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Originally Posted by mardukm
Originally Posted by J Michael
Yes, thank you for that. Something for me to chew on a bit. smile
Yes, brother. Though the EP position is very close to the CC position (and can serve as a very plausible basis for reunion), there is a lot to chew on.

I disagree. The Latin understanding of local synodality is closer in fact to the Russian understanding, which is to say that that Latins traditionally understood regional primates as having a form of ordinary jurisdiction within their local synod, but one which differed from the ordinary jurisdiction of a bishop over his diocese. The ordinary jurisdiction of a bishop over his diocese is said to be immediate, because it comes directly from God, whereas the jurisdiction of a primate over his synod in the Latin understanding is said to be mediate, because it is a primacy established by church law, a position which you will find bears great similarity to the Russian understanding of primacy.

Also, I think it is worth noting that the understanding of the EP and the Russians is not entirely mutually exclusive. Metropolitan Elpidophoros' article on primacy—despite some of its disagreeable points (the idea that the primate is the source of his own primacy rather than the recipient of it is downright laughable)—makes a good point insofar as he seems to recognize that the power of primacy is inherently one, and that the same power is exercised at all levels of the Church (that is why all who exercise primacy have Peter as their type). Where he runs into trouble is failing to note that the same power of primacy is manifested differently at different levels of the church, something which plainly can be seen from the Latin division of ordinary jurisdiction into the categories of mediate and immediate or from the Russian understanding that the prerogatives of primacy are intimately connected to the canons.

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Originally Posted by mardukm
Further, what distinguishes us from the Orthodox at present is that we DO believe the papacy of Rome does represent the o/Orthodox Faith.
I'm going to chime in in order to take issue with one little thing: by saying "we" it makes it sound like you're speaking for all ECs, or at least all EC posters on The Byzantine Forum. I for one believe that the Orthodox have the right to represent themselves.

Chiming over. cool

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Originally Posted by mardukm
Dear brother J Michael,

I will formulate a more detailed response later in the week. For now, here's a quickie.

I do not believe that Eastern and Oriental Catholics who are in the Catholic Church pay lip-service to the dogmas of supremacy and infallibility. There are so many nuances to that statement that I don't have time to get into right now (but I will later in the week). Every Catholic believes in the necessity of a primus on the universal level of the Church. Most EO believe the same, despite differences in understanding/belief about the role of that primus (except the EO Low Petrine advocates who don't believe there is even such a thing as a head bishop on the universal level). These differences in understanding within EO'xy are most likely also present within Eastern and Oriental Catholicism. Nevertheless, there is the common belief among Catholics of the necessity of the primus on the universal level.

Further, what distinguishes us from the Orthodox at present is that we DO believe the papacy of Rome does represent the o/Orthodox Faith. The theological dialogue will iron this out eventually. When it has been determined by the Orthodox through the theological dialogues that the Roman papacy does indeed represent the o/Orthodox Faith, then the bishop of Rome will naturally reacquire his primacy among them (something Eastern and Oriental Catholics already affirm) - caveat, such a hope is more likely to bear fruit with the EO Churches within the EP's sphere of influence rather than the MP's.

Just a preview of my future post on the details of the nuances to which I earlier referred:
I'm not sure if you have ever read my presentations on what I have termed the Absolutist Petrine and High Petrine views on the papacy within the Catholic Church. It is the High Petrine view that is practically identical to the EP's position which I noted earlier. The High Petrine view was the official position of the Commission De Fide that was responsible for formulating the Decrees on the papacy at Vatican 1. This official position was expressed in the Relatio of Bishop Gasser of Brixen regarding the infallibility, and another Relatio by a bishop whose-name-I currently-forget regarding the primacy. These were the official spokesmen for the Commission De Fide at Vatican 1. The Relatio of Bishop Gasser first came to light only in the 1930's, and it has not, until very recently, gotten much public attention among Catholics (through a recent publication by Ignatius Press - I forget the name at the moment). The other Relatio is even more obscure, I'm afraid.

The Relatios offered a very different understanding of the papal prerogatives than what you hear from both Absolutist Petrine advocates and detractors of the papacy. Bishop Gasser's Relatio was in fact used as a reference for the V2 Divine Constitution on the Church, which affirmed the Church's official teaching on collegiality. The difference was stark enough to cause the SSPX to split from the Catholic Church over the matter (well, at least that was one of the reasons for their rebellion against V2).

Granted, there are Eastern Catholics who believe the dogmas of V1 should be put in the dustbin for reunion to occur. I suspect that such Catholics think that the papacy is something akin to what the SSPX wish it to be. And I can't really blame such Eastern Catholics, for there are a LOT of Catholics, especially Latin Catholics, who have the same misunderstanding of the papacy as the SSPX, and advertise their misunderstanding as the actual teaching of the Catholic Church on the matter. I, for one, do not believe it is necessary, nor appropriate, to get rid of the V1 dogmas for reunion to occur. The V1 dogmas are true. What is necessary is not a repudiation of the V1 dogmas, but a proper understanding of them, according to the original intentions of the Fathers who formulated the Decrees in the Commission De Fide of V1, NOT according to the Absolutist Petrine exaggerators and distorters, both within the Catholic Church and in the SSPX.

Well, that's it, for now. I'll post more on this some time this weekend.

Blessings,
Marduk

Thanks, yet again, Marduk! I look forward to your next post about this!

In Christ,
JM

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Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by mardukm
Further, what distinguishes us from the Orthodox at present is that we DO believe the papacy of Rome does represent the o/Orthodox Faith.
I'm going to chime in in order to take issue with one little thing: by saying "we" it makes it sound like you're speaking for all ECs, or at least all EC posters on The Byzantine Forum. I for one believe that the Orthodox have the right to represent themselves.

Chiming over. cool


As far as I'm concerned, any Orthodox Christian who has something to say in this matter is certainly *more* than welcome to do so and I'm pretty sure Marduk would agree. The more the merrier! smile

(Hasn't Cavaradossi, an Orthodox Christian, already chimed in somewhat??)

Last edited by J Michael; 08/27/14 11:25 AM.
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I'm a Catholic. In any case, I didn't want to get into another fruitless exchange with mardukm, which is why I chose to only "chime in". blush

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Originally Posted by Cavaradossi
Originally Posted by mardukm
Originally Posted by J Michael
Yes, thank you for that. Something for me to chew on a bit. smile
Yes, brother. Though the EP position is very close to the CC position (and can serve as a very plausible basis for reunion), there is a lot to chew on.

I disagree. The Latin understanding of local synodality is closer in fact to the Russian understanding, which is to say that that Latins traditionally understood regional primates as having a form of ordinary jurisdiction within their local synod, but one which differed from the ordinary jurisdiction of a bishop over his diocese. The ordinary jurisdiction of a bishop over his diocese is said to be immediate, because it comes directly from God, whereas the jurisdiction of a primate over his synod in the Latin understanding is said to be mediate, because it is a primacy established by church law, a position which you will find bears great similarity to the Russian understanding of primacy.

Also, I think it is worth noting that the understanding of the EP and the Russians is not entirely mutually exclusive. Metropolitan Elpidophoros' article on primacy—despite some of its disagreeable points (the idea that the primate is the source of his own primacy rather than the recipient of it is downright laughable)—makes a good point insofar as he seems to recognize that the power of primacy is inherently one, and that the same power is exercised at all levels of the Church (that is why all who exercise primacy have Peter as their type). Where he runs into trouble is failing to note that the same power of primacy is manifested differently at different levels of the church, something which plainly can be seen from the Latin division of ordinary jurisdiction into the categories of mediate and immediate or from the Russian understanding that the prerogatives of primacy are intimately connected to the canons.

I rarely see your point expressed so well as I have tried to.make the same connection between the Latin and Russian understandings. It can be argued (at least as I see it) that in the structure of the modern Russian church, the Patriarch of Moscow is to the church of Russia as the Pope of Rome is to the Catholic church - minus infallibility and the prerogative to make proclamations of doctrine.

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Dear brother Peter,

Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by mardukm
Further, what distinguishes us from the Orthodox at present is that we DO believe the papacy of Rome does represent the o/Orthodox Faith.
I'm going to chime in in order to take issue with one little thing: by saying "we" it makes it sound like you're speaking for all ECs
Yes, I do believe this is a true statement for all non-Latin Catholics. I have met a few EC's who do not agree with some of the dogmas of the Catholic Church, but they, in good conscience (which is between them and God), sincerely believe that these dogmas are not dogmas as such. For example, I met one EC who believes the issues regarding the papacy are canonical matters, not dogmatic. So he felt in good conscience that he can disagree with them while remaining in the Catholic Church.

I cannot conceive that an EC or OC would be in the Catholic Church otherwise than that he or she truly believes that the Pope does represent the o/Orthodox Faith. I cannot imagine any EC or OC believe that the Catholic Faith is heterodox or heretical yet simultaneously remain within its fold. But Maybe some can... In any case, I stand by my statement.

Quote
I'm a Catholic. In any case, I didn't want to get into another fruitless exchange with mardukm, which is why I chose to only "chime in". blush
smile I'm not aware that we have ever debated each other on this matter. I know you've expressed a dislike of the terminologies I use (Absolutist/High/Low Petrine), but I'm not aware you've ever denied that the distinctions those terms represent do in fact exist.

Blessings

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Here is a concise summary of the 6 ecclesiological positions that have been mentioned. I have used the canonical language of the CC to describe the matter, so any of my Orthodox brethren who might not understand it, please feel free to inquire:

Absolutist Petrine ("AP"; official position of SSPX and believed by many Catholics)
Basis for primacy on universal level: theological
Jurisdiction of primate on universal level: ordinary, immediate, proper in what pertains to the Church as a whole, proper in every diocese.
Basis for primacy on local levels: canonical
Jurisdiction of primate on local level: delegated in what pertains to his Church as a whole; proper in his own diocese.
Basis for primacy of bishop: theological.
Jurisdiction of bishop in his diocese: delegated (by the Pope).
NOTE: Unlike the SSPX, Catholic AP advocates adhere (or claim to adhere) to the CC's teaching on the office of bishop (see below), but they consider the episcopal office to be so dependent on the Pope that it is practically the same belief as the SSPX, but only with the window dressing of Catholic canonical language. Earlier it was asked if non-Latin Catholics pay lip service to the papal dogmas. I responded in the negative. Rather, it is Catholic AP advocates who only pay lip service to the CC's teaching on collegiality and the office of bishop.

Catholic (Latin)
Basis for primacy on universal level: theological
Jurisdiction of primate on universal level: ordinary, immediate, proper in what pertains to the Church as a whole, proper in his own diocese.
Basis for primacy on local levels: canonical
Jurisdiction of primate on local level: delegated in what pertains to his Church as a whole; proper in his own diocese.
Basis for primacy of bishop: theological
Jurisdiction of bishop in his diocese: ordinary, immediate, proper

Catholic (Eastern/Oriental)
Basis for primacy on universal level: theological
Jurisdiction of primate on universal level: ordinary, immediate, proper in what pertains to the Church as a whole, proper in his own diocese.
Basis for primacy on local levels: canonical
Jurisdiction of primate on local level: ordinary; proper in what pertains to his Church as a whole, proper in his own diocese.
Basis for primacy of bishop: theological
Jurisdiction of bishop in his diocese: ordinary, immediate, proper
NOTE: The difference between the Latin and Eastern/Oriental ecclesiologies is in the primatial jurisdictions on the local/regional level.

Eastern Orthodox (EP)
Basis for primacy on universal level: theological
Jurisdiction of primate on universal level: ordinary, immediate, proper in what pertains to the Church as a whole, proper in his own diocese.
Basis for primacy on local levels: theological
Jurisdiction of primate on local level: ordinary, immediate, proper in what pertains to his Church as a whole, proper in his own diocese.
Basis for primacy of bishop: theological
Jurisdiction of bishop in his diocese: ordinary, immediate, proper

Eastern Orthodox (MP)
Basis for primacy on universal level: canonical
Jurisdiction of primate on universal level: none, position is honorific.
Basis for primacy on local levels: canonical
Jurisdiction of primate on local level: delegated in what pertains to his Church as a whole, proper in his own diocese.
Basis for primacy of bishop: theological
Jurisdiction of bishop in his diocese: ordinary, immediate, proper

Low Petrine (believed by some EO)
Basis for primacy on universal level: none
Jurisdiction of primate on universal level: none.
Basis for primacy on local levels: canonical
Jurisdiction of primate on local level: none, position is honorific.
Basis for primacy of bishop: theological
Jurisdiction of bishop in his diocese: ordinary, immediate, proper

I'd especially be interested in Cavaradossi's opinion on what I've written (especially on the MP's position, as he is RO). I would also like to ask sister Alice (if she is reading this) if I've correctly represented the EP position (as she is, I think, from that jurisdiction).

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Dear Cavaradossi,

As always, your incisive input is appreciated.

Quote
The Latin understanding of local synodality is closer in fact to the Russian understanding, which is to say that that Latins traditionally understood regional primates as having a form of ordinary jurisdiction within their local synod, but one which differed from the ordinary jurisdiction of a bishop over his diocese. The ordinary jurisdiction of a bishop over his diocese is said to be immediate, because it comes directly from God, whereas the jurisdiction of a primate over his synod in the Latin understanding is said to be mediate, because it is a primacy established by church law, a position which you will find bears great similarity to the Russian understanding of primacy.
There are points of agreement here. I agree that a similarity is the understanding that the position of metropolitans and patriarchs are derived from the canons. I would aditionally agree with the ROC paper regarding the supremacy of a local bishop in his diocese, which Catholic ecclesiology also affirms ("In the bishops, therefore, for whom priests are assistants, our Lord Jesus Christ, the supreme high priest, is present in the midst of those who believe...the pastoral office or the habitual and daily care of their sheep is entrusted to them completely. Nor are they to be regarded as vicars of the Roman Pontiff, for they exercise an authority which is proper to them..."-Lumen Gentum). The difference is that in the Latin Catholic understanding (really, the Catholic understanding, in general) - as far as this particular point about the canonical basis of the authority of metropolitans and patriarhcs - the source of their primacy is the ancient canons themselves, not the extant local Synod. This is a particular point of disagreement between the EP's and the MP's position, and on that point the Catholic position is closer to the EP's position.

And as far as the Latin Catholic Church's ecclesiological praxis on the regional Church level, the ROC paper is correct that it is rather different from the Easterna (and Oriental) praxis, whether Orthodox or Catholic. Eastern and Oriental synods as a body, whether Orthodox or Catholic, have ordinary authority over the individual bishops; however, Latin synods (or, as they are called, episcopal conferences) do not have this ordinary authority (as you implied, they did in the past, but now they don't). But at this point, the Eastern/Oriental Catholic ecclesiology comes much closer to the EP's position. In Eastern/Oriental Catholic ecclesiology, which is also expressed by the EP's position, the head bishop of the Synod embodies/represents the ordinary authority of the Synod over the individual bishops in such a way that the head bishop in his person can also be said to have ordinary authority (or jurisdiction) over those bishops. Of course, this ordinary authority, even when exercised by the primus personally, is NEVER unilateral, but is always collegial in nature (i.e., bound by canon and moral/divine law to work in communion with his brother bishops)..

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Also, I think it is worth noting that the understanding of the EP and the Russians is not entirely mutually exclusive. Metropolitan Elpidophoros' article on primacy
Agreed. The difference I perceive is simply in the role of the primus on the universal level. Otherwise, I am sure they are identical. I believe the difference is readily reflected in what many percieve to be a power struggle between the EP and MP. It's my opinion, actually, that the ROC paper is more immediattely directed at the EP than at Rome (with natural consequences for the Roman claims, of course).
Quote
—despite some of its disagreeable points (the idea that the primate is the source of his own primacy rather than the recipient of it is downright laughable)
I'm not aware that the EP response to the ROC paper ever made this claim. IIRC, the EP position is merely that the primacy is embodied in the person of the primate (not derived from the synod). I don't believe the EP position can be characterized as saying the primate is himself the source of his primacy (seriously - that is even worse than the Absolutist Petrine claims about the papacy!). My impression is that the EP position is something similar to what I stated earlier about the canons being the source of the primacy of Patriarchs and Metropolitans, not the extant synod. Of course, the EP's rationale for the very existence of primacy on ALL levels in the Church is not the canons, but the theological analogy with the Primacy within the Godhead. So I don't see how it can be stated that the EP position claims that the primate is himself the source of his own primacy.

I believe the EP's position makes a lot of sense. If, as the ROC paper claims, the synod and its election of the primate is the source of the primate's primacy, then it stands to reason that the primacy rests in the synod, and if the synod chooses not to elect anyone as primate, then everything would be fine. I mean, if the primacy rests in the synod itself, it would not matter if the synod has an actual primate or not. The EP position, with which I cannot conceive a Catholic disagreeing, is that the reality of primacy has a theological, historical and even mystical basis that goes well beyond the temporal will of a synod. In fact, as the ancient canons assert, it is necessary for a body of bishops to recognize their head. So the primacy cannot possibly flow from the election - rather the election flows from the requirement to have a primate. I think the EP's position can be more properly characterized as saying that the office of primacy naturally exists as part of the Church by a theological impetus, and in that sense, its authority is not derived from the local synod.

Quote
makes a good point insofar as he seems to recognize that the power of primacy is inherently one, and that the same power is exercised at all levels of the Church (that is why all who exercise primacy have Peter as their type).
Agreed. I believe the analogy with the primacy of Peter is well grounded in the Fathers. I reject the idea that every bishop is a successor of St. Peter - not primarily because it diminishes the unique succession in primacy of the bishop of Rome, but because it diminishes the fact that all the Apostles are foundations of Apostolic Succesion - but I do agree greatly with your own statment that "all who exercise primacy have Peter as their type." But do you think the analogy with Peter would gain much official backing, whether from the EP or MP. I do note that it lends credence to the unity of primacy of which the EP speaks and you mention later on.

Quote
Where he runs into trouble is failing to note that the same power of primacy is manifested differently at different levels of the church, something which plainly can be seen from the Latin division of ordinary jurisdiction into the categories of mediate and immediate or from the Russian understanding that the prerogatives of primacy are intimately connected to the canons.
I also agree with this. I found most of the EP response to the ROC paper right on, but this is the one point which I felt needed much clarification. Clear distinctions must indeed be made on the roles of the different levels of primacy in the Church. Caveat: I really don't think the EP is unaware of these distinctions; I just think that the purpose of the response (to establish the role of primate on the universal level) overrode that particular concern and it was simply inadvertantly neglected. I would agree with you that, whether inadvertant or not, its absence on the topic of primacy deserves critical notice.

Anyway---Naturally, I don't agree with the ROC paper that the primacy on the universal level is one of mere honor with no jurisdiction, but I do agree that distinctions must be made. Further, I agree with the ROC paper that the purpose of differentiating is to preserve the primatial authority of a bishop in his local Church X against the possible intrusions of the primacy of a head bishop in the larger Church, which includes the local Church X. But, again, I naturally disagree that the only solution is to deprive the head bishop on the universal level of any jurisdiction whatsoever, and make his primacy one of mere honor. The other very viable option, presented by the EP position, is to regard the functioning relationship of a primate on the universal level with his brother bishops in the Church as a whole as identical to the functioning relationship of a primate on the patriarhcal level with his brother bishops in the patriarchate, or the functioning relationship of a primate on the metropolitan level with his brother bishops in the metropolitan see. I do note with satisfaction that the EP position applies the ancient AC34 on all levels of the hierarchy, including the universal. In Catholic canonical jargon, this would be translated as follows:
A head bishop on any level of the hierarchy has oridinary (i.e., inherent) jurisdiction in the entire level of the hierarchy of which he is head. But this ordinary jurisdiction is only proper (i.e., normative and usual) (1) in what pertains to his own local diocese as a bishop, but not proper in any other diocese; (2) what pertains to the Church as a whole of which he is head.
The role of a head bishop on ANY level of the hierarchy is presidential; this is distinct from the role of a local bishop which is truly monarchial. This is, contrary to the distortions of the Absolutist Petirne view, what is proferred by the Catholic Church. This distinction between "ordinary" and "proper" is already evident in our canons, even as regards the papacy (which, of course, does not really matter to Absolutist Petrine advocates, since they believe the Pope is not bound by the Canons), and also, I believe, the position of the EP - a primate with real teeth and authority, by no means a mere figurehead or yes-man of a synod, but also by no means an absolute monarch.

Regardless of that, I think the position that deprives the head bishop on the universal level of any authority, assigning to him a position of mere honor, flies in the face of Tradition. If one looks at the ancient role of the archbishop of Rome in the Church universal, on the one hand, or the role of the archbishop of Constnatinople among the Eastern Churches, on the other, it is evident that they did not possess mere honor. As mentioned earlier to brother Epiphanius, Orientals also refer to their head bishops with terms such as "primacy of honor" or "first among equals," but these signifiy something with real authority and prerogatives. I do sincerely believe the OOC's on the whole have faithfully preserved the true, patristic understanding of these terminologies. Many in the CC's and EOC's have as well, but many also have not.

But, returning to the topic of the necessary distinctions, this is a particularly sore point I have with the Absolutist Petrine distortion. As a High Petrine advocate, I have always opposed styling the bishop of Rome as "universal bishop," not only because it is logically inconsistent with the Divine constitution of the Church, but also because it is flatly denied by the Tradition of the Latin Church herself, as evidenced by the exhortations of two of her greatest primates - Pope St. Leo and Pope St. Gregory. They denied this very title offered to them for the very reason that to be so styled would mean there is no need for any other bishop in the Church. There is not a single official, magisterial document of the Catholic Church that styles the Pope as "universal bishop." Unfortunately - VERY unfortunately - this is a rather popular apologetic among well-meaning, though misinformed Catholics. When I was still a regular at CAF, I objected more than once to an article at their website trying to justify the notion that the Pope is a "universal bishop." Their rationale is "well, we don't mean what the title on its face presumes." My reaction was "If you know what the title naturally and historically means, why even try to promote it at all with inventive sophisms, especially as there is a segment out there (the SSPX) who use the term in its normative, aberrant sense?!" My argument was that the Pope is not a universal bishop, but a head bishop of the universal Church, pointing out the very real difference between a bishop and a head bishop in terms of roles and prerogatives.

It is the ecclesioglogical position of the Catholic Church that head bishops in general can do all that a local bishop can do in his local diocese. But there is a stark difference between the Absolutist Petrine and High Petrine understanding of this prerogative of head bishops, particularly as it applies to the Pope of Rome. To Absolutist Petrine advocates, the principle allows them to pretend that the Pope can REPLACE a local bishop at his mere and sole discretion. To High Petrine advocates, the principle only permits the Pope to SUPPLEMENT the authority of the local bishop when and only when the authority of the local bishop has been impeded. The Pope, as Pastor Aeternus explicitly asserted, cannot himself be the cause of impeding a bishop's divinely-instituted authority, but is, rather, obligated to defend, promote and strengthen it. That is an ecclesiological responsibility of his prmatial office. Actually, this is a general obligation of every primate on each level of the hierarchy in Catholic ecclesiology. But it is even more fearsome and serious an obligation for the head bishop on the universal level -- for while the source of the prerogatives and attendant obligations of patriarchs and meteropolitans (and other head bishops of local churches by other names) is canonical (a point of agreement with the ROC position), the principle that the source of the prerogatives of the head bishop on the universal Church is divine also dictates that his attendant obligations are divine imperatives, not merely from man. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility (which is, in fact, a blibilcal principle - to whom much is given, much more is required). The Absolutist Petrine claim that the only limit to the Pope of Rome's authority is divine law (i.e., he has no authority to contradict the divine dogmas and morals of the Church, but the rest he can change at his sole discretion without agreement or consultation with any bishop in the Church) is baloney. If other head bishops on the "lower" levels of the heirarchy cannot do such things unilaterally since they are constrained by the divine constitution of the Church to always work with their brother bishops out of a canonical obligation to respect the divine (i.e., immediate) and inherent (i.e., ordinary) authority of their brother bishops, how much more so must it be for the Pope whose obligations are borne not just of a canonical imperative, but a dvine imperative? It is biblically and morally inconsistent and irresponsible for Absolutist Petrine advocates to claim higher prerogatives for the papacy than any other bishop, yet attempt to diminish the natural, attendant restrictions that come with greater responsibility.

PLEASE forgive my lengthy rant. Whenever I imagine the damage that these Absolutist Petrine distorters are doing to the unity of the Church, I just need to vent!

In any case, Cavaradossi, to get back to the topic of the ROC position and the EP response, can you please respond to the following dialectic:
(1) Would you agree with my earlier statement that the purpose of the distinctions proposed by the ROC is to preserve the rights and prerogatives of the bishops and head bishops)?
(2) Do you think that the biblical principle "to those who have been given much, more will be expected" is applicable to ecclesiology?
(3) If so, would you agree that the EP's position that primacy has a theological, not merely canonical, basis actually places a greater restriction via obligation on a head bishop than a merely canonical imperative affords?
(4) If this greater obligation was explicitly spelled out in Canon law, do you think that would mollify the concerns of the ROC about preservaing the rights and prerogatives of the bishops, as well as making the necessary distinctions?
(5) As noted elsewhere, the CDF relatively recently affirmed the Pope is constrained not just by Divine Law, but also by the Divine Constitition of the Church (a notion which was already explicitly asserted by the German and Swiss bishops immediately after V1, and to which Pio Nono gave his explicit approval). If this principle was enshrined a manner more relevant for the Othodox, such as Canon law,, or, better yet (since Absolutist Petrine advocates always claim that the Pope is not constrained by Canon Law), in an official papal decree, promulgated by synodal authority (I'm thinknig of the hopeful reinstitution of the Roman Synod by Pope Francis),do you think that would greatly help the theological dialogue between the EOC and CC regarding the Papacy?

Finally, I would like to offer what I perceive to be the good points about the ROC paper on primacy and the EP response:

From the ROC paper:
(1) An explicit affirmation that unity in the Catholic Church is a Eucharistic unity with the bishop of Rome. Though this is actually a deficient description of Catholic ecclesiology (the actual teaching of the CC is that the unity must be with the head and other members of the College), it is better than the non-Catholic polemic I often (not always) read that argues the Catholic position is based merely on submission to the bishop of Rome - PERIOD, with no account of the pre-eminence of the Eucharist in Catholic ecclesiology (no less a prominent Council than Trent affirmed the foundational place of the Eucharist for the unity of the Church).
(2) Differentiation of the primacies on the different levels of the Church hierarchy.
(3) The jurisdiction of head bishops on the local level is canonical.
(4) A head bishop on the regional level has jurisdiction throughout his Church in which he is head (indeed, it it is a jurisdiction that is different than that of a bishop for his diocese). The position I often (not always) read from Orthodox (which I refer to as “Low Petrine”) is that a head bishop has no jurisdiction anywhere except his local diocese.
(5) An understanding of the role of the local bishop in the Church that is essentially identical to the Catholic understanding.

From the EP response:
(1) An affirmation of a theological foundation for Primacy on the universal level.
(2) That AC 34 applies to ALL levels of Church governance, including the universal.
(3) Primacy on all levels is inherent in the office, not delegated (this is, btw, what is exactly meant by the Catholic terminology “ordinary” when describing the jurisdiction of a bishop or head bishop).

For our readers, here are links to the ROC paper and the EP response:
https://mospat.ru/en/2013/12/26/news96344/
http://www.patriarchate.org/documents/first-without-equals-elpidophoros-lambriniadis

Well, that's it for now. I look forward to more of your incisive comments.

Blessings,
Marduk

P.S. Brother J Michael, I was planning to explain those nuances I mentioned in an earlier post, but maybe these recent posts will be sufficient for a while as matter to chew on? smile

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Originally Posted by mardukm
Dear brother Peter,

Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by mardukm
Further, what distinguishes us from the Orthodox at present is that we DO believe the papacy of Rome does represent the o/Orthodox Faith.
I'm going to chime in in order to take issue with one little thing: by saying "we" it makes it sound like you're speaking for all ECs
Yes, I do believe this is a true statement for all non-Latin Catholics.
Hi Mardukm, and thank you for your concern. But please rest assured that I'm completely sincere (hence your statement is not true of all ECs) when I say that the Orthodox have the right to represent themselves. The Pope does not represent Orthodoxy, nor does any other non-Orthodox -- and even if I engaged in polemics against the Orthodox (although I don't believe I do, or at least I try not to) that wouldn't be one of them. blush smile

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Originally Posted by mardukm
Dear Cavaradossi,

As always, your incisive input is appreciated.

Quote
The Latin understanding of local synodality is closer in fact to the Russian understanding, which is to say that that Latins traditionally understood regional primates as having a form of ordinary jurisdiction within their local synod, but one which differed from the ordinary jurisdiction of a bishop over his diocese. The ordinary jurisdiction of a bishop over his diocese is said to be immediate, because it comes directly from God, whereas the jurisdiction of a primate over his synod in the Latin understanding is said to be mediate, because it is a primacy established by church law, a position which you will find bears great similarity to the Russian understanding of primacy.
There are points of agreement here. I agree that a similarity is the understanding that the position of metropolitans and patriarchs are derived from the canons. I would aditionally agree with the ROC paper regarding the supremacy of a local bishop in his diocese, which Catholic ecclesiology also affirms ("In the bishops, therefore, for whom priests are assistants, our Lord Jesus Christ, the supreme high priest, is present in the midst of those who believe...the pastoral office or the habitual and daily care of their sheep is entrusted to them completely. Nor are they to be regarded as vicars of the Roman Pontiff, for they exercise an authority which is proper to them..."-Lumen Gentum). The difference is that in the Latin Catholic understanding (really, the Catholic understanding, in general) - as far as this particular point about the canonical basis of the authority of metropolitans and patriarhcs - the source of their primacy is the ancient canons themselves, not the extant local Synod. This is a particular point of disagreement between the EP's and the MP's position, and on that point the Catholic position is closer to the EP's position.

And as far as the Latin Catholic Church's ecclesiological praxis on the regional Church level, the ROC paper is correct that it is rather different from the Easterna (and Oriental) praxis, whether Orthodox or Catholic. Eastern and Oriental synods as a body, whether Orthodox or Catholic, have ordinary authority over the individual bishops; however, Latin synods (or, as they are called, episcopal conferences) do not have this ordinary authority (as you implied, they did in the past, but now they don't). But at this point, the Eastern/Oriental Catholic ecclesiology comes much closer to the EP's position. In Eastern/Oriental Catholic ecclesiology, which is also expressed by the EP's position, the head bishop of the Synod embodies/represents the ordinary authority of the Synod over the individual bishops in such a way that the head bishop in his person can also be said to have ordinary authority (or jurisdiction) over those bishops. Of course, this ordinary authority, even when exercised by the primus personally, is NEVER unilateral, but is always collegial in nature (i.e., bound by canon and moral/divine law to work in communion with his brother bishops)..

Quote
Also, I think it is worth noting that the understanding of the EP and the Russians is not entirely mutually exclusive. Metropolitan Elpidophoros' article on primacy
Agreed. The difference I perceive is simply in the role of the primus on the universal level. Otherwise, I am sure they are identical. I believe the difference is readily reflected in what many percieve to be a power struggle between the EP and MP. It's my opinion, actually, that the ROC paper is more immediattely directed at the EP than at Rome (with natural consequences for the Roman claims, of course).
Quote
—despite some of its disagreeable points (the idea that the primate is the source of his own primacy rather than the recipient of it is downright laughable)
I'm not aware that the EP response to the ROC paper ever made this claim. IIRC, the EP position is merely that the primacy is embodied in the person of the primate (not derived from the synod). I don't believe the EP position can be characterized as saying the primate is himself the source of his primacy (seriously - that is even worse than the Absolutist Petrine claims about the papacy!). My impression is that the EP position is something similar to what I stated earlier about the canons being the source of the primacy of Patriarchs and Metropolitans, not the extant synod. Of course, the EP's rationale for the very existence of primacy on ALL levels in the Church is not the canons, but the theological analogy with the Primacy within the Godhead. So I don't see how it can be stated that the EP position claims that the primate is himself the source of his own primacy.

I believe the EP's position makes a lot of sense. If, as the ROC paper claims, the synod and its election of the primate is the source of the primate's primacy, then it stands to reason that the primacy rests in the synod, and if the synod chooses not to elect anyone as primate, then everything would be fine. I mean, if the primacy rests in the synod itself, it would not matter if the synod has an actual primate or not. The EP position, with which I cannot conceive a Catholic disagreeing, is that the reality of primacy has a theological, historical and even mystical basis that goes well beyond the temporal will of a synod. In fact, as the ancient canons assert, it is necessary for a body of bishops to recognize their head. So the primacy cannot possibly flow from the election - rather the election flows from the requirement to have a primate. I think the EP's position can be more properly characterized as saying that the office of primacy naturally exists as part of the Church by a theological impetus, and in that sense, its authority is not derived from the local synod.

Quote
makes a good point insofar as he seems to recognize that the power of primacy is inherently one, and that the same power is exercised at all levels of the Church (that is why all who exercise primacy have Peter as their type).
Agreed. I believe the analogy with the primacy of Peter is well grounded in the Fathers. I reject the idea that every bishop is a successor of St. Peter - not primarily because it diminishes the unique succession in primacy of the bishop of Rome, but because it diminishes the fact that all the Apostles are foundations of Apostolic Succesion - but I do agree greatly with your own statment that "all who exercise primacy have Peter as their type." But do you think the analogy with Peter would gain much official backing, whether from the EP or MP. I do note that it lends credence to the unity of primacy of which the EP speaks and you mention later on.

Quote
Where he runs into trouble is failing to note that the same power of primacy is manifested differently at different levels of the church, something which plainly can be seen from the Latin division of ordinary jurisdiction into the categories of mediate and immediate or from the Russian understanding that the prerogatives of primacy are intimately connected to the canons.
I also agree with this. I found most of the EP response to the ROC paper right on, but this is the one point which I felt needed much clarification. Clear distinctions must indeed be made on the roles of the different levels of primacy in the Church. Caveat: I really don't think the EP is unaware of these distinctions; I just think that the purpose of the response (to establish the role of primate on the universal level) overrode that particular concern and it was simply inadvertantly neglected. I would agree with you that, whether inadvertant or not, its absence on the topic of primacy deserves critical notice.

Anyway---Naturally, I don't agree with the ROC paper that the primacy on the universal level is one of mere honor with no jurisdiction, but I do agree that distinctions must be made. Further, I agree with the ROC paper that the purpose of differentiating is to preserve the primatial authority of a bishop in his local Church X against the possible intrusions of the primacy of a head bishop in the larger Church, which includes the local Church X. But, again, I naturally disagree that the only solution is to deprive the head bishop on the universal level of any jurisdiction whatsoever, and make his primacy one of mere honor. The other very viable option, presented by the EP position, is to regard the functioning relationship of a primate on the universal level with his brother bishops in the Church as a whole as identical to the functioning relationship of a primate on the patriarhcal level with his brother bishops in the patriarchate, or the functioning relationship of a primate on the metropolitan level with his brother bishops in the metropolitan see. I do note with satisfaction that the EP position applies the ancient AC34 on all levels of the hierarchy, including the universal. In Catholic canonical jargon, this would be translated as follows:
A head bishop on any level of the hierarchy has oridinary (i.e., inherent) jurisdiction in the entire level of the hierarchy of which he is head. But this ordinary jurisdiction is only proper (i.e., normative and usual) (1) in what pertains to his own local diocese as a bishop, but not proper in any other diocese; (2) what pertains to the Church as a whole of which he is head.
The role of a head bishop on ANY level of the hierarchy is presidential; this is distinct from the role of a local bishop which is truly monarchial. This is, contrary to the distortions of the Absolutist Petirne view, what is proferred by the Catholic Church. This distinction between "ordinary" and "proper" is already evident in our canons, even as regards the papacy (which, of course, does not really matter to Absolutist Petrine advocates, since they believe the Pope is not bound by the Canons), and also, I believe, the position of the EP - a primate with real teeth and authority, by no means a mere figurehead or yes-man of a synod, but also by no means an absolute monarch.

Regardless of that, I think the position that deprives the head bishop on the universal level of any authority, assigning to him a position of mere honor, flies in the face of Tradition. If one looks at the ancient role of the archbishop of Rome in the Church universal, on the one hand, or the role of the archbishop of Constnatinople among the Eastern Churches, on the other, it is evident that they did not possess mere honor. As mentioned earlier to brother Epiphanius, Orientals also refer to their head bishops with terms such as "primacy of honor" or "first among equals," but these signifiy something with real authority and prerogatives. I do sincerely believe the OOC's on the whole have faithfully preserved the true, patristic understanding of these terminologies. Many in the CC's and EOC's have as well, but many also have not.

But, returning to the topic of the necessary distinctions, this is a particularly sore point I have with the Absolutist Petrine distortion. As a High Petrine advocate, I have always opposed styling the bishop of Rome as "universal bishop," not only because it is logically inconsistent with the Divine constitution of the Church, but also because it is flatly denied by the Tradition of the Latin Church herself, as evidenced by the exhortations of two of her greatest primates - Pope St. Leo and Pope St. Gregory. They denied this very title offered to them for the very reason that to be so styled would mean there is no need for any other bishop in the Church. There is not a single official, magisterial document of the Catholic Church that styles the Pope as "universal bishop." Unfortunately - VERY unfortunately - this is a rather popular apologetic among well-meaning, though misinformed Catholics. When I was still a regular at CAF, I objected more than once to an article at their website trying to justify the notion that the Pope is a "universal bishop." Their rationale is "well, we don't mean what the title on its face presumes." My reaction was "If you know what the title naturally and historically means, why even try to promote it at all with inventive sophisms, especially as there is a segment out there (the SSPX) who use the term in its normative, aberrant sense?!" My argument was that the Pope is not a universal bishop, but a head bishop of the universal Church, pointing out the very real difference between a bishop and a head bishop in terms of roles and prerogatives.

It is the ecclesioglogical position of the Catholic Church that head bishops in general can do all that a local bishop can do in his local diocese. But there is a stark difference between the Absolutist Petrine and High Petrine understanding of this prerogative of head bishops, particularly as it applies to the Pope of Rome. To Absolutist Petrine advocates, the principle allows them to pretend that the Pope can REPLACE a local bishop at his mere and sole discretion. To High Petrine advocates, the principle only permits the Pope to SUPPLEMENT the authority of the local bishop when and only when the authority of the local bishop has been impeded. The Pope, as Pastor Aeternus explicitly asserted, cannot himself be the cause of impeding a bishop's divinely-instituted authority, but is, rather, obligated to defend, promote and strengthen it. That is an ecclesiological responsibility of his prmatial office. Actually, this is a general obligation of every primate on each level of the hierarchy in Catholic ecclesiology. But it is even more fearsome and serious an obligation for the head bishop on the universal level -- for while the source of the prerogatives and attendant obligations of patriarchs and meteropolitans (and other head bishops of local churches by other names) is canonical (a point of agreement with the ROC position), the principle that the source of the prerogatives of the head bishop on the universal Church is divine also dictates that his attendant obligations are divine imperatives, not merely from man. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility (which is, in fact, a blibilcal principle - to whom much is given, much more is required). The Absolutist Petrine claim that the only limit to the Pope of Rome's authority is divine law (i.e., he has no authority to contradict the divine dogmas and morals of the Church, but the rest he can change at his sole discretion without agreement or consultation with any bishop in the Church) is baloney. If other head bishops on the "lower" levels of the heirarchy cannot do such things unilaterally since they are constrained by the divine constitution of the Church to always work with their brother bishops out of a canonical obligation to respect the divine (i.e., immediate) and inherent (i.e., ordinary) authority of their brother bishops, how much more so must it be for the Pope whose obligations are borne not just of a canonical imperative, but a dvine imperative? It is biblically and morally inconsistent and irresponsible for Absolutist Petrine advocates to claim higher prerogatives for the papacy than any other bishop, yet attempt to diminish the natural, attendant restrictions that come with greater responsibility.

PLEASE forgive my lengthy rant. Whenever I imagine the damage that these Absolutist Petrine distorters are doing to the unity of the Church, I just need to vent!

In any case, Cavaradossi, to get back to the topic of the ROC position and the EP response, can you please respond to the following dialectic:
(1) Would you agree with my earlier statement that the purpose of the distinctions proposed by the ROC is to preserve the rights and prerogatives of the bishops and head bishops)?
(2) Do you think that the biblical principle "to those who have been given much, more will be expected" is applicable to ecclesiology?
(3) If so, would you agree that the EP's position that primacy has a theological, not merely canonical, basis actually places a greater restriction via obligation on a head bishop than a merely canonical imperative affords?
(4) If this greater obligation was explicitly spelled out in Canon law, do you think that would mollify the concerns of the ROC about preservaing the rights and prerogatives of the bishops, as well as making the necessary distinctions?
(5) As noted elsewhere, the CDF relatively recently affirmed the Pope is constrained not just by Divine Law, but also by the Divine Constitition of the Church (a notion which was already explicitly asserted by the German and Swiss bishops immediately after V1, and to which Pio Nono gave his explicit approval). If this principle was enshrined a manner more relevant for the Othodox, such as Canon law,, or, better yet (since Absolutist Petrine advocates always claim that the Pope is not constrained by Canon Law), in an official papal decree, promulgated by synodal authority (I'm thinknig of the hopeful reinstitution of the Roman Synod by Pope Francis),do you think that would greatly help the theological dialogue between the EOC and CC regarding the Papacy?

Finally, I would like to offer what I perceive to be the good points about the ROC paper on primacy and the EP response:

From the ROC paper:
(1) An explicit affirmation that unity in the Catholic Church is a Eucharistic unity with the bishop of Rome. Though this is actually a deficient description of Catholic ecclesiology (the actual teaching of the CC is that the unity must be with the head and other members of the College), it is better than the non-Catholic polemic I often (not always) read that argues the Catholic position is based merely on submission to the bishop of Rome - PERIOD, with no account of the pre-eminence of the Eucharist in Catholic ecclesiology (no less a prominent Council than Trent affirmed the foundational place of the Eucharist for the unity of the Church).
(2) Differentiation of the primacies on the different levels of the Church hierarchy.
(3) The jurisdiction of head bishops on the local level is canonical.
(4) A head bishop on the regional level has jurisdiction throughout his Church in which he is head (indeed, it it is a jurisdiction that is different than that of a bishop for his diocese). The position I often (not always) read from Orthodox (which I refer to as “Low Petrine”) is that a head bishop has no jurisdiction anywhere except his local diocese.
(5) An understanding of the role of the local bishop in the Church that is essentially identical to the Catholic understanding.

From the EP response:
(1) An affirmation of a theological foundation for Primacy on the universal level.
(2) That AC 34 applies to ALL levels of Church governance, including the universal.
(3) Primacy on all levels is inherent in the office, not delegated (this is, btw, what is exactly meant by the Catholic terminology “ordinary” when describing the jurisdiction of a bishop or head bishop).

For our readers, here are links to the ROC paper and the EP response:
https://mospat.ru/en/2013/12/26/news96344/
http://www.patriarchate.org/documents/first-without-equals-elpidophoros-lambriniadis

Well, that's it for now. I look forward to more of your incisive comments.

Blessings,
Marduk

P.S. Brother J Michael, I was planning to explain those nuances I mentioned in an earlier post, but maybe these recent posts will be sufficient for a while as matter to chew on? smile

Dearest Marduk,

You've given me so much to chew on that I fear my jaw will lock up!! laugh laugh

Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to post all of that. I'll get back to you in a month or so... grin (Well, okay...maybe not quite that long...)

In Christ,
JM

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Please forgive me... I wasn't sure (being new) where to ask this question, so I tried to at least get close to a category where it might be appropriate:>)
My wife and I are considering converting from Orthodoxy to an Eastern (Byzantine)Catholic church... Melkite to be exact, under the Newton Eparchy. We will have many questions, but I came across a statement that the Antiochian Patriarch issued to Muslims back in July of this year on the occasion of the beginning of Islam's Ramadan. It was posted on the Eparchy's website. I will paste it in below. I need to hear explanations as to why this is acceptable coming from a Melkite Patriarch or any Eastern Catholic for that matter.. I understand how spin and skirting around the edges works, so I am hoping for some honest responses (not excuses or apologies). I believe you would ask the same if you were in my shoes.
In addition, the Melkite parish where we live has had Muslims come to the Church on one, possibly two occasions to make presentations of some sort.
I eagerly await help with this. Here is the Patriarch's 'Letter" below:

Patriarch’s Ramadan greetings to Muslims July 2, 2014


“We Arab Christians will accompany your fast
by praying and fasting in solidarity,” says Gregorios III.

On the eve of the beginning of the month of Ramadan this year, “a month of forgiveness, compassion, and generous giving,” His Beatitude Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, addressed his good wishes to Muslim communities. “Good wishes from an Arab Christian patriarch,” which require them to accept his bitterness even though he cites verses from the venerable Qur’an and the Holy Gospel: “Come to a common word,” (‘Āli `Imrān, 3:64) ; “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.” (Al-Hujurat, 49:13); a verse to which Gregorios III adds the phrase “and love one another,” paraphrasing Saint John (13:35): “By this shall all men know that ye are [Muslims], if ye have love one to another.”

The patriarch continues by emphasising his pain and deep sorrow when contemplating the split Muslim world, “calling for jihad – though it is not jihad – issuing fatwas that are not fatwas…” and says he is “praying that God may anchor living faith in the hearts of Muslims… We need this faith in our Arab world so that it can be our charter, a charter for Arab unity, inter-Muslim unity, Muslim-Christian unity in the face of the tragic challenges that are rearing their heads against us.”

“Our unity must be Arab; the resolution of our crises has to be an Arab; our peace ought to be an Arab peace. Our past and our present are one and one cannot be without the other and neither can prevail over the other. Our future and the future of our young people is one! ‘…Do [as you will], for Allah will see your deeds…’” (At-Tawbah, 9:105)

“We Arab Christians are going to accompany your fast through prayer, fasting and solidarity… so that ‘ almighty and most merciful God, who understands everything, forgives and answers our prayers may restore to the Arab world peace, security, stability and prosperity, quietness and forgiveness, reconciliation and love.’”
For more information, contact Névine Toutounji-Hage Chahine + 961 3 22 64 87, nevinehc@gmail.com
Antiochian Conference June 2014 Patriarch’s Appeal to the World’s Conscience

Thank you for any insight and honesty you can provide, especially in light of the canons that would have a bearing on this, and the Apostle's admonition in II Corinthians 6:15.

Ivanov

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Ivanov,

As father of the Melkites, His Beatitude is also sociopolitical head of the Melkite Church in the Middle East. He is appealing to Arab nationalism, as a way to combat religious extremism. The Ba'athist Party was a chance for this to become reality, before the topple of Saddam Hussein.

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And certainly, each Church has a national/cultural identity that it wishes to preserve and defend as the medium by which it experiences Christ and His Gospel.

I heard a rumour that Ukrainian Catholics are largely the same way . . . wink

The Melkites are lucky to have such a thoughtful and courageous leader in the person of their Patriarch as they do.

Alex

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I believe he also is close to the EO and OO Patriarchs of Antioch as well.

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