If the Holy Father disbanded the Eastern Churches

Given that Papal jurisdiction outside the Latin Church is a major sticking point for many Orthodox, I fail to see how the massive exercise of authority by the Pope against the Eastern Churches could be seen as a ‘goodwill gesture’ towards Orthodoxy!

Excellent question, with as much basis in reality as the OP’s hypothetical. :thumbsup:

Actually a lot of the Orthodox hierarchy find the existence of the Eastern Catholic churches offensive, and have asked for their disbandment. Doing so very well could improve the relationship between the two churches. Russia is sometimes especially hardline on this. It’s really not going to happen though, as much as Moscow may want it.

The whole topic is really of very little interest to me, and anyway, this issue has come up before and I think I’d prefer to say out of it. Not that anyone cares, but my position on the matter is, as they say, for me to know, and it’s not likely that I will share it in this (or, for that matter, any other, public) forum.

That said, and FWLIW, I will offer the following comment on one specific point:

It may be hearsay, and it may be some kind of Russian pipe dream, but given MP’s track record, I would not go so far as to say it’s couldn’t be true. I mean, let’s face it: MP and its subjects are not exactly enamored of the UGCC, are they? :shrug:

Neither are a lot of Latin Rite Catholics. Yet we soldier on. :wink:

As has been said a number of times “our vocation as Eastern Catholics is to disappear”, I really don’t think the original question is to far fetched.

The quote, infrequently repeated by some, is from an EC bishop. It anticipates a future reunion of EOs and Catholics, at which point separate jurisdictions would no longer be necessary for ECCs and their EO counterparts. The bishop neglected to consider churches like the Maronites, or the broader implications of the existence of overlapping jurisdictions, or the inaptness of the phrase when talking of regions where the ECs considerably outnumber or even antedate their EO counterparts. He really didn’t consider anythign about the administrative nature of a re-united church.

The quote has nothing to do with a liquidation of Greek Catholic churches, let alone a call for this from Rome - so yes the original question is really far fetched.

If we as Eastern Catholics are to disappear, ( be reabsorbed into Orthodoxy), I hardly think to OP is far fetched.

My original premise was to gauge how much Eastern Catholics were attached to being “Eastern” or being in Communion with Rome. (Are Eastern Catholics willing to give up being Eastern, or is it more important to be in with Rome).

As I said, the framing of reunion as reabsorption is highly problematic, and makes the OP far fetched.

I don’t see that ever happening. Why would the Pope disband a Church that is in communion with it?

Instead of the Eastern Catholic Churches disappearing (don’t believe the Maronites can) into the Orthodox Church, how it would sound if we suggested it be the other way around.

If anything were to happen (and if it does, it’s not going to be anytime even relatively soon, meaning that none of us will be around to see it), I think it safe to assume that the East will go East, the Orient will go Orient, and the Latins will remain as they are.

Nor could the Italo-Greeks (aka Italo-Albanians). In some ways, it’s our loss (and before anyone asks, no, I’m NOT expounding on that further). :shrug:

I find it highly questionable that such a thing would ever happen while the Roman Church is still lacking a solid understanding of Orthodox ecclesiology on the part of not only the Roman Pope, but of all of the people surrounding him, and the laity. Speaking as a member of the Orthodox Papal Church (:D), I have encountered more than enough strange conceptions of what it must be like to be “Orthodox with a Pope” from my Roman acquaintances that I can say without malice (more with concern) that our bishops would probably be driven nuts by the prospect, let alone the reality, of receiving however many millions of people who have been indoctrinated for centuries to believe in Rome-centric Church hierarchical governance (with its universal jurisdiction and all the rest) and would suddenly find themselves entering into churches for whom such suppositions have not formed our ecclesiology.

I know I have posted this once already today, but it bears repeating: only Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy, and if it is a matter of receiving however many people from whatever source who are not committed to it, but have only in some sense translated into a new ecclesiastical structure because the Roman Pope so graciously given them the option to do so, then I feel confident in saying that it would probably be a disaster, and we’d be better off not pursuing such a thing in the first place.

:rotfl: Try and get Athos to agree to that.

One thing (definitely not the only thing) that complicates this thread is that many webpages use the term “Eastern Catholic” to mean only the Greek Catholics (a.k.a. Byzantines Catholics – UGCC, Melkites, etc.) but not e.g. the Maronites. The people UncleBill spoke with may (or may not) have been using the term in that sense.

This whole idea that the Pope could just wave a magic wand and pronounce all the Eastern Catholic Churches invalid is a symptom of how too many of people in the Church misunderstand both papal supremacy and the Eastern Catholic Churches.

The Popes have made it clear that they cannot (and will not) change doctrine. The Eastern Catholic rites are doctrinally of equal importance as the Western Catholic rites of the Church. They are not just being tolerated and “permitted” - they are just as much a part of the Church as the Latin Rites are.

They cannot just be whisked away with a broom by any Pope who wants to, no matter how much some (both within the Church and outside it) may wish it so.

Exactly. This is what I was trying to get across in post #12.

And you did so very well - I just went back & read it.

Thank you! (and Christos Voskrese! :thumbsup: )

Here’s something else to keep in mind: it’s easy to imagine that all of your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, etc, will belong to the same church that you belong to.

But suppose that just 5% of each generation switch to a different church or denomination (in reality its likely much higher than 5%). That means that after several generations, only a fraction are in the church of their ancestor.

Numbers of Eastern Catholics have stayed high* over the generations since the Union of Brest because of policies of encouraging Orthodox to become EC. But such policies were rejected by the Balamand Statement in 1993.

  • Consider what the ratio of Eastern Catholics to Western-Rite Orthodox would be … 25:1? 50:1? More?

Not sure that I get this - especially the footnote.

Between Brest (and Uzhhorod) until the end of the 1800’s the stability in numbers in Galicia and Zakarpatskaja was related to the limits of choice, and the fact that there was no such thing as the present day consumer mentality of shopping for a religion. Why would one assume a net 5% generational attrition? Where would people go, and why wouldn’t their descendants come back? And where we these Orthodox recruits coming from, anyway?

Through the 20th century, of course, there were programs to move the Greek Catholic populations into Orthodoxy both before WWI and of course, after WWII. There were also counter movements. I suppose that you could say there was a program to move EOs to the GCC after the fall of Communism, but that perspective hardly does justice to the situation.

Overall, it’s hard to see how the numbers of ECs since Brest have much of anything to do with policies of encouraging Orthodox to become EC.
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