August 29, 2014

Building Bridges Between Orthodox and Catholic Christians: Interview with Fr Robert Taft, SJ

building-bridges

Source: The Catholic World Report | Christopher B. Warner The April 22nd kidnapping of Syrian archbishops Mar Gregorios Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, and the killing of their driver, has reminded us once again of the vulnerability of ancient Christian peoples living in the Middle East. More than 1,000 Christians have been killed to date in the Syrian conflict and more than 80 churches have been destroyed. The majority of Christians in Syria are Greek or Syriac Orthodox or Melkite Greek Catholic. This recent violence in Syria can remind us to pray for suffering Christians in the Middle East and afford us the opportunity to practice solidarity with our Greek Catholic and Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters. Catholic World Report had the recent privilege of asking Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ for his perspective on current Orthodox-Catholic relations. Father Taft has been the leading scholar in Byzantine … [Read more...]

La Stampa: Divisions in Orthodox Church Hinder Pope’s Meeting with Patriarch of Moscow

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We are getting more news from the Catholic/Italian press than we are from Orthodox sources. This report appears reliable; the author has a good grasp of the ecclessiological disagreements between Constantinople and Moscow, particularly the conflict about what constitutes primacy in Orthodoxy. This question must be settled before a Pan-Orthodox Council can take place and before dialogue with Rome can proceed with any seriousness. Both Constantinople and Moscow have different interests at stake. Moscow sees a working alliance with Rome (not unity) as a practical necessity to re-Christianize Europe in order to roll back the hedonism, moral relativism, lowered value of human life and other afflictions associated with secularism. Constantinople has expressed little interest in Moscow's (and Rome's) agenda and prefers instead to focus on global warming and other boutique issues. Highlights from the article: In Ravenna, the delegation of the Patriarchate of Moscow decided to … [Read more...]

Shades of Grey: The Record of Archbishop Stepinac

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As a long-time upholder of friendship and alliance between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditionalists, I am disheartened by Pope Benedict XVI’s uncritical portrayal of Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac (1898-1960) as a saintly figure during his visit to Croatia earlier this week. In a homily at the Zagreb Cathedral the Pontiff called Stepinac “a fearless pastor and an example of apostolic zeal and Christian fortitude, whose heroic life continues today to illuminate the faithful of the Dioceses of Croatia, sustaining the faith and life of the Church in this land”: The merits of this unforgettable bishop are derived essentially from his faith: in his life, he always had his gaze fixed on Jesus, to whom he was always conformed, to the point of becoming a living image of Christ, and of Christ suffering. Precisely because of his strong Christian conscience, he knew how to resist every form of totalitarianism, becoming, in a time of Nazi and Fascist dictatorship, a … [Read more...]

Met. Hilarion: An Alliance of Faith (Orthodox – Catholic Cooperation)

Pope Benedict meets Abp. Hilarion in Rome

Highlight: Our challenges "...are first and foremost the challenges of a godless world, which is equally hostile today to Orthodox believers and Catholics, the challenge of the aggressive Islamic movement, the challenge of moral corruption, family decay, the abandonment by many people in traditionally Christian countries of the traditional family structure, liberalism in theology and morals, which is eroding the Christian community from within. We can respond to these, and a number of other challenges, together." "The idea of a strategic alliance with the Catholics– is an old idea of mine. It came to me when the Catholics were electing the new Pope. Although I would like to point out that what I am suggesting is, in essence, the direct opposite of Uniatism, which is a way toward a rapprochement based on doctrinal compromises. In our point of view, the policy of Uniatism had suffered complete failure. Not only did it not bring the Orthodox Christians and Catholics closer together, … [Read more...]

Vatican II and the Orthodox Bishops

Fr. Tom asks: Is it possible that the teaching of the Second Vatican Council about the ministry of bishops in the Roman Catholic Church is now being taught and practiced in an adapted and altered form in our Orthodox churches today? It's a cogent and sober warning about the subversion of Orthodox ecclesiology that unfortunately has historical precedent. George Michalopulos examined the historical antecedents in his essay The Role of Metropolitan and Its Relationship within the Episcopate: A Reappraisal. By Fr Thomas Hopko Orthodox Christians devoted to accountability are surely aware that accountability in behavior cannot be separated from accountability in understanding since practice (praxis) is necessarily connected to vision (theoreia). This conviction inspires me, given the present state of things, to raise the following question: Is it possible that the teaching of the Second Vatican Council about the ministry of bishops in the Roman Catholic … [Read more...]

Aide: (Catholic) Church Plays Key Role in Dialogue in Cuba

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 11, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The announcement of the upcoming release of political dissidents in Cuba, an event in which the Church played a vital role, is a significant step for the Caribbean nation, says a Vatican spokesman. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said this in the most recent edition of the weekly Vatican Television program "Octava Dies." On Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Havana announced the forthcoming release of 52 political prisoners -- five immediately and 47 more in the coming three or four months. Their release is another fruit of mediation by the Church, which already brought the freedom of a paraplegic prisoner and the relocation of 12 others. The Vatican spokesman said the release of the prisoners, and the end of the hunger strike of journalist Guillermo Fariñas, "is good news from the Caribbean island, which we were expecting for several weeks." … [Read more...]

How about a good Catholic story?

This post isn't intended to cheer-lead the Catholic Church, but to show the kind of ministry we Orthodox could also be doing. We do some very good things (FOCUS, IOCC, etc.) but imagine what a clearer focusing of goals and resources could accomplish. Watch the interview and get inspired. Here the Catholics are a good example to us. (You will have to sit through a 20 second ad.) … [Read more...]

A Holy Alliance between Rome and Moscow Is Born

Pope Benedict meets Abp. Hilarion in Rome

Again, almost incomprehensible just a few short years ago. Highlight: "The common objective: the "new evangelization" of Europe. A delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church visits the Vatican, which publishes an anthology of the patriarch's writings. A meeting between Kirill and Benedict XVI keeps getting closer." by Sandro Magister Chiesa Espresso ROME, May 24, 2010 – Benedict XVI will soon create a new "pontifical council" expressly dedicated to the "new evangelization." Not for mission countries where the congregation "de propaganda fide" is already at work. But for the countries of ancient Christian tradition that are today in danger of losing the faith. Pope Joseph Ratzinger wants to link his pontificate to this initiative. And this was the main topic that he discussed one morning in the spring of 2009, at Castel Gandolfo, with four prominent cardinals he had called for consultation: Camillo Ruini, Angelo Bagnasco, Christoph Schönborn, and Angelo Scola, the last being … [Read more...]

Vatican Hosts Russian Concert

Pope Benedict at Russian Concert

Pope John-Paul II, long before the fall of Communism said that the spiritual renewal of Western Europe would come from Russia. These were prophetic words as it turns out, but at the time many culture watchers thought they were the idealistic ramblings of a dreamer. Who would have thought just a few short decades ago the brutal tyranny of Communism would fall, collapsing under its own soul-stultifying weight? Who would have thought that the Russian Orthodox Church would emerge not only as the preserver of the culture of Christendom but also its guarantor as increasingly seems to be the case? This history may emerge as all the great narratives of martyrdom do: The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church and, now, two thousand years later, the Church becomes the protector of humane culture. +++++++++++++ CNEWA (See Met. Hilarion's comments.) VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The gentle notes of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” wafted through the Vatican audience hall and carried with … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Hilarion to visit Italy

Moscow clearly has taken the lead in world Orthodoxy. +++++++++++++++++ Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, will visit Italy from May 14th to 20th, 2010, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. The programme of his stay will include a visit to Milan, Turin, Bologna, Ravenna, and Rome, celebration of divine services, meeting with the hierarchs of the Roman Catholic Church, lectures at the university, and meetings with compatriots. On Sunday, May 16, Metropolitan Hilarion will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Moscow Patriarchate parish in Milan. The DECR chairman, together with hierarchs and clerics of the Moscow Patriarchate, will celebrate the Liturgy at the Shroud of Turin on May 18 at night, and will deliver a lecture at the University of Bologna that same day. … [Read more...]

As We Move Towards Unity

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The Crumbling of America and the American Orthodox Church The real institutional danger facing Orthodoxy in American arises less from malfeasance and more from reasonably well-intentioned individuals making decisions without a sense of their own limits and the frailty of the Church as a social institution. On Holy Saturday, Peggy Noonan published an interesting and important editorial in the Wall Street Journal (The Catholic Church's Catastrophe).  She writes that often leaders of  "mighty and venerable institutions" can, over time, "become blithely damaging" to the very institution they serve.  This happens when we—and as a priest I need to include myself in this—allow ourselves "to think of the institution as invulnerable—to think that there is nothing [we] can do to really damage it, that the big, strong, proud establishment [we're] part of can take any amount of abuse, that it doesn't require from its members an attitude of protectiveness … [Read more...]

Dialogue on Katyn Massacre between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches

This is a compelling interview, although the promise towards reconciliation it offered may be delayed, or worse, cut short, with the terrible airplane crash of Polish dignitaries near Moscow yesterday. They were flying to Russia to commemorate the Katyn Massacre (called "tragedy" below), and, if the interview below is accurate, look for some common ground to heal this grave wound of historical memory. I can't help but think that an event of great promise has been lost. Certainly the crash is catastrophic for Poland, and the lost opportunity may be a grave loss for the rest of Europe. An Orthodox bishop was one of the fatalities. ++++++++++++++++ ‘The task of the Russian Orthodox Church’s dialogue with the Catholic Church in Poland is to rise above political conjuncture’. Interview of DECR vice-chairman Hegumen Philip Riabykh with Blagovest-infor news agency. Father Philip, on April 7 Russia and Poland will mark the sorrowful date, the 70th anniversary of the Katyn tragedy. … [Read more...]