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Cardinal Kurt Koch on the Dialogue Between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches

10 June 2013
http://risu.org.ua/en/index/all_news/confessional/interchurch_relations/52587/

Archbishop Kurt Koch, who since 2010 has headed the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, gave a lecture at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv on June 10 on “Prospects of the Ecumenical Dialogue Between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches" and answered a number of questions.

As stated at the beginning of the lecture by Bishop Borys Gudziak, “unity among the followers of Christ is a priority of different programs that are implemented today by UCU, which also has an Institute of Ecumenical Studies.”

Cardinal Kurt Koch focused on the analysis of the phases and themes of the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, stressed the merits of Pope Benedict XVI in enhancing the work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, which focuses on the discussion of one of the most painful and key issues of Orthodox-Catholic relations – the primacy of the bishop of Rome.

Cardinal Koch explained that "from the Orthodox point of view, the church is present in every local church that celebrates the Eucharist, so each Eucharistic community is a complete church. Instead, from the Catholic point of view, a separate Eucharistic community is not a complete church. Therefore, a basis of the Catholic Church is the unity of separate Eucharistic communities with each other and the bishop of Rome. That is, the Catholic Church lives in the mutual intersection of local churches in one universal church.”

Cardinal Koch also outlined future ecumenical steps, which both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches should take. For example, the Catholic Church should “strengthen the argument for the importance of the life and work of the church of the primacy of the pope," and the Orthodox Church should "boldly examine its main ecclesiological problem, namely, autocephaly of national churches and their inclination toward nationalism."

According to the cardinal, “the most important thing is not to lose sight of the goal of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which, at least from the Catholic point of view, can consist only in the restoration of a visible communion of churches.”

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The cardinal should have stayed home.

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Originally Posted by Tomassus
Cardinal Koch explained that "from the Orthodox point of view, the church is present in every local church that celebrates the Eucharist, so each Eucharistic community is a complete church. Instead, from the Catholic point of view, a separate Eucharistic community is not a complete church. Therefore, a basis of the Catholic Church is the unity of separate Eucharistic communities with each other and the bishop of Rome. That is, the Catholic Church lives in the mutual intersection of local churches in one universal church.”

I think he is referring to the Catechism, sections 832-834. However, it's a BOTH-AND. I think that the words, "a separate Eucharistic community is not a complete Church" is a very sloppy way to say it. We are all parts of one body, and so the fullness (catholicity) of the Church resides both in its parts as well as in their relation to the whole.

Cardinal Koch would have spoken better (IMHO) if he had described that the East and west have complimentary and over-lapping views of Church.

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^ Cardinal Koch is in a curial position where his words need to be carefully chosen. I presume, given his location and audience, that they were indeed chosen so.

Repercussions from this speech are already being felt across the Orthodox AND Eastern Catholic communities. He has probably thrown cold water on any meaningful further dialogue in the near term while making fools out of His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Hilarion for attending Pope Francis elevation. Popes may come and go it seems, but Rome is indeed eternal.

By the way, how can my Eastern Catholic friends continue to reconcile and uphold your belief AND trust in your "sui juris" status when comments by this Cardinal about Eastern Christian ecclesiology, autocephaly and nationalist tendencies (more than a little dig at the UGCC, don't you think?)are so dismissively stated this year and the Prefect of the Eastern Congregation expressed his real feelings about celibacy last year?

It is over a century and nearly a half since the days of Archbishop Ireland and this year is the Seventy Fifth anniversary of Bishop Orestes' consecration. We Orthodox who formerly were Greek Catholics and the modern day Eastern Catholics have come a long way to better understanding, but it seems to me Rome has changed little, if at all.

"Watch your back", it seems would be a good motto. (Please forgive my bitterness and disappointment.)

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^ If I feel this way, can you imagine the response from the ultra traditionalists in the Orthodox camp?

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Dear DMD,

Yes, Koch should have paid heed to the adage that "It is better to keep silent and have everyone think one is a fool than to open one's mouth - and remove all doubt . . ."

The nationalist dig you rightly point out was also meant to include the national Orthodox Churches - something Rome likes to bring up time and again so as to feel itself to be "superior" as an "international" centre.

It's as if Rome hasn't made any real progress toward addressing Orthodox concerns at all. And does Rome think its dialogue has any credibility when it continues to hang onto the Filioque as if it were a matter of little consequence? It was a big matter at Florence and it still is. Does Rome not consult with its great Eastern Christian professors and experts at all?

Recently, a Ukrainian Catholic Priestmonk of the Redemptorist Order, no less, left a written "testament" just before he died. I will have to translate it into English, but will say now that the gist of his remarks, directed to all Ukrainian Catholics, were that "salvation is only by Orthodoxy."

I will post an English translation of it soon.

Alex

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My brother, a member of the Dialogue has said that Pope Benedict once remarked that the Orthodox have moved as close as they can and that the Romans needed to get serious if they wanted the dialogue to move forward.

Perhaps Koch's remarks are the Curia's response to His Holiness? Very, very sad.

I can hear my dido's firm voice in my mind...." Neither to Rome nor to Moscow..Ani do Rim, ani do Moskvi...Ні в Римі, ні в Москву!"

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Well, I'm a Latin Rite Catholic and I have some issue with the way he made his statement. The Catholic Church teaches and believes that each Church is fully Catholic, so to say that a 'Eucharistic community is not a complete Church" can only be seen as true within a pretty narrowly nuanced position.

What the heck is a Eucharistic community, but a Church? Then say, Church, Cardinal; Church.

I don't think there is anyone who thinks that the Cardinal's words did anything positive at all.

Hopefully, Pope Francis will address this problem before it gets any worse.

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Originally Posted by danman916
Originally Posted by Tomassus
Cardinal Koch explained that "from the Orthodox point of view, the church is present in every local church that celebrates the Eucharist, so each Eucharistic community is a complete church. Instead, from the Catholic point of view, a separate Eucharistic community is not a complete church. Therefore, a basis of the Catholic Church is the unity of separate Eucharistic communities with each other and the bishop of Rome. That is, the Catholic Church lives in the mutual intersection of local churches in one universal church.”

I think he is referring to the Catechism, sections 832-834. However, it's a BOTH-AND. I think that the words, "a separate Eucharistic community is not a complete Church" is a very sloppy way to say it. We are all parts of one body, and so the fullness (catholicity) of the Church resides both in its parts as well as in their relation to the whole.

I don't think that the Cardinal's point was to offer a determination on the status of Orthodox Churches but rather to offer some thoughts on a theological difference between the two traditions in locating the catholic Church in relation to the local or particular church.

I agree very strongly that it would have been helpful to present these different views or tendencies as related and potentially complementary. Moreover, it might have been useful to point out that there really isn't an 'official' Catholic view on the matter--the Cardinal's thoughts are just his thoughts.

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Originally Posted by Tomassus
Cardinal Kurt Koch on the Dialogue Between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches



Cardinal Koch also outlined future ecumenical steps, which both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches should take. For example, the Catholic Church should “strengthen the argument for the importance of the life and work of the church of the primacy of the pope," and the Orthodox Church should "boldly examine its main ecclesiological problem, namely, autocephaly of national churches and their inclination toward nationalism."

If this fairly represents Koch's gestures toward the future, then it truly is disappointing. To paraphrase: the Catholic Church's main job, it seems, is to better convince the Orthodox that they are right, while the Orthodox should focus squarely on their main problem.

This is plainly condescending, and it is a very surprising, coming from Rome's chief officer for ecumenism. I think all of us who love and long for unity are justly disappointed.

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Perhaps asking the Papal Nuncio in Ukraine to be a little more careful in his choice of words would also help .

Quote
When it comes to beauty, the little bit of Byzantine Liturgy which I have experienced in English pales in comparison to Old Slavonic or Ukrainian. No doubt there are some beautiful renditions of the Lord Have Mercy or the Holy Holy or the Lamb of God out there, but how can they compare with some of the Kyries, the Sanctus' or the Agnus Deis which we have in our Gregorian chant treasury, if not amongst the wealth of polyphony at our disposal?

Taken from his response dated28 May 2013, to Fr James' blog , Symposion on " The Language of the Liturgy: speaking God's Kingdom.

RISU [risu.org.ua]


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Originally Posted by danman916
Well, I'm a Latin Rite Catholic and I have some issue with the way he made his statement. The Catholic Church teaches and believes that each Church is fully Catholic, so to say that a 'Eucharistic community is not a complete Church" can only be seen as true within a pretty narrowly nuanced position.

What the heck is a Eucharistic community, but a Church? Then say, Church, Cardinal; Church.

I don't think there is anyone who thinks that the Cardinal's words did anything positive at all.

Hopefully, Pope Francis will address this problem before it gets any worse.

Well, believe it or not, I agree with you. However, I also feel that for a canonically Roman Rite Catholic taking on the Byzantine spirituality, such as myself, it just seems like for me, Church Slavonic and the Eastern Tradition just seems easier to catch on to than the Latin language, and most of the Western traditions. Perhaps that's the good thing about Eastern Catholicism, is that anyone that is Latin who feels stronger with Our Divine Lord through a different tradition, and feels they need that change of scenery and spirituality on Sundays and Feast Days, then by all means, just as long as Pope Francis supports it, go for it. I have no regrets joining up with the ByzCath tradition, just as long as becoming more canonically Ruthenian Byzantine won't be too much difficulty... Seems like it's worth the effort.

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Originally Posted by Our Lady's slave
Perhaps asking the Papal Nuncio in Ukraine to be a little more careful in his choice of words would also help .

Quote
When it comes to beauty, the little bit of Byzantine Liturgy which I have experienced in English pales in comparison to Old Slavonic or Ukrainian. No doubt there are some beautiful renditions of the Lord Have Mercy or the Holy Holy or the Lamb of God out there, but how can they compare with some of the Kyries, the Sanctus' or the Agnus Deis which we have in our Gregorian chant treasury, if not amongst the wealth of polyphony at our disposal?

Taken from his response dated28 May 2013, to Fr James' blog , Symposion on " The Language of the Liturgy: speaking God's Kingdom.

RISU [risu.org.ua]

Sort of makes you wonder how one gets to be a Papal Nuncio.

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1. Open mouth.

2. Insert foot.

3. Smile.

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Originally Posted by DMD
^ If I feel this way, can you imagine the response from the ultra traditionalists in the Orthodox camp?
you rang?

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