Rorate Caeli


Russian news agency Interfax reports from Moscow:

The Russian Orthodox Church would never recognize the current status of Catholic dioceses in Russia, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Kirill of Smolenk and Kaliningrad stated.

We shall never recognize them and will always dispute the presence of ordinary Catholic dioceses in the territory of Russia and consider it a challenge to our common idea of sticking to a territorial principle of Church administration’, the hierarch said at a church and scientific conference in Moscow.

The Vatican decided to increase the status of its apostolic administrations in Russia up to the level of dioceses in 2002 thus causing a protest of the Russian Orthodox Church.

‘We consider it a mistake, which indeed damages the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue and puts off a possibility of achieving our common aims’, Metropolitan Kirill stated commenting on the 2002 events.

He said that arguments of the Moscow Patriarchate’s opponents were unjustified as they alleged that the Russian Orthodox Church in Europe had its dioceses set up on the same principle as the Catholic dioceses in Russia.

‘Dioceses of the Moscow Patriarchate in diaspora are not ordinary. Neither are they connected with local jurisdiction. They were established to provide pastoral care for people in diaspora, they do not have strictly defined boarders. In a certain sense, they are unusual dioceses and we always underline it in our dialogue with the Catholics’, the representative of the Russian Church noted.


  1. Anonymous4:38 PM

    Surprise! You can't deal with heretics!

  2. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Referring to Catholic ordinaries such as the one in the archdiocese of Los Angeles, are we...?

  3. Anonymous5:24 PM

    Since one is born into a rite, I wonder what is the history and origin of Latin Rite Catholics in Russia. Obviously there are Latin Rite immigrants now, and always have been, but I must look into the history of Catholics in Russia.

  4. In answer to the question on Russian Catholics... a lot of them lived in the Western satellite countries and were forced to relocate to places like Siberia in addition to being put into labor camps around Russia as well. So, as some chose to be Catholic, some were Latin or Greek Catholic and were put into train cars and shipped around the country.

  5. Anonymous6:28 PM

    So do the Russian Orthodox think that you should be a member of the Russian Orthodox Church if you live permanently in Russia, a member of the Roman Catholic Church if you live in Italy or Spain, a Greek Orthodox if you live in Athens, etc.? IN that case, their communities abroad are hypocritical.

    On the other hand, do they think that it is alright to belong to another "sister" Church and live in Russia, or to be Russian Orthodox and live abroad? And do they merely assert that the non-local Church should not be offering itself to Russians because their presence is really only an non-essential accomodation in the first place and is interfereing with and unnecessarily dividing the people? In that case, there position would seem to make sense as long as the Russian Orthodox abroad are not trying to convert anyone- and generally I bet they are not.

    It is certainly not a tolerable position for Catholics as long as the Orthodox are hostile to Papal authority, but it seems to me to be consistent. Please, fill me in on what I am missing...

  6. Anonymous7:40 PM

    The Orthodox-Catholic dialogue is generally hopeless. At least in my particular circumstance (which I realize is not universal), the Orthodox folks I have met have demonstrated the same intransigence and hostility to the Faith as Southern Baptists do. How do you have a real conversation with them? But I think that Benedict should show principle here and not bow to Orthodox pressure.

  7. Anonymous8:49 PM

    One cannot get rational thought from the orthodox theologians on either patristics or matters of jurisdiction.

    Most of them are intellectually bankrupt, and in mala fide summa.

  8. Anonymous9:00 PM

    As Metropoltan Andrew Sheptytsky esplained in his pastoral letter to his faithful, the Orthodoxy of the Russian Orthodox Church is more a political than church question

  9. Anonymous9:24 PM

    I have heard that the "real" issue in the Orthodox Catholic dialogue is hatred and rivalry between Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox. There is some seriously checkered history there- both distant and recent. Is there any truth to that? (It seemed remarkable to me how immediate the tone from the Russians became once our Polish Pope was replaced with a German.)

  10. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Dear Anonymous #2 from Anonymoys #1:

    Referring to Catholic ordinaries such as the one in the archdiocese of Los Angeles, are we...?


  11. Anonymous10:09 PM

    This matter is complicated. Latin Rite Catholics have done terrible things to Eastern Rite Catholics such as burn churches desecrate the Sacrament. The Polish bishops still treat Eastern Rite Catholics badly. Greek Catholic Bishops are placed in subordination to the jurisdiction of Latin Rite hierachy. JPII mother' was an Eastern Rite Catholic. That is within our own church. They see this. There are a few reasons the Russians are being coy. They were evangelised at he time of increasing tension between Constantinople and Rome.
    The Latin Rite has hardly treated Constantinople with respect. I am thinking of the raping of nuns, killing priests and looting relics let alone the occupation of the city. We Latins helped bring about the fall of Byzantium. Yes the victory Of ISLAM. In the process we fueled the schism. These East Romans were culturally and in terms of civilisation superior to us.
    There is more at stake than just accepting the Primacy of Rome. No one can dispute the position of the bishop of Rome. But look at us! Our liturgy in its novus ordo form is inferior to the Russian Orthodox. We are tainted by modernism. I note the Patriarch of Moscow wrote the Pope a letter praising the Older liturgy in the Latin Rite.
    Also there are problems with the Latin Rite Clergy in Russia. Some are quite liberal and liturgically creative.
    Any reunity will have to be based on an acceptance that the Russian Orthodox Church is Christianity in Russia. The Latin Rite will have to accept it is not the Rite of Russia. The relationship will have to be between the Patriarch and Pope. Love and respect will bring about unity.
    Russian Orthodoxy has survived. That was a work of God. By establishing new diocese in Russia we are causing division. If I were an Orthodox I would not be happy. Imagine if the Russiand started setting up diocese in Italy. The Latin Rite would be rightly unhappy.

  12. Anonymous11:04 PM

    C and M,
    While I don't doubt what you said is mostly true, I think it was remarkably one-sided. First off, the Russian Church has survivied by God's grace, and the aid of nationalistic political actors who prop it up that it might prop up the Russia that they portray to their people.

    Did it not give you pause when the Russians named a 19th c. naval commander as a saint and patron of the long range Russian nuclear bomber fleet? They did the same for the slain Czarist family- who were victims but not saints!

    And what about the Russian Orthodox collaboration with the Soviets? This is now a well-known scandal, and the Roman Catholics in Eastern Europe were not treated humanely during this period- to put it mildly. There was mistreatment long before that as well, but the fact is we simply don't talk about it all the time. In fact, we have gotten into the opposite problem of blaming ourselves for everything, and asking forgiveness of anyone who will listen.

    It is tempting to play victim, and the East surely does. The fact that the East still talks about the Latin Church in terms of the crusades should give you a little pause. Forgive and forget? Hardly.

    I know that the post-VII "protestanized" liturgy and the generally liberal and political attitude of our Bishops led me to look longingly at the Orthodox world's adherence to tradtion. But in my experience, the more you look the uglier it gets. The reality is extremism, nationalism, politicalization, and a theological mess, all shrouded in conflicting claims of purity.

    It is a two way street, and honestly, the last few centuries have not strengthened the Russians' claims.

  13. Anonymous11:15 PM

    Cyril and Methodius,

    your answer is in no way responsive to my charge about patristics and intellectual bankruptcy.

    While your point about mistreatment of eastern catholics (ancient and modern) by latins is well taken, attributing the fall of Constantinople to the sacking by the crusaders several hundred years previously is fatuous in the extreme.

    The reason C. fell was a combination of two factors that had nothing to do with the sacking and plundering. A cleric at the time betrayed the city to the Turks on the basis that they would make him patriarch when they took control, and above all, the fact that the turks won the arms race by purchasing a cannon that was powerful enough to breach the walls of the city. In fact, this last was the overriding cause for the turks' victory, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the events of a couple of hundred years before.

    And, for good measure, I might add that the Eastern bishops played a long standing part in the estrangement between the papacy and the east, going back before Photios or Cerularios.

    Of course, none of this excuses the bad treatment meted out to Eastern rite catholics by latin rite bishops, espeically since the Unia. However, it strikes me as strange that you avoid adverting to the fundamental reason for this - the married eastern catholic clergy.

  14. Anonymous11:19 PM

    Cyril and Methodius said...
    This matter is complicated. Latin Rite Catholics have done terrible things to Eastern Rite Catholics such as burn churches desecrate the Sacrament. The Polish bishops still treat Eastern Rite Catholics badly... bla bla yada yada

    Two wrongs don't make a right. EVERY CHRISTIAN KNOWS THIS!

    Except Moslem.

    But then again, since Islam was born thanks to disobedience East [ie. Orthodox] maybe now they start sharing to abhor such christian value also.

  15. Anonymous12:02 AM

    Not to mention that those who took part in the sacking of Constantinople in 1204 were excommunicated by Pope Innocent III for their actions. In no way can the Church be blamed for what the Franks did during the Fourth Crusade. That makes about as much sense as blaming the Orthodox for Communism.

  16. Anonymous2:52 AM

    Leaving off the argument of who did what to whom, I must say the Russian Orthodox argument is logically and cannonically sound.
    If the Orthodox are valid Apostolic Churches, then setting up Catholic dioceses over their existing Orthodox ones results in redundancy. I think that's the issue. And they're challenging Rome's trust, in not a bad way, in my opinion. They're saying "If we are real Churches, then why create dioceses here when they already exist?"
    Ultimately, when we are reunified there would be one diocese with one bishop.
    Obviously there would need to be Roman Rite, and other various Eastern Rite clergy and bishops within Russian dioceses to serve the faithful of those respective traditions.
    But to set up official Roman Catholic dioceses with Roman Catholic bishops does seem a bit disingenuous to me.
    This is not to say that much of the Russian Church's juridical complaints are not politically charged or without charity or equally disingenuous (like the "Unia" issue, or the recent walkout of Ravenna for example), but I believe this point does make sense.

  17. Anonymous3:23 AM

    The Russian argumetn makes sense in Russian Orthodox terms, but shouldn't Russian Christians have the option of being in Commmunion with Rome? Did God give the Pope the authority to leave people in the care of those hostile to the Catholic Church?

    This is one of the dangers of speaking of the Orthodox as true Churches. They are in an important sense, but they are also schismatics!

  18. Anonymous3:39 AM

    I think you will find the Russian Orthodox are not such cosy allies with the government as you think. The Patriarch knows that even Stalin used the Church for his own ends during the war to appeal to the patriotic. He did this after and while persecuting the Church into oblivion. The Patriarch knows what the State does. Peter the Great also chained the Church up, subjugating it etc. I noted the State in Russia won't own up to its evil behaviour in former times. Recently didnt the State ignore the Church Remembrance of those killed during the Communist Era?
    Religion has always been used as a force to unite. The good Old USA uses religion to cloak its agendas. At least the Russians know something we have forgotten. The true Christian state believes in religious unity with one Church. Not a state of religious liberty and with error having rights. The USA sends Protestant sects and idiots such a Mormons all over the world. It provides a pitiful example that is exported and aped uncritically.
    Patristics and theology are matters for serious study. It is an important tool to brin about unity. Who could be so silly as to say the Russians know nothing of this. Because of the Russian legacy inherited from Constantinople these areas of study have to be acknowleged.
    I am a traditionalist. I do try to see things from others vantage point. Some of these contributors are so unwilling to accept that the Latin rite has sinned against the Eastern Church. (The Othodox too have sinned).
    So unable to see the others view. I can see the Latin Rite view.
    I remember however that it was issues such as jurisdiction in areas such as Dalmatia that sparked the schism amongst other issues.
    Married clergy is not an issue. They cannot be bishops. They cannot have sexual relations with their wives on days the liturgy is celebrated. It is a custom that comes from apostolic times.
    What will bring about unity is a change of heart, a change of approach. A confession of sins done. Asking for pardon from God. Finally real love.
    Do you think there is any love in what has been written? See things from the Russian viewpoint. I agree with them. I think setting up diocese was mistaken. An Apostolic District.
    One thing does bother me. Those Russian Communities in the USA and Europe who use western rites in worship. It is not too respectful.
    Our Pope Benedict is a God send. He seems to grasp the issues. I pray for him. Long may he live!

  19. Anonymous4:46 AM

    Not sure this is helpful, but looking at it from a higher perspective ...
    Russia. Interesting that with war in the Middle East, South and Central America invading the US by foot, communism spreading through South America, China building a massive, modern military arsenal, and the Church without influence or credibility (worldly speaking), the Church is focused on Russia. Russia? Who cares if they convert? They're not our big headache right now. We have to save ourselves!
    And yet ... Our Lady said they would convert, which means to the one, true faith. Maybe Russia is the key to it all.
    But do you realize the magnitude of what has to occur? Thus far this discussion is about problems of jurisdiction and maybe cultures, but wouldn't the Catholic faith have to regain it's influence first, or at least nearly simultaneously? How could Russia be converted if Rome doesn't even have the faith? (I'm talking about the virus of liberalism.) WHY should Russia convert, if Rome won't? But how can Rome solidly regain the faith if there is hardly one in a thousand bishops with it?
    And yet, it will happen.
    As a military officer, I hoped the inevitable war between the USSR and America would happen on my watch, so my sons wouldn't have to do it. Enough of those God-hating, murderous communists - let's get it on, anytime, any place, and just see who's side God is on. I had no doubt about who would win.
    But now there's no USSR, an unimaginable outcome having nothing to do with my vision.
    I don't know where all this is going, but I'm taken back by the magnitude of these twists and turns. Great and Holy Angels are surely at work here, and something huge is going to happen because there is no other way to sweep these micro and macro obstacles out of the way.
    By using Russia, of all things. It will happen.

  20. "At least the Russians know something we have forgotten. The true Christian state believes in religious unity with one Church. Not a state of religious liberty and with error having rights."

    Excellent point. Metropolitan Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church said a few months ago that he supports the revival of the Orthodox monarchy. This belief in the God-given establishment of monarchy and the cooperation between Church and State is strong in the Orthodox Churches of the old world.

    Unfortunately, the majority of Roman Catholics believe such models are outdated and/or don't understand them in the sense of the ancient Fathers. This leads me to see the irony in the triumphal banter some have posted here.

    I hear some in the comments for this entry say that the Orthodox Church is deficient in patristics, yet are those who make this charge unaware that any poor Orthodox priest could surpass the majority of Roman Catholic priests in the knowledge and praxis of the Holy Fathers? Are they unaware that even before Vatican II, seminaries taught more canon law and scholasticism than they did patristics (even to the extent that one traditional German priest in the 1940s criticized the "new theologians" for emphasizing odd and exotic concepts such as "theosis" found in the Greek Fathers)?

    Someone else mentioned jurisdictional chaos. However, it is common knowledge that the canonical tradition of Orthodoxy still holds to the ancient model of one diocese = one bishop. However, Roman/Eastern Catholic canon law allows Latin and Eastern Catholic bishops to have overlapping jurisdiction, which is not the ancient tradition. Many Orthodox argue that it is better to have an abuse (as current jurisdictional chaos in the Diaspora is) than to awake and find the abuse written into your Church's canon law.

    In conclusion, the Russian Orthodox Church has strong grounds on which to reject the creation of Catholic (Roman or Eastern) dioceses in Russia. What are these dioceses bringing with them? Even if they are faithful to Pope Benedict XVI, they will offer a dumbed-down Novus Ordo Liturgy, they will tolerate the Neocatechumenal Way and other such groups along with engendering a spirit that states that Holy Tradition can be updated for the sake of modern man. The Russian Orthodox faithful are better off as they are than to compromise their traditional principles with such destructive innovation.

    On the other hand, Russian Orthodox dioceses in Western Europe could only breathe life into these modernist lands that the Bishop of Rome refuses to exercise his patriarchal control over. Of course, there is the sticky issue of the Papal Supremacy, which the Orthodox reject. However, the Orthodox state that when they see the bad fruits of making the Pope the supreme lawgiver of the Church as opposed to the first defender of Tradition and giving him universal jurisdiction over the Church instead of cultivating a spirit of humble service, that this is confirmation that their Church’s teaching is right. This argument needs to be addressed because it does have merit. Just how much merit is a question I’m currently trying to discover.

    It may be helpful to know that the Orthodox Church never rejected the Pope - she simply believes there is no Orthodox Pope of Rome at the present time. You may know this as a type of "sedevacantism", transported back to the 11th century Eastern Church. If sedevacantism is justified in its principle of possibility, so is the Orthodox position.

    Please don't misconstrue my words as non-Catholic. I'm just trying to convey to others how the Orthodox feel about this issue, as the Orthodox position needs to be conveyed.

  21. "And yet ... Our Lady said they would convert, which means to the one, true faith. Maybe Russia is the key to it all."

    Our Lady conditioned the conversion of Russia on the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart by the Pope and all the Bishops. Pope John Paul II joined with the bishops and consecrated Russia in 1984. Since then, Communism has fallen and the Orthodox Church is growing by leaps and bounds, having recently (June of this year) witnessed the healing of a schism between the patriarchal Church and ROCOR, which had been out of communion since 1927. If the Collegial consecration of 1984 was valid, it appears like the conversion of Russia is conversion back to Orthodoxy. Strange, I know. However, I don't see any other answer, unless one says the real consecration is yet to come. Even with a future consecration, the odds still favor Orthodoxy due to a further part of the revelations of Fatima. Our Lady says that after Russia is converted that an era of peace will be given to the world. Having studied Catholic prophesies extensively in the past, I know that many saints and mystics have spoken of this “era of peace”. Part of this time of peace is the presence of a great Catholic monarch who will work with a holy Pope in renovating the world and Church after a Chastisement. However, as I pointed out in my last comment, Orthodoxy, unlike Catholicism, still retains the belief and praxis, which supports a monarchy. This causes me to think that the conversion of Russia is a conversion back to her ancient Orthodox Faith and that once converted she will help establish an era of peace through the monarchial principle that still remains in her consciousness. Of course, the reunion of East and West with a truly Orthodox and Catholic Pope would happen at the same time, but Russia’s Orthodox Faith is more of a mechanism to fulfill Fatima as opposed to contradict it.

  22. Oh, if just the Pope fully restored the sui juris Russian Byzantine Catholic Church!

    (Well, it would not be joined overnight by 63% of Russians, but maybe some pencentile of the other 37%...)

  23. Anonymous7:33 AM

    "They cannot have sexual relations with their wives on days the liturgy is celebrated. It is a custom that comes from apostolic times."

    There's not a scintilla of evidence to support this assertion that abstinence from sex on the days the liturgy is celebrated goes back to the apostles. Making an assertion is not the same thing as offering proof to establish that assertion's verity.

    AS for the issue of patristics, look at Lidoudis' works on the church fathers and the eastern schismatics (intentional mis-)understanding of them. And the statement concerning the alleged patristic knowledge of the ordinary orthodox priest, historically speaking, is a nonsense.

    And oh, C & M, I'm a traditionalist too. In fact, I bet, from the highly emotive tone of your writing, that you are one and the same as the person who runs the Amemus Athanasium website, and a poster on FishEaters known as HMiS.

    Would I be correct by any chance??

  24. Anonymous7:40 AM


    That should be "Athanasius contra Mundum website"

  25. Anonymous8:20 AM

    I assure you the Russian Orthodox love Our Lady. Adam Barnette your post was very helpful. Ultimately if we Latins cannot seek union with an Apostolic Church in love and charity we are useless like the salt that is trodden underfoot. Yes there is a schism. It is Our Lord's will that it be healed. That means we Latins stop thinking we own the Church. I belong to the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. It does not belong to me.
    The greatest scandal is this division made by arrogant sinful men. If we all conform to the traditio there will be unity.

  26. Anonymous10:06 AM

    C & M,

    Yes, what you say is correct, we know what the sins of the latin church have been, but it's not at all relevant to the question of the Russian Orthodox double standard, nor the general issue of moral and intellectual bankruptcy among the orthodox anti-papal theologians, neither has it addressed issues raised in my posts above.

  27. Anonymous10:34 AM

    Our most fervent prayer must be for the conversion of Roman Catholics to the truth.

    The Russian Church will never succumb to the blasphemy and patent lies of the papal claims.

  28. Anonymous10:47 AM

    "The Russian Church will never succumb to the blasphemy and patent lies of the papal claims."

    See what I mean about moral and intellectual bankruptcy?

    This person is functioning mentally on either the level of an imbecile or that of a liar.

    How does some one so steeped in subjectivism, and mentally cut off from patristic reality dare claim to possess the truth.

  29. Anonymous1:08 PM

    So many errors on one blog!

    1. The Russian "orthodox" church isn't - whether we call it 1000 years of sedevacantist heresy or outright denial of Petrine infallibility and papal rejection, they deny with heart and soul Petrine and therefore papal infallibility.

    2. They deny, refute and anathemize the Immaculate Conception. The foolish assertion that a growing "orthodox" church in Russia is "proof" that Our Lady's Immaculate Heart cannot overlook that basic fact. Russians, like most other "orthodox" anathemize the Immaculate Conception.
    3. The first 2 points are proof enough that the so-called "orthodox" are at once schismatic and heretical, and therefore outside the Ark of Salvation that is the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church.

    In light of 1, 2, 3 any Catholic is falling into grave error who asserts that the Catholic church must or ought not proselytize in Russia, and by extension claim that the Church cannot set up dioceses and parishes there.

    Our Lady called for the conversion of that poor nation in 1917. It has clearly not been done. Russia continues to decline in population as the abortion, pornography, child pornography, mafia capital of the world and the only religion growing there is Islam. Which btw has been growing for 1400 years not by the grace of God but His wrath against heresy and schism.

    Pray, pray, pray and labour tirelessly for the conversion of Russia.

  30. Anonymous2:04 PM

    An anonymous wrote:
    "2. They deny, refute and anathemize the Immaculate Conception. The foolish assertion that a growing "orthodox" church in Russia is "proof" that Our Lady's Immaculate Heart cannot overlook that basic fact. Russians, like most other "orthodox" anathemize the Immaculate Conception."

    Quite. Why turn the Holy Theotokos into a dehumanised Magic Dolly?

    More papal blashphemy.

  31. It is unfortunately undeniable that on many issues the Russian Orthodox Church is sounder that the Conciliar Church: liturgy (both theory and practice), spirituality, social thought etc. Nevertheless this church also exhibits the ravages of centuries of the "schismatic mentality" so well reflected in disingenuous and politically motivated statements such as these. Posters also seem to have forgotten the role of the ROC within the world council of churches during the soviet era: politics overriding principle.

    But has anyone addressed the truth specific claims of the ROC here and whether the ROC and the Roman Catholic Church in fact have the same understnding of a bishop's jurisdiction? For example, in the Tsarist era there was a Latin diocese of Mogilev - did it not have recognized jursdiction over Latine rite Catholics in areas withan established ROC hierarchy? Even in all Russia- I defer to experts on thsi.

    Also, since the 19th century, hasn't the Catholic Chuch developed a concept of jursidiction based on rite, not on territory, which permits the existence of many overlapping dioceses? So, in the US, the Ukrainians and the Maronites, among other rites, have dioceses cooexisting with the "Roman Rite" dioceses. thsu, the existence of a Latin bishop in Moscow might not seem unusaul at all to the Vatican. there were Latin and Greek rite bsbhops of Lemberg (Lvov), Przmysl etc. To what extent has the ROC developed the same ecclesiology in theory or in practice?

  32. Anonymous2:21 PM

    "Russia continues to decline in population as the abortion, pornography, child pornography, mafia capital of the world and the only religion growing there is Islam. "

    Hmmm...this reminds me of some other places in the world - traditionally Roman Catholic places.
    We have to know what the real meaning of "the conversion of Russia" is.
    I really don't think it means all Russians would suddenly become Roman Catholics. What a strange idea. The Apostolic Faith is already present in Russia in the form of the Orthodox Church. Yes, there are deficiencies, but the Catholic Church has made clear that those don't rob it of its Apostolic nature.
    We must first pray Russians will start practicing there Faith, then we can talk of sharing from the same Cup of Salvation.
    But we must also pray that Catholics start practicing their Faith again! The West is morally bankrupt, probably more so than the East! And no traditionalist will claim the Western Catholic Church has born much fruit in the wake of V II. Don't think the East doesn't notice this.
    God save us.

  33. Anonymous3:45 PM

    Pardon, again, but it seems to me that Our Lady cannot be on the side of Orthodoxy in these matters if she called for the conversion of Russia, which was Orthodox, in 1917. (Orthodox) Russia must not have been considered Catholic by Our Lady in 1917. Therefore, any argument that they are the solution based on any events or beliefs predating 1917 is problematic. Have they changed significantly since 1917? No. I conclude that they must humbly submit to the authority of Peter just as Latin traditionalists do (recognize his authority, resist firmly but respectfully only on matters not theologically closed). But again, Peter must also get well. But the solution is for a cooperative consecration by all the bishops - then they also must humbly submit to the authority of Peter - how huge is that? All sides are uncompromisingly entrenched. Methinks this movie is bigger than the screen, and so I'm back to my conclusion that something much more forceful than reason is going to have to happen. And will.

  34. Anonymous5:50 PM

    A response from the Anon number 29 who enumerated the 3 key reasons why (a) Russian "Orthodox" is not not orthodox and therefore (b) outside the fold of the Catholic Church ...

    1. The clearly non-Catholic individual who stated "Quite. Why turn the Holy Theotokos into a dehumanised Magic Dolly? More papal blashphemy."

    Frankly, do any of the Catholic "orthodox-files" still have any doubts where the notion of Russia's "apostolicity" lies with a statement like that. YEt, this is what all "orthodox" adhere to, discarding all the Ancient Eastern Fathers dogmatic assertions of the immaculate purity of the Holy Theotokos from the first moment of her existence. She was considered the New Eve; the Old Eve also being created immaculate. Was the Old Eve a magic dolly to our perturbed friend? The gospels clearly expound Holy Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant, and no less St John the Apostle in the Apocalypse showing equating Her with the Tabernacle in the Heavenly Temple. Yet, the "orthodox" persist in blaspheming both St Peter and the Holy Mother of God in claiming that She was created stained by Adam's sin.

    2. The other writer who stated "Hmmm...this reminds me of some other places in the world - traditionally Roman Catholic places. We have to know what the real meaning of "the conversion of Russia" is." Who ever claimed that the rest of the Roman Catholic is 'converting' rather than apostasizing? No one on this blog! Which is precisely my point. Russia has apostasized to "leadership extent", along with the rest of the world. Clearly a sign of a lack of conversion.

    3. "If the Orthodox are valid Apostolic Churches, then setting up Catholic dioceses over their existing Orthodox ones results in redundancy"

    THe "orthodox" churches were once valid Apostolic rites. Their entire leadership and populace, save perhaps a small remnant, have for centuries wallowed in heresy and schism. There is nothing valid in them, except if they were to renounce definitively their errors. In the meantime, what would you have? Russians who convert to the Immaculate Conception and the Infallibility of St Peter still worship with the heretical and schismatic masses there? Share communion with those outside the fold? Confess their sins to priests who do not have The Faith? No one is calling for Russians to become "Latin Rite" Catholics. But they do need to become Catholic, "Russian Rite" Catholics perhaps, but Catholic, in order to have The Faith, and save themselves, as St Athanasius defined for us in the Athanasian creed. There is no salvation outside of the Rock of St Peter and the Holy Catholic Church. It is a mistake also to waffle on only permitting the Holy Church to set up "Latin Rite" dioceses for this reason - they need to set up Russian Rite dioceses too, for the souls who by God's grace convert to One, indivisible Faith of the Apostles, and of St Peter, need the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church to live in Christ and merit salvation.

    Let's not sell out the Russian believers as some are trying to do with the Chinese ones.

    Conversion is a very simple thing. You believe in the whole and entire Faith, nothing more and nothing else, or are outside of Christ's body. Conversion can only mean one thing in the Athanasian and Trentine creeds - accepting whole and entire without reservation or denial of a single article the Holy Catholic Faith. Short of that, you're do not possess The Faith.

    Russia WILL be converted according to Our Lady. And when Russia is, Russia will proudly emblazon the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the New Adam and Eve, the God in His New Ark, immaculate in its creation like the Ark of Old in its own society, heart and mind. And Russia will then lead the world not in murder, perversion, and crimes but in Faith, Hope and Charity.

  35. "As for the issue of patristics, look at Lidoudis' works on the church fathers and the eastern schismatics (intentional mis-) understanding of them. And the statement concerning the alleged patristic knowledge of the ordinary orthodox priest, historically speaking, is a nonsense."

    I have had the delight of witnessing discussions between Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians on these quotes that are used to support the Papacy. Often the Catholic apologist will use them to show that because one/group of bishops appealed to the Pope in a doctrinal crisis, this was a sign that the Pope was infallible and had the assurance to always teach the true Faith.

    However, when the Orthodox Christian quotes Popes, theologians and commentaries on canon law that state that it is possible for the Pope to fall into heresy, the Catholic is revealed to have radically misunderstood these quotes.

    Furthermore, when the Orthodox Christian mentions that the actual dogma of papal infallibility only gives the Pope power to dogmatize parts of the true Faith, not the power to never make doctrinal mistakes, and then asks the intriguing question of when in the first millennium did the Popes ever define dogmas, the Catholic apologist is left looking pretty intellectually bankrupt and Orthodoxy is left with a solid argument.

    Many more examples of such discussions could be provided upon request. The main difference is that too many Catholics read the Fathers in an isolated, proof-text form in their favorite apologist's handbook instead of actually reading them and weighing them against other aspects of the ancient, undivided Church and the history of the post-Schism Western Church, herself.

  36. Anonymous9:06 PM

    "when in the first millennium did the Popes ever define dogmas[?]"

    When they ratified the decrees of those dogmatic councils at which they were not personally present, or, when, if they were personally present, the definitive text of the canon containing a dogmatic definition was promulgated. In the first millenium, the popes did not adopt the practices of Pius XII.

    Likoudis does not take the fathers out of context, he was brought up orthodox.

    An interesting witness from the mediaeval eastern church to the intellectual bankruptcy of the orthodox is Demetrios Kydones.

    From L's website:

    "In this impressive "Apologia", one of the most remarkable documents of the Byzantine Middle Ages, Kydones criticized the racial pride of those opposed to union with Rome, and which he blamed for their inability to study impartially the evidence for Catholic teaching. His own studies (based on his translations of St. Thomas' writings into Greek) convinced him that the Latin Fathers agreed with the Greek Fathers in matters of faith, and that there were no valid grounds for maintaining their separation from the See of Peter."

    Either the fathers support the latin understanding of the Petrine primacy being more than merely one of honour, or they do not. If they do not, not only are we latins wrong, but Christianity is a complete waste of time. If they do, the orthodox theologians are either stupid or malicious.

    Either way youlook at it, the orthodox are wrong on this question.

    Of course the pope can make doctrinal mistakes just like any other bishop.

    I bet the "debates" you witnessed were involved typical American Catholicism 1950's style ultramontanists, with a minimum formation in patristics and church history.

  37. Anonymous11:31 PM

    Just because the Russian Orthodox have Apostolic Succession does not mean they possess the Apostolic Faith.

    The Apostolic Faith is to be found in its entirety only in the Catholic Church.

    And it's biased to refer to the two communions as "Roman Catholic" and "Orthodox Christian." That's the inverse of saying "Catholic Christian" and "Eastern Orthodox."

    Either we should refer to each as Catholic Christian and Orthodox Christian or Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, althoguh I much prefer the first choice.


  38. "When they ratified the decrees of those dogmatic councils at which they were not personally present, or, when, if they were personally present, the definitive text of the canon containing a dogmatic definition was promulgated."

    Couldn't this be seen as mere "infallibility by association"? The Orthodox belief is that the Ecumenical Council is automatically infallible since in such councils all the Orthodox bishops come together and formulate a dogma. In this case, the Pope would only be right insofar as he is in communion with these other bishops. This isn't the infallibility apart from the bishops that is promised in Pastor Aeternus, but the infallibility possessed by any bishop in communion with Holy Tradition.

    "In the first millennium, the popes did not adopt the practices of Pius XII."

    This is certainly one way of looking at it. However, couldn't the Orthodox argue that the Popes of the first millennium didn't adopt the practices of Pius IX and Pius XII because they knew of no other vehicle of infallibility but the Ecumenical Council? It appears like they could and we have yet to provide a response to this claim.

    "Either the fathers support the latin understanding of the Petrine primacy being more than merely one of honour, or they do not. If they do not, not only are we latins wrong, but Christianity is a complete waste of time. If they do, the orthodox theologians are either stupid or malicious."

    I don’t think I would go so far as to say such a revelation would prove Christianity a complete waste of time. If I ever became convinced that the Roman Catholic Church embraced heresy with the papal dogmas, I would easily become Orthodox and would be happy in the Orthodox Church. As it stands right now, I’m still researching the evidence. I will say, however, that the Orthodox argument has more merit than it is often accredited.

    "Of course the pope can make doctrinal mistakes just like any other bishop."

    Right. And the logical conclusion of this statement is that all the quotes of praise that are provided for the early Popes, the doctrinal appeals to them and the fact that the Popes never fell into heresy during the first millennium are all conditional on the Pope's fidelity to Holy Tradition and don't reveal anything that would support the distinctive Roman Catholic dogmas of the Papacy.

    "I bet the 'debates' you witnessed were involved typical American Catholicism 1950's style ultramontanists, with a minimum formation in patristics and church history."

    Yes they were. The problem is that these debates happened in the 21st century by Catholics well versed in the popular apologists of the day, including Likoudis. And other Catholics have never, to my knowledge, corrected their errors in patristics and church history. Apparently, the dearth of formation in patristics and church history continues unabated in Catholicism. Isn’t this confirmation of what I said about Orthodoxy being better formed in these areas than Catholicism?

  39. Anonymous5:43 AM

    ISTANBUL, Turkey, DEC. 5, 2007 ( It is an obligation to reclaim the spiritual, sacramental and doctrinal unity that Europe enjoyed prior to the schism of the East and West, said the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople.

  40. Anonymous10:25 AM

    To the Annon. Russian Orthodox:

    Before criticizing the Immaculate Conception, you need to actually know what it means. What is the difference between "Immaculata" and "Prechistaja" ? in my understanding, the Orthodox and Catholic Churches hold the same doctrine on Mary's purity but only debate over the moment when she was purified. Not much to argue about there. One way or another, God purified her to give birth to Christ the Saviour and Deliverer of our souls (Bogoroditse Djevo, radujsja). As for a "dolly", there are many Russian iconic depictions (notably those of the same historical epoch as the definition of the I.C) that lean towards such a description. Don't confuse external popular piety with church doctrine.

  41. Anonymous11:38 AM

    "Either the fathers support the latin understanding of the Petrine primacy being more than merely one of honour, or they do not. If they do not, not only are we latins wrong, but Christianity is a complete waste of time."

    Yes that's right, because if the bishop of Rome (a fortiori the Latin church as a whole) erred in their understanding of the successor of Peter at Rome's (official, not personal) immunity from error in matters of faith and morals, then the promise of Christ to Peter alone, and not any of the other apostles, that he should confirm their brethren is neaningless, not to mention the fact that if the pope of Rome is no more infallible than an eastern bishop, Christianity has no guarantee of protection from error.

    Show me the (at least morally) unanymous patristic quotes (and not the odd one or two), that support the orthodox idea that the bishop of Rome has no more prominent a role in preserving from error the teaching of Christ in matters of faith and morals than any eastern bishop, or all eastern and western bishops together in council.

    I think you'll be hard pressed.

  42. Anonymous12:00 PM

    Furthermore, since the only councils that the orthodox recognise, were convened by the emperor, dince the foll of Constantinople, no relevant emperor exists. This must logically mean that no matter of faith and morals can be defined, which means that Christ has deserted his church. Hence, Christianity must be a fraud.

  43. "There's not a scintilla of evidence to support this assertion that abstinence from sex on the days the liturgy is celebrated goes back to the apostles."

    Actually, they would have abstained the night before. It is one reason why the Eastern churches -- whether in communion with Rome or not -- do not have a tradition of "daily Mass" during the weekdays.

    How far back it goes, I do not know. But it would be consistent with the ancient understanding of fasting. That's not a lot of evidence, but maybe a "scintilla."

    (A lot of guys here named "anonymous." What's up with that?)

  44. Anonymous4:52 PM

    And to the Anon. "Ark of Salvation":

    The Catholic Church did not and does share your view on the Orthodox Churches.

    If the real issue is Catholic missions in Russia, then the missionaries need to adopt the Russian Rite. Perhaps the real issue is that, again contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the missionaries (and you) consider the Eastern Churches (whether Catholic or otherwise) to be inferior to the Latin Church and not deserving of equal rights.

  45. Anonymous11:27 PM

    Re Ark of Salvation

    The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is the Ark of Salvation. No one outside of it can be saved from the fires of eternal hell. Christ gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom, as Pharoah centuries before had given them to Prophet Joseph. The keys signify supreme Prime Ministership, vicarship of the King Himself. To claim to be a member of the Kingdom but to reject His very own Vicar, His First Minister, is counterintuitive.

    The Ark of Salvation cannot be both the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church, because we do not share the same Faith. Among other disagreements, we disagree on the Azymes, on purgatory, Papal Infallibility, and the Immaculate Conception.

    To those who smugly pretend that the Eastern Orthodox are more traditional, I posit that the Apostle John himself, great apostle of the East, called Peter and Paul the pillars of the Church. How traditional can it be to reject the corner stone when the Apostles themselves did not?

    And for 300 years prior to Constantinople even being conceived in the mind of the Emperor, Christianity was flourishing in Rome under Peter and Paul and their successors. Not to mention that this was a good 1000 years before the Russian Rite came into being. A little respect for Rome please where the seeds of the martyrs toppled the greatest empire that Satan ever devised against God!

    Also, please enough of this "considering the Latin Rite superior to the Russian Rite" and all this about "rights...". You sound like Jesse Jackson.

    The Roman Catholic Church comprises 18 rites, including Slavic and Asian (eg Syro-Malabar rite) ones, and has shown more tolerance and dignity and given more freedom to its member rites than the Eastern Orthodox claim. I do not believe this statement to be hyperbole.

    The Church does not view one rite as superior to the other but as a garden of flowers praises God for the diversity of Apostolic rites offered within the Ark of Salvation for the salvation of souls.

    The real issue is one of the Faith and the dogmas. If both sides agree on the Faith, then we are both Catholic and Orthodox. If we don't agree on the Faith, only one Church can be Catholic and Orthodox. The other must be consigned as un-Catholic and heterodox.

    O Mary, Conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!

    O Holy Mary, Refuge of Sinners (Rev 12:17), pray for us!

  46. Anonymous2:49 AM

    So Russian Orthodox dioceses in the West don't have borders? But doesn't every diocese naturally have to serve a certain area, due to the fact that every church or chapel is under a certain bishop? If this is the case, who cares whether or not one has strictly defined "borders" or not? It's effectively the same thing, isn't it? I mean, if one took away the actual geographic line that constitutes the border between the Dioceses of LA and San Bernardino, how would that change anything? Every parish is either under the Archbishop of LA or the Bishop of San Bernardino. If Catholic dioceses in Russia didn't have borders, it would change nothing.

    Are the Orthodox essentially just being big babies and blatant hypocrites? I'm hoping there's just some part of this story I'm missing and that they're actually reasonable people.

  47. Anonymous8:03 AM

    The Ark of Salvation definition, as stated here anonymously, looks somewhat Feenyite.

    Do we disagree in substance with the Russian Orthodox Church on "the Azymes... Purgatory... the I.C."?

    Leavened bread is used by the Eastern Catholic Churches. In any case, the type of bread is not a matter of dogma nor even of doctrine.

    What does the Church teach about the rights of the Rites. What is Canon Law if not the rights of the faithful being protected from the advertent or inadvertent abuse of those in ecclesiastical authority. Perhaps, instead of equal rights (rites), one could say equal dignity.

    The Church shows no tollerance to the Eastern Rites because it is not a matter of tollerating them. The Roman Church respects the others Particular Churches as they respect it. The Roman Church is not the same as the Universal Church (as you seem to suggest).

    Pope Pius XI, an Polish Nuncio, clearly stated that the Popes have consistently discouraged latinization as not in keeping with the mission of the Roman Church.

  48. My fellow bloggers, I am a traditional Russian Orthodox who hope and pray for our reunion with Rome. It will come in the fullness of time. The Holy Father knows what he is doing. In the spirit of charity, let's not rehash old accusations against each other. Instead, in this holy season of Advent which we in the East refer to as the Nativity Fast, let us pray to the Holy Mother of God so that our churches could all become all.

  49. Anonymous3:41 PM


    You are an inspiration and a true Christian! All will indeed be one when people like yourself, on both sides are in prayer before the Lord and Our Blessed Lady.

  50. Castor, thank you and a most blessed Advent season to you!
    We all know what separates us. Our relationship throughout the centuries has been very difficult. But with God all things are possible. The Holy Father as the successor of Peter is truly preparing the way for the reunion. On the Orthodox side, there are quite a few reasonable people within the Church, both clergy and laypeople, who long for unity with Rome provided that unity is founded on the TRUTH.
    Our job as laity is to pray, fast for this noble cause and try to live holy lives so that each Christian on both sides of this complicated issue could bring closer the hour of our full reunion when the angels in heaven will rejoice.

  51. Anonymous4:27 PM

    I was the last anon who wrote on the Ark of Salvation.

    No, I am not a Feeneyite. The term "Roman" Catholic as used in defined dogma regarding Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus refers to those who recognize the Supremacy of the Pope. As such, Greek, Ukrainian, Armenian, Coptic and other Catholics are also considered "Roman" by that definition. So no, I am not advocating at all that only Latin rite Catholics constitute the Ark of Salvation. I'm surprised that anything in what I wrote could be misconstrued as Feeneyite and as bigoted against the other rites, who are fully respected in the Latin rite. My explanation simply reiterates the perennial dogma of the Church that all outside it are not saved, and that those without The Faith or those who through lack of Charity reject the Pope are naturally outside it.

    Having said that, I was most encouraged to read Eugene's note.

    Our Lady herself told a saint that those Orthodox who hold the Petrine Primacy and Infallibility and honor and love Her Immaculate Conception are Catholic. It is this remnant, along with those Russians who love their Pope enough to no longer wish to worship with masses who do not, who should have Catholic parishes to frequent and receive the sacraments from. These I do not wish to be abandoned by those in the Church who for political expediency with the Kirills would abandon them to "ecclesiastical" politics.

    True Catholics would not abandon their brethren such.

    To Eugene, and like minded Russians, I pray daily for the true conversion of Russia, and at this time of apostasy in the West, for true conversion in the West as well.

    O Mary Most Holy, Gate of Heaven and Ark of the New and Everlasting Covenant of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, pray for us!

  52. Anonymous9:09 AM

    There are many opinions. It is a pity no one looks at a basic internet resource such as wikipedia. Read Zenit
    Many of the comments on this blog are from those out of tune with Benedict XVI.
    Roman Catholic was a disparaging term invented in the last few centuries. We are Catholics. We belong to different rites i.e.
    Read the Roman Canon of the Mass. I believe in one holy Catholic, apostolic orthodox church.
    So Latin rite members such as myself pull your heads in.
    Those who belong to Orthodox Churches are welcome. We care and no you won't be bullied or lorded over by the Catholic Church.
    So some of those people writing in these blogs do some basic reading and stop behaving as if you are little popes.. you are not.

  53. Anonymous9:42 PM

    Right. And how about the claim on German, East Prussian Königsberg (Russian: Kyenigsberg, Bolshevist Russian: "Kaliningard") by the Russian Orthodox Moscow Patriarchate? And the jurisdiction over Estonia. Those being Latin Rite territories originally, the Russian Byzantine Orthodox dioceses should also be dissolved there then.

    I think ecclesial Moscow, while laudable in its anti-liberalist stance, is still in grave error. The consequence of hundreds of years of schismatism and ruthless anti-Catholic persecutions. Not merely in 1946 with Stalinist-forced unions in Ukraine, but already way before, under Lenin ánd under the Czars who had the Russian Rite Catholics raided.

    I think Patriarch Alexey II von Rüdiger needs to do a bit of Soloviev reading.

    Then we will proceed.

    Saviour of the World, Save Russia. (Prayer promulgated by Pius XI in 1931, 300 days indulgence)

  54. Anonymous9:44 PM

    Most Latin Rite Catholic parishes are not directly focussed on ethnic RUssians anyway. Most focus on apostolate among the Volga Germans, deported to Kazakhstan and Siberia by Stalin, and on Polish minorities in Belarus (Minsk) and Moscow.

  55. Anonymous12:22 AM

    So why not just have an Apostolic district in Russia?
    The Apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, LaSallete were concerned with Bolshevism and the rise of communist atheism in Russia. I do not think the conversion or Russia= Latin Rite. If I remember Pius XII sent priests into Russia who spoke Russian and knew the Orthodox Liturgy.
    The Orthodx have not had a Church Council for over 1000 years (Not including Union Council of Florence).
    Many of the things said on this blog are just rude and inflamatory. They are examples of the very things that cause schism. A bit of hunilty from some pontificating Latin Rite Catholics is required. Love conquers all.


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