Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.
He is the Pope of Christian Unity because he is the Pope of Continuity.
Liberals will always try to define the parameters of ecumenical dialogue and will inevitably introduce compromises in essential points of Catholic doctrine and identity for the sake of continuing dialogue.
Benedict XVI doesn’t do that. He has shown how we can move on issues that are not of essence while representing those that are in new terms without undermining them.
I read this on chiesa of Sandro Magister. You should go over there and read the whole text.
My emphases and comments.
ROME, January 25, 2010 – This evening, with vespers in the basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls, Benedict XVI is closing the week of prayer for Christian unity.
There are some who say that ecumenism has entered a phase of retreat and chill. [And you know who they are. These are the same folks who gripe about dialogue with the obviously Catholic (though without manifest unity) SSPX but who happily move in the ethos of the LCWR. They carp about the Holy See’s offer to traditionally minded Anglicans, while seeming to smile on the very aberrations which are tearing the Anglican communion apart.] But as soon as one that looks to the East, the facts say the opposite. Relations with the Orthodox Churches have never been so promising as they have since Joseph Ratzinger has been pope. [Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.]
The dates speak for themselves. A period of chill in the theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches of Byzantine tradition began in 1990, when the two sides clashed over so-called "uniatism," meaning the ways in which Catholic communities of the Eastern rites duplicate in everything the parallel Orthodox communities, differing only by their obedience to the Church of Rome.
In Balamond, in Lebanon, the dialogue came to a halt. It hit an even bigger obstacle on the Russian side, where the patriarchate of Moscow could not tolerate seeing itself "invaded" by Catholic missionaries sent there by Pope John Paul II, who were all the more suspect because they were of Polish nationality, historically a rival.
The dialogue remained frozen until, in 2005, the German Joseph Ratzinger ascended to the throne of Peter, a pope highly appreciated in the East for the same reason he prompts criticisms in the West: for his attachment to the great Tradition. [He is the Pope of Christian Unity because he is the Pope of Continuity.]
First in Belgrade in 2006, and then in Ravenna in 2007, the international mixed commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches started meeting again.
And what rose to the top of the discussion was precisely the question that most divides East and West: the primacy of the successor of Peter in the universal Church.
From the session in Ravenna emerged the document that marked the shift, dedicated to "conciliarity and authority" in the ecclesial communion.
The document of Ravenna, approved unanimously by both sides, affirms that "primacy and conciliarity are mutually interdependent." And in paragraph 41, it highlights the points of agreement and disagreement: [NB…]
"Both sides agree that . . . that Rome, as the Church that ‘presides in love’ according to the phrase of St Ignatius of Antioch, occupied the first place in the taxis, and that the bishop of Rome was therefore the protos among the patriarchs. They disagree, however, on the interpretation of the historical evidence from this era regarding the prerogatives of the bishop of Rome as protos, a matter that was already understood in different ways in the first millennium."
"Protos" is the Greek word that means "first." And "taxis" is the structure of the universal Church.
Since then, the discussion on controversial points has advanced at an accelerated pace. And it has started to examine, above all, how the Churches of East and West interpreted the role of the bishop of Rome during the first millennium, when they were still united.
The basis of the discussion is a text that was drafted on the island of Crete at the beginning of autumn in 2008.
The text has never been made public before now. It is in English, and can be read in its entirety on this page of www.chiesa:
This should be interesting.