Ecumenical Council Question

In the early councils, was it necessary for the other patriarchs to confirm the decrees of the council or does this just apply to the bishop of Rome?

[quote=Hegesippus]In the early councils, was it necessary for the other patriarchs to confirm the decrees of the council or does this just apply to the bishop of Rome?
[/quote]

Just the Bishop of Rome.

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Just the Bishop of Rome.
[/quote]

I wonder if the Eastern Orthodox today would affirm this or not?

From The Councils of the Church: A Short History by Norman Tanner, page 20, bold added:

The question remains whether approval by the bishop of Rome was regarded as necessary. On the one hand, his explicit approval was not invariably expected or even sought, at least immediately. The very important creed of Constantinople I, for example, appears to have received no formal papal approval until after it was accepted by the Council of Chalcedon seventy years later in 451. Popes opposed the summoning of Chalcedon and took time before approving Constantiople II and Nicaea II. On the other hand, the approval of the bishop of Rome was sought as early as Nicaea I, and his sanction gradually came to be accepted as necessary for the decrees of an ecumenical council. But the approval of the other major sees, particularly Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch, was also regarded as necessary, so that Rome’s consent must be see within the context of the principle of unanimity, mentioned earlier, rather than as some isolated fiat.

[quote=Dan-Man916]I wonder if the Eastern Orthodox today would affirm this or not?
[/quote]

Of course not, but then think of why they are Orthodox and not Catholic?

[quote=Catholic2003]From The Councils of the Church: A Short History by Norman Tanner, page 20, bold added:

But the approval of the other major sees, particularly Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch, was also regarded as necessary …
[/quote]

Regarded as necessary by whom? Certainly not by Jesus.

[quote=Matt16_18]Regarded as necessary by whom? Certainly not by Jesus.
[/quote]

Jesus speaks through the Church.

I believe all the Patriarchs had to agree to the Ecumenical Council for it to be Ecumenical - provided they were orthodox, of course — in which case they can be regarded as being “in union with the Pope.”

I do not think it is so much that bishops had to be explicitly in union with the Pope of Rome. But I believe that by their orthodoxy, they had, at the very least, to be implictly united to the Pope of Rome.

No matter what our Orthodox or Protestant brethren may think, the Pope of Rome was indeed the preeminent (though not the ONLY) standard of orthodoxy in the ancient Church. The other Churches had at various times been ruled by UNorthodox patriarchs. So it is easy to say that being united to the bishop of Rome is a proximately good test for one’s orthodoxy. Still, we should never forget that the Pope, according to the definitions of Vatican I, is himself bound by Sacred Tradition, and must serve it.

Blessings,
marduk

Was there ever an instance where one of the Eastern Patriarchs did not sign off on the Council and it was still considered Ecumenical?

[quote=Hegesippus]Was there ever an instance where one of the Eastern Patriarchs did not sign off on the Council and it was still considered Ecumenical?
[/quote]

Yes I believe every one after the eighth council.

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Yes I believe every one after the eighth council.
[/quote]

:rotfl: :clapping:

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Yes I believe every one after the eighth council.
[/quote]

might i add pre-schism

Dear brother Hegesippus,

The Council of Chalcedon was accepted as Ecumenical even though the Pope of Alexandria did not accept it. What occurred was that the legitimate Patriarch was deposed, and a puppet Patriarch put in his place who accepted the decrees of the Council. Technically speaking, then, the Council of Chalcedon could be regarded an Ecumenical Council.

Blessings,
Marduk

mardukm: At the same Council, the Fathers affirmed the Tome of Leo, and declared that the Blessed St. Peter had spoken through the Roman Pontiff. I recall reading somewhere that Alexandria and Antioch were criticized for daring to stand in judgement of the Archbishop of Old Rome. Is this true?
Either way, it would seem that the Council of Chalcedon proves that not all patriarchs need approve of a Council for it to be Ecumenical (at least it should do so for Catholics and Eastern Orthodox).
Certainly Catholic doctrine requires only that the Roman Pontiff ratify the canons of an Ecumenical Council.
Does anyone know if the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs formally ratified the documents of Vatican II? A fair portion of Vatican II was particular to the Latin Church, so I assume the Eastern Patriarchs had little to do with these documents, but as far as the more general documents go, did the Patriarchs issue a solemn ratification?

In Christ,
Tyler

[quote=Hegesippus]might i add pre-schism
[/quote]

Yes some rejected Ephesus, some Chalcedon.

Dear brother Tyler,

You wrote:
At the same Council, the Fathers affirmed the Tome of Leo, and declared that the Blessed St. Peter had spoken through the Roman Pontiff.

I just want to comment that in contrast to what certain non-Catholic apologists and polemicists contend, the Council Fathers did nothing wrong by subjecting Pope St. Leo’s Tome to examination. That is the way of everything as regards the Faith, and it must be so. The Vatican Council never stated that one cannot doubt a papal pronouncement and put it to the test of Sacred Tradition, but that no one can deny it or pass judgment on it. The thing to notice is that the Fathers compared the Tome to SACRED TRADITION, and did not seek judge it on their own authority. As any Catholic knows and admits, even the Pope is bound by Sacred Tradition, so comparing the Tome to Sacred Tradition - or even if one must say that one was JUDGING the Tome by Sacred Tradition - does absolutely nothing to confute the Catholic position. Note that after the comparison and affirmation with Sacred Tradition, the Council Acts records that the Tome was accorded the same place as Sacred Tradition, and that its decisions afterwards were always made in reference to the Tome itself, not merely to the Sacred Tradition that came before the Tome.

You wrote:
I recall reading somewhere that Alexandria and Antioch were criticized for daring to stand in judgement of the Archbishop of Old Rome. Is this true?

No, that is not exactly true. The Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch did not criticize the judgement of the Pope of Rome. The occasion of the Pope of Rome’s grievance against the Pope of Alexandria St. Dioscorus was not because of a criticism the Pope of Alexandria made against the Pope of Rome, but because St. Dioscorus held a local council and made certain judgments that were not confirmed directly by the Pope of Rome (though there were papal legates at the local council). The Council of Chalcedon upheld the papal grievance – that circumstance, and the fact that Pope St. Dioscorus did not attend the Council of Chalcedon after being summoned, resulted in his condemnation and deposition. As regards Antioch, the Patriarch of Antioch at the time of the Council was orthodox. However, another former Patriarch of Antioch was mentioned at the Council, of the name John, who held unorthodox opinions but was reconciled to orthodoxy by blessed Cyril of Alexandria. Perhaps you are referring to that incident in regards to Antioch.

You wrote:
Either way, it would seem that the Council of Chalcedon proves that not all patriarchs need approve of a Council for it to be Ecumenical (at least it should do so for Catholics and Eastern Orthodox). Certainly Catholic doctrine requires only that the Roman Pontiff ratify the canons of an Ecumenical Council.

This does not seem to be the case. If the Council did not need the ratification of ALL the Patriarchs, there would have been no need for the explicit ratification of the Chalcedonian Alexandrian Patriarch (the one who replaced St. Dioscorus).

Consider also the fact that the reason the Councils of Lyons and Florence-Ferrara were/are claimed by the Catholic Church as Ecumenical was exactly because of the participation and (at least initial) agreement of the other apostolic Patriarchs.

(continued)

(Continued)
I am not aware of any official Catholic teaching that states an Ecumenical Council requires ONLY the ratification of the Pope. The Catholic teaching states that the Ecumenical Council REQUIRES the ratification of the Pope. Do you see the difference? This is in perfect accord with the Apostolic Canon that states that bishops cannot do anything of import without the consent of their head. But note also that the ancient canon states that the head should not do anything without the consent of the other bishops. This is in perfect accord with the idea that an Ecumenical Council REQUIRES the ratification of ALL the patriarchs.

I suppose one can argue that the Catholic Church has held “ecumenical councils” even without the other Patriarchs of the Church, and have thus concluded that an Ecumenical Council ONLY requires the ratification of the Pope. But I believe this is an erroneous interpretation of the events. It is begging the question. An even more basic consideration than merely the ratification of the Bishop of Rome is whether or not any and all Patriarchs, including the Patriarch of the West, is ORTHODOX. Thus it is Sacred Tradition judges all. Assuming ALL the Patriarchs were orthodox (lets put in abeyance for now the question of whose standards of orthodoxy we must accept), then an Ecumenical Council would absolutely require the ratification of ALL the Patriarchs, not just the Patriarch of the West.

What is important to realize is that the patriarchal ratifications depend on the orthodoxy of the Patriarchs, so the true judge of all is Sacred Tradition. What Orthodox find unacceptable is the idea that the Pope is the only one who has the divine guarantee of orthodoxy singularly, whereas all other bishops, Patriarchs included, are accorded the divine guarantee of orthodoxy only collectively. In their view (a view that I used to hold) this results in a circular argument that makes ALL faith dependent on the Pope ALONE. After reading CATHOLIC material on the issue and not just polemic Orthodox material, I finally understood that though Catholic doctrine makes the papacy the final determinant on an issue of faith and morals, Catholic doctrine does NOT make the papacy the ONLY determinant on an issue of faith and morals.

You wrote:
Does anyone know if the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs formally ratified the documents of Vatican II? A fair portion of Vatican II was particular to the Latin Church, so I assume the Eastern Patriarchs had little to do with these documents, but as far as the more general documents go, did the Patriarchs issue a solemn ratification?

The Eastern Catholic Patriarchs were full and active members of Vatican II, their voices reflecting concerns and viewpoints ALREADY extant at Vatican I. Furthermore, ecumenism and respect for the Eastern traditions were accorded equal concern by the Vatican II. I don’t believe there was anything particularly Latin about Vatican II. All other things equally applicable to the ENTIRE Catholic Church, the particular concerns of the Eastern Churches being addressed makes Vatican II, for me, more of an EASTERN Council than a WESTERN Council (that’s just me).

Blessings,
Marduk

Marduk: Thank you for your extensive reply.

I realize that the Eastern Catholic patriarchs did indeed actively participate in Vatican II, but did they ratify it? Did the Church require the ratification of the Pope and the Eastern Patriarchs? If this is the case, we run into some theological problems. For one, in Catholic theology, the office of patriarch has no special charisma. Patriarchates are created by the Church, and not by Christ. All current patriarchs of the Catholic Church owe their office to the Vatican. If that was not the case, we run into an even bigger problem. If the Holy Father did not invite the Eastern Patriarchs to ratify the Council in the same solemn sense with which he ratified it, we must conclude that the Holy See does not recognize this theory.
A similar problem could be suggested for the pre-schism era. We have quotes from the Fathers to support our belief that the primacy of Rome is intrinsic to Christian religion. Nothing suggests that Sacred Tradition grants the patriarchates their local primacies (with the possible exceptions of Alexandria and Antioch). Most patriarchs were elevated to that status, and did not start as such. So why would the ratification of the Eastern patriarchs be required?

Dear brother Tyler,

I admit I am not sure what you mean by “ratify.” All the bishops who participated in the Council ratified it by being signatories to the Acts.

Even though the Patriarchs or other bishops INDIVIDUALLY do not have any special charisms, their places in the Church have been secured by divine sanction, not merely through the Pope’s benefice - that is the teaching of the Catholic Church. If they are orthodox, their ratifications are ABSOLUTELY necessary for the UNITY of the Church - that is the intent of the apostolic canon I mentioned. Further, when the bishops united are in union with the Pope on a matter of faith or morals, they are graced with the same infallibility that the Pope possesses singularly, so I simply cannot understand the idea that ONLY the ratification of the Pope is required.

Blessings,
Marduk

mardukm: Thank you for your reply. Yes, I realize that the bishops collectively share the charisma of infallibility. The Church teaches that all bishops are vicars of Christ—the Pope of Rome just happens to exercise this agency universally.
But as individual patriarchs do not possess infallibility, and as their office (as a patriach) carries only the charismas attached to the office of any bishop, I do not understand why the ratifications of all the patriarchs would be required. If a patriarch disagrees with the canons, they are still valid.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.