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What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62624
11/11/04 07:15 PM
11/11/04 07:15 PM
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Orthodox Catholic Offline OP
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Dear Friends,

I gave my own view of what "Communion with Rome" means and this was considered by some, not on the forum, however, to be wrong and not what Rome itself believes.

But we BC's believe that we are not "under" Rome but in "Communion" with it.

What do WE mean when we say this?

Does what WE mean about this term constitute a contradiction of the teachings on papal jurisdiction and infallibility?

To rephrase something, are we "deluded" insofar as we think one way about the papacy and the RCC thinks another way - and since no one wants any more defections to Orthodoxy, we all stay quiet?

Alex

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62625
11/11/04 07:43 PM
11/11/04 07:43 PM
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Alex,

Simply put, as far as I can see personally, that is just about it.

JoeS

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62626
11/11/04 08:19 PM
11/11/04 08:19 PM
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As a RC, it is my experience that the common EC view of the papacy is very contradictory of the two main views of the papacy in the RC Church (I'm not talking official doctrine, but the average Roman Catholic's position). These views are (apologies for the inadequate labels):

"Conservative": The pope is the ultimate, and only, power in the Church. In practice, he is infallible most of the time he talks. (It is more nuanced than this, of course - many Catholics understand the limitations in the dogmas, but in practice ignore those limitations).

"Liberal": The pope enjoys no real authority over a Catholic. Listen to him only if you feel like it.

As a RC, I must admit I find both of these views lacking, and I admire the more balanced EC view. One example I find shocking is how the idea of anyone other than the Pope appointing bishops is considered liberal heresy by most conversative RC's. However, the universality of papal appointments is only a couple hundred years old! Of course, the idea of American laypeople picking their bishops sends shivers up my spine; we would just pick bishops that furthered our deep-seeded narcissism. Then again, how is that different than most of our bishops now? eek

I would say, however, that these things go in cycles and there has been much movement since the heyday of the papal monarchy of the 19th century. So I think there is much hope that the EC Churches can again in practice live in true communion with Rome, instead of submission. Of course, our current Holy Father is very much part of this movement. There will be a special place in heaven for all the EC's who have endured much suffering for their faithfulness to the papacy, even when that faithfulness was not necessarily deserved by it's human occupant.

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62627
11/11/04 08:30 PM
11/11/04 08:30 PM
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OrthoMan Offline
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Does what WE mean about this term constitute a contradiction of the teachings on papal jurisdiction and infallibility?

To rephrase something, are we "deluded" insofar as we think one way about the papacy and the RCC thinks another way - and since no one wants any more defections to Orthodoxy, we all stay quiet?

Alex

=======

Alex:

I think you answered your own question.

OrthoMan

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62628
11/11/04 08:42 PM
11/11/04 08:42 PM
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As a Roman Catholic who is just becoming acquainted with Eastern Catholicism, I am not sure if I even belong in this discussion....

However....

I think of the Eastern Catholic Churches ideally as running pretty much under their own steam, that is under the authority of their own spiritual leaders, while acknowledging that the Pope has a certain position of honor and authority unfillable by any other Patriarch in any other see....

Pretty much then, unless an Eastern Church fell into some heresy as a body, it would be left alone as to all the rules of everyday life....

However, whenever the good of the universal Church required some sort of joint decision, the Pope, along with representatives from all the Churches would meet together, as in the earliest early Church, discuss the matter, and come to a mutual agreement.


Here is the difficult part....then, if the Church was divided as to an important, very important matter, if all the bishops could not agree, then perhaps they would listen, if so to speak, "Peter spoke through Leo...."

Certainly, as in the early Church, I think there must be some sort of universal respect for the beliefs of the Church of Rome...some things should be universal, while other, non life-and-death matters need not affect those outside of the latin rite...

I am willing to have my opinion blasted apart....remember, I know little of what I speak....I am but a poor, ignorant Westerner.

UIC


Let us pray for Unity In Christ!
Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62629
11/11/04 09:01 PM
11/11/04 09:01 PM
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What it means, practically, is that we are able to participate fully, should the need arise, in each other churches - in the Mysteries of each others churches - by mutual consent of the hierarchs of the churches.

And this consent presumably is achieved by a recognition of a sufficiently similar, if not rigorously identical, outlook on faith and morals - which as individual members of particular churches, we learn from our religious-lives in our own churches.

I supppose that we could spend a great deal of time and effort - effort that is rather likely beyond the capabilites of most of us - to try to second-guess the hierarchs by scrutinizing the criteria and norms of this recognition for ourselves - and much worse, among ourselves, putting each other to the test: is your outlook equal to mine? This is prelest. This is the delusion, Alex. It is a vanity that has little if anything to do with being good, becoming holy, or bearing fruit.

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62630
11/11/04 09:24 PM
11/11/04 09:24 PM
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What does “communion with Rome” mean?

It means that we have Eucharistic communion with Rome.

It means that we accept her teachings as valid and submit to the authority of Peter.

It does not mean that we give up our Byzantine Orthodox theology and liturgy in favor of Latin Catholic theology and liturgy. The Church existed for its first millennium with two distinct approaches to theology (Eastern and Western), so anyone who tells you that such a communion is not possible simply does not acknowledge the historical reality.

What is the difference between “under” and “in communion with” Rome? That depends how one defines each term.

In the past we Byzantine Catholics lived with the reality that the two terms were interchangeable. This is slowly changing as Rome reexamines and rediscovers that Roman primacy does not need to equate with micromanagement. Pope John Paul II has a true respect and love for the Christian East and is teaching this to the Roman curia (even though some are kicking and screaming). I believe that Rome is in a slow process of divesting itself of many of the nonessential elements of papal authority. We can see this in her new respect to not just allow, but to almost insist, that the Eastern Churches in communion with her to function as they did before reestablishing communion. Not because Rome is giving them some sort of special permission, but because it is proper and just. Right now the progress is mostly in external stuff, but the internal theology has been planted and is growing in Rome.

Papal jurisdiction? Infallibility? All that stuff? This is where I believe that the Orthodox not in communion with Rome are incorrect. Near the end of the first century there was a schism in the Church at Corinth, one in which that Church kicked out some bishops and priests. Did they appeal to St. John the Evangelist, who was still alive and living nearby at Ephesus (much closer than Rome) to resolve the problem? No. They appealed to Clement, the Bishop of Rome, to resolve the matter. In his reply Pope Clement discussed the issue, issued judgment and ordered those involved to submit to their pastors. The historian Eusebius tells us that the Corinthians took this judgment from Rome so serious that they were still reading Pope Clement’s letter to them at every Sunday Divine liturgy over 75 years later. That is papal authority in focus and history is full of such examples, including examples where the Successor of Peter didn't wait to be asked before acting for the good of the Church in those early days.

Are we deluded to think about the papacy differently than the Roman Catholics do? No. We, having lived with both the excesses of Rome and the vacuum of authority in the East, are right to acknowledge and submit to papal authority. We call the West to divest the nonessentials. We call the East to examine herself and to realize that communion with Rome is necessary and that papal authority is more than the honor of being the eldest brother.

Quite a challenge.

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62631
11/11/04 09:48 PM
11/11/04 09:48 PM
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Esteemed Admin, et al:

So, does the sticking point boil down to one of "where do we draw the line?"

Allow me to ask this, however.

Is the Pope really the issue or does the problem run deeper into the Vatican apparatura?

Specifically, we are hearing news of an alleged "plot" by the Roman Curia and the MP to destroy the UGCC. It was apparently the action of the current Pope of meeting with our prelates and allowing himself to be photographed standing among them that apparently put an end to this.

I stress that these are only allegations and none of us will probably ever know the truth.

However, it does raise the point apparently made by His Holiness John XXIII when he was asked by a reporter, "How many Cardinals work with Your Holiness in the Roman Curia?"

The Pope replied, "About half of them."

Yours,

hal

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62632
11/11/04 10:04 PM
11/11/04 10:04 PM
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Hal,

It is my personal belief that Pope John XXIII was being very generous when he used used the term “half”. biggrin

I dismiss the “plot” allegations totally.

We know that the MP does not want to cede any territory and the creation of a patriarchate in Ukraine – even a Greek Catholic one – is a threat.

We also know that Rome has a great fear of offending the East. So, when the East complains about a Ukrainian patriarchate, Rome backs off any support of a patriarchate in Ukraine.

But there is progress here. Rome is not against a patriarchate in Ukraine because Rome doesn’t think it appropriate. Rome is choosing to delay it because it wishes good relations with Moscow and the other Eastern Patriarchates. Not quite the desired behavior but it is progress.

I believe that is all this uncertainty that has given rise to allegations of a MP/Rome plot to put down the UGCC.

Admin

PS: Anyone wishing to discuss issues not directly related to Eucharistic communion with Rome please start a new thread.

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62633
11/11/04 10:14 PM
11/11/04 10:14 PM
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Dear Administrator,

Well, I'm going to praise you for your comprehensive and erudite post on this matter, if that's O.K. . . smile

I think what you've said is exactly what "communion with Rome" should mean and does mean if we, as "Orthodox in communion with Rome" be who we really are.

His Beatitude Lubomyr also insists on the term "Eucharistic Communion with Rome" and I remember the eye-brows that were raised when he said that here.

But there is no going around it.

It is up to us as EC's to live that "Eucharistic Communion with Rome" while being fully Orthodox in our faith and traditions.

This is also how Metropolitan Andrew and Patriarch Joseph and others saw our identity as EC's.

I would like to take this opportunity to especially thank the Administrator for taking the time from what is surely a very busy schedule to inspire us by sharing his understanding which is also that of the Church.

Alex

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62634
11/11/04 10:17 PM
11/11/04 10:17 PM
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Dear Hal,

Most of that plot is of the UGCC's own making, the bishops and others I mean.

Patriarch Lubomyr would agree whole-heartedly with what the Administrator has said above. If we live those words, then everything else shall be ours as well as "Orthodox in communion with Rome."

If you or any Ukie want a patriarchate to be realized from the "top" (Pope) down, then we are still "Greek-Catholics under the jurisdiction of Rome."

It's time that we change ourselves by ourselves and for ourselves.

Alex

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62635
11/11/04 10:23 PM
11/11/04 10:23 PM
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Quote
Are we deluded to think about the papacy differently than the Roman Catholics do? No. We, having lived with both the excesses of Rome and the vacuum of authority in the East, are right to acknowledge and submit to papal authority. We call the West to divest the nonessentials. We call the East to examine herself and to realize that communion with Rome is necessary and that papal authority is more than the honor of being the eldest brother.
I'll join Orthodox Catholic with my Amen too!

When I see the tangled mess our modern society has made of reproductive ethics I rejoice in the clear and prophetic voice of the modern (and ancient) popes on these subjects.

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62636
11/11/04 10:44 PM
11/11/04 10:44 PM
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DEar Dave,

Yes, good point!

It was Billy Graham who said: "When the pope speaks, the world listens - we don't have anyone like that in Protestantism."

Nor does, I might add sincerely, world Orthodoxy.

There's something about that Office that has resilience, continuity and forcefulness as a source of teaching doctrine.

Don't know what it is, but it's there.

Do you have any idea what it could be? wink

Alex

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62637
11/11/04 10:50 PM
11/11/04 10:50 PM
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Just to weigh in with a couple of additional, rather meaningless, thoughts.

First, we must think of Rome a little differently than do our Roman brothers and sisters. Why? Because Rome is not our Patriarch! What we share in common is the papacy approving/appointing (pick your term) our bishops in the diaspora.

Second, I absolutely support the statments our esteemed Adminstrator made. I think they are salient and concise. But I think it is up to each Church to claim and live its own history and heritage. Part of what Rome has demanded of us is that we stand on our own two feet and be Churches in the fullest sense of the word.

Fr. Deacon Edward

Re: What does "Communion with Rome" mean? #62638
11/11/04 10:56 PM
11/11/04 10:56 PM
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[I think what you've said is exactly what "communion with Rome" should mean and does mean if we, as "Orthodox in communion with Rome" be who we really are.]

Gee Alex, you seem to be living a double life where this 'Orthodox In Communion With Rome' claim comes up. You say one thing here and the complete opposite in your answers regarding the same title in the Ukrainian Orthodox website you co author with a Ukrainian Orthodox priest.

Where do you really stand? Or does it depend upon where you are posting?

===============

http://www.unicorne.org/orthodoxy/articles/alex_roman/capitalletters.htm


Answer: It is true that there are a number of Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests who insist on calling themselves "Orthodox Christians in union with Rome." This is however a term which is based on a fallacy and which therefore makes no sense, apart from the fact that it is also offensive to Orthodox Christians. To be an "Orthodox Christian" in the truest sense of the word is to be a member of the One, Holy, Orthodox-Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic Church is not a part of this Church, due to a number of (new) doctrines it espouses, including those affecting the position of the Pope of Rome. Even if a Greek Catholic calls himself or herself an "Orthodox Christian," as is done in the Liturgy anyway, and even if he or she accepts the majority of Eastern positions on the issue of the Procession of the Holy Spirit etc., that does not mean that he or she really is an "Orthodox Christian" in the true sense of the word.


======================================


http://www.unicorne.org/orthodoxy/hiver2004/union.htm


“Orthodox in communion with Rome:”
Trials and Tribulations of Eastern Catholics


Dr. Alexander Roman 

Eastern by ritual, Western by ecclesial jurisdiction, Eastern Catholics have historically been pulled in two directions by competing loyalties that continue to cause tension in their church identities and lives. With politics and cultural issues thrown into the mix, it is no wonder that they appear to be forever pondering what the future holds for what is a true complex of various, distinct perspectives on everything from liturgical issues to what really constitutes a “Particular Church” in union with Rome . . .

Even the issue of “union with Rome” can provoke numerous arguments that never do seem to get resolved. (If you doubt me, then join an internet Eastern Christian chat forum and see for yourself!)

One may go happily on one’s way talking about the ups and downs of Eastern Catholic “union with Rome” when someone breaks into the debate to say that “union” implies “subservience” and so “in communion with” should be used to avoid that implication.

Eastern Catholic discussion circles are also prone to develop their own sense of “political correctness” and Roman Catholic and Orthodox “intruders” can be rudely corrected in the way they innocently express themselves about the realities of Eastern Catholic life.

Thus, under the terms of such correctness, “Church” replaces “Rite.” In every which way, Eastern Catholics involved in such discussions wish to carefully distinguish themselves from the Roman Catholic West, while insisting they are “Orthodox” in all but the papacy.

And even with respect to the papacy, they have their own (Eastern) theological viewpoint that qualifies their relationship with the Pope in Rome. Some maintain they recognize him only as a “first among equals.” Others say he is only the court of last resort and when the primates of the Eastern Catholic churches ask him to step in. As in other respects, what Rome expects of Eastern Catholics is at variance with what some of their bishops and laity feel is actually the case.

Of course, one would find that the majority of Eastern Catholics, the people in the pews (oh my, now let’s not get started on the issue of PEWS!) are oblivious to any of this. They truly do see themselves as “Catholics” rather than as “Orthodox in communion with Rome” – in fact, the very idea of calling themselves “Orthodox” would suggest, to them, that they aren’t fully under Rome or fully “Catholic.”

Within the Eastern Catholics Churches, especially the Ukrainian and Ruthenian Churches, there are parishes which are truly very Eastern. In some cases, they are “more Orthodox than the Orthodox” in terms of their liturgical practices. Apart from the commemoration of the Pope of Rome, there is no other apparent distinguishing feature about them that would make a visitor to them suggest they are anything other than “Orthodox.”

And yet, this particular Eastern Catholic movement is not without its own pitfalls.

One of these is that the more “Eastern” they seem to become, the more likely that members of such parishes will eventually become formal members of Orthodox Churches (“definitely NOT in communion with Rome”).

It is, in a sense, inevitable that this would occur. Such Eastern Catholics would tend to have close relations with Orthodox priests and parishes (and monasteries, such as that of Jordanville, New York).

Soon, most of their spiritual “significant others” are, in fact, traditional Orthodox Christians. The beauty and detail of the Orthodox liturgical services draws them toward the Orthodox Church in a way that Eastern Catholic services, for all their efforts, simply do not. In fact, most Eastern Catholic parishes do not invest nearly as much time and effort in their liturgical lives while tolerating varying degrees of Westernization and Latinization.

The only thing that keeps them “Eastern Catholic” is a murky idea about a relationship with the Pope of Rome. And, in time, it becomes increasingly more difficult to “tune out” of the Orthodox charges of heresy against the Roman Catholic Church with the prime issue of the “Filioque” addition to the Creed taking front and centre stage.

And the efforts of some “Orthodox in communion with Rome” to effectively water down the jurisdictional and infallible universal claims of the papacy can also lead

Eastern Catholics to fully embrace Orthodoxy. In response to one Eastern Catholic’s contention that his Church recognizes the Pope only as “first among equals,” an Orthodox monastic of the Greek Church replied, “So do we!”

One can often come across Eastern Catholics who are therefore always teetering and tottering between their own church and where they really do wish to belong – to Orthodoxy proper.

Some of these would prefer to attend an Orthodox Church for liturgical services rather than suffer kneeling, pews and shortened services in Eastern Catholic parishes. Others have had bad experiences with other Eastern Catholics, being called “Russifiers” and other quaint locutions for their love of all things Orthodox.

The rebirth of the Eastern Catholic Churches in Eastern Europe has tended to make age-old Latinizations a matter of priority rather than something to be eventually gotten rid of. Latinizations there are today symbolic means of differentiating the Greek-Catholic Church from their old religious/national oppressor, the Russian Orthodox church.

It is true, of course, that historically the Russian Orthodox Church has used force in Eastern Europe in bringing “uniates” back into the (Russian) Orthodox fold. Part of this was an initial attitude of “respect” for the Ruthenian Greek-Catholics while “assisting” them in the process of ridding their spiritual lives of Latin practices (rosaries, stations of the Cross etc.) that were imposed by Latin national oppressors in a political attempt to Latinize and Polonize the people. And afterwards, the Russian Church simply moved in, often with force of arms (and not only in 1946) to impose on the Greek-Catholics another form of religious/cultural domination.

And so this could explain the actions of nationalistic Ukrainian Greek-Catholics as they nervously examine and critique the “Vostochnyk” (Easternizing) party of their Church. And woe to the long-bearded, three-bar Cross wearing Eastern Catholic priests that resemble the hated Russian “Batiushkas . . .”

From here, Eastern Catholics in North America have tended to move into a debate over how they can divest themselves from their ties to the Churches in the cultural homelands.

There are those who energetically propose a single, merged “Byzantine Catholic Jurisdiction” for North America – even with its own Patriarch. This jurisdiction would include all Ukrainians, Melkites and others – while “respecting” their cultural identities (that, unfortunately, tends to be viewed by these solely in terms of different ethnic foods and the like).

And the fact is that there are converts to Eastern Catholicism from Roman Catholicism and Protestantism in North America who do want English liturgies and a more culturally neutral church life.

Traditional Roman Catholics, long the enemy of the very idea of “Eastern Catholic Churches” and married priests, now, more often than not, prefer to become Eastern Catholics where their need for high ritual (gone from the post-Vatican II RC Church) is, at least, satisfied. In the Eastern Catholic parishes, they have the best of “both” of their worlds – the beauty of ritual, even if non-Latin, AND the security in knowing they still are members of the “true Church.”

The tensions involved in Eastern Catholic church life was brought home to me during the consecration of the new Ukrainian Catholic bishop for Eastern Canada in July of last year.

The whole event seemed to have turned into an eccesial “tug of war” between His Beatitude Patriarch Lubomyr Husar and the papal nuncio.

The Ukrainian Catholic primate insisted that the consecration was his affair and that of the synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church (in fact, two years before, the synod did choose the new bishop to replace the retired (and on that very day, reposed) Bishop Kyr Isidore Borecky - + memory eternal!).

But the papal nuncio kept reiterating the scenario where it was HE and he alone who contacted the new bishop and “convinced” him to lead the troublesome eparchy. The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Eastern Canada is probably the most “Ukrainian” and most “Eastern” at the same time, accepting the married priesthood and other traditions that have always been the mainstay of the Ukrainian Church.

But the Episcopal Candidate did choose to read quite Latin-sounding documents and oaths to the Pope and the like.

As to who won the tug of war, the jury is still out . . .

Vladyka Yurij of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada was present as a guest and he was enthusiastically greeted by His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar (and by everyone at the banquet later).

A bit of a tug of war developed between these two, as it turned out . . .

His Beatitude cordially greeted the Orthodox Hierarch and then talked about how we all needed to return to the unity of the Church in the time of St Volodymyr the Great.

Somehow I knew Vladyka Yurij wasn’t going to let that one by . . .

At the banquest, at his closing remarks, Vladyka Yurij revisited that comment by His Beatitude.

And, said Vladyka, “If we wish to return to the unity of the Church in the time of St Volodymyr the Great, I would suggest that we return to the unity of the Faith in his time . . .”

Sitting where I was, among several Ukrainian Catholic priests, including two friends, I immediately blurted out in the midst of the silence that enveloped the room just then, “Now that is my wonderful bishop! My wonderful bishop!”

One of the older priests turned to me with slightly bared teeth. “You are kidding, right?” he asked me in Ukrainian.

“Most certainly not!” I replied.

Another troublesome aspect of certain Eastern Catholics is that they sometimes tend not to take you at your word

===============


OrthoMan

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