Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Unia and Vatican II

For the Roman Catholic, the fallout from Vatican II was disastrous. For the Greek Catholic (see here for a very recent example), the call of Vatican II for them to reclaim their traditions was seen as an important step back towards orthodoxy. That said, many of the things an Orthodox person finds objectionable in the beliefs of the Latin Church will not be wholly absent in the Eastern Catholic Churches. Simply saying "Orthodox in communion with Rome" cannot excise starkly declarative pronouncements written to the "universal Church" by the Bishop of Rome.

(Zenit) - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, announced in his address at the opening of the new academic year of the Pontifical Oriental Institute that a summit meeting of the patriarchs and major archbishops of the oriental Churches of Syria, Iraq and the Middle East.

The meeting, which will take place from November 19th - 22nd and will reflect on the theme “The Eastern Catholic Churches: Fifty years after the Second Vatican Council.”

“Pope Francis has agreed to repeat the meeting which took place for the first time in 2009”, Cardinal Sandri said referring to when the heads of the Eastern Churches met with Benedict XVI.

The upcoming summit, he continued, “will now have the opportunity to speak before the Pope on the situation of eastern Christians.”

Pope Francis is expected to attend the summit meeting on November 21st.


  1. Being newly Orthodox, are these meetings intended to try and help resolve the difference between Rome and the East, so that we can all be reconciled to one Church?

    1. Peripherally probably, but not as a centerpiece item. I'll post the notes after the meeting and we'll see.

    2. IIRC, the *Congregation* for the Oriental Churches refers to Eastern Rite Catholics. The Pontifical *Council* for Promoting Christian Unity refers to the Orthodox and other non-Roman Catholic Christian groups. So... technically... this meeting is not about the Orthodox. However, because the Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholics are closely connected, I would not be surprised if the topic of reconciliation came up.

  2. Why does the Byzantine tradition have to be limited by what one does or does not accept from the pope? There are no doubt challenges to understanding certain teachings that come from Rome but such teachings are still up for development. As one Melkite bishop said at Vatican II, “"would a new Eastern formulation of the dogma of primacy-infallibility be impossible?”. Even Pope John Paul II invited the Orthodox to help further develop the papacy so it could serve the whole Church. As a Byzantine Catholic I don’t think I need to reject anything from Rome in order to true to Tradition. What I do believe that I need to do is to help Roman Catholics mature in their understanding of ecclesiology by being true to my Byzantine tradition.

    1. As just coming into the Orthodox Church in the last two month one of the things that I have been constantly reminded of is that the Orthodox doesn't change and has adhered to the original Church teachings, which is why Rome is in such trouble - always "discovering" something that wasn't there before. Having a new dogma on primacy-infallibility smells like something Rome would do.

      By the way you'll never get a RC to mature in their understanding of ecclesiology. The devout RC's think this is heresy and that all Orthodox are outside the Church and probably going to hell. The other Catholics, those not adhering to what Rome requires them to believe, those Catholics are really just bringing protestant values with them. Until they clean up there mess in their own house its probably best that we just stand on this side and watch for awhile.

    2. Is that really fair to Catholics?

      Does "discovering" something that wasn't there before really lead to trouble? Is there a difference between that and our greatest patristics scholars (Lossky, Meyendorff, Zizioulas) "rehabilitating" the thought of certain Fathers using more rigorous critical methods?

      You continue by saying "you'll never get a RC to mature in their understanding of ecclesiology...the devout RC's think this is heresy and that all Orthodox are outside the Church and probably going to hell." Really? Does Pope Francis count as a devout Catholic who adheres to Rome? What about Pope Benedict or Pope John Paul II?

      In fact, the viewpoint you describe sounds much more similar to typical Orthodox (usually of the conservative Russian persuasion). Ever heard Old Calendarists and those types talking about the "Pan-heresy of Ecumenism"?

      This immature ecclesiology isn't actually as common in Orthodoxy as some would have you believe; however, I find it to be at least as common as the Vatican I, "Una Sancta" ecclesiology is in Roman Catholicism.