Friday, February 28, 2014

Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon on ecumenism

(Vatican Insider) - The Metropolitan of Pergamon Ioannis Zizioulas has raised alarm bells about divisions between the Orthodox Churches. Some have reduced Christian unity to an alliance between religious hierarchies formed in order to tackle sexual ethics issues together.

The theological dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox Churches which was launched with the aim of achieving full sacramental communion, risks stalling permanently. And one of the main reasons for this would appear to be the divisions that exist between the Orthodox Churches and those influential circles within the Orthodox faith – the Patriarchate of Moscow above all – that are refusing to recognise one universal primate as the leader of the Church, founded on a shared and canonical and ecclesial tradition. The alarm was raised by none other than the Metropolitan of Pergamon, Ioannis Zizioulas, a former member of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, co-President of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Zizioulas, whom many consider to be the greatest living Christian theologian (his “Eucharistic ecclesiology” is appreciated both by Pope Francis and his predecessor Benedict XVI) restores faith in the upcoming meeting between the Bishop of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Jerusalem next May. He sees unity among Christians as much more than just an alliance between Church hierarchies to form a “common front” to deal with ethical and sex-related issues.

Meanwhile, the direction the Ukrainian crisis has taken raises questions once again over the control the Patriarchate of Moscow exercises over the majority of Orthodox parishes in the Ukraine.

The date of the Pope and the Patriarch’s meeting in Jerusalem is nearing. What can we expect from this meeting?

“It’s going to be a very important event. The intention is to commemorate the meeting between Paul VI and Athenagoras 50 years ago, the first time a Pope and an ecumenical Patriarch had met since the days of the schism. Their embrace sparked hopes of forthcoming unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. This has not yet happened. But it is important to show the world that we are continuing to move patiently and determinedly towards unity. We are on our way to achieving this. We haven’t stopped. This is why the upcoming meeting between Francis and Bartholomew in Jerusalem will not just be a commemorative act looking to the past but represents a door that is open to the future.”

A year on from his election, what is the prevailing impression Orthodox faithful and leaders of the Eastern Churches have of Pope Francis?

“Pope Francis surprised all of us in a positive way, because of his style, his temperament, his humility and also because the actions he is taking as Pope could bring the Catholic and Orthodox Churches closer together. The Orthodox have always essentially seen the Pope as the Bishop of Rome. And Pope Francis often refers to this title as the title which allows him to exercise his ministry. The Orthodox used to see the Pope as a figure who put himself on a pedestal and the papacy as a form of ecclesiastical imperialism. They thought the Pope’s intention was to subjugate them and exercise power over them. Now there are many signs which are pointing in the opposite direction. For example, the Pope has stressed on more than one occasion that the Catholic Church can learn from the Orthodox Church when it comes to synodality and the synodal nature of the Church. This doesn't address the conciliar and papal declarations providing for more than the currently imagined role. What does one do with something like Lumen Gentium, written only 50 years ago, that states: "But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope's power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head. This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff."

Does the creation of the Council of 8 Cardinals and the new impetus given to the Synod of Catholic bishops have anything to do with this?

“Yes, these are important decisions. Some misunderstand synodality, presenting it as the application of worldly political methods to Church life. But the theological dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches clearly set out the correct way in which synodality should be understood. In the Ravenna document of 2007 we recognised that the primacy is necessary and is deeply rooted in the Church’s canonical tradition. This is not just for human “organisation” reasons. It must always be seen in the context of synodality. The Church is always a synod and in the synod there is always a protos, a number one, a primate. This does not mean a penetration of secular thought on democracy or the monarchy into the Church. Only theology. It derives from the faith in our Holy Trinity. Ever since the very beginning, Church tradition has had canons which state the following: in the Church there is never a Primus without the Synod and there is never a Synod without the Primus. Harmony between the Primus and the Synod is a gift of the Holy Spirit. This has been our ecclesiology right from the start.”
The Patriarchate of Moscow rejected the conclusions of the Ravenna document you mentioned. Did you read the Russian Church’s pronouncement?

“Yes I did read it. I speak for myself and on behalf of the ecumenical Patriarchate when I say that we do not agree with that document. It claims that the primacy exists and has theological grounding at the local and regional Church level but not on a universal level. We know what the real reason for this is: they want to deny that after the schism in the Orthodox Church too the ecumenical Patriarchate exercised universal primacy. In order to achieve this, they reject the possibility of recognising the Pope’s role as universal primate in a way that is acceptable to the Orthodox Churches as well. In the Ravenna document they managed to reach a consensus on this very point: we recognised that in the Church the primacy is always exercised on three levels: a local level, a regional level and a universal level.” A point worth making is one that the metropolitan made eleven years ago: "The difficulty concerning the Petrine primacy lies in the fact that it entails universal jurisdiction whereby the pope can interfere in a local Church. But if we can find a way in which to see the universal primacy of the pope that doesn’t encroach on the full nature of the local Church, we could accept it."

Are internal divisions within the Orthodox faith compromising ecumenical dialogue?

“I fear that there are going to be problems. Particularly because the position of the Patriarchate of Moscow holds as much weight as a pronouncement by the Synod. These are not positions expressed by single individuals, by Metropolitan Hilarion or by Patriarch Kirill. With a pronouncement like that, it becomes difficult for an exchange of views to take place and this is what dialogue is all about. Imagine if the Orthodox Church today wished to enter into dialogue with the Catholic Church having already made certain synodal pronouncements on the primacy issue, which is the issue currently at the centre of discussion: it would mean there was no room for discussion and that dialogue had ended. The step taken by the Patriarchate of Moscow could have very negative consequences. It could in fact lead to the end of theological dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches which was launched in order to overcome the obstacles that are standing in the way of full communion. I hope this will not happen.”

Will clarifications be made at the synaxis (assembly) of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches in March?

“We also need to discuss issues relating to the Orthodox Churches in the context of the great pan-Orthodox synod. Preparation work for this began several years ago and the event could be announced next year. I hope ecumenical dialogue will also be discussed, if not officially, then at least in private. I want to ask the Patriarch of Moscow whether he is aware of the consequences of the step he has taken. He may not have realised just how catastrophic it could be for dialogue.”

Pope Francis says that the greatest danger the Church faces is self-referentialism. A while back you talked about a “narcissistic self-satisfaction” that has contaminated many ecclesial circles. Why is ecclesial introversion so insidious?

Pope Francis says that the greatest danger the Church faces is self-referentialism. The Church is there for the world not for itself. The Church gets its light from Christ, as the moon gets its light from the sun. But the light which beams out from the Church is not just for itself: it is for the world, for the life of the world. But what I see now in many ecclesial circles is a growing temptation to set the Church against the sin-filled world and sinful humans. But Jesus ate with sinners. He embraced them. The Church is called to give the same love and forgiveness and not to serve people an ideology caked in Christian words.”


  1. As Catholic, I strongly recommend this post.

  2. Joseph, you've made some good points.

    I would strongly recommend the following article for anyone wishing to understand the current ecumenical movement from an Orthodox perspective:

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    2. Despite his knowledge of the Holy Fathers and Orthodox Doctrine and Spirituality, Bishop Augustine is very ill informed concerning the true nature of Orthodox ecumenism. The kind of ecumenism that he denounces does not exist in the Eastern Orthodox Church. As one who has represented the Church in ecumenical meetings and dialogues, I know that the position of the Orthodox Church is and always has been that union with any other group of people who call themselves Christians with Orthodoxy will only be possible if the non-Orthodox accept the Faith of the ancient undivided Church of the Holy Fathers and the 7 Ecumenical Councils without reservation. Time and time again, the Orthodox involved in ecumenism have denounced the "branch theory of the Church" and have declared that we consider the Eastern Orthodox Church, "the living realization of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." In one statement after another Orthodox representatives at ecumenical meetings have stated that we are unwilling to compromise our Orthodox Faith for the sake of union with any other group. In short, the kind of ecumenism described by Bishop Augustine does not exist in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

  3. As Orthodox, I strongly recommend this post.

    I would strongly recommend IGNORING the above-posted article on if anyone wishes to understand the current ecumenical movement from a perspective not steeped in xenophobia, short-sightedness, and theological illiteracy.

    1. Forgive me, brother, but one can hardly suggest that pieces written by the ever-memorable Metropolitan of Florina are 'short-sighted' and 'theologically illiterate'. He is the author of at least thirty books, and is generally revered even by those who opposed him for his strictness on ecumenism. He is particularly steeped in St John Chrysostom as even the most basic study of his homilies will reveal. He is also deeply knowledgeable concerning the period surrounding the pseudo-union of Florence and those figures associated with it - a time which produced a number of important Patristic writings on the Orthodox Church's view of the Papal church which are generally ignored, or least selectively read, by modern scholarship. For these basic reasons we must take his positions seriously and not childishly call for him to be 'ignored'. (On a side note, my studies of him have found that he is also surprisingly knowledgeable concerning Western culture and the Western canon, so to speak)

      Also, in response to his 'xenophobia', I think he will be forgiven for having showed a interest in the Greece within all this, seeing that he was an archpastor in that country. It is not fair of us to assume all writings ever published will be written to a universal audience: scholars who live in theological fairyland can do this - pastors can't. Their responsibilities demand that they express their views with those people under their care always in mind.

  4. Hello father, thank you for your response.

    Met. Augustinos is the author of over 80 books, and I do not mean to question his authority on the doctrines of the church. You are right to say that he is well-educated in Chrysostom, etc. You are also right to say that he is a pastor, and he is writing for a Greek flock who suffers from inordinate ethnocentrism. However, I do not think this excuses him as a bishop, because bishops are supposed to set a better example. On the other hand, since Patriarch Athenagoras in 1964, Ecumenism is a new awakening in Orthodoxy, and it is perfectly understandable for a Bishop raised and educated in a certain...shall we say...old world milieu to fall prey to new errors. And Augustinos has fallen deeply into error on this issue.

    In his article, the Metropolitan uncharitably refers to Roman Catholics seeking open dialogue with Orthodox as "papists" trying to "seduce" the "unmarried woman (the Orthodox Church) with a "shameful union." He openly states that dialogue is dangerous to the Orthodox Church, and that we Orthodox should be afraid of it. This is a very, very sad and pathetic outlook on theological conversation. In fact, it is difficult to see how Orthodoxy could even evangelize effectively if one were to take Augustinos' perspective to its logical conclusion.

    Did Augustine fear dialogue with the Donatists? Did Justin Martyr fear dialogue with the Jews? Did St. Paul fear dialogue with the Pagans on the Areopagus?

    Should we also fear dialogue with our Coptic and Ethiopian brethren with whom we are not in communion? Should Orthodox Churches currently out of communion with one another fear dialogue with each other? Taken to his logical conclusion, Augustinos' words are the very opposite of the gospel...and they're not even practical. To take him literally, Orthodox would literally have to stop preaching the Word within earshot of any Roman Catholic. Because isn't that a form of ecumenical dialogue as well?

    The Roman Catholic ecumenists that I have met, like Paul McPartlan and Robert Taft, are not "shameless heretics" and "enemies of the Orthodox Church." They approach our bishops with open ears and open hearts, trying to bring two Christian groups so close in a shared history and faith into greater openness and charity for one another.

    Met. Augustinos literally states that any dialogue will lead to a watering-down of the Orthodox faith. As if the Orthodox faith could ever be corrupted!! The idea is risible. Father John, please, please do not fall for the seemingly "traditional" and "conservative" words of any teacher, hierarch though he may be, who speaks of the "Pan-heresy of Ecumenism" and invents these offensive parables about the "papist enemies of the Church." It is a sin to say such things about our Catholic brothers and sisters. Father, I should not have to instruct a priest on these matters (if you are one). But my conscience leads me to do so.

    1. From a Patristic perspective there is a great deal one could say in response to what you have written above. While you claim for yourself the position of teacher, there is indeed many fundamental things you have yet to learn. I pray that illumination will accompany your apparent reading.

      Fundamentally I wish to make just one point: no one fears true dialogue, just as there was no such thing as an anti-unionist in the strict sense prior to Florence. However, we have not seen true dialogue since before the patriarchate of Athenagoras. What we have seen are true, faithful Roman Catholics, who are very articulate and who hold firmly to the papal line, meeting with Orthodox who are not representing the Orthodox Church with with the same firmness and faith in our God-inspired tradition. This latest statement by the His Eminence, the Metropolitan of Pergamon is enough to prove this point, though one could also cite the recent homily of His Eminence, the Metropolitan of Bursa for further reinforcement.

      It is upon witnessing such actions that many have withdrawn their support for the modern ecumenical movement and then spoken harsh words. They have done this, not out of a lack of charity, but out of love for their flocks and with a firm desire to protect them. You are indeed correct that the Orthodox Faith cannot be prevailed against, that it has nothing to fear, but numbers of the faithful can be lost to heresy and false belief. It is this which provoked Metropolitan Augoustinos' reaction, not some insane, categorical fear of dialogue. We might add that in taking this line he is following in the footsteps of St Mark of Ephesus', and later Gennadios II Scholarios', to the events surrounding Florence. Both went to Florence hoping in the possibility of union (of dialogue, if you will), but once they saw that there was no chance of a union occurring which would remain faithful to Orthodoxy, they discerningly withdrew their support and in continuation spoke some harsh words.

      To be frank, just as I seem to have disappointed you to the point that you feel the need to educate me, you have shown me that there dialogues do indeed represent a great danger to Orthodox Christians as the betrayals going on there are seeping down into the consciousness of the faithful.

    2. Perhaps from a Neo-Patristic perspective it is possible to support the publication of polemics against papist seducers. If that is the case, I would not want to support such a school of thought.

      "...we have not seen true dialogue since before the Patriarchate of Athenagoras."

      Well, Father, if you don't think the work of Met. Zizioulas, whom many consider the world's greatest living theologian, to be "true dialogue," then I'm not sure there is much further I can proceed with this conversation. I would humbly recommend you read some of his theological works, such as Being as Communion, and Communion and Otherness to get a firm grasp of his eucharistic ontology before attempting to understand his ecumenical project. It may be that you are misunderstanding some of his statements without this background.

      The faithful are in no more danger of heresy and false belief than they have ever been. However, they are in great danger of making themselves irrelevant. You and your school of thought seem to think Ecumenism is a great danger to the church. Well, it is more true that a mindset of Alterity is worse. Jesus Christ did not come to turn his people into warring factions. It was his desire that all may be one.

      Athenagoras understood this. He was not a traitor; he is a hero of Orthodoxy in the true spirit of St. Mark Eugenikos (not the spirit of bitterness that seemed to cloud his rhetoric after the Council of Florence).

      Patriarch Bartholemew also understands this. For his efforts he's received nothing but disdain and short tempers from Mount Athos. I think it's very sad that such a simple thing as wanting to discuss theology with Roman Catholics can earn the Ecumenical Patriarch himself such a "low approval rating" (so to speak).

  5. As St. Mark of Ephesus once said, "We seek and we pray for our return to that time when, being united, we spoke the same things and there was no schism between us."

  6. On the note the Metropolitan raises concerning "divisions in Orthodoxy", he mentions that if the Orthodox had a synodic pronouncement on the Roman Church's ecclesiology it would end dialogue, but this makes me think of the Roman side, where there is very clear teaching on the subject, and that teaching is I think obviously unacceptable to the Orthodox. The quote from Lumen Gentium is only part, the obvious affirmations of Papal primacy at Lyons, Florence, Trent, and Vatican I are a not inconsiderable legacy of synodic statements by Rome, not to mention the last imbued Papal Infallibility with the force of a dogma. While not desiring to go to the sever dialogue now extreme, sometimes our dialogues with Rome get to sound suspiciously like the Union of Brest, and that's unsettling. Certainly we in our own house need to settle this primacy thing (which is sort of vague), but I'm not so sure getting into communion with Rome is worth doing outside the framework of Mark of Ephesus. For one all these schemes of Union are operating on their simply being a misunderstanding, which is clearly not the case if the Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Branch theory need not apply. The Lord forgive me if I have made an error, and what I say I claim no authority behind, it's only musings of a layman.

    1. I think it's important to remember that the doctrine of Petrine Primacy cannot be separated from its historical context. It means something a little bit different in every era of the Christian age, but it is undeniably an idea that has been around since the beginning, even among the Greeks.

      Anti-Latin sentiments have definitely polarized the dialectic on this issue, but Rome has also shown themselves open to re-thinking the idea of primacy in recent years. You can check out Paul McPartlan's recent book "A Service of Love" for a brief overview of the status questionis on a comparison of conciliarity, ultramontanism, and collegiality.

      As for Mark of Ephesus, I absolutely agree, but we have to remember that Mark was an Ecumenist of the same breed as those who are trying to promote dialogue today (like EP Bartholemew). He went to Florence seeking a reconciliation with the Pope (that's historical fact). He was hoping the Pope would retract the addition of the filioque; instead the Pope tried bribing Greek bishops to accept the filioque, eucharistic azymes, etc. Madness.

      Nota bene: contrary to what the demagogues on would have you believe, this sort of ridiculousness does not happen in the ecumenical dialogues of today. Pope Francis is not bribing our bishops to deny our faith. Neither Catholics nor Orthodox any longer consider the leavened host an issue. Neither are beards. Also, much more work has been done on the question of filioque, and it is no longer considered a church-dividing issue (several popes have been known to recite the creed without its inclusion).

    2. Something that actively gives me pause is actually the note that the views on the Petrine primacy have changed over time: not something going with the unchanging witness of the Church. The Truth doesn't change. If this somehow leads us to a true Union that would be fine, but it still means there is a gap in how we are viewing the nature of doctrine. Is it a good thing if Rome is willing to compromise something they consider dogma? If it is because they have examined it and found it an error that is one thing, but if it is out of the notion of the change of the times it is entirely invalid. And primacy, despite some of the works I've read or heard on the subject, seems to be something very vaguely present in the ancient Fathers. They just didn't seem concerned with that kind of politics, and understanding the historical context, it became and issue when the Empire started to crumble. As to whether the filioque is a dividing issue/ the Pope's recitation of the Creed sans-filioque, it has long been established that the pre-filioque creed is fine for use in Rome, however Roman theology has traditionally emphasized it's viability and its necessity. The fact that the Roman Church has two ways of reciting the creed is not necessarily a good sign. Further, I'm not sure to whom it is not considered a church dividing issue... If you're speaking of some of the WCC statements that is certainly not what would be considered "binding theological statements". As to St. Mark's bitterness, it is understandable considering the capitulation that occurred at Florence, there is a reason it was declared a false union. What I meant was that it seems to me that in this ecumenical dialogue we haven't of course hit some of the biggest hot button issues (Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, etc.) let alone the practical problem of recognition of say, Saints post-schism. Add to this the major discipline problems and piety issues of the post-Vatican II Roman church, Rome has got some soul searching to do herself. I think the poster below raises a good point about getting our house in order in terms of our jurisdictional squabbles and various inter-Orthodox controversies and Rome has to do the same. I think it is important also to think in concrete terms of one or the other of our existence as The Church, One Holy Catholic and Apostolic, as this determines how the dialogue must proceed. I think the thoughts of Fr. Georges Florovsky are important, if we truly believe that about the Church someone has to repent. If we are both in the wrong we have to find where the Church is, as She certainly must exist somewhere. This is not to say I don't believe Orthodoxy to be the Church. It's just that this is the hard knocks of a strict ecclesiology. We can't have these branches. And I (emphasis on this being my opinion) think that we have to be honest about this. If Union is happening, it will be Union out of schism. Someone was wrong. Unfortunately we rarely approach such dialogue with humility and striving toward Truth, but often with axes in hand. I think there are some good lessons to learn from the reunion of Moscow and ROCOR on this point. I think one last thing would be good to note: the obstacles of Rome returning to Orthodoxy are greater than Orthodoxy returning to Rome. If Rome is right, it really only involves our acknowledgement of the Petrine primacy and the rest follows from there. If the other way around, Rome has to get on its knees and chop out at least two dogmas if not more. They consider us schismatics, for us there are heresies between us. Oh, and as to my reference to Brest, I'm not implying a bribery situation alla-Florence or Brest, but more the sort of gloss the differences sort of thing. The article recently posted here on "ecumenical" Forgiveness Vespers I think makes a lot of that kind of idea clearer. Again my musings, my God have mercy.

    3. Vlad, you're not wrong. I agree that there are some things Rome will have to backtrack on. What I'm arguing, though, is that there is a way for her to do that which would not lead to a formal compromise of her claim to an infallible teaching authority. For the record, I also think there will be some things that Orthodoxy will have to backtrack on. The good news is, we have done this before. I know we Orthodox are brought up to think that the Church has never changed and doctrine has always been the same but I have news for you: outside of basic doctrines on the Trinity, Christology, etc., the church's understanding of her principles and their practical function is always shifting. The Catholics shifted the idea of Petrine Primacy during the lay investiture controversy because of a changing political situation in Europe. The Greeks changed the caesaropapism of the high Byzantine period because once the Ottomans conquered them it no longer made sense. By the way, this is why we need another ecumenical council (although the hyperdox will tell you we are fine). The situation in the world has changed, and our structures need to adapt to that (lest we end up with scandalous pastoral situations like the jurisdiction crisis in America).

      David Bentley Hart, in his essay "The Myth of Schism," opines that Rome needs to drop filioque, not because it is theologically insurmountable, but because it is the symbol of so much conflict over the centuries. He says Rome also needs to drop the "owed temporal punishment" aspect of their Purgatory doctrine (most Orthodox don't realize, we accept sanctification after death just like Catholics, we just don't hold to juridical temporal punishment). Mary's Immaculate Conception would be entirely acceptable if East and West had developed the doctrine together (as Met. Kallistos Ware writes). You will find that many other "hot button issues" have flexibility in how they can be understood by Catholics and Orthodox, to the extent that we can recover unity on these topics. As for post-Schism saints, the Church has never declared that any of the faithful MUST venerate them in order to be considered Orthodox. The reason for this is that some of them, such as St. Peter the Aleut, may not even exist. We and Rome update and change our calendar of feasts on occasion throughout history. It would not be reasonable to demand acceptance by others of what there is not consistence on by us.

      All in all, I would just argue that we ought to approach unity as trying to see what sorts of open-minded re-understandings of dogmas we can arrive at, knowing that East and West will always see things a little differently, but that both are ancient Christianity. No demanding that the other "drop this" or "change that." It's like a riddle or a logic puzzle: can we make the pieces fit? If not, we must accept the fact of schism and the idea that 80% of the world's Christians are formal heretics bound for hell (or that Christ's body is formally divided). However, those who work on this question have made good headway (filioque, papal primacy, etc.). I think we owe it to our own bishops and theologians to stop criticizing them for trying...that's all.

      FYI, the agreed statement on the Filioque was between SCOBA (yes, your own bishops) and the USCCB in the North-American Joint Commission. You can see the link I posted earlier.

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  8. Mend our own tents first. Reconcile with the other Eastern Churches. Decide who and what we are in the New World. Then we can begin to think about beginning dialogue with Rome.

    The Orthodox Church was the Church of the Empire. The Empire dissolved and history has still not stopped, with national borders and entire nation-states dissolving and re-forming. You could fill several volumes with discussion of the increasing disconnect between the Church's ecclesiology and the reality on the ground but that's not my life's work.

    IOW, the Orthodox still do not know who they are as a global institution after the fall of Constantinople. A mission? A diaspora? Something else? Answer that question first, but that's just my worthless opinion.

    Rome has reconciled with the disappearance of the Empire and the great Catholic monarchs. Rome declares her universal and supreme jurisdiction and acts like it. The sun truly does not set on the Catholic Church. The Uniates don't have a problem with the arrangement: just stand over there, be quaint, be ethnic, and we'll all be happy. The Orthodox can come in the tent and do the same thing. Right?

    I think the cart is way, way before the horse but again, my worthless two cents and it's certainly above my paygrade.

    1. For what it's worth, you should know that the Catholics participating in ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox are not proposing an ecumenism of uniatism, nor are they trying to make Orthodoxy a "rite" under the jurisdiction of the pope, as the Melkites, etc. are today.

      Rome is officially very open to a new understanding of Petrine Primacy which would be more acceptable to the Orthodox. Read: no papal interference in episcopal governance. More emphasis on subsidiarity and mutual service. These are goods to be desired and Rome has put them on the table.