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I'm strongly tempted to comment, but an adequate comment would be at least as long as Father Thomas's analysis, so I shall resist the temptation, at least for now.

Fr. Serge

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While I do not, in general, disagree with Father Thomas' historical assessment of the development of the Papacy, I find that his understanding of current Catholic doctrine is woefully deficient, and the proposition he desires the Pope to abjure are largely straw men.

More disturbing is his insistence that the Latin Church subscribe to Byzantine theological concepts and expressions in precisely the way he insists that the Latin Church wants to impose its theological concepts and modes of expression on the Orthodox Churches. It leads one to wonder if the principal problem is the inability of the Orthodox Churches to accept as legitimate any form of theology that is not expressly Byzantine.

This attitude extends not only to the Latin Churches, but also to the Oriental Churches and the Church of the East. Throughout its history, the Great Church of Constantinople has been just as domineering and imperialistic within its sphere as the Church of Rome has been within its own. Maybe it is time for both to step back a pace or two.

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An interesting approach from Archbp Hilarion (Alfeyev), Russia's chief ecumenical representative in the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue.

His position is:

No union
No intercommunion
but a "strategic alliance"

http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/...hbishop-hilarion-alfeyev-of-volokolamsk/

"We do not need union with the Catholics, we do not need "intercommunion," we do not need compromise for a doubtful "rapprochement." What we do need , in my opinion , is a strategic alliance , for the challenge is made to traditional Christianity as such.

This is especially noticeable in Europe , where de-Christianization and liberalization are occurring as persistently as the gradual and unswerving Islamization. The liberal, weakened "Christianity" of the Protestant communities cannot resist the onslaught of Islam; only staunch, traditional Christianity can stand against it, ready to defend its moral positions. In this battle, the Orthodox and Catholics could, even in the face of all the differences accumulated over the centuries, form a united front.

"The strategic alliance I propose must first of all defend traditional moral values such as the family, childbirth, spousal fidelity. These values are subjected to systematic mockery and derision in Europe by liberals and democrats of all types. Instead of spousal fidelity, "free love" is promoted, same-sex partnerships are equated with the union of marriage, childbirth is opposed by "planned families." Unfortunately, we have serious differences in these matters with most Protestants, not to speak of fundamental theological and ecclesiological character."




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I find myself empathising with these observations.
If any Christians should know how to respond to militant Islam, the Orthodox - especially the ones from Balkan countries - ought to know. I'd go so far as to classify them as the experts on the subject.

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Quote
...[Fr. Hopko's] understanding of current Catholic doctrine is woefully deficient, and the proposition he desires the Pope to abjure are largely straw men.

...It leads one to wonder if the principal problem is the inability of the Orthodox Churches to accept as legitimate any form of theology that is not expressly Byzantine.

...Throughout its history, the Great Church of Constantinople has been just as domineering and imperialistic within its sphere as the Church of Rome has been within its own.


Well put, StuartK.

The thing is, while Fr Hopko's precis of the papacy in historical development is, broadly speaking, accurate, he completely omits any mention of historic appeals made to Rome for adjudication in questions of doctrine within the first eight centuries of the Christian era. And in so doing, Fr Hopko gives the impression of a papacy unilaterally asserting itself among the churches in a way that is simply not accurate.

Finally, in his practical suggestions for a way forward, Fr Hopko fails to account for the Pope's role as 'Patriarch of the West' (supression of the title notwithstanding). This is important because he seems to envision each national church within the Latin family of churches as autocephalous, which is entirely outside of those churches' experience. The Catholic Church of England and Wales, for example, has always been beholden to the Church of Rome.

And surely Fr Hopko would not be suggesting that a diocese - or even a province - within the Moscow Patriarchate (for example) should be recognised as autocephalous.

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Fr. Hopko also wrote this article, which comes at the question from the perspective of what the Orthodox would need to do.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1698562/posts

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Bishop Hilarion may not realize it, but he is not calling for a strategic alliance; he is calling for a tactical alliance.

Fr. Serge

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Father Thomas seems to have difficulty following his own advice, but I have noticed that he has distanced himself considerably from the more ecumenical posture of his esteemed father-in-law. Perhaps as unity comes closer to reality, he has hardened his position somewhat.

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Bishop Hilarion has said more than that recently.

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Originally Posted by AMM
Bishop Hilarion has said more than that recently.


Still and all, the words I quoted are from an interview at the Cyprus Assembly only 3 weeks so, so I hope that the good bishop holds to his opinions for a little longer than that!! smile

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I think he does. This interview is from a few weeks ago. His opinion on the mutual recognition of sacraments is interesting.

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Interesting that HG Hillarion states that the Orthodox recognize the validity of Catholic sacraments. If only that were universally true; A local OCA priest explicitly does not, and claims the Orthodox as a whole do not. The OCA website is pretty clear about being uncertain of Catholic Sacraments.

Until Orthodoxy can speak with a unified voice an hold a unified opinion, reunion will likely have to remain by uniatism and/or particular church by particular church (as is the case with the ACE and the Syrian Orthodox; official lay intercommunion exists even tho' full communion and concelebration officially does not yet.

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Originally Posted by aramis
Interesting that HG Hillarion states that the Orthodox recognize the validity of Catholic sacraments. If only that were universally true; A local OCA priest explicitly does not, and claims the Orthodox as a whole do not. The OCA website is pretty clear about being uncertain of Catholic Sacraments.

Until Orthodoxy can speak with a unified voice an hold a unified opinion, reunion will likely have to remain by uniatism and/or particular church by particular church (as is the case with the ACE and the Syrian Orthodox; official lay intercommunion exists even tho' full communion and concelebration officially does not yet.


From the Orthodox side there will be no problem if the blessed day of union should arrive.

By a simple act of economy the diverse opinions on the authenticity of Catholic sacraments will cease to have importance on that day. Catholic bishops and clergy will simply concelebrate Liturgy with their Orthodox counterparts, receive Communion from the one Chalice and. keeping their sacerdotal rank, enter into communion with the Orthodox Churches.


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Yes!
Columba

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