Archive for November, 2006
I’m intrigued by a question Daniel posed in the Orthodoxy thread below: "Does anyone else think the Catholic Church could rethink and restate
the doctrine of papal primacy without conceeding anything essential,
yet render it more palatable to the Orthodox?"
How about we start a new thread to discuss it? Michael the Austrian has just posted a rather strong "no" in the Orthodoxy thread, so maybe we can continue from there. My own answer is a hesitant and not particularly thought-out "yes."
By the way, Daniel wondered (privately) why I kicked off such a controversial topic (the Orthodoxy thread) and then didn’t contribute to the discussion. It’s partly because I’m too busy, but mainly, as I told him, I really don’t have much to contribute. I am far less knowledgeable theologically than many of you, and I asked the question ("Is Orthodoxy Part of the Church?) not for the sake of discussion in itself but because I really don’t know the answer and wanted to see if others did.
Michael’s key point (as I see it):
Your suggestions that the clear formulations of Vatican I on papal
primacy are to be understood in anything other than an absolute and
transhistorically binding fashion entail a fatal capitulation to
I see the "Fifth Reason" discussion below is veering off into this topic. I was planning to pose the question anyway. I mean the churches we refer to as "Eastern Orthodox," of course. A few weeks ago, discussing Rod Dreher’s switch to Orthodoxy (Russian, if I remember correctly), I remarked in a post on my blog that "The late pope made it clear that he believed Orthodoxy to be part of the Church." That was a casual statement based on locutions of the Pope about the Church needing to "breathe with both lungs" etc. Tom Storck questioned whether the Pope really meant what I took him to mean.
I haven’t really dug into the relevant papal statements, but my impression is that there’s some ambiguity, perhaps purposeful, on this score. Anyway, what do y’all think? "Part of the Church" is probably not a good way to say it, but what exactly is the relationship? In? Out? Ambigously somewhere between?