Friday, June 8, 2018


The pope of Christian Unity, Pope Benedict authorized the Anglican Ordinariate which in some ways is like the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, some of whom never went into schism with Rome and others returned to full Communion with Rome after the Great Schism.

But is this true? Is the Ordinariate like the Eastern Rites?

It seems from this statement, Pope Francis is opposed to East/West unity using the Eastern Rites in full communion with him.

That would seem to imply that the Ordinariate method of Protestant reunification with the pope is not the way to go either, for example an ordinariate for the Lutherans.

What do you think when you read what Pope Francis recently said? This is from Sandro Magister and you can read his full, long article HERE.

Here in fact is what Francis said to the delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow, headed by its powerful “foreign minister,” Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk:

"Before you I would like to reiterate – in a special way before you, my dear brother, and before all of you – that the Catholic Church will never allow an attitude of division to arise from her people. We will never allow ourselves to do this, I do not want it. In Moscow – in Russia – there is only one Patriarchate: yours. We will not have another one. And when some Catholic faithful, be they laypeople, priests or bishops, raise the banner of Uniatism, which does not work anymore, and is over, then it causes me pain. The Churches that are united in Rome must be respected, but Uniatism as a path of unity is not valid today."
And further on:
"The Catholic Church, the Catholic Churches must not get involved in internal matters of the Russian Orthodox Church, nor in political issues. This is my attitude, and the attitude of the Holy See today. And those who meddle do not obey the Holy See."


Marc said...

Is "ecumenism" with the Orthodox a lost cause? Yes, it is.

The Orthodox cannot accept the papal doctrines as defined by Vatican I because doing so would represent a rupture with their doctrines.

Catholics cannot accept a repudiation of the papal doctrines of Vatican I because doing so would represent a rupture with our doctrines.

If any Orthodox accepted the papal doctrines, they would cease to be Orthodox. The bishops would be deposed and new Orthodox bishops elected. So the Orthodox would continue along even if some of them became Catholic. The inverse is also true from the Catholic perspective.

As is usual on this topic, the answer is not wholesale conversion of large groups, which is untenable in the case of people whose doctrine cannot change. The answer is individual conversion or the conversion of small groups.

I have read quite a bit of Met. Hilarion's writings, including a couple large volumes on Orthodox dogmatics. Whatever his outward stance with regard to these discussions, he is very clear in his support of traditional Orthodox ecclesiology and non-ecumenism, which the Russians tend to view as heresy.

Met. Hilarion has written some on the topic of Orthodox/non-Calcedonian reunion, though, in an attempt to clarify what that would look like with regard to Calcedon and the post-Calcedon councils. In that regard, his propositions are quite interesting, although that movement doesn't seem to have borne any tangible fruit yet.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have never seen anyone on this blog tell me a proposal that would be acceptable to both sides, not just a one-sided agreement in favor of the larger Church. One thing the Orthodox pride themselves on is a decentralized model, a synod-like governance, not one person who has complete control of the Church. There are also other issues---the Filioque, Immaculate Conception (generally rejected by the Orthodox), divorce (which the Orthodox allow). There are differences in the administration of the sacraments---the Orthodox administer the sacraments of initiation all at once to babies---but that is a "small t" tradition on which there can be varying prudential judgments (like what color vestments to wear, what readings should be in the Mass)

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Regarding the impossibility of Catholic - Orthodox unity, the "JOINT CATHOLIC-ORTHODOX DECLARATION OF HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI AND THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH ATHENAGORAS I", December 7, 1965 is worth a read. One page long. Full of hope.

There are a host of other statements, including those with the Oriental Orthodox, in a similar vein that can be linked here:

ByzRC said...

Is ecumenism a lost cause with the protestants? Oh my yes.

Is ecumenism a lost cause with the Orthodox? Probably, for the reasons Mark mentioned.

Are ordinariate(s) like the Eastern Churches? To me, they are not as the latter was created to ensure doctrinal adherence and purity while the latter were created as a result of political divisions.

It is obvious that any chance of reconciliation with the Orthodox will not occur via the Eastern Churches (a.k.a. the Unia). To me, this is because the Orthodox haven't done anything to justify their creation - politics of the era and boundry shifts were the principal drivers (perhaps I am wrong in the case of Ukraine).

Any chance of reconciliation would likely occur with national Eastern Churches reuniting with their parent Orthodox Churches (where such relationships exist). While many won't likely care for this, the next question would logically be "for what reason would an effected Eastern Church still be needed if they are reconciled with their Orthodox parent"? That type of union would likely be painful as some eparchies are desolved and, as appropriate, some bishops and priests become monastics. But, as discussed, it is unlikely that this will ever occur.

Henry said...

I believe that full communion between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church (in particular) is one of Pope Francis fondest dreams. And that to achieve it, he is willing to give away anything he can get away with.

The Russian Orthodox detest the idea of Byzantine Catholics—the “Uniate” churches subservient to Rome—and Francis is pledging here that we will never go the Uniate route with any sort of “Russian Catholic Church”—which the Ukrainian Catholic Church is already perilously close to—and he accepts the Orthodox position while respecting the historical reality of the Uniates (some of them centuries old. And that he respects the Russian patriarch as an equal and will not compete with him in Russia.

Francis’ statement to the Hilarion delegation says (to me) that a “deal” with the Russian Orthodox is on his front burner, but it remains to be seen how they look at it. Francis elsewhere said recently—as quoted in one of the Inside the Vatican reports—Let’s just go and do it, and worry later about the theological details, which are unimportant to him, but all-important to the Orthodox.

But it appears to me that the Ukrainian situation is even more of an impediment to reunion between Rome and Moscow.

However, the Anglican Ordinate has nothing to do with any of this. The Ordinate is under the Latin patriarch (Francis), and in effect is just another “usage” of the Roman rite. Incidentally, I read recently that some of the high church Lutherans have applied for ordinate status.

Victor said...

The Russian Orthodox Church is as imperialistic as is the state it supports. Is Francis letting down the Ukrainian Catholic Church (i.e. "Uniates") the way he has been letting down the faithful Church in China in favour of schismatics?

Moreover, as Marc said, the Russians tend to view ecumenism as heresy. So did the Catholic Church until V2 came along, in a useless effort to find "unity". It is up to the schismatics and heretics to return to the true Church and return to unity, not for the Catholic Church to water down her faith to accommodate their errors.

Anonymous said...

To say:

"Is ecumenism a lost cause with the protestants? Oh my yes. Is ecumenism a lost cause with the Orthodox? Probably..."

is to say that the sin of disunion cannot be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Think about that.

Marc said...

Anonymous, the Church doesn’t lack unity, individuals lack unity with the Church. Those individuals overcome their disunity with the Church by the working of the Holy Ghost. Recognizing the practical flaws inherent in the ecumenist program in no way denies the power of the Holy Ghost.

Victor said...

Anonymous @ 7:21
Indeed, it is up to the heretics and schismatics to heed the call of the Holy Spirit and return to the one true Church of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church of Rome.

TJM said...

Marc and Victor,

You must recognize that Anonymous the Troll (Kavanaugh) is a virtue signaller for whom Faith and facts don't matter. When we desperately need to spend our time and resources on re-evangelizing our own fellow Catholics, virtue signallers want to go off an a tangent so they can feel good about themselves,reality be damned.

John Nolan said...

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was reconciled with the Apostolic See in 1596 (Union of Brest) but traces is origins back to 988 when Prince Volodymir of Kiev embraced Byzantine Christianity. There was, of course, no Moscow patriarchate then; Muscovites were still pagans.

Ukrainian Catholics never use the term 'Uniate' since it is seen as a derogatory term employed by their opponents. It is unfortunate that Francis chose to use it. Nor was the Ukrainian Church ever part of the Moscow Patriarchate; at the time of Brest it came under Constantinople.

Back in 2015 Francis described Putin's aggression in east Ukraine as 'fratricidal violence' which led to many Ukrainians suspecting he was being briefed by pro-Russian elements. John Allen in 'Crux' went so far as to suggest that his refusal to see the conflict as the result of Russian aggression was due to 'ecumenical correctness'.

More than three years on, and he's still bent on appeasing Moscow.

Anonymous said...

18th century thinking will not produce 21st century solutions for unity.

"Ecumenism" is not pronounced "You Come In-ism"

Anonymous said...

Well, Victor, the Eastern Orthodox claim otherwise---that Rome needs to returns to the one true Church. So each side claims they are the "original" Church still after over 950 wonder it is a stalemate....

George said...

Both Protestants and the Orthodox reject the primacy and authority of the Pope and this attitude toward the papacy was what led in large part to their separation from the Catholic Church. The events which led up to 1054 and subsequent to that were not handled well by either side. Of course, despite the common elements between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, a divergence, an ever widening gap developed over differences in liturgy, theology, and doctrine and this was complicated by the rise of Islam in the East. While what Luther brought about was more like a divorce, the East-West rupture was more like a separation.Those Christians outside the Church reject the Pope's episcopal jurisdiction (even those who at least recognize him either as a bishop or at least the leader of a Christian denomination ) and they deny his authority to proclaim doctrine and dogma applicable to the Church universal and binding on all faithful believers. For Catholics of faith, the papacy is foundational. And so it shall always be, whatever heresies and schisms may assail her, as has always been, the Catholic Church will to the end be governed under the authority Christ vested in the Chair of Peter.

The development of Marian theology and dogma illustrates the importance of having and authority figure like the Pope. Before they were proclaimed as binding for faithful Catholics to believe, one could accept or reject the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption. One could either believe in either or both of them, not believe in either one, or take the position that is didn't matter either way. Both of these dogmas developed from previous Magisterial teachings, theological insight, pious traditions, and previous doctrines on among other things, the resurrection of the body professed in our Creed, Mary being declared Mother of God, her being full of grace, and her perpetual virginity. While Catholic ecumenical councils may define doctrine, reaffirm truths of the Faith, and declare certain teaching to be heresy, whatever they decide in these matters must be affirmed and approved by the Pope.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Sadly, leftists always appease communists. I rest my case

DJR said...

From Sister Lucia:

“I felt my spirit inundated by a mystery of light that is God and in Him I saw and heard: the point of a lance like a flame that is detached, touches the axis of the earth, and it trembles: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, the rivers, the clouds, exceed their boundaries, inundating and dragging with them, in a vortex, houses and people in a number that cannot be counted. It is the purification of the world from the sin in which it is immersed. Hatred, ambition, provoke the destructive war. After I felt my racing heart, in my spirit a soft voice said: ‘In time, one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic. In eternity, Heaven!’ This word ‘Heaven’ filled my heart with peace and happiness in such a way that, almost without being aware of it, I kept repeating to myself for a long time: Heaven, Heaven.”

The secret of La Salette given to the seer Maximin, kept in the Vatican archives for years, and published over 10 years ago:

Une grande contrée dans le nord de l'Europe, aujourd 'hui protestante, se convertira. Par l'appui de cette contrée toutes les autres contrées du monde se convertiront.

A large land (region) in northern Europe, today Protestant, will convert. By the support of this land, all the other lands of the world will convert.

John Nolan said...

Interesting, since the 'grande contrée dans le nord de l'Europe' can only mean Britain, and I don't see my country converting to Christianity, let alone Catholicism. The only Catholic part of the British Isles, which kept the Faith during centuries of persecution, appears to have apostatized.

We can still pray.

John Nolan said...

The Pope is indeed interfering in the internal affairs of Orthodoxy. Apart from the Russian Orthodox Church, there are in Ukraine the Autocephalous Orthodox Church (which, like the Greek Catholic Church) suffered grievously under Stalin; and a more recent Ukrainian Patriarchate led by Metropolitan Filaret. Moscow regards them as schismatic; Francis backs Moscow. Moscow regards the Greek Catholics as a sort of papal fifth column; Francis makes a crude and intemperate sideswipe at them.

As for politics, doesn't the Pope know that Ukraine suffered genocide under Stalin little more than 80 years ago, and most Ukrainians have a deep distrust of Russia, which Putin's actions, backed by an obedient state Church, have exacerbated?

There can be only two explanations. Either Pope Francis is ignorant, or he is wicked. Take your pick.

Victor said...

Anonymous @1:19 :

'... the Eastern Orthodox claim otherwise---that Rome needs to returns to the one true Church. So each side claims they are the "original" Church still after over 950 wonder it is a stalemate...'

So what! The (Roman) Catholic Church is the one true and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. Do you have doubts about that, that is to say, are you a non-Catholic?

Mr Nolan:
"Either Pope Francis is ignorant, or he is wicked."

He is simply just incompetent, so, I suppose, ignorant is my choice.

Православный физик said...

The protestants do not have apostolic succession or any sense of Church, so of course it is lost.

I've been praying about how exactly to respond to the situation between Orthodox and Catholics, as it's quite complex to say the least. There are some questions I have thought of...

1. If Rome was in communion with the other 4 of the main patriarchs, could the disaster that was Vatican II, and the confusion that Vatican I has at least in terms of ecclesiastical language have been either a. avoided, or b. minimized?

Is it well possible that if there were the other 4 other patriarchs assisting and telling the Pope of Rome, hey, calling a council, bad, bad idea, could the mess that we're in today be less than it is now. I definitely think so.

2. Unatism (Union with the church of Rome for political reasons, and not truly for theological reasons) is absolutely right to be condemned, and frowned upon by the Orthodox....Is it better to have unity over false pretenses or to truly a common understanding? In particular I'm thinking of the Unions of Brest and Uzhorod. Have they truly been respected on the part of the West? Have they been able to keep their theology, liturgy, and praxis fully since the time of the unions? I can't say this is the case. But there has been much improvement since the 2nd Vatican Council....The Pope is correct to state that unatism is not the correct path for today (it never has been in the first place)

3. The intervening in local church affairs.....The pope of Rome is correct in stating that the Roman church should not be intervening in the affairs of Moscow. Yet for the churches that are in communion with her, she does intervene still. (The recent re-writing of the eastern code of canon law is something that comes to mind). Is it going to be a matter of do as I say, and not as I do? Are they truly self governing churches with rights and privileges, or is it just on paper, and in reality, they're just Roman Catholics with a much more beautiful Liturgy? If both sides admit that the concept of universal jurisdiction did not exist in the 1st millennia of the undivided Church, how can it possibly be justified today? yes, the church of Rome is 1st amongst equals.

In the removal of the excommunications as Fr MJK mentions, technically, the separation that exists between the Orthodox and the Catholics is purely political...and not a canonical separation (Which should have never existed in the first place because the pope of Rome was dead in 1054)....

The first thing is we need to get back to our phraseology in our ecclesiastical language meaning the same thing. (Past of this was the change from Greek to Latin, but mostly due to losing communication over the years).....That will clear up most of the confusion and "separation" that has happened between East and West.

The funny thing is that much of the modern church of Rome speaks of collaborative ministry, and yet, when push comes to shove unilaterally does so much. How can that not apply to the whole? It seems to me, that this would help things a ton.

The so called schism is with the Orthodox and Catholics is from within the Church, which is why there will always be hope no matter what the rhetoric from both sides are) and the Protestant revolutionaries took down the entire structure as which there's zero hope.

For unity of the holy churches of God and for union of all let us pray to the Lord, Lord have mercy.

Anonymous said...

Victor, what my ideas are on the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" are not the issue here. I have read extensively of the Eastern Orthodox Church and in their writings they claim to old the ancient, apostolic faith---their view is that Rome added a lot of "innovations" and this the split is not just a political one, but rather a divide on ecclesiology. When Orthodox pray for the unity of the Church, that is couched in ecumenical terms, as they claim to represent the fullness of the faith.

So if one side claims they are the original Church, and the other says they are, how on earth could there ever be unity between the two? One side would have to admit, "we were wrong" (about the papacy, filoque, Immaculate Conception, purgatory), and how likely is that?

Victor said...

Anonymous @4:44:

'One side would have to admit, "we were wrong" (about the papacy, filoque, Immaculate Conception, purgatory), and how likely is that?'

Exactly why this effort at doctrinal unity is impossible unless the schismatics accept Catholic doctrine, but they will not listen to the call of the Holy Spirit because of their hardness of heart. The problem also with the Orthodox is that they are living in a time capsule as if the first 7 Ecumenical Councils spoke everything there is to speak about doctrine. Goodness, because they are so disunited, with the power hungry Moscow Patriarch even claiming Moscow should be the Primus inter pares of Orthodoxy and not Constantinople, they could not even have a proper pan-Orthodox Council to try and remedy this.

This is why the "Uniate" or Ordinariate way (they are the same in substance) is the only road to Church unity, as has been recognised for centuries. What is bewildering is that we have a pope who on the one hand has supported the Ordinariate, but on the other is content with casting faithful persecuted Christians such as the "Uniates" and Chinese to the lions for the sake of some fake union that resembles more a political compromise than anything having to do with substance based on doctrine. (It seems the Chinese government now wants a "real" Chinese bible for Catholics edited by the Chinese Communist Party.) Recall that the Moscow Patriarch has nothing but spite for the Ukrainian Catholic Church which was a rare thorn in the once grand Soviet Empire that tried to Russify all its "members", even though she like the pope had no military divisions to fight Stalin. (Ukrainian Catholic churches were taken over by the Orthodox during Stalin's time.) Our St Gallen Pope even uses the derogatory term "Uniatism" to insult those once terribly persecuted faithful Christians of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. He is even incapable of seeing the simple fact that what he calls "Uniatism" is the same as "Ordinariatism" which has, contrary to what he says, been quite successful recently...what a mess!