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  #16  
Old Feb 13, '12, 12:05 am
ConstantineTG ConstantineTG is offline
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Default Re: Questions relating to the Organizations of the Eastern Churches

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Originally Posted by mardukm View Post
Dear brother Malphono,


Actually, the universal Synod is intended to have some legislative role in the Church, not merely consultative.
I think he was referring to the Episcopal Conferences of today as being "consultative" only. And I agree with him.
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  #17  
Old Feb 13, '12, 1:27 am
malphono malphono is offline
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Default Re: Questions relating to the Organizations of the Eastern Churches

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Originally Posted by mardukm View Post
Actually, the universal Synod is intended to have some legislative role in the Church, not merely consultative.
Well, in practical terms, it has about as much authority as does the "presbyteral council" of a diocese. Or the Kuwaiti parliament. It can deliberate and recommend, but it cannot enforce, nor can it override a veto.

If it had real authority, it would be an Ecumenical (or even a Local) Council, which it obviously is not.
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  #18  
Old Feb 13, '12, 7:24 am
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ByzCathCantor ByzCathCantor is offline
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Default Re: Questions relating to the Organizations of the Eastern Churches

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Originally Posted by Phillip Rolfes View Post
Malphono is correct. The last two Melkite Patriarchs, including the current Patriarch Gregorios III (Laham), have rejected the red hat. Why? Because in reality it is a degradation not an elevation for a Patriarch to be made a Cardinal, as Kyr Elias Zoghby pointed out. A problem emerges, however. It has been recognized that in order to accomplish anything in Rome one must be a Cardinal. Two responses have developed to this problem:

1) The response on the part of the Ukrainian Patriarchs to accept the red hat for the practical purpose of actually getting something done in Rome.

2) The response of the Melkite Patriarchs to reject the red hat and just behave as a Patriarchal Church ought to behave (at least in the "traditional" jurisdictional territories). As I've heard it said, it's easier to apologize than to ask permission.

Both responses are actually less than ideal, when you think about it. The first makes a concession to a current abuse of power, if only for the sake of survival. The second risks causing friction within the Catholic Communion. Hence the Melkites are so often referred to as "dissidents" or "problematic" or "borderline schismatic" or even "heretical." In both responses, however, we see how the Eastern Catholics are really that itch that just won't go away until the problem of the East-West Schism is resolved.
There is merit to both approaches IMO at this time, yet the problem is not that various EC Churches in communion with Rome have taken different approaches to their relationship with Rome. Rather, is that any of the EC Churches feel the need to take an approach at all.

In reality, the Catholic Church is still wrestling with the concept of a communion of broader traditions and disciplines, whereas it has a decidedly centralized model of governance. For a long time, the unfortunate trend was to "Latinize" the EC Churches. Now Rome has actually gone to the opposite extreme, sometimes castigating some of the EC Churches for not restoring traditions quickly enough. Yet, traditions are one thing, and discipline and governance are others. When it came time for the Ruthenians to promulgate revised norms for their sui juris church, for example, the right to ordain married clergy was reasserted in the submitted draft. Yet, a compromise position was forced in the end, requiring approval of Rome (although it was more or less that such approval would be granted). The result - the hierarchs of the Ruthenian Church in the U.S. are extremely reluctant to support candidates in the U.S. who wish to marry. So, have the traditions been restored? Is this truly a sui juris Church?

This has clear implications for restoration of unity with the Orthodox Churches and will have to be resolved.
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  #19  
Old Feb 13, '12, 8:19 am
Phillip Rolfes Phillip Rolfes is offline
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Default Re: Questions relating to the Organizations of the Eastern Churches

ByzCathCantor,

Unfortunately you are so very correct. After centuries of schism and separation from the East, Rome is still struggling to deal with the relatively recent reality of Easterners now in her midst. Apart from the Maronites there was no Eastern presence in the Catholic Communion until the Union of Brest, as I'm sure you well know. During the time of estrangement many things went on within the Western Patriarchate to which the Pope had to respond. Being cut off from our Eastern brethren, I believe the response was obviously one-sided and unbalance. Rome is still struggling to correct the resultant disciplinary errors that led to an over-centralized Western Church. But historically, given the circumstances, I can understand why Rome responded the way it did. It must've been hard to deal with the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of ceasero-papism, lay investiture, the Great Western Schism, the Protestant Reformation, etc. alone. Without the input of the East I can certainly understand why Rome responded to those situations the way it did.

Happily we now live in a century where not only has communication be restored, but communion has been partly re-established through the various "unia" (no negativity intended by the use of that word). Given the new situation, Rome has started to reform. But a 2000 year old bride changes only very slowly.
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  #20  
Old Feb 13, '12, 10:16 am
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ByzCathCantor ByzCathCantor is offline
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Default Re: Questions relating to the Organizations of the Eastern Churches

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Originally Posted by Phillip Rolfes View Post
Rome is still struggling to correct the resultant disciplinary errors that led to an over-centralized Western Church. But historically, given the circumstances, I can understand why Rome responded the way it did.
Thanks as always Phillip for your additional comments. And yes, one could argue the other way as well. When one considers the geographic reach of the Roman Church and the political turmoil it has survived in various areas throughout the world, one could argue that its reach and centrality in several aspects helped the Church survive and thrive even when parts of the Church faced the darkest of times. We can look to our own Eastern Catholic cousins in Eastern Europe as a perfect example. Despite suppression and martyrdom of many in defense of their Church under communist regimes, their faith in God and the knowledge that their Church would stand irrespective had to be a source of comfort and strength throughout those difficult times.

In addition, considering the broad and global scope of the Roman Church, one could also argue that this centrality ensured a consistency of thought and message that were essential to keeping the traditions and discipline of the Church intact as the Roman Church grew and spread. We see other instances around us where more liberal lines of thinking have influenced and infiltrated hierarchies of other smaller churches (e.g. the Anglican communion). And this has happened over the course of a few generations. In retrospect, it is amazing that the Catholic Church has managed to maintain itself and its teachings on a global scale for so very long.

And yet, that doesn't mean that things can't work differently in a reunified Church, and our most recent Pontiffs have definitely expressed a willingness to consider other options, including a redefined Papacy. If our Pontiffs can be open-minded in this regard, I hope we can as well!
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"Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her."- Catechism of the Catholic Church, "Toward Unity" (CCC 820)
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  #21  
Old Feb 13, '12, 11:08 am
Phillip Rolfes Phillip Rolfes is offline
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Default Re: Questions relating to the Organizations of the Eastern Churches

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Originally Posted by ByzCathCantor View Post
Thanks as always Phillip for your additional comments. And yes, one could argue the other way as well. When one considers the geographic reach of the Roman Church and the political turmoil it has survived in various areas throughout the world, one could argue that its reach and centrality in several aspects helped the Church survive and thrive even when parts of the Church faced the darkest of times. We can look to our own Eastern Catholic cousins in Eastern Europe as a perfect example. Despite suppression and martyrdom of many in defense of their Church under communist regimes, their faith in God and the knowledge that their Church would stand irrespective had to be a source of comfort and strength throughout those difficult times.

In addition, considering the broad and global scope of the Roman Church, one could also argue that this centrality ensured a consistency of thought and message that were essential to keeping the traditions and discipline of the Church intact as the Roman Church grew and spread. We see other instances around us where more liberal lines of thinking have influenced and infiltrated hierarchies of other smaller churches (e.g. the Anglican communion). And this has happened over the course of a few generations. In retrospect, it is amazing that the Catholic Church has managed to maintain itself and its teachings on a global scale for so very long.

And yet, that doesn't mean that things can't work differently in a reunified Church, and our most recent Pontiffs have definitely expressed a willingness to consider other options, including a redefined Papacy. If our Pontiffs can be open-minded in this regard, I hope we can as well!
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  #22  
Old Feb 13, '12, 12:06 pm
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Anathama Sit Anathama Sit is offline
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Default Re: Questions relating to the Organizations of the Eastern Churches

Good post ByzCathCantor,

It is my prayer that we may all become One as well.

God Bless,
Anathama Sit
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