How much compromise with the Orthodox?

I ask this question here because I am ignorant to all the nuances of what exactly divides the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

My prayer is that one day they can be reunited.

I wanted to hear from some Traditionalists Catholics about what things they think could be done for reuunification to happen.

I know the Church can never compromise what it believes or teaches because that doesn’t change but I also know that some things that are not docrtrine and are only matters of discipline can change.

Maybe the question should be asked like this: If there was a thoroughly traditionalist pope and that pope wanted see reconciliation between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church and wanted to know your opinion about some initiativites that might bear fruit without compromising what the Catholic Church really believed–what would you tell him?

I don’t ask this to argue–it’s way beyond me–I guess what I’d really like to know is how traditionalists view Good Ecumenism versus Bad Ecumenism?

Hi Jerry :slight_smile: I have a brother by that name;
I’m not traditionalist but sort of;

It seems to me that the Orthodox have somewhat their own dictionary and definitions of terms and words and the Roman Catholic have theirs.

May be we should have a seperate dictionary with words that we do agree on, like The Lord’s Supper or Table.

Their table is probably a round table with no head! Just kidding!

I guess they do use the NKJV bible now but not sure I don’t investigate it too much you should go on thier threads you would learn alot or get very confused. :frowning:

The division actually goes back much further than people realize. The schism of 1054 was just final schism between the Eastern and the Western Churches. It was not just 1 thing but several issues that divided the 2 Churches. The following links contain more than I can type and will give you a great understanding the first is from wikipedia so there really is no bias in either direction. The second is from New Advent.

None. There should be absolutely no “compromise” with the Orthodox:

“Catholic doctrine must be propounded and explained in its totality and in its integrity. It is not permitted to pass over in silence or to veil in ambiguous terms what is comprised in the Catholic truth on the true nature and stages of justification, on the constitution of the Church, on the primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, on the unique true union by the return of separated Christians to the one true Church of Christ”. - Pope Pius XII (Instructio de Motione Oecumenica - 1949)

It would be a grave offence against God to compromise the truth. The Orthodox must simply become Catholic.

I agree with Dauphin. My idea of Ecumenicism is groups of Orthodox Christians in Orthodox Churches leaving to unite with Rome (like Eastern Catholic Churches)

I agree with JuanCarlos, and I think that in theory, this is plausible.

Most of the major divisions between Orthodoxy and Catholicism could be reconciled at least on a philsophical level, but a couple of huge stumbling blocks remain. These two are so fundamental to the Catholic faith that we will not budge, and it also appears that the Orthodox won’t give in either. They are:

The Immaculate Conception
Papal Infallibility.

Differences like views on reason and faith, the filioque, etc., could probably reach some common ground, and both liturgies would definintely remain the same.

But we must also remember that in addition to the theological differences, there are also cultural belief differences that are hundreds of years old.

I too hope that someday we will be reconciled to our Orthodox brothers, but I don’t seeing it happening for a long time. Remember, East and West have only been on speaking terms since 1965 after about a thousand years excommunicating each other. At the very least, this reconciliation process will happen slowly over the next few hundred years.

I think thats a fair point. We have a long way to go.

A bigger point of contention for me are Eastern Catholics who deny Papal infallibility and the Immaculate Conception. I remember reading statements by a Byzantine Catholic bishop who denied these basic infallible Roman Catholic teachings.

I think this is a much, much bigger issue than the Catholic-Orthodox divide. The Pope should pull a Pius X and make an “Oath Against Easternism” necessary for seminarians in Eastern Rites. It is my understanding there is only one faith, but many expressions (rites) of this One Faith.

We are Catholic. The Catholics.

So it seem your idea of ecumenism isn’t working.

At least you were honest in stating it. Not like my pet peeve, leaving out the filioque. If you believe it, say it.


Dauphin, most Orthodox would agree that there cannot be compromises in the faith, and that therefore the solution would be for the Latins to become Orthodox.

Now what?

I don’t think so. As you said, the Orthodox are in the process of eliminating “Westspeak”. And as I said, no Church can be truly universal (Catholic) without speaking both East and West - like THE Catholic Church does :wink: .

That’s the $64,000 question, your Grace.

In my opinion, it really all comes down to the papacy. The Catholics believe the Pope, based on the promises of Christ, has a real primacy of authority over all the Churches. The Orthodox, however, believe he only has a primacy of honor. Until this difference is resolved, there is no hope for restored communion between the Churches.

Yes, we are eliminating, but since the word Catholic is GREEK, and was first used by the successor of St. Peter in his first see, St. Ignatius Patriarch of Antioch (which is WHERE?) in his letter to the Church of Smyrna (WHERE again?), and was used by the Father of the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople (WHERE again?) (without the imput of the pope in the West nor any of his bishops) to state “We believe in One, Holy, CATHOLIC and Apostolic Church,” etc. I don’t see what that has to do with Westspeak. It certainly doesn’t mean an elimination of the Western Rite Orthodox.

As for speaking East, on the ECF this is has been debated, as on this thread with complaints of Latins that the uniates deny things that Rome says. So are you all speakikng the same language? Since none of the Eastern churches (except in SOME way, the Maronites) have yet to see a half a millenium under Rome, and some much more recent, and I don’t know how you explain that gap of 500 years at least (for the Copts over 1300). Also how does the Latinization (the worst examples perhaps being the Maronites, the oldest) play in “speaking East?”

I think JP 2 tried to, and may have made some,headway in stopping the process of “latinization”.

One thing I never really figured out was why a Polish pope would find so much resistance from the Eastern rites, but a German pope (and if I have read my history correctly, it was the Germans who were stirring the pot near to the final break) would find less resistance.

Church unity , might already be taking place at the heart level , far better than at the officially , recognisable level…

This mo. of Oct.- special with Feasts of St. Faustina , Birthday of Pope John Paul 11 , Anniv. of the Miracle of the sun at Fatima ( and seems even the Moslem holiday of Id would be on Oct.13th! ) news of more talks and optimism among the faithful , of closer relationships …and the binding power of Rosary helping to prune off many thorns …to bring in that sense of unity , of The Spirit …

Our Lord asked St. Faustina , in her Novena , to ask The Church, to claim all people …( ’ bring them …to my Sacred Heart ’ )and her promise to continue her mission , from heaven …

May be , for many , it is as simple as seeing each other , AS children in One Family … …even if all the children do not quite recognise all the Family roles / traditions and such …

May His Mercy guide us and keep us , as efforts continue , to do His Perfect Will - of unity !

Peace !

I think the most important thing that can happen is for the hierarchy of the east to get more united and then for there to be a melding of minds at the top levels in synods and councils to iron out the details universally. We have seen many opportunities arise and inroads made since the fall of communist persecution.

Just as there are matters like Lefebvre within the west the east has a similar problem with Mount Athos and others here in the States. These two situations can give you some good insights into certain dynamics. There is allot to learn about the east as they are not all non-catholic. In fact there are 21 eastern Churches that are in communion with Rome yet most westerners are unaware. You should make yourself aware of the difference between Catholic and non-Catholic Orthodox for your own edification. Charitable catechisis on both fronts is imperative.

There is an animosity towards any form of hierarchal authority within the east residual from the schism and many other abuses that if and when such authority is imposed is strongly rebelled against.

When one realizes this mindset serves the east well against communists and Islam in keeping the apostolic faith one can understand how deep seated this anti-authority and anti-change philosophy is. In effect they have held to their roots for their very survival and while busy surviving have not been privy to participate fully in the Church. They are in a healing process in many places that will take time. We must keep open and welcoming arms and pray for all people as always.

The next most important thing that I think must happen is building a bridge between the cultures of the laity on both sides. Once communion is restored this should come naturally. We can start now by personally acknowledging and teaching that our apostolic traditions are valid and by being open to unity.

How that could be accomplished via doctrinal compromise I would not hazard to guess here as it would derail the thread into speculations.

Concession without abrogation is necessary on both sides which I believe is possible given the will of our respective hierarchies. Its not going to happen over night though.

This interview (Sandro Magister in Rome) is unequaled in giving insight into the true thoughts of the Moscow patriarch on the Church of Rome and John Paul II himself and the worry about Polish things.

From: Alexei II´s New Veto of a Papal Visit to Moscow

The latest in the dispute between the Russian Orthodox Patriarch and “the Polish party that commands in Rome.” A book-interview with many shocking revelations.

Full article at…?id=6929&eng=y

From what the patriarch says, the principal motives of the dispute are two.

The first is the missionary offensive unleashed by the Catholic Church on Russian territory. Alexei II sustains that this invasion of his territory is totally illegitimate and even a little contemptible: to recover in the East the faithful lost in the West. Russia has historically been Orthodox for thousand of years; and therefore the Roman papacy has no right to make it a land of conquest.

In this proselytizing offensive, Alexei II sees an attempt by the Church of Rome to redo today what it unsuccessfully sought to do during the Time of Troubles of the 17th century: the forced Catholicization of Russia.

**At that time, it was the Catholic kings of Poland that launched the attack, which succeeded even in conquering Moscow. And today it´s the same. It´s the “Polish party” that commands the Church of Rome to unleash the offensive once again.
The second leading accusation is the support given by Rome to the expansion of the Greek Catholic Church in the Ukraine.

The Greek Catholics are similar in everything to the Orthodox, in both liturgy and discipline (they also have married clergy), but they are different in that their head is the pope in Rome. Forced underground by Stalin, they came out of hiding after the fall of the communist regime and took possession of almost all of the churches in western Ukraine, wresting them, one by one and sometimes even violently, from the Orthodox clergy.

In the Greek Catholics, Alexei II sees a variation of the Church of Rome´s damaging offensive against the Orthodox Church - an offensive, moreover, that is carried out with “lies” and “deception.”

Another unpublished revelation that Alexei II provides regards his missed meeting with John Paul II in Vienna in 1997.

Alexei II had made it a condition that they would agree on three tasks: dialogue, the renunciation of proselytism, and the rejection of the competitive Greek Catholic model. But John Paul II - according to the patriarch - refused to commit himself to both the second and third point. The meeting fell through.

Consequently, the possibility of a visit to Moscow by John Paul II also vanished. Alexei II praises Vladimir Putin for having understood perfectly (unlike his predecessors Gorbachev and Yeltsin) that the pope can go to Russia only if the patriarch, not the Russian president, invites him.

In any case, if there is ever to be a meeting in the future, Alexei II will accept it “on condition that it produces documents signed by both parties.” Without journalists, without photographers, without brotherly embraces on television. Because “the purpose of men of God is not to make a spectacle. I´m not a celebrity.”

The Orthodox must reject their schism and be subject to the Vicar of Christ they must also repudiate their heretical teaching regarding marriage and purgatory .

Fr. Ambrose, thank you for your notes.

We in the US have what may be both a curse and a blessing - short memories, and a by-and-large breakup of tribe orientation.

Other parts of the world are rehashing things that occured literally centuries ago. Tribalism is not dead; it keeps reading its ugly head. I think we have a relatively hard time trying to understand why what happened in the 17th century ahs anything to do with what is happening at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, but there seems to be a feeling among people that if one came from that tribe (Polish), and someone 3 or 4 centuries ago ran amok on my tribe, then, well, even though because the boundaries of the area are a bit porous - people from a neighboring tribe intermarried with the tribes next door over those centuries, well, if you are in the tribal area, then obviously you are going to do what the tribe did before.

Talk about mind lock.

Methinks also that there just possibly may be just a wee bit of guilt residing deep in the recesses of some hearts over what the Orthodox may have done or not done from the time of Stalin onwards, and that if they just look outwards at others and hyper-focus on perceived wrongs by them, well, they won’t have to face our own actions, or lack thereof.

It may well be that there has been proslytizing going on. Or, it may be that it is much easier to drum up that charge, rather than deal with our own house cleaning.

I have heard charge and counter-charge about who owns what, who stole what, who stole sheep… and I just can’t help think that perhaps that is not really the issue. But that’s just me…

Funny you should mention Stalin.

When Poland became independent, it decided what to do with the Orthodox Cathedral of Warsaw:In the end, despite a few protests, it was demolished in 1924–1926, along with all but two Orthodox churches in Warsaw. Adding to the political and nation-wide character to the destruction of the largest Orthodox Cathedral in interwar Poland, the Warsaw magistrate issued public bonds to “give a chance to every Pole to take part in the action.” The bonds were backed by the value of the materials recovered during demolition.
people are still living who recall this, or were told by eyewitnesses who have since reposed. I was told by Orthodox of the time in Poland.

Instead, what the Poles got was a monument to Stalin’s glory.

Parishners of mine in the 90s came back with videos of visits back to visit relatives in the old country. On them were videos of DL on lawns, because the Orthodox had been expelled from their churches and they had been handed over to the uniates.

This is not ancient history.

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