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Was he referring to Eastern Catholics exclusively? Eastern Orthodox exclusively? Both at the same time/Eastern Christianity in general?

I tend to believe the last one, or at the very least that he was referring to the Orthodox specifically (since Eastern Catholics are already in communion, it didn't make sense to call them the other lung, as though they weren't "breathing" already).

That said, I've been told by some Roman and Eastern Catholics on facebook and reddit that JPII was exclusively talking of Eastern Catholics and that the Orthodox were not at all being referenced. Did JPII ever go into further detail or is it, at this point, everyone's individual interpretation of his words for themselves?

Thanks in advance.

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Without diminishing the importance of Eastern Catholics, I think what Pope St. John Paul II meant was that the whole Catholic Church, east & west, suffers from the absence of unity with her Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox brothers and sisters, who constitute the vast majority of eastern Christians; that other Lung that would make for a fuller, richer Church. In other words, he felt intensely, the pain of their absence.

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That's what I was thinking too. Though wouldn't that suggest the branch theory, minus the Anglicans I suppose? And I've been led to believe, including on here, that the branch theory is an untenable position as it is rejected by both Orthodox and Catholics?

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Originally Posted by Colin Sheehan
Though wouldn't that suggest the branch theory, minus the Anglicans I suppose? And I've been led to believe, including on here, that the branch theory is an untenable position as it is rejected by both Orthodox and Catholics?

No. I think the Pope Saint was just longing for a fuller, more robust Catholic Church, and hoping that the separated eastern churches would reciprocate; that they might be missing a "lung" also! smile


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