Rorate Caeli

Stating the obvious

Teofilo de Jesus of the blog "Vivificat" has posted his thoughts on the recently leaked outline for the Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue on Petrine Primacy. (The leakage of the draft text by Sandro Magister has been deplored by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.)

An excerpt:

Let me focus and simplify the question a bit: would the notion of papal authority as expressed during the First Vatican Council be compatible with the view of the Roman Primacy as exercised during the first millennium?

At this moment I don't see an answer that will satisfy both sides. If communion is restored on the basis of first millennium doctrines and canonical discipline, it will be logical to discard 1000 years of Latin self-understanding, dogmatics, and all of the ecumenical councils called for by the Pope - directly or indirectly, as in the case of Constance - that came to be after the schism. All those councils would be demoted to General Councils of Latin Christianity with no relevance to the East. The identity of the Catholic Church centered in Rome to be the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ will be undermined, and what our Church has adopted as dogmatic truths regarding ecclessiology would become open questions to be solved again with Eastern input.

If you think that the Lefevbrerist schism has been inopportune and bad enough, just imagine what will happen if the Latin Church approves reunion with the East under this terms.

I think that our side expects that an in depth study of the "development of dogma" will prove, if not beyond reasonable doubt, then to a degree of moral certainty, that the papacy as conceived in Vatican I is a true, positive development of Patristic Christianity. I can see the Orthodox already saying "no" to such a proposal. If they were to agree to such a proposal, their own claim to be Christ's One, Holy, Catholic, Church will be undermined, followed by their own identity crisis. I can tell you that the monks of Mt. Athos will not go along, and that integrist, non-canonical jurisdictions already existing in the Orthodox Church like the Greek Old Calendarists and the Russian Old Believers will see their ranks swell.

Once again, I want to temper down all the expectations that this agreement may give rise to. We're all hopeful of eventual reunion and I'm gratified that dialogue on very substantive questions has begun. But we're not any closer to reunion and, barring a miracle, I still don't expect to see it any time soon.