Friday, November 16, 2007

Lucia Catholics and Orthodox agree on Primacy of the Pope

This is a major step. As far as I can tell, all other theological differences have been resolved. Acknowledging the Primacy of the Pope has been a huge stumbling block.
The Vatican issued on Thursday a joint declaration agreed last month that said the Pope held the highest rank in the unified Church before the 1054 Great Schism -- a statement that could allow Catholics and Orthodox to work more closely.

But the document made clear neither side yet agreed on what power came with that rank. The Orthodox in the old Byzantine Empire rejected the universal authority of the Roman Pontiff and gradually developed autonomous national churches with no papacy.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Vatican department promoting Christian unity, said the document gave Catholics hope but cautioned there was still a very long way to go before Catholics and Orthodox could speak of any kind of unity.

Related Link: Vatican hails "step" to healing Orthodox rift

11 comment(s):

Swimming said...

Lusyna, the only was churches can " work together" in shifting positions is if the churches other htan the Catholic Church changes its theological position. Why is that? Thats not weorking together, thats one side moving while teh other one stays still. no consensus.

Anonymous said...

The issue towards the end of the article will be the one that will take a lot longer to work out:

Kasper said the Orthodox-Catholic talks would next tackle the role of the Pope in the pre-schism Church. Benedict has said this model, which was more decentralized than today's papacy, could help Catholics and Orthodox work together more closely.

But they would then have to discuss more contentious issues from the second millennium, during which the papacy became a powerful, centralized institution and the Pope was declared infallible when he makes decisions on faith and morals.

Which side is going to be expected to move on this? Will the RCC recognize that the declaration of Papal infallibility was an addition or will the Orthodox church simply have to submit to that addition and centralization? Either way has huge implications and either way one side will have to back down from a stance it has maintained is right and true for centuries.

Lucia Maria said...

Dave and Servant, the Roman Catholic Church is bound by the Holy Spirit to teach only truth in regards to faith and morals. The position of the Pope in the Church, I would guess, comes under the auspice of "faith". If the RCC were to try to lead the Church in a direction that was not congruent with what the Holy Spirit wants, then what will happen is that the Holy Spirit will prevent that from occurring one way or another. How that has played out in practice before is the Pope has died before giving his assent to something that is not true. This occurred during the Reformation period where there was intense pressure to bend.

Anonymous said...


I would have thought the immaculate conception, the use of intercessory prayer and using statues in religious worship where still major theological obstacles keeping the great schism apart?

I'm happy to be corrected of course.

Anonymous said...

( to be clear, by 'intercessory prayer' i meant praying to saints rather than praying for other people)

Swimming said...

If the RCC were to try to lead the Church in a direction that was not congruent with what the Holy Spirit wants, then what will happen is that the Holy Spirit will prevent that from occurring one way or another.
That is absolute garbage and I cant believe you said that. Why? Because it implies that the HS should prevent other denominations from doing what they do - which of sourse he doesn't. Your position also means that Catholic leaders have no free will.

Most Catholics would never take that position.

Lucia Maria said...


the promise only applies to the Successor to Peter. It's he who holds the Keys.

Most Catholics are not theologically literate and the RCC is not a democracy.

Andrei said...


I have always held the Pope to be in the first place amongst the Bishops though separated from us.

Where a major issue lies is how much authority he should have over the other Bishops and their churches.

I see each of the Churches as independent led by their senior Bishops and that pronouncements on doctrine are a matter for all the whole Church represented by their senior Bishops and probably chaired by the Pope, not for the Pope by himself to make. cf the Ecumenical Councils.

Since the Schism it has been the Patriarch of Constantinople that has taken on this role, that of the first amongst equals.

As an earlier commenter noted, Doctrinal pronouncements since the schism remain problematical. There are other issues between our Churches (not us personally) - not doctrinal but more political, to do with jurisdiction in most cases.

Anyway most of this stuff is political in nature and you and I a pretty much on the same page over just about everything and certainly everything of fundamental importance. I also hold all the recent Popes in the highest esteem and honor they are due.

Whether or not the schism can be fully healed after over 1000 years I am not so sure. But with good will on both sides it might not matter too much.

I haven't had a chance to answer your E-mail yet but I will and answer your questions about this off-line

Lucia Maria said...

One of the local Davids,

I don't really know anything in depth about Orthodoxy, so I can't really answer your questions. Andrei will probably know more here.



Andrei said...

Of course Lucyna, priests, bishops, archbishops, metropolitans, patriarchs and popes are men, some are good, some not so good, a few might even be very bad. It is the Church acting together that has the real authority.

If the leaders on both sides can work in concert together, whether or not full communion is ever restored, the Church as a whole will be strengthened.

Forensic morsels said...

Also at the presentation was the ghost of Martin Luther who insisted that the whole Protestation thing was a bit of a joke and he was surprised anyone was still taking it seriously especially when the current Pope is such a lovely fellow. Protestant churches have yet to respond.

The Vatican also reported success in it's experiments to send someone back in time to assassinate Joseph Smith and so expects the whole Mormon Church to be swallowed by by quantum time fluxes by about lunchtime.

The Vatican's approach to the Seventh Day Adventists has yet to be formulated but may extend as far as the abolition of Saturday.

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