Thursday, September 21, 2006

Roman Catholic-Eastern Orthodox dialogue... again
Nothing will happen soon but it’s good the two sides are talking. From Huw Raphael.
The schism of 1054 created the two churches of Rome and Constantinople - now Istanbul, Turkey.
The MSM don’t get religion. That’s pretty bad from an RC news service. It’s the old misconception that Istanbul is the Orthodox Vatican. Orthodoxy is a communion of churches like the newer Anglican Communion only with no Protestantism (liberal or conservative) so it works better. The Patriarch of Constantinople was once important because his see was in the new capital of the Roman Empire but I don’t think he’s even a symbolic/honorary head of the Orthodox communion like ++Cantuar is of the Anglican. Put another way, Orthodox identity is to do with being in the Orthodox communion which happens to include C’ople but is not defined as being specifically in communion with it like communion with Rome defines being RC or with Canterbury being Anglican (strictly speaking — you could say the fine churches of the Continuum are anglican but not Anglican).

That and there were at least two churches in a communion of churches before 1054!

Amidst the rhetoric:
Cardinal Walter Kasper said the two churches should turn to their "unity in God, one faith, one baptism."
True but pretty vapid. One could say that about mainline Protestant churches with whom corporate reunion is of course impossible. (The way to to go with them is individual conversions.) Because that reunion is possible and even theoretically desirable here this dialogue makes sense and has promise.
A release from the Vatican this morning said that two central and interconnected questions will be addressed by the meeting, “the primacy of the Bishop of Rome...
That’s a real issue. It would make sense for a communion that is in a sense one church to have a visible head, a patriarch of patriarchs, but the early and mediæval church couldn’t have had direct papal jurisdiction over all even if it wanted to. Ranks of bishops are man-made; the episcopate is not. And to muddle things further the Western liberals either oppose Roman authority or in theory sound like ultramontanist caricatures: ‘Why doesn’t the Pope use his power and (adopt whatever impossible pet cause they’re talking about)? The next Pope will do it!’ To which regarding faith or morals the Pope’s answer is ‘Not that I’d want to but I can’t anyway — I’m only the Pope!
...and the theme of ‘uniatism (regarding Eastern Churches who maintain their own Rites, but acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope).’”
Only an issue in that nobody knowledgeable wants to see the Orthodox end up compromised (diluted rite, even liberalised) like the Novus Ordo or the Byzantine Catholics. The accusations of proselytism are rubbish: that’s not what Rome teaches and it doesn’t try to use the BCs that way. The people in Galicia took back the churches the Soviets stole from them, end of story. Get over it.

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