Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Have the Orthodox agreed to discuss the primacy of the bishop of Rome according to the model of the first millennium?
Relations with the Orthodox Churches have never been so promising as they have since Joseph Ratzinger has been Pope.
ROME (Chiesa) – On Monday evening, January 25, 2010, with vespers in the basilica of Saint Paul's Outside the Walls, Benedict XVI closed the week of prayer for Christian unity.
There are some who say that ecumenism has entered a phase of retreat and chill. 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.
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.
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.