The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity published the controversal “Balamand Document” from the 1993 Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, held at the University of Balamand in Lebanon. The document is controversial because it offends the sentiments of both Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox by affirming the legitimacy of the Eastern Catholic — pejoratively known as “uniate” — particular churches, while criticizing the historical efforts of establishing those churches.
It lists a number of “Practical Rules”:
- Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Oriental, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox. It aims at answering the spiritual needs of its own faithful and it has no desire for expansion at the expense of the Orthodox Church. Within these perspectives, so that there will be no longer place for mistrust and suspicion, it is necessary that there be reciprocal exchanges of information about various pastoral projects and that thus cooperation between bishops and all those with responsibilities in our Churches, can be set in motion and develop.
- By excluding for the future all proselytism and all desire for expansion by Catholics at the expense of the Orthodox Church, the commission hopes that it has overcome the obstacles which impelled certain autocephalous Churches to suspend their participation in the theological dialogue and that the Orthodox Church will be able to find itself altogether again for continuing the theological work already so happily begun.