Rorate Caeli

Bulgarian Patriarchate says no to Catholic-Orthodox theological dialogue

Time for honesty and forthrightness...CAP
Sofia, Bulgaria - According to the correspondent of the Ecclesiastic News Agency "Romfea" in Sofia, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria decided to not send envoys to the Meeting of the Combined International Theological Committee for the Dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church, which is to be held in Cyprus between the 16th and the 23rd of October 2009.

Specifically, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria examined the letter-invitation sent by the organizers of the Meeting, and after discussions, decided that representatives of the Bulgarian Church should not participate.

The participation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in this dialogue was characterized as inappropriate by the Holy Synod, who, after carefully analyzing similar meetings and conferences which had taken place in the past, reached the conclusion that such theological dialogues between Orthodox and Catholics had not led to even the slightest settlement between Roman Catholic and Orthodox Dogmatics.

The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Church did express its willingness to discuss other social and humanitarian issues in the future, during such meetings.

It should be noted that similar meetings of the Committee and its sub-committees have taken place in Belgrade, Ravenna, Rome and Ayios Nikolaos in Crete.

Finally, it should also be noted that the last meeting took place on the 27th of September to the 4th of October 2008 in Ayios Nikolaos of Crete, on the subject of "the role of the bishop of Rome in the community of the Church during the 1st Millennium".

18 comments:

Peter said...

If they believe in their religion why would they take part in "dialogue"? Dialogue and ecumenism is good for people who lost their faith (or are ready to abandon it) and their identity. And not every church has lost them.


The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Church did express its willingness to discuss other social and humanitarian issues in the future, during such meetings.


Read: money. Probably that's the reason anybody's (except for the Roman Catholics) still involved in the "dialogue".

Is there a single community which has reconciled with the Church as an outcome of the "dialogue"? I can't recall any. But at least some Anglicans and Lutherans were told not to reconcile for the sake of not harming the "dialogue".

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the end if ecumenical efforts there...Porbably happen one country at a time...I guess they don't believe in wasting money and time on something that they feel has so far led them no where...Look when people want to agree , they do, when they don't they just smile and shake hands and talk for hours about why they will never agree..

beng said...

For those who dislike "dialogue."

What would you propose then to get those people into the Catholic Church?


I'm under the impression that one of the the first step to convert is to talk to them, hence dialogue.

Jim said...

This move in opposition to the ecumenical movement within worldwide Orthodox Christianity is well established. See this link for a very recent expression of this trend (http://www.impantokratoros.gr/FA9AF77F.en.aspx). Part of the problem with ecumenical dialogue is that those appointed to represent the various churches and ecclesial communities in the dialogue come from among the most modernistic theologians of the respective communions.

Jordanes said...

Dialogue and ecumenism is good for people who lost their faith (or are ready to abandon it) and their identity. ***

Well, some kinds of "dialogue" and "ecumenism" anyway.

Rob said...

Why should they dialogue with the Catholic Church as it is today? Dialogue with a church that has forsaken Tradition? Sixty years ago we might have convinced the Orthodox to talk to us, but why should they now?

If I were Orthodox, I wouldn't touch the RCC with a ten-foot pole. I would say, "I see my bishop, I see sacraments. Why should I go after clown masses, lavender priests, and a minimalist, spirit-killing liturgy?"

In what way do any of our present actions justify our historical claims?

Anonymous said...

"If I were Orthodox, I wouldn't touch the RCC with a ten-foot pole. I would say, "I see my bishop, I see sacraments. Why should I go after clown masses, lavender priests, and a minimalist, spirit-killing liturgy?"

JUST ABOUT THE MOST ACCURATE STATEMENT I HAVE EVER READ TO DESCRIBE WHY NOT TO BOTHER WITH THE "VATICAN II" ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
I COULD ADD....WHY WOULD I WANT TO SEE MY LITURGY TURNED INTO THE SAME AS PROTESTANT!

ALL THE INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOG AND ECUMENISM IS EMBARASSING AND INSULTING TO ROMAN CATHOLIC TRADITION AND TO ALL THE HOLY SAINTS AND HOLY POPES (UP UNTIL 1963), WHO UPHELD THE TRUE FAITH.

THERE SHOULD BE A CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO END ALL ECUMENICAL CONTACTS WITH PROTESTANTS, AND INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOG SESSIONS WITH HINDUS, BUDDHISTS, JEWS, ETC.

J. G. Rathkaj said...

The Holy See should stop every of this useless talks with Anglicans, Calvinists, Valdensians and the various other erroneous protestant sects and the reluctance of Sofia would begin to yield.

Gideon Ertner said...

The Holy See should stop every of this useless talks with Anglicans, Calvinists, Valdensians and the various other erroneous protestant sects and the reluctance of Sofia would begin to yield.

I doubt that the theological dialogue with the Protestants has much bearing on the attitude of the Orthodox. Anyway, the dialogue with all these groups is a good way to get them to open up to the truth of the Catholic Church and should in no way be abandoned.

Dialogue for the sake of dialogue is of course useless to a Catholic mind. But dialogue for the sake of conversion of others isn't. I know that it has unfortunately often been the wrong sort of Catholics who took part in this dialogue, but that is no argument against the process in itself.

In my earlier life as a Lutheran, the so-called 'Joint Declaration on Justification' was a major factor in convincing me that the Reformation was a huge mistake.

Gideon Ertner said...

"Is there a single community which has reconciled with the Church as an outcome of the 'dialogue'?"

Not this time around, but you might say that earlier reconciliations (such as with the Chaldeans and Syrians) indeed were brought about by a 'dialogue' between Jesuit missionaries and the Bishops and Patriarchs of those Churches.

Anyway, the theological dialogue of the last 40 years certainly has helped bring about individual conversions.

Joe B said...

You're falling into the vague language trap.

Conversion has been denied as the purpose of Ecumenical dialogue. Its purpose is to find common ground, and as such, it is doomed to cause more trouble than good. If common ground can be found between Transubstantiation and symbolism, then we can all commune in common and gloss over the substance of the disagreement. That's what we're dealing with here, not missionary or conversion zeal.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

The participation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in this dialogue was characterized as inappropriate by the Holy Synod, who, after carefully analyzing similar meetings and conferences which had taken place in the past, reached the conclusion that such theological dialogues between Orthodox and Catholics had not led to even the slightest settlement between Roman Catholic and Orthodox Dogmatics

That is the key. Dialogue is not inherently evil. You can't share the saving Gospel of Christ with people you don't talk to. But dialogue for dialogue's sake is not good. It lends credibility to error. (Whatever your side may be, we can agree on that.) Scripture does not command us to endless dialogue. It commands us to deliver the Gospel in love and charity. If it is not received then scripture also gives instructions for that unhappy circumstance as well. The canons of the Church and the Fathers are also quite clear on this. The modern understanding and praxis of Ecumenism simply can not be reconciled with the traditional discipline of the Church.

Our churches have been in dialogue with one another more or less since the meeting between +Paul VI and +Athanagorus. That's at least four decades. Now in fairness it took a long time to reach the present state of division. And it would be unreasonable to expect all issues to be resolved quickly. But that said one would expect at least some points to be decided beyond what wine to serve with the cocktails. But on matters of serious doctrinal differences, we have been talking past each other since this all began, indeed for nigh on a millennium.

The unhappy truth, as I have stated before on many occasions, is that we have grown too far apart. There is now a thousand years of theological divergence between us. Things have been dogmatized by you which we can not accept and which you can not retreat on.

It it not best to admit this frankly? We should cease trying to put the water back in the reservoir a thousand years after the damn burst and instead work together on the many areas where we can agree and where we have common interests such as charity and resisting the rising tide of secularism and militant Islam. But when the time comes to celebrate the Holy Mysteries of the altar let us part company in love though with great sadness and go our separate ways.

In ICXC
John

Gideon Ertner said...

John AO,

You are right to say that you Orthodox are far from us Catholics in your way of thinking. However, the converse is not the case. Us Westerners have accommodated and incorporated Eastern ways of thinking since before the separation was a reality. There are 21 different Eastern Churches within the Catholic Church, each with their own hierarchy, traditions and, to an extent, their own theology as well. Western Catholicism has long regarded Eastern and Western expressions of the Faith to be mutually compatible and complementary. I honestly believe that 99.9% of Orthodox theology can be readily accepted (and is already accepted) in Catholic theology.

The dogmas we have today is the result of a long theological discourse in which the Easterners have not taken part; therefore they find it hard to understand them even though they are but the logical consequences of their own beliefs. This is unfortunate, but if they were true to the faith of their own Fathers and had confidence that the Patriarch of Rome is the inheritor of the theology of St. Paul and the Prince of the Apostles and the supreme pastor of the Church, then they would not let it present an obstacle to unity.

Alexander said...

Beng wrote:

"For those who dislike "dialogue."

What would you propose then to get those people into the Catholic Church?


I'm under the impression that one of the the first step to convert is to talk to them, hence dialogue."

Come on beng, you know the word "dialogue" is ambiguous. To some it means talking to people in a charitable manner that ends in evangelization (explicit communication for the need to convert to the Catholic faith in order to be saved). Others it means just talking about what we have in common so we can have some kind of pan-Christian unity. The former is obviously the one to go for.

But anyway, we should just jettison these new terms that spawn indifferentism. Away with calling things “ecumenism” and “dialogue.”

Gideon Ertner said...

"But anyway, we should just jettison these new terms that spawn indifferentism."

They're not exactly new. But if you have any better suggestions I'm sure we'd all like to hear them.

Anonymous said...

To John the Orthodox,

Well it seems that the rank and file orthodox from Albania, Moldavia, Rumania, and the Ukraine readily shake off the schism when the come to the West, and recognize the Catholic Church as the true Church.

The problem is not between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, it is the theologicized cultural rejection of the Orthodox clergy of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy.

That is why there is hope. There is very little support among the laity in the Orthodox to continue the schism.

It is regular to see the orthodox faithful in Damascus, for instance, attend Catholic services.

So, I demure: we have not grown too far apart. Some of us just don't want to consider that certain past writers and clerics were wrong, because we feel culturally inferior if we do.

elmwood said...

Ad orientem,

Christ calls all of his disciples to unity. by being afraid to dialouge with the catholic church, the orthodox are not following the explicit words of Christ. if the orthodox are the one true faith, then why are they afraid? the answer is obvious: it's easier to hide among your ethinic group then to be open to the truth which may force you to admit you're wrong.

the catholic church may have warts because it's partly a human institution. yet when it comes to the truth, it can't err and hasn't erred. the orthodox 180 on contraception is proof positive it is not the true faith.

Iakovos said...

Gideon said: "... if they were true to the faith of their own Fathers and had confidence that the Patriarch of Rome is the inheritor of the theology of St. Paul and the Prince of the Apostles and the supreme pastor of the Church, then they would not let it present an obstacle to unity." Maybe. But for the sake of dialogue it would be wise to change to "supreme" pastor to "primary". Orthodox, and Uniate for that matter, already regard the Pope of Rome as primary Bishop among Bishops. The difference in terms is just not rhetoric, remembering that neither the Orthodox nor the post-Vatican II Church desire a Papacy that reigned in the monarch and empire eras of the Church, that, for example evidently is the ultramontane passion of the SSPX.

If there has been any loosening of tensions from the Orthodox, we might consider relations between Constantinople and Rome since JP II, and certainly under Benedict XVI. Vatican II and subsequent Papal documents re the Eastern churches have been the greatest incentive for common ground since the Schism. It is far from played out yet, far from over.