Rorate Caeli

"We are all the early Church that is still present and new"

While the press coverage of this speech is focusing on Benedict XVI's call for a unified moral front with the Orthodox Churches, the following passages should be of greater interest to our readers.

...I willingly repeat in this setting what I have said elsewhere: among Christian Churches and communities, it is undoubtedly the Orthodox who are theologically closest to us; Catholics and Orthodox have maintained the same basic structure inherited from the ancient Church; in this sense we are all the early Church that is still present and new. And so we dare to hope, even if humanly speaking constantly new difficulties arise, that the day may still be not too far away when we may once again celebrate the Eucharist together (cf. Light of the World. A Conversation with Peter Seewald, p. 86).

With interest and sympathy the Catholic Church – and I personally – follow the development of Orthodox communities in Western Europe, which in recent decades have grown remarkably. In Germany today, as I have learned, there are approximately 1.6 million Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians. They have become a constitutive part of society that helps bring alive the treasury of the Christian cultures and the Christian faith of Europe. I welcome the increase of pan-Orthodox cooperation, which has made significant progress in recent years. The founding of Orthodox Episcopal Conferences in places where the Orthodox Churches exist in the Diaspora – of which you spoke to us – is an expression of the consolidation of intra-Orthodox relations. I am pleased that this step has been taken in Germany in the past year. May the work of these Episcopal Conferences strengthen the bond between the Orthodox Churches and hasten the progress of efforts to establish a pan-Orthodox council.

Since the time when I was a professor in Bonn and especially while I was Archbishop of Munich and Freising, I have come to know and love Orthodoxy more and more through my personal friendships with representatives of the Orthodox Churches. At that time the Joint Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference and the Orthodox Church also began its work. Since then, through its texts on pastoral and practical questions, it has furthered mutual understanding and contributed to the consolidation and further development of Catholic-Orthodox relations in Germany.

Equally important is the ongoing work to clarify theological differences, because the resolution of these questions is indispensable for restoration of the full unity that we hope and pray for. We know that above all it is the question of primacy that we must continue patiently and humbly struggling to understand aright. In this regard, I think that the ideas put forward by Pope John Paul II in the Encyclical Ut Unum Sint (no. 95) on the distinction between the nature and form of the exercise of primacy can yield further fruitful discussion points.
Benedict XVI
September 24, 2011

15 comments:

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

I don't see the word "conversion" used by the Holy Father in regards to what the "Orthodox" must do to gain eternal salvation.

Anonymous said...

Neither do I. I wonder how the Holy Father can speak about his "love" of a schismatic association of Churches which are also, I suppose, heretical since they reject Catholic dogma.

There is indeed much to love about Orthodoxy - but surely not everything, not those aspects which are repugnant to the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. I trust this is what the Holy Father means.

-Garrett

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

Whatever is in "Orthodoxy" that there is to love does not belong to "Orthodoxy". These belong only to the Catholic Church. "Orthodoxy" has no right to usurp them.

Igumen Gregory said...

Gentlemen,

Thank God Benedict xv1 is the Pope and not one of you; dialogue would end within 24 hours. God is still in control of the Church and its problems.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

Igumen,

Did I deny that God is in control of the Church and its problems?

Are you implying that whatever the pope says or does is automatically sanctioned by God?

I am not Spartacus said...

I'd like to know what novel initiative of Pope Blessed John Paul II our Holy Father will not follow?

From visits to Synagogues where there is no preaching of Jesus and calls for conversion, to the Assisi Peace Prayers with polytheists and pagans( What about Our Lady's Peace Plan and Fatima?) to the bowing and scraping before the Orthodox who have almost always been a seedbed of heresy?

Defend the truth, don't slough-off the Filioque, and do not accept the first among equals stuff

Igumen Gregory said...

Br.
I can neither deny nor affirm that whatever the Pope says is of God. Can you?

Jack said...

\\I don't see the word "conversion" used by the Holy Father in regards to what the "Orthodox" must do to gain eternal salvation.\\

**Neither do I. I wonder how the Holy Father can speak about his "love" of a schismatic association of Churches which are also, I suppose, heretical since they reject Catholic dogma.

There is indeed much to love about Orthodoxy - but surely not everything, not those aspects which are repugnant to the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. I trust this is what the Holy Father means.**

++Whatever is in "Orthodoxy" that there is to love does not belong to "Orthodoxy". These belong only to the Catholic Church. "Orthodoxy" has no right to usurp them.++

Do you realize that many Orthodox say the same things about Roman Catholics?

Pretty ugly, isn't it?

Ugly remarks are ugly remarks, regardless of who is saying them.

Most holy Theotokos, save us.

LeonG said...

"New" - this aways rouses suspicion when it is expressed by liberals.

Igumen Gregory said...

Amen, Jack! I concur with your remarks with delight. Ill mannered people are pretty much the same no matter what side of the debate they are on. And i find it even more repugnant when they profess to be a consecrated person.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

"Br.
I can neither deny nor affirm that whatever the Pope says is of God. Can you?"


I can affirm that God does not sanction everything the pope says or does.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

"Ugly remarks are ugly remarks, regardless of who is saying them."

If the truth of what I said is ugly, then there lies your problem.

Jack said...

\\I can affirm that God does not sanction everything the pope says or does.\\

From God's mouth to your ears, to invert the proverb.

\\If the truth of what I said is ugly, then there lies your problem.\\

What has yet to be determined is if what you're saying is in fact true.

Most holy Theotokos, save us.

Jack said...

\\I can affirm that God does not sanction everything the pope says or does.\\

Br. Anthony, consider this:

Only the pope is infallible, that that under strictly limited and defined conditions.

Not even limited infallibility is promised to anyone else.

Not to me. And not to you.

And I know for a fact that God does NOT sanction everything that you or I do. That's why we go to confession.

At least, I hope you do.

Most holy Theotokos, save us.

Igumen Gregory said...

Bro.

If I were to give you the Orthodox expression of Truth, in the manner in which you seem to enjoy running rough shod, I think you would be most highly offended. Christian Charity requires that I refrain from the vitriolic. You would be well advised to do the same.