Due to an ongoing health crisis in the family, blogging will be 'on and off' as time and circumstances permit for the foreseeable future. I also beg your indulgence if I am slow in responding to emails. New posts will appear below this notice.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Metropolitan Paul of Kyrenia sharply criticizes the recent Catholic-Orthodox dialogue

On the 8th to the 14th of October in 2007, the 10th plenary session of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics had convened in Ravenna of Italy. At the end of the session, a document was issued which included everything that was agreed upon and is known as the "Ravenna Document".

The Ravenna Document had, as its theme:

"ECCLESIOLOGICAL AND CANONICAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE SACRAMENTAL NATURE OF THE CHURCH.

ECCLESIAL COMMUNION, CONCILIARITY AND AUTHORITY"



The basic error of the Ravenna Document is that the Orthodox members of the Joint International Commission of Orthodox and Roman Catholics had regarded their heterodox interlocutors as belonging to the same Church, thus giving the impression that between the Orthodox Church and Roman Catholicism there actually exists an ecclesiological unity, albeit without the necessary theological prerequisites.

The attempt by members of the Orthodox Representation to suppress or bypass the dogmatic diversification between Orthodoxy and heterodoxy as something secondary is undermining the self-awareness of the Orthodox Church as the only true Church - which is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church - and is giving the impression that the Roman Catholics comprise a partial or local Orthodox Church.

Even though the interruption of sacramental intercommunion is attributed to the Roman Catholics' diversifications from the common Faith of the first centuries, nevertheless, in the Ravenna Document it is mutually confessed by both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic members of the Joint Commission that their faith is common. In this way, the discussion and settlement of organizational and administrative issues have been set forth, as, for example, the matter of the Pope's primacy, while the theological issues have been bypassed and left pending. As a consequence of this, the Ravenna document concluded with the statement that "It remains for the question of the role of the bishop of Rome in the communion of all the Churches to be studied in greater depth." (Ravenna Document, para.45)

It is therefore imperative that the serious dogmatic issues be discussed first, and furthermore, a framework be determined with the necessary prerequisites that should be based on Patristic criteria, which will ensure that the Dialogue will be conducted on a sound and immovable dogmatic basis and not on unstable secular grounds. It is only with persistence in the precision (akriveia) of the Orthodox dogma and the dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church that we can be certain we are working towards the re-induction of the strayed into Christ's Flock.
Read the rest here.

3 comments:

npmccallum said...

It seems to me that +Paul misses two very important points.

1. Papal primacy *is* a dogmatic issue for them, and we are excommunicated for it.

2. Relatedly, for Roman Catholics, Truth flows through the throne of their Apostolic See.

Since we reject these points, any such discussion of theology with Rome must begin at this point: namely, coming to a proper and ecumenical understanding of primacy and conciliarity. Once this is complete, we may then begin to discuss other matters. If we do not resolve this first, our theological conversations will be like ships passing in the night; one of us appealing to Apostolic Tradition and Conciliarity, the other appealing to the infallibility of the Papal office.

It thus seems to me that, if one is setting out to demonstrate to Catholics that they are outside the Church, one must do so first by getting them to agree to an adespotic view of primacy. From this we can begin to reframe Roman dogmas (like the "Immaculate Conception") as regional doctrines which require ecumenical clarification.

In short, I agree with him that the theological issues need to be dealt with, but I disagree with him on the order of their resolution.

Rob said...

Have you ever consider NOT using italic text. It's very difficult to read.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Rob,
Unfortunatly I have to have some way of distinguishing quoted text from my own writings. I used to employ a different color font but that also was a problem for people reading especially on RSS Feed.

In ICXC
John