Friday, September 18, 2009

Could Reunification Be This Close?
Let's hope to God it's true

This article does seem too good to be true, but His Holiness has a way of surprising us. Here's some of the article from The National Catholic Register; (Emphasis mine)
Is Catholic-Orthodox Unity in Sight?

(CNS/Reuters)The Catholic Archbishop of Moscow has given a remarkably upbeat assessment of relations with the Orthodox Church, saying unity between Catholics and Orthodox could be achieved
“within a few months.”

In an interview today in Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, Archbishop Paolo Pezzi said the miracle of reunification “is possible, indeed it has never been so close.” The archbishop added that Catholic-Orthodox reunification, the end of the historic schism that has divided them for a millennium, and spiritual communion between the two churches “could happen soon, also within a few months.”

“Basically we were united for a thousand years,” Archbishop Pezzi said. “Then for another thousand we were divided. Now the path to rapprochement is at its peak, and the third millennium of the Church could begin as a sign of unity.” He said there were “no formal obstacles” but that “everything depends on a real desire for communion.”

On the part of the Catholic Church, he added, “the desire is very much alive.”

Archbishop Pezzi, 49, whose proper title is Metropolitan Archbishop of the Mother of God Archdiocese in Moscow, said that now there are “no real obstacles” on the path towards full communion and reunification. On issues of modernity, Catholics and Orthodox Christians feel the same way, he said: “Nothing separates us on bioethics, the family, and the protection of life.”

Also on matters of doctrine, the two churches are essentially in agreement. “There remains the question of papal primacy,” Archbishop Pezzi acknowledged, “and this will be a concern at the next meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Commission. But to me, it doesn’t seem impossible to reach an agreement.”

And the political implications this has against the rising moslem tide in Europe? Think about it.

Something else to consider, reunification with our Sister Churches in the east is childsplay compared to the real struggle The Holy Father has in regards to cleaning out the sewage that's already infected Holy Mother The Church.

St. Charles Borromero, Ora Pro Nobis.

19 Comments:

Blogger Al said...

We can only hope & pray.

5:25 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

There is a St. Charles Borromeo church in my hometown, and it's quite modern... *sigh*

7:51 AM  
Blogger Coffee Catholic said...

I wonder how the "Papal primacy thing" would be ironed out? If the Pope is the head of Christ's Church how would the Orthodox heads fit in?

And would this just be a reunification between Catholic and *Russian* Orthodox?

One can deffinately hope and pray! Wouldn't this be so wonderful????

8:12 AM  
Blogger Coffee Catholic said...

P.S. Just imagine how delightfully difficult it would be for all of the Sewage in Holy Mother Church to justify its existence ~ let alone continue to exist!! ~ if the Orthodox and Catholics became one and the same Church????

**Rubbing Hands In Anticipation** Oh yeah... the Holy Father would have some massive help with his housecleaning!!

8:14 AM  
Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

I am going to throw cold water on the whole issue. The good archbishop is being unrealistic. There is much to be done and explained away if communio in sacris is to be achieved someday, no doubt due to the movement of the Holy Spirit.

For one thing, the Moscow Patriarch is one Orthodox canonical jurisdiction among the autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox Churches. Getting this collection of apostolic churches to march in a signle direction is quite a challenge. Sometimes they don't even get along with each other, although this does not usually lead to schism.

I will pray for unity, but will also keep my left eye open for "reality."

Can anyone explain how the Orthodox will handle coming into "unity" with the likes of Fr. Richard McBrien, and the other quasi-Protestants in the Catholic Church? *evil grin*

9:26 AM  
Blogger C said...

It's very sad that the schism between Rome and Constantinople happened over a hissy fit between the Patriarch Celarius and Cardinal Humbert of Silvia Canida back in 1054. That being said, always thought that the differences between Rome and Moscow were more political than theological or even historical. Xenophobia and nationalism is very strong within the Russian Orthodox Church, and many of its members have an instrinsic fear of the West. I have always thought that if reunification with the Orthodox happened it would be with its more pro-Western branches in Eastern Europe. I'm certain the Orthodox are also very concerned that thier cultural identity will be "Romanized" and "Latinized" if they join the Catholic Church. While this wouldn't happen today, during the late 19th century and early 20th century, many Eastern-Rite Catholics left the Church for Orthodoxy when certain priests tried to Romanize thier liturgy and treated them like second-class Catholics. I think that the existence of many rites, all with thier own national identity and liturgy, all in communion with Rome proves that in this day and age, the Orthodox have nothing to fear. Seeing the Orthodox come back home would be the greatest things I've seen in my lifetime, right up there with the fall of the Soviet regime.

12:55 PM  
Blogger VSO said...

I already wrote a little about this in my blog. It's easier to talk about OUR problems which are miniscule in comparison: The Calendar, the power struggle with Moscow and Istanbul (and the fact that many want nothing to do with either) and the general attitude towards the American Church and all things western in general: Latin Mass, Holy Hours etc.

And no Ade49, we wont want anything to do with Richard O'Brien etc.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

And no Ade49, we wont want anything to do with Richard O'Brien etc.

Thankfully! And I thought that he would expect you to kiss the hem of his garment and feel some of his power come out from him. LOL

The 1,054 AD Schism is just a date of convenience. This was the breach between Rome and Constantinople. The other Eastern Churches and Rome grew apart over time. Yes, IMHO, most of the differences have their origins in contentious history, politics, and culture, yet 1,000 or so years of divide have seen theological developments cause further issues.

The subject is very complex. The best we can hope for right now IMHO is GOOD RELATIONS without any of the nasty bickering between East and West and even among Eastern Churches themselves, and now perhaps bickering among Roman Rite Catholics.

Now I would just love to be present for Fr. McBrien's first reaction upon learning that East and West will re-unite. Probably be something like "Holy S*it! I wonder if the Episcopalians will take me in." LOL

3:19 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Some of our Eastern Rites are identified with a country or a culture as are some Eastern Orthodox churches, e.g. Russia, Greece. It is unlikely all Orthodox churches would come back at the same time, but just one would be a great sign. Recall, the Maronite Rite was separated from Rome for many years, but did return and remain very faithful to the Pope and the One True Church.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

Recall, the Maronite Rite was separated from Rome for many years, but did return and remain very faithful to the Pope and the One True Church.

The Maronites never really broke with Rome. They were separated from the larger Christian world due to the Muslim conquests of No. Africa. They were "re-discovered" by Rome during the Crusades. Even then their existence was precarious in a Muslim religious culture that oppressed them severely. When the Druze religion (not really a branch of Islam) ascended in Lebanon [16th Century?], the Druze and Maronites eventually organized a coalition for mutual defense.

AFIK, the Maronites were never really Orthodox.

You may be thinking of the Melkites, Byzantine Rite Greek Catholics of the Arab Middle East whose liturgical language traditionally is Syriac (same for the Maronites). The Melkites were reconciled with Rome in 1724 although they claim they never separated from Rome, but were separated de-facto by geography, history, and politics. However, I am not sure this would stand up to historical scrutiny. The history of Christians of the Middle East in the post-Chalcedonian (Council) period is very complex.

Catholics say that they belong to the One True Church (One, Holy, Catholic, & Apostolic). The Orthodox make the identical claim for Orthodoxy.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

Altar Boy, the Maronite Catholics were separated geographically, surrounded by Muslim territories, with no awareness that Peter's church existed outside of them; the official party line is that they were never out of Communion with Rome. Hard to be out of Communion when neither party realized the other was out there. Also, the Maronites are a Sui Juris church, not merely a rite.

C, in addition, due to all sui juris churches coming under Latin Rite jurisdiction, thousands were lost to Orthodoxy when a certain archbishop refused to recognize a Greek-Catholic priest, who led his flock into communion with the then Russian Orthodox Church (now orthodox church of america, I think), who later went into the pay of the Czar and was soliciting other Eastern Catholics to go into communion with the Orthodox.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Al said...

As Ade rightly pointed out, the maronites were never officially seperated from Rome, just out of communication for a while. I have friends who are Maronite Catholic & have been to a Maronite liturgy. I know they like to brag that they were never seperated from Rome. Unlike most of the other eastern Catholic Churches there is no Maronite Church that isn't in union with Rome.

There is also 1 Byzantine Catholic Church that was never seperated from Rome. That is the Italo-Albanian/Greek Catholic Church that exists in Southern Italy. It is the only other Eastern Catholic Church that exists only in union w/ Rome.

As has also been pointed out, even if 1 of the Eastern Churches wholly reunites w/ Rome, the rest won't automaticly come.

But as also has been pointed out, I hope some major reunion does happen soon, just to see what people like Fr. McBrien & the Non-Catholic Reporter handle it. (Semi-evil grin with a smirk of satisfaction at the idea of how unhappy it will make them.)

11:45 PM  
Blogger Coffee Catholic said...

"Catholics say that they belong to the One True Church (One, Holy, Catholic, & Apostolic). The Orthodox make the identical claim for Orthodoxy."

Ok but... what exactly is so different between Catholics and Orthodox that make us *not* of the same one, true faith?

2:16 AM  
Blogger Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

Coffee,
to the best of my knowledge, the two biggest things are that most of the Orthodox reject both the primacy of the Pope and the various councils that came after the schism. VSO surely knows far better than I, however.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Adeo and Nan,
Good info. Thanks

10:50 AM  
Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

Nan said:

thousands were lost to Orthodoxy when a certain archbishop refused to recognize a Greek-Catholic priest, who led his flock into communion with the then Russian Orthodox Church (now orthodox church of america, I think),

This was Fr. Alexis Toth, a Ruthenian Catholic priest who was a widower. Bishop John Ireland, who together with some other American Catholic bishops, vigorously promoted one Catholic Church in America with an American Culture (read that as Irish-American). Bishop Ireland refused to accept Fr. Alexis because he had been a married priest. Bishop Ireland was also not favorably disposed to having a "foreign" liturgy in his canonical territory. He was a fool! Note that at the time Fr. Alexis was a celibate priest, having been widowed before he emigrated from Eastern Europe to the United States. Bishop Ireland had some Eastern Catholics under his canonical authority, but he gave them a German American priest who would only celebrate mass according to the Roman Rite. Fr. Alexis is now St. Alexis Toth. Ruthenian Catholics comprise the OCA, as you have stated, and ACROD (American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese) which I think is an exarchate under the canonical authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. And this wasn't the only time that Eastern Catholics the United States reverted to Orthodoxy due to bad attitudes on the part of Roman Catholic bishops. And you wonder why the Orthodox mistrust RC bishops and the Pope? Here is a good example.

The requirement that EC priests in the United States be celibate still stands, although it has been eroded somewhat in recent years. About 10 years ago, the Melkite Bishop of the United States, the now retired Bishop John Elya, ordained a long-serving, married deacon to the Holy Priesthood. Not one word of complaint was heard from AmChurh's bishops, although I suspect the reason was liberalism more than a recognition of and appreciation for a traditional Eastern practice.

Al said:

That is the Italo-Albanian/Greek Catholic Church that exists in Southern Italy. It is the only other Eastern Catholic Church that exists only in union w/ Rome.

There is an Italo-Albanian or Italo-Greek [same thing] Eastern Catholic parish in Las Vegas, NV! The Italo-Albanian rite celebrates the Byzantine Rite Divine Liturgy with the priest wearing Latin-rite vestments. Also, I believe the traditional liturgical language in Italy was Latin. Yes, a Byzantine Rite liturgy in Latin. Neat! There is also a rite or use in Dalmatia that celebrates the traditional Latin mass, but the liturgical language is Old Slavonic. Also neat!

The Maronites also wear Latin-rite vestments, although this may have changed recently. A few years back they had their own "Vatican II liturgical reforms" which IIRC included restoration of more ancient vestments and the potential addition of up to 80 eucharistic prayers that at some time in Maronite liturgical history had been used in their Divine Liturgies. An additional 5 or 6 EPs of the 80 or so are now used.

Coffee Catholic said:

Ok but... what exactly is so different between Catholics and Orthodox that make us *not* of the same one, true faith?

The previous discussions basically covered this although necessarily very superficially, but IMHO there should be no difference. JP-II was right-on when he said that the Catholic Church needs to breathe with both lungs--East and West. As I see it, the basic reason why we are not united is that Christians are just like the Jews--hard-hearted, stiff-necked, and unteachable.

I would like to thank you all for a wonderful conversation. Thanks also to Cavey for making this possible.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Al said...

Ade, I am aware of the Las Vegas parish, there is also the Italian Byzantine Rite Catholic Mission of Our Lady of Grace in New York as well. Interestingly enough for some reason that mission is under the Latin Bishop, not 1 of the Byzantine Bishops.

Also, at all the Maronite Divine Liturgies I have attended or seen the priest or bishop wore something more like a cope & similar to what the Byzantine priest wears as well.

Ade also points out a sad bit of history in the American Church with how the eastern Churches have been treated in the past.

11:26 PM  
Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

Also, at all the Maronite Divine Liturgies I have attended or seen the priest or bishop wore something more like a cope & similar to what the Byzantine priest wears as well.

Eastern vestments? So there was a liturgical "reform!" I was wondering, did the priest face the people? I have read that in the U.S., this is a frequent practice in Maronite parishes, unlike the Lebanese Maronite parishes.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Al said...

"did the priest face the people?" From what I remember, I have seen it both ways.

5:27 AM  

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