Patriarch Bartholomew is Seeking to Reinvigorate Dialogue With Roman Catholics

In his speech to the Delegation of the Church of Rome headed by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, at the Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the feast day of St. Andrew the First Called Apostle, on the patriarch said on November 30 that “the uniqueness of the founders of our Churches, of Elder Rome and of New Rome, the Holy Apostles Peter and Andrew, as brothers according to the flesh, constitutes a motivation for both of our Churches to move toward the genuine experience of spiritual brotherhood and the restoration of communion in this same spirit, in truth and in love.”

The patriarch went on saying that “unfortunately, throughout the course of the centuries, this brotherhood has been deeply wounded and as a result, the spiritual unity of our Churches has been disrupted.

For centuries, theologians, as well as personalities in both Churches, spent their energy not in the context of dialogue, but rather in promoting and supporting their own positions, not taking into consideration that of St. John Chrysostom, “Thou hast spoken once, perhaps, and he hath not heard. Speak therefore twice, and thrice, and as often as it may be, till thou hast persuaded him. Every day God is addressing us, and we do not hear; and yet He does not leave off speaking.”

Bartholomew desires to make a new beginning that it why he proposed that “it is already empirically evident that the conviction has matured in the hearts of both sides, namely that, from this point on the course of our efforts must be reversed. That is to say, we must expend our spiritual energy not in the effort of finding justifications for the strengthening of positions, which we overly defended in the past towards the justification of the schism, but in sincerely endeavoring to find arguments that verify the error of divisive inclinations and that, even more, seek out ways of approaching full restoration of the unity of the Churches.”

The patriarch believes that “the best method for investigating this matter is the continuation and cultivation of inter-ecclesiastical dialogues and relations, as well as especial cultivation of the outcome of the dialogue of love into a substantial and theological dialogue between both of our Churches, Orthodox and Roman Catholic. The personal acquaintance of the members and especially of the representatives of the Churches often leads to the discovery that the people involved are of good will, and that a deeper understanding of the events that provoked the schism based upon objectivity will suffice to dissipate fears, suspicions, distrust, and conflicts of the past.”

Bartholomew urges “reinforcing with as much strength as we have this Dialogue of Truth, so that by means of the frequent and wide-ranging discussions, we may raise the level of knowledge and facilitate mutual understanding, thus directing ourselves toward ‘all truth’ (see John 16:13), which always and above all conquers. The mature fruit of this knowledge is the progressive agreement upon particular points, an agreement, which on the tally of disagreements and agreements will continuously increase the sum of the agreements until all disagreements are eclipsed. On that day, we will all, united in faith and love, jointly glorify our Savior Christ, Who will have led us through fire and water to refreshment.”

The Patriarch invited the Bishop of Rome Benedict XVI to work and walk together…

Source and rest



13 thoughts on “Patriarch Bartholomew is Seeking to Reinvigorate Dialogue With Roman Catholics

  1. While I agree with the Patriarch, I don’t hear anything here that we haven’t all heard before pretty much by everyone actively, seriously involved in the ecumenical movement.

    I’m not sure more dialog will do all that much good. A huge issue with Rome is that she has taken so many positions on so many issues that are suppposedly perpetually binding and unchangeable that the only way to dialog with Rome is to…sign the RC CCC in toto and just become RC. There really is no other way. That is the Ordinariate. This dialog ends in complete surrender and permanent absorption.

    I sometimes wonder if stepping back, taking a time out now after we’ve had many decades of formal dialog, and just actively living out our faith as a member of a unique faith group isn’t better now. We all know the major disagreements. But if we are to take the other seriously, we need to quietly observe them and reflect on who they are. Here I think of Finnish EOs and Lutherans. German RCs and Lutherans. Swiss Reformed & RCs. British RCs & Anglicans. Brazilian RCs and Pentecostals. And what is going on all over the Global South!

    I do think the Patriarch makes an error if he focuses mainly to the exclusion of Protestants. While Rome talks about East-West, two brothers, and two lungs needing to work together again, neither the East nor the West are singular entities. The East needs to work together (e.g., Byzantines & Copts). The West needs to work together (e.g., RCs & Lutherans and Lutherans & Reformed). These discussions might be more enriching and have better final outcomes.

    But eventually, Constantinople, Rome, and Protestants must work together. We each have unique gifts and perspectives. To greatly oversimplify…EOs bring tradition & mystery. Rome brings reason & order. Protestants bring evangelism & adaptability.

    1. I agree. This entire thing is in a sort of quagmire. There has been no real progress. And I don’t think, realistically speaking, anything will happen in my lifetime, so it’s pointless for me to have any hope of ecumenism bearing fruit, in my lifetime. Maybe in the next 1,000 years- it seems more likely that Judgement Day would come first before there’s any “Christian Unity.”

      The “Two Lungs” nonsense is something that stopped being credible to me some time ago, and so did the “Branch Theory”.

      Now, it is unfair that you describe the Ordinariates as “Complete surrender and permanent absorption” because these people can leave and be Eastern Orthodox anytime they want. We just demand that you don’t become wishy-washy to your commitments to the Catholic Church. But this is a discussion for some other time.

      Here are 9 grounds listed by Peter Kreeft for hope for ecumenical reunion that are commonly given, and not a one of them has worked:

      1. Reasonable compromises.
      2. Understanding and education: the hope that deep down, we’ll find that we don’t really disagree. That we’re all saying the same thing in different words but just misunderstanding each other.
      3. Mystical experience: if you only have one, you’ll see that the previous point is true.
      4.Tolerance: like a mutual non-aggression pact. Why can’t we just get along?
      5. Subjectivism: reduction of THE Truth to “my truth” or “your truth” or “our truth.”
      6. Skepticism: no one knows the truth anyway.
      7. Rational argument: perhaps we can persuade each other as in a scientific laboratory.
      8. A vague optimism: Dickens’ Mr. McColbers, “Something will turn up!”
      9. Merely a temporary tactical and pragmatic union to fight a common enemy: an ecumenical jihad. (This one I like, and haven’t really seen these days.)

      Good but not enough. None of these is the golden key to reunion.

      Read the rest here.

    2. Ioannes, When you compare what TAC wanted prior to the start of the Ordinariate process and what they got, it was a complete surrender after an utter rout! Each person, from Archbishop to layman, comes in as an individual and as a layperson. They essentially get their first confession, first communion, and confirmation, as if they were any other convert to RCC.

      Rome did NOT recognize anything collegial about TAC.

      – They were not a Church.
      – There is no recognition of any Anglican theological stance, document, or confession. (Compare to LWF-RCC Joint Declaration on Justification.)
      – They did not have a valid priestly ministry.
      – Other than baptism (& maybe marriage), their “sacraments” were mere empty symbols devoid of grace.

      Per Papal Bulls and IAW theology of RC CCC, Ordinariate members must reject Anglican Orders and sacramental actions! This not negotiable and anyone who enters without accepting this is deceiving himself and RCC.

      Compare what they got to what the Holy Roman Emperor and Pope “gave” the Lutherans in 1548 (Augsburg & Leipzig Interims)!

      Ordinariates as they stand today have…

      – No dedicated Rite bishops.
      – No dedicated Rite Canon law.
      – No firm liturgy, hymnal, or translation of scripture.
      – Must accept in toto, without any deviation whatsoever, RC CCC and all of Rome’s councils (incl. Trent), papal bulls, encyclicals, etc.

      Everything they “have” today can be undone or obliterated tomorrow! They can’t even get a firm guarantee about future new priests being non-celibate! LOL!

      Is interesting that at local TAC/ACA Church they have on their bulletin board the 2009 letter/declaration from Rome (CDF, Cardinal Levada?) on the Ordinariate. Their highlighting is interesting. Tied to the collegial issues.

      1. Why do you care so much about the TAC? Aren’t you Orthodox? Do Orthodox consider Anglican “Orders” valid? Then surely, you consent to their homosexual priests/priestettes?

        Maybe you’re angry because this is like “Protestant Uniatism”? And then angry that it’s NOT like Uniatism?

        You’re just like so many angry Eastern Orthodox individuals who are angry at the Pope and Roman Catholics. (Let me tell you, your outrage is entertaining to read and it makes me less sympathetic.) You probably have a Roman Catholic girlfriend or groups of friends as if to say: “Look, I have all these Roman Catholic relations- I’m not a bigot, see?”

        You’re probably just jealous that your “Antiochian Church” is doomed to irrelevance and obscurity, much like Antioch on the Orontes is, presently. Which is why you have a soft spot for these fringe “Anglo-Catholics” who can’t quite make the jump, and are angry that Rome will never compromise its stance on the issue of the invalidity of Anglican orders.

      2. Ioannes, I’ll take it from your go after the messenger response (i.e., I’m “angry” and “jealous”–too funny!), that you don’t take real exception to my trenchant comments and observations? 😉

        No, neither angry nor jealous. I’m a very ecumenically-minded EO who has spent a considerable amount of effort to study Christendom as well as time worshipping with same (my own EOs, of many jurisdictions and in both rites, and w/RCs, PNCCs, Lutherans, Anglicans, & Methodists).

        Orthodoxy tends to spend a lot more time determining who is “in the family” than who is “not in the family”. We’re not big fans of Augustine’s flawed views on apostolic successon. Always seems odd to say someone who is “out of the family” (e.g., heterodox) in belief can be “valid” as long as he was ordained “properly”? So the key is always the faith, the belief.

        So I can tell you who is in by who we pray for liturgically. So in USA, SCOBA. But as to who exactly is “out” and “why” isn’t a big concern, esp. as some day they might be “in”. I believe the last time Orthodoxy took a serious look at Anglican Orders was around 1920. You might be surprised by our then thinking. Since then, the elevated heterodoxy inside “canonical” Canturbury-led Anglicanism has only undermined our thoughts.

      3. Yeah well. Not like we like Mark of Ephesus and Photios either. So there. That just about illustrates Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical relations in a microcosm. And none of us will budge. We very well can’t say “Just be the best Orthodox/Catholic you can be, and it’ll be okay” because well… Collegiality is never going to be a Roman Catholic thing, and the Papacy will never be an Orthodox thing, (Unless you count the Coptic Pope, but even then, aren’t they “monophysites” or “monothelites” or something?) and we can’t in our good conscience recommend to others what we ourselves won’t embrace.

      4. And yes, I’m also Ecumenically-minded, hence why I was following this entire Ordinariate business. It also started from the talks between the Catholics and Orthodox. Cyprus, Ravenna, Balamand, etc.

        But then, somewhere along the way, I’ve gotten disappointed with how things are going.

        As disappointed as a Star Wars fan who saw those Star Wars prequels.

    3. Michael, you wrote: “Now, it is unfair that you describe the Ordinariates as “Complete surrender and permanent absorption.”

      But how is this any different from what Byzantium offers? Well, actually, Byzantium offers a damn sight less. For an Anglican, especially in England, to go Byzantine demands a complete submission to either Greek or Russian tradition. Please kindly tell me, where are there any non-Byzantine rite diocese within the Church of Byzantium?

      To attack Rome for what is at least an attempt to offer an Anglican identity, however flawed, is simply hypocritical when one considers that in the case of the Greek Orthodox in England, Anglicans were simply told they are not welcome; even if they are willing to become culturally Greek.

  2. Wow Michael, Perhaps now you might be able to see why for me anyway, the true Mystical Body of Christ is both Invisible and Visible, but really Invisible foremost, thus Evangelical! Both Ioannes and Dale just place anyone not in their conception of the Visible Church, outside of even the Body of Christ. Note, one is a Traditional Roman Catholic, and the other a so-called Russian Orthodox (really just an ultra-Orthodox position).

      1. I think that Dale was Eastern Orthodox at one point, and now isn’t. This might explain quite a lot.

    1. Fr. Robert, I think both EOs and RCs can learn a lot about “The Church” from historic confessional protestantism, esp. Luther/Melanchthon, Calvin, and Wesley. EOs have tendency to make it into a mystery religion; RCs into some legal overseer. And yet Protestants have a lot to learn about The Church, esp. in regard to order & discipline. The Holy Ghost calls us all to represent The Church, working for and with Her, and for us all to respect each other as fellow Christians.

      1. Indeed the historical Church “catholic” needs to see all of itself! I even have an interest here in the early Scottish/English Quakers. See some of the writings of Robert Barclay, a profound Christian man and soul. And perhaps one of my favorite Roman Catholic writers is Bernard of Clairvaux, his little book: On Loving God, is one of the better philosophic Catholic approaches. Yes, we Christians all have so much to learn from the Mystical Body of Christ!

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