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#247533 08/02/07 10:16 PM
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Hi there ... I'm an Orthodox Christian who has found himself in a Byzantine-rite Catholic parish. I was wondering if someone can clarify for me the kind of relationship that the Pope is to have with the Eastern Churches in the Catholic Church? On one Melkite webpage it called the Pope "First among equals". Is this the approach? By the way, I would like only Eastern Catholics or Roman CAtholics to answer this. Sorry to those who are Eastern Orthodox - but you'll have to sit this one out.

Last edited by Facing East - From the West; 08/02/07 10:18 PM.
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gee, that's a switch!
if I want to do the Eastern Liturgy, this EC has to go to an Orthodox parish.
Much Love,
Jonn

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John, I don't want to derail the topic, but has anyone done any newspaper ads or publicity of any kind to find the number of Eastern Catholics in Chattanooga? That's a good-sized city and there have to be some Byzantines there. If you can find the folks and get them together you might have the beginnings of a mission. As for the Pope, I think the Byzantine Catholic Church accepts the claims he makes for himself and his office.

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I moved to a city that does not have an Orthodox Church. I spent a year there. had a child, and we realized that we needed a parish community. The Byzantine Catholic Church in my City seemed Orthodox in every respect - and after spending a year in it, I believe it is Orthodox in every way. It seemed like a seamless transition.

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Originally Posted by Facing East - From the West
I moved to a city that does not have an Orthodox Church. I spent a year there. had a child, and we realized that we needed a parish community. The Byzantine Catholic Church in my City seemed Orthodox in every respect - and after spending a year in it, I believe it is Orthodox in every way. It seemed like a seamless transition.

Your observation seems to confirm the appellation adopted by some Eastern Catholics that they are "Orthodox in communion with Rome!"

To certain Orthodox, however, this statement is an "oxymoron!"

From the perspective of a Latin (Roman) Catholic like me, it is a fact. Except for the Maronite and the Italo-Albanian Catholics, each of the Eastern Catholic Churches ("Orthodox in communion") has a counterpart in Orthodoxy ("not in communion").

The Catholic Church, as a communion of the Latin (Roman) Church and 22 Eastern Catholic Churches (with Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian counterparts and the Maronites and Italo-Albanians) has the Pope as her Supreme Pontiff.

For an Orthodox it is, indeed, a "seamless transition" for one can canonically "transfer" to a Byzantine Catholic Church by a mere profession of faith: no re-baptism, no re-chrismation, and no rigmarole! And if you decide to return to your originating Orthodox Church, no one will prevent you from doing so! (I hope! :D)

Welcome to the Catholic Church!

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I am very faithful to the papacy. I am EC and am happy that the change has arrived in my lifetime to see the WC release the EC to be so independent in its traditions and liturgy. It seems to me, looking from the outside in, that we are run 85% by Archbishop Basil and the other 15% by the laws of Rome. Much of what occurs today in the EC, occurs from decisions made by Archbishop Basil and not Rome.

So that is my perspective. I think you will see many replies here and they will mainly be reactionary to their personal feelings towards te Pope. I hope to see some supported facts though.

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Rome still appoints all of our bishops, and is responsible for establishing our canon law. In that respect, we have far less autonomy than our Orthodox brethren.

We are also obligated to accept papal infallibility, Roman supremacy, the Immaculate Conception and all other Roman Catholic dogmas. However, we are permitted to give them an Eastern spin.

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One distinction as I understand it in all of this is the canonical difference among patriarchal, major archbipshop, and metropolitan churches among the Eastern Catholic churches with some varying degrees of automony assigned to each of them. But all Eastern Catholics in all of them are bound to hold all that the Catholic Church has infallibly upheld in the Deposit of Faith.

And if I every get a chance to market my own line of bumper stickers, one of them is going to be 'No, I'm not Orthodox in communion with Rome. I'm Catholic not in communion with Constantinople."

Best,
Robster

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His Beatitude Gregory III Patriarch of Antioch has been very outspoken about this particualr subject. It is still very controversial topic because most Eastern Catholics still accept many Theoloical latinizations. Ironically, these latinizations are the very ones Pope John Paul II+, Memory Eternal, asked Eastern Catholics to rid themselves of. Patriarch Greogry has stated that the Patriarchal ministry is equal to the Peterine Ministry.

In regards to accepting Roman Theology, the Melkites, at least, take the position that we have our own Head, our own Theology and our own Spirituality.

In short, to answer your question, we are Orthodox in Communion with Rome. Our Theology, Spirituality, and Faith are Orthodox, not Roman. We recognize that for the Roman Church, Roman Theology is proper. For us, it is not. Where we practice otherwise, we are in error and it needs to be corrected immediately. No excuses.

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I tend to agree with the position taken by the Melkite Holy Synod back in the 1990s:

Quote
1. I believe everything which Eastern Orthodoxy teaches.

2. I am in communion with the Bishop of Rome as the first among the bishops, according to the limits recognized by the Holy Fathers of the East during the first millennium, before the separation.

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Laka Ya Rabb, I don't believe there is anything in normative, authoritative Catholic dogmatic thought that says a patriarchal ministry is equal to the Petrine Ministry in scope and nature of authority. I don't believe there's any reading of the ecumenical councils of the past 1,000 years, Eastern Catholic canon law, or Ad Tuendam Fidem in 1998 that can support such a conclusion.

Best to all,
Robster

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Robster,

The Melkite Patriarch disagrees with you, because as he said in a speech delivered before the Synod of Bishops in Rome:

"With all respect due to the Petrine ministry, the Patriarchal ministry is equal to it, 'servatis servandis,' in Eastern ecclesiology. [And] until this is taken into consideration by the Roman ecclesiology, no progress will be made in ecumenical dialogue."

God bless,
Todd

The quotation is taken from: Synodus Episcoporum Bulletin [vatican.va]

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With all due respect to His Beatitude, Robster is correct as far as Rome is concerned. We have to be realistic with how Rome sees things, and not how things ought to be.

We can't live in a fictional world unless we can get Rome to cry uncle. I'd love to be able to say ra ra to the patriarch, but as long as the Oriental Congregation Rome continues to operate the way it does and until the pope formally recognizes what Gregory III has proposed, we're stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Vatican II said in Lumen Gentium:
"Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held.(40*) This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith.(41*)"

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The fact is, Rome believes there have been 21 ecumenical councils, and unless we decide to become Orthodox, we can't say, as Abp. Zoghby did, that there were only 7.

We can speak theoretically about things, but chances are next to zilch that Rome will downgrade Lateran I through Vatican II to the level of General Councils affecting the Latin Church alone.

The recent CDF document on the nature of the Church stands as case in point.

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I'm not going to be re-latinized because it's convenient. I will remain Orthodox in Communion with Rome until 1) I die or 2) I am forced out of the Melkite Church in another Orthodox Church not in Communion with Rome.

We cannot go on living a lie. We are not Roman Catholics and we have the obligation to stop acting like we are.

As for the 21 ecumenical Councils, our Catechism explicitly states that we acknowlegde 7 councils while the Roman Church acknowledges 21. This is our Catechism and was complied with the approval of our hierarchs.

We don't have to decide to be Orthodox because we already are! We are not Roman Catholics and we must stop relying on Rome to approve of us.

Finally, lets all stop quoting Vatican I and Vatican II, plus a host of other documents that have little to do with our Churches, our Faith and our Spirituality. If any one wants to understand the Eastern Churches part in Vatican I and Vatican II, do the research! We fought to be Orthodox. Our Fathers defended our faith. Sadly, we haven't awaken from our Latinized slumber.

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