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Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation #417552
10/11/17 10:39 PM
10/11/17 10:39 PM
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As an Orthodox Catholic Christian, I have come to find that not only theology, ecclesiology, canonical discipline divide us from those in union with Rome, but even our general approaches to faith and piety, the aesthetics of our worship and observance, even our emphases and appreciation of what we hold in common often, mostly, radically differ. The differences to an Orthodox Catholic are as acute as the differences between papal Christians and liturgical Protestants. Vatican II and its inauguration of liberal dominion have exacerbated our differences generally, estranged us further, not drawn us closer. For many, if not most, Orthodox Catholics, Roman Catholicism is a different religion.

I jotted down twenty-five ideas or steps, if adopted in whatever order may seem expedient to Rome, which could enable a common language and identity to be restored between Orthodox Catholics and Roman Catholics. These points have no systematic order implied to them: implementation of some (gradually all) would show good faith and energize dialogue and elevate it away from secretive commissions believed to be engaging in nothing more than another framework for unia. I wrote these points as recommendations, in a spirit of goodwill, appreciating what divides us to underscore Orthodox concerns and apprehensions to suggest how it could be overcome. I do believe if all twenty-five points were explored and implemented that not only true and fruitful dialogue would arise, but rapprochement would come naturally and reunion would result quickly. Indeed, some points are more difficult than others, the spectrum ranging from rediscovering Rome's Catholic identity to simply restoring Catholic appearances. I offer this list not to inspire polemics but to consider what it would take to effect reconciliation with Orthodox Catholicism and what we should be emphasizing in good will and Christian charity.

BEGINNING RECONCILIATION with THE ORTHODOX CATHOLIC CHURCH, steps in the process:

1). Orthodox Paschalion universally observed

2). Omit/Drop/Abandon Filioque Universally for all times

3). Prosphora in the place of azymes universally for all times

4). Return to a traditional mass with strong and traditionally placed epiklesis (Perhaps a Maronite mass with Tridentine or Milanese or Sarum Liturgics: Romano-Antiochian)/ad orientam-apsidem celebration of the Eucharist {Latin and/or accurate and uniform, dignified liturgical vernacular translation} *One Mass per altar per priest before noon per day canonically enforced reinstitution*

5). Encouraging Byzantine Catholics to return to their Orthodox Mother Churches or to become full fledged Roman Catholics {Or adopt a new Roman-Antiochian rite adapting a Romano-Byzantine ordo to it} and limit their work and presence in the Orthodox East/condemnation of the ethnophyletist heresy

6). Adoption of Orthodox understanding of deification and Palamite theology - rejection of analogia entis/created grace (Patristic understanding of original sin in the place of the Augustinian misunderstanding) *Revisiting the Pelagian/Semi-Pelagian discussion in light of the Consensus Patrum and the Orthodox Catholic witness of the Church*

7). Universal practice of Communion in both species (perhaps by intinction) {return to a strong emphasis on Confession, preparation for Communion, the Eucharistic fast} *Communion, Chrismation, Baptism by three-fold immersion of infants and converts: end of first holy communions and confirmations*

8). Abolition of Eucharistic ministers, altar girls, all semblances of crypto-hierofeminism (resacralization)

9). Transition to Acapella hymns and chant (abandonment of musically instrumented accompaniment in worship)

10). Emphasis on traditional (Romanesque or stave church) architecture

11). Married Priests, Bearded Priests, return of cassocks and clerical headgear

12). Reinvigoration of and recruitment for a restored and active diaconate

13). Defined and universal veneration of Icons and Holy Relics, the Gospel, the Cross, etc.

14). Embracing and propagation of Orthodox devotions such as the Jesus Prayer and Akathist hymn universally (rediscovering the piety, spirituality, hagiography of the pre - Schism West)

15). Transition toward either a married (parish) or monastic (episcopal) clergy and the gradual obsolescence of celibate parish clergy

16). Recognition of the Orthodox Catholic Church as embodying the Church without deficiency, without need of papal recognition or papal commemoration

17). Ending ideas of indulgences, merits, the whole eschatology of purgatory, limbo, etc. (revisiting and rejecting cremation)

18). Restoring conciliarity in the place of papal supremacy

19). Emphasizing the Church's phronema and the Consensus Patrum alloyed with the Vincentian Canon to replace papal infallibility

20). Adoption of the Orthodox understanding of divorce and a process of economy for receiving divorced believers back into full communion

21). Institution of a common lectionary with the Orthodox Catholic Church

22). Codefying a common liturgical calendar with the Orthodox Catholic Church (where feasts or saints not recognized by the Orthodox are clearly indicated at the end of commemorations) {Restoring fasting with a more apostolic discipline: Wednesdays and Fridays, Great Lent, etc.}

23). Final apologies for the anti Orthodox past with commitments in cooperation, charity, social gospel with the Orthodox in the future - the bravery of humble mea culpas (elimination of veneration/commemorations of personages who conducted violence, atrocities, especially against the Orthodox)

24). Vatican recognition of and work with a concept of autocephaly, where local archdioceses can become local churches whose primates share equal dignity with the pope yet affirm Petrine Primacy

25). A reaffirmation of the condemnations of liberalism, modernism and Freemasonry with an emphasis on reuniting separated Latin Rite factions and developing a general Broad Church/Traditionalist polity to displace the dominant liberal post Vatican II polity (while at the same time fighting and rejecting all ultramontane tendencies)

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: RussoRuthenianOGC] #417561
10/19/17 01:11 AM
10/19/17 01:11 AM
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Guess that's one way of entering into dialogue with your western Catholic orthodox brothers and sisters. "My way, or the highway", as they say. Thanks for your recommendations, but go easy on the old polemics.

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: RussoRuthenianOGC] #417563
10/19/17 01:39 AM
10/19/17 01:39 AM
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So, Latins all convert to Byzantine Orthodoxy, and abolish the Latin Church. Seems fair.

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: RussoRuthenianOGC] #417564
10/19/17 02:12 AM
10/19/17 02:12 AM
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It is unfortunate that many from the Roman Catholic camp fail to recognize that the Orthodox Catholics aren't "entering into old polemics" but merely trying to remind the Roman church that we once had a unity and a common Catholic Faith and it looked a certain way. We Orthodox Catholics have not strayed from that Faith. And unia is not an acceptable goal of dialogue for us: dialogues whose goal is unia will only fail. Our approach is to rediscover our unity in the framework in which it originally existed. From there to reinforce it and share a common Faith and Apostolicity achieving reunion. Anything which is divisive, deceptive or syncretistic will not bring this about: we have to achieve a shared Catholic and Orthodox religion, worship, ontology.

Current and past methods of dialogue have miserably failed at achieving little more than divisions and further estrangement. They definitely are the tired and sorry ways to go about reunion. No, their lack of a forthright and honest approach dooms dialogue at the outset. So we can try to restore unity by restoring its past infrastructure or we can keep on trying to hope for a clever way to make Orthodox Catholics ignore that the estrangement between the Vatican and the Orthodox has created a totally different religious orientation in the West, in many ways alien and irreconcilable with the Orthodox Catholic Church.

I prefer a unity in identity, not a compromise of the Catholic Faith. Rome shared this identity with us. Why is it so far fetched to opine that sharing it again would restore that unity? It seems the most appropriate mode of serious and honest dialogue.

Yes, a Vatican III would be required probably to pursue many of the points I suggest. However, to be honest, a Vatican III is required to rectify the wreckage of Vatican II. Most sincerely, this approach would actually reconcile not only disparate factions in communion with the Vatican and restore the Apostolic character of Roman Catholic faith and worship, it would also be less drastic to implement than the neo-Protestant reforms of Vatican II. It would eventually lead to reunion with the Orthodox Catholic Church.

Now one has to scrutinize whether the liberal and modernist dominion in the Roman church is a necessary stumbling block to Catholic identity and reunion with the Orthodox. In my opinion, Rome would be best served with a Broad Church-Traditionalist alliance supplanting this liberal, modernist rule over the Roman Catholic church. But liberalism uber alles does make sense to far too many: even though Pius X did anathemize it.

Moreover, there will be no unity with the Orthodox Catholic Church if steps like these are not taken by the Vatican.

That's an important thought. The West is currently undergoing a post Christian, neo pagan secularization. The developing world is in many ways at odds with it. The Orthodox Catholic Church is emerging from decades of militant secularization and rediscovering and reemphasizing its Christian identity. Demographically, that means the Orthodox Catholic Church will grow and will better develop a paradigm of defeating secularization while the Roman Catholic church will continue to decline and more and more embrace an Anglican model of liberal implosion ("comprehensiveness"). At some point, no amount of dialogue then has any hope of reuniting the Orthodox Catholic Church and Roman Catholic church. So if unity is truly important, than rediscovering it in a truly Catholic identity and restoration is the surest route for the Vatican.

All that needs to happen is that Rome take steps to restore in our contemporary context what she was when we were in union with her.

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: RussoRuthenianOGC] #417565
10/19/17 02:28 PM
10/19/17 02:28 PM
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A lot of absurdities, and confusion of culture for essential faith, in the OP. Much of it is pure sectarian fantasy.

I have a much shorter list: 1. Adopt an ecclesiology on the basis of Saint Ignatius' statement, "Where the bishop is... there is the Catholic church." No bishop (or synod of bishops) holds supreme universal authority. 2. The filioque can remain so long as it is understood in the sense that Saint Maximus understood it in his letter to Marinus.

That's it.

Last edited by SwanOfEndlessTales; 10/19/17 02:41 PM.
Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: SwanOfEndlessTales] #417566
10/19/17 04:26 PM
10/19/17 04:26 PM
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Well, it seems some neither recognize the identity of the Orthodox Catholic Church nor do they appreciate what divides Roman Catholics and Orthodox Catholics. Gimmickry having no Apostolic and no Canonical foundation is not Catholic. Moreover, such tactics will only have the Orthodox abandon any further dialogue. And as far as commentary stating the proposed ideas are "sectarian" or "absurd", perhaps a bit more seriousness and a bit less transference is in order.

There is no valid Apostolic Succession without right confession of Faith. St. Ignatios was talking about Bishops within the Church rightly confessing the Orthodox and Catholic Faith. He felt so strongly about the purity of the Catholic Faith that he went willingly into the lion's den to preserve it. And he did not recognize gnostic bishops, nor was he talking about them.

Whereas, the Second Ecumenical Council settled whether or not any additions could be made to the Creed: it forbid them under penalty of anathema. Some have interpreted Filioque as meaning "through the Son", but that is not the direct meaning of the phrase: its direct meaning suggests Trinitarian modalism. Since precision is a hallmark of creedal statements - where fistfights occurred in the Nicene period over distinctions between disparate terminologies of "like essence" and of "one essence" - even a Filioque put in brackets and suggested to be ambigua is clearly inappropriately inserted into the Creed. It must go.

As far as "confusion between local practice and the universal custom of the Church" is concerned, when Rome and the Orthodox Catholic Church were united and one religion, almost every supposedly "local" point I have brought up from Prosphora to married Priests was a shared observance between local churches. Moreover, Rome was very much influenced by Antioch and Alexandria in its worship and piety. Gaul, Spain, Britain moreso by Antioch. In the TRAVELS OF EGERIA, the pilgrim comments on the liturgy she observes in Jerusalem "being the same" as in her native Spain: which is no surprise as both the Liturgy of St. James and the Mozarabic rite are both Antiochian liturgies. Today, life in the Orthodox Catholic Church exists in faithful continuity from that period and actually embraces the shared aspects and identity of East and West: Rome's departure from that shared ontology and later evolution into what she is today has caused an estrangement where the Orthodox Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic church are now two different religions.

Thus, the simplest template for achieving unity would be Rome recovering the identity it shared with the Orthodox Catholic Church, ie rediscovering its Catholic identity.

A new unia is not an option. Zizioulas-esque ecumenical distillation of episcopal/eucharistic ecclesiology is so Anglican invisible church as to be unworthy of serious consideration. Denying the Truth of Orthodoxy and the identity of the Orthodox Catholic Church is simply a recipe to further seed divisions and hijack any and all chances at reconciliation.

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: RussoRuthenianOGC] #417567
10/19/17 05:44 PM
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Keep bloviating with those talking points, and see how many people listen. I am Orthodox too and I don't accept your premises. There are so many historical errors and modern polemics masquerading as tradition in your arguments, I don't know where to start. Here, I'll start with the epiclesis. By requiring the Latin church to insert an Eastern epiclesis into its mass, you are essentially saying that the pre-schism Latin church had no valid eucharist. For what it's worth, Saint Nicholas Cabasilas says the "Supplices te rogamus" in the Roman canon counts as an epiclesis. So even if we went with the (highly questionable) Byzantine assumption that every valid liturgy needs to have this epiclesis, the old Roman liturgy is fine.

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: RussoRuthenianOGC] #417571
10/19/17 08:06 PM
10/19/17 08:06 PM
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Actually, prior to the Gelasian Sacramentary, even the Liturgy of Rome "had an Eastern style epiklesis" according to Western liturgists like Fortescue. The Roman rite itself shared its rite with North Africa and seven or so satellite cities until the Gallican rite was targeted by the Aachen liturgists (the revisers of the Roman rite) for obsolescence. It wasn't even the predominant Western rite for most of the first millennium. The Roman rite did not originate either in Rome or the West. Its earliest version was probably Antiochian influenced (Liturgy of St. James) and later via North Africa, Alexandrian influences (Liturgy of St. Mark) were alloyed to it. In other words, it most certainly had "an Eastern epiklesis." The Frankish liturgists began their liturgical reforms of the Roman rite in the late eighth century, where texts were redacted and the modern Roman Canon was created: their liturgical emphasis differed from that of the Catholic Church and they believed that the Gifts were consecrated by the Words of Institution. This was a break from the Catholic practice of the entire Church, East, West and Roman. Moreover, Gallican, Milanese, and Mozarabic rites retained their "Eastern" epikleses into well after the Schism.

St. Nicholas Cavasilas lived over four hundred years after these events. He was not acquainted with Western liturgy and its history. His emphasis was the mystical theology of the Eucharist and not Western liturgical development. He wrote what he wrote as his opinion, based on the Roman rite he knew after the Schism.

However, centuries of Orthodox Bishops into the twenty - first have insisted upon restoration of a proper and defined, appropriately placed, strong epiklesis when restoring Western rites to Orthodox Catholic useage. This topic had been researched by Russian Orthodox liturgists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries dealing with prospects of returning Old Catholics and Anglicans to Communion with the Orthodox Catholic Church. Even in the 1860s, the Russian Holy Synod decreed that missionary work in North America was to be undertaken using a Western rite where a strong epiklesis was inserted. Orthodox resources at this point were not as limited as those of St. Nicholas Cavasilas. There were credentialed liturgists and people who understood what was "pseudo-" and actual historical fact (people not ecumenically beholden) are. Orthodox scholarship, not ecumenical excess, is the informed basis of my position.

So I am not sure just exactly what your point is other than to not accept Orthodoxy on Orthodoxy's terms and to refuse to know the West as it was when we were one Church. And then to cast that as Orthodox while disagreeing with history and the reality of the historical Orthodox Catholic Church. One most certainly will not advance unity by not listening to the majority of Orthodox Christians who are not interested in ecumenical disinformation or the pronouncements of secretive commissions advancing a more clever platform for unia.

What is so wrong with asking Rome to rediscover its Catholic identity and simply return to the way she was when we shared Eucharistic unity, when we all lived and worshipped in Catholic unity? A unity which included Prosphora, a strong epiklesis, married Priests, conciliarity in the West, etc? Why is there such a fear of Catholic unity in some quarters?

Could it be that liberal reformation or a liberalized unia in an ecumenical framework is actually the drive behind some who describe themselves as unionists, and not shared confession of the Orthodox and Catholic Faith?

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: Leo T. Lion] #417573
10/19/17 08:29 PM
10/19/17 08:29 PM
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No, the proposals simply aim at rediscovering what Rome and the Western church looked liked when we shared a Catholic unity in the Orthodox Catholic Church. That's not a very Byzantine approach. Nor is restoring a Western ordo for Rome after the neo-Protestant wreckage of Vatican II conversion to Byzantine Christianity.

There were periods, by the way, in the sixth through seventh centuries, when Greeks were Popes of Rome, a more Byzantine form of Roman chant was used and the Byzantine rite influenced the Roman rite...

But what is fundamentally wrong with pursuing reunion on the notion of contemporary rediscovery of Catholic identity as it lived and expressed itself when Rome and the Orthodox Catholic Church were one?

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: RussoRuthenianOGC] #417575
10/19/17 11:50 PM
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This is simply an order for the entire Latin Church to completely deny itself and all its history, any notion that it is and ever has been even nominally Christian in any sense of the word, and crawl on our hands and knees, begging for the Eastern Orthodox to abolish the Latin Church and establish the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Old and Really Really Sorry For Everything Rome. In other words, you are calling for us to just convert to Eastern Orthodoxy.

That's not reconciliation, and frankly it's insulting.

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: RussoRuthenianOGC] #417577
10/20/17 01:44 AM
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Christ is in our midst!!

By your own points, you demonstrate how difficult your proposals are. The Roman Patriarchate and places influenced by it were in a very fluid state during the first millennium: "what Rome and the Western church looked liked when we shared a Catholic unity."

One of our traditions in the Latin Church is not to hold on to liturgical forms once new ones are introduced. Not long ago, I read an article that mentioned the attempt to find out what ancient "introit" (entrance) hymns were in their full form--the ones in the Paul V Missal were mere very short remnants. Despite the fact that the Vatican Library contains manuscripts of all sorts, from all countries (some long since forgotten except by historians), from all subjects, no one could find a single source for them. So to try to restore a liturgy from the first millennium presents a serious problem. What period of time are we to return to? The time when the liturgy was served in Greek--pre-Latin? The period of the Carolingians? One of the variations of the religious orders?

The use of acapella hymns is a non-starter. We have a problem with getting people to sing, let alone trying to make it unaccompanied.

A single liturgy on a weekend? Again, our people are used to having lots of options; not to mention the fact that there has been a serious drop off in the average Catholic even making it to Liturgy on the weekend at all.

Back to Latin and facing away from the people? That toothpaste will never go back into the tube. Pope Francis has just emphasized that the liturgical reforms of the recent Vatican Council are not reversible.

Sadly there are all too many in the Latin Catholic Church who know nothing of the period before the Schism between East and West. (I just had the opportunity to review a new catechetical book for 8th grade that shows a historical timeline that begins in 1085!) How are we to begin to even speak of many of the things on your list of 25 when they are not even on the radar of our people?

Like it or not the reforms of the recent Vatican Council were desperately needed. We had been frozen in time for 400+ years in our liturgical life. The fact that almost no one understood anything of what went on Sunday morning is something I remember well. Had the Protestant Reformation not occurred, there might have been a move toward vernacular liturgy in the 16th century. But the latter fact made us over into a fortress/siege mentality--nothing could be altered in any way or for any reason. Yes, there are plenty of liturgical abuses going on. And we have had three new translations in the fifty years since 1965 in the English speaking world--something that makes entering into prayer difficult since rhythms are broken each time a new one is introduced.

What you are proposing is an earthquake like the one we are still adjusting to. Somehow, though I wish for East and West to return to full communion, your list of proposals will never fly. Maybe His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch had it right when he opined that "we are ontologically different." Maybe though we share much from the first millennium there is little possibility of returning to full communion. And maybe the idea of "returning" is the problem--maybe it is a forward exploration toward a new experience of full communion.

Bob

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: Leo T. Lion] #417578
10/20/17 02:08 AM
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No, it is encouragement for the Roman Catholic church to rediscover itself and its Catholic identity as it existed when Rome and the Orthodox Catholic Church were one. That is the most appropriate foundation for discussing reunion because it starts out with considering what constituted such a unity. There is nothing fundamentally wrong or Byzantine with Rome rediscovering its Catholic life with the Orthodox Catholic Church. It is actually Rome reinforcing its Catholic life and confession of faith. This, as a matter of fact, is requisite to any real attempt to establish unity.

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: RussoRuthenianOGC] #417580
10/20/17 04:34 AM
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I think it's simple. Divorce-and-remarriage and contraception don't make sense for Christians, and true Christianity isn't limited to Byzantium or the East for that matter, as wonderful as the East is. (I like the traditionalism of the original post but reject its proposal to essentially byzantinize the Latin Church, abolishing it.) It includes the traditional Roman Mass (the new Mass with the English ordered by Benedict XVI is fine) and the histories of Germany, Spain etc. I'm all for a loose communion run largely by custom that includes them, which includes... the Pope. I'm not trying to break up Orthodox families, parishes, dioceses, or countries. We quietly accept individual conversions from the Orthodox but they're not my main focus in this. Rather, getting the Orthodox to acknowledge the points I just mentioned, bringing all of their bishops back in together (which I admit is extremely unlikely), and then leaving their rite alone.

Quote
Back to Latin and facing away from the people? That toothpaste will never go back into the tube.


I go to that three out of four Sundays (the other being Byzantine Rite) and my parish is a magnet for people looking for that, not so much the old but couples in their 30s with kids. And of course most of the East "faces away from the people."

Quote
Like it or not the reforms of the recent Vatican Council were desperately needed.


No, they weren't.

Quote
nothing could be altered in any way or for any reason


Which isn't quite literally true but many apostolic Christians feel that way; it's very Orthodox. Witness the Russian Old Believer split and the calendar war today.

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: RussoRuthenianOGC] #417581
10/20/17 07:22 AM
10/20/17 07:22 AM
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I suppose I will disagree with everybody. (A reminder, I am not Orthodox but I attend Orthodox services. I am technically Greek Catholic, which I practiced for a few years but was brought up Latin. I heavily lean Orthodox.)
The Latin Church has been through too much changes in the past fifty years...heaping more changes will only cause more trouble, even if they are changes for the better. There were efforts on the part of some scholars like Fr. Yves Congar and others to bring the theology underlying praxis more in line with the early Church, like the Orthodox but too much gets lost in the cultural maelstrom in the late 20th cent. West. I think that the Latin Church is somewhat Orthodox "deep inside" but I do hope the Latin Church does return fully to Orthodoxy. It takes more than changing externals, it requires a different mindset. Really, it is about what one thinks of Christ and how one goes about serving him.Scholarship can only take one so far; in fact it can really muddy the waters and achieve practically nothing. Theological commissions do not have the efficacy of prayer.
The Orthodox Church is still reeling from the violence imposed on her through the centuries, her diaspora isssues and the new convert phenomenon. Attempts to adjust to modern or Western life by aping the institutionalism of Western churches have not been entirely successful.There are signs of hope that new calendar clergy are now embracing tradition more strongly. They are looking to the tradition of the not distant past..
The Latin Church has a more difficult task since her Orthodox roots are much farther removed. She will have to draw very deeply within her own tradition to make any return to Orthodoxy "stick" (short of individual conversions).

Re: Ideas to Achieve Vatican - Orthodox Reconciliation [Re: Mark R] #417583
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Orthodoxy's analogues in the West are the traditional Roman Mass, with the second oldest consecration prayer still in use, Benedictine monks, and Gregorian chant. The new Mass high-churched in the "reform of the reform" Benedict XVI way fits in too. The closest thing in Orthodox practice to the two sides reconciled is the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate.

This reminds me of a thread I started somewhere else: imagine taking out the byzantinizations and having something entirely comfortable in an Orthodox setting but entirely Western (click here). It would look early medieval and like the kind of High Anglicanism not trying to be Roman, and sound exactly like a plainchant traditional Catholic Mass but with a vernacular option. (By the way, the Orthodox have a 35-year-old Benedictine abbey in Germany.)

Unlike Byzantine Catholicism, and for that matter the Polish National Catholic Church in the same period Western Rite Orthodoxy has been around, Western Rite Orthodoxy hasn't put down roots, becoming a generational faith, beyond the converts. I would be impressed if, like Byzantine Catholics in parts of the East, some part of the Western homelands had become Orthodox centuries ago and remained almost entirely Western. If the Orthodox held the Catholic position on divorce and remarriage and had held the line on contraception, they would have seriously challenged my faith.

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