A possible step towards unity?


#1

What if instead of looking for a top-down solution, Catholics and Orthodox tried for a bottom up solution? Individual Roman and Orthodox dioceses, but not entire churches having dialogue with eachother with the goal of intercommunion. For example, Roman Diocese A and Orthodox Diocese A are not in communion with each other. Roman Bishop A and Orthodox Bishop A reach terms for intercommunion between their dioceses. Roman Diocese B and Orthodox Diocese A may not be in communion with each other, but this would not reflect the terms between Roman Diocese A and Orthodox Diocese B. Considering that Catholics already permit Orthodox to communion and in limited circumstances Orthodox permit Catholics to communion, is there any reason why this could not work on a larger scale if it already can on a smaller scale? Maybe not even dioceses but individual parishes with pastors agreeing to communion?


#2

[quote="MarcusAndreas, post:1, topic:266249"]
What if instead of looking for a top-down solution, Catholics and Orthodox tried for a bottom up solution? Individual Roman and Orthodox dioceses, but not entire churches having dialogue with eachother with the goal of intercommunion. For example, Roman Diocese A and Orthodox Diocese A are not in communion with each other. Roman Bishop A and Orthodox Bishop A reach terms for intercommunion between their dioceses. Roman Diocese B and Orthodox Diocese A may not be in communion with each other, but this would not reflect the terms between Roman Diocese A and Orthodox Diocese B. Considering that Catholics already permit Orthodox to communion and in limited circumstances Orthodox permit Catholics to communion, is there any reason why this could not work on a larger scale if it already can on a smaller scale? Maybe not even dioceses but individual parishes with pastors agreeing to communion?

[/quote]

Especially since the Orthodox are fond of reminding us that the whole Church is located in each episcopal see...thereby mitigating the idea of a universal Church under one pontiff.


#3

[quote="MarcusAndreas, post:1, topic:266249"]
What if instead of looking for a top-down solution, Catholics and Orthodox tried for a bottom up solution? Individual Roman and Orthodox dioceses, but not entire churches having dialogue with eachother with the goal of intercommunion. For example, Roman Diocese A and Orthodox Diocese A are not in communion with each other. Roman Bishop A and Orthodox Bishop A reach terms for intercommunion between their dioceses. Roman Diocese B and Orthodox Diocese A may not be in communion with each other, but this would not reflect the terms between Roman Diocese A and Orthodox Diocese B. Considering that Catholics already permit Orthodox to communion and in limited circumstances Orthodox permit Catholics to communion, is there any reason why this could not work on a larger scale if it already can on a smaller scale? Maybe not even dioceses but individual parishes with pastors agreeing to communion?

[/quote]

I am pretty sure Roman Catholic (by that I mean Latin Catholic) dioceses are not authorized or empowered to engage in this sort of thing on their own.

For their part Orthodox diocesan bishops are unlikely to act without the prior agreement of their respective synods.


#4

More than ever unity with other Christian denominations is possible. Look at the inspiration Tebow has done for belief in Christ.


#5

[quote="Hesychios, post:3, topic:266249"]
I am pretty sure Roman Catholic (by that I mean Latin Catholic) dioceses are not authorized or empowered to engage in this sort of thing on their own.

For their part Orthodox diocesan bishops are unlikely to act without the prior agreement of their respective synods.

[/quote]

Oh but they are. As long as what they do is not heretical they surely are able to make these kinds of biding and loosing!! When enough of them do it together...we call it TRADITION!!....:p


#6

[quote="MarcusAndreas, post:1, topic:266249"]
What if instead of looking for a top-down solution, Catholics and Orthodox tried for a bottom up solution? Individual Roman and Orthodox dioceses, but not entire churches having dialogue with eachother with the goal of intercommunion. For example, Roman Diocese A and Orthodox Diocese A are not in communion with each other. Roman Bishop A and Orthodox Bishop A reach terms for intercommunion between their dioceses. Roman Diocese B and Orthodox Diocese A may not be in communion with each other, but this would not reflect the terms between Roman Diocese A and Orthodox Diocese B. Considering that Catholics already permit Orthodox to communion and in limited circumstances Orthodox permit Catholics to communion, is there any reason why this could not work on a larger scale if it already can on a smaller scale? Maybe not even dioceses but individual parishes with pastors agreeing to communion?

[/quote]

A bishop who made such an agreement without the consent of his synod would be deposed, no doubt about it.


#7

[quote="Cavaradossi, post:6, topic:266249"]
A bishop who made such an agreement without the consent of his synod would be deposed, no doubt about it.

[/quote]

And therefore would not be considered a sign of unity but a sign of schism among the Orthodox. That is, instead of uniting the Orthodox and Catholic communions, it would be a pledge of favoritism towards Rome?

I wonder what would happen if a synod did approve, however...


#8

We are not talking about some sort of universal resumption of communion. We are talking about the admittance of individuals to the chalice by individual bishops and pastors. We are talking about something that is already happening.

Whatever happened in Orthodoxy to ..."where the bishop is there is the Church"...Is that only words or does it mean something?

Who is it now that's all hung up on authority?


#9

[quote="Elijahmaria, post:8, topic:266249"]
We are not talking about some sort of universal resumption of communion. We are talking about the admittance of individuals to the chalice by individual bishops and pastors. We are talking about something that is already happening.

Whatever happened in Orthodoxy to ..."where the bishop is there is the Church"...Is that only words or does it mean something?

Who is it now that's all hung up on authority?

[/quote]

What happened to following the canons which clearly state that a bishop acting contrary to the wishes of his metropolitan is not allowed unless the synod rules against the judgment of the metropolitan?

The fact of the matter is that a similar model of unity had already been been proposed in the form if the Zoghby Initiative, which was cautiously criticized by the then-cardinal Ratzinger. Union will not likely occur in the method mentioned in the OP.


#10

[quote="Cavaradossi, post:9, topic:266249"]
What happened to following the canons which clearly state that a bishop acting contrary to the wishes of his metropolitan is not allowed unless the synod rules against the judgment of the metropolitan?

The fact of the matter is that a similar model of unity had already been been proposed in the form if the Zoghby Initiative, which was cautiously criticized by the then-cardinal Ratzinger. Union will not likely occur in the method mentioned in the OP.

[/quote]

One man one vote. Metropolitans and Patriarchs are just bishops and not even bishops with different hats.

What are you telling us?...That there is such a thing as Primatial Power in Orthodoxy?


#11

[quote="Elijahmaria, post:10, topic:266249"]
One man one vote. Metropolitans and Patriarchs are just bishops and not even bishops with different hats.

What are you telling us?...That there is such a thing as Primatial Power in Orthodoxy?

[/quote]

Did I ever say otherwise? Bishops are not free to act as they please if rebuked by their metropolitan (or worse their entire synod), and local synods are not free to act contrary to the wishes of a pan-Orthodox or 'ecumenical' council. It is primacy beyond the level of patriarchates which is a disputed concept (i.e., universal primacy and jurisdiction).

Of course, on the other hand metropolitans and patriarchs are not free to act against the wishes of their synods either (without risking deposition).


#12

[quote="TarkanAttila, post:7, topic:266249"]
And therefore would not be considered a sign of unity but a sign of schism among the Orthodox. That is, instead of uniting the Orthodox and Catholic communions, it would be a pledge of favoritism towards Rome?

[/quote]

Well, here is the problem, I will try to make the explanation clear from an Orthodox point of view but I hope no one is hurt by it, that is not ever my intention ...

For an Orthodox bishop to accept communion from or offer communion to a Papal bishop, would be virtually telling the world that whatever deviations in belief the Papacy endorses are not a big deal anymore. That would be misleading, the differences in theology are a huge deal and we owe it to ourselves and to our children to see that they are resolved first.

Even today, a convert from Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy has to make a set of renunciations. These are specific repudiations of some very basic (and as some Roman Catholics would say of paramount importance) RC dogmas.

Any Orthodox bishop who will admit a Roman Catholic bishop to the table is at risk of relativising the faith.

If anyone wonders why Eastern Catholic bishops are not in communion right now with Orthodox bishops, that is the reason. They 'broke faith' by admitting Roman Catholic bishops to their Holy Eucharist long ago. They thus at the time cut themselves off from the rest of Orthodoxy. Their excommunication was a matter of necessity. [Of course the rest is history, we know that in the intervening years the Eastern Catholic body of bishops was gradually formed along Latin lines, and taught Latin theology, and now they have had the CCEO imposed upon them. Today they are not considered Orthodox bishops in any fashion whatever.]

It should be noted also that even when an informal or 'under the table' exception is made to commune lay RC in an Orthodox temple, it is almost always believed to be a practicing Eastern Catholic, not a practicising Latin Catholic, who is allowed this privilige. This is probably because they are perceived to beleve the same as Orthodox, and the seperation is more of an issue of church politics for Eastern Catholics, than of belief.

Now we see that some Eastern Catholics would like to style themselves as Orthodox "in communion with" Rome. It is all very nice that they claim to believe only what Orthodox believe, and nothing more, but if they still choose to commune with the Papacy and other Roman Catholics when there is a perfectly good Orthodox temple available to them they have essentially relativised the faith. "I'm OK, You're OK" does not work well here, it could be perceived as just another example of Cafeteria Catholicism.

[quote="TarkanAttila, post:7, topic:266249"]

I wonder what would happen if a synod did approve, however...

[/quote]

It is possible, but then they would have to be aware that they might lose communion with their sister churches. Actually, Orthodox are always aware of the importance of maintaining communion with one another, of maintining this unity. They might be fighting like cats and dogs off and on over other issues, but they are very unlikely to act even as entire synods without one another's expressed approval in matters like this.


#13

This practice, while in the service books, is not adhered to generally. Moreover, for Catholics, the manner of reception into Orthodoxy has certainly been, in the overwhelming number of cases, through confession and communion.

If anyone wonders why Eastern Catholic bishops are not in communion right now with Orthodox bishops, that is the reason. They ‘broke faith’ by admitting Roman Catholic bishops to their Holy Eucharist long ago. They thus at the time cut themselves off from the rest of Orthodoxy. Their excommunication was a matter of necessity. [Of course the rest is history, we know that in the intervening years the Eastern Catholic body of bishops was gradually formed along Latin lines, and taught Latin theology, and now they have had the CCEO imposed upon them. Today they are not considered Orthodox bishops in any fashion whatever.]

The real breaking of faith was the splitting of theological hairs that led to breaking of communion, and the digging in of heels to the point of indifference, and even hostility, to the restoration of communion. Relations between Eastern and Western churches at the geo-cultural interface did not really suffer a decisive breach until the Union of Brest was proclaimed. If there was a perceived need for excommunication it was not for the reasons you claim.

As to the rest of your history… the statement about gradual formation is simply untrue; the statement about teaching Latin theology, while not untrue per se, is unmeasured and misleading; the statement about “imposed” has no foundation. Finally, I don’t know who is doing the considering about Eastern Catholic Bishops, but I am fine with them being considered Eastern Catholic Bishops.

It should be noted also that even when an informal or ‘under the table’ exception is made to commune lay RC in an Orthodox temple, it is almost always believed to be a practicing Eastern Catholic, not a practicising Latin Catholic, who is allowed this privilige. This is probably because they are perceived to beleve the same as Orthodox, and the seperation is more of an issue of church politics for Eastern Catholics, than of belief.

This observation, at face value, undercuts the claims against Eastern Catholics in the paragraph quoted above. Apparently, there are those who think excommunication was not and is not necessary, and that what was broken was not the faith, but political niceties. And that the theology of Greek Catholic is somehow sufficiently Orthodox.

Now we see that some Eastern Catholics would like to style themselves as Orthodox “in communion with” Rome. It is all very nice that they claim to believe only what Orthodox believe, and nothing more, but if they still choose to commune with the Papacy and other Roman Catholics when there is a perfectly good Orthodox temple available to them they have essentially relativised the faith. “I’m OK, You’re OK” does not work well here, it could be perceived as just another example of Cafeteria Catholicism.

Not only would they like to, they actually do. I am not an advocate of the terminology, and really don’t know enough of the beliefs of those who use it to discern their faith, in particular its being “relativized”. As to “I’m OK, You’re OK”. I think that this within limits of discerning fundamental theology from theological hair splitting, this approach has far more merit than a stiff necked approach that has given us such glorious episodes as Eucharistic desecration over the deep, deep issue of azymes. The attitude is not about being relativistic, indifferent, or in the cafeteria, rather it is about having the compunction which leads us to say: You may be OK, but I am have a way to go. Or better:

Yea, O Lord and King,grant that I may perceive my own transgressions, and judge not my brother


#14

[quote="Hesychios, post:12, topic:266249"]
Well, here is the problem, I will try to make the explanation clear from an Orthodox point of view but I hope no one is hurt by it, that is not ever my intention ...

For an Orthodox bishop to accept communion from or offer communion to a Papal bishop, would be virtually telling the world that whatever deviations in belief the Papacy endorses are not a big deal anymore. That would be misleading, the differences in theology are a huge deal and we owe it to ourselves and to our children to see that they are resolved first.

Even today, a convert from Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy has to make a set of renunciations. These are specific repudiations of some very basic (and as some Roman Catholics would say of paramount importance) RC dogmas.

Any Orthodox bishop who will admit a Roman Catholic bishop to the table is at risk of relativising the faith.

If anyone wonders why Eastern Catholic bishops are not in communion right now with Orthodox bishops, that is the reason. They 'broke faith' by admitting Roman Catholic bishops to their Holy Eucharist long ago. They thus at the time cut themselves off from the rest of Orthodoxy. Their excommunication was a matter of necessity. [Of course the rest is history, we know that in the intervening years the Eastern Catholic body of bishops was gradually formed along Latin lines, and taught Latin theology, and now they have had the CCEO imposed upon them. Today they are not considered Orthodox bishops in any fashion whatever.]

It should be noted also that even when an informal or 'under the table' exception is made to commune lay RC in an Orthodox temple, it is almost always believed to be a practicing Eastern Catholic, not a practicising Latin Catholic, who is allowed this privilige. This is probably because they are perceived to beleve the same as Orthodox, and the seperation is more of an issue of church politics for Eastern Catholics, than of belief.

Now we see that some Eastern Catholics would like to style themselves as Orthodox "in communion with" Rome. It is all very nice that they claim to believe only what Orthodox believe, and nothing more, but if they still choose to commune with the Papacy and other Roman Catholics when there is a perfectly good Orthodox temple available to them they have essentially relativised the faith. "I'm OK, You're OK" does not work well here, it could be perceived as just another example of Cafeteria Catholicism.

[/quote]

I understand your concerns about relativising Christianity. However, is it at all possible Catholics and Orthodox are merely expressing the same truths but in different words?

We call the fall of Adam his reception of "original sin". You call it his fall from grace, or lack thereof. Mary was "full of grace" and free from "original sin", meaning she did not take the fall Adam had, so to speak. You say "Dormition"; we say Assumption. Even the Filioque, a common argument, appears to be a misconception on the Orthodox side. As I understand it, Christ is not, erm, the co-creator or co-progenitor of the HS. But As the HS comes from God the Father, He also passes through God the Son.

Now I am not accusing you necessarily, but is it possible perhaps the Patriarchs and bishops just "can't read Latin", so to speak? Perhaps they cannot understand the Latin position? Because I honestly see no conflict; your theology and my own seem to be the same - just in different terms - Greek vs. Latin.:confused:

It is possible, but then they would have to be aware that they might lose communion with their sister churches. Actually, Orthodox are always aware of the importance of maintaining communion with one another, of maintaining this unity. They might be fighting like cats and dogs off and on over other issues, but they are very unlikely to act even as entire synods without one another's expressed approval in matters like this.

Like true families. :)


#15

[quote="dvdjs, post:13, topic:266249"]
This practice, while in the service books, is not adhered to generally. Moreover, for Catholics, the manner of reception into Orthodoxy has certainly been, in the overwhelming number of cases, through confession and communion.

[/quote]

I'm positive that my parish still asks Roman Catholics to renounce certain heresies and to recite the creed sans filioque before being christmated, and my parish is an otherwise relatively liberal Greek parish in terms of praxis. Where is this happening, where Catholics are admitted into Holy Orthodoxy with only confession and communion without even first being chrismated?


#16

[quote="Cavaradossi, post:15, topic:266249"]
I'm positive that my parish still asks Roman Catholics to renounce certain heresies and to recite the creed sans filioque before being christmated, and my parish is an otherwise relatively liberal Greek parish in terms of praxis. Where is this happening, where Catholics are admitted into Holy Orthodoxy with only confession and communion without even first being chrismated?

[/quote]

First, I've been to the reception of many Western Christians in an OCA DoW mission, but have never hear the renunciation part of the service taken. I heard that this happened in the case of a member who was received in a Serbian parish. On the other hand the Creed was always taken, naturally without filoque. The vast majority of Catholic that have been received into Orthodoxy have been Greek Catholics. I can tell yolu how that went in my grandparents village in Slovakia: a rep of the Orthodox church came with government thugs and coerced the village priest to sign papers transferring the church and all of its members to Orthodoxy. That was the manner of reception. Similar for all of the millions gathered by the czars and commisars.


#17

[quote="dvdjs, post:16, topic:266249"]
I can tell yolu how that went in my grandparents village in Slovakia: a rep of the Orthodox church came with government thugs and coerced the village priest to sign papers transferring the church and all of its members to Orthodoxy. That was the manner of reception.

[/quote]

Surely you have not intentionally derailed a thread about unity.....to begin a debate about forced conversions? :tsktsk:


#18

[quote="Mickey, post:17, topic:266249"]
Surely you have not intentionally derailed a thread about unity.....to begin a debate about forced conversions? :tsktsk:

[/quote]

Sometimes it is appropriate to allow the truth to come out, Mickey. Particularly when the witness is first hand. So often the plight of eastern Catholics is eclipsed by the loud noises coming from Orthodox believers.

That is not said in anger or distress. Just the facts, sir. We are each allowed to be upset by what we've done to one another. We are allowed to speak our individual truths. What we should avoid is beating one another over the head with it...eh?


#19

[quote="Elijahmaria, post:18, topic:266249"]
Sometimes it is appropriate to allow the truth to come out, Mickey. Particularly when the witness is first hand. So often the plight of eastern Catholics is eclipsed by the loud noises coming from Orthodox believers.

[/quote]

Yes Maam. But I know of many such ocurrences from people that have witnessed it first hand from the other side. And every time this type of "allowing the truth to come out" starts on a thread.....it descends quickly to vitriol. Also, it was not the purpose of this thread in the first place.

That is all.


#20

[quote="MarcusAndreas, post:1, topic:266249"]
What if instead of looking for a top-down solution, Catholics and Orthodox tried for a bottom up solution? Individual Roman and Orthodox dioceses, but not entire churches having dialogue with eachother with the goal of intercommunion. For example, Roman Diocese A and Orthodox Diocese A are not in communion with each other. Roman Bishop A and Orthodox Bishop A reach terms for intercommunion between their dioceses. Roman Diocese B and Orthodox Diocese A may not be in communion with each other, but this would not reflect the terms between Roman Diocese A and Orthodox Diocese B. Considering that Catholics already permit Orthodox to communion and in limited circumstances Orthodox permit Catholics to communion, is there any reason why this could not work on a larger scale if it already can on a smaller scale? Maybe not even dioceses but individual parishes with pastors agreeing to communion?

[/quote]

Surely the question would be 'to what purpose?'

If we are talking about diocese in an area where both Churches are thin on the ground, where a town may have a Catholic Church but not an Orthodox one, and the next town 100 miles away might have an Orthodox but not a Catholic Church, then I can see the merits of this. There are a few rare situations where this already happens, such as the Assyrians and Chaldeans in Iran, possibly Russian Orthodox and Catholics in some parts of Alaska (but not certain on that one) and Melkites and Antiochians in parts of the Middle East under persecution.

On the other hand, if we are talking about Catholics going to their local Orthodox Church because they prefer the liturgy there, or Orthodox going to confession in the Catholic Church because they prefer the priest there, then there would be more of a problem. I would imagine Orthodox and Catholic bishops would want to know exactly who their flock are, and how best to take care of their needs.


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