Sunday, June 27, 2010
THIS IS A REPOST FROM ANOTHER BLOG WORTH REPEATING. Let's play a game one of these posts doesn't belong can you guess which one? Clue: (Fr. G)
Reunion with the Vatican is not in the near future, nor is any semblance of authentic visible union (as must be evidenced by sharing the Eucharist as the culminating witness of the Faith). The opposing trajectories of East and West have - at least for today - no points of convergence, maybe some public chatter, moments of generic dialogue, a birthday or two, certainly many feastdays and symbolic gift exchanges. Those thinking reunion is lurking close by should give thought to Einstein's claim that parallel lines converge only in the most distant galaxies lightyears away from today. You are correct that the administrative issues are heavy, and that histories have been written, and jurisdictional lifestyles set in stone. Regarding pan-Orthodox symbiosis, we know from our own family that though heads of jurisdictions may be filled with spiritual urgency, may have the best intentions, may have drafted the most detailed plans, and may have acquired logistical tools for such grand maneuvers, the laity - the grassroots piety movements - will have the most significant role to play whether we find oneness in Christ at the Holy Altar of His Church, or we remain as ever-splintering groups founded on anthropomorphic criteria.
We may rely on a few key points: Everything that is Christian was established pre schism at the Ecumencial Councils. There is nothing more to add no innovation necessary. Only in the flights of children is reunification in my life time doable. I encourage the Pope to continue to assert his influence to assit the Ecumenical Throne with its struggle against human rights violations.
We must treat one another as children of God as the fruits of the Apostles themselves pushing through the resistence to belief and practice set before us by the enemy.
The churches will move together as sisters in full communion when God deems it; until then the Eastern Orthodox Church (faithful) will keep the candles burning.
Fr. Gregory Jensen said...
Thank you Father for your post and your blog.
If I may, it seems to me that--theological differences between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches aside for a moment--the impediment to reconciliation between our two Churches seem largely internal to the Orthodox side of the question.
That is to say, we cannot move toward reconciliation between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches because though we (the Orthodox) share a common faith we are nevertheless divided in other ways.
Our own divisions for all that they are secondary (e.g., the lack of administrative unity not only in the US but also Western Europe, Australia and parts of Asia) are nevertheless an impediment to healing the schism. I do not say this lightly, but we need to face the facts of our situation.
Taking the narrowest interpretation of the Great Schism, that all the fault lies on the side of Rome and that they need to repent and return to us, how can they do this when we cannot even manage to agree on relative simple matters such as a unified and functional administrative structure for the US?
I agree, as I alluded to on my own blog, that the interpretation many are giving to the words of Catholic Archbishop of Moscow are overly optimistic--I suspect that what he was referring to was not a re-establishment of communion, but pastoral collaboration and cooperation in the face of the twin threats of Islamic radicalism an increasing secular culture. But even this cooperation will be difficult to put into effect if, sadly true to form, one or more of the Orthodox churches (or bishops) stamps it (or his) foot and has a temper tantrum.
It is sad for me to think that it is we, the Orthodox, who are the stumbling block in this matter.
Again, thanks for the post.
Those of us who witnessed the historic 1965 meetings between Athenagoras of Constantinople and Paul VI of Rome, during the joint lifting of the excommunications of 1054, were comforted to know that this one particular piece towards reunion was put behind us. Through the years Constantinople has made strides with "dialogues of love"; in many instances Moscow turned a cold cassock toward the Vatican (as well as the WCC). Perhaps what we are seeing is the imposition of necessity owing to new factors that we've never experienced before, e.g., the Internet, spontaneous news coverage, and information sharing, civil laws of the land encouraging us to conform to human rights equality and equity when often we'd choose no to. The international community is diligent to wave the universal flag of human rights laws and UN instruments, esp. of religious minorities and against the perpetrators of these violations and crimes against humanity - ungodly matters that all religious and spiritual traditions have amassed in their ancient closets and cultural mindsets. Though inter-Orthodox cohesion seems fragile on the local, national, and regional levels, our global unity is solid (as shown by the June 2009 Chambesy conference) and moving forward. Yes, many Orthodox tend to stamp their feet and beat their breasts, but, alas, we encourage our own people to do the same when our hierarchs and clergy shut doors to our own people rather than make provisions by economy to bring all people into the parishes under welcoming circumstances. If we can't seek the most humble and needful of our lost ones without casting aspersions and pointing canonical fingers at them, how can we seek anything greater?