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Author Topic: Orthodox-Catholic Reunification - a few proposals  (Read 5840 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: May 21, 2013, 10:35:10 PM »

Even though I disagree with a lot of your points, I appreciate very much your well-thought out and post. It was refreshing to read an honest yet respectful disagreement. It's become more clear to me that the differences between our two churches are seemingly insoluble at this point in time, and, consequently, we should perhaps try to increase fraternal relations and continue discussing our faith.

I want to respond about your understandable complaint about Benedict XVI dropping the title 'Patriarch of the West.' From my research of the person and theology of Benedict, I believe this much to be true: he is kind, he is very cerebral, and be is not politically correct. The last two 'Ratzingerian' characteristics factor into this. As a professor Benedict, then Ratzinger, proposed breaking the 'West' up into a few different patriarchs who have far more autonomy over their own continents and he said that the pope would be bishop (patriarch) of Rome and perhaps Western Europe but not of the entire Western Rite (Asia, Africa, etc.). So, I think that he saw the title as disposable because 1) the West doesn't use the term 'patriarch' or run itself according to that model 2) his vision of the future Catholic Church is more decentralized than now and he saw the pope as not the patriarch of the entire West.

Was this the best decision? No, I don't think so, but, knowing his ecclesiology (which sees Rome as a partiuclar church), I also don't think he meant to give the impression that he wanted more centralization of powers in the papacy (although, admittedly, it did have that effect).

Ratzinger believed in the power of signs and symbolic gestures, whether it was in his more "high church liturgics" or dropping the tiara from the papal coat of arms.  So I'm sure that he, wanting to demonstrate that he believed in more decentralization in the administration of the Roman Catholic Church, thought that dropping the patriarchal title was one way of underscoring that.  But, as brilliant a man as he is, how was it that he could not see that what he did would actually have the opposite effect, as you freely admit? 

The West may not use the term Patriarch anymore, but that's in part because of the development of the RC understanding of the Papacy.  In the West, the See of Rome was the sole see with an apostolic origin.  We see the beginnings of Rome's assertion of "papal supremacy" as early as the reign of Pope Leo I, but it really takes off after the Great Schism.  Eventually, popes become secular rulers as well as spiritual leaders; when the former fades, the latter gets accentuated by the various teachings on the office of the Papacy (e.g., that formulated at Vatican I).  When a pope has all that "going on", a patriarch looks like nothing.  And, in the history of the Latin West, patriarchs were basically an honorific title: Lisbon, Venice, Goa, Jerusalem all have or had patriarchs, and they're nothing but archbishops with extra tassels on their green galeros.  If Rome returned to the use of the office of Patriarch, if it decentralized in that direction, that would've been a more convincing witness to the Orthodox: the office of Patriarch is "centralizing" in the context of the local or particular Church, but "decentralizing" in the context of the universal Church.  Even if that couldn't be implemented immediately, keeping that title in place was important because it was the last real vestige of the older, Orthodox ecclesiology.  How did Ratzinger not see that?  I don't think it's because he's stupid--he's brilliant, one of the best minds of our time.  And yet, the teaching on the Papacy is so "self-evident" to faithful RC's that it's really difficult for them, even the best of them, to conceive of anything else (I think I've mentioned here in the past my recent encounter with an Eastern Catholic priest from India who told me I was going to go to hell because I wasn't in communion with the Pope...I may very well go to hell, but I promise you the Pope will be the least of the reasons why I'm there!). 

I agree with you that, humanly speaking, our doctrinal differences are not capable of being resolved right now.  But, like you, I don't believe that this justifies our remaining in our respective corners hating each other.  I believe we ought to continue discussing our faith.  We ought to realistically and respectfully address our differences, of course, but (and here I part ways with some anti-ecumenists) I believe there's also value in acknowledging what we hold in common, whether that's expressed in the same vocabulary or in terms more proper to our respective traditions.  There's been enough alienation over the centuries, and we need to overcome that.  Focusing on differences helps with the latter, but the affirmation of commonalities addresses the former as we find common ground, build trust, establish or renew friendships, etc.  Working together as partners in common causes can also go a long way.  So I'm not so scandalized by joint dialogues, theological commissions, ecumenical visits, and so on: you have to start somewhere, and whether our respective Churches are larger or smaller, we all have something to offer.  But the goal is to attain to the unity of faith, and these positive foundations, however necessary, will only take us so far, and we need to be aware of that.  Resolving the credal differences will take more than just time and good will; it will take a God.  Fortunately, it is his Church, as amply demonstrated by the failure of our attempts to run it into the ground.  If we do our part sincerely, he will lead us into all truth.   

I'm curious to know on what points you disagreed with me.  I can imagine, but I don't want to assume, and if we already know we're not going to fix anything here, why not have some fun with it?  Smiley   
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« Reply #46 on: May 21, 2013, 11:56:07 PM »


Ratzinger believed in the power of signs and symbolic gestures, whether it was in his more "high church liturgics" or dropping the tiara from the papal coat of arms.  So I'm sure that he, wanting to demonstrate that he believed in more decentralization in the administration of the Roman Catholic Church, thought that dropping the patriarchal title was one way of underscoring that.  But, as brilliant a man as he is, how was it that he could not see that what he did would actually have the opposite effect, as you freely admit? 
  I was alluding to this issue by saying that he is 'cerebral.' As I have found in many brilliant men, they often have more trouble 'connecting' on another level. In this case, and I may very well be wrong, I think that, like you said, he thought that this would be well received, in part, because of his speculative consideration about dividing the Roman Rite into patriarchs (he mentioned Asia and Africa and Latin America). I would have to double check but I believe that the Vatican may have even mentioned this after. Secondly, he is a German from the Black Forest and his culture is brutally straight forward and he may have just thought that it didn't make sense to keep the term when Rome doesn't function in that manner; without seeing how striking off this title, that the East appreciates, without doing the same for another would be insensitive.

To be sure, I am not contriving this up, there are numerous occasions where Benedict said something true (like his disapproval with the implementation of liturgical reform in VII or his comment about to Muslims) but didn't phrase it in a more sensitive manner.

Quote
The West may not use the term Patriarch anymore, but that's in part because of the development of the RC understanding of the Papacy.  In the West, the See of Rome was the sole see with an apostolic origin.  We see the beginnings of Rome's assertion of "papal supremacy" as early as the reign of Pope Leo I, but it really takes off after the Great Schism. 
I don't believe this is accurate, at least not for the first millennium in the case of most popes. Rather, they saw the See of Rome as the distinct Petrine succession, but acknowledged the apostolicity of other sees.


Quote
Eventually, popes become secular rulers as well as spiritual leaders; when the former fades, the latter gets accentuated by the various teachings on the office of the Papacy (e.g., that formulated at Vatican I).  When a pope has all that "going on", a patriarch looks like nothing.  And, in the history of the Latin West, patriarchs were basically an honorific title: Lisbon, Venice, Goa, Jerusalem all have or had patriarchs, and they're nothing but archbishops with extra tassels on their green galeros.  If Rome returned to the use of the office of Patriarch, if it decentralized in that direction, that would've been a more convincing witness to the Orthodox: the office of Patriarch is "centralizing" in the context of the local or particular Church, but "decentralizing" in the context of the universal Church.  Even if that couldn't be implemented immediately, keeping that title in place was important because it was the last real vestige of the older, Orthodox ecclesiology.  How did Ratzinger not see that?  I don't think it's because he's stupid--he's brilliant, one of the best minds of our time.  And yet, the teaching on the Papacy is so "self-evident" to faithful RC's that it's really difficult for them, even the best of them, to conceive of anything else (I think I've mentioned here in the past my recent encounter with an Eastern Catholic priest from India who told me I was going to go to hell because I wasn't in communion with the Pope...I may very well go to hell, but I promise you the Pope will be the least of the reasons why I'm there!). 
I agree with you that popes after the schism asserted that those churches out of communion with Rome did not have apostolicity, but I believe that the Orthodox Church said the same about Rome and still to my knowledge does. Historical studies have shown that the term 'patriarch of Rome' was never widely used in the West really at any point, though that is how the East referred to the pope. Rather, the terms bishop of Rome, See of Rome, the Pope were most common.

Still, again, since the East has traditionally viewed us in this light, and it is not wrong, Benedict seems to have just made an error in his judgment about how his Eastern brethren would receive his gesture. It may sound incredulous but I have seen this saintly, theological titan make similar moves that have provoked similar reactions.

Quote
I agree with you that, humanly speaking, our doctrinal differences are not capable of being resolved right now.  But, like you, I don't believe that this justifies our remaining in our respective corners hating each other.  I believe we ought to continue discussing our faith.  We ought to realistically and respectfully address our differences, of course, but (and here I part ways with some anti-ecumenists) I believe there's also value in acknowledging what we hold in common, whether that's expressed in the same vocabulary or in terms more proper to our respective traditions.  There's been enough alienation over the centuries, and we need to overcome that.  Focusing on differences helps with the latter, but the affirmation of commonalities addresses the former as we find common ground, build trust, establish or renew friendships, etc.  Working together as partners in common causes can also go a long way.  So I'm not so scandalized by joint dialogues, theological commissions, ecumenical visits, and so on: you have to start somewhere, and whether our respective Churches are larger or smaller, we all have something to offer.  But the goal is to attain to the unity of faith, and these positive foundations, however necessary, will only take us so far, and we need to be aware of that.  Resolving the credal differences will take more than just time and good will; it will take a God.  Fortunately, it is his Church, as amply demonstrated by the failure of our attempts to run it into the ground.  If we do our part sincerely, he will lead us into all truth.   

I'm curious to know on what points you disagreed with me.  I can imagine, but I don't want to assume, and if we already know we're not going to fix anything here, why not have some fun with it?  Smiley   
I must say that I was warmed by your brotherly remarks and you and I are of the same mind here. Let me go through your post and make some notes :-).
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« Reply #47 on: May 22, 2013, 01:13:31 AM »

Quote
The West may not use the term Patriarch anymore, but that's in part because of the development of the RC understanding of the Papacy.  In the West, the See of Rome was the sole see with an apostolic origin.  We see the beginnings of Rome's assertion of "papal supremacy" as early as the reign of Pope Leo I, but it really takes off after the Great Schism. 
I don't believe this is accurate, at least not for the first millennium in the case of most popes. Rather, they saw the See of Rome as the distinct Petrine succession, but acknowledged the apostolicity of other sees.

Perhaps you've already read it, but if not, I recommend Francis Dvornik's Byzantium and the Roman Primacy.  It's been several years since I've read it, and if there's newer scholarship to the contrary, I'd be interested in hearing about it, but there was no concept of the See of Rome holding "the distinct Petrine succession" (emphasis mine).  Pope Leo I begins to assert the Petrine origins of the sees of Rome, Alexandria (via St Mark, the disciple of St Peter), and Antioch in order to reduce the influence of Constantinople.  Prior to this, the influence of each see was related to its connection with the civil structure of the Roman Empire; with the capital's shift from Rome to Constantinople, and the consequent elevation of C'ple over Alexandria and Antioch, "apostolicity" became more important to Leo than accommodation to the civil structure.  Apostolicity becomes an especially big thing in the West because Rome was the only apostolic see.  In the East by comparison, you can spit in any direction and hit one.

Leo's approach becomes influential in the West, whereas the East seems to have had a love-hate relationship with it.  When it was convenient to their purposes, the Greeks "seem" to go along with it, and when it steps on their toes, they are just as comfortable telling Rome to back off.  One could argue that the "non-Chalcedonians" were the first to protest the exercise of "papal supremacy" to the extent that Leo's intervention at Chalcedon was influential in solidifying the two camps; for us, it was more of a "hate" relationship.  Tongue

Even the very idea of a "distinct Petrine succession" is anachronistic, a later development read into the patristic era.  The three Petrine sees in Leo's model were to be taken together, not as separate, distinct successions.  The order they fell in was the order of the civil structure, otherwise there's no reason why Antioch should be subordinate to Alexandria.  But the three were taken as one "Petrine" see.  In order to combat this, C'ple begins to emphasize its connection to St Andrew, who was not only the first-called, but the brother of St Peter; but the real struggle here is power, not apostolic origins.  After all, St Cyprian teaches that every bishop who holds and teaches the faith of Peter is the successor of Peter.  Every see has apostolicity in the sense that the bishop occupying it is a legitimate successor of the apostles and a teacher of their teachings.         


Quote
Quote
Eventually, popes become secular rulers as well as spiritual leaders; when the former fades, the latter gets accentuated by the various teachings on the office of the Papacy (e.g., that formulated at Vatican I).  When a pope has all that "going on", a patriarch looks like nothing.  And, in the history of the Latin West, patriarchs were basically an honorific title: Lisbon, Venice, Goa, Jerusalem all have or had patriarchs, and they're nothing but archbishops with extra tassels on their green galeros.  If Rome returned to the use of the office of Patriarch, if it decentralized in that direction, that would've been a more convincing witness to the Orthodox: the office of Patriarch is "centralizing" in the context of the local or particular Church, but "decentralizing" in the context of the universal Church.  Even if that couldn't be implemented immediately, keeping that title in place was important because it was the last real vestige of the older, Orthodox ecclesiology.  How did Ratzinger not see that?  I don't think it's because he's stupid--he's brilliant, one of the best minds of our time.  And yet, the teaching on the Papacy is so "self-evident" to faithful RC's that it's really difficult for them, even the best of them, to conceive of anything else (I think I've mentioned here in the past my recent encounter with an Eastern Catholic priest from India who told me I was going to go to hell because I wasn't in communion with the Pope...I may very well go to hell, but I promise you the Pope will be the least of the reasons why I'm there!). 
I agree with you that popes after the schism asserted that those churches out of communion with Rome did not have apostolicity, but I believe that the Orthodox Church said the same about Rome and still to my knowledge does. Historical studies have shown that the term 'patriarch of Rome' was never widely used in the West really at any point, though that is how the East referred to the pope. Rather, the terms bishop of Rome, See of Rome, the Pope were most common.

Still, again, since the East has traditionally viewed us in this light, and it is not wrong, Benedict seems to have just made an error in his judgment about how his Eastern brethren would receive his gesture. It may sound incredulous but I have seen this saintly, theological titan make similar moves that have provoked similar reactions.

If Rome once said that Churches out of communion with Rome lacked apostolicity, and if the Orthodox say that today, it's not because of a lack of historic connection to the apostles.  It's because apostolic succession is about more than just the physical laying on of hands in ordination going back to the apostles in an unbroken line.  It's not just the unbroken line of ordination, but the unbroken maintenance of the same apostolic faith and fellowship. 

I can appreciate the intent behind Ratzinger's gesture, if it is indeed what you say it is (and I'm aware of how he's often confounded others by his initiatives or statements).  But after decades of dialogue, esp. after Vatican II, if there's still that much "ignorance" (not the best word, but I can't do better at this hour) about how it would be received by the Orthodox, I'm not sure what we're doing in the dialogues.  He has made other gestures which, though they had nothing to do with the Orthodox, were very well received by the Orthodox (e.g., Summorum Pontificum) because of what they stood for.  Clearly, there is an ability to connect the dots, but sometimes not in order. 

Regarding what titles the East used for the Pope, it seems that there was no issue with calling him "the Pope of Rome" even if that's a later title (that's how all the canonized Roman Popes are referred to among us), but it was understood that he was Bishop of Rome and functioned as a Patriarch within his own sphere.  When Rome begins to assign all sorts of things to the office of Pope that weren't there in the first place, Rome redefines what it means to be a Pope, which is why "bishop" and "patriarch" just don't cut it anymore.  If the East likes "Patriarch of the West", it's not because Patriarch is an Eastern title that we're more comfortable with, it's because it describes the proper function he exercises within the episcopate of the universal Church.   

Quote
I must say that I was warmed by your brotherly remarks and you and I are of the same mind here. Let me go through your post and make some notes :-).

You mean that wasn't it??  Tongue
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« Reply #48 on: May 22, 2013, 03:56:27 AM »

That may be true but I was curious from a dogmatic standpoint how say Palamos theology functions. Is it binding for the EO churches to teach say divine energies? Do Western Rite Orthodox teach different forms of spirituality than EO?

Why does 'the West' have so much trouble with Palamism? When I first heard of Palamism I was impressed with it and it immediately made sense.
Some think that the distinction is incompatible with God's transcendence becuase they believe that it composition (parts) into the divine.
That's why I used to object to it.

In some sense the fact that there are three hypostaseis is a division in God as well. I guess the schoolmen were forced to accept that one lol.
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« Reply #49 on: May 22, 2013, 09:44:48 AM »

A specific Patriarch Synod, then, could be called exclusively for East/West patriarchs to discuss matters of jurisdiction and morality and just as the pope, historically, was sought at times to settle such disputes under the united first millennium Church, he would now exercise this historic role as the deciding vote in a dead lock among the patriarchs.
In Orthodoxy even if all our Patriarchs said "yes," the people could still say "no."

And still be Orthodox in so doing.

How, if at all, does this fit into your model?
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« Reply #50 on: May 22, 2013, 10:20:06 AM »

1) These Patriarch Councils you speak of, I assume only constituted by the various Primates, don't seem consistent with the traditional Councils/Synods constituted by bishops (not just primates).

The Orthodox Church has had a few of these herself (e.g. Constantinople 1484).
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« Reply #51 on: May 22, 2013, 11:22:41 AM »

Whether we, Catholics and Orthodox, like it or not it is essential for the sake of the Church that the East and West reunite.

Essential that we jettison the teachings of the one true faith just so that we can say we're one when in actuality we are nothing but?  Yeah, right.
I am not saying it is essential today in 2013, but the force of secularity, it seems to me, will be pretty radical for all of us or our kids by the end of this century. If full communion is impossible without either of our churches feeling like we have to make unorthodox compromises then I suppose we will just have to try to strengthen friendship without communion, which may be the best course to take.

Those are two different things though: Friendship and communion.  Friendship can exist without communion and common goals in the face of common enemies are laudable, but we should not establish friendship and communion together especially if the tenants of the faith are not agreed to by all parties.
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« Reply #52 on: May 22, 2013, 11:37:56 AM »

1) These Patriarch Councils you speak of, I assume only constituted by the various Primates, don't seem consistent with the traditional Councils/Synods constituted by bishops (not just primates).

The Orthodox Church has had a few of these herself (e.g. Constantinople 1484).

You don't even have to go that far back.  Have there not been councils composed of the heads of the autocephalous EO Churches to tackle certain issues?  I thought the recent deposition of Patriarch Irenaios of Jerusalem was confirmed by one such council.  The heads of the OO Churches all met together in Addis Ababa in 1965, and since then, there are regular meetings of the heads of those Churches based in the Middle East. 

The "traditional Councils/Synods" are obviously more ideal, but it seems like in the recent history of Orthodoxy, these "smaller" councils are more common.  Given the advances in travel and communication, that's ironic--it may actually be harder to get everyone together for a "real" council now than it was in the fourth century.  And at this point we have no one to blame for that but ourselves. 
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« Reply #53 on: May 22, 2013, 12:08:33 PM »

Maybe you are right, but, many consider Fr. John Romanides as very good theologian.

Fr. Romanides.... why doesn't that suprise me? I'm far from impressed by most of his writings. Too bad they're so popular.
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« Reply #54 on: May 22, 2013, 01:44:59 PM »

That may be true but I was curious from a dogmatic standpoint how say Palamos theology functions. Is it binding for the EO churches to teach say divine energies? Do Western Rite Orthodox teach different forms of spirituality than EO?

Why does 'the West' have so much trouble with Palamism.

Maybe because the theology of the West is too much influenced by st. Augustine.

But East and West were generally one for centuries post Augustine despite different ways to explain things. Since the schism, our respective theologians have increased the divergences  between us up through the modern era, when some began serious academic efforts to determine what are truly significant differences and which were simply nuanced oversimplifications of the other sides' apologetics.
 
As location is said to be the biggest issue regarding the value of real estate, it remains the issue of the papacy between us us which is the greatest stumbling block. That issue can not be "nuanced" away without fatal compromise by east or west. It all comes down to that in the final analysis.
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« Reply #55 on: May 22, 2013, 02:22:51 PM »


As location is said to be the biggest issue regarding the value of real estate, it remains the issue of the papacy between us us which is the greatest stumbling block. That issue can not be "nuanced" away without fatal compromise by east or west. It all comes down to that in the final analysis.

Isn't the Filioque the greatest stumbling block?
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« Reply #56 on: May 22, 2013, 03:45:27 PM »



Isn't the Filioque the greatest stumbling block?

Yes, it ranks right up there with the Dogmas of the I.C. and Papal Infallibility and Supremacy.....
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« Reply #57 on: May 22, 2013, 03:52:03 PM »

1) These Patriarch Councils you speak of, I assume only constituted by the various Primates, don't seem consistent with the traditional Councils/Synods constituted by bishops (not just primates).

2) I don't think any Orthodox could accept papal infallibility, even if he chose to forego it without consent of his peers.

3) The Bishop of Rome would have to relinquish claims of universal jurisdiction, which I don't believe would be agreeable to many Catholics.

The model of the Eastern Catholic churches is a sham when it comes to whether or not they are forced or compelled to believe in the I.C., Supremacy, and Infallibility.  If they don't, then they can not be considered fully Catholic by the RCC.  If they do then they have forgone their Orthodoxy.  They live in a contradiction and a parallel theological world.  One where you have the choice of either to believe or not to believe a Dogma.  How can any Orthodox Christian, upon seeing this contradiction be enthused at the idea of any unity with a church which does not even compel it's Eastern Lung to adhere to accepted Dogmas?
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« Reply #58 on: May 22, 2013, 04:10:45 PM »

Whether we, Catholics and Orthodox, like it or not it is essential for the sake of the Church that the East and West reunite.

Essential that we jettison the teachings of the one true faith just so that we can say we're one when in actuality we are nothing but?  Yeah, right.
I am not saying it is essential today in 2013, but the force of secularity, it seems to me, will be pretty radical for all of us or our kids by the end of this century. If full communion is impossible without either of our churches feeling like we have to make unorthodox compromises then I suppose we will just have to try to strengthen friendship without communion, which may be the best course to take.

Those are two different things though: Friendship and communion.  Friendship can exist without communion and common goals in the face of common enemies are laudable, but we should not establish friendship and communion together especially if the tenants of the faith are not agreed to by all parties.

I can't remember where I read this, but it was something like: Communion is not how unity is achieved - it is the visible sign of unity of belief. Or something to that effect.
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« Reply #59 on: May 22, 2013, 04:28:16 PM »


As location is said to be the biggest issue regarding the value of real estate, it remains the issue of the papacy between us us which is the greatest stumbling block. That issue can not be "nuanced" away without fatal compromise by east or west. It all comes down to that in the final analysis.

Isn't the Filioque the greatest stumbling block?

Yes. The problem is, some people could get what they want and still not be satisfied. You betcha that's not all the Orthodox would ask for.
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« Reply #60 on: May 22, 2013, 04:39:23 PM »

If the RC's would back down on just one doctrine, whether it be the filioque, the immaculate conception or whetever, they would say that they were wrong all along and that the RCC wasn't the Church to begin with.
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« Reply #61 on: May 22, 2013, 04:50:33 PM »

Quote from: katherineofdixie link=topic=51586.mstatemen97 date=1369253445
Whether we, Catholics and Orthodox, like it or not it is essential for the sake of the Church that the East and West reunite.

Essential that we jettison the teachings of the one true faith just so that we can say we're one when in actuality we are nothing but?  Yeah, right.
I am not saying it is essential today in 2013, but the force of secularity, it seems to me, will be pretty radical for all of us or our kids by the end of this century. If full communion is impossible without either of our churches feeling like we have to make unorthodox compromises then I suppose we will just have to try to strengthen friendship without communion, which may be the best course to take.

Those are two different things though: Friendship and communion.  Friendship can exist without communion and common goals in the face of common enemies are laudable, but we should not establish friendship and communion together especially if the tenants of the faith are not agreed to by all parties.

I can't remember where I read this, but it was something like: Communion is not how unity is achieved - it is the visible sign of unity of belief. Or something to that effect.

That is from the Orthodox contribution to the vision statement of the North American Catholic Orthodox Theological Dialogue released in 2010.
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« Reply #62 on: May 22, 2013, 05:10:10 PM »

Quote from: Nephi link=topic=5158c52#msg926352 date=1369113307
1) These Patriarch Councils you speak of, I assume only constituted by the various Primates, don't seem consistent with the traditional Councils/Synods constituted by bishops (not just primates).

2) I don't think any Orthodox could accept papal infallibility, even if he chose to forego it without consent of his peers.

3) The Bishop of Rome would have to relinquish claims of universal jurisdiction, which I don't believe would be agreeable to many Catholics.

The model of the Eastern Catholic churches is a sham when it comes to whether or not they are forced or compelled to believe in the I.C., Supremacy, and Infallibility.  If they don't, then they can not be considered fully Catholic by the RCC.  If they do then they have forgone their Orthodoxy.  They live in a contradiction and a parallel theological world.  One where you have the choice of either to believe or not to believe a Dogma.  How can any Orthodox Christian, upon seeing this contradiction be enthused at the idea of any unity with a church which does not even compel it's Eastern Lung to adhere to accepted Dogmas?

Well, Rome claims that the Unia model can no longer be viewed as a basis for any unity with the Orthodox.

Theoretically, a return to a first millennial understanding of universality, which allowed a number of competing, but still Orhodox,  understandings of doctrinal teachings to develop in the west and the east while maintaining unity, would be a start. Obviously the filioque would be removed the creed as a starter. It is not uniform now in the Catholic sphere, as it is not supposed to be included in authorized eastern Catholic  texts... Augustinian views coexisted with eastern Patristics for centuries without causing schism. Certain objectionable Roman teachings can be viewed as "theologoumena" if Rome were to accept a view of universality acceptable to the Orthodox. But, as always, details are tougher than generalities. I'm not holding my breath, but meeting, talking and learning is preferable to casting stones at each other. Supremacy though is the biggie. The rest could be parsed but it's not likely. A firestorm of new schisms would ensue.
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« Reply #63 on: May 22, 2013, 06:25:59 PM »

Quote from: Nephi link=topic=5158c52#msg926352 date=1369113307
1) These Patriarch Councils you speak of, I assume only constituted by the various Primates, don't seem consistent with the traditional Councils/Synods constituted by bishops (not just primates).

2) I don't think any Orthodox could accept papal infallibility, even if he chose to forego it without consent of his peers.

3) The Bishop of Rome would have to relinquish claims of universal jurisdiction, which I don't believe would be agreeable to many Catholics.
The model of the Eastern Catholic churches is a sham when it comes to whether or not they are forced or compelled to believe in the I.C., Supremacy, and Infallibility.  If they don't, then they can not be considered fully Catholic by the RCC.  If they do then they have forgone their Orthodoxy.  They live in a contradiction and a parallel theological world.  One where you have the choice of either to believe or not to believe a Dogma.  How can any Orthodox Christian, upon seeing this contradiction be enthused at the idea of any unity with a church which does not even compel it's Eastern Lung to adhere to accepted Dogmas?

Well, Rome claims that the Unia model can no longer be viewed as a basis for any unity with the Orthodox.

Theoretically, a return to a first millennial understanding of universality, which allowed a number of competing, but still Orhodox,  understandings of doctrinal teachings to develop in the west and the east while maintaining unity, would be a start. Obviously the filioque would be removed the creed as a starter. It is not uniform now in the Catholic sphere, as it is not supposed to be included in authorized eastern Catholic  texts... Augustinian views coexisted with eastern Patristics for centuries without causing schism. Certain objectionable Roman teachings can be viewed as "theologoumena" if Rome were to accept a view of universality acceptable to the Orthodox. But, as always, details are tougher than generalities. I'm not holding my breath, but meeting, talking and learning is preferable to casting stones at each other. Supremacy though is the biggie. The rest could be parsed but it's not likely. A firestorm of new schisms would ensue.

Good insights.

I read today a interview with a Eastern Catholic cleric, Archmandrite Robert Taft, that provides a good peek into how Orthodox and RCs talk at cross purposes:

Quote
CWR: Many Orthodox theologians claim that even if the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople or the Patriarch of Moscow were to unite with Rome tomorrow, the lay faithful and the monastics would probably not accept it and therefore there would be no actual union. Given the history of Lyons and Florence do you think this is true, or has the Orthodox mood changed recently?

Taft: Part of the problem is that some Orthodox do not instruct their people adequately and update them, so ecumenical progress on the upper level often does not filter down to the ordinary faithful. In addition of course, there is the problem of the bigotry of many of the monastics and others towards anyone who is not Orthodox. On how they square this with what Christianity is supposed to be according to Jesus’ explicit teaching in the New Testament, we still await their explanation. One Catholic remedy for this—its usefulness proven by the rage it provokes in the exposed bigots—is the factual diffusion of their views, objectively and without editorial comment, in publications like Irénikon in French, or in English Father Ronald Roberson’s highly informative monthly SEIA Newsletter on the Eastern Churches and Ecumenism, distributed gratis to subscribers via email and eventually preserved for permanent reference in the Eastern Churches Journal. These publications just give the news without comment, including quotations from the bigots permanently recorded for posterity, thereby exposing them to the public embarrassment they merit. This is especially important for some representatives of Orthodoxy who speak out of both sides of their mouth, saying one thing at international ecumenical venues, and quite another for the consumption of Orthodox audiences or in publications they do not expect the non-Orthodox to read.
Quote

Thus, the problem with Orthodoxy, according to this RC, is that we just don't fall in line when the hierarchy tells us something and we are besieged by "bigotry". I don't know if this interview is representative of RC attitudes, but I do think it suggests a profound misunderstanding of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #64 on: May 22, 2013, 06:43:37 PM »

That may be true but I was curious from a dogmatic standpoint how say Palamos theology functions. Is it binding for the EO churches to teach say divine energies? Do Western Rite Orthodox teach different forms of spirituality than EO?

Why does 'the West' have so much trouble with Palamism? When I first heard of Palamism I was impressed with it and it immediately made sense.
Some think that the distinction is incompatible with God's transcendence becuase they believe that it composition (parts) into the divine.
That's why I used to object to it.

In some sense the fact that there are three hypostaseis is a division in God as well. I guess the schoolmen were forced to accept that one lol.
First, I said that is what I used to think. Second, the scholastics seem to arge that there is a way there can be a distinction in persons, while maintaining God's simplicity. Personally, I think it's pointless to even try to address the issue, as the Trinity is utterly beyond human comprehension.
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« Reply #65 on: May 22, 2013, 07:18:13 PM »

Thus, the problem with Orthodoxy, according to this RC, is that we just don't fall in line when the hierarchy tells us something and we are besieged by "bigotry". I don't know if this interview is representative of RC attitudes, but I do think it suggests a profound misunderstanding of Orthodoxy.

Actually, it seemed like he was saying that Orthodox bishops and theologians involved with ecumenical dialogue often don't seem to effectively "get the message out" to the larger body of the Church regarding progress made in the talks.  When there's a vacuum of actual information, there will always be rumors, conspiracy theorists, naysayers, hyper-ecumenists, Taft's "bigots", and so on to fill that space.  The rest of the quote seems directed towards the bigots and their bigotry and not to any false understanding of the relationship between hierarchs and their flocks in Orthodoxy.  

If you read enough Taft, you'll see that he can be rather acerbic at times, both with regard to his most well known area of expertise and otherwise.  That's refreshing, but it means you also have to take it with a grain of salt.  But let's be honest: there are Orthodox bigots.  Not all Orthodox who disagree with Taft or with the RCC are automatically bigots, but we have bigots in our midst: people whose disapproval of Roman Catholicism and Roman Catholics goes beyond disputes over matters of faith into the wide field of "hating".  There may be historical, cultural, or other reasons for this, but it's there (it may also be here!).  Sometimes it can't be controlled (because people are weak), but other times it can absolutely be controlled (because people have free will).  Yet, it happens without any justification many times.  So we have bigots.  And they don't make us look good.

Now, the Catholics have bigots too, but in my experience Catholics and non-Catholics can usually distinguish them from the others, limiting the effect they can have.  IMO, our situation is stickier.  

But I still think Taft's is an unfair criticism.  If Orthodox "bigots" are being recorded for posterity in Catholic journals now, we have plenty of evidence of Catholic bigotry all through history, from the Popes on down.  And in terms of the success of Catholic bishops in keeping their people abreast of ecumenical developments, I don't think they're doing such a great job either.  First off, most Catholics these days, at least in North America, are so poorly catechized I doubt Orthodoxy is even on their radar as more than just an ethnic version of Catholicism--many times, I wonder if even Catholicism is on their radar.  And if they do know a little something, they probably don't understand it well enough to see what the big deal is.  But I also know of other examples: I know of cases of Catholic priests who attempted to require conversion by Chrismation for an Orthodox marrying a Catholic, even though that's against the ecumenical position and sacramental theology of the RC's, because they thought Orthodoxy was just another form of Protestantism and didn't have valid sacraments; I know of priests who've never heard of Orthodoxy, even Eastern Catholic priests (!), or who speak as if being under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome was a sine qua non for salvation; there are so many Catholic laity I've come across who read the blurb in the US pew books about allowing the Orthodox to commune at Catholic Masses and simply presume that they can do likewise in the Orthodox Churches and that the schism is basically done.  Often, the "traditionalist Catholics", who appeal to the Orthodox in their struggle for a return to a theologically and liturgically more conservative RCism, will browbeat the "Eastern schismatics" for their obstinate refusal of Roman supremacy, compare the SSPX to the Orthodox and ask why the former are bad but the latter are OK, etc.  There are other examples, but these are enough to demonstrate that Taft is being somewhat unfair: Catholics may be friendlier in some ways, but it wasn't always like that, and it's not always because everyone's on the same page with their bishops, who are doing a spectacular job of communicating with their people (they're not).  Catholics are in their own world much of the time and have too much going on internally to really take a lot of this seriously right now.  But at least we can all try to be more kind and patient towards each other and build better relationships, and I think that's all Taft was really getting at, even if he took the opportunity to talk smack.  We can forgive him: we do it too.          



      
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« Reply #66 on: May 22, 2013, 09:32:43 PM »

Isn't the Filioque the greatest stumbling block?

Not exactly as I think it could arguably fit into the realm of Latin theologoumenon, but not as universal dogma.
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« Reply #67 on: May 22, 2013, 10:11:24 PM »


As location is said to be the biggest issue regarding the value of real estate, it remains the issue of the papacy between us us which is the greatest stumbling block. That issue can not be "nuanced" away without fatal compromise by east or west. It all comes down to that in the final analysis.

Isn't the Filioque the greatest stumbling block?
Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, in the 1970s, held that the Filioque is the greatest stumbling block (in his book 'The Orthodox Church') but more recently he has said that the problem need not be insoluble, as in there are ways to work it out.
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« Reply #68 on: May 22, 2013, 10:17:48 PM »

Quote from: Nephi link=topic=5158c52#msg926352 date=1369113307
1) These Patriarch Councils you speak of, I assume only constituted by the various Primates, don't seem consistent with the traditional Councils/Synods constituted by bishops (not just primates).

2) I don't think any Orthodox could accept papal infallibility, even if he chose to forego it without consent of his peers.

3) The Bishop of Rome would have to relinquish claims of universal jurisdiction, which I don't believe would be agreeable to many Catholics.

The model of the Eastern Catholic churches is a sham when it comes to whether or not they are forced or compelled to believe in the I.C., Supremacy, and Infallibility.  If they don't, then they can not be considered fully Catholic by the RCC.  If they do then they have forgone their Orthodoxy.  They live in a contradiction and a parallel theological world.  One where you have the choice of either to believe or not to believe a Dogma.  How can any Orthodox Christian, upon seeing this contradiction be enthused at the idea of any unity with a church which does not even compel it's Eastern Lung to adhere to accepted Dogmas?

Well, Rome claims that the Unia model can no longer be viewed as a basis for any unity with the Orthodox.

Theoretically, a return to a first millennial understanding of universality, which allowed a number of competing, but still Orhodox,  understandings of doctrinal teachings to develop in the west and the east while maintaining unity, would be a start. Obviously the filioque would be removed the creed as a starter. It is not uniform now in the Catholic sphere, as it is not supposed to be included in authorized eastern Catholic  texts... Augustinian views coexisted with eastern Patristics for centuries without causing schism. Certain objectionable Roman teachings can be viewed as "theologoumena" if Rome were to accept a view of universality acceptable to the Orthodox. But, as always, details are tougher than generalities. I'm not holding my breath, but meeting, talking and learning is preferable to casting stones at each other. Supremacy though is the biggie. The rest could be parsed but it's not likely. A firestorm of new schisms would ensue.
Thank you for your thoughts. We are in agreement here. Many diverse theological beliefs were held together while unity and communion remained in the first millennium. As an RC who is involved in this debate,  I can say that thinking on universal jurisdiction has changed a lot after Benedict XVI in that many RC theologians believe that the pope would not be able to exercise it in a united Church.
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« Reply #69 on: May 22, 2013, 10:46:14 PM »

Whether we, Catholics and Orthodox, like it or not it is essential for the sake of the Church that the East and West reunite.

Essential that we jettison the teachings of the one true faith just so that we can say we're one when in actuality we are nothing but?  Yeah, right.

Yeah. "For the sake of the Church?" The Orthodox Church? The Roman Catholic Church? Or that weird body which has two lungs in separate bodies but exist mentally in the heads of those who don't know ecclesiology?

I don't see the urgency here.
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« Reply #70 on: May 22, 2013, 10:56:25 PM »

Whether we, Catholics and Orthodox, like it or not it is essential for the sake of the Church that the East and West reunite.

Essential that we jettison the teachings of the one true faith just so that we can say we're one when in actuality we are nothing but?  Yeah, right.

Yeah. "For the sake of the Church?" The Orthodox Church? The Roman Catholic Church? Or that weird body which has two lungs in separate bodies but exist mentally in the heads of those who don't know ecclesiology?

I don't see the urgency here.
Whether it is 'urgent' in your mind or not, you should see the importance of at least fostering good relationships with other Christians for the sake of unity, even if that unity never is actualized in the form of full communion.
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« Reply #71 on: May 22, 2013, 11:22:04 PM »

"Steps Towards A Reunited Church: A Sketch Of An Orthodox-Catholic Vision For The Future" is worth a read, along with other related documents.  http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/ecumenical/orthodox/steps-towards-reunited-church.cfm

The orthodox pov is clearly articulated.

This paper is the focus of this June's Orientale Lumen conference in Washington. http://www.olconference.com/OL_FutCon.full

Fr.Taft comes across as what he is- an old time academic.Hence the acidity.
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« Reply #72 on: May 22, 2013, 11:23:16 PM »

A specific Patriarch Synod, then, could be called exclusively for East/West patriarchs to discuss matters of jurisdiction and morality and just as the pope, historically, was sought at times to settle such disputes under the united first millennium Church, he would now exercise this historic role as the deciding vote in a dead lock among the patriarchs.
In Orthodoxy even if all our Patriarchs said "yes," the people could still say "no."

And still be Orthodox in so doing.

How, if at all, does this (or could this) fit into your model?
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« Reply #73 on: May 22, 2013, 11:25:22 PM »

Whether we, Catholics and Orthodox, like it or not it is essential for the sake of the Church that the East and West reunite.

Essential that we jettison the teachings of the one true faith just so that we can say we're one when in actuality we are nothing but?  Yeah, right.

Yeah. "For the sake of the Church?" The Orthodox Church? The Roman Catholic Church? Or that weird body which has two lungs in separate bodies but exist mentally in the heads of those who don't know ecclesiology?

I don't see the urgency here.
Whether it is 'urgent' in your mind or not, you should see the importance of at least fostering good relationships with other Christians for the sake of unity, even if that unity never is actualized in the form of full communion.

That's a good idea.   Smiley
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« Reply #74 on: May 22, 2013, 11:30:53 PM »

A specific Patriarch Synod, then, could be called exclusively for East/West patriarchs to discuss matters of jurisdiction and morality and just as the pope, historically, was sought at times to settle such disputes under the united first millennium Church, he would now exercise this historic role as the deciding vote in a dead lock among the patriarchs.
In Orthodoxy even if all our Patriarchs said "yes," the people could still say "no."

And still be Orthodox in so doing.

How, if at all, does this (or could this) fit into your model?

I would imagine through an appeals process to the next highest authority which would seem to be an Ecumenical Council. That is, if the majority or the patriarchs concurred on a jurisdictional matter and the 'people' disagreed then the next step would be taken. In the West that would mean disciplinary action for those who reject the decision (for those in Latin jurisdiction, to be clear). Elsewhere, I read a post by an Orthodox Christian who said that my idea was not exactly innovative since Patriarch synods have been called before to deal with certain local or regional (not universal) issues and, moreover, he said that it could be useful and more practical in light of the wide reaching reality of the Church, fsr more than in the past, than assembling bishops from all over the world to address some issues.
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« Reply #75 on: May 22, 2013, 11:35:54 PM »

Whether we, Catholics and Orthodox, like it or not it is essential for the sake of the Church that the East and West reunite.

Essential that we jettison the teachings of the one true faith just so that we can say we're one when in actuality we are nothing but?  Yeah, right.

Yeah. "For the sake of the Church?" The Orthodox Church? The Roman Catholic Church? Or that weird body which has two lungs in separate bodies but exist mentally in the heads of those who don't know ecclesiology?

I don't see the urgency here.
Whether it is 'urgent' in your mind or not, you should see the importance of at least fostering good relationships with other Christians for the sake of unity, even if that unity never is actualized in the form of full communion.

That's a good idea.   Smiley

By unity that does not materialize into full communion I was thinking fellowship in prayer, going to the gym, etc., which is a form of fraternity and unity in Christ though not the intimacy of communion. So, if 'better relationships' is a more congenial term for some then I am ok with that :-)
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« Reply #76 on: May 23, 2013, 12:04:25 AM »

The highest authority really isn't an ecumenical council. The highest authority is the Holy Spirit. There have been councils lauded at the time as ecumenical, but these were not accepted because the Holy Spirit was not in them.
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« Reply #77 on: May 23, 2013, 12:12:20 AM »

The highest authority really isn't an ecumenical council. The highest authority is the Holy Spirit. There have been councils lauded at the time as ecumenical, but these were not accepted because the Holy Spirit was not in them.

Exactly. Just as the Church gives authority to Scripture, and not vice versa, the Church (Tradition) gives authority even to the highest councils, and not vice versa.
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« Reply #78 on: May 23, 2013, 12:15:31 AM »

A specific Patriarch Synod, then, could be called exclusively for East/West patriarchs to discuss matters of jurisdiction and morality and just as the pope, historically, was sought at times to settle such disputes under the united first millennium Church, he would now exercise this historic role as the deciding vote in a dead lock among the patriarchs.
In Orthodoxy even if all our Patriarchs said "yes," the people could still say "no."

And still be Orthodox in so doing.

How, if at all, does this (or could this) fit into your model?

I would imagine through an appeals process to the next highest authority which would seem to be an Ecumenical Council. That is, if the majority or the patriarchs concurred on a jurisdictional matter and the 'people' disagreed then the next step would be taken. In the West that would mean disciplinary action for those who reject the decision (for those in Latin jurisdiction, to be clear). Elsewhere, I read a post by an Orthodox Christian who said that my idea was not exactly innovative since Patriarch synods have been called before to deal with certain local or regional (not universal) issues and, moreover, he said that it could be useful and more practical in light of the wide reaching reality of the Church, fsr more than in the past, than assembling bishops from all over the world to address some issues.
The scenerio you suggest of one patriarch disagreeing with another patriarch and the matter being ruled upon by a pope to "break the tie'' is alien to Orthodox understanding.

"...episcopal power... itself implies the bishop's agreement and unity with the whole Episcopate, so that a bishop separated from the unity of bishops loses ipso facto his "power. " [13] In this sense a bishop is obedient and even subordinated to the unity and unanimity of bishops, but because he himself is a vital member of that unity. His subordination is not to a "superior," but to the very reality of the Church's unity and unanimity of which the Synod of bishops is the gracious organ: "The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent...but neither let him...do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity" (Apost. Canon 34).

...When told that all Patriarchs have agreed with the Patriarch of Constantinople that Monotheletism is an Orthodox doctrine, St. Maximus the Confessor refused to accept this argument as a decisive criterion of truth. The Church ultimately canonized St. Maximus and condemned the Patriarchs... the purpose and the function of the Hierarchy is precisely to keep pure and undistorted the tradition in its fullness, and if and when it sanctions or even tolerates anything contrary to the truth of the church, it puts itself under the condemnation of canons. [1] 1. "The duty of obedience ceases when the bishop deviates from the Catholic norm, and the people have the right to accuse and even to depose him," G. FIorovsky, "Sobornost—The Catholicity of the Church," The Church of God, London, 1934, p. 72.
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« Reply #79 on: May 23, 2013, 12:22:33 AM »

Regarding what titles the East used for the Pope, it seems that there was no issue with calling him "the Pope of Rome" even if that's a later title (that's how all the canonized Roman Popes are referred to among us), but it was understood that he was Bishop of Rome and functioned as a Patriarch within his own sphere.  When Rome begins to assign all sorts of things to the office of Pope that weren't there in the first place, Rome redefines what it means to be a Pope, which is why "bishop" and "patriarch" just don't cut it anymore.  If the East likes "Patriarch of the West", it's not because Patriarch is an Eastern title that we're more comfortable with, it's because it describes the proper function he exercises within the episcopate of the universal Church.    


There are a lot of issues that we could discuss but for the sake of prudence I thought we might focus on the 'title' and role of the Pope. I agree that the Pope functioned like a Patriarch In his jurisdiction but historically from very early on he exercised more unilateral authority in his own region, the West. That's on the regional level.

The Pope did not have jurisdictional authority over other particular churches, but he did, however, have the unique duty as primus inter pares to function as the final arbiter when other churches elected freely to consult the Pope for a decision that settled the matter. This was never nor could it be exercised by the Pope without the consent of the involved parties.

Canons of the great Ecumenical Councils recognize the See of Rome (the Pope) as the head (kephale) of the collegial body of bishops, primus inter pares. It was not merely an honorific title nor was it universal jurisdiction. Apostolic Canon 34, which Metropolitan Kallistos has suggested as a starting point for East-West dialogue, seems to say that the Pope must at least be involved in the conciliar process (universal level) and he must be acknowledged as the head in this process (at the universal level). Ill quote it at length:
Quote
Apostolic Canon 34: "The bishops of each province (ethnos) must recognize the one who is first (protos) amongst them, and consider him to be their head (kephale), and not do anything important without his consent (gnome); each bishop may only do what concerns his own diocese (paroikia) and its dependent territories. But the first (protos) cannot do anything without the consent of all. For in this way concord (homonoia) will prevail, and God will be praised through the Lord in the Holy Spirit"

Historical research has shown that the enduring identification of certain Sees with the Apostles like Rome with Peter is a development In the first millennium Western Church. I believe that it is an authentic development, but it must be qualified properly and I think that Apostolic Canon 34 is an excellent example of how to begin to interpret it practically in a united church.

I will conclude with Ratzinger's proposal which to it should be added that the West would not seek any jurisdiction over the particular churches of the East in a united Church:

Quote
Although it is not given to us to halt the flight of history, to change the course of centuries, we may say, nevertheless, that what was possible for a thousand years is not impossible for Christians today. ... Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium. When the Patriarch Athenagoras, on July 25, 1967, ...designated [the Pope] as the successor of St. Peter, as the most esteemed among us, as one who presides in charity, this great Church leader was expressing the essential content of the doctrine of primacy as it was known in the first millennium. Rome need not ask for more. Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox in the form she has always had.
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« Reply #80 on: May 23, 2013, 12:32:09 AM »

A specific Patriarch Synod, then, could be called exclusively for East/West patriarchs to discuss matters of jurisdiction and morality and just as the pope, historically, was sought at times to settle such disputes under the united first millennium Church, he would now exercise this historic role as the deciding vote in a dead lock among the patriarchs.
In Orthodoxy even if all our Patriarchs said "yes," the people could still say "no."

And still be Orthodox in so doing.

How, if at all, does this (or could this) fit into your model?

I would imagine through an appeals process to the next highest authority which would seem to be an Ecumenical Council. That is, if the majority or the patriarchs concurred on a jurisdictional matter and the 'people' disagreed then the next step would be taken. In the West that would mean disciplinary action for those who reject the decision (for those in Latin jurisdiction, to be clear). Elsewhere, I read a post by an Orthodox Christian who said that my idea was not exactly innovative since Patriarch synods have been called before to deal with certain local or regional (not universal) issues and, moreover, he said that it could be useful and more practical in light of the wide reaching reality of the Church, fsr more than in the past, than assembling bishops from all over the world to address some issues.
The scenerio you suggest of one patriarch disagreeing with another patriarch and the matter being ruled upon by a pope to "break the tie'' is alien to Orthodox understanding.

"...episcopal power... itself implies the bishop's agreement and unity with the whole Episcopate, so that a bishop separated from the unity of bishops loses ipso facto his "power. " [13] In this sense a bishop is obedient and even subordinated to the unity and unanimity of bishops, but because he himself is a vital member of that unity. His subordination is not to a "superior," but to the very reality of the Church's unity and unanimity of which the Synod of bishops is the gracious organ: "The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent...but neither let him...do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity" (Apost. Canon 34).

...When told that all Patriarchs have agreed with the Patriarch of Constantinople that Monotheletism is an Orthodox doctrine, St. Maximus the Confessor refused to accept this argument as a decisive criterion of truth. The Church ultimately canonized St. Maximus and condemned the Patriarchs... the purpose and the function of the Hierarchy is precisely to keep pure and undistorted the tradition in its fullness, and if and when it sanctions or even tolerates anything contrary to the truth of the church, it puts itself under the condemnation of canons. [1] 1. "The duty of obedience ceases when the bishop deviates from the Catholic norm, and the people have the right to accuse and even to depose him," G. FIorovsky, "Sobornost—The Catholicity of the Church," The Church of God, London, 1934, p. 72.
Actually, when the Church was united it was not alien for the Pope to be sought out (never the Pope himself involving himself to settle a dispute without consent of the parties) to arbitrate:
Some historical examples of this can be found in the leaked Joint Orthodox-Catholic document under the heading 'bishop of Rome in ecclesial crises'

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1341814?eng=y

So, what I would like to ask you is what are the actions taken in the Orthodox Church if the 'people' disagree with a synod? What happens next?


Also, let me clarify, in my proposal in light of Canon 34 and the historical role as mediator (when called upon) I suggested not that the Pope would assume this duty in the same form as it had been exercised but a more qualified and indeed limited exercise of this duty, IMHO, as being a tie-breaker in Patriarchial Councils if they were to be dead-locked (for example, if there 20 patriarchs in a united Church and the vote was 10-10 then the Pope's vote could be a tie breaker).
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« Reply #81 on: May 23, 2013, 12:34:37 AM »

The highest authority really isn't an ecumenical council. The highest authority is the Holy Spirit. There have been councils lauded at the time as ecumenical, but these were not accepted because the Holy Spirit was not in them.
As an RC, I see the Ecumenical Councils as authoritative precisely because the Holy Spirit guided them and spoke through them. Not sure if the EO disagree with RCs on this point.
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« Reply #82 on: May 23, 2013, 12:35:42 AM »

Whatever honor the Pope may have had when he was Orthodox, how can anyone argue that this authority remains despite the Pope's fall into heresy? It just boggles my mind that any Orthodox can seriously argue that we need to involve the Pope in our conciliar deliberations due to his historic primacy, if that is indeed what Met Kallistos is suggesting.

If and when the Pope repents and converts to Orthodoxy, the Church will not grant him any ecclesiological office or rank just automatically. Apostolic succession does not withstand separation from the Church.

So the discussion of the Pope's authority vis-a-vis the other ancient Patriarchates is really of historical interest only.
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« Reply #83 on: May 23, 2013, 12:37:27 AM »

The highest authority really isn't an ecumenical council. The highest authority is the Holy Spirit. There have been councils lauded at the time as ecumenical, but these were not accepted because the Holy Spirit was not in them.
As an RC, I see the Ecumenical Councils as authoritative precisely because the Holy Spirit guided them and spoke through them. Not sure if the EO disagree with RCs on this point.

I think what he's saying is that a Council may call itself Ecumenical, and may have all the formal trappings of a legal Ecumenical Council, but it does not gain that authority unless its decisions are accepted by the whole Church. The textbook example is the "robber" council of 449.
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« Reply #84 on: May 23, 2013, 12:40:29 AM »

Quote
"...if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox in the form she has always had.
Heresy in the Greek is literally opinion; specifically individual opinion in isolation from the phronema of the Church. When in 1870 papal infallibility became a dogma of the Roman Catholic tradition simply another example was added to a long category of Western opinions in isolation becoming dogma in the West apart from the mind of -in our view- the true Church. I have to concur with Orthodox Answers (Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck) that the real problem with Vatican I as barriers to communion is the appended anathema:

Quote from: Orthodox Answers
Question Number 584:
Can an Orthodox join a Roman Catholic Church, or attend a Roman Catholic Church, and still remain Orthodox?

ANSWER:
No, the fact is that an Orthodox Christian should not receive communion in a Roman Catholic Church, except in truly extremely rare and specific circumstances which would typically be known in advance and require discussion with one's bishop. Of course, "joining" or receiving communion is different than attending, for specific reasons, like attending a funeral. The reason is that until further notice, the anathemas of Vatican I against the Orthodox stand - nothing has substantially changed in Roman Catholic ecclesiology in spite years of dialogue. Here is the standing degree of Vatican I:

"9. ...we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.
So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema."

Since Orthodox Christians reject this definition and are placed under anathema (unless this dogma is renounced), they should act accordingly.
[/b]
The Roman Catholic Church must rescind this anathema before union with Orthodox Christians a large percentage of whom hold the view anathematized by Vatican I or the result will be the fracturing of Orthodox Christianity.

I am not by this suggesting problems are limited to this matter, of course.
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« Reply #85 on: May 23, 2013, 12:42:27 AM »

Whatever honor the Pope may have had when he was Orthodox, how can anyone argue that this authority remains despite the Pope's fall into heresy? It just boggles my mind that any Orthodox can seriously argue that we need to involve the Pope in our conciliar deliberations due to his historic primacy, if that is indeed what Met Kallistos is suggesting.

If and when the Pope repents and converts to Orthodoxy, the Church will not grant him any ecclesiological office or rank just automatically. Apostolic succession does not withstand separation from the Church.

So the discussion of the Pope's authority vis-a-vis the other ancient Patriarchates is really of historical interest only.
It seems to me that the Council of Constantinople is pretty clear that when Rome is in communion it is the Head. And the 'return' to 'orthodoxy' should then be seen as evidence that the Pope is ready to assume his ancient duties as primus inter pares.
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« Reply #86 on: May 23, 2013, 12:43:44 AM »

Elsewhere, I read a post by an Orthodox Christian who said that my idea was not exactly innovative since Patriarch synods have been called before to deal with certain local or regional (not universal) issues and, moreover, he said that it could be useful and more practical in light of the wide reaching reality of the Church, fsr more than in the past, than assembling bishops from all over the world to address some issues.

If this refers to similar remarks I made in another thread, allow me to correct your misunderstanding.

I didn't say that such councils "could be more useful and more practical in light of the wide reaching reality of the Church, etc.".  Instead, I reflected on the fact that nowadays these "Patriarch Councils" are more common because it is difficult for some reason to summon a more "general" Council of many bishops.  Getting a few patriarchs together to make a decision on a matter and, if necessary, "sell" it to their Synods is apparently easier than getting everyone or almost everyone together.  And I said that as more of a criticism of our inability to get our act together rather than viewing it as a positive development in ecclesiastical administration.  

Every so often, for example, some big issue facing the EO is referred to the "upcoming Great and Holy Council"...yeah, upcoming for decades with no arrival in sight.  But why should it have to be this way?  Travel is easier, and for those who can't travel, there are any number of ways they could participate remotely using modern communication.  It's not happening because there's no will to get it done.  The OO aren't much better in this regard, but we haven't proposed any sort of general Council; we just let each local Church's Synod deal with issues on behalf of their own "subjects" and, if desired, share the notes.  

I wish we could move past some of this inefficiency and address our serious issues in a general council, but perhaps there is a fear of such because of how those have gone lately: look what happened to the RCC after Vatican II.  General councils, even with the best intentions, can be hijacked and take you to bad places; maybe it's thought better to limit the voices if too many chefs really spoil the soup.  But again, that's about getting our act together more than it is about councils.        
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« Reply #87 on: May 23, 2013, 12:45:42 AM »

Quote
"...if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox in the form she has always had.
Heresy in the Greek is literally opinion; specifically individual opinion in isolation from the phronema of the Church. When in 1870 papal infallibility became a dogma of the Roman Catholic tradition simply another example was added to a long category of Western opinions in isolation becoming dogma in the West apart from the mind of -in our view- the true Church. I have to concur with Orthodox Answers (Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck) that the real problem with Vatican I as barriers to communion is the appended anathema:

Quote from: Orthodox Answers
Question Number 584:
Can an Orthodox join a Roman Catholic Church, or attend a Roman Catholic Church, and still remain Orthodox?

ANSWER:
No, the fact is that an Orthodox Christian should not receive communion in a Roman Catholic Church, except in truly extremely rare and specific circumstances which would typically be known in advance and require discussion with one's bishop. Of course, "joining" or receiving communion is different than attending, for specific reasons, like attending a funeral. The reason is that until further notice, the anathemas of Vatican I against the Orthodox stand - nothing has substantially changed in Roman Catholic ecclesiology in spite years of dialogue. Here is the standing degree of Vatican I:

"9. ...we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.
So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema."

Since Orthodox Christians reject this definition and are placed under anathema (unless this dogma is renounced), they should act accordingly.
[/b]
The Roman Catholic Church must rescind this anathema before union with Orthodox Christians a large percentage of whom hold the view anathematized by Vatican I or the result will be the fracturing of Orthodox Christianity.
I have spoken to a Catholic bishop who told me that infallibility as expressed in Vatican I would function as the Pope speaking on behalf of the college of bishops with their full consent, for whatever that adds to the discussion.
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« Reply #88 on: May 23, 2013, 12:51:46 AM »

Elsewhere, I read a post by an Orthodox Christian who said that my idea was not exactly innovative since Patriarch synods have been called before to deal with certain local or regional (not universal) issues and, moreover, he said that it could be useful and more practical in light of the wide reaching reality of the Church, fsr more than in the past, than assembling bishops from all over the world to address some issues.

If this refers to similar remarks I made in another thread, allow me to correct your misunderstanding.

I didn't say that such councils "could be more useful and more practical in light of the wide reaching reality of the Church, etc.".  Instead, I reflected on the fact that nowadays these "Patriarch Councils" are more common because it is difficult for some reason to summon a more "general" Council of many bishops.  Getting a few patriarchs together to make a decision on a matter and, if necessary, "sell" it to their Synods is apparently easier than getting everyone or almost everyone together.  And I said that as more of a criticism of our inability to get our act together rather than viewing it as a positive development in ecclesiastical administration.  

Every so often, for example, some big issue facing the EO is referred to the "upcoming Great and Holy Council"...yeah, upcoming for decades with no arrival in sight.  But why should it have to be this way?  Travel is easier, and for those who can't travel, there are any number of ways they could participate remotely using modern communication.  It's not happening because there's no will to get it done.  The OO aren't much better in this regard, but we haven't proposed any sort of general Council; we just let each local Church's Synod deal with issues on behalf of their own "subjects" and, if desired, share the notes.  

I wish we could move past some of this inefficiency and address our serious issues in a general council, but perhaps there is a fear of such because of how those have gone lately: look what happened to the RCC after Vatican II.  General councils, even with the best intentions, can be hijacked and take you to bad places; maybe it's thought better to limit the voices if too many chefs really spoil the soup.  But again, that's about getting our act together more than it is about councils.        
Yes, it appears I was referring to you, thanks for your clarification. I wonder, though, how jurisdictional or other disputes are handled between say Moscow and Constantinople without an ecumenical council or Patriarchial council? Again, to reiterate, a patriarch council is not a necessity in my proposal, merely a tentative idea and I still think that it may have utility for settling select issues.

If there was a jurisdictional dispute between two sees or a problem with one see then what would you disagree with in terms of a Patriarchial council handling the matter?

And it is important for me to say that I firmly disagree with your opinion of Vatican II as having a negative effect on the RCC. Most Catholics, including myself, revere VII as one of if not the most essential council of this millennium. The only problem that a minority of Catholics, myself included here too, have is the implementation of the liturgy which Pope Benedict XVI shares. After modernity and secularism in the West, I am convinced that the RCC would have greatly diminished without VII.
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« Reply #89 on: May 23, 2013, 12:54:17 AM »

Whatever honor the Pope may have had when he was Orthodox, how can anyone argue that this authority remains despite the Pope's fall into heresy? It just boggles my mind that any Orthodox can seriously argue that we need to involve the Pope in our conciliar deliberations due to his historic primacy, if that is indeed what Met Kallistos is suggesting.

If and when the Pope repents and converts to Orthodoxy, the Church will not grant him any ecclesiological office or rank just automatically. Apostolic succession does not withstand separation from the Church.

So the discussion of the Pope's authority vis-a-vis the other ancient Patriarchates is really of historical interest only.
It seems to me that the Council of Constantinople is pretty clear that when Rome is in communion it is the Head. And the 'return' to 'orthodoxy' should then be seen as evidence that the Pope is ready to assume his ancient duties as primus inter pares.

Did you bring this up before, or do you have a reference regarding the Council you mention? I suspect this is a matter of differing interpretation. For clergy who are already Orthodox, the penalty for apostasy is deposition, so that makes it hard to believe that several generations of heresy later, a heretical clergyman can somehow have retained the dignity of his office.
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