The Ravenna Document is stimulating great and profound thoughts in the Orthodox-Catholic blogosphere.
First, from an Orthodox perspective, John at Ad Orientem has two posts on Ecumenical Councils (post I and post II). I’m encouraged to see this sort of constructive, rather than nitpicky and dismissive, response from a fellow Orthodox.
Since Orthodoxy for whatever reasons (I would opine there are many) has not held an oecumenical council since 880 AD, and therefore has not formally condemned the Latin innovations, they could be treated as theologumen. Granted, I think there is far greater unanimity among the Orthodox hierarchs and the lay faithful that many Western doctrines are heretical, than there is support for some of them among the Roman Catholic faithful. But it still boils down to theologumen on our side. But if you remove Rome’s carved in stone claim that those doctrines are infallible truths binding on all of the faithful, then we may move back to square one.
This would not of course end the schism or restore communion. But it would have the effect of saying both sides have strongly held contrary OPINIONS of great import that need to be resolved. On that basis it might be possible to convene a Great Council of The Church to begin the process of sorting things out and resolving them one at time …
Partly in response to John’s posts, Dr. Mike Liccione (Sacramentum Vitae) has some excellent reflections from a Roman Catholic perspective. This point in particular is of great interest to me:
As evinced by Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium and Unitatis Redintegratio, as well as other pertinent documents since that council closed, the Catholic Church has undergone and fostered the development of ecclesiological doctrine in such a way as to give an account of how the EOs and OOs relate to “the Church,” which is said to “subsist” in the Roman communion as a perduring whole. As a matter of fact, John’s challenge to us Catholics makes use of that development. But something analogous does not seem to have occurred in Orthodoxy. We have Zizoulas’ eucharistic ecclesiology, which dovetails somewhat with Ratzinger’s theology of communio and has clearly influenced the Ravenna proceedings. But further progress in Orthodox ecclesiology is necessary if the process embodied by Ravenna is to continue. What direction could and should such progress take? That’s the question that Orthodox like John need to consider.
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But some one will say, perhaps, Shall there, then, be no progress in Christ’s Church? Certainly; all possible progress. For what being is there, so envious of men, so full of hatred to God, who would seek to forbid it? Yet on condition that it be real progress, not alteration of the faith. For progress requires that the subject be enlarged in itself, alteration, that it be transformed into something else. The intelligence, then, the knowledge, the wisdom, as well of individuals as of all, as well of one man as of the whole Church, ought, in the course of ages and centuries, to increase and make much and vigorous progress; but yet only in its own kind; that is to say, in the same doctrine, in the same sense, and in the same meaning.
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An interesting story from Kath.net:
According to well-informed circles in the Vatican, there will be a new document by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on a hot topic. It will deal with the self-conception of the Church and will supposedly be released July 10th. This document will state the unique character of the Catholic Church and that Protestant churches are not churches in the narrow sense. The topic will be the sentence “Ecclesia subsistit in Ecclesia catholica” (“The Church of Christ subsists in/is realized in the Catholic Church”) from the Vatican II document Lumen gentium.
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Father Kimel of Pontifications has alerted me to the following blog articles which provide a rather different Orthodox perspective on the alleged chasm between Greek and Latin understandings of sin and salvation. I doubt that the author, Ephrem Bensusan, a conservative Eastern Orthodox, can be accused of being a “latinophile” or “crypto-Catholic”, although apparently he does not think that Orthodox can so easily dismiss or disqualify theologians or theological statements (especially conciliar ones) on the basis that they are from the “Western captivity” of Orthodox theology in the modern period. I’m sure that there is a real basis to the “pseudomorphosis” argument as proposed by Florovsky; however, in popular (mostly American convert) Eastern Orthodox discourse (e.g. the “Frederica” school of American Orthodoxy), this narrative has become horribly overblown.
Anyhow, without any further ado, here are the articles from Ephrem Bensusan’s Razilazenje:
And on the related topic of the contemporary Orthodox dismissal of the seventeenth century Orthodox confessional statements under the suspicion of “Western captivity”, here’s Bensusan’s take.
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