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Posted By: Percy Gryce Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/01/21 03:33 AM
Anyone know why Pope Francis removed Michel Abrass as archbishop of Tyre (for the Melkite Greek Catholics)?

https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2021/01/31/0062/00128.html
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/02/21 01:23 AM
I do not, but swift removal without explanation is usually not good.
Posted By: Colin Sheehan Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/02/21 07:26 PM
Why would the Pope be able to remove a Melkite Archbishop? The Melkite Church is not under the Roman Church.
Posted By: Filipe YTOL Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/02/21 10:21 PM
I raised the same issue with some Eastern Catholic friends, some of whom are Melkites. They don't know specifics about this case, but the overall impression was pretty negative about the state of the hierarchy of the Melkite church and they suggested that in this case, as has happened before, it may have been more convenient for the Patriarch to have the Pope intervene directly.
Ironic, of course... and sad. But seems to be the case.
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/02/21 11:14 PM
Originally Posted by Colin Sheehan
Why would the Pope be able to remove a Melkite Archbishop? The Melkite Church is not under the Roman Church.

1 universal jurisdiction

2 It is

We Eastern Catholics should stop pretending otherwise
Posted By: Protopappas76 Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/03/21 01:07 AM
Inner intervention in a patriarchal Church with its own holy synod?

"Rome" and its dicastries have only as much "universal jurisdiction" as we Melkites concede to them.

No matter the cause of this "removal", It is our own fault when we fail to exercise our proper role as a patriarchal Church and submit ourselves to the usurpation of our rights.

To our fellow Orthodox Christians. Beware of what is seen in these unilateral monarchical-type actions.

Communion with Rome - yes! Submission to Rome - no!
Posted By: Utroque Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/03/21 02:42 AM
Perhaps, in a show of unity and communion, the pope and the See of Rome is confirming what the patriarch and his synod had already determined. That's how the Church should work, no?
Posted By: Protopappas76 Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/03/21 03:32 AM
No, it isn't the way the Church should work!

Regarding the statement of Filipe YTOL: " the overall impression was pretty negative about the state of the hierarchy of the Melkite church [sic]" ("church" should read Church), our hierarchy, like any group of people, has its faults and failures. However, if this is the Roman dicastries who are casting stones eastward maybe they ought to clean up their own act first. While our Melkite hierarchy and clergy may have its problems(and, we sadly do), I don't think we have seen the level of corruption, pedophilia, rape, homosexual behavior, financial corruption, and even theological heresy that sadly continues to plague the Roman Church. But, to quote one prominent Latin hierarch: "Who am I to judge?"

May God be merciful to us sinners.
Posted By: Filipe YTOL Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/03/21 01:08 PM
Appologies for use of lower case "C".

As I said, and with no particular "inside information", it seemed to me that this may have been a case where the Pope's direct intervention was welcomed by the Patriarch. This is obviously not a good thing and yes, it does and should raise concerns.

We have no idea at this time if this was the act of Roman dicasteries or a direct request to the Pope and intervention by him, so I don't see much point in bringing up all the other issues you mention, which are undoubtedly a problem. This is not a competition. I brought up the issues of the Melkite Church because they could directly explain what happened here, and not in any way to shame or cast stones.

Regards!
Posted By: Filipe YTOL Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/03/21 01:18 PM
It seems that the reason for the removal was that the bishop was engaged in a long term affair with a woman.
To make matters worse, it seems that she was anything but discreet and bragged about the fact in her community.
This is what I heard from a source with good connections in the Melkite Church in the Middle East.

This does, of course, leave open the question of why the issue was not resolved directly by the Melkite Holy Synod.
I don't suppose this would be an opportune time to raise the issue of a married episcopate? I thought not!
Posted By: Colin Sheehan Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/05/21 06:19 PM
Universal jurisdiction is only applied via dogmas. Appointing Bishops is the realm of each individual Church. Otherwise they are not individual Churches and exist only as extensions of Roman Catholicism attempting to imitate Orthodoxy.
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/05/21 07:09 PM
Originally Posted by Colin Sheehan
Universal jurisdiction is only applied via dogmas. Appointing Bishops is the realm of each individual Church. Otherwise they are not individual Churches and exist only as extensions of Roman Catholicism attempting to imitate Orthodoxy.

Dependent on the rank of the Church and where located the Pope appoints and deposes Eastern Catholic bishops all the time. If the Church is metropolitan rank or lower or the Eparchy is in the Americas/Oceania the Pope appoints those bishops. I don’t like it but that is how it works in real life, right now.
Posted By: theophan Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/06/21 12:17 AM
Quote
I don't suppose this would be an opportune time to raise the issue of a married episcopate? I thought not!

Father Romanos,

Father bless!!

Maybe this is the time to adopt the practice of the Eastern Churches not in communion with Rome: select only candidates with proven, strict monastic backgrounds. That would mean that the Benedictines and a very few other orders would be the place to find bishops.

Bob
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/06/21 04:12 AM
Originally Posted by theophan
Quote
I don't suppose this would be an opportune time to raise the issue of a married episcopate? I thought not!

Father Romanos,

Father bless!!

Maybe this is the time to adopt the practice of the Eastern Churches not in communion with Rome: select only candidates with proven, strict monastic backgrounds. That would mean that the Benedictines and a very few other orders would be the place to find bishops.

Bob

That bishop was a monk.
Posted By: Colin Sheehan Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/07/21 06:18 AM
I think with the current state of the catholic church being a sign, the Eastern Catholic Churches ought to go back into communion with the Eastern Orthodox and work on bringing Rome into communion with the East, rather than sticking with a sinking ship and telling the Orthodox to get on board.
Posted By: Utroque Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/07/21 05:41 PM
Originally Posted by Colin Sheehan
I think with the current state of the catholic church being a sign, the Eastern Catholic Churches ought to go back into communion with the Eastern Orthodox and work on bringing Rome into communion with the East, rather than sticking with a sinking ship and telling the Orthodox to get on board.

I'm sure there are far better ways of finding unity within the flock than by casting aspersions at others. I find the analogy of a sinking ship offensive. You might ponder the Epistle reading (1 Cor 8:8 - 9:2) for Meat Fare Sunday, and also know that millions of Latin Catholics throughout the world today take the Gospel reading, so assigned for this same day in the East, quite seriously whether they fast or not.
Posted By: Protopappas76 Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/08/21 06:37 PM
Married bishops? Married priests? A possible affair? All of this seems to be a bit off the mark.

What we have is the Roman patriarch (yeah, I know they don't like the title - but then let them deal with the holy fathers of the Councils) unilaterally imposing his will on another (and I might point out, "equal") Church. The message being sent is clear and unmistakable.

Kind of reminds me of the "reality" that the Eastern Europeans lived under during the Soviet-era. Let 'em have a flag, "freedom" to vote in one party elections, and the accoutrerments of statehood. But, if they don't do our bidding... Jiust remember what happened to the Hungarians and Czechs when they tried to exercise their vaunted "freedoms" among the "peace-loving nations" of the Soviet bloc.

Then again and closer to home, we can always use the example of our own American history - If they get too "uppity" there's always lynchings.

Of course, the holy synod of our own Melkite Church is far from blameless. As has been said: "If you don't exercise your freedoms, they will soon be taken away from you." It may be far from scriptural, but what comes to mind is the old military adage: "Grow a pair!"
Posted By: theophan Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/08/21 08:01 PM
Christ is in our midst!!

Having thought about this situation and re-evaluating my own contribution, I have reflected on a saying in the Desert Fathers. The remark is that we should not be surprised at the downfall of a brother in the Faith, but we should be surprised when one is able to escape the jaws of the Enemy. My prayers go out to His Grace, Abp Michel Abrass. He is, like each of us a man who was tempted and has fallen. I pray for his immortal soul because of the damage he did to his flock, the woman he was involved with, and himself.

My knee jerk reaction to immediately go to the example of the Eastern Churches not in communion with Rome and him was off the mark, not knowing he was, himself, a monastic. Vows and a habit do not shield one from either temptation or a fall; nor does ordination or episcopal status.

We need to pray for our clergy and each other. Like other clergy scandals, the only one who wins is the secular world that mocks us and the Enemy.

Each of us has some weakness he/she must wrestle with. It's well to remember a line from the movie, Dr. Zhivago, where the young woman finishes her confession and the priest tells her that "the flesh is strong, not weak." We are in a constant struggle until our last breath in taming it.
Posted By: Collin Nunis Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/09/21 12:57 PM
I don't think that the Melkite Synod would have been able to do anything swiftly as Rome would, given the Patriarchate's response time. Furthermore, now that Pope Francis has promulgated changes to both the Latin Code and Eastern Code, bye bye patriarchal authority.
Posted By: Collin Nunis Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/09/21 01:00 PM
These things are possible because of Canon Law. See the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches, especially the very unusual Canon 44.
Posted By: Colin Sheehan Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/11/21 05:13 PM
If the Pope has the power to remove Patriarchal authority, then the Eastern Catholics are fools for being in communion with Rome, as they are officially "under" Rome and are not autonomous churches. If that's the case, I need to rethink my being an Eastern Catholic and should perhaps resume my conversion into Orthodoxy. The more distance I can put between me and Rome, with her errors, the better.
Posted By: ajk Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/11/21 06:50 PM
Originally Posted by Colin Sheehan
If the Pope has the power to remove Patriarchal authority, then the Eastern Catholics are fools for being in communion with Rome, as they are officially "under" Rome and are not autonomous churches. If that's the case, I need to rethink my being an Eastern Catholic and should perhaps resume my conversion into Orthodoxy. The more distance I can put between me and Rome, with her errors, the better.
You sound very confident about "Rome, with her errors" but are mulling over the relative trivia of "Patriarchal authority" and "autonomous churches." I think you've got your ecclesiological perspective inverted.
Posted By: Colin Sheehan Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/12/21 05:37 PM
How so? Eastern Catholic Churches are self governing. Rome has no right to meddle in the affairs of the Eastern Churches anymore than any of the Eastern Churches have the right to meddle with the affairs of the Roman Church.
Posted By: theophan Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/12/21 05:43 PM
Christ is in our midst!!

Colin,

Forgive me, but where have you obtained this idea? The Eastern Catholic Churches are self governing to the extent that the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches allows. Each and every Catholic bishop is to some extent subject to the Bishop of Rome, regardless of the Particular Church. Each and every one also makes an ad limina report to Rome just like every Latin Catholic bishop. So I wonder where you got the idea that there is no direct oversight at some level. Have you not seen the remarks on this Board about the Congregation for the Eastern Churches? It is lovingly called "The Colonial Office."
Posted By: ajk Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/12/21 07:22 PM
Originally Posted by Colin Sheehan
How so? Eastern Catholic Churches are self governing. Rome has no right to meddle in the affairs of the Eastern Churches anymore than any of the Eastern Churches have the right to meddle with the affairs of the Roman Church.
When you put it that way, of course, who likes meddling -- depends, however, on what's considered meddling. So it's just your opinion, an abrasive statement conveying no worthwhile information.

The "theology from on high," that pertains to "Rome, with her errors," informs the applied theology (of which the CCEO is an example) that deals with 'the relative trivia of "Patriarchal authority" and "autonomous churches." '. Read in the CCEO the applied theology and how it relates in law to your opinion.
Posted By: Irish_Ruthenian Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/12/21 07:36 PM
Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
Originally Posted by Colin Sheehan
Why would the Pope be able to remove a Melkite Archbishop? The Melkite Church is not under the Roman Church.

1 universal jurisdiction

2 It is

We Eastern Catholics should stop pretending otherwise


So what binding authority does this have on this situation:


The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; but each may do those things only which concern his own parish, and the country places which belong to it. But neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit. (Apostolic Canons. Canon 34)

I don't see a whole lot of "consent of all" in this action!
Posted By: Irish_Ruthenian Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/12/21 07:39 PM
Originally Posted by Protopappas76
No, it isn't the way the Church should work!

Regarding the statement of Filipe YTOL: " the overall impression was pretty negative about the state of the hierarchy of the Melkite church [sic]" ("church" should read Church), our hierarchy, like any group of people, has its faults and failures. However, if this is the Roman dicastries who are casting stones eastward maybe they ought to clean up their own act first. While our Melkite hierarchy and clergy may have its problems(and, we sadly do), I don't think we have seen the level of corruption, pedophilia, rape, homosexual behavior, financial corruption, and even theological heresy that sadly continues to plague the Roman Church. But, to quote one prominent Latin hierarch: "Who am I to judge?"

May God be merciful to us sinners.

That's a pretty tart statement, but it also is pretty darn true. The Patriarch of Rome has more than enough work to do to clean up his own house first. Unfortunately, he seems to not only be turning a blind eye to the abuses, but has endorsed men whose background is considerably scandalous.
Posted By: Irish_Ruthenian Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/12/21 07:47 PM
Oh boy! The more I read about this, the sadder this whole situation appears.

The Melkite Synod apparently turned the other way for along time. This appears to have been not a recent situation, but a long standing and openly scandalous situation.

The Patriarch of Rome has stepped in and done what has been done in times past. It appears that he has acted as a kind of "Court of Last Resort" when no one else in the Melkite Church would act.

His actions are in keeping with the Apostolic Canons (I failed to notice the issue of sexual immorality in my first post in this thread). Why the Patriarch did not act is beyond me (and above my pay grade)

The whole thing is just head-shakingly sad.
Posted By: theophan Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/12/21 08:13 PM
Christ is in our midst!!

Does it not come down to Vatican I's definition that gives the Pope "universal immediate jurisdiction"?
Posted By: Samn Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/13/21 03:07 PM
This is very sad news. Mgr Abrass is a fine scholar, though I know nothing of his reputation as a bishop.

One of the chief starting-points for the momentum behind the Zoghby Initiative was when Rome went over the heads of the Melkite Catholic Synod in order to force the retirement of Met Grégoire Haddad of Beirut in 1974. This led to a joint meeting with the synod of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, as a show of solidarity, and did a lot to strengthen the ties between the two churches.

While it may be, from what's been said above, that this is a rather more clear-cut scenario of a bishop needing to be removed, I think it's safe to say that the Melkite Church isn't nearly as interested in defending its independence and prerogatives as it was in decades past. It's very noteworthy that Rome didn't just remove a bishop, it also chose the temporary administrator for the diocese.
Posted By: theophan Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/14/21 07:54 PM
Christ is in our midst!!

For me, this is a sad affair on the most important level--that of the man and that of his flock. The Enemy has taken down a bishop and scandalized the believers. All the rest, IMHO, is of secondary importance. How do we defend ourselves in the greater world in which we live when clergy fall, especially when we have put them on a pedestal for so long? How do we shore up the faint faith of many when they see this and assume that we stand for nothing if even the clergy do not live up to what we preach?

Let's step back and pray for Bishop Michel and his diocese. (Heavy sigh).
Posted By: Colin Sheehan Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/17/21 10:50 PM
Indeed. The autonomy of the Eastern Catholic Churches is an illusion. We are indeed Catholic in name only, and only are as Catholic insofar as we are "under" Rome. All this talk of equality is a lie. No wonder the Orthodox look down on Eastern Catholicism. They are removed enough from Rome's thumb to see the truth of it all.
Posted By: Administrator Re: Archbishop Michel Abrass? - 02/18/21 03:51 PM
Originally Posted by Colin Sheehan
Indeed. The autonomy of the Eastern Catholic Churches is an illusion. We are indeed Catholic in name only, and only are as Catholic insofar as we are "under" Rome. All this talk of equality is a lie. No wonder the Orthodox look down on Eastern Catholicism. They are removed enough from Rome's thumb to see the truth of it all.
Colin,

The Church always has issues that need to be addressed. But why are you so bitter? The Lord is good and life in Him is good!

John
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