From a reader…
While many pushing for “synodality” and married clergy have nefarious intentions, is it possible that moving in this direction might open the door for reunification with the Eastern Orthodox
churches? Is it possible to have a more synodal church and some
married Latin priests without denying Petrine primacy or celibacy as the ideal state?
The short answer to your question is “No”.
My suspicion is that the Eastern Orthodox Churches do not want reunification with Rome even if the theological obstacles could be overcome – which they cannot be.
From what I know, for Eastern Orthodox Churches the principal problem with reunification is political, not theological. The patriarchs do not want to compromise their power. The recognition of the Pope of Rome as “first among equals”, a title they are supposed to afford to the Patriarch of Constantinople, would weaken their power base. Thus, they prefer to be independent Churches.
I hope that Catholics will eventually come to realize that synods are just ecclesial power games under a different name. Historically, synods are “rigged”, gently or brutally. For example, since Paul VI started calling Synods of Bishops, the Popes choose who gets to participate. Those choices bend the outcome in a certain direction. That was the case for John Paul II and Benedict XVI as it is for Francis. Synods are “rigged” in Eastern Orthodoxy as well.
Any semblance of democratic procedure in a synod is a mirage.
The fix is always in, you just have to find it.
Now, as I switch on comment moderation, I’ll repeat the thought of St. Gregory of Nazianzus writing to Procopius in 382.
I am, if the truth be told, in such a tone of mind that I shun every assemblage of bishops, because I have never yet seen that any Synod had a good ending, or that the evils complained of were removed by them, but were rather multiplied….