^^^ Interestingly, this past summer during, and right after, my visit to Ukraine I met a number of very active Catholic theologians (including, for example, Professor Borys Hudzyak who is the Provost of the Ukrainian Catholic University; a well-known Ukrainian journalist Anatoliy Babinskiy, and other). It struck me that in our conversations, they unanimously LAUGH at statements like "you guys are schismatics," whether they come from the Orthodox who accuse Catholics, or from Catholics who accuse the Orthodox. They unanimously say that this mentality is so barbaric, so mediaeval, so dumb. What really happened, in their opinion, is not any "schism" but simply a gradual, inconspicuous widening of the gap between the Latin West and the Greek (or Byzantine) East, where both parties are equally guilty in creating this gap, and where both parties must do all that is in their power to stop its widening. Further, they argue that we NEED each other. The Orthodox need Catholics as an example of unity in articulating the doctrine and the social implications of the teaching of the Church. Catholics need the Orthodox as an example of a church body whose life is (at least theoretically) counciliar rather than dictatorial. The more we talk with each other, the more we learn from each other - the better. The reunification may or may not happen, but everybody will win from the friendly, amicable dialogue in any case.
Unfortunately, intelligent people is also prone to wishful thinking. The state of the matter from what I gather from Orthodox-Catapapic discussions is:The Filioque
is almost solved. There is an agreement that there is a heretical and an Orthodox sense for the expression. What remains to be solved concerning it is:Moral and Canonical issues:
Could it be inserted in the Creed? Is the Creed the Catholic (according to all) Creed if it is read with a local wording? Did Rome go beyond its rights in inserting it unilateraly?
I understand the Orthodox answers would be no, no and yes.A linguistic issue:
In the context of the Creed, which sense stands out, without further explanation, the Orthodox or the heretical?
I believe the answer is "the heretical sense".A Moral Issue:
Should Romans apologize for having inserted it?
I believe the answers here is "yes". Not in a humiliating way, but just a "Sorry, that was unecessary" kind of thing.A Pragmatic Issue:
How can it be solved? By finding a new wording or by simply dropping it altogether?
I defend the new wording solution. In fact, if we could agree on the pragmatic solution, we could leave the other issues for the next centuries.The alleged Supremacy and Infallibility of the Pope
Here, I believe, no common ground has been reached yet.
I would say the tendency is to acknowledge that the traditional role of the Primacy is neither the "Supreme Infallible Primate" nor the "Just Honorific Primate" that radicals in both sides seem to assume, but that of a "President of the Ecumenical Council" with some limited but real authority (in some cases, of holy men, truely inspired authority, but never automatically infallible authority, even in specific contexts).
A side-effect of this would put in question the current monarchical model of Rome's governance of the Western Church. Would Latin-America, US/Canada, Africa, etc become autonomous churches? Would any area of the West become an autocephalous Church? Or would the newly unified Church acknowledge the whole West as it is as the jurisdiction of the Pope?The recent issue of the Immaculate Conception
I don't see much common ground here as well. Of course, the issue is related to vision of man and grace each Church has, so it is the symptom of further disagreements. I would expect a return to the state of "theolegumen" for the question so that the underlying theological questions are left to theologians. Of course, at this point in history, this step must be preceeded by the giving up of the infallibility claim.