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It is my opinion that in just a few terse statements both the Catholics and the Orthodox declared us to be redundant. Whether or not this is true in fact how do we see ourselves. Here are the introductory comments:

1) At the request of the Orthodox Churches, the normal progression of the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church has been set aside so that immediate attention might be given to the question which is called "uniatism".

2) With regard to the method which has been called "uniatism", it was said at Freising (June 1990) that "we reject it as a method for the search for unity because it is opposed to the common tradition of our Churches".

3) Concerning the Eastern Catholic Churches, it is clear that they, as part of the Catholic Communion, have the right to exist and to act in response to the spritual needs of their faithful.

4) The document prepared at Ariccia by the joint coordinating committee (June 1991) and finished at Balamand (June 1993) states what is our method in the present search for full communion, thus giving the reason for excluding "uniatism" as a method.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/balamand_txt.asp

If our only vision is to "have the right to exist and to act in response to the spiritual needs of their faithful" presumably until we die a merciful death or are assimilated into who knows what why don't we say it and be done with it. At least then we can discern what our individuals vocations are. We are then to be content with shepherding an increasingly shrinking ethnic remnant until is ceases to exist. We can be museum curates. On the other hand if we have a greater vision then that ought to be proclaimed.

So, what is our vision?

CDL

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Our vision is to witness Jesus Christ in the fullness of Orthodoxy within Catholic Communion as best as we possibly can until the Lord brings healing and full communion between Rome and the Orthodox East. When such communion occurs the logical step would be simply to merge overlapping structures. Assuming such would be done in a pastoral manner (taking a generation or two), I support it.

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I will happily ignore the implications of Balamand.

CDL

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A few quotes from the Catechetical Directory of the UGCC which help us keep things in perspective:

Quote
1. In a separate decree Orientalium Ecclesiarum the epoch-making Vatican Council II called special attention to the Eastern Catholic Churches. To renew the universal dimension of Christianity and to avoid the danger of an exclusively Latin perception of the Catholic Church, the Universal Church forthrightly proclaimed the eastern identity of the Eastern Catholic Churches, specifically in their liturgical, disciplinary and spiritual heritage, exhorting their members: «They themselves are to carry out all these prescriptions with the greatest fidelity. They are to aim always at a more perfect knowledge and prac¬tice of their rites, and if they have fallen away due to circumstances of times or persons, they are to strive to return to their ancestral traditions».


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«Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you» (Mt 28,19-20).

In two millennia of Christianity many people have come to believe in Christ and a rich Christian culture has developed. Nevertheless, on the thresh¬old of the third millennium the missionary command of the Saviour is far from fulfilled. There are many more of those who have not heard about Christ at all, than of those who, having heard, have believed. It is also a sign of the times that, as a result of secularism and atheism, entire peoples and continents require a new evangelization and conversion (metanoia).


Quote
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ announced His teaching in the cultural milieu in which he lived. St. Paul preached the same Gospel to the Greeks in the context of their world view. By the action of the Holy Spirit, this same Gospel was accepted in 988 into the Rus'-Ukrainian culture. The Ukrainian people came to love their faith, which found its expression in language, song, art, music, customs... Ukrainian culture became Christian. When Ukrainians emigrated to other countries, they brought with them their faith, expressed in Ukrainian customs, rites, traditions and culture. In the new lands of settlement, in new surroundings, they expressed their faith through the traditions of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Today the Church needs to find new ways of transmitting the faith through evangelization and catechization, taking into account the milieu in which she finds herself.


Patriarch Lubomyr and the UGCC Synod certainly doesn't think we are redundant - especially with the completion nearing of the new Patriarchal Sobor in Kyiv.


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Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
I will happily ignore the implications of Balamand.
I'm not following. What, for instance, is the problem with:
Quote
16) The Eastern Catholic Churches, who have desired to re-establish full communion with the See of Rome and have remained faithful to it, have the rights and obligations which are connected with this communion. The principles determining their attitude towards Orthodox Churches are those which have been stated by the Second Vatican Council and have been put into practice by the Popes who have clarified the practical consequences flowing from these principles in various documents published since then. These Churches, then, should be inserted, on both local and universal levels, into the dialogue of love, in mutual respect and reciprocal trust found once again, and enter into the theological dialogue, with all its practical implications.

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We're only redundant if one believes, as the approach of "uniatism" would seem to encourage, that our mission is to serve as some kind of stepping-stone towards Reunion.

I believe our mission is the same as it has always been: to serve God and shine Christ into the world. We are not a "project of uniatism", but Faithful and Churches with the same foundational mission as the Latin and Orthodox Churches.

Yes, our peculiar nature means that we can serve as a sign of Reunion to others, and we have a special obligation to witness to both the beauty of Eastern traditions AND the beauty of Catholic unity, but those can hardly be described as our foundational mission. If anything the Balamand Agreement lifts us up to the status we should be, that of true Eastern Catholics as opposed to a side-project of "Rites" designed to make Rome more appealing to non-Latins. We're free to be Apostolic Churches, rather than serving as a curiousity and strategy.

I'd say that it was the approach of "uniatism" that made us redundant, since plenty of Eastern people were comfortable just going straight to being Latins (and many in the Latin Church felt that this should be the end-goal of "uniatism" anyway). It's the rejection of uniatism that frees us from redundancy. grin

Peace and God bless!

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Well, I've asked it before but perhaps one more time: "How can their be more than one Church?" Are we all just Protestants after all?

CDL

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Are you talking in terms of canonical boundaries, or in terms of Sacramental reality?

Obviously in the case of the latter there isn't, and can't be, and from the Catholic side and perspective this matter is resolved (it's very telling, I think, that Orthodox essentially have a "standing invitation" to the most important Sacraments in the Catholic Church). It's the former case that raises problems between the Catholic Communion and the various Orthodox Churches and Communions. It is this division on the human level, with unity on the Sacramental, that we call Schism, and it's a very dissonant and problematic occurance.

I believe that relationship with the Pope, specifically due to the Petrine Ministry, is fundamental for the Sacramental Church to be properly manifested on the human level, and so I'm Catholic. While I don't believe the Eastern or Oriental Orthodox to be "outside the Church" Sacramentally, I do believe that their (institutions, not individuals) manifestation of this Sacramental reality is lacking or flawed in a certain way; I hate to sound unecumenical, but the fact is that if I didn't believe this I wouldn't be Catholic, and I would imagine that the exact same thing can be said by many Orthodox from their own perspective.

So we are One Body of Christ, One Church, but our sin lies in how we respond to that reality. If we insist that we are so seperate when we are not, and refuse working towards healing these gaps, then we are lying about Christ to the world, in addition to doing violence against His Body, and that's a very serious thing indeed. On a human level there is very real disunity, but that is the sin and the wound, not the identifying mark of the Church. I think that in our times it's our attitude towards this sin and wound that is most indicative of our Sacramental connection with Christ.

Peace and God bless!

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Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
I will happily ignore the implications of Balamand.
Carson,

Since you have moved this discussion to a new thread, let me re-post my answer from the previous one:

Originally Posted by Epiphanius
Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
Unless I fully misunderstand Balamand I see it as an affront not only to the Eastern Catholic Churches but an affront to Christ Himself.
Carson,

I assume here you are referring to the Balamand Statement's rejection of "uniatism" as a failed policy.

What I understand this to mean is not so much the original concept of the unia, as set forth in such documents as the Union of Brest, but the general assumption that has been unofficially held by both sides, that sees the ECCs as primarily and fundamentally a tool to draw the EOs back into communion with Rome.

I think most of us would agree that the latter qualifies as a "failed policy."


Peace,
Deacon Richard


I think it is unfortunate that no such distinction was made at Balamand. It gives the impression that no other role for the ECCs is even possible, and that is clearly wrong.

The challenge for us, then, is to return to that original concept, and strive to live as "Orthodox in communion with Rome." In doing so, let us not forget that both being truly Orthodox and being truly in communion with Rome require an ever-deepening adherence to the person of Christ.


Peace,
Deacon Richard

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Father Deacon,

I'm doing my best in both my private life, through the college courses I teach, and through the online discussions I have with Roman Catholics.

CDL

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I wrote this post in response to this thread's initial post and then didn't submit it because I thought it might be too BCC specific. It may be more in line with the Re-establishing communion between east and west and the Slavic EC thread. I post it now, however, since it addresses the initial post in treating a concrete example of a church in Catholic communion via the unio. Where my assessments may appear critical and even bleak, I will be happy to be admonished and convinced otherwise.

Did Balamand make us redundant?

No. But we can make ourselves redundant.

Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
It is my opinion that in just a few terse statements both the Catholics and the Orthodox declared us to be redundant.
That's not how I read it. Consider, however, reality. We alone live the reality of East-West union. Do we articulate that reality? Are we able to do so by example and theological acumen? Is our perspective, informed by our ecclesial life, sought and appreciated by Catholics and Orthodox at the highest level of dialogue? Should we not have a most informed and informative opinion?

Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
Whether or not this is true in fact how do we see ourselves.
It seems we (here from my perspective in the BCC) continue to act as though we are redundant, or perhaps by our lack of acting we give that impression. I sometimes have the feeling that as a church we are not progressing in double-time as we should, nor even simply marching any more, and have even stopped marking-time, marching in place in anticipation of movement; we have ceased even the effort of moving our legs, and doing nothing and going nowhere, have just ground to a halt.

Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
3) Concerning the Eastern Catholic Churches, it is clear that they, as part of the Catholic Communion, have the right to exist and to act in response to the spritual needs of their faithful.
What more can be said? Orthodox, stop treating us as though we are Israel and you the Arab League. Catholic, stop treating us like a deformed child, loved and cared for (at times ineptly) but chained up out of sight in the attic. BCC, have some initiative, start missions instead of just closing churches, stop being the light under the basket.

Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
If our only vision is to "have the right to exist and to act in response to the spiritual needs of their faithful" presumably until we die a merciful death or are assimilated into who knows what why don't we say it and be done with it.
Those choices and others are at least ours to make. To meet the spiritual needs of the faithful is an admirable requirement. Why should we not just have the determination to be ourselves, to care for the faithful, to grow: to be a church.

Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
So, what is our vision?
I can only speak from my perspective in the BCC. Our vision should be embodied in and be an outgrowth of our liturgical life and all that implies as our life in Christ and the Holy Spirit. True, but pious words. An immediate, tangible example, however, is given by the recent 12 year study resulting in what is dubbed the RDL, the (BCC) Revised Divine Liturgy. This is seen by some as the true traditional liturgy of our time for our time, and by others as a botched update of the translation mandating an abridged liturgy with adulterated rubrics and questionable chant settings and ethos.

Which scenario will prove the vision?

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Upon re reading this post I have come to this conclusion. Although unity between catholics and orthodox is important it is not our reason for being nor does it come close to the importance of bringing people to Christ and saving souls! The idea of entire Eastern Catholic communion of churches vanishing is only possible when you forget that they are churches and start seeing them as political instruments.

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Redundancy is not among my ambitions!

Fr. Serge

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Originally Posted by DewiMelkite
Upon re reading this post I have come to this conclusion. Although unity between catholics and orthodox is important it is not our reason for being nor does it come close to the importance of bringing people to Christ and saving souls! The idea of entire Eastern Catholic communion of churches vanishing is only possible when you forget that they are churches and start seeing them as political instruments.


Shlomo DewiMelkite,

Even if you start seeing our Churches as political instruments, you will see that not all of us will disappear. First the Maronites and the Italo-Albanian Greek Catholic Churches have no counterpart, so they are here for the long haul. The Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church is well established as a Catholic intity, and therefore the Orthodox that belong to this group would more likely merge into the Catholic structure. The same holds true for the Assyrian/Chaldean Church, the Syro-Malabar, and the Syro-Malankara Church. Both the Ukrainian Church and the Macedonian Church are in a unique position. Both uphold the national sentiment of their peoples, and if Orthodoxy does not recognize them, then I see the Catholic branches being the ones to take in their Orthodox Brothers and Sisters.

And while uniaism is rightly condemned, that does not mean that those people who follow Eastern Holy Traditions have no right to seek Communion with the Pope and the rest of the Catholic Church.

Fush BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

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Is unity only a political endeavor? I don't understand how a bunch of sui iuris Churches is all that much different than a bunch of Protestant Churches, not that I have any intention of becoming a Protestant.

CDL

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