Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Reunification at last?

::Updated::For additional Information see also this post::

Ex oriente lux ex occidente lex. From the east light from the west law. That has been the interpretation of division within Christian Thought for going on nearly a thousand years, but according to Ruth Gledhill and her article at Virtue Online, the old divisions may be dying away:

The 46-paragraph "Ravenna Document", written by a special commission of Catholic and Orthodox officials, envisages a reunified church in which the Pope could be the most senior patriarch among the various Orthodox churches.

Unification with the Orthodox churches could ultimately limit the authority of the Pope, lessening the absolute power that he currently enjoys within Catholicism. In contrast, a deal would greatly strengthen the Patriarch of Constantinople in his dealings with the Muslim world and the other Orthodox churches.

Pope Benedict has called a meeting of cardinals from all over the world in Rome on November 23, when the document will be the main topic of discussion. The Ravenna "road map" concedes that "elements of the true Church are present outside the Catholic communion".

It suggests that means "be sought out" to set up a new ecumenical council, similar to those of the early Church which drew up the Nicene and other creeds, and to which Catholic and Orthodox bishops would be invited. Such a council would attempt formally to end the schism of 1054 between East and West.

If the proposals move forward, the Pope would be acknowledged as the universal Primate, as he was before the schism.

Word has been traveling through the blogosphere and media outlets for the past few days, but details have been scant.

Although there are concerns like the Catholic Doctrine of Papal Infallability, and of course with the bruised ego of the Russians (who have a giant chip on their shoulders, both politically and now it seems religio-politically because they're no longer a "super power" and now seem to have more to worry about with renegade cult sects.), I believe that with more earnest dialogue a restoration can take place of the tranquil state of things prior to that fateful event of July 16, 1054 when the Pope Excommunicated the Patriarch and then vice versa.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the document as evoked in the previous quote is this:

nlike diocesan and regional synods, an Ecumenical Council is not an “institution” whose frequency can be regulated by canons; it is rather an “event”, a kairos inspired by the Holy Spirit who guides the Church so as to engender within it the institutions which it needs and which respond to its nature. This harmony between the Church and the councils is so profound that, even after the break between East and West which rendered impossible the holding of Ecumenical Councils in the strict sense of the term, both Churches continued to hold councils whenever serious crises arose. These councils gathered together the bishops of local Churches in communion with the See of Rome or, although understood in a different way, with the See of Constantinople, respectively. In the Roman Catholic Church, some of these councils held in the West were regarded as ecumenical. This situation, which obliged both sides of Christendom to convoke councils proper to each of them, favoured dissensions which contributed to mutual estrangement. The means which will allow the re-establishment of ecumenical consensus must be sought out.

Emphasis of course is added. The crux of it all that someway, somehow a truly Ecumenical Council should be sought! Perhaps a new maxim for the church based on a more American Ideal is more appropriate:

E Pluribus Unum

I'll let the Fathers in consort finish:

We are conscious that many difficult questions remain to be clarified, but we hope that, sustained by the prayer of Jesus “That they may all be one … so that the world may believe” (Jn 17, 21), and in obedience to the Holy Spirit, we can build upon the agreement already reached. Reaffirming and confessing “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4, 5), we give glory to God the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who has gathered us together.

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Babbie said...

Now, if they would just invite the "orthodox" wing of the Episcopal Church, which is about to leave the EPUSA, we'd be cooking with gas.

Mattheus Mei said...

Actually Babbie, I think Anglicans can go the way of Bishop Jeff Steenson. Also note that as of recent there is a huge bloc within the Anglican Communion, the TAC, which has written Rome to reunite en Masse... we'll see how that goes. I personally see Rowan as another Patriarch of sorts kind of like B16 and Bartholomew, but there are obstacles to overcome with the Anglicans (Female Priests/Bishops)as there are with the Romans (Papal Infallability)

Gashwin said...

The obstacles with the Anglicans are rather huger ...

The development with the Orthodox is phenomenal. Now, if only the Russians would grow up a bit. [Did I say that out loud? Ouch!]

Mattheus Mei said...

Yes Gashwin there are many theological and doctrinal issues with the Anglicans and the Romans and the Anglicans and Orthodox - Female Ordination just being one issue. I'm sure we can both rattle of a list that might exacerbate Babbie's patience, the point being though that as an "Orthodox" Episcopalian she does currently have options. Babbie it's worth noting too that these congregations have their own modified liturgy within the RCC based off of the Book of Common Prayer which in a way makes them a quasi Rite without the Episcopal Autonomy, the unfortunate reality being that even though they have this "liturgy" once the congregation dies out, so goes that liturgy.

Now about those Russians - Check out this Article on how Russia is rewriting its history. This mentality is obvious in the childish actions displayed by the Russians at Ravenna.

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