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Neither God nor anyone else has appointed me to arbitrate the Great Schism! And any answer I might give on the spur of the moment would inevitably be much too superficial.

What everyone needs to do is to speak the truth, with honesty and genuine love. It is not at all difficult to think of examples of ecclesiastical-bureaucratic violations of that fundamental principle.

As a general principle, in an exercise which involves mutual criticism, it is often more effective if one criticizes one's own "side", rather then attempting to tell other people what's wrong with them. "Cast first the beam . . ." There is a constant temptation to compare the strength of my own position with the weakness of someone else's, which is amusing but is also counter-productive.

But speaking of sides, we must not lose sight of the complexity of the matter - there are not just "two sides" to the problem. Here the Greek-Catholics can simultaneously be a help and a nuisance (or to put it less pleasantly, we are able to respond in a situation where we can easily find people who try to tell us that we constitute "an illegal organization" - and that has been said to many of us - whilst simultaneously complaining that our existence is unfair because we know too much about the two Big Players).

That doesn't really answer the question put to me, but I hope it at least indicates which directions my thoughts go in.

Fr. Serge

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Dear Joe,

I think the first step (before getting into a shopping list of who gives up/accepts what) is to recognise - and thank God for - the fact that despite a thousand years of estrangement, Orthodox and Catholics have retained an immense amount in common - and that isn't just my take; see Bishop Kallistos Ware's book "the Orthodox Church".

Once that huge amount of common ground is taken into account, so many of the factors tending to divide us fall into perspective - generally, the politico-historical situation at any given time in the history of East and West, rather than fundamentals of faith.

This is not to make light of the matters where we are, sadly, divided - the role of the Pope is a major stumbling block, but at least the Catholic church has shown a willingness to look critically at the way in which the papal ministry can and should work in the context of possible models of reunion, and if that openess continues and is reciprocated, then anything is possible.

Is mise le meas.

Craig

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Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
The Zogbhy idea was a good one but the problem is that it implies rejection of papal supremacy (universal jurisdiction and infallibility). This is unacceptable to Rome. It is one reason why I, a former Melkite, became Orthodox.

My friends, I am all for praying for unity. I am all for respecting one another and helping one another as best we can. But again I say that when it comes to the role of the papacy, our two Churches are bumping heads and it is very unlikely (personally, I think practically impossible) that this will be resolved. As my priest said to me one day, "we have grown too far apart and we are just too different. It is not God's will for us to be one."
It was an excellent idea because it achieves unity while giving everyone what they want. Rome gets its supremacy because the Melkites or whatever Orthodox group adhere to the Catholic Catechism. The Orthodox group gets its particular Eastern traditions and theological perspectives, distinct from those of the West. And there ain't nobody on the planet who can argue against the first 1000 years of unity, so by spinning the "primacy" issue that way Rome is prevented from asserting a monarchy -- which is what the East fears. Instead, Rome is forced into a pastoral role, which nobody on earth can say is a bad thing, and which even the Pontiff has to agree is what Jesus wanted for Peter. Jesus wanted Peter to be a pastor, not a king. So there it is. The Pope gets his "supremacy" in the form of of pastoral primacy, not monarchy. EVERYBODY WINS!!!

This Melkite proposal is a genius idea. And it's exactly because these two statements are published as the official statement of faith that I choose Melkite membership over Roman or Eastern Orthodox!

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Originally Posted by aikiMac
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
The Zogbhy idea was a good one but the problem is that it implies rejection of papal supremacy (universal jurisdiction and infallibility). This is unacceptable to Rome. It is one reason why I, a former Melkite, became Orthodox.

My friends, I am all for praying for unity. I am all for respecting one another and helping one another as best we can. But again I say that when it comes to the role of the papacy, our two Churches are bumping heads and it is very unlikely (personally, I think practically impossible) that this will be resolved. As my priest said to me one day, "we have grown too far apart and we are just too different. It is not God's will for us to be one."
It was an excellent idea because it achieves unity while giving everyone what they want. Rome gets its supremacy because the Melkites or whatever Orthodox group adhere to the Catholic Catechism. The Orthodox group gets its particular Eastern traditions and theological perspectives, distinct from those of the West. And there ain't nobody on the planet who can argue against the first 1000 years of unity, so by spinning the "primacy" issue that way Rome is prevented from asserting a monarchy -- which is what the East fears. Instead, Rome is forced into a pastoral role, which nobody on earth can say is a bad thing, and which even the Pontiff has to agree is what Jesus wanted for Peter. Jesus wanted Peter to be a pastor, not a king. So there it is. The Pope gets his "supremacy" in the form of of pastoral primacy, not monarchy. EVERYBODY WINS!!!

This Melkite proposal is a genius idea. And it's exactly because these two statements are published as the official statement of faith that I choose Melkite membership over Roman or Eastern Orthodox!

This sentence, "Rome gets its supremacy because the Melkites or whatever Orthodox group adhere to the Catholic Catechism." is precisely what we (Orthodox) could not agree to. Do you believe that the Melkites are bound to all of the teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church?

Joe

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No. The Catechism is a good place to start when investigating some doctrine, but it is not the place to finish such an investigation.

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[quote=JSMelkiteOrthodoxy]This sentence, "Rome gets its supremacy because the Melkites or whatever Orthodox group adhere to the Catholic Catechism." is precisely what we (Orthodox) could not agree to. Do you believe that the Melkites are bound to all of the teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church?
[/quote]
"Bound" implies something imposed from above. I don't think that's the right idea. The Catechism is a statement of what the two-dozen separate parts of the worldwide Catholic Church already believe. If, therefore, you're one of those parts, and the Melkite Church is one of those parts, then by definition the Catechism expresses what you already believe.

Do you have in mind a specific paragraph in the Catechism that you think is contrary to what the Melkite Catholic Church believes?

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Originally Posted by aikiMac
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
This sentence, "Rome gets its supremacy because the Melkites or whatever Orthodox group adhere to the Catholic Catechism." is precisely what we (Orthodox) could not agree to. Do you believe that the Melkites are bound to all of the teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church?
"Bound" implies something imposed from above. I don't think that's the right idea. The Catechism is a statement of what the two-dozen separate parts of the worldwide Catholic Church already believe. If, therefore, you're one of those parts, and the Melkite Church is one of those parts, then by definition the Catechism expresses what you already believe.

Do you have in mind a specific paragraph in the Catechism that you think is contrary to what the Melkite Catholic Church believes?

My friend, I am no longer a Melkite so I no longer have a dog in this fight. I'm sure though that some of our Eastern Catholic brethren here will point out points of disagreement (if they have any points of disagreement). I can say an as Orthodox that there are numerous items in the CCC that we regard as heterodox, or heretical, or whatever term you want to use.

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Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
My friend, I am no longer a Melkite so I no longer have a dog in this fight. I'm sure though that some of our Eastern Catholic brethren here will point out points of disagreement (if they have any points of disagreement). I can say an as Orthodox that there are numerous items in the CCC that we regard as heterodox, or heretical, or whatever term you want to use.
Tell me three of them.

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Originally Posted by aikiMac
Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
My friend, I am no longer a Melkite so I no longer have a dog in this fight. I'm sure though that some of our Eastern Catholic brethren here will point out points of disagreement (if they have any points of disagreement). I can say an as Orthodox that there are numerous items in the CCC that we regard as heterodox, or heretical, or whatever term you want to use.
Tell me three of them.

Honestly, I really don't want to go down this road because people will just get upset and no good will come from it.

Joe

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"It is not God's will that we be one"
I think God would take issue the last time I read His Word at least. Unless revisionist have changed that too!
Stephanos I

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As I believe Christopher Derrick put it, God gave us the Church to be our Mother, not to be a gaggle of squabbling maiden aunts! My apologies to any maiden aunts whom may read this, but the image is certainly effective.

Fr. Serge

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Originally Posted by Job
That about sums it up...the Orthodox will not accept infallibility since there is NO history of the Pope asserting it and the ENTIRE CHURCH accepting it...so those who think unity is inevitable are sorely mistaken...that's the sticking point neither side will move on...The Orthodox simply will not accept it and if the catholic church (read Roman Catholic Church) gave in on that it could potentially bring down other teachings as well...
Job,

These and other issues will have to be studied in depth and suggestions put forth as to how the different positions can be reconciled. If this is done prayerfully, seeking only to find the truth, marvelous things can be achieved--divine assistance will be available if it is sought.

Let us never forget that what we know and understand is less than 1/1,000,000,000,000 of what God knows and understands. Whenever man attempts to speak of God, he is always somewhat like the four blind men that attempted to describe an elephant, each one touching a different part and coming away with a different concept. This is why it was possible for even the Holy Fathers to voice some opinions that would later be determined by consensus of the Church to be erroneous.

Our faith is primarily a matter of the heart, with reason and intellect striving to express what the heart alone can see (which is where we get expressions like "bright darkness"). These principles apply not only to the believer's personal encounter with God, but that of the Church as a whole--not forgetting that we encounter Christ in the person of our neighbor (which in this case is the "other churches").

From this perspective, I believe a solution can be found.


Peace,
Deacon Richard

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As Father Georges Florovsky correctly observed, ecumenists need patience! Patience, humility, love, and persistent prayer can win miracles from God. Throwing up our hands in the air and saying that "it can't be done" is, at a not very good best, nothing but a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Tooting my own horn (who? me?) may I recommend a paper I gave in Sydney seven or eight years ago for the tenth anniversary of the Balamand statement? I flatter myself that it's worth reading and will respond to some of the points on this thread and elsewhere on the forum.

Fr. Serge

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Tooting my own horn (who? me?) may I recommend a paper I gave in Sydney seven or eight years ago for the tenth anniversary of the Balamand statement? I flatter myself that it's worth reading


I know I would be interested in reading it...is it online???

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Don't know that it's on line, but check Eastern Christian Publications for the proceedings of the 2003 Orientale Lumen Conference in Australia. It appears therein. Happy reading!

Fr. Serge

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