29 March 2011

Whispers in the Loggia ...

... gives a wonderful opportunity of savouring the enthronement of the new Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Church. Since my Ukrainian is frail, I will simply have to fall back on Eis polla ete, Despota.

As I do so, I express my hope that valued Orthodox friends will not be too cross with me. I do know that things are not all as simple as the "Patriarchate Now" lobby believe. And, while the new Apostolic Nuncio to this country may have expressed himself loosely, I do rather sympathise with what I take to be be his underlying motive (in not encouraging that young Orthodox man to become a Catholic): a determination not to weaken the Patriarchate of Moskow and of All the Russias. Given the doctrine expressed by Cardinal Ratzinger in Communionis notio (para 17) and Dominus Iesus (para 17 again!) about the Orthodox Churches as "True*- but wounded - Particular Churches", I do wonder whether there is the same absolute necessity for individuals within those "true particular churches" to make individual submission as there is in ecclesial contexts where a valid episcopate and sacramental life cannot be discerned; since, by belonging to a "true particular church", one does, surely, belong to the Catholic Church. I speak humbly and very much subject to correction.
More on the Ukrainians.


*As I understand it, the advance made in these two CDF documents over the words of the conciliar decree Unitatis redintegratio is the unambiguous - and insistent - addition by the CDF of the adjective "True". "Integralists" who might regard the teaching of Vatican II and of the CDF in this matter as yet another example of post-conciliar Vatican "Apostasy" should, as the Transalpine Redemptorist blog neatly and extensively demonstrated a few months ago, pay rather closer attention to the legislation and praxis of Roman Pontiffs well before period of Vatican II: ex.gr., to the example of S Pius X with regard to Russia.


. said...

The problem is, there are all sorts of people on this side saying "well, what about "extra ecclesiam nulla salus"?" This is all very well, but on what grounds do we say that the Orthodox are somehow invalid? This becomes all the more problematic when you consider the existence of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

The only plausible argument is on the basis of unity with Rome, but since it was Cardinal Humbert who threw the first bun, it's rather difficult to argue...

I say all this, I should add, as a Latin and a Papist.

Peter said...

To enter a comment we have to type a word for verification. I think that this is to stop computers posting comments.
The word now showing is "prier".
How apt.
Well I am enjoying the blog and being educated.
Good luck with your journey Father.

Священник села said...

A certain hankering for a centralised authority in church life is not necessarily off the mark, especially if the concern is for co-ordination and good order.

After all, dioceses are coordinated through synods, and parishes are perhaps coordinated through deaneries. Local catholicity rubs up against the catholicity of other locales, and surely it is a good thing to provide relationships and structures to enhance unity and pre-empt conflict?

In a sense that is the history of so many of our church canons concerning the relations between churches - there is a striving for order and the blessings of order, and anxiety about disorder and idiosyncracy. If this was a concern over a thousand years ago, it must be an even greater concern now that we travel and communicate so readily and rapidly.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, who was not at all entranced by what we would call papal pretensions, nonetheless saw that church history demonstrates that as the church grows so too it needs coordinating structures. He writes:

If Roman Catholics should renounce their imaginations, then their restoration to union with the Church would be a matter for the greatest joy to the faithful and to the Holy Angels, not only for the sake of their soul's salvation but for the realisation of the restored fullness of the Church's life to which our brethren of the West would bring that corporate ecclesiastical activity which is characteristic to them. In the circumstance of the renunciation by the Roman Catholics of their pseudo-dogmas... the Holy Church in restoring them to union with herself, would not only certainly restore to the Roman Primate that primacy which was assigned to him before his falling away into schism, but would probably invest him with such an authority in the Oecumenical Church as had never hitherto been assigned to him inasmuch as that which he formerly possessed was confined to Western Europe and North-West Africa.

But such authority, assumed as being given to the Pope after his return to Orthodoxy, would be based ... but in the practical need of ecclesiastical life by the force of which that life was gradually centralised: first, in the metropolitanates (from the third century) and then in the patriarchates (from the fourth and fifth centuries) with the result that the authority of the metropolitans and patriarchs in their areas was continually and gradually strengthened in proportion to the assimilation of the people to Christian culture. We admit for the future the conception of a single personal supremacy of the Church in consonance with the broadest preservation of the conciliar principle and on that condition that the supremacy does not pretend to be based on such invented traditions... but only on the practical need of ecclesiastical life.

Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky)
Lecture in Belgrade, August 5 / 28 1923
Translated from the Metropolitan's summary in Tserkovniya Vedemoste, 15/ 28 October (1923)
Source: The Christian East, February 1924, vol V no 1

Matthew M said...

I am a Russian Orthodox, Byzantine Catholic, Anglican, Roman, Evangelical, Charismatic, Born Again Christian and I make NO apologies!

I may be a 'heretic' to most of you 'groupies' out there but I'll accept GOD's judgement when the time comes.



dcs said...

My thought is that "true" modifies "particular" and not "Churches" -- the Churches that make up the Orthodox Communion are truly particular (that is, headed by a valid bishop who claims jurisdiction and succession from the Apostles), not that they are part of the true Church.

The only plausible argument is on the basis of unity with Rome, but since it was Cardinal Humbert who threw the first bun, it's rather difficult to argue.

Not sure I follow - the fact that Caerularius was excommunicated by Card. Humbert (who had the jurisdiction to do so as he was a Papal legate, as well as plenty of reason to do so) has nothing to do with whether unity with Rome is necessary for salvation. Humbert did not excommunicate the Eastern Churches as such (in fact, Caerularius was even rebuked for his schism by one of his fellow Patriarchs, Peter of Antioch).

Osmund Kilrule said...

Is John the Oxite still around?

Anonymous said...

Communionis notio, par. 17:
"the Eastern orthodox Churches, which, though separated from the See of Peter, remain united to the Catholic Church by means of very close bonds, such as the apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, and therefore merit the title of particular Churches. Indeed, "through the celebration of the Eucharist of the Lord in each of these Churches, the Church of God is built up and grows in stature", for in every valid celebration of the Eucharist the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church becomes truly present."

"Since, however, communion with the universal Church, represented by Peter's Successor, is not an external complement to the particular Church, but one of its internal constituents, the situation of those venerable Christian communities also means that their existence as particular Churches is wounded."

Wounded, not outside.

Dr. Adam DeVille said...

Met. Kallistos Ware tells the amusing story of some Russian ladies visiting Greece and happening upon an hierarchical liturgy. They report to their friends back home: "It was all in Greek, of course, except for "Ton Dhespotin....eis polla, eti, despota"--that part was in Slavonic!

Chris Jones said...


My high-school Latin was a very long time ago, but I do not see any way that one could read

Ecclesiae illae ... verae sunt Ecclesiae particulares
(Dominus Iesus para 17)

in which verae modifies anything other than Ecclesiae. Ecclesiae is the noun in the phrase, modified by two adjectives: verae and particulares.

Surely it is an elementary principle of grammar that an adjective can modify only a noun, and not another adjective. For that, an adverb is required:

Ecclesiae illae ... sunt Ecclesiae vere particulares

Dominus Iesus and other magisterial documents make quite clear that Rome officially regards the Orthodox Churches as true Churches. It is (in my opinion) a patently incoherent doctrine, but it is clearly and unmistakeably expressed.