Tuesday 28th July 2015

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

The Proposed 2016 Pan-Orthodox Council… And An Orthodox Theologian’s View Of The Petrine Primacy

April 2, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By JAMES LIKOUDIS

In 2007 in Ravenna, Orthodox and Catholic theologians who were members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue issued a document on Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical relations termed Primacy and Conciliarity, which marked a certain advance regarding the role of the papacy as the possible primate of a reunited Church.
However, Walter Cardinal Kasper noted at the time, “We must not exaggerate its importance. . . . The road is very long and difficult.”
At the same time, the Russian Orthodox Church took offense, rejecting the document and objecting to its implication that the Patriarch of Constantinople was the leader of the Pan-Orthodox world just as the Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church — a notion often parroted in the secular press.
Here was revealed again the longstanding dispute and conflict between the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow over ecclesiastical leadership of the 16 or so autocephalous and autonomous national Orthodox Churches. The well-known Metropolitan Hilarion Alfayev had previously made clear the Russian Church’s opposition to any “papism” in ecclesiology: “We respect the Patriarch of Constantinople as the ‘first in honor,’ but we are against viewing him as ‘Pope of the East’.”
Moreover, quarrels had festered over which patriarchate had “authority” to make decisions regarding the Orthodox Church of America (OCA), and the Churches of Estonia, Czech-Slovak Lands, Ukraine, Macedonia, and communities in South America. The dispute over the Estonian Church led the Russian Orthodox delegation (representing the largest Orthodox Church) to “walk out” of the Ravenna meeting.
The Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue, which includes Catholic and Orthodox scholars, was scheduled to meet again in 2012, but this had to be postponed because of disagreements among Orthodox participants regarding the Ravenna Statement on Primacy.
Kurt Cardinal Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, was led to remark, “I think there are more tensions between the Orthodox than between the Orthodox and Catholics.”
Nevertheless, the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow attended the March 6-9, 2014 meeting in Istanbul called by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to plan for a Pan-Orthodox Council in 2016 to deal with the serious questions that trouble the relations between the local national churches.
Such a council would be of great benefit to Catholic-Orthodox relations if its members would go beyond internal problems of governance and administration and deal with doctrinal issues on which their theologians have long disagreed. For example, are the doctrines of the “Filioque” and Immaculate Conception really “heretical”? Needed light would be thrown on the specific dogmatic issues which are said to separate the churches. Catholics would appreciate knowing whether the Ravenna Statement concerning papal primacy in the Church has the support of all the primates in a Pan-Orthodox Council.
What cannot be ignored, however, is that open disputes on dogmatic issues might reveal the doctrinal fissures that exist between the more ecumenically minded Orthodox and the fierce anti-ecumenical extremists crying anathema against the papacy and the “ecumenical heresy.” Fear of such debates opening up a “Pandora’s Box” could well postpone such a Pan-Orthodox Synod being held in 2016.
It is interesting to observe that the noted Eastern Orthodox theologian Olivier Clement was in agreement with Pope John Paul II that “the problem of the papacy” represented the greatest difficulty in the theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches. In 1997 Olivier Clement published a book, You Are Peter: An Orthodox Theologian’s Reflections on the Exercise of Papal Primacy (New City Press, N.Y.: 1997) with a foreword by no less than Avery Cardinal Dulles. The latter expressed pleasure with the author’s irenic tone and his book as a sign of the theological progress made and a “beacon of hope for the future.”
Clement’s book is of particular interest as conceding various positions traditionally held by Orthodox theologians not sympathetic to the ecumenical efforts conducted by Patriarch Bartholomew and other Orthodox. Olivier Clement had no doubt that Peter and Paul came to Rome; that the Apostle Peter was the first Bishop of Rome; and that the Rock (petra) on whom Christ built His Church was the person of Peter as the one who confessed the apostolic faith.
He also admitted that from the time of Tertullian writing at the beginning of the third century, “the idea develops that Peter received from Christ a particular charism that made him first among the Apostles and that the bishop of Rome is his successor, or rather, his vicar, the one who inherits this charism. . . . The role of Rome, its petrine charism, is therefore to keep watch over the communion of the local Churches, to prevent them from breaking away, to intervene at the request of any of them (as at Corinth in 86 or again around 170) to serve as a point of reference to anyone seeking insertion in one of the most prestigious of the apostolic traditions….By the time of Leo the Great, pope from 440-461, the doctrine of Roman primacy was complete.”
There are other remarkable admissions which contradict the allegations of other Orthodox that the “Bishop of Rome enjoyed only a position of honor among equals.”     Clement saw clearly that the “Roman Primacy…finds its place in the context of episcopal collegiality.”
With other ecumenically minded Orthodox (e.g., Nicholas Lossky), he acknowledged that the “Filioque” was a “legitimate approach” to Trinitarian doctrine. Nevertheless, his ecclesiology falls short of Vatican II’s exposition of the Roman Primacy as essential to the visible Unity of the Church. He believed that Rome had more than a “primacy of honor” but less than a primacy of jurisdiction de jure divino. He was caught in the quandary of how to explain the Holy Spirit’s ever permitting an utterly false ecclesiology (the See of Rome as the indefectible center of visible Unity in the Church) to pervade the First Millennium of the Church’s history.
Nevertheless, were theological discussions on the part of the prelates and theologians preparing for the 2016 Pan-Orthodox Synod to follow the path of Professor Clement’s valuable and positive contribution to ecumenical dialogue, the “Mystery of Primacy” would be greatly clarified for those seeking the end of a tragic schism.
Olivier Clement’s book was written as a direct response to Pope John Paul II’s invitation in his encyclical letter Ut Unum Sint (1995) to theologians to enter into a patient and fraternal dialogue regarding his Petrine Primacy and its exercise in the Church. As a leading Orthodox theologian in France, Clement was known to the Pope who asked him to compose a stations of the cross for the Good Friday service in Rome.
Clement died at the age of 87 in 2009. He was an important ecumenical theologian with great sympathies for the Catholic Church, believing that the great Reunion Council of Florence (1439) had not been legitimately revoked. R.I.P.

+    +    +

(James Likoudis is the author of the most comprehensive work in English dealing with Eastern Orthodox objections to Catholic doctrines. A few copies of The Divine Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and Modern Eastern Orthodoxy: Letters to a Greek Orthodox on the Unity of the Church ($27.95) are still available from the author: P.O. Box 852, Montour Falls, NY 14865.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Kenyan President to Obama: You Will not Impose The ‘Gay Rights’ Agenda In Kenya

We need to speak frankly about these things” says President Kenyatta in response to Obama’s statement that Kenya must share the same values as the United States on sodomite rights issues. Kenyatta, at the press conference this morning in Kenya,…Continue Reading

Nancy Pelosi: Ignore Planned Parenthood Selling Aborted Babies, Investigate Pro-Lifers

nancyp

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has no interest in digging deeper into the revelations that the Planned Parenthood abortion business is selling the body part of aborted babies Instead, she wants the Obama administration to investigate the pro-life activists who…Continue Reading

Carly Fiorina to Planned Parenthood: You Deny Ultrasounds to Show Women Life Within Them, but Use Ultrasounds to Preserve Organs of Their Dead Babies

Venezuela’s bishops caution against the adoption of no-fault divorce

The Venezuelan bishops last week warned that marriage and families in their nation will be weakened as a result of a court decision ruling that spouses can divorce without any evidence of wrongdoing on either’s part , Christian Telegraph reports…Continue Reading

Rationing? Obamacare Health Care Plans Have 34 Percent Fewer Doctors, Hospitals

According to the Washington Examiner, a new study reveals that Obamacare plans have 34% fewer doctors and hospitals than other health insurance plans. The information was released today by Avalere Heath and proves that exchange networks actually provide fewer heart…Continue Reading

Cdl. Vincent Nichols to Expand LGBT Ministry

WESTMINSTER, July 21, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Catholic bishops conference of England and Wales, is pushing to expand the Church’s ministry to those in the LGBT community. Monsignor Keith Barltrop, parish priest of St. Mary…Continue Reading

LA gets three new auxiliary bishops, including Fr. Robert Barron

Los Angeles, Calif., Jul 21, 2015 / 07:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Known for his online videos which tackle everything from the saints, to the “new atheism,” to the latest blockbuster film, Fr. Robert Barron will have a new responsibility: auxiliary…Continue Reading

New video: Planned Parenthood official haggles over baby body part prices, jokes ‘I want a Lamborghini’

July 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — A second video allegedly showing a senior Planned Parenthood official negotiating for fetal tissue and fetal parts for profit has been released. In the video, released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), Dr. Mary…Continue Reading

Bravo . . . Brit Hume

The recent assault on Archbishop Chaput is a taste of what awaits many others.

No small part of the extraordinary success of the pro–“gay marriage” movement has been its ability to sell the idea that this really is No Big Deal. Same-sex-attracted men and women, the claim goes, simply want what other people want…Continue Reading

Catholic university president deletes tweet celebrating gay ‘marriage’

July 17, 2015 (CardinalNewmanSociety) — The Jesuit president of the University of San Francisco (USF) has removed the University’s controversial social media post celebrating the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling last month, and he assured The Cardinal Newman Society that USF…Continue Reading

Mass exodus continues from German Catholic Church

More than 200,000 Germans formally left the Catholic Church in 2014, accelerating the downward trend in the Catholic proportion of the country’s population. Germans who are officially enrolled in congregation are subject to a “church tax,” and so disaffected Catholics…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

How PPFA Manipulates Women Into “Donating” Their Babies’ Organs

By DAVE ANDRUSKO (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from National Right to Life News Today, July 15, 2015. All rights reserved.) + + + We’ve discussed at some length a shocking hidden-camera video in which two undercover investigators are shown discussing with a high-ranking PPFA official how these supposed “procurers” of fetal tissue could work with Planned Parenthood affiliates to harvest intact baby body parts. I would also like to talk about…Continue Reading

Analyzing The Heterodoxies Of The “Shadow Council”

By MAIKE HICKSON As some readers might recall, on May 25, 2015, the presidents of the German, Swiss, and French Bishops Conferences had organized a private conference at the Gregorian University in Rome. This “Shadow Council,” as it soon was called, was criticized for its secrecy and obliqueness. The suspicion arose that this meeting was intended for preparing some revolutionary strategies and argumentation in order to promote the liberalizing agenda at the upcoming October 2015…Continue Reading

In the meeting on climate change and modern slavery, the Pope warns against the idolatry of technocracy

Vatican City, 22 July 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis greeted the participants in the meeting “Modern slavery and climate change: the commitment of cities” and in the Symposium “Prosperity, people and planet: achieving sustainable development in our cities ”, held in the Vatican’s Casina Pio IV by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, whose chancellor is Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. The events were attended by the mayors of major cities, local administrators and various…Continue Reading

Catholic Colleges Must Listen to Pope Benedict’s Strong Case for Sacred Music, Says Prof.

The availability of well-celebrated liturgy and sacred music should be the norm at all Catholic colleges, not the exception, said Dr. Kurt Poterack, choir director and adjunct professor of music at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va. Poterack spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society regarding Pope Emeritus Benedict’s recent comments on sacred music and what it means for Catholic colleges. The Pope Emeritus recently received honorary doctorates from the John Paul II Pontifical University of…Continue Reading

Is This What Determines Our Position On Common Core?

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK The mail that we receive at First Teachers is overwhelmingly opposed to Common Core, the federal government’s effort to establish education standards for the country. Certain of our correspondents object to what they see as a liberal bias in Common Core’s curriculum, while others object to what they believe are confusing…Continue Reading

When Trump Talks, People Should Listen

By REY FLORES How many of you recall the old E.F. Hutton television commercials where everyone on an airplane would stop and listen to one man when he says, “My broker is E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton says….” The voiceover would then state: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” Donald Trump can do the same…Continue Reading

Thinking About The Church And Our Lives As Catholics

By PHILIP TROWER (Editor’s Note: This essay is an abridged version of a 2009 talk Philip Trower gave to the David Foster Summer School in England.) + + + I want this evening to share some thoughts with you about what being a Catholic has come to mean to me since I was received into…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Like A Prophet Warning Of A Nightmare

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child, by Anthony Esolen (Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Wilmington, DE, 2015); 222 pp. Available through www.isibooks.org. When many hear the word compulsion, they think of a totalitarian society or a state of imprisonment or associate the word with some addiction like drugs…Continue Reading

“Homosexuality And The Church Crisis”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For electronic copies of previous articles on homosexual “marriage,” the special rights agenda, and the role of homosexuality in the Church crisis, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Due to clergy sex…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . Like Love, Assent To Faith Is A Matter Of The Will

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Reaction to my column last week titled “Where Is There Room to Disagree With Jesus? In Hell!” included the following note from a Facebook follower. Kim wrote, “Perhaps the question posed to you was not worded correctly. How about this onea. . . . Is there a line where Catholic teachings are not something Catholics…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . Why Is The Gospel Message Unique Among Religions?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 12 In this series of articles on apologetics, we have followed a logical sequence, moving from the simpler to the more complex. So, first we saw how it makes sense that truth is objective, and not subjective; that is, our minds do not create the truth, they learn it, discover it, and grasp it from…Continue Reading

The Four Marks Of The Church — Catholicity

By DON FIER Part 3 As we continued to examine the third mark of the Church last week, that she is catholic (or universal), we saw that all mankind is called to belong to the one true Church, the new People of God. Christ’s clear mandate to His apostles was to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. In our parish it is a custom following the final blessing at Mass for the priest to lead the congregation in a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and a Hail Mary. This past Sunday during that prayer, I was reminded of the tradition in the late 1940s and the 1950s to offer prayers for the conversion of Russia following…Continue Reading

Put On The New Self

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15 Eph. 4:17, 20-24 John 6:24-35 In the second reading today St. Paul calls his Ephesian converts to a deeper conversion, emphatically stating: “I declare in the Lord.” He could not have used any language that would have been stronger to make his point. And what…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s most quoted sayings would fit with this column’s saint, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” What encouraging words for anyone seeking to do God’s will, knowing that the cross, the setbacks, and the obstacles are all part of working for the Kingdom of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Our Lady Of Mount Carmel

By CAROLE BRESLIN In northern Israel between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea, a mountain range stretches inland. This range, although named Mount Carmel, is really a series of mountains stretching inland. The main site of the Mount, the Stella Maris monastery of the Discalced Carmelites, sits on a limestone bluff overlooking the city of Haifa. The view…Continue Reading