Under Rome?

I have been in a discussion on a different forum about whether or not Eastern Catholics are Roman. Now, I don’t believe they are. They believe belong to their various sui iuris Churches. But most, if not all, the Roman Catholics on that board seem to think Easterners are still Roman b/c they are “under” the Pope. When i point out that they are in union with the Pope not so much “under” him they get rather defensive and go off about how the Pope is supreme etc etc etc. And I get slightly accused of taking an Orthodox position on this. (honestly, no offense to my Orthodox brothers and sisters…and it does irritate me that so many roman catholics can’t see the eastern side :frowning: )

Unfortunately I don’t have alot of good quotes to back up what I’m saying…mainly I’m trying to remember stuff I’ve learned on this board :p. What are some good quotes about this? What does Rome actually say?

In short, to answer your question: Eastern Catholics are not “Roman.” Each Sui Juris has their own independent jurisdiction. And Roman are those of the Latin Rite, using the common intention of the term .

In long:

Technically all in the Church are “under” the pope in the sense that the Pope is the universal pastor. At the same time, we are all “in union” with the pope if we profess the Catholic faith. We are also in union with each other. In other words, we are in communion.

The pope is the patriarch of the Latin Rite, i.e. everyone who is Catholic but not an Eastern Catholic. He is not the patriarch per se of the Eastern Rites. The Eastern Rites have their own patriarch and metropolitan and such. I’m not sure the details, but essentially each Eastern Rite is autocephalus–have independent jurisdiction.

At the same time the pope is the universal pastor and all who are in the Catholic Church acknowledges so. He has supreme authority, though in practice this is different than what teh secular world would understand. In the Church, to be greatest, one must be least and serve all. So authority is not having dominion.

The pope leads the entire Church, yet his daily life is not his own. His staff tells him where he needs to be, for how long, what to wear, and who he greets. He is a slave in service, but never a slave to man. He is also the visible head of the Church.

When the Lord gave Peter the keys of the Kingdom and told him that whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, He gave not only authority but responsibility. A huge responsibility. And, this was reinforced when the Lord told him to feed His lambs, tend His sheep, and feed His sheep. With this huge responsibility came huge accountability. In this, Christians that humble themselves under this authority can rest. Obedience is better than sacrifice.
And now in the Church, Jesus Christ is still Lord. For over 2,000 years it has been this way and I have no doubt that it will continue.
The only way to show that we our His disciples is to love one another in word and deed. Anyone who believes that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and loves, evidenced by keeping His commands, is of God.
I think the same words Paul wrote Timothy should be considered; “Avoid foolish and ignorant debates, for you know that they breed quarrels. A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant, correcting opponents with kindness.”

Hello Angel Gabriel!

I would highly recommend that you read “Orientale Lumen” as well as the Vatican II documents on the Eastern Catholic Churches and Ecumenism (especially the part pertaining to Orthodoxy). Ultimately, however, it must be kept in mind that these are Roman documents, expressed in Roman language. The Eastern Churches (whether Catholic or Orthodox) have a very different understanding not only of themselves, but even of Church unity than do their Roman Catholic brethren. This understanding is, sadly, often not respected by Roman Catholics (notice I do not say the Pope), and sometimes even by Eastern Catholics. Often if one goes about trying to elucidate and defend and Eastern understanding of the Church, unity, primacy, etc. to another Catholic you will be accused of being “Orthodox” or “schismatic.” I typically simply let it roll off my back and try to hold my tongue. I figure, if their hearts aren’t ready to receive a different perspective on the Church, then all my talking and arguing is going to do nothing to open their minds. I tend to talk too much anyhow. :smiley:

You are right, however, in affirming that the Eastern Catholics are not “under” the Pope, but in communion with the Pope. As an Eastern Catholic I would say that we aren’t even “under” the Pope as the “universal pastor.” I’ve never seen the phrase “universal pastor” come up in any of the great theologians of the East that I’ve read (although I welcome correction if someone wants to provide me with Eastern sources). “Primacy” is a word that comes up. But what this primacy means is something that is still being worked out even within the Catholic Church. So to equate “primacy” with “universal pastor” isn’t necessarily accurate.

The best way that I’ve heard the role of the papacy described (especially with regards to relations with the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches) is as the “older brother.” All the siblings (particular churches) can turn to their older brother for direction, guidance, to settle quarrels, etc. The older brother, however, doesn’t have the right to determine what each sibling will wear, where they will spend their time, etc. In other words, the older brother doesn’t have the right to micromanage the lives of his siblings (or when the get older, the families of his siblings). Now, if relations between siblings requires intervention in order to settle disputes, then the older brother has the right to step in. But this isn’t a right of power in the sense of dominating. It is a right, based in love, to serve the family by keeping peace and order. Perhaps I prefer this notion because of personal experience as an older brother. :slight_smile:

You are right, Eastern Catholics are not Roman Catholics, Roman Catholic is a relatively new term, and was actually ment to be offensive to Catholics in EUROPE, which at the time (around the reformation) Europe was purely Latin-Rite, so Roman Catholic just means Catholic Latin Rite, our Eastern Brothers and Sisters, are Eastern Catholics. They are “under” the pope, in the sense when the Holy Father speaks in ex cathedra to the whole church, it applies just as much to them as us Latin Rite, however they have their Archbishops and Patriarchs (Please forgive me if im wrong, I havn’t done much reading on our Eastern Brothers and Sisters), which are in communion with the Holy See, where as the Latin Rite, it’s Patriarch is the Holy Father.

The Christianity is the official religion of the Roman empire, and technically East and West are under the Empire, whether Old or New Rome, All Catholics whether Eastern, Oriental Orthodox or Latin, Eastern Rites are:

Roman Catholics in the true sense of the word by virtue of these traits.

This is more-or-less the “High Petrine” view which is decidedly not the ecclesiological position of the EO, which tends to take the “Low Petrine” view. It is, however, basically the ecclesiological position of the OO and ACoE, which probably helps explain why communication between them and Rome is at a far more advances stage than is communication between the EO and Rome or even between the OO and EO. That said, though, the “High Petrine” view is also not exactly what Rome espouses either.

Hmmm… Thanks, malphono. :slight_smile:

Would you mind describing to me what the “low Petrine view” is? I’ve heard so many views of the papacy from Eastern (Byzantine) Orthodoxy that it’s difficult to sift out what they actually believe. I’ve heard everything from my “high Petrine view” to the idea that not even the Patriarch of Constantinople has any authority over the Greek Orthodox Church in the U.S.A. (and this came from a Greek Orthodox).

There was a [thread=349702]thread[/thread] here a while back where the 3 “Petrine Views” were discussed at some length, but it seems you already have an idea of them. As usual, there was lot of chaff amidst the grain in that thread, so I’ll quote the following from it which, I think, sums up the “Low Petrine View” very well:

Hope that helps a bit. :slight_smile:

Thanks, malphono. That actually helps quite a bit. I don’t know that I could buy such a “low Petrine” view because it doesn’t seem to be supported by the first three Ecumenical Councils. Once again, however, we get into discussing what “primacy” means. As I mentioned above, not even the Roman Catholic Church has worked that one out.

I probably should have included the other two “Petrine Views” in my previous post. For the sake of completeness, I’ll do so now:

I’ll add to the “High Petrine View” that he is the arbiter of disputes between or among his brother bishops when such are submitted to him for resolution.

From my reading of Church History, it seems that this view was also that of the West, at least in pre-Reformation times. One can look, e.g., at the various Primates and how they were chosen: it was by election from among their peers, with the election confirmed by Rome. Unlike the way things are now, in those days, a Primate actually had jurisdiction, but in the case of an unresolved dispute, he could appeal to Rome for a ruling.

FWIW, it seems to me that the “High Petrine View” is the correct one. (Of course, like mardukm, I approach it from an Oriental point of view. ;))

Thank you! I agree with this viewpoint as well (the High Petrine view).

do you think that the majority of Roman/Latin Catholics have the Absolutist view b/c the Pope happens to be their Patriarch? What view does the Pope himself hold? Reading some of Benedict’s writings before he was Pope suggests that he wants to hold to the same doctrine of primacy that was lived out in the first millennium.

Most of the Roman Catholics that I know seem to hold to the absolutist view. It’s a typical view, especially among those who try to live out a more “traditional” Roman spirituality (no disrespect intended). I would say that yes, they hold this view because there is only one patriarch in the West, as opposed to multiple in the East.

Pope Benedict himself, from what I’ve read of his writings, seems to hold to the high Petrine view and has explicitly stated that the first millennium papacy/primacy ought to be the model of the modern papacy, especially if we truly wish unity between Orthodoxy and Catholicism to ever happen. This is what I try to live out as an Eastern (Melkite) Catholic. It is also the official position of the Melkites in general, as stated in the Synod held from July 22-27, 1996. It is a very misunderstood position and can at times be very difficult to live. This, however, is who we are and what our relationship with Rome ought to look like.

I am sorry to tell you, but the Roman empire collapsed and ended in 1453 and no longer exists (whether one may want it to or not :frowning: ).

Edit also that doesn’t really account for Assyrian Christians who lived beyond the borders of the Empire( I suppose unless you count the few odd decades that Rome controlled mesopotamia but that was far before citizenship became universal throughout the empire).

Even today the Orthodox in Turkey are known as “Roman Orthodox”, additionally you have huge swaths of territory which either are named for Rome (like Romania), or formerly were (like Rumelia (most of the Balkan peninsula)). The idea of “Rome” isn’t contained by either history, or a city.

Mind you I’m not saying all the Eastern Catholic Churches should be called “Roman”, just that if they wish such a designation, they can probably find some justification for it. Almost every Eastern Church has some link to the title “Roman”.

I know that many in the East still think of themselves as Romans and that until modern times all the hellenic people of the middle east and Greece called themselves Romans.

The poster I quoted , though, was implying that the political reality of the Roman Empire still existed and had legal force. I have no problem with anyone calling themselves Roman at all, whether they mean Romanus or Rhomanos : )

“In communion with” does not automatically mean “under”. I am in communion with Rome, but “under” the hierarchy of the Patriarch and Synod of the UGCC.

but how do you defend yourself when roman catholics say that all catholics are under the Pope? That’s the trouble I’m having… :frowning:

You tell them that NO we are NOT under the pope we are in communion with him. As history bears out, we easterners can and have in some instances break that communion if we so choose. You could’nt do that if you were" under " the pope with the pope calling all the shots.

Absolutist Petrine view: There is only one head bishop - the bishop of Rome. All other bishops of whatever grade are merely an extension of papal authority. Even the Ecumenical Council is merely an extension of papal authority. If there is a disagreement between the head bishop (i.e., the Pope) and his brother bishops, the head bishop’s will dominates to the exclusion of any other viewpoint. Anyone not agreeing is excommunicated.

High Petrine view: The head bishop has the same role as St. Peter had among the Apostles. The head bishop has true and proper plenary jurisdiction in his entire patriarchate (or, for the Pope, the entire Church), and has a unique authority among his brother bishops. He is bound by the principle of the unity of the Church, and the divine rights of his brother bishops, to always work with his brother bishops in all matters affecting the Church as a whole. He is also bound by those same principles to not interfere in the proper and ordinary jurisdiction of his brother bishops. If there is a disagreement between his brother bishops and himself, there must be constant exchange until agreement is reached, not that he can impose his singular will on all.
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I think it is rather unfair to characterize Latin traditionalists as typically adhering to the “Absolutist Petrine View” . The “High Petrine View” however, seems rather like heresy.

I propose a middle ground (bold text=my additions):

Making the “Absolutist” view less extremist

There is -]only one/-] a supreme head bishop - the bishop of Rome. -]All other bishops of whatever grade are merely an extension of papal authority. Even the Ecumenical Council is merely an extension of papal authority./-] If there is a disagreement between [the Pope] and his brother bishops, [the Pope’s] will dominates to the exclusion of any other viewpoint. Anyone not agreeing -]is/-] may be excommunicated.

Making the “High” view less egalitarian

The head bishop has the same role as St. Peter had among the Apostles. The head bishop has true and proper plenary jurisdiction in his entire patriarchate (or, for the Pope, the entire Church), and has a unique authority among his brother bishops. He is morally bound by the principle of the unity of the Church, and the -]divine rights/-] eccesiastical dignity of his brother bishops, to -]always/-] work with his brother bishops in -]all/-] matters affecting the Church as a whole where appropriate. He is also morally bound by those same principles to not interfere in the proper and ordinary jurisdiction of his brother bishops where this would be inappropriate. -]If there is a disagreement between his brother bishops and himself, there must be constant exchange until agreement is reached, not that he can impose his singular will on all./-]

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