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Role of the Pope

Posted By: Jennifer

Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 04:27 AM

I've been involved in a little discussion over on the Catholic convert board about the role of the pope. The thread is about a whacko parish that is ignored by the local RC bishop. Someone appealed to Rome which has now stepped in.

I noted that this wasn't really the role of the pope and someone responded with canon law:

"Can. 333 1 By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only has power over the universal Church,[b[ but also has pre-eminent ordinary power over all particular Churches and their groupings.[/b] This reinforces and defends the proper, ordinary and immediate power which the Bishops have in the particular Churches entrusted to their care.


2 The Roman Pontiff, in fulfilling his office as supreme Pastor of the Church, is always joined in full communion with the other Bishops, and indeed with the whole Church. [b[He has the right, however, to determine, according to the needs of the Church, whether this office is to be exercised in a personal or in a collegial manner.[/b]


3 There is neither appeal nor recourse against a judgement or a decree of the Roman Pontiff."

Who's right? As I wrote in my original post that I'd almost converted to Orthodoxy. I decided to stay with Rome (as an Eastern Catholic) because I can accept the idea of the pope as 'tie-breaker.' But I don't know if I can accept the idea of the pope having absolute authority over every parish in the world.

Also is it right to say that the pope is the "supreme Pastor?"
Posted By: Pani Rose

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 10:24 AM

He is the "supreme pastor" in the sence that he sits in the chair of Peter. In the perspective or the East, he is called "first among equals." Saying that, however, the patirarhs and bishops of the Eastern Catholics (I hope I am saying this right) give him the final say when a decision is being made concerning the churches if there is not a total agreement between the two of them.

Since I am a convert, well some 25 years ago, I am still not intuned to all of the canon law, so I will leave that to those on the forum who love debate.
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 12:04 PM

Jennifer,

I'm certain that the discussion was about St Joan of Arc in Minneapolis/St Paul, a parish that has had a controversial history for decades and has particularly been a lightening rod for complaints the past few years because of its highly publicized and politicized involvement in any number of social issues on which it has taken extremely liberal (at least by Church standards) stances. I understand that Rome gave very particular direction to the local Ordinary with respect to taking action. Since that is the genesis of your concern, I'll answer in that context and supplement with some thoughts about how it affects our Churches.

In the instance of parish-level issues in the Latin Church sui iuris, I am not certain that I can see a strong argument against the Pope taking action, directly or through the Curia, when the controversy is such that it is polarizing a diocese, causing public scandal among Catholics even outside the diocese, and being dealt with ineffectually by the local Ordinary. And that seems to be the case in the instance at hand. There may be differences of opinion regarding some of the matters at issue in St Joan's, and I think that there has been over-reaction on the part of conservative Catholics to some of the incidents, although there are at least as many others in which I see justification for their concerns (and I would be termed very liberal by many). That said, and there being no intermediary body or person empowered to react, I'm not sure whom you would have take appropriate action, if not Rome. Someone had to do so.

By the same token, we are in union with Rome and consider the Pope in historical context to be primus inter pares, first among equals, of the Patriarchs - that being in his capacity as Patriarch of the West. In his further capacity as Supreme Pontiff, we accord to him or (probably more correctly phrased) accept of him the capacity to act as Peter's successor and exercise a primacy that goes beyond honorific precedence. Both the exercise of that authority and, conversely, the failure to exercise it, have unquestionably had negative effects on our Churches. In no particular order of import or magnitude in regard to the effect:

  • the Russian Greek-Catholic Church, which suffered incredibly for its faith, has had no hierarchs appointed, despite the fact that the fall of the USSR has eliminated the circumstances that effectively denied the opportunity for such to function for decades;
  • the Belarussian Greek-Catholic Church, which suffered equally, also has had no hierarchs appointed, the same circumstances applying to it;
  • the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, which also suffered incredibly, and despite being the largest Eastern Catholic Church, has been denied the elevation of its presiding hierarch to the level of Patriarch;
  • the Russian Greek-Catholic Church in the diaspora, which isn't directly involved in the ecclesial politics that affect decision-making vis-a-vis its institutions in its homeland, has not had a canonical jurisdiction established for it, having to rely instead on the fraternal good-will of Melkite and other hierarchy, even for the ordination of its clergy;
  • the Byzantine Italo-Greico-Albanian Church in the diaspora has not had a canonical jurisdiction established for it;
  • the Georgian Greek-Catholic Church, always a very small community, will soon become extinct, probably due in part to the failure to provide any clergy to it, something that I suspect Rome could have accomplished by a mere request to the Jesuits;
  • those Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches which have a tradition of a married secular clergy have been effectively denied such in the diaspora, a situation which has only been overcome through a combination of practiced disregard of the rules and elaborate fictions in assignment and transfer of clergy between their native lands and the diaspora;
  • those Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches which have a presence in the diaspora are effectively divided, with their canonical jurisdictions in the diaspora being technically subject to Rome rather than their presiding hierarchs, except as to matters liturgical;
  • some Eastern Church canonical jurisdictions, such as the Byzantine Greek Catholic Church, are headed by Latin prelates, rather than by hierarchs of their Church;
  • Eastern Catholic Churches, other than those of patriarchal or major-archepiscopal status, are dependent on Rome for the appointment of their hierarchs, with even those of patriarchal or major-archepiscopal status being dependent for same when it comes to the appointment of hierarchs for their jurisdictions in the diaspora.


There are probably more, but those are the ones that come immediately to mind (ah, the Albanians, who also await re-establishment of a true canonical jurisdiction and hierarch, rather than the apostolic administration which they have at present).

So, why do we stick with Rome? We believe that the Pope exercises the role that Peter established and we hope, we pray, that we will see more changes (because, God knows, there have been positive ones over the past few decades) that further recognize the full ecclesial nature of our Churches, making us truly sui iuris.

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: Memo Rodriguez

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 03:24 PM

Hi,

Quote

Who's right? As I wrote in my original post that I'd almost converted to Orthodoxy. I decided to stay with Rome (as an Eastern Catholic) because I can accept the idea of the pope as 'tie-breaker.' But I don't know if I can accept the idea of the pope having absolute authority over every parish in the world.
Both.

It is a matter of Catholic dogma that the Pope has supreme, immediate, ordinary and episcopal authority not only over every diocese and parish, but over every individual Catholic faithful.

Canon Law as you quoted it made it quite explicit, doesn't it?

As a Catholic, you are required to accept that, as I said, it is a matter of dogma.

And being an Eastern Catholic will not get anybody "off the hook", so to speak. First of all, dogma has no variation from one Sui-Iuris Church to another, you might express this dogma using different terms, but the substance has to be the same. And Second, the Code of Canons for the Oriental Churches also contains a canon with virtually identical wording.

Strictly speaking, appeal to the Pope is the right of every Catholic faithful, however, it is usually a dicastery of the Roman Curia the one actually processing those appeals.

So, you are right as well, the Pope usually will not step in to solve a parish dispute. But the titular of the proper dicastery could, and maybe would.

But in any event, it is highly unusual for Rome to step into a dispute uncalled. In this particular situation, there is already an appeal, and therefore, Rome's intervention is as a "tie-breaker", to use your own term.

Quote

Also is it right to say that the pope is the "supreme Pastor?"
Yes, for as successor of St. Peter, that is what he is.

Shalom,
Memo.
Posted By: Amadeus

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 04:25 PM

Dear Jennie:

MEMO (also a Latin like me wink ) have given you the easy answer to the Q: Is the Pope the "Supreme Pastor?" However, this should have been phrased: Is the Pope the "Universal Pastor"?

I suspect that you wanted also to ask: Is the Pope the "Supreme Pontiff"?

My answer is absolutely YES like MEMO's and this is where you have observed that our Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters might (and DO) have a variation from their perspective.

Amado
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 04:27 PM

Dear Jennifer,

What you quote is true, but when Rome has discussed the Eastern Churches, it does say that the Patriarchs and heads of the Particular Churches of the East share the government of their churches with the Pope.

In fact, the immediate government of the Patriarchal EC Churches is done by the Patriarchs and their Synods.

The idea of jurisdiction over every Catholic etc., by the way, comes not from Rome itself, but from ancient Orthodox Alexandria.

The Pope of Alexandria (which is also where the title originated) had wide and absolute powers over every parish and Christian under his jurisdiction.

And this occurred when the Bishop of Rome was referred to humbly as "Your Beatitude" and when his immediate ecclesial jurisdiction didn't extend over all of Italy as yet.

There is a distinction between the Pope as Bishop of Rome, Primate of Italy and Patriarch of the West, in jurisdictional terms, and the Pope as supreme pastor, which is how the EC Churches accept him.

This is not to say that the Popes have not gotten involved in EC church affairs when such involvement was not elicited or desired.

Even though the UGCC is not officially a patriarchate, when our Confessor, Patriarch Josef declared that we are a patriarchate, many people in the UGCC resisted Rome's attempts to control our Church's daily life.

When bishops were nominated for the UGCC over the head of Patriarch Joseph the Confessor, we expected those nominees to travel to see the Patriarch and get his blessing (which he always gave).

When a bishop refused to do so, there was literally hell to pay at his cheirotonia (as happened in Chicago way back when when protesters brought a coffin with them and where they sang out "Unworthy!" wink )

Even though Rome still won't acknowledge our patriarchal status, our synod does operate as such and even our Basilian Fathers, in many areas, commemorate Lubomyr as "Patriarch" (our Basilian bishop did so last Sunday).

I think we've a better sense of unity around our Patriarch than ever before and this is grounded in a better appreciation of our identity, our Church's suffering (for which mention I salute our brother Neil!) and our Martyrs.

In addition, there is no one model of church governance in Orthodoxy.

I've uncles who are priests in the ROC and who say the Patriarch of Moscow can as "Papal" as any Pope smile .

I'm sure that's not true though . . . wink

(Don't you give me at least a "B+" for ecumenical effort here?)

And don't pay too much attention to Manuel.

He's a Latin, you know! smile

Alex
Posted By: Amadeus

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 04:48 PM

Dear Alex:

Are you trying to ignore MEMO? :p

MANUEL has not been in this thread, yet!

You said Eastern Catholics view the Pope as the "Supreme Pastor." I think you meant as "Universal Pastor," which at least expresses the idea of the Pope's "primacy of honor."

There is a difference if we view him as the "Supreme Pontiff," which then takes his "primacy of jurisdiction" to having, as we Latin Catholics believe, "supremacy of jurisdiction" in the Catholic communion.

Both the Latin Code of Canons and the Eastern Code of Canons recognize the "supremacy of jurisdiction" of the Pope as "Supreme Pontiff."

Amado
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 05:48 PM

Dear Amado,

My apologies to Manuel - I did indeed mean "Memo."

The problem is, a "memo" for me is something of a note that I write to government bureaucrats who haven't the time to read my longer expositions smile

What you say is true, but is not the whole story for EC's.

EC's are Particular Churches in communion with Rome with their OWN particular church government.

This is different from the Roman Patriarchate itself which is YOUR patriarchate, as a Latin Catholic.

My patriarch is not the Pope, but he is yours, in other words.

My patriarch can legislate fasts and other regulations for me which I must obey - and these are often different from what your patriarch can legislate for you.

When your patriarch, as pope, defined the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, you accepted it as defined dogma.

We, on the other hand, simply said, "It's about time you recognized that the Theotokos was conceived in holiness!" wink

(You Latins can be a riot sometimes, you know!)

Alex
Posted By: incognitus

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 07:17 PM

The two new Codes of canon law are not sources of the Faith. Excessive titles are generally embarrassing, and that includes ultramontane expressions such as "Supreme Pastor" "Universal Pastor", and so on (there are only too many of these). For those who would like a serious theological discussion of the Pope's role, I might suggest Tillard, *The Bishop of Rome*, which is rapidly becoming a classic.
I might also suggest that much of the problem arises because many people tend to perceive the Church (when certain questions arise) as a static reality. A better image would be, jocular though this may sound, the image of an elaborate dance (the angels and saints are said to dance, and we aspire to dance with them). Perfection is an unattainable goal on this earth, but that does not excuse us from seeking perfection - and perfection in ecclesiology happens when everyone acts dynamically, in his proper step. It then becomes quite possible "to square the circle" (most of us will have attended square dances, where square circles are commonplace).
Meanwhile, if one wants a title for the Pope, try "Servant of the Servants of God". Much more edifying than "El Supremo".

However, if someone is determined to pile it on higher and higher, try this passage from the Meditations of Don Bosco (I apologize in advance for my ignorance of Italian spelling):
"Il Papa e Dio sur la terra.
"Gesu l'a posita al sopre di angeli,
"al sopre di Precurso,
"al sopre di Madonna . . .

Or, as a Melkite priest used to summarize it:
"Il Papa e al sopre di EVERYBODY!

Incognitus
Posted By: incognitus

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 07:21 PM

The two new Codes of canon law are not sources of the Faith. Excessive titles are generally embarrassing, and that includes ultramontane expressions such as "Supreme Pastor" "Universal Pastor", and so on (there are only too many of these). For those who would like a serious theological discussion of the Pope's role, I might suggest Tillard, *The Bishop of Rome*, which is rapidly becoming a classic.

I might also suggest that much of the problem arises because many people tend to perceive the Church (when certain questions arise) as a static reality. A better image would be, jocular though this may sound, the image of an elaborate dance (the angels and saints are said to dance, and we aspire to dance with them). Perfection is an unattainable goal on this earth, but that does not excuse us from seeking perfection - and perfection in ecclesiology happens when everyone acts dynamically, in his proper step. It then becomes quite possible "to square the circle" (most of us will have attended square dances, where square circles are commonplace).

Meanwhile, if one wants a title for the Pope, try "Servant of the Servants of God". Much more edifying than "El Supremo".

However, if someone is determined to pile it on higher and higher, try this passage from the Meditations of Don Bosco (I apologize in advance for my ignorance of Italian spelling):
"Il Papa e Dio sur la terra.
"Gesu l'a posita al sopre di angeli,
"al sopre di Precurso,
"al sopre di Madonna . . .

Or, as a Melkite priest used to summarize it:
"Il Papa e al sopre di EVERYBODY!

Incognitus
Posted By: Amadeus

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 07:54 PM

I think we all agree that the Pope's title "Servant of the Servants of God" is the most appropriate of all.

There are times, however, when some of us will stir when, after all is said and done, the Pope's Petrine Office is reduced to near nothingness. He was endowed by Christ, Our Lord, this office as Chief Shepherd, the "modern" ascriptions notwithstanding.

We need the Papacy, whether we like it or not. It is the visible sign of unity and it should be nurtured and respected. It just so happened that Rome, the Holy See, where St. Peter was martyred, was "pre-ordained" to lead the Christian flock.

It also leads to discomfort when modern-day hierarchs do display attempts to be Popes or mini-Popes, a latent recognition of the importance and authority of the Papacy and its historical contribution to today's civilization.

Viva il Papa!

Amado
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 08:03 PM

Dear Amado,

The good news is that the Orthodox have never denied that the Petrine Office is important to the Church.

The bad news is that they regard the RC church as cut off from the true Church . . .

As one Orthodox theologian said, (as quoted by Fr. John Meyendorff), "Do not argue with a Latin about the Roman primacy. The primacy is good for the Church. But only ask him to show that the pope's faith is the faith of Peter - and then let him enjoy the privileges of Peter."

Alex
Posted By: Amadeus

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 08:10 PM

Dear incognitus:

Nobody is saying that the 2 Codes of Canons are sources of our Catholic faith.

But in an organization as huge as the Catholic Cummunion of Churches, the necessity of rules to govern the inter-relationships of particular Churches becomes imperative. And hierarchical values are clearly defined and implemented.

Without a clarification of the lines of authority, we degenerate into a mass of chaotic co-existence. (To me, the national episcopal conferences represent the most viable exercise of collegiality in modern-day Church governance.)

Amado
Posted By: Amadeus

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 08:12 PM

Dear Alex:

Too bad the Orthodox continue to fail to see the Truth! wink

Amado
Posted By: Brian

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 08:45 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Amadeus:
Dear Alex:

Too bad the Orthodox continue to fail to see the Truth! wink

Amado
The Only Answer to that!!! wink

"We have seen the True Light, We have received the Heavenly Spirit, We have found the True Faith, worshipping the Undivided Trinity Who has saved us!"
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 09:57 PM

The Only Answer to that!!!

"We have seen the True Light, We have received the Heavenly Spirit, We have found the True Faith, worshipping the Undivided Trinity Who has saved us!"

=====

Amen!!!!

OrthoMan
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 10:29 PM

Dear Amado,

Like you, I too accept the Pope.

Along with His Holiness, I accept that the papacy can undergo some more change and the Pope has asked the Orthodox for some input in this regard.

I personally believe the Pope's authority should go back to the way it was exercised before the schism.

It is certain he would exercise his usual authority in his own world-wide Latin Patriarchate.

But if we want the papacy to be that way in the East, then we will never have one Church.

And as for the Orthoman . . .

WHO DA MAN?

YOU DA MAN!

YOU DA ORTHOMAN!!!

Alex
Posted By: Zenovia

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 10:32 PM

Quote


Too bad the Orthodox continue to fail to see the Truth!

Amado
Dear Amado,

It is very hard for someone that has been raised a Catholic to understand how those outside of the RC perceive the Pope. I for one, had that problem. It was hard for me to reconcile myself towards the idea of a Pope, even though I am ecumenical minded.

It seems that we live in a democratic society, and seeing the adulation that is given to the Pope, gives one the impression that he is an 'emporor'. It's hard for people to erase that impression from one's mind.

I guess it's the 'Protestant' mentality, (from the English no doubt), that has been embedded in us, (even though I'm Orthodox)...but I realize it is not the Pope to blame. It is the people that present that illusion, by their 'adulation'.

I've gotten over it. I respect him dearly, and truly see a certain amount of authority, as being better than chaos.

Zenovia
Posted By: rcguest

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/27/04 10:50 PM

Dear Brian & Orthoman,

I don't think you will find many Catholics who are familiar with the Orthodox Church who will dispute what you have written.

However you will not find many Catholics who do not believe the same thing about their own Church.

What both of our Churches do acknowledge about each other is that one or the other is lacking somewhere in certain aspects of this truth.

Being a simple layman, and only knowing things I have learned over the years, I am not keen as to why we are not able to come to an understanding of these truths between our Churches.

My opinion is that we remain divided more because of pride; political(church political,not secular), and national reasons, than we do because of differences regarding the truth of the faith.

No matter what the reason for our division, the fact that the Church is divided is a SIN.

If the Church is ever to truly become one it will have to begin with unity between Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

My fervent prayer is that one day this will come to pass, hopefully in my lifetime, but when I look at current relations between our Churches my hope is dimmed.

I will continue to pray unceasingly, nevertheless.

In Christ, Bill
Posted By: Jim

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/28/04 01:10 PM

I believe that lasting, substantive church unity starts with each of us. Laity discerns the need for change, and leadership validates it and proclaims it.
Posted By: rcguest

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/28/04 09:30 PM

To All,

First off, I will admit to a little bias here.

I've been reading the post on communion with Rome and decided to post these thoughts here.

I am 48 years old and as long as I've been on this blessed earth I have not seen from anyone or from anywhere a greater Christian witness than I have from Pope John Paul II.

This man is a man for the ages; if the Holy Spirit is not at work in him, then I don't think the Holy Spirit is at work anywhere.

Many will say he is in error and a heretic etc., Because of some of the ACTIONS he has been documented doing since becoming Pope.

Did not Our Lord Jesus Christ work among the Samaritans and promise them salvation, also!

I have not heard ONE word from his LIPS that would stand up to the scrutiny that some would attribute to the outward actions that have been called into question.

I am proud to say that I am in communion with the Church that this man leads.

Zenovia pointed out that she doesn't quite understand the adulation shown to this one man.
It is not so much adulation for him as a person as it is adulation for his office and the way he has conducted himself in it. PEOPLE need a LEADER and this Pope has been serving his Church well.

Bill
Posted By: JoeS

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/28/04 10:39 PM

The Roman church believes what she believes and the Orthodox Church believes what she believes.

I dont see any unity in the future this side of Heaven. Thats it. And I am very comfortable with the present arrangement.

JoeS cool
Posted By: Alice

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/28/04 10:44 PM

Dear Bill,

I agree with you about the great holiness of Pope John Paul II.

His writings are unbelievably enlightened by the Holy Spirit...they are simply incredible.

His humility is akin to that of the greatest saints.

I admire him greatly.

May God bless him with many years.

I remember watching a documentary where a Jewish person who had an audience with him commented that he couldn't help but notice the holiness which eminated from his countenance.

In Christ,
Alice
Posted By: JoeS

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/28/04 10:48 PM

Dear Amando,

The Holy Catholic Apostolic church has and continues to have the truth for almost 2000 years now.

JoeS
Posted By: Alice

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/28/04 11:17 PM

Let's just remember that there are holy and not so holy persons in BOTH the East and the West, and that we all succumb to sin to various degrees. In the end, whether one has adhered to much the same theology and liturgical practice for two thousand years, or another theology and liturgy has evolved differently due to cultural reasons, that doesn't mean to say that there is perfection in either one.

Ultimately, what will build up any Church is personal holiness and loving praxis of its members, not one upmanship, and not pride. Membership in either one will not be a guaranteed ticket to Heaven before the awesome judgement seat.

The world is increasingly pagan, and our children are assaulted each minute of each day by immorality, atheism, materialism, and paganism...isn't it time we realize that we all need each other in a united Christian voice, and a united Christian front of a united Church?

Triumphalism, endless bickering and theological nit picking, the mind boggling dragging of feet at the yearly clerical and hierarchal dialogues, and the underlying FEAR of unity in both West AND East, while our society gets more and more crass, unethical, immoral and perverse, reminds me of Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

May our Lord have mercy on us all!
Posted By: Alice

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/28/04 11:27 PM

P.S....As an example of why I am so upset at us Catholics and Orthodox 'fiddling while our society burns', in the mornings while I walk on the dreaded treadmill, I take to the remote control and channel surf the television.

Every morning I see that 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' is rerunning, followed by some show called 'Charmed' about young girls who practice serious arts of witchcraft on others, (not the benign 'Bewitched' and 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch' type shows) and also today, as if that were not enough, I saw a show titled 'Satan's school for girls', complete with a red eyed, grotesque Devil....

We may not watch this demonic garbage, and we may even by unaware of its existence, but it is out there, (along with soft porn and overt sexual innuendos on prime time AND cable television shows) and we have to think of what it is doing to the minds and souls of a whole generation and nation of youth! frown
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/28/04 11:47 PM

Preach on, Sister Alice, for you speak the truth!
Posted By: theophan

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/29/04 12:10 AM

Alice posted :

Ultimately, what will build up any Church is personal holiness and loving praxis of its members, . . . isn't it time we realize that we all need each other . . . Triumphalism, endless bickering and theological nit picking,
___________________________

Gotta say with my brother, byzanTN--AMEN, AMEN, AMEN smile smile

Gotta add: "You go, girl"!!!!! wink

One more time: You must have been hit by that prayer I posted awhile back, because you "get it"!! biggrin

In Christ,

BOB

P.S.: Alice, ask if you can save me a seat if you get to the Wedding Feast first! I wanna be around those who "got it"!
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/29/04 04:26 AM

Alice,

My prayers for you, not because I think you are in particular need of them (actually, I think you may be less in need of them than are many others in this world smile ), but because to pray for you is to pray for one who loves God's people unreservedly - and I believe that there must be personal spiritual merit in doing so.

Catholics and Orthodox on this forum, on its worst day (and this pre-election period offers the opportunity for that day to happen frown ), are still unquestionably more tolerant and charitable to and caring about one another than on any other Catholic or Orthodox web forum. You, however, inevitably surpass the standards to which this community holds itself.

You perceive that the Churches, Catholic and Orthodox, while institutions of God, are to a large extent subject to the vagaries of man and that perfection is lacking in God's children, oftentimes even when they believe themselves to be doing what they consider to be God's work. Coming from that understanding, you are prepared to accept the shortcomings of each Church and use those as a base from which to build a renewed, unified body of believers. You hold no brief for either Church to evince a trumphalist attitude toward the other; rather, you invariably seek out the best in each and pray for the two to come together, which is what you see God as expecting of us.

My sister, both of our Churches are wanting in folks like you; if that wasn't the case, we would be united long since. I don't mean to embarress you, but there is a concept that is most common in countries of the Orient, although becoming more accepted in the western world, of "Living National Treasures". It is a term applied to persons whose knowledge, skills, and understanding are the embodiment of what is needed to preserve or renew aspects of a people's cultural life and heritage. You, my sister, are a "Living Ecclesial Treasure".

May God grant you many years and may He allow you to see unity between His Churches in your lifetime. You deserve that, for all you have prayed for it to come about. Pray that the rest of us, particularly those in positions that can make it happen, come to understand the imperative need for it to happen.

Neil
Posted By: Alice

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/29/04 07:44 PM

Dear Neil,

I very humbly, and unworthily, thank you for your kind words.

With love in our Saviour,
Alice
Posted By: iconophile

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/29/04 09:14 PM

Alice- your posts are so refreshing.
-Daniel
Posted By: rcguest

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/29/04 11:31 PM

Dear Alice,

What can I say? ............ I know!
Ditto Neil's post! smile

While knowing differences exist and realizing they could and should be overcome, in charity
you are willing to go the extra mile and face the heat out of love for the Body of Christ.

I think of myself as being of the same mind and hope I am understood that way.


To All,

I wrote my post about John Paul II because this thread is "Role of the Pope". I realize there are other people out there who are just as holy and sincere if not even more so.


At the end of my post I said "people need a leader", which was the intended point of my post. I know we already have leaders in our bishops.
The Papacy, however, is a worldwide focal point, even in the secular world, and it's visibility can't be denied.

This is why I feel we need the Papacy.
I am not one to deny the arguments of the Orthodox and say that the Papacy is what it is and cannot be changed. What changes would have to be made and would be acceptable to ALL to give the world a united Christian face need to be brought to the table and ironed out. The same goes for all matters that are hindering the unity of the Church.

I would like to be able to say that I'm content with the status quo and fractures in the Church don't bother me, leave it to the judgement day and it will get worked out, but Christ has commanded unity, and I being his most unworthy servant cannot but pray "Thy will be done".

In Christ, Bill
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/30/04 01:00 AM

Dear Friends,

As Alice said so movingly, the personal holiness and charisma of Pope John Paul II is very powerful.

We see this especially in the aftermath of his visits to countries.

In Ukraine, there were, as in other countries, numerous "papal vocations" or vocations to the priesthood or religious life inspired by his very PRESENCE there.

Also, a number of these, from what I understand, are Orthodox who became EC after attending a papal Mass.

For me, the Pope's letter on the Rosary is something that I can read and reread constantly - it never bores me, on the contrary, it excites devotion!

When I had the Grace to be in the Pope's presence during World Youth Day in Toronto, one can truly feel the electricity.

And when he left, I went near the chair where he sat, where youth were constantly touching and kissing - there was electricity there too.

The only other place I felt such energy was at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It is unmistakeable, that kind of energy and very powerful.

Three nights ago, I dreamed that the Pope had died and there was a funeral for him in St Peter's Square.

I woke up in a cold sweat, so convinced I was that this had happened and turned on the TV to see if it really did.

That dream has ruined my week and I know it was simply a conflagration of events that got jumbled in my head.

But the sight of it remains with me even now.

Lord Jesus, have mercy!

Alex
Posted By: iconophile

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/30/04 02:36 AM

Alex, after all your posts so critical of Rome, it is heartening to see your personal devotion to this Holy Father!
-Daniel, who once kissed the ring of JPII
Posted By: Diak

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/30/04 03:08 AM

Daniel, you can be critical of the montane administrative machinery and politics of Rome and still love the Holy Father.

Alice, that was very touching and inspiring. Glory to God for you and your posts. I would add that this Pope really embodies a extraordinary kenosis which he has manifested so many times in his pleas for forgiveness for the misdeeds of his Church.

And such gems as Slavorum Apostoli and Orientale Lumen do continue to give us who are in communion with Rome by choice hope not only for our own future and survival, but a greater day of unity between East and West. This vision of unity has been so ever strong in his heart, his words, and his actions.

May we pray his successor carries on this most vital of tasks, the healing of our sick and disordered divisions between East and West.

And may he also continue to live out the full respect due to the sister Churches of Rome in full communion with her, who suffer as in the case of the Russian Catholic Church with no hierarchy, and who have amply proven loyalty to that communion with the blood of countless martyrs. Exarch Leonid, pray to God for us.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/30/04 05:29 PM

Dear Daniel,

Diak is right!

And, besides, the Pope isn't from Rome, he is from Poland! wink

(When my wife's grandfather once criticized the Pope for failing to acknowledge the UGCC patriarchate, his wife told him to "shut up." He then turned to her and said, "He's not a relative of yours that you feel you need to defend him . . .).

And the Servant of God, Patriarch Joseph the Confessor spent 18 years in Siberia for communion with Rome - but that didn't prevent him from disobeying Pope Paul VI when the latter ordered him to stop calling himself "Patriarch" and otherwise promoting the patriarchal movement.

I believe Patriarch Joseph's words in reply went something along, "If you will not acknowledge our patriarchate, then your successor will, and if not he, then his successor . . ."

One U.S. Ukrainian patriarchal movement once published a letter outlining a number of Cardinals that belonged to . . . Masonic lodges (whether that's true or not, I don't know and don't take a position on it at all).

They started getting hundreds of calls from American RC priests asking for a translated copy of the letter so they could give it to their faithful . . .

It would seem that EC's aren't the only Catholics critical of Rome . . .

Alex
Posted By: Zenovia

Re: Role of the Pope - 10/30/04 10:25 PM

Quote


Zenovia pointed out that she doesn't quite understand the adulation shown to this one man.
It is not so much adulation for him as a person as it is adulation for his office and the way he has
conducted himself in it. PEOPLE need a LEADER and this Pope has been serving his Church well.
Actually, I love the Pope dearly, and see nothing wrong with having a pope. A strong leadership is much better than the chaos we Orthodox tend to have at times.

When I stated the 'adulation', I was merely reflecting, through my own previous feelings and the difficulty I had in overcoming them, what most Protestants and Orthodox feel.

Actually what appears like adulation, is really extensive respect....and to that I say BRAVO. We could certainly use that in my own Church.

Zenovia
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