Every second Saturday of the month, 4 pm - Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
Next Liturgy: Saturday 14th July - 3pm Great Vespers, 4pm Divine Liturgy for Sunday

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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Vatican reform will decentralize Church decision-making, predicts Indian cardinal : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Vatican reform will decentralize Church decision-making, predicts Indian cardinal : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

This is not only of interest with respect to the internal workings of the Catholic Church (and the proper autocephaly of the Eastern Catholic Churches within the framework of communion with the Bishop of Rome), but also the dialogue with the Orthodox Church. The Ravenna Statement identified the Roman position that authority exists strongly at the level of the universal-papal, and at the level of the bishop of the local church, but weakly at the intermediate, regional or patriarchal level. It identified in the varied Orthodox patterns of authority functioning strongly at the patriarchal or regional level and at the level of the bishop locally, but hardly at all in a universal or even pan-Orthodox way. If Pope Francis' reforms in the governance of the Latin Catholic Church are to amount to a development in its ecclesiology, or at least the implementation of its ecclesiology (even if for practical purposes, though the emphasis on accountability and collaboration with the successor of Peter), some Orthodox will recognise a move that takes into account their understanding of how the Church is to be well constituted.

Will that be matched with an Orthodox move towards desire for a ministry of some kind of authority and leadership at the universal level? It is well known that, for reasons internal to the Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church withdrew from the meetings that led to the Ravenna Statement and were not therefore signatory to it, nor did they subsequently subscribe to it. It is clear that they do not regard the Ecumenical Patriarch, despite his canonical precedence, as an Orthodox counterpart to the Roman pope, not least since his see has not led the Orthodox Churches of an entire empire for nearly a century and his duty to Orthodox Christians in diaspora (the bounds of the ancient patriarchal territories never having been conclusively defined, let alone more recently established ones). On one account, Constantinople was New Rome, but now Moscow is Third Rome. Would the long awaited Pan-Orthodox Synod recognise this in some way?

Meanwhile, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has developed its own Statement on primacy in the universal Church. It is likely to take a different view from Ravenna's, partly because some in the Russian Church criticise the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church for looking at the problems and the history in terms of abstract, theological and philosophical principles (the resort to theological philosophy is hardly surprising, given the chairmanship of Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon), while Moscow wishes the dialogue to face present and historic realities (which arguably favour its position). Yet the present exercise at the Joint Commission is to look at the practical reality (as well as the theory) of primatial authority as it was in the first millennium. This of course is something to which the Russian Church was not party and it has little direct consciousness or memory of functioning in a time when what are now the Catholic and Orthodox Churches were in complete communion (although patterns of continued communion existed between East and West as far as to the Tridentine era - see the work of Anthony O'Mahony on the Ohrid patriarchate and the Greeks and Albanians of southern Italy). The Moscow patriarchate, indeed, post-dates the restored communion between Latin and Byzantine churches in middle Europe finding themselves within the boundaries of Catholic rather than Byzantine Orthodox rulers. The Russian Orthodox view on primacy in the universal Church will doubtless express its views on territory, diaspora and the reality of Moscow leading now by far the largest and most influential of the Orthodox Churches, and that this leadership is a force for good  in the whole of the Orthodox Church. Possibly it may seek recognition of Moscow as the de facto if not de jure Orthodox opposite number to Rome and an enhanced role for its patriarch.

We are told the Statement has been approved and await its release.
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