into teaching heresy, and especially to the Chief Bishops in the various parts of the world - the Patriarchs. I think the position of the Pope vis-a-vis his own powers is quite clear.
However, historically speaking, it also seems clear that it is the will of Christ that the organization of the Church be along heirarchical lines with jurisdictional power resident in the Bishops of the chief cities of the world, and that these Bishops are to oversee the provincial Bishops in lesser towns. It is not an accident that St. Peter went to Antioch and then Rome, and sent St. Mark to Alexandria, while St. John went to Ephesus, St. Jude to Edessa, etc. The purposefully went to the largest cities and set up the Church as operating out of those places and organizing the province from the principal places.
An historical exploration of the actual life and practice of the Church as far as its operations, organization, and planning would do much to illuminate what the Church believes concerning primacy and jurisdiction within the Church.
What also should be explored is the organization of the Church outside the Empire, which would do much to illuminate the intentions of the organization within the Empire which is the nucleus of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Not only because it is illuminating, but also because the same issue is faced with relations of both Churches to the Oriental Orthodox and the Church of the East. Especially helpful here is the historical relationship of the Patriarch of Alexandria to the Ethiopian Church (a clearly paternalisitic/Pope-like role being played by the Patriarch towards the Ethiopians), the Patriarch of Antioch to the Persian Church in Seleucia-Ctesiphon (and the raising of that Church to Patriarchal dignity in the Nicean-Ephesian era), and the Patriarch of Constantinople to the Russian Church.
While the Church has always honored its great thinkers as Doctors, even while they were alive (thus the reverence accorded to St. Basil and St. Augustine, for example, neither of whom ever held a major see), those same Doctors lived under a system where they were under the Bishop of the chief city. St. Augustine may have been the light of Africa, but the Archbishop of Carthage was its ruler, and clearly held jurisdictional power over all the other Bishops including Augustine, while the Archbishop of Carthage in his times, Caecilian, himself answered to Rome.
When the de facto life of the Church is brought out de jure, the beliefs of the Church will be much more clear to everyone, making the self-understanding of the Pope and the various Patriarchs more understandable and hopefully integrable as a whole, so that all the Christian Churches might commune in peace with one another as one flock.
As an example of the types of subjects which truly need explored by each of the Church in gaining self-understanding to be able to explain in words as their beliefs based on the actions they actually undertake, there is the following comment from Vatican II's "Lumen Gentium":
N.B. Without hierarchical communion the ontologico-sacramental function [munus], which is to be distinguished from the juridico-canonical aspect, cannot be exercised. However, the Commission has decided that it should not enter into question of liceity and validity. These questions are left to theologians to discuss-specifically the question of the power exercised de facto among the separated Eastern Churches, about which there are various explanations.
To provide a biref synopsis, this paragraph is stating that the Roman Church, while not being in Communion with the Eastern Churches, nevertheless accepts that a true power of jurisdiction resides in the Bishops of those Churches which the Latin Bishops and the Pope are bound to recognize and follow the rulings of when cases come from those Churches to them (such as canonical rulings, acts of dispensation from laws, creation of new laws, etc.). For example, a couple who need a dispensation from the laws of the Church to be married obtain one from their local Orthodox Bishop. Later, they come to live in the west and take up Catholicism. The Catholic Church recognizes in practice the dispensation granted by the Orthodox Bishop, even though a strict interpretation of Roman Canon Law would say that because the Orthodox Bishop is not in communion with Rome, he does not hold power to dispense from law and therefore the couple is not really married (which would certainly be the ruling for anyone attempting to obtain a dispensation from an SSPX or Thuc Bishop). Therefore the Roman Law does not match the actual Roman practice. Similarly, Roman Law holds that all priests of the Church are forbidden to have marital intercourse after ordination. However, from Rome's view, the East changed this law legitimately for itself in the Quinisext Council in 692, thereby granting a perpetual indult in favor of priests married before ordination. Rome has always felt constrained to recognize this practice when Easterners have returned to union with Rome, even though it is contrary to Rome's self-understanding of the law of priestly continence, and even though at times the Bishops of the Uniate Churches have wanted to readopt the Roman discipline for their priests.
So even the Catholics need to do some self examination, and come to a fuller understanding of what they believe concerning the office of Bishop to intelligently participate in this discussion, because their actual practices do not correspond to their human laws, and the human laws are the actual face the Easterners see when they look at the Vatican jurisdictional apparatus.
Its difficult for East and West to make a union of the Churches before they truly understand all the implications of how they actually live the life of faith. The East accepting the pronouncements of Vatican I as a basis of union, for example, would only be useful if the West accepts and understands what the East thinks those canons are truly saying in how the Church should be organized, as the Uniate Bishops themselves noted when signing the decrees of Vatican I.
In other words, what are the rights and privileges of the Eastern Patriachs (and all Bishops for that matter), and how do those relate to and limit the jurisdiction of the Pope?
"I, DOSITHEUS, by the mercy of God, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and of all Palestine, declare and confess this to be the faith of the Eastern Church."
Was he wrong? Infallible means unable to err. Did Patriarch Dositheos err in proclaiming the faith in 1672?
it is one hundred percent possible for a pan orthodox council to find and declare heretical any aspect of his confession.
Thanks for that quote. Just so’s I’m not misunderstood, I don’t intend to undermine the Petrine authority....I just don’t want to set up an artificial either-or between Peter and the Apostles.
I have to go out shortly. If I find time tonight or tomorrow, I’d like to record that meditation by Pope Benedict on John 21. It struck me like a 2 x 4 and is quite an amazing meditation.
Have you read the “The Orthodox Way”? I recall there being a passage in there about Alexandria being second after Rome until it was changed at a Council, if I remember right, this article is incorrect in saying that Constantinople was second after Rome. Just curious if I remember it right.
Also, I do find this article very hopeful, based on some of the comments below, we are fortunate we don’t have any of the representatives from this meeting on this forum as the discussion quickly turned to negativities rather than the focus of the article which is entirely positive.
Which is why it is so important that Catholics not get into this artificial disagreement of...who was given the authority? Was it the Pope? Was it the College of Bishops? Was it the Church?
All of them. Because all of them are meant to function as a single unit, not as institutions at loggerheads with one another.
Surely not! The legions of heretical bishops prove the point.
I agree with your formulation that it is significant that what the Apostles were given corporately, Peter and Peter alone was given singularly. Which is why I cannot accept a mere "primacy of honor"...Christ gave Peter authority, not honor.
But he gave the bishops a binding and loosing authority as well--corporately. So--without prejudice to Peter's singular authority--we cannot ever deny the corporate side of it as well.
Kawaii pulled some interesting quotes out of the Catechism to that very effect.
as far as i can tell if the Pope takes the honary title, and the ability to call councils, and puts the filioque on ice, basically leaving the Orthodox to function as they have a reuinion could be feasible.
the uniates seem to already do this. it’s not like there’s uniate groups saying vatican 2 was a sham, and demanding a non english liturgy.
the question is what will hot heads do on both sides should this happen (i think you still end up with schism)
In Isaiah 22, we see the existence of the historical office of the vice-regent (king) of the kingdom of David. In the king's absence, the vice-regent held full plenary authority. As a sign of his authority, the vice-regent wore a pouch around his neck which contained a key --the key to the kingdom.
In the passage from Isaiah, we see this office being transferred from Shebna to Eliakim:
Isaiah 22:20-23Jesus is the eternal king of the House of David who is the power behind the keys.
"In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will be a seat of honor for the house of his father.
Revelation 3:7When Jesus gives Peter the "keys to the kingdom," he is placing Peter in the office of vice-regent of the eternal House of David, Christ's Church:
These are the words of him who is holy and true [Jesus], who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
I tell you that you are Rock (Peter), and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Matthew 16:19 "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."Here we see what has been described given to all of the assembled Apostles equally:
John 20:22-23 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."And Jesus speaks to the idea of one Apostle ruling over the others here:
Matthew 20:25-26 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant..."Acts 15 shows us the Apostles Council at Jerusalem, which is headed by James, not Peter, and their ultimate decision is binding on all of them.
As I said before, the two positions are untenable.
See my post #36.
it is one hundred percent possible for a pan orthodox council to find and declare heretical any aspect of his confession.
Has there been a pan-orthodox council since the schism?
i don’t know if there’s been one i’d call truly pan orthodox and that is probably in hopes that someday the whole church is united and can have a truly ecumenical one.
Except that Peter received it corporately in John (see above) and not singularly. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus says "I will give you...", not "I give you..."
He's referring to the future event where Peter receives the ability to bind and loose along with the rest of the assembled Apostles.
One thing is for certain, the Orthodox Bishops are not going to suddenly accept the same arguments that they have been rightly rejecting for over a millenium.
Tenable? Maybe,but is it true? Don't forget the obligation as a Catholic to hold as truth the Infallibility of the Pope in regards to faith and morals.
I think there are many more instances in the new testament providing examples of Peters Primacy among the apostle, even if some wish to deny what seems to me fairly conclusive proof of his infallibility, which flows from the charism of his office.
I will not post all the quotes, for I don't have time right know. But I'm sure the rest of you well informed RC's can supply.
John 20:22-23 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
You seem to have missed my point entirely. Yes, the Apostles are given the power to bind and loose, but only Peter is given "the keys of the kingdom."
What do the keys represent?
They have meaning historically, as the physical representation of the office of the vice-regent of the House of David. In Rev. 3:7, we see that Jesus is the power behind the keys. In Matthew 16:19, we see Jesus give the key of this office to Peter.
The parallelism of these verses is powerful.
Isaiah 22:22The keys are given to Peter, not the Apostles!
I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Peter is the vice-regent of the eternal King of the House of David, not the Apostles!
And this makes sense, because there was only one vice-regent of the Davidic kingdom; only one "keeper of the keys."
Sorry, but that is just silly. Either its correct or its not, and you as one of the faithful should know right away if it is correct or not if you are truly orthodox in faith.
If its incorrect, the Church should never have accepted it, and presented it to others (such as the English non-jurors) as truth, which it did. The idea that a Council will come along 350 years later and say X, Y, and Z in this document we proposed previously as representing the faith is heretical means you don't really believe in an unchanging faith given once to the saints, rather you believe the faith is whatever a Church Council says it is. You might as well accept the Latrocinium then.
Peter is told he "will" be given the keys but Matthew 16:19 does not tell of him actually receiving them. It is in John that they receive the Holy Spirit along with the ability to bind and loose and they do so all at the same time.
Cephas mentioned that there were other citations from Scripture to support primacy but the Orthodox do not take any of those to translate to the Bishop of Rome (so doing the cut-and-paste doesn't get us anywhere).
Ultimately, there is no way to reconcile these two positions and I do not believe that either side is going to alter their stance.
Good catch! I meant to say that the two positions can not be reconciled.