Dear brother StuartK,
Thanks for your suggestions. There are some in your list I have thought about, and some I never thought of. Of those I have pondered, there are some I am not certain counts as "papal interference." Permit me to comment on your list:
1. Right to appoint bishops throughout the world without interference from Rome.
Disagree, for several reasons.
(1) In the early Church, when a group of Christians of a particular Tradition moved to another jurisdiction, they simply adopted the customs of the local Church. When the group grew large enough, the local bishop or head bishop would provide for the liturgical needs of that group from the other Tradition, but there was no question that such a group was under the jurisdiction of the local bishop or head bishop, not the bishop of the original Church from which the group came. The fact that we even have jurisdictions in the Traditional Latin territories is due to a great act of oikonomia by the bishop of Rome. No head bishop of a particular Church in the first millenium had a right to appoint bishops in another head bishop's territory. The proper issue is not that your head bishops don't have the right to freely appoint bishops anywhere in the world; rather, it is that the Pope of Rome has the right to freely appoint bishops for Latin Christians in the Traditional non-Latin patriarchal territories. The remedy for an Eastern (Byzantine) Catholic is not for your head bishops to insist on a right to freely appoint bishops throughout the world, but for your head bishops to also have a say in the appointment of Latin-Rite bishops in their own jurisdictional territories (the matter, I believe, is different for Oriental Catholics).
(2) The idea of personal jurisdictions within territorial jurisdictions is unknown in the EOC, so I am not certain how you, as a Byzantine Christian, can easily justify this position. On the other hand, that reality has existed in the OOC for many centuries already (granted it is a development), and I admit I would be more willing to hear the argument from an Oriental Catholic rather than an Eastern Catholic. Please forgive me for the bias.
(3) I don't really grasp how Rome is "interfering" with the selection of our bishops. Papal involvement comes in two forms - "appointment" and the papal assent. Regarding appointment: Rome does not really "appoint," for that term signifies a unilateral action; Rome does not select our bishops unilaterally (if he did, then
I would call that interference). Our Churches select the candidates, and the bishop of Rome selects one of those. Further, if the Pope of Rome selects a person not on the original list of candidates, the Synod has a right to challenge, and the process can start anew. Also, this "appointment" does not occur in the Traditional Patriarchal and Major archepiscopal territories. Furthermore, For the papal assent: It is basically a rubber stamp for new bishops as far as the non-Latin Churches are concerned. Its main (but not sole) purpose is to protect the Church against the enchroachments of the secular power, so it's never been an issue AFAIK among the sui juris Churches since it is not an interference in the rights of a local Church, but rather strengthens those rights. The papal assent has been in the spotlight recently in the Chinese Church, where the government seeks to control the local Church.
2. Right to ordain married men to the presbyterate throughout the world, according to the Tradition, without interference from Rome.
Agree, with caveat. I don't believe this is a matter of interference from Rome. Cum data fuerit
has never been renewed after it expired in 1949. That there is a severe restriction on the ordination of married men rests with the collegial authority in the territory at issue - it's just that such territories where the issue is prominent just happens to have mostly Latin bishops. I believe the notion that Cum data fuerit
is still in force is just propaganda by some Latins (certainly, not all) who want to make it seem like there is direct papal approval for the restriction of married non-Latin clergy. We should not give in to that propaganda. The solution to this is not to complain about the papacy, but to increase the education and exposure of the local Latin Churches to married clergy.
There was an occasion when a Cardinal (the Prefect, IIRC) of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches tried to restrict Eastern married clergy in Poland, but the attempt came to naught since it was insisted by other Latin Cardinals that the Eastern Tradition had historical presence in Poland. (Though in that instance, the Congregation worked correctly, I believe it would have been better if the Congregation was not involved in the matter in the first place - i.e., the Congregation should not have such legislative/executive authority).
3. Restoration of the authentic theology and discipline of marriage, even to the point of allowing remarriage by non-sacramental rite after divorce, and a limitation on three marriages per lifetime.
Somewhat agree. Fr. Schmemman (IIRC) points out that divorce and remarriage was not practiced in the Church until the 10th century - is "restoration" really the proper term? There needs to be a better application of oikonomia
in the Latin Church in this matter. At the same time, I believe the standards for permitting remarriage after divorce by certain EOC's is too lax. As far as the theology, I don't see what is wrong with the Latin theology on marriage, just as there is obviously nothing wrong with the non-Latin theology.
4. Commemoration of the Pope only in Patriarchal liturgies, and commemoration of other Eastern Catholic Patriarchs at same.
Disagree. I believe the commemoration of a local bishop indicates that the local parish is in communion with all other parishes in the eparchy/diocese. Commemoration of the Patriarch indicates that the local parish and diocese is in communion with all other eparchies dioceses in the Patriarchate. Commemoration of the Pope of Rome indicates that the local parish, diocese, and patriarchate is in communion with all other patriarchates in the universal Church. I am also not aware of any restriction for a particular Church to commemorate all other Patriarchs in a patriarchal liturgy. That's really up to the local Patriarch.
5. Right to erect eparchies, archeparchies, metropolia and even patriarchates, without prior permission from Rome.
In Traditional Latin jurisdictions, disagree. However, I agree that our Churches should have a right to establish exarchies anywhere in the world, after consultation with the patriarchal authority in the territory where the exarchate is to be established. In the Traditional Eastern and Oriental jurisdictions, I am not aware that Rome's permission is required. Rome is only informed and/or consulted, AFAIK.
As far as patriarchates in particular, I agree, only as long as it is recognized that such new patriarchates do not have the same standing as the original Pentarchy established by the Ecumenical Councils.
6. Right to elect metropolitans and patriarchs without prior approval from Rome (i.e., without the need for selecting from a list of "suitable" candidates).
Disagree, for two reasons (first, a clarification - our Churches do not select from a list of suitable candidates; rather, our Churches are the ones that select the list of candidates and the Pope chooses one of them).
(1) Patriarchs are elected without papal approval. What happens for a Patriarch is that after election, he must request explicit communion from the Pope of Rome. A Patriarchs is, upon enthronement, the legitimate Patriarch of his Church, and that status has nothing to do with any papal approval. Prior to the receipt of the explicit acknowledgement of communion from the bishop of Rome, he can do all things that belongs to a head bishop (perform DL anywhere in his Patriarchal jurisdiction, hear confession anywhere in his Patriarchal jurisdiction, bless holy myron, convoke tribunals for hearing and judging appeals, etc. etc,) except two things - convoke a synod, and ordain other bishops.
(2) Every Metropolitan must be situated within the jurisdiction of a Patriarch, and their election requires the approval of their patriarchal head bishop. Metropolitans of sui juris Churches have the bishop of Rome as their patriarchal head bishop, and thus their election requires his approval. Likewise, Metropolitans within Patriarchal Churches have the Patriarch as their head bishop, and thus their election requires patriarchal approval (not
the bishop of Rome's approval).
7. Right to vote in Papal elections without belonging to the College of Cardinals.
8. Establishment of a standing Synod of Patriarchs, consisting of all the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs and the Partriarch of the West.
Agree. Currently, such a structure exists since V2, but only at the beck and call of the bishop of Rome. Such a Synod should be permanent on a defined, periodic basis (maybe, once a year, or once every two years, etc.), and the Patrarich of the Latins would be as much obligated to attend as all the other Patriarchs. If this is established, the ad limina visit would actually be merely redundant and can disappear.
9. Abolition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, AKA the Colonial Office, AKA the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
Mostly agree. I strongly believe that the Congregation is the most expedient way for the Pope to provide for the financial needs of other Churches on an as-need basis. This is a very Traditional role of the bishop of Rome. The Congregation should be merely consultative on all other matters, and should not have any executive, legislative, or judicial powers with respect to the Eastern and Oriental Churches.
10. End of mandatory ad limina visits to Rome for Eastern Catholic bishops.
Disagree, with caveat. The ad limina visit is analogous to the requirement of bishops in metropolitan provinces to meet with their head bishop at certain fixed periods for the sake of the well-being of the entire province, as well as to address local issues with the head bishop. Though the bishop of Rome is head bishop (i.e., Patriarch) of the Latins most of the time, he is also the head bishop of the Church universal. I fully recognize that the ad limina visit is a development, but I don't find anything particularly wrong with it - for the specific purpose of the universal Church's head bishop to ascertain the well-being of each local Church (as noted earlier, a permanent, periodic Synod of Patriarchs would render the ad limina visit suprefluous). However, there is one aspect of it to which I do object - the idea that it is for the purpose of honoring the papacy as the head bishopric of the Church universal. I strongly believe such a purpose is wholly superfluous and even somewhat condescending, given that the Pope is already and constantly commemorated in the Liturgy as such. Further, as long as the Congregation for the Oriental Churches exists in the same capacity as it does today, even the correct purpose for the ad limina visit becomes utterly unnecessary. The correct purpose for the ad limina visit should be acceptable, but only on the condition that the said Congregation ceases to function in the way it does today.
So I believe the ad limina visit is acceptable for its proper purpose OR it can be replaced by a permanent, periodic Synod of heads of sui juris Churches.