Unification

If Orthodox and Catholic Churches unite, will the Protestants come back into the fold as well?

Plus, how likely do you think unification of the RCC and the Orthodox Churches is?

[quote=JackmanUSC]If Orthodox and Catholic Churches unite, will the Protestants come back into the fold as well?

Plus, how likely do you think unification of the RCC and the Orthodox Churches is?
[/quote]

Some Protestants might join. Most probably wouldn’t.

I think reunion is very likely, but it will take at least another generation of joint study and self criticism. The main obstacle, in my view lies in the attitudes of much of the Orthodox laity, monastic community and lower clergy which has had little opportunity for meetings and dialogue with their Catholic counterparts. By this I don’t mean to say that Catholic laity and lower clergy are more advanced and more ecumenical. They aren’t. What I mean is that Catholics will be more disposed to follow the lead of their bishops in this matter, so the process would be simply from the Catholic point of view. Orthodox bishops just don’t enjoy that kind of hold over their flock. Once the episcopates on both sides are convinced (which will take some time in and of itself), Orthodox bishops will have a lot of work to do to bring their laity and clergy with them. This will take a lot more time, which is why I don’t expect reunion to occur in my lifetime. But I am reasonably sure it will occur at some point in the future.

Irenicist

Thanks! One more, what is the total population of the Orthodox faith?

I think worldwide there are about 250 million Orthodox.

  1. Most protestants have no interest in “reuniting” with the Catholic Church because, unlike Orthodox, Anglicans and Lutherans which split from Rome, non-demoninationals, Assembly of God and Southern Baptists (right or wrong) do not see any historical relationship with the Catholic Church.

  2. Most protestant congregations have no interest in “uniting” with the Catholic Church because they value their independence. For example, the Southern Baptist Convention does not have an historical confession which controls it. Each congregation has certain liberties regarding its beleifs and practices. This is even more true for all of the mega-churches.

  3. There are certain obsticles to reunification with some denominations that are not present with the EO church. Try to reunite with the Episcopal Church, and what are you going to do with its women and gay clergy?

  4. What looks like ecumenicalism in some circles, isn’t. The Evangelical Luthrean Church in Americal and the Presbyterian Church - USA have alter fellowship: they can share pastors. Yet the two bodies do not agree on the issue of real presence. Is it really fellowship when a Presbyterian pastor who does not believe in real presence serves communion to a Lutheran layman who does?

For those wondering where the Catholic-Orthodox talks stand now, the answer is that they have been suspended at the request of the Orthodox until such time as the interconfessional situation in Eastern Europe stabilizes (i.e. the “property” and “proselytism” disputes get settled). Less formal accademic talks have continued, however. The following is a reasonably fair (at least I think so) Catholic perspective on such a meeting held in 2003 on Peter’s Primacy:

cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=36128

Irenicist

[quote=Irenicist]For those wondering where the Catholic-Orthodox talks stand now, the answer is that they have been suspended at the request of the Orthodox until such time as the interconfessional situation in Eastern Europe stabilizes (i.e. the “property” and “proselytism” disputes get settled)
[/quote]

CHRISTOS VOSKRES!
VO ISTINU VOSKRES!

Unfortunately, some are not to happy with the out come…:nope:

In most of the areas, if you did not own the property or church prior to 1938, you don’t own it now…:clapping:

Some of the Orthodox didn’t like this and did some things to the buildings… tore out all the electrical wiring, riped out all the water pipes, poured liquid concrete into drainage and septic systems…:eek:

In one case of an Eastern Catholic seminary, it was actually cheaper to build a new seminary than it was to repair the damage that was done…:banghead:

Truely amazing…

CHRISTOS ANESTI!
ALITHOS ANESTI!

[quote=Irenicist]Some Protestants might join. Most probably wouldn’t.

I think reunion is very likely, but it will take at least another generation of joint study and self criticism. The main obstacle, in my view lies in the attitudes of much of the Orthodox laity, monastic community and lower clergy which has had little opportunity for meetings and dialogue with their Catholic counterparts.
[/quote]

But don’t you think the for both Catholic and Orthodox lower clergy, monastics and laity there would be very little if any change? After all, the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches have retained all of their beautiful liturgies, etc. The purpose in unifying is not to change their perfectly valid sacraments and practices, but to obey Christ that we all may be one.

This may be a little off topic but what do
CHRISTOS VOSKRES!
VO ISTINU VOSKRES!

CHRISTOS ANESTI!
ALITHOS ANESTI!


mean and what language are they in?

[quote=JackmanUSC]If Orthodox and Catholic Churches unite, will the Protestants come back into the fold as well?
[/quote]

Because the reasons most Protestants reject the Church are vastly different than those which seperate the Orthodox Churches from us, I would have to say the answer is generally no.

[quote=JackmanUSC]Plus, how likely do you think unification of the RCC and the Orthodox Churches is?
[/quote]

I have no idea.

[quote=Ignatius]But don’t you think the for both Catholic and Orthodox lower clergy, monastics and laity there would be very little if any change? After all, the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches have retained all of their beautiful liturgies, etc. The purpose in unifying is not to change their perfectly valid sacraments and practices, but to obey Christ that we all may be one.
[/quote]

Practicing Orthodox don’t just care about their liturgy. They have also been acculturated over centuries to view Catholic theology and practices as unsound, defective and even heretical. There were also two attempts at general reunion in the past that failed abysmally when the Orthodox faithfull felt their bishops had betrayed and compromised on essential points. The only way they would be convinced easily is if we as Catholics dropped all the beliefs practices and formulations that make us uniquely and authentically Latin. We all know this isn’t going to happen.

Unity will only be possible if we can each agree that (possibly with very minor modifications in wording) our respective practices, doctrines and liturgies are orthodox. Some (and but by no means most) Orthodox theologians and hierarchs are there, but popular sentiment in Greece, Russia and Serbia isn’t.

Irenicist

Well, I would still have to say there are many more similarities than differences, so in a twist on the words of the hippies…give unification a chance.

[quote=Ignatius]This may be a little off topic but what do
CHRISTOS VOSKRES!
VO ISTINU VOSKRES!

CHRISTOS ANESTI!
ALITHOS ANESTI!

mean and what language are they in?
[/quote]

they translate as
CHRIST IS RISEN!
INDEED HE IS RISEN!

In Old Church Slavonic and Greek. In the Eastern Church, Easter Season lasts from Resurrection Matins until the day before Ascension Thursday.

This is the traditional greeting of the faithful to one another. Each Divine Liturgy starts with Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit now and ever and forever. It is followed immediately by CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD BY DEATH HE CONQUERED DEATH AND TO THOSE IN THE GRAVES HE GRANTED LIFE!

This is sung repeatedly in 3’s throughout the Divine Liturgy. Even at our funeral services, INCLUDING THE SERVICE FOR IN ST. PETER’S SQUARE FOR JOHN PAUL II, CHRIST IS RISEN is sung in place of Eternal Memories. We all chuckled at the commentator from EWTN “translating” the Memorial Service as ETERNAL MEMORIES BLESSED PEACE when the Patricarchs and Cardinals were actually singing CHRIST IS RISEN!:rotfl:

[quote=Patchunky]they translate as
CHRIST IS RISEN!
INDEED HE IS RISEN!

In Old Church Slavonic and Greek. In the Eastern Church, Easter Season lasts from Resurrection Matins until the day before Ascension Thursday.

This is the traditional greeting of the faithful to one another. Each Divine Liturgy starts with Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit now and ever and forever. It is followed immediately by CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD BY DEATH HE CONQUERED DEATH AND TO THOSE IN THE GRAVES HE GRANTED LIFE!

This is sung repeatedly in 3’s throughout the Divine Liturgy. Even at our funeral services, INCLUDING THE SERVICE FOR IN ST. PETER’S SQUARE FOR JOHN PAUL II, CHRIST IS RISEN is sung in place of Eternal Memories.
[/quote]

Very beautiful. Thank you.

I was raised in a Lutheran church. I can recall when the newly called Pastor decided that at the start of the service they needed to come up the isle to the alter at the opening hymm as the acolytes lit the candles. He wanted a third acolyte to carry a large gilded cross up the isle a few steps infront of them. I remember hearing the white-hairs gossiping that that practice was “too Catholic” for their tastes.

Dunno if that perticular church would be interested. Though it’s still a neat idea.

My personal opinion is it is not likely at this point in time. Here’s why I say that:

  1. At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the dome had to be refurbished. The Orthodox presented the Catholic with a beautiful possibility for the dome which the Catholics rejected as being “too Orthodox”, and they stalled the talks for years and years. Now if Catholics are so stubborn about a simple thing like a dome on a Church. then I would say that it doesn;t look too good for reunion.
  2. An Orthodox priest, Father Ambrose, who is a frequent contributor, wrote that the Catholic Sacraments are not valid since the Church is at least in schism. Now if the ORthodox don’t even accept the Catholic Baptism as being valid, never mind the other Sacraments, I don;t see reunion coming around too quickly.
  3. The Catholic Liturgy has been vulgarised to the extent that there have been dancing girls at some Masses, clown Masses, and reports of weird things like garbage Masses (at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Columbus, Ohio where parishoners were invited to bring their garbage to the altar), halloween Masses (at the State Univ. of NY at Buffalo where people dress in Halloween costumes during Mass), Circus Masses (at St. Jude’s RCC in Grand Rapids, Michigan where 12 animals and 4 clowns performed during a Mass), etc., I don’t see where the Eastern Orthodox Churches would be too enthusiastic about this type of Liturgy.
  4. Once again, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christ was buried, an Orthodox priest requested that a Franciscan priest close the door to his Church during an Orthodox service, and the Catholic priest refused which led to a bloody fight between the Catholic and Orthodox clergy, landing many of them into the hospital. On another occasion, the Orthodox noticed that there were craks in several walls that needed to be repaired, and they kindly repaired the cracks. But the Franciscan priests on seeing that these repairs had been made without their permission and consultation demanded that the repairs be undone and that meetings be held to determine who, when and how these cracks should be re-repaired. These events were reported by the CAtholic newspaper, Our Sunday Visitor.
  5. Bad blood between the two Churches because of the Fourth Crusade. For example:
    According to an article by Nicholas A. Cooke:
    “After receiving absolution, the Crusaders attacked. Constantinople fell after three days of the final, furious attack by land and by sea. Once inside the walls, the Crusaders began an orgy of carnage, brutality and vandalism not seen in Europe since the barbarians invaded seven centuries earlier. No one was spared: not bishop, priest, nun, man, woman or child. Few women escaped being violated, whether at home, in the street, or in the convent. Fires were started throughout the city. The butchery ended only when the Crusaders were so tired that they no longer could lift their swords. Then began looting and profanation on a scale unparalleled in history. A mob rushed into Santa Sophia. With the Image of the Pantacrator looking down upon them from the great dome, they broke up the altar for its gold content, smashed the icons, threw the Holy Gifts to the floor, seized the church vessels for their Jewels, and tore mosaics and tapestries from the walls. Horses and mules were brought into the church the better to carry off the sacred vessels, gold, silver, and whatever else they could gather. Drunken soldiers drank from chalices and ate from patens while riding asses draped with priestly vestments. A mocking prostitute was placed on the Patriarch’s chair to dance and sing obscene songs. This pattern of pilferage and desecration was repeated in churches, monasteries and palaces throughout the city. The tombs of the emperors were rifled, and all of the classical statues and monuments which had survived from ancient Greece and imperial Rome were destroyed. One writer wrote that never in history had so much beauty, so much superb craftsmanship been so wantonly destroyed in so short a space of time. What was not carried off was burned, smashed, melted down for its precious metal content, or stripped for its jewels.

continued

continued

After the killing, after the city had been subdued, there began a slow and steady removal of treasures out of the Orthodox temples and into the cathedrals, churches, monasteries, convents, cities and towns of Latin Europe. Some of these items had been venerated, cherished, and protected for centuries, others for a millennium. Now they were being carted away from over a hundred and fifty churches: altars, altar screens, tabernacles, antimins, icons, icon frames, processional, pectoral and altar crosses, gold and silver chains, panagias, mitres, croziers, chalices, patens, star covers and spears, Gospels, Epistle books, ladles, church plate, censers, votive lights, relics, candelabra, epitaphia, fans, reliquaries, vestments, banners, manuscripts, miniatures, ivories, carvings, mosaics, thrones, tapestries, furniture and architectural items. Cartloads of gold and silver from Santa Sophia found their way into the Vatican treasury. Constantinople had become the gold mine which supplied Latin Christendom."

  1. There is serious disagreement on certain doctrines and there is the accusation that the RCC has introduced innovations since the split. Possibly, though, with good will on both sides, these doctrinal problems might be able to be resolved.

Personally, I would very much like to see a reunion. But, realistically, the will for union of the two Churches appears to be a bit weak on the Eastern Orthodox side.

[quote=JackmanUSC]Thanks! One more, what is the total population of the Orthodox faith?
[/quote]

Here are statistics from 2003, supplied by the Russian Orthodox Representation to the European Union.

orthodoxeurope.org See Bulletin no.28.

Patriarchate of Constantinople 7 000 000
Turkey, Thrace, island of the Aegean Sea, diaspora

Patriarchate of Alexandria 350 000
Egypt and all Africa

Patriarchate of Antioch 1 500 000
Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, diaspora

Patriarchate of Jerusalem 156 000
Palestine, Israel, Jordan

Patriarchate of Moscow 160 000 000
Russia, Belorus, Ukraine. Moldova, Baltics, disapora

Serbian Orthodox Church 8 000 000
Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia

Romanian Orthodox Church 20 000 000
Roumania, diaspora

Bulgarian Orthodox Church 8 000 000

Georgian Orthodox Church 3 000 000

Cypriot Orthodox Church 500 000

Greek Orthodox Church 10 000 000

Polish Orthodox Church 1 000 000

Albanian Orthodox Church 700 000

Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church 74 000

American Orthodox Church 1 000 000


Germany 800 000

United Kingdom 350 000

France 250 000

Austria 150 000

Sweden 100 000

Switzerland 80 000

Spain 20 000

Belgium 40 000

Italy 250 000

Holland 10 000

-oOo-

[quote=Irenicist]The main obstacle, in my view lies in the attitudes of much of the Orthodox laity, monastic community and lower clergy which has had little opportunity for meetings and dialogue with their Catholic counterparts
[/quote]

I would find it hard to agree with this. While it is true that the Orthodox look upon the Church as a “pleroma” -a fullness- which includes both the bishops AND the faithful, it would be quite wrong to lay the blame for the impasse in the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue at the feet ot the “lower” clergy and the monks and nuns.

The top-flight “Catholic-Orthodox International Theological Consultation” is represented by the very best Orthodox theologians and bishops. Their dialogue ground to a halt in the 1980s because the Orthodox theologians refused to accept Roman Catholic baptism. This caused a walk out of the Catholic delegates.

Likewise it was these top-level bishops and theologians who could not agree over Uniatism at a later meeting. In this case the Orthodox walked out.

There has been an attempt to revive this Dialogue at Baltimore a few years ago - it was another disaster, again because of Uniatism. Cardinal Kasper reported that he and the other Catholic delegates were on the verge of another walk out.

So we see that the impasse and the main obstacle are not simply the rabble at the bottom holding up matters. It extends right up to the most theologically educated of the Orthodox Church. These people do have the “opportunity for meetings and dialogue with their Catholic counterparts” but still the problems seem immense even at this top level.

Well, some Orthodox would say yes, while others (inc Fr Ambrose I believe, Apologies Fr if I am wrong, would say no.

oca.org/QA.asp?ID=200&SID=3

Concerning the “grace of the priesthood”: This is partially answered in point 1 above. The answer to this is also intimately linked on whether the Orthodox view Roman Catholicism as a body that is “with grace” or “devoid of grace.” Some Orthodox would say that Roman Catholic priests do possess grace; others would say that they do not. And I have encountered still others who would say that, upon conversion to Orthodoxy, the Holy Spirit “heals all that is infirm,” a phrase found in the prayers of ordination and other sacramental prayers of the Orthodox Church. A thorough examination of this question would also require a preliminary discussion on the meaning of “grace,” as the Orthodox definition of grace is quite distinct from “grace” as defined in Roman Catholic circles.


In terms of unification, if you mean assimilation of one into the other , no chance. I think what we will get is both sides reconising they have preserved the apostolic faith, if not entirely to each other’s satisfaction!, and agreeing communion can be reestablished, with an agreed role for the Bishop of Rome.

We, our children and our grandchildren, at least, will all be dead before this happens though.:frowning:

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