The Russians aren’t coming! The Russians aren’t coming!

From Reuters:

Exclusive: Orthodox leader urges Vatican to resolve dispute
By Philip Pullella | Reuters – 23 hrs ago

ROME (Reuters) – A senior leader of the Russian Orthodox Church on Monday called on the Vatican to do more to resolve outstanding disputes so that a meeting between Pope Benedict and the Russian Patriarch could take place.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan (Archbishop) Hilarion, urged the Vatican to show “some signs” of readiness to resolve a decades-long conflict between Orthodox and Catholics in Ukraine that has been blocking a meeting of the two world religious leaders.

An unprecedented meeting between Benedict and Patriarch Kirill could begin to heal the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, which split in the Great Schism of 1054.

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the Russian Orthodox Church has accused Catholics of using their new freedoms to poach souls from the Orthodox, a charge the Vatican denies.

[Pay attention:] But the biggest bone of contention concerns the fate of many church properties that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered confiscated from Eastern Rite Catholics, who worship in an Orthodox rite but owe their allegiance to Rome.

Stalin gave the property to the Russian Orthodox Church but after the fall of communism, the Eastern Rite Catholics took back more than 500 churches, mostly in Western Ukraine. [Get that?  The property was taken from Catholics by Stalin.  Stalin gave it to the Orthodox.  At the fall of the Soviet regime, Catholics got their property back.  But Hilarion wants the Catholics to give the property to the Orthodox, or there can’t be a meeting with the Pope.  Did I get that right?  Am I wrong?]

“Not very much was done or is being done in order to solve this problem,” said Hilarion, who is head of the external relations department of the 165-million-member Russian Orthodox Church and one of the closest aides to Patriarch Kirill.

As soon as we have this understanding, we will be ready to begin preparations for such a meeting,” he said.  [So, it’s about the money?]


Hilarion said the dispute remained the major problem in Catholic-Orthodox relations and the main obstacle to a meeting.


Read the rest there.

I really hope there can be a meeting.  I really do.

But… are these the proper conditions for a meeting?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. meunke says:

    Well, I will say this, Hilarion is definitely Russian: propose almost ridiculous requirements that must be met just for a CHANCE to perhaps TALK about things.

    Stalin, Khrushchev, Yeltsin and the rest did this constantly. And usually, the US and the West would fold to them like a pair in front of a straight flush.

    Perhaps he’s wanting to see if Benedict actually has some backbone, or if he’ll simply capitulate to him.

    Or perhaps Hilarion doesn’t want unity afterall. We’ll see, I guess.

  2. Ezra says:

    It’s not entirely surprising that the Russians would make such demands, given the concessions made to Eastern Orthodoxy in the name of ecumenism since Vatican II. We’ve had the surprising passages in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the Balamand Declaration, the “return” of relics of Eastern saints to communities outside communion with Rome, Catholic charities raising funds for Eastern Orthodox seminaries… we even had the new papal nuncio to the United Kingdom, who was previously the Vatican’s man in Russia, saying:

    [W]e always respected their identity. For example, at the nunciature there was also a young [Orthodox] seminarian who had stopped studying in order to make some money. I would tell him quite often: “You must not become a Catholic. You have to keep your faith in order to better serve your Church. Now you know us you can dream about going to Rome. You can go to Rome one day in order to study but you should remain a Russian Orthodox.”

    I would be depressed if we did hand churches over to the Orthodox for the sake of a meeting, but at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  3. priests wife says:

    This makes sense, in a depressing way. Many Orthodox say that the greatest barrier to unity is the Eastern Churches in union with Rome. I guess we are obliged to remain apart from Peter until all is perfect and all the various patriarches decide to allow the Holy Father to be first among the patriarches?

    If Russia is demanding this- how about they first pay families for all the dead- and their lost property. All of the land my husband’s grandparents had was stolen by the communists, they were forced to work this stolen land and ship the wheat to Russia- obviously, I could go on…

  4. benedetta says:

    I don’t really love the idea of affirming something that Stalin, a non believer of any tradition apparently, did, and of course I would hope that what was consecrated in union with Rome could continue, but, it’s hard to tell from this article what the facts are. Does the Orthodox Church have need of these churches, perhaps it should be considered.

    I pray for unity. One could say that as unity is the goal that it does not matter in the immediate time frame which possesses these sites as they will belong to everyone soon enough. ?

  5. asperges says:

    At every step the Orthodox make obstacles. I will never forget the sight of the Vicar of Christ being admonished in front of the world by a Greek Patriarch when he visited Greece some years ago.

    The huge question of nationality is also deeply bound into Orthodoxy: Russians, Serbs, Greeks etc. The Russian Orthodox Church for example is to all intents and purposes inseparable from the State (or at least mindset) of Russia. The same goes for the Greeks and Greece.

    It seems to me the Catholic Church has bent over backwards towards the Orthodox since Vatican II. Of course they deserve far more attention than Protestants by virtue of the former’s (valid) orders, but they seem to value independence and schism more than unity. I am also deeply suspicious of a body which has deliberately cosied up to the Anglicans over the years, with whom is has in practice little or nothing in common, whilst keeping its distance from the Catholic Church.

  6. albizzi says:

    “I would tell him quite often: “You must not become a Catholic. You have to keep your faith in order to better serve your Church”
    Wow! Ezra, truly, the papal nuncio dared to say THAT to an orthodox fellow?
    It is apalling: Certainly he is a modernist who denies the EENS dogma. Then don’t wonder whether the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was made by JP or not.
    That’s another clue that certainly it wasn’t: Otherwise the nuncio no longer would be a heretic and the orthodox seminarist would have been converted to the catholic faith.
    I pray our Lady that our Holy Father be enlightened by the Holy Spirit to perform at last the Consecration she required since so long, so that Russia will convert as she promised and solve that sordid issue of churches property in the same time.

  7. The real issue here is that the Russian Orthodox (unlike other Orthodox, who seem by necessity to play a little better with other Orthodox ethnic churches in their territories), really really object to having any other Christian church in Russia (or Russian-associated lands) besides them. They object to the entire existence of the Ukrainian Orthodox even in Ukraine, for example — even though the Ukrainian Orthodox is an older tradition than theirs, theirs came from them, and Ukraine was a sovereign country when Moscow was a clearing in the woods.

    Many Russian Orthodox (though not all!) believe that the primacy of the Church passed from Rome to Byzantium, and from Byzantium to Moscow, and that therefore all Catholics and Orthodox and Protestants and everybody are just big ol’ rebels against the Mother Moscow Church. (This is known as the “Third Rome” theory, and generally goes with the opinion that the leader of Russia is the natural ruler of the world.)

    So naturally they also object big time to the existence of Byzantine Catholics, think they should have no bishops except the territorial Russian Orthodox bishop, and so forth. This is complicated by how some Russians (not all, certainly!) don’t like to see people of other ethnic origins going to their church, either, and don’t like “foreign-looking churches” even if they’re Russian Orthodox.

    So I don’t really see any benefit whatsoever in giving up property, unless you really think it’s a good idea to hurt the faithful and get nothing in return, and to hand over all the Catholic Churches in the UK to the Anglicans so they can complete their collection.

  8. Mariana says:

    It was ever thus. Rank and file orthodox can be very enthusiastic about the pope, but the leadership have always been difficult, and not particularly grateful for the return of icons and precious objects, either. No doubt it also has to do with years of communism and paranoia.

  9. Legisperitus says:

    Less paranoia, please, and more metanoia.

  10. Ezra says:


    You can read the full interview here. So far as I can see, there’s nothing about the context of the remarks that serves in mitigation.

  11. disco says:

    Since when is winning converts “poaching souls”? Benedict XVI the pope of Christian unity.

  12. Ezra says:

    …and for those wondering about my claim that “Catholic charities [are] raising funds for Eastern Orthodox seminaries”: a good example is the otherwise-excellent Aid to the Church in Need, which currently features on its website an appeal titled, “Support an Orthodox Seminary in Russia”.

  13. Grace says:

    What relics did the Catholics “return” and what, if anything, did they receive in turn from the Orthodox?

  14. Ezra says:

    What relics did the Catholics “return” and what, if anything, did they receive in turn from the Orthodox?

    In 1966, relics of the St Titus of Crete where given by the Patriarchate of Venice to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Crete. In 1968, Vatican representatives – acting on behalf of Pope Paul VI – gave Patriarch Nicholas VI of Alexandria a part of the relics of St Mark from Venice. In 2004, Pope John Paul II gave Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople relics of Ss John Chrysostom and Gregory Nazianzen. In 2010, the Archdiocese of Zadar gave relics of St Simeon to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

    I don’t know of any relics being translated in the other direction.

  15. aladextra says:

    The schism was already healed, at the Council of Florence. Convert, convert!

  16. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    This article is far to simplistic. Stalin was no friend to the Orthodox or Romans. He only wanted all parishes under state control so he could subject them to communist control. The real issue for the Orthodox is that in the Western Ukraine our people underwent forced conversion by Jesuits at the Unions of Brest(Catholic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) and Uzhgorod (Catholic Hungary). Thus creating Eastern Rite Catholic Churches (Ukrainian and Ruthenian) of people who were Orthodox.
    To the Orthodox the uniats of these regions are our people who were either converted by musket barrels, or were forced into such intolerable living conditions that conversion was all a priest could do to feed his family. It isn’t property as much as it is the failure of the unia as a way to unity of both sides of the Universal Catholic Church. It isn’t property, it is our people, who by the way, were treated like second class Catholics up until VII, and who still often cannot marry in the US. At least some Eastern Catholic Bishops in the US are finally ordaining married men regardless of what the Latin Rite thinks, and they are purging the Byzantine Rite of all Latinizations.

  17. Ezra says:

    To the Orthodox the uniats of these regions are our people who were either converted by musket barrels, or were forced into such intolerable living conditions that conversion was all a priest could do to feed his family.

    This may come as a tremendous shock, but the Unions of Brest and Uzhgorod took place in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. None of the believers who came into communion with Rome then, whatever the circumstances (and your version of history is polemical, to put it mildly), are still alive. Present-day Eastern Catholics are such by choice, not “your people” cowering for fear of Roman muskets.

    Rome might as well say that Russian and Greek Orthodox believers are “our people” who were converted to Orthodoxy in the eleventh century by the dictates of their rebellious rulers and schismatic prelates. Not helpful.

  18. MarkJ says:

    Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.
    The rampant denial and/or ignorance of this doctrine since Vatican II has been a huge ecumenical problem, and I hope the Vatican will issue a definitive clarification on this soon… it is, of course, one of the big issues for the SSPX as well. The Orthodox Churches need to know clearly where we stand on this, that there is only one true Church, that it is the Roman Catholic Church, and that they must make their choice to either remain outside the Church or to become Roman Catholic and have a chance to be saved.

  19. Nan says:

    @Subdeacon Joseph, my understanding is that my people were converted due to politics and the agreement of the bishops at the time the Hapsburgs took over the neighborhood. There may have been Jesuits involved but they were not the driving force. Note also that Czar Nicholas II paid a priest to convert Catholics to Orthodoxy in the US and he converted over 300,000 souls. Many of these families have absolutely no idea why some of their relatives are Catholic and others are Orthodox.

    The Orthodox have a different perspective since they were on the losing side of that battle; are you going to return the Orthodox parishes in the US to the Eastern Rite?

  20. Alice says:

    The Pope can “return” the churches to the Russian Orthodox if he wants. Of course, after he does, the UAOC will be able to give him the honorary title, “Father of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.” It would probably be a disaster for dialog with the Society of St. Josephat and their friends the SSPX too.

  21. Emilio says:

    I would respectfully invite Subdeacon Joseph to read “With God in Russia” by Father Walter Cizek, SJ. Perhaps after reading about how many Jesuits were brutally tortured and murdered in Stalin’s gulags, and why Pius XI really undertook the initiative to send them there.. you perhaps might benefit from a more informed and balanced perspective. Perhaps you will see that our Church bled also for yours, willingly and lovingly. Also, your interpretation of the Union of Brest and the history of the Ukrainian Catholic Church would not find acceptance with most Ukrainian Catholics. I find it interesting, though, that you seem convinced that the issue really isn’t about the property of all, it’s about Ukrainian Catholics themselves. If that is what Metropolitan Hilarion also thinks, and ultimately Patriarch Kirill too, then I am really quite troubled indeed. “Uniatism” and “uniates” are a “problem,” but only for the Orthodox. And as long as you view these people, OUR people, as living insults and salt in the wounds of YOUR people, rather than as a CHURCH… then I really wonder unfortunately if any genuine progress is possible at all.

  22. Imrahil says:

    Dear Very Hon. @Subdeacon Joseph,

    if I am King of Poland or Hungary and a Catholic, as a matter of plain certainty I’ll rejoice in the fulfilment of the union of Christianity as wanted by the Council of Florence. This was not wrong of the respective kings. If I am a Jesuit with the object to find Catholicism wherever possible, and convert to Catholicism whatever isn’t yet, of course I’ll provide them with the necessary scientific framework or do a little personal convincing. There is nothing wrong in that either. Neither do I know why a Latinization is somehow to be equalized to an abuse. I wouldn’t count it as a sin for Latiners to pray the Akathistos.
    [It is plain that Eastern Catholics can marry Latins. Or what for would be all those canons about who belongs where if son of this mother and that father etc. What is true is that the German bishops, Americans I don’t know, want to have a Nihil obstat. But that is something different from a dispensation; it only means that the bishop is to be told (especially for reasons in inter-Church relationships, I guess); it is always granted to my knowledge.]

    Catholics believe (though Feeneyism is a condemned doctrine, and a comment such as that of @MarkJ could not really be helpful) that the primate of Peter belongs to the characteristics of the Church, wanted by God. Hopefully more approaching to Orthodox formulars, I say that this is within the Episcopate, wanted by God – as the Orthodox say -, which has an interior order – as the Orthodox say too – which culminates in the primacy of the Bishop of Old Rome; and this I hear some Orthodox say too*. [*They claim Papal misgovernance as a justification for they breakoff.] Hence since any highest primacy must needs be a primacy of jurisdiction – this admittedly the Orthodox say not – if some come back to Rome it is a very joyful event, to say the least, which one prays for and does not hinder. And hence, it does not matter what national bonds they may or may not have had.
    [And besides, I do wonder whether there are misgivings between Ukrainian Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholics. What there certainly are is misgivings between Ukrainian Catholics and Ukrianian Russian Orthodox; and also, I think, between Ukrainian Orthodox and Ukrainian Russian Orthodox. Hony soit qui mal y pense.]

  23. anilwang says:

    Unfortunately such pettiness is at the heart of the Eastern Orthodox faith. It’s not uncommon for whole patriarchates to break communion with each other because one Patriarchate has a personal dispute with another.

    While I was searching around for the truth of the faith, I almost became Orthodox.

    They do have a compelling case in many areas, and they did seem to preserve the faith of the Fathers more than the post-Vatican II Catholic Church. I even bought the idea that Jesus established a Pentarchy. But the jurisdictional battles and pettiness like the one you see here was just maddening. And the amount of bile and schadenfreude that some have Orthodox have for every challenge the OCA (Orthodox Church in America) undergoes was disgusting.

    Whatever Church Christ established, I knew he didn’t establish *that*. I has no relationship to John 13:35. If having a single authority is what’s needed to prevent such pettiness, then that’s what was established.

    IMO, the biggest tragedy of Vatican II is that is brought some of that pettiness into the Catholic Church with liberals and conservatives having schadenfreude whenever the other side suffers a setback, and for some conservatives to feel that they need to break communion (i.e. SSPX) because they don’t want to have to deal with the messiness of having to be part of a diverse family that spans the earth. But even this schadenfreude is of a different order from that in the Eastern Orthodox Church, in that most conservatives genuinely want “the other side” to “see the light” and would rather have this happen than for them to suffer and the same can be said about the liberals (at least those who don’t resort to power plays to ram their form of “tolerance” down the throats of anyone who disagrees with them). I don’t know how the mess that grew from Vatican II will be resolved, but I do know that God is here and it will be resolved to make the Church stronger than before Vatican II.

  24. AAJD says:

    This tendentious farrago of nonsense is reliably repeated every few months by various spokesmen of the Russian Church. No serious historian believes a word of it, and many fellow Orthodox are also embarrassed by it. Inter alia, Met. Kallistos Ware, in his famous introductory text *The Orthodox Church* has recognized Russian Orthodox collusion in the suppression of Greco-Catholics in Ukraine. More recently, the Russian Orthodox theologian Antoine Arjakovsky has written at length and in very moving terms about the necessity of repentance on the part of the Russians before there can be Russian-Ukrainian and Orthodox-Catholic reconciliation. See his book *En Attendant le Concile de l’Eglise Orthodoxe.* And for perhaps the most damning historical details yet, see the article published in LOGOS: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies in 2000-2002 by the eminent historian Robert Taft documenting, based on Soviet archival sources, the collusion of the Moscow patriarchate. It is sad and embarrassing to see Met. Hilarion, otherwise an excellent theologian, continue to repeat this rubbish with a straight face. As Taft said in June at Orientale Lumen, claims like these of Met. Hilarion are from those who do not study history but instead make it up. As he went on to say, the Orthodox white-washing of history via systematic use of the double-standard, and the “my hands are always cleaner than yours,” has to be denounced as regularly as these claims are put forth.

  25. Joe in Canada says:

    For the sake of argument, even if we granted what Subdeacon Joseph claims, which I do not, in 1948 Ukrainian Catholics resisted the fake ‘Synod’ which ‘returned’ the Catholics to the Orthodox fold, and thousands died in camps. It not only became illegal to be a Ukrainian Catholic, but it also became illegal to be a Ukrainian Orthodox. It was Polish Roman Catholic or Russian Orthodox, for the Ukrainians (and registered Baptist, etc). The Ukrainian Catholics certainly had the opportunity to renounce the Union of Brest if they chose, but they didn’t. They died and suffered instead.

    A real problem is that the Russian Orthodox are not willing to admit that at the fall of Communism all free Orthodox Bishops in the Soviet Union had collaborated with the State and the KGB.

  26. joecct77 says:


    Everybody go see a priest!

  27. Elizabeth D says:

    My basic attitude and feeling toward Eastern Christianity and its beautiful spiritual patrimony is very positive. But

    Why would the Orthodox of today want to benefit from Stalin violently seizing churches from Catholic congregations that built and owned them, and giving them to Orthodox? Do they think that it was legitimate for Stalin to try to annihilate the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church by confiscating churches, sending hundreds of priests to the Gulag, and killing quite a lot of people including women, children and elderly? Now obviously Stalin was not motivated by piety to do something like that, but perhaps because he thought this coincided with the interests of the Orthodox, whom he wanted a good control over. Are they are still pleased with what he did?!

    I want to be reassured, please God let there be charity in the hearts of Orthodox Christians, and in the hearts of Catholics. And please Jesus give us the unity you prayed for before You went to your death. If they have congregations that can use churches that may be standing empty, let them make that case, not have an unseemly sense of entitlement, lack of sadness over the violent history and hostility toward those who cherish union with the successor of St Peter.

  28. robtbrown says:

    MarkJ says:

    Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.

    The above is certainly dogma. Your understanding of it, however, is not.

  29. Ezra says:

    What is wrong with MarkJ’s articulation of the dogma? I can’t see much different between what he said and, say, what the Council of Florence said when it defined that the Church “firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart ‘into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’, unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock.”

  30. dcs says:

    though Feeneyism is a condemned doctrine

    Yes, that is why all of Fr. Feeney’s followers have been excommunicated, right?

  31. Nan says:

    Emilio, in the US, due to intermarriage between Eastern Rite Catholics and Latin Rite Catholics, as well as the dearth of Eastern Rite Catholics in some places, people don’t always know to what rite they belong. I’m one of what are known in the Eastern world as the “Lost Grandchildren of the Byzantine Rite” due to my father having been raised in the Latin Rite as his father was transferred to a small town without an Eastern Rite parish nearby. My father lived and died without knowing he was a Byzantine Catholic. There’s no dispensation necessary for intermarriage.

  32. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    Dear All,

    Most of the Western Ukrainian people would have never “converted” to Catholicism had their not been a forced unification by Catholic states. To state otherwise is not true. Also, the Orthodox are persecuted to this day in the Western Ukraine.

    Sadly communism killed 8 million Roman/Byzantine Catholics. Sadly, it killed 60 million Orthodox Christians.

    The Latinizations need to be removed because they are not part of the Byzantine Rite of worship. Say the black and do the red in your respective rite of worship. If someone prays an akathist privately and is Latin Rite no problem there.

    We Orthodox look at how the Eastern Rite Catholics have been treated for the greater part of the unia, and how some of their canonical traditions and theology are still being suppressed outside of their homelands, and we take offense. We can even fairly ask if their was union would this type of suppression end outside of our homeland? For example, why cannot all priests marry who are Byzantine Rite in America? This is their/our canonical tradition. Byzantine Catholic/Orthodox theology does not believe in purgatory according to Latin dogma. We certainly believe in a fire, but it is God’s uncreated light burning those who reject him, and lovingly embracing those souls who worship him until the Last Judgment. Thus it is the same fire experienced differently by souls according to their disposition towards God. There are other differences too that are beyond the scope of this response.

    I simply wish Rome would get behind VII and let the Byzantine Catholics be themselves completely. That would be a great assurance to the Orthodox.

  33. Penguins Hockey Fan says:

    It was Winston Churchill who said that Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. The same applies to the Russian Orthodox Church. Its hierarchy shares the same view of the West as the Russian dictatorship.

    Many in Eastern Orthodoxy cannot get over the sack of Constantinople in 1204. They point to the hostility of the Catholic hierarchy and lay faithful to the practice of a married priesthood. the first event happened so long ago that it should have no bearing on anything today, but it does. As for the second, Bishop Ireland of Minneapolis told Alexis Toth that he did not consider “his kind” (Toth) to be Catholic. Toth then formed the Orthodox Church of America. In the 1920s the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church was pressured by Rome to cease ordaining married men. A terrible schism followed, and many Ruthenian parishes formed the American Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox Diocese because of it. This hits close to home, as the Ruthenian Church is based in Pittsburgh.

    The Union of Brest-Litovsk and Union of Uzhorod are sore points for the ROC – especially the first since it happened in an area once part of Poland. The ROC has the typical Russian chauvinistic approach that the Czars had. I read a quote that Putin told then President Bush that “Ukraine is not a country”. Ukraine and Belarus belong to the Moscow Patriarchate (according to the Moscow Patriarchate) and there can be no dissent from this notion. It is a major sore spot for them that the Unia (an insulting word to Byzantine Catholics) exists. The ROC is bitterly opposed to the Catholic Church setting up dioceses in the former USSR to serve the descendants of the poor people deported by Stalin – but the ROC can set up churches in the West without a peep from Rome.

    Pope Benedict will not do what I suggest – politely tell the Moscow Patriarchate to buzz off. Patriach Alexey refused to meet with John Paul II because the latter was a Pole. There will be no reunion with the ROC as long as the present MP exists. The Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church should be named a Patriarch and the churches seized by Stalin should be returned – all of them.

    This kind of thing has happened in Romania as well.

  34. Nan says:

    Penguins Hockey Fan, get it right. There were Orthodox in California and Alaska already; Father Toth went to the Embassy to take his parish into Communion with the Orthodox. The name of the church has since changed from The Russian Orthodox Church to the Orthodox Church of America. Nevertheless, Father Toth went into the pay of the Czar and for 600 gold rubles a year, converted souls to Orthodoxy. Oh, and it’s Archbishop Ireland.

  35. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    I think your history is skewed concerning St. Alexis Toth. Archbishop Ireland was rude(and that is putting it mildly) to this great saint of the Church because he was a married, (widowed at the time even!) priest. He went home to the Church of his heritage, as did ACROD.

  36. Widukind says:

    Just some random thoughts on all this –
    – I do not really understand what the Russians are after – and that it is about problems in another country – What would happen say if the Catholic Archbishop of Paris would ask the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster to compensate for property taken by whom ever in those territories that were once part of England so many centuries ago? The Ukraine is not Russia, it preceded Moscow by how many centuries?
    – I believe I am correct to state that at the establishment of the Church in Kiev, it was in union with the Universal Church. So at its beginning the Ukrainian Church was “Catholic”. In fact, even after the schism between Constantinople and Rome, the Ukrainian Church remained in union with Rome for even a century or more.
    – the Third Rome theory is pointless. Could not one say, that the “true” Russian Church actually ended when Peter the Great dissolved the patriarchate and let the church be governed by a committee of bishops. How unusual and unorthodox for a church to be deprived of a shephard
    for several centuries, and be given over to a committee of state appointed episcopal nannies. And was the patriarchate not re-established only under the communists? I guess so much for the honoring and reverencing of tradition – that one did not have to have a patriarch to be a true orthodox church. Where is their continuity? I think we need to conjure up a “fourth Rome” as obviously as Moscow ceased to be such when it was deprived of its patriarch. Which city should it be?

  37. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    Yes the Ukraine is not Russia, but the central see was moved from Kiev to Moscow which is why the only canonical Orthodox Church in the Ukraine is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate.

    The Patriarchate was restored in Russia before the red revolution also. St. Tikhon was the last patriarch before the rise of the communists.

  38. robtbrown says:

    In addition to his narrow minded approach to Eastern Rite Catholics, Abp Ireland was a key figure in the promotion of Americanism.

  39. sallyr says:

    Man. And I thought we Irish were the best at holding on to grudges. Obviously we are way out of our league on this one.

    I cannot believe this fostering of hundreds and thousands of years of bitterness and harboring and nurturing of resentment is what Christ had in mind when he was setting up his Church. I say this as a proud descendant of Irish grandparents. I know of very few Irish people who want to sit around and systematically tote up and demand exact repayment from England for each and every crime ever committed. I have no idea if Churches changed hands after Ireland became a republic, but the big old Cathedral in London is Anglican.

    I do not know anything about these disputes involving the Orthodox. But I used to work at a Catholic theology library back in the 1990’s. There were two clients who came in around the same time. One was a man studying to be a Russian Orthodox priest. He and his wife worked together on a paper he had to write. His wife was extremely unhappy about the collapse of the Soviet Union. Everything was perfect in the USSR, they had vacations, free services, and now they were poor and powerless. No one feared them anymore. She hoped that the USSR could be re-constituted. I asked her if the communists hadn’t persecuted the church and she made a sneer and said this was all a lie.

    Around the same time, there was a Ukranian Catholic man who was a professor in Europe using the library. He had the clearest and most stunningly beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen, and terrible teeth. He told me he had lived through the Ukranian famine. I told him about the Russian Orthodox couple, and what the wife had told me. He smiled and shook his head sadly. “Freedom. Freedom is more precious than any power or state benefit. There is nothing I would trade for it.”

    I don’t know about the disputes over these matters, but this man was a real Christian. The Orthodox couple were careerists, as plain as day, with his wife doing half of his school work. They are what this dispute reminds me of. The wife toting up her grievances and wishing for a state that was feared, and the Ukranian professor who lived through the worst of Stalin but didn’t speak a word of bitterness the whole time I knew him.

  40. Sliwka says:

    Expounding on a few points brought up by Penguins Hockey Fan (i.e. Latinization and North American Byzantine Catholic Schism).

    When Ukrainians first came to Canada, there was already an established Russo-Orthodox Mission via Alaska and many of the first immigrants from Galica informally converted to Orthodoxy from Catholicism due to the mistreatment by the French priests and bishops’ atempt to “Romanize” 9or in their eyes, make Catholic) these superstitious Galicians. Eventually, Ukrainian Catholic Churches could be established, but continuing Latinization led to groups of Catholics to form Orthodox Churches beginning in 1913. Interestingly enough, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada is not a part of either the Moscovite Patriarchate or the Kyivian Patriarchate, but is under leadership of Constantinople.

  41. Widukind says:

    Subdeacon Joseph:
    Still, what about the irregularity of a headless church for a couple of centuries?
    Or, is this simply overlooked, while any excuse to declare that Rome and then
    Constantinople forfeited their positions is accepted? The playing field seems
    to tilt not a little.

  42. JohnRoss says:

    Unity talks with the Russian Orthodox will continue to be hampered as long as they continue to regard themselves as the True Church and see us as heretics and schismatics.

    A lot of Russian Orthodox, from my experience, do no regard the Catholic Church has having grace, and they also, especially the ROCOR ones, consider our Holy Orders invalid.

    Let’s pray for humility on the part of the Russian Orthodox, and really humility on both sides because there also a lot of hard-nosed people on the Catholic side who seem to think being Latin is the only way to be Catholic.

  43. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Ezra,

    in your quote the Council of Florence – which does not go beyond the formulas St. Paul uses for “usual sinners” (adulterers &al.) – says that not converting is a grave sin objectively.

    It is true that to belong to the Church is not only de necessitate praecepti but also de necessitate medii, but in so far as we speak of necessitas medii, the medium can be replaced by implicity.

  44. In order to understand the relationship between Stalin and the orthodox Church of Russia, a few facts are necessary.
    l. Stalin hated the Russian Orthodox Church and tried to destroy it.
    2. he hated the Roman Catholic Church and managed to infiltrate it at the the higher levels by sending forth unworthy candidates for the priesthood. It is only now that we are seeing the extent of the infiltration, and i am referring to your liberal brethren who are the by product of this scheme.
    3. he handed over Ukrainian Catholic churches for 2 reasons: 1. To win the patriotic support of the Church with the advance of Nazism, which the Ukrainians in the Western part welcomed as liberators of the Ukrainian Church. We know about the collaborators with the Nazis.
    2. To secure the good will of the Church until the war would come to an end.

    All of this having been said, let’s move on to the present. The return of Orthodox Churches to the Catholics is a reality. Moscow needs to get over it and move on to more pressing problems at hand. The enemy is at the gate; we can not afford to shoot inward! let get on with the work of Christ and stop bickering.

  45. Subdeacon Joseph says:


    Outside of the canonical church territory of the Moscow Patriarchate you have Ukrainians and Carpatho-Russians under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This can be done in non-traditional Orthodox lands where people immigrated to. That said, in a territory like the Ukraine that is part of, and has always been under the Moscow Patriarchate, there can only be one canonical/valid local Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is part of the MP. Say Greeks started a parish in the Ukraine it would have to be under the MP, not the EP because the Ukraine is a traditional Orthodox land where the local Church has primacy. However, there are Greek parishes in America under the ROCOR/MP who want to keep the Julian Calendar. In America they can do this currently because they are outside a traditional Orthodox land, at least for the time being


    During the years without a patriarch there was still the metropolitan bishop of Russia and his synod to lead the flock. The Church was not “headless.”

    John Ross,

    Yes many, but not all, in ROCOR have the theological opinion that all Roman/Eastern Catholic orders are invalid. However, since their reconciliation with Moscow, and the fact that they are now part of the new Orthodox Episcopal Assembly in America they will be brought to conformity with their mother church, and the other local churches. For example, it is policy of the Moscow Patriarchate (and EP, etc.) to receive Roman Catholic priests through confession and vesting. ROCOR is now under Moscow and she is slowly being brought into the 21st century (THANK GOD!).

  46. JacobWall says:

    I’m not sure if anyone else has mentioned it, but a point entirely missed by the article is that perhaps the “sourest issue” is (as far as I understand) the actual physical violence, and even death, which came out the property conflicts in the early 90’s. The biggest problem is that this is well within the recent memory of living people. I think it would be difficult to convince either Ukrainian Orthodox or Ukrainian Catholics to reunite with the other side with violent confrontations fresh in their memory.

    The language in the article is somewhat inconclusive; is Metropolitan Hilarion asking for the property back (which is completely unreasonable) or is he asking for the Pope to take measures to heal the wounds brought about by the conflicts arising out of property disputes? If he is asking for the second, than it’s completely reasonable. However, it must also be noted that these measures would have to come from both sides. From what I understand, when the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church reemerged after the fall of communism, they approached the Patriarch of Moscow to ask for and establish relations for peaceful coexistence; they were answered with complete silence – worse than a slap in the face. It was after this disrespectful rejection of their approach that they realized they would receive no welcome or even acknowledgement and the property conflicts arose. (I believe I read about this attempt on the part of the Ukrainian Catholics from an Orthodox author, Bishop Kallistos Ware, in his book “The Orthodox Church.”)

    In any case, if Metropolitan Hilarion is asking the Pope to take measures to heal these wounds (that do not include giving property away), I agree with him. But the measures would be useless unless they came from the Patriarch of Moscow with equal force and sincerity.

  47. The Russian Orthodox Church will not be happy until it sees that the Catholic Church has desintegrated. This particular church has always been about absolute control and subjugation to the State since it has always seen it as its head.

    Of course, this all started with the “ambition” of the Patriarch of Constantinople (as Fortescue would wisely say) when he wanted to have the power and authority of the Pope in the East (where the Roman Empire had been moved to — always guilty of erastianism). This led them to uphold really stupid ideas that, of course, led to very stupid consequences. Once they decided that the Emperor was the (visible) head of the (Orthodox) Church, once there was no Emperor, what could they do? Under whom would they be? Anything or anyone *except* the Pope. Many times they even preferred to deal with the Sultans (or as Fortescue would call them, “unbaptized tyrants”) than with the Pope.

    Then Russia comes along, they have more power and better leaders, and then it is Russia that starts telling the Eastern Orthodox Church (poor Patriarch of Constantinople!) what is allowed and what is not. Russia supported so many national churches before, during and after their schism from the Patriarchate of Constantinople because it would weaken that patriarchate. Now, that patriarchate (always so proud and pugnatious with regards to Papal primacy, authority, etc.) is nothing compared to what it was before. The Papacy, on the other hand, is still what it has always been — not even Vatican II can change that officially.

    After having aggressively absorbed the even more ancient (and really Apostolic) Sees of Alexandria and Antioch, now Constantinople is not what Moscow is. In fact, we usually hear more about the Russian Orthodox Church than of Constantinople. I am not saying that they deserved it, but they really had it coming and they should have seen it (just like Paul VI should have seen what was coming). To prefer to be under temporal rulers (which have always changed and governments have always changed) rather than being under the Pope… well, Emperors are gone! And since then the Eastern patriarchs all fight among themselves about who can more than whom and who can form a separate national church, etc. Also, many of these Orthodox churches have so many metropolitans and patriarchs … talk about the real thirst for power and titles!

    It is sad that the Eastern Orthodox Church has always been so *territorial*. As far as we can all say, Christ did not command us to limit the Gospel to specific nationalities or to divide church leadership in such ways that would give way to so bitter disputes (nationality, ethnicity, languages) that would be considered more important than the Gospel and the salvation of souls!

    Finally, some of us will say that this is all still going on, in part, because Russia was never formally and officially consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary! In part, some of us will also say, that it is due to Vatican II and the shameful ways in which leaders in the Catholic Church have dealt with non-Catholics because they put ecumenism before *real* justice and charity. As an old Argentinian Catechism would say, these leaders allowed “human sentimentalism” to overpower their sense of duty to the teachings and dogmas of the Catholic Church (Divine Revelation). I would agree with those of us who think so. But, of course, there has to be slightly more to this than just that.

    So, this dispute is about property, but it is also not about property.

    With regards to latinizations: While they might be “alien” to eastern practices, wasn’t it also true that at some points byzantinization was also forced on the Orthodox churches!? As far as we know, the Byzantine Rite is NOT the oldest Rite in the East. YET, the Byzantine Church forced so many others to adopt this Rite and do away with the even older (and Apostolic) Rites like that of St. Mark and St. James! Many times, it was the case that the Byzantine Church forced many groups to use only Greek for their liturgies and include the name of the Byzantine patriarch in their Liturgies, etc., etc. What goes around, at some point, comes around!

    Why would latinizations be held in such horror, but byzantinizations would be o.k.? Could we say that it is also because the first ones come from the Pope? Territorialism? Power?

    I have always been glad that there was only one Kephas and that it was this Kephas whom Our Lord addressed when He felt He had to and in the way in which He felt He had to.

    Oh! I almost forgot! What about the “Holy Synods”!?? Since when Christ commanded the erection of such things? At some point, I think that it was put above the Patriarchates, which is funny because a Patriarchate can claim to be of Apostolic origin, but the Holy Synod really was the invention of the Russian State! Isn’t this the particular Orthodox church we are talking about? Go figure!

  48. Sliwka says:

    @Hieromonk Gregory:
    Re: Nazi Collaboration

    Without turning this into a Russia versus Ukraine political debate (and my history may be fuzzy), did the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) not fight against both the Germans and Soviets (plus Poles, Czechs, and Romanians) in occupation of what they declared to be a free Western Ukrainian state?

  49. Subdeacon Joseph says:


    Love your Roman Catholic triumphalism. Do not forget that the Eastern Orthodox Church has valid mysteries/sacraments, thus, making us Catholic. For you to say we are not Catholic is false. By the way what makes a local Church more Catholic valid Eucharist or communion with the bishop of Rome? While communion with the bishop of Rome is to be desired on the part of the Orthodox, it is our valid mysteries/sacraments, apostolic succession, and confession of faith that makes us Catholic.

    Also the Byzantine Rite still uses the Divine Liturgy of St. James on his feast day. Say the black and do the red in your respective rite.

  50. Sliwka,

    Resistance movements existed all over Europe during the War. Often, however, they were not Christian based. The important thing to remember is that all churches, at least on the hierarchical level, have made concessions that should not have been made. Perhaps that is why both Catholics and Orthodox utilize the Sacrament of Confession, for none of us go to the Altar with cleans hands without it.

  51. Subdeacon Joseph,

    It is not triumphalism, at least not yet.

    To be technical, what makes a church Catholic is factual, official and visual communion with the See of Peter. Having valid Sacraments does not mean that you are Catholic; it just means that you have valid Orders and valid Sacraments.

    Doesn’t the Orthodox Church see that there is something very substantially wrong in the fact that it is not in communion with the first and greatest of the Patriarchs?

    Also, for the Patriarch of Constantinople to have acquaired that title, he needed and basically begged the Pope to allow the use of that title (which was denied to him repeatedly). Constantinople was not and never has been an Apostolic See. Later, I think, they tried to look for link to an Apostle, and, what do you know!?, they found it!

    As Pope Leo said to the Emperor Marcian at that time,
    ——-“‘the same faith must be that of the people, of bishops, and also of kings, oh, most glorious son and most clement Augustus! Let the city of Constantinople, as we wish, have its glory; and under the protection of the right hand of God may it long enjoy the government of your Clemency. But there is one law for civil affairs and another for divine things; and no building can be firm apart from that Rock which the Lord founded originally. He who seeks undue honours loses his real ones. Let it be enough for the said bishop (Anatolius of Constantinople), that by the help of your piety and by the consent of my favour, he has got the bishopric of so great a city. Let him not despise a royal see because he can never make it an Apostolic one; nor should he by any means hope to become greater by offending others. The rights of the Churches are fixed by the Canons of the holy Fathers, and by the decrees of the venerable Nicene Synod; they cannot be upset by any bad designs, nor disturbed by any novelty. And I, by the help of Christ, must always faithfully carry out this order, because the responsibility has been given to me, and it would be my fault if the rules of the Fathers, drawn up by the Synod of Nicaea under the guidance of the Holy Ghost for the whole Church, were broken with my consent—which may God forbid !—or if the wish of one brother were more important to me than the common good of the whole house of God.” (~Adrian Fortescue, The Orthodox Eastern Church) ——

    Now, we can see that the Patriarch of Constantinople needed the Pope’s appointment or confirmation in order to get the see of Constantinople. We also know that Constantinople was not an important see until the Empire was moved to the East. We also know that in order to increase its greatness, it needed to absorb the powers and honors of the Sees of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. And, of course, to attack and separate from the See of Rome.

    Do we think that Constantinople wanted Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary, etc., to have their own autocephalous churches? Did not the patriarch of Constantinople excommunicate all of these groups when they declared themselves separate churches from Constantinople? Except, of course, Russia.

    The Patriarch of Constantinople *never* dared to excommuniacte Russia, EVEN when it was obvious and clear that Russia was helping these other churches become independent from him! That’s how sad things became. I predict that the same will happen to Russia. At some point, that see will not have the greatness it now has (that opaques the other Eastern sees, including Constantinople).

    Regarding the Liturgy of St. James (and St. Mark). I guess it is a good thing that, as you say, the Liturgy of St. James is done once a year. HOWEVER, there are Eastern Churches not in Communion with the Catholic Church nor with the Orthodox Church where they have it always. Also, there are Eastern churches in Communion with the Pope that were also allowed to keep this older Liturgy by the Popes.

    Why couldn’t the Patriarch of Constantinople allow this as well, since they had had it from the beginning and they predated the Byzantine practices? Why did he have to force the byzantine way of doing things on all those in communion with him? So, there was no say the black, do the red. It was more like “be byzantine or run for your life.” Many groups ran for their lives, others complied, and others revolted and eventually declared themselves authocephalous and most of them have their own Patriarchs. So, we went from 3 Eastern patriarchs to …. how many are there now?

  52. Widukind says:

    SD Joseph
    You still have not answered the question as posed by Latinmass1983:
    Might it be some kind of triumphalism on the part of the recipient that would cause him not to respond to this question?

  53. Widukind says:

    Latinmass1983’s statement is thus:
    Oh! I almost forgot! What about the “Holy Synods”!?? Since when Christ commanded the erection of such things? At some point, I think that it was put above the Patriarchates, which is funny because a Patriarchate can claim to be of Apostolic origin, but the Holy Synod really was the invention of the Russian State! Isn’t this the particular Orthodox church we are talking about? Go figure!

  54. Penguins Hockey Fan says:


    With all due respect, I believe I did get it right. Oh, it was Archbishop Ireland, not Bishop
    Ireland, but he was crude to Alexis Toth. I am also right in that neither of these schisms that occurred in the USA should have happened.

    Let us see this for what it really is. The Moscow Patriarchate sees all of Ukraine and all Ukrainians as belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate. Much of Eastern Ukraine agrees with this to varying degrees. In Western Ukraine, this is not the case. Western Ukrainians – and those of the diaspora who live in the Western world – hold Russia in the same low esteem as a typical Pole.

    The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has made a remarkable comeback from the terrible dark days of Communist oppression. The UGCC is most deserving of prayers and financial help from us all.

  55. Subdeacon Joseph says:


    The Orthodox Church sees our full catholicity not in being communion with the Pope of Rome, but rather in the teachings of St. Ignatius of Antioch, “Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” Thus where you find a valid bishop with his flock, you find the Catholic Church. As you know St. Ignatius was alive from 50 to 109 AD, and so Orthodox ecclesiology is found in the earliest days of the Catholic Church, yet our ecclesiology goes back further. I understand your church believes dogma can be developed upon as in the case of Vatican I and the papacy, but the Orthodox Church believes that on Pentecost the apostles reached deification, experienced revelation, and so reached the whole truth. Those who through the ages reach deification share in the same experience of revelation. Thus from Pentecost onwards the Church was Catholic not because of the papacy, but because she was the sole repository of truth, existing throughout the whole world. The Church has all the truth about God, man’s salvation, and her members have held this in common since Pentecost to today.

    This is why we as Orthodox Christians see nothing missing for the means of salvation by not being in communion with the Patriarch of the West. It is a real poverty and a tragedy that we are not in communion, but the Orthodox Church is Catholic in our ecclisiology not by being in communion with a given bishop, but by living the complete and fully revealed truth given to the apostles by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

    I cannot convince you with your understanding of the Papacy that we are Catholic, but I will defend why we are the Catholic Church.

  56. Widukind says:

    SD Joseph
    Are you saying then that each and every bishop can do whatever he wants in isolation from and even in disregard to any other bishop? That they stand alone and not together? This seems to go against the very unity of the apostles themselves and with Peter placed as head – which is a reality even before the very Scriptures were completed. All this seems again to be an excuse proffered by the Orthodox simply because they cannot stand to be in any other position than in charge. It seems that the Orthodox desire that everyone else bend to their defiance. It seemingly reeks of pride; and the Orthdox act like the little boy who has the only ball in the neighborhood, and takes it home when he does not get his way when playing with the neighbors. If humility would enter into their position, the reality of unity would be so much further advanced.

  57. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    Nowhere did I say that a bishop could do whatever he wanted. That would be absurd; even nihilistic. The Orthodox Church has guarded and cherished its communion since 33 AD.

    I was only trying to speak from our understanding why we are the Catholic Church. I never said Roman Catholics were not the Catholic Church. If we ever hope to end the schism I would think we could both declare who we are, as wee see ourselves, without “reeking of pride” as you put it. Please tell me where my post above is prideful.

  58. Widukind says:

    SD Joseph
    I did not say that you yourself were prideful, but that so much of what the Orthodox Church says and does is. At times, when news is posted in different places about what the Orthodox (in particularly the Russian – as with the statement that began this whole dialogue) says particulary in regards to the Roman Church – I have to often respond with a “wwhhaaatt???????” Sometimes it just beggars belief. There is such a forcefulness to opinions (and it is simply opinion!)
    and such a defiance, that whatever Rome might have to say in Her regard is summarily dismissed. The Orthodox just do not want to hear it. And its not only their attitude toward Rome, but the way other Orthodox groups are treated – ruining meetings by getting up and leaving just because someone not to their liking is present. (Hell, why worry about charity to Rome, when charity can’t even be shown to fellow Orthodox!) I would think that if Russia demands its own right to autocephality, they should not be denying it to others. If that logic is followed, the Russian Church should still be under the jurisdiction of Kiev, notwithstanding the manipulations and usurptions of the Russian state. If it is good for one, then it is good for others. If Russians wants respect for their position then show the same respect to others. Nationalism seems to be the bane of the Orthodox Church – so if the Russians want to uphold the nationalism of their church, then how should that be an obsticle for any other recognizable national reality from asserting its own right to be autocephalous. The Ukraine is not Russia – it is a separate recognizable national reality, so it should be able to determine for itself the status of its church. But the Russians keep shooting themselves in the foot, for the Russians broke away from Kiev and if they did not have that right to determine for themselves their own church status, they should now still be under the jurisdiction of Kiev as when it all first began. The attitudes of infalibility and indefectability that the Russian Church at times display, makes even the strongest Papal defender look pale. And too, it is their flippant attitude of being immune from any criticism. This is the pridefulness of which I was alluding to.

  59. robtbrown says:


    The Ukraine is not Russia – it is a separate recognizable national reality, so it should be able to determine for itself the status of its church.

    You have of course hit the bullseye. It also explains why the Orthodox Churches have been non players in missionary activity.

  60. Imrahil says:

    That Catholics teach a development of dogma is true, but here not the point. The primacy of Peter clearly appears from both Gospels and the Acts of the Apostels (even though St. Paul and also St. James are, at least for some times, politically more important, it is St. Peter who is accepted in unison as final decider); it was claimed by the papacy through all the time, even at times when they were accepted in their primate by the Orthodox. Leo the Great claimed it officially, saving (through his delegate) the East from heresy at the Robber Synod of Ephesus. By not excommunicating them, him especially, then as heresiarchs (with his doctrine of papal supreme jurisdiction and infallibility), the Orthodox accepted this doctrine. Vatican I was only the first Council to utter it.
    With thanks to Wladimir Solovyev for the arguments.

    St. Ignace is right but to be seen in context, which includes that the bishop is part of an Episcopal Collegium which has a head. Or – waiiit – otherwise some, say, Ukrainians could just take a bishop, place him in Kiev and make him Patriarch and autokephalous. What does canonical territory matter if there is a bishop, and a large amount of people wanting him to be Patriarch.

  61. Marcin says:

    What relics did the Catholics “return” and what, if anything, did they receive in turn from the Orthodox?

    At least recently “Bishop De Luca gave the Orthodox bishops two small relics of St. Timothy, while his Orthodox guests presented him with an icon and a relic of St. Seraphim.”

    HT to SanctePater

  62. ALL: I think this has run its course.

    Please make your final points, for I will soon close the combox.

  63. schmenz says:


    I do not know if we are talking about two different things and are in the middle of a simple misunderstanding, but the Catholic Church most emphatically does NOT teach that dogmas are “developed”, a word which implies tweaking and updating as the years roll by. Dogmas are re-stated, yes, always with more clarity and more force; their meaning is not changed or “developed”, it is only made clearer.

    I’m wondering if you actually do believe in this develpment/tweaking idea which would explain your misunderstanding of the Extra Ecclesiam dogma which was formally defined on three separate occasions, and your rather odd remarks about Father Feeney being “condemned” (which, of course, he was not). Feeney’s “sin”, if you want to call it that, was his reluctance to go to Rome to discuss his case, which reluctance was predicated on the fact that the uberLiberal Cardinal Cushing was filling Rome’s ears full of nonsense just so he could stay in the good graces of the Protestant Yankees in Boston. Feeney’s more than a little dicey excommunication was for disobedience, not his defense of the Extra Ecclesiam dogma. And in any event his reconciliation was just as silly as the excommunication as all he was asked to do was to recite the Athanasian Creed…the very creed he was defending!

    As for Russia, I hate this division and hope it will end one day soon. Christ didn’t choose five different Peters to head various local Churches, nor give five different “rocks” the ability to bind and to loose; he only chose one.

  64. Imrahil says:

    Concerning your first paragraph, this is what I meant with development, and what to my knowledge Bl. John Henry called development of doctrine. I meant “dogma” in the sense of dogmatics. Sorry for causing misunderstandings; however, I was at the time only defending Vatican II as included in the Apostolic teaching.

    However, I did not misunderstand the Extra Ecclesiam dogma, but I understand it in a sense completely possible under a 1950 Holy Office declaration (which was a reaction against Feeneyism) and also, to my knowledge, an allocution of Bl. Pius IX who seems to take this as general previous knowledge. (The rereception of Fr. Feeney is, of course, … well, you know. He would of course been prepared to say the Athanasian creed in the 1950s.)

    Sorry dear @Fr. Z, but I’ve been asked.

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