Melkite Greek Catholic Church
 

The Sacraments of the Church

The Minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation in Eastern Theology

Commenting on a draft of a schema "On the Sacraments" prepared by the Eastern Commission, the patriarch dwelt more particularly on the delicate question of the minister of the sacrament of confirmation, or holy chrism [myron], in Eastern theology and discipline. This note was presented at the Central Commission in its session of January, 1962.

A. The preamble placed at the head of this chapter seems to need revision which takes into account the following observations:

1. The author of the preamble presents the grace associated with this sacrament as being exclusively a grace of power and of combat, "by which, made fit for the fight against enemies of the soul, they may gain victory." This concept, insofar as it is too exclusive, is inspired by Western theology, which in turn has erected it on the basis of the Latin usage, according to which holy chrism is a sacrament for those of adult age, conferred at the time of life when the Christian should begin to struggle. Eastern usage remains more faithful to the ancient tradition that considers chrismation as being an integral part of the three sacraments of "Christian initiation." Following that tradition, the Orthodox East continues to confer these three sacraments at the same time: baptism, chrismation, and the Eucharist, not only to adults but also to infants. In this perspective, the statement of the preamble is no longer adapted to the disciplinary canons that follow. It is much better to present chrismation as a sacrament whose aim is to confer on the one baptized the fullness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, among which there is naturally the gift of fortitude.

2. The bishop is said to be the only ordinary minister of chrismation. I am fully in agreement with the doctrine that this formula intends to express. But I propose that the words "ordinary minister" be replaced by the words "primary or authentic minister." In Western usage, it is in fact the bishop who ordinarily administers this sacrament; the formula of Western theology thus conforms with usage. But in the East it is the priest who ordinarily and since the oldest times confers this sacrament at the same time as baptism and the Eucharist. To say of the Eastern priest that he is the "extraordinary minister" is to use an expression that does not in any way correspond with reality. It is true that to say "ordinary minister" does not necessarily say minister who ordinarily confers this sacrament. But why not then find a less equivocal expression, and say, as I propose, the minister who is primary. original authentic of his own right, etc.?

3. The Latin text of the preamble states: "It is well known that in Eastern regions from ancient times the practice has prevailed with the consent of the Apostolic See, that even simple priests, with chrism prepared by the bishop, have administered this sacrament to their faithful when conferring baptism, and they still administer it." This text requires several remarks.

a. "...from ancient times the practice has prevailed." Eastern discipline on this point is presented as a "usage contrary to or outside the law," tolerated because it is very ancient, from time immemorial. The historic reality is otherwise: in the East the priests have confirmed since the time when they baptized separately from the bishop.

b. "...with the consent of the Apostolic See." This is a gratuitous assertion that does not rest on any historical fact. Never, before the deductions of Western theologians and canonists, have the popes thought that Eastern priests confirm in reliance on exceptional powers that they have granted. This clause has been invented by Latin canonists or even Uniates in order to retain a logical connection with the principles from which they wish to proceed, namely that only the pope can authorize a simple priest to confirm: "Well, the Eastern priests confirm, thus they do so through the authorization of the pope". The reasoning is correct, but it is deficient in its basis; its major premise is the matter of an important distinction. Only the pope can authorize a simple priest to confirm: in the West, yes. As far as the East is concerned, nothing in Holy Scripture or in the ancient and authentic tradition substantiates this. Historically this administration has been performed in reliance on customary usages. There is no need to impart to the popes things that they have not even suspected, and besides, one should not bend history to preconceived principles, but rather establish principles in conformity with the facts of history.

c. "...to his faithful." The author of the preamble seems to wish to limit the valid application of the Eastern discipline on this point only to subjects of the priest who confirms. In reality, if the Eastern priest confirms according to the discipline of his Church, his confirmation, like his baptism, is logically valid, no matter who the subject of the confirmation may be. It is only in proceeding from principles dictated by the different discipline of the West that one denies the validity of confirmation administered by an Eastern priest to a faithful who is not of his rite.

4. It is asserted that the popes, for the good of souls, have sometimes limited this privilege that Eastern priests have to confer the sacrament of confirmation. It is known that these limitations and these revocations of the legitimate Eastern usage of Eastern priests have been, in reality, a concession made by the popes to the prejudices of Western canonists who do not wish to admit that there can be in the Holy Church anything other than that which they are accustomed to see where they live. It is useless to make this a question of the good of souls, as if the Eastern usage were a harmful exception.

This presentation of the Eastern discipline is also very little consistent with the wording of the disciplinary canons that follow. One might say that the writer of the preamble wishes, by using principles as a basis for certain restrictions, to weaken the freedom of the proposed disciplinary measures.

B. On the subject of the canons, I would take the liberty of making the following observations:

1. Can. I. Change the term "ordinary minister" in accordance with what has been said above.

2. Can. II. "with chrism blessed by the bishop." The blessing of holy chrism is reserved to patriarchs. It would at least be necessary to say "by the patriarch or bishop..." 3. Can. II. "Unless a particular law should enjoin otherwise." This clause should be explained. The particular law that still exists in certain regions of the West and according to which it is forbidden for an Eastern priest to confirm along with baptism cannot be tolerated. As for the particular law of certain Eastern Churches, as, for example, the Maronites, one must respect it, although it would have been better to call upon these Churches to return to the pure tradition of the East on this point.

The Sacrament of Penance

At the January, 1962, meeting of the Central Commission, the patriarch expressed what he thought of the "jurisdiction" for confessions, of the "secrecy of the Holy Office," and of reserved sins.

1. The West has no doubts that for the validity of absolution it is required that the confessor have a certain jurisdiction over the penitent. Doubtless this conviction springs from the fact that the West, having equated the absolution of sins to a judgment, has wished to find in absolution all the conditions of a human judgment in the strict sense. Well, it seems to us that the sacrament of penance is not a judgment, except by analogy. It thus does not require for its validity all the conditions of a true judicial procedure. In particular, the classical East believes that a priest approved by his bishop for confessions—thus constituted as a spiritual father—can absolve everywhere the faithful who make their confessions to him.

Ecclesiastical proprieties require of him that he should exercise this power only in the territory that has been entrusted to him, or with the permission of the priest of the place, but the validity of the sacrament always remains unharmed. I have taken the liberty of explaining this classical Eastern Christian discipline for two reasons:

a) to avoid pressing too closely the comparison between confession and judicial procedures;

b) to support doctrinally the widening of the present Catholic discipline.

2. Among the hierarchs who have the privilege of hearing confessions everywhere, it is also fitting to mention patriarchs.

3. As for the censures attached to revealing the "secrets of the Holy Office," I am personally opposed not only to these censures but also to the "secrecy of the Holy Office" itself as it is practiced nowadays. May the Holy Office pardon me if I say troublesome things that many think but do not dare to say. We owe it to the Church to speak the whole truth in its solemn meetings. The affairs of the Church certainly require much discretion. But there is long distance between this indispensable discretion and the "secrecy of the Holy Office" as it is practiced today. The latter has given certain ecclesiastical administrations the character of a true Freemasonry, and this has been abused more than once to condemn certain persons "from an informed knowledge," as it is called, that is to say without interrogating them or without giving them the elementary possibility of defending themselves. Besides, it seems to me that a radical reform of the Holy Office is today necessary, for the Holy Office is still too reminiscent of the "Holy Inquisition." Its time has passed.

4. There is a question of reforming the penal system of the Church. We could not overemphasize the necessity of bringing about this reform. The present penal system of the Church almost reduces it to a secular society, more especially since the majority of the penalties are absolutely inappropriate.

Penitential Discipline of the Church

A proposal of the Melkite Greek Catholic episcopate presented to the pope on October 14, 1965.

Responding to the wishes of His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, who invited the different episcopal conferences to demonstrate to him their opinions on a draft of unification of the Church's penitential discipline, His Beatitude Patriarch Maximos IV convoked a study meeting. This meeting took place in Rome on Tuesday, October 12, 1965. After having taken into consideration the documents furnished by the Holy Congregation of the Council, the Holy Synod expressed the following opinions:

1. We are all, in principle, favorable to an adaptation of the law of fasting and abstinence to present circumstances.

2. We wish that in fasting there may be a part that is strictly obligatory, and another part that is only recommended, which constitutes a minimum.

3. We wish that this law, in its strictly obligatory part, be unified for the whole Catholic Church, both Eastern and Western.

4. The days of fasting and abstinence that are simply recommended will remain different according to the diversity of rites.

5. Once the Latin Church has adapted and unified its discipline in the matter of fasting and abstinence, it will behoove the superior legislative authority of each Eastern Church to promulgate the rules of fasting and abstinence for its faithful, agreeing, insofar as possible, with those of the other Eastern Churches and of the Latin Church.

6. We maintain the distinction between fasting and abstinence, nevertheless adding that abstinence is equally obligatory on days of fasting. In other words, for us fasting is always accompanied by abstinence.

7. We are in agreement that there should be in the course of the year only three days of strictly obligatory fasting. These three days are: the first day of Lent, Holy Friday, and Holy Saturday. We prefer not to include Christmas Eve.

8. As for the days on which abstinence is strictly obligatory, we prefer that they be fixed as all Fridays of the year without any exception and without any distinction between Fridays of Lent and ordinary Fridays, among laity and secular priests on the one hand, and religious, male and female, seminarians, etc., on the other.

9. As for the nature of fasting, it consists for us of the absence of all nourishment or drink (except water) from midnight to noon. Abstinence consists of abstaining from meat or the gravy of meat.

10. We are in agreement with the discipline of the Code of Canon Law concerning the age limits of the obligation for fasting and abstinence.

11. We are equally in agreement in recommending to the faithful certain practices compensating for the mitigation of the Church's penitential discipline.

Indulgences

The Sacred Penitentiary had prepared a draft of the recasting of indulgences. The episcopal conferences had been consulted, toward the end of the fourth session of the council. On November 10, 1965, the patriarch read before the conciliar assembly the opinion of his synod. It raised the doctrinal point underlying the discipline of indulgences. The discussion passed beyond the framework of the discipline to enter the field of dogma. The discussion was brought to an end.

I speak in the name of the synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic episcopate, and I wish to begin by declaring what follows: It is undeniable that the Church can add a supplementary propitiatory value to the pious acts of Christians, relying on the infinite merits of Christ and the communion of saints, for, united with Christ its leader, the Church has a power of universal intercession.

It is also undeniable that the Church's power of intercession can obtain from God a partial or total remission of the punishment due to pardoned sin. That is equivalent to asserting that the Church can obtain from God a remission, that one can call an "indulgence," partial or total, of penalties on behalf of its repentants.

As for establishing an exact equation between the intercession of the Church and the remission by God of the penalty due to sin, that is not only without theological foundation, but also has been the cause of innumerable and serious abuses, which have caused irreparable damage to the Church. Thus it is necessary that that be positively abolished. In fact, nothing in the early and universal tradition of the Church proves that indulgences were known and practiced, as they have been since the Western Middle Ages. In particular, during the eleven centuries, at least, that the union of the Church of the East and the Church of the West lasted, there is no trace of indulgences in the usual modern sense of the word. Today the Orthodox Church, faithful to early tradition, is still ignorant of indulgences, as the West understands them.

The theological reasoning that seeks to justify the belated introduction of indulgences in the West constitutes, in our opinion, a group of deductions in which each conclusion goes a bit beyond its premises.

In reality, indulgences are tied historically to the ancient penitential discipline of the Church. For each serious external fault the Church provided a public penance, more or less lengthy, more or less painful. Sometimes a mitigation of this sanction was granted, whether at the recommendation of a pious person, or on behalf of external acts, such as a pilgrimage or other act. Naturally, the fulfillment of these canonical sanctions is accompanied by a corresponding diminution of the punishment by which God wishes, in his goodness and his justice, to chastise the sin, whether down here or in the hereafter. But in imposing these sanctions, or mitigating them, the early Church did not intend in any way to interfere in God's judgments, to induce Him to cancel all punishment, or to reduce it in a fixed manner.

When in the Church's discipline the usage of public canonical sanctions was suppressed, there normally should also have been a suppression of the concession of indulgences, which had for their precise goal to moderate or remove these canonical sanctions. By retaining them there was a passing, improper and too rigid, from the human and canonical basis to the divine basis.

In the Middle Ages, indulgences were subject to innumerable abuses, that were grave scandals for Christianity. But even in our days, it seems to us that the practice of indulgences too often, among the faithful, leans toward fetishism, superstition, the feeling of religious "capitalization," a kind of pious bookkeeping, with forgetfulness of what is essential, namely the sacred and the personal exercise of repentance.

That is why we would wish that the Church, if it holds to the course of not purely and simply suppressing indulgences, by a positive act on its part, would readjust its practices for indulgences to make them more acceptable:

1. By eliminating all counting of days, years, or centuries; the amended schema has already reached this point.

2. By eliminating, in the concept of a partial indulgence, all conformity with a mathematical equation between the merit of the penitent and the satisfying capacity of the Church, for the Church does not multiply the merit of its faithful by a fixed coefficient.

3. By eliminating, even for plenary indulgences, any idea of automatic assurance of total acquittal.

4. By developing a theology in which the accent would be placed on the personal reparation of the faithful, strengthened and elevated by Christ's merits.

Thus the faithful are made to understand that the Church adds, in fact, to the intrinsic worth of their prayers and their good works the infinite worth of the merits of Christ and of his Body, which is the Church, and that is from the very fact that, belonging to the Church as its members, they participate in the divine life that animates the whole Body.

By doing this, the Catholic Church avoids the doctrinal difficulties with the Reformed Churches, difficulties that are at least disciplinary with the Orthodox, and pastoral difficulties with the Catholics themselves. Also thus, the prayer of the faithful is not isolated, but united with Christ and the Church.

"Indulgences" thus consist of this: the faithful will bear their punishments, whether imposed or voluntary, with Christ, who gives them an infinite value of redemption. As for the temporal punishment that their sins deserve, the Church does not affect it by canonical sanctions. The faithful will accept chastisement from her maternal hand, in all submission and confidence, and will spontaneously do penance from love for their Father. They will also pray for their departed ones, without seeking to know exactly either the punishment that the latter suffer or the exact measure, full or partial, of the help that they can supply for them. In this light, one will better understand the worth of a blessing given by a bishop or a priest, the worth of a pilgrimage, the wearing of a pious object, the participation in an office recommended by the Church, etc. These are the incontestable truths which by themselves can create in the soul a truly Christian sense of sin and satisfaction.

Thus, summing up everything in a few words, we shall say that the propitiatory power of the Church intervenes through the infinite merits of Christ, instead of entering into details of accounting, where errors and abuses have free play. Christ is, and must remain, the cornerstone, the alpha and omega, of the whole of our holy religion, in which all must be brought back to Him.

Mass Stipends

This is a statement presented by the patriarch to the June, 1962, session of the Central Commission on a draft of the schema "On Mass stipends."

No. 1 of this schema appears to us as incomplete, in that there is not presented to the faithful a sufficient doctrinal basis for the practice of Mass stipends as such. It speaks only of the necessity of providing for the needs of the priests. For our part, we would be satisfied with it. If we speak about it, it is to put the theologians on guard against the framework of the theories that they have devised, distinguishing among the different "fruits" of the Mass, in order to reserve certain ones of them to the person who offers the Mass stipend. This framework does not have any foundation in the Church's tradition, and it savors of the abuses of the Middle Ages. In reality, the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist is always offered to the Holy Trinity for all humanity, redeemed by the blood of the Redeemer. That does not prevent a faithful person from asking the priest to make a special commemoration at the Lord's altar. On this occasion, he may, if he wishes, offer alms to the priest, to the church, also to the deacon. But the sacred rite is not the only occasion of alms. Such alms may equally be offered on the occasion of funerals, of vespers, of any other office. No causal link must be placed between the alms and any "fruit of the Mass," without having the poor, who cannot offer as much alms as the rich, receive less grace from the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is necessary to return, on this point as on so many others, to the ancient tradition of the Church and avoid indulging in the rather partisan and trite ideas of the theologians of the Middle Ages.

No. 4 speaks of a "privileged" altar. It is better, it seems to us, to eliminate this privilege, to avoid arousing superstitious confusion in the minds of simple persons.

We would also ask that the practice of "Gregorian" Masses (No. 6) be eliminated, in order to remove from today's faithful an occasion of superstition. These two institutions, the privileged altar and Gregorian Masses, in addition to being completely unknown in the East, are rarely well understood, cause superstitions, and bring about accusations that the Church is mercenary. The council would do well, it seems, to eliminate them purely and simply. However, if it is thought that their practice has been imbedded so firmly in the minds of the Latin faithful that it is difficult to eliminate them purely and simply by a decision of the council, we would only propose that they be not mentioned in the decrees of the council, and to keep them in the lists of indulgences, like the other indulgences.


Non-Catholic Ministers and Their Admission to Holy Orders

This is a statement presented by the patriarch to the June, 1962 session of the Central Commission on a draft of the schema entitled "On admitting to Holy Orders those who were non-Catholic pastors or ministers."

The conditions set down for receiving into holy orders married Protestant ministers appear to us to be too harsh. In particular, we do not see why it is necessary to ban them from holy orders if their spouse does not wish to embrace Catholicism. In fact, if she respects the religion and does not hinder the Catholic upbringing of their children, why should her husband be deprived of the grace of ordination? The text can appear to wish to put pressure on the spouse's conscience to make her follow her husband in his conversion, with the penalty of refusing holy orders to her husband. Likewise, it is not humane to require that children who have not followed their father in his conversion live away from the family home. Such measures cause the Catholic Church to be accused of intransigence in the matter of social life, which is something that should be avoided at any cost. One would say that the fact that these ministers are married frightens the Catholic lawgiver to the point that he no longer knows how much severity to employ in order to make this exception to the rule of celibacy forgotten. It is good to honor ecclesiastical celibacy, but not to the point of belittling priests whom God never called to celibacy. In this schema, and in others, every time that it is a matter of priestly celibacy, excessive expressions are used, which are too much conditioned by the fear of someday seeing married priests in the Latin Church. The council should simply assert things, in particular the dignity of celibacy for Christ, without seeming to scorn married priests, for this scorn would reflect—do not forget this—on Saint Peter himself, who was married.

In Paragraph XII the schema discusses not non-Catholic ministers who wish to receive holy orders, but priests ordained outside the Church who now wish to return to the Catholic Church. First, this paragraph cannot logically be entered under the heading of the schema in which the subject is the ordination of ministers who have not yet been ordained, when it is a matter of recognizing ordinations made outside the Catholic Church. Then, on behalf of these priests, it is necessary to provide particular legislation. It is not enough to say "The same things are understood, by ascribing like things to other like things." Something else must be provided. In particular, their case should not be reserved to the Holy Office, as today, but left to the prudent judgment of the ordinary of the place or, all the better, of the patriarch, who is in a better position to judge each case in particular.

 

Ecumenism The Requirements for Union

On May 10, 1961, while on a visit to Beirut, the patriarch went to see the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Egano Righi Lambertini. Among other things, the nuncio asked him what the Orthodox thought of the council. The patriarch answered his question. The nuncio then asked him to transmit his views in writing to the Central Commission. The patriarch did so in a long letter addressed to Archbishop Felici, dated May 19, 1961.

1. It can be affirmed with certainty that the Orthodox people of our regions of the Near East, with few exceptions, have been filled with enthusiasm at the thought of the union that was to be realized by this council. The people as a whole see no other reason for this council than the realization of this union. It must be said that in view of their delicate position in the midst of a Muslim majority, the Christian people of the Arab Near East, perhaps more than those anywhere else, aspire to Christian unity. For them this unity is not only the fulfillment of Our Lord's desire, but also a question of life or death. During a meeting of rank and file people held last year in Alexandria, which included many Orthodox Christians, who were as enthusiastic as the Catholics in proclaiming the idea of union, we were able to speak these words, "If the union of Christians depended only on the people, it would have been accomplished long ago."

When His Holiness the Pope announced the convocation of this council, our people, whether Orthodox or Catholic, immediately thought spontaneously and irresistibly that the bells were about to ring for the hour of union. The general populace are even surprised that it is taking so long, as they do not understand what interest the ecclesiastical leaders can have in deferring the union that is so eagerly desired. The day that the people realized that the proposed council was not a "council of union," their disappointment was great. Nonetheless, in spite of all the news that they receive setting aside the idea of an immediate union, the people continue to hope that Christian leaders, at this council or later on, will be able to effect official union to which the people will be faithful. Few are the Orthodox Christians who do not fervently wish for union or who see insurmountable obstacles to its realization. The most urgent reform that they hope to see realized by the council is the unification of the date of Easter. In the presence of Muslims, our Christians feel deeply humiliated every time that their paschal computations do not coincide. Our patriarchal synod of August 1959 addressed a more detailed memorandum to the Ante-preparatory Commission on this subject. It is our earnest hope that this point will be studied and resolved as soon as possible. It would be a great step toward union.

2. As for the Orthodox clergy, generally speaking they show much less enthusiasm than do the people. In public they declare that they are not opposed to it in principle, but in their view it seems very difficult to accomplish. They raise the question of divorce. They usually accuse the Roman Church of being an obstacle to union, either because of its doctrinal innovations or because of what they call its human ambitions and its love of domination. The grievances that they have against the Roman Church are almost always the same. However, even in the ranks of the Orthodox clergy one can note a beginning of rapprochement, a little more understanding, as well as a more or less eager desire to be united, which is supported by the growth of the ecumenical movement and by the feelings of the people. In general, it can be said that compared with the clergy of other Orthodox Churches, the Orthodox clergy of our Arab Near East, who are less scholarly, offer a less systematic opposition, but they cannot dissociate themselves from the Russians, the Greeks, and the other Orthodox Christians. The reason for this must be sought above all in the fact that all Christians in our Arab lands are in the minority, and also perhaps in the role of neutrality or of mediation that Melkite patriarchs have traditionally played in the disputes between Byzantium and Rome.

3. What everyone is seeking from the forthcoming council is that it reveal the true face of the Catholic Church, and not only the face of the Latin Church, with which some still want to identify it in practice. Even though the Church is catholic legally and in fact, there can be no doubt that we must all make serious efforts so that this catholicity may be ever more completely realized in our attitudes and in our actions.

Specifically, the support that the latinization of the East still has in certain ecclesiastical circles is a denial of the generous declarations and promises of the popes, who have always affirmed that the restoration of catholic unity did not in any sense signify either in theory or in practice that Eastern Christians should adopt Latinism. Now, to give only one example, the restoration and preservation of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem constitute a practical negation of the very idea of unity, which is not and must not be the absorption of the East by the West, but the union of the East and the West in mutual respect for their diversity.

The Catholic Church must be able to prove that there is room within it for every diversity that does not affect faith, charity, and ecclesiastical communion. It must be able to give concrete proof not only that it accepts Catholics who are not Latin, but also that it condemns those who cannot conceive of a Catholicism that is not Latin. Now, as long as the latinization of the East continues, in its hierarchy and in its discipline, the Orthodox will never believe in the sincerity of declarations of the popes calling for unity. They will always believe that this unity must culminate sooner or later in the absorption of their Churches by the Latin Church.

4. Until now the repeated and stirring calls to union that the popes addressed to our separated brethren simply hardened them more, for these calls always implied more or less the following idea: return to the sheepfold that you have abandoned, acknowledge your faults and your errors, submit, ask forgiveness, and we are ready to welcome you warmly, to hold our arms out to you, to embrace you, etc. Our Orthodox brethren are all the more astonished at this language inasmuch as they are sincerely convinced of having innovated nothing, of having remained faithful to the tradition of the days before the ruptures, and inasmuch as they believe that it is rather the Catholic Church that has strayed from apostolic tradition.

With His Holiness Pope John XXIII, we entered upon a new course. Was it not he who declared on January 29, 1959, four days after the announcement of the council, speaking to the pastors of Rome: "We shall not institute a historical inquiry; we shall not seek to find out who was right and who was wrong. The responsibility is shared by all parties. We shall simply say: ‘Let us come together, let us put an end to dissension.'"

These words of His Holiness will be a landmark in the Church. They open up the true path that leads to union. We think that with an attitude such as this on the part of Catholics, reconciliation with the Orthodox Churches becomes possible.

5. All Catholic ecumenists agree in asking the Western Church to be more open. It is in no sense a question of dogmatic compromises. What is needed is a greater openness of mind, to understand and admit that there can be within the bosom of the catholica something more than is commonly seen, some other representation and some other codification of the same dogma, some other organization of the hierarchy, some other discipline, some other spirituality, other forms of monasticism and of the apostolate, etc.

On all these points, the Latin Church should not insist so much on reducing to its own uniformity the variety of charisms, experiences, needs, and activities that exist in other Churches. In particular, the Eastern Catholics who have not been latinized do not understand why there is still so much insistence on latinizing their discipline, constantly constricting it more. It would have been much more "catholic" to respect their institutions and to let them develop harmoniously, not in the direction of increasingly excessive centralization, but in the direction of a sincere and respectful collaboration between the local hierarchy and the organizations of the Holy See of Rome.

The Orthodox see in Latin Catholicism of the present day what the free peoples see in the regimes behind the Iron Curtain: a great deal of order and organization, but also enslavement of consciences and a human desire for domination.

In answer to a Catholic priest who was speaking to him about union, the late Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch replied, "You wish me to unite with Rome, so that tomorrow, if I wish to remove a priest, he can go and complain to Rome, which will be too happy to demolish me before him!"

6. Christians have had different mentalities in the past, and they still do. In spite of these divergences—we would even say with these divergences—Christ calls them all to unity. One portion of the Church must not prevent the fulfillment of the divine Master's wish by seeking to impose its own mentality and discipline on others at all costs.

Thus it is our sincere belief that the present successor of Peter, who is so evangelical, so modest, and so simple, and the increasingly significant actions that he is taking, are a call to a greater openness of heart and mind, so that all Christians may feel equally loved and thereby rediscover more easily the path to reunion. As far as union is concerned, we believe that the present pope is the greatest gift God has given to His Church.

The Importance of the Secretariat for Christian Unity

In 1962 the Secretariat for Christian Unity had prepared a schema of very modest aspect on "the necessity of prayer for Christian unity, especially in our time." In a memorandum addressed to the Central Commission, dated from Damascus on June 5, 1962, the patriarch expressed his great admiration for the spirit that prevailed in the secretariat. Going beyond the subject, he suggested:

a. that all schemas of the council be submitted to the secretariat in order to be revised from the ecumenical point of view;

b. that the secretariat be maintained after the council and be transformed into a permanent organ of the Roman Curia.)

We simply wish to bring to this schema of the Secretariat for Christian Unity the tribute of our admiration. Its spirit and its tone are worthy of the nascent Catholic ecumenism. It contains no term that could offend any of our separated brethren. The perspective of Christian divisions that it presents is as historically objective as it is pastorally psychological. The tone of this schema, far different from the tone to which official circles have accustomed us until now, should serve as a model whenever the council wishes to speak about Christian unity.

We take this opportunity to make two suggestions: the first is that all schemas of the council be submitted to the Secretariat for Christian Unity, so that it may review their wording and that the council, whose goal is to bring Christians together, may avoid inadvertently widening the gap between them. There is an ecumenical and profoundly catholic way of speaking on all matters when we wish to enter into dialogue with our separated brothers. This manner of speaking, and also perceiving things in depth, has not been adequately mastered by all Catholic theologians, even the most learned. Since this Secretariat for Christian Unity has been instituted by His Holiness, it is good, we believe, for it to establish the tone for the preparatory labors of the council. In particular, we think that the Theological Commission should, more than any other, avail itself of the services that this secretariat is ready to furnish very advantageously.

My second suggestion is an urgent request to His Holiness that the secretariat not disappear after the conclusion of the council, but that it be transformed into a permanent dicastery of the Roman Curia. It would be, as it were, the permanent ecumenical conscience of the Roman See and of the entire Catholic Church.


Union and the Christians of the East

The Eastern Commission, considering the principal mission of the Eastern Catholics to be the fostering of reconciliation between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Holy See of Rome, had prepared a schema entitled: "On the unity of the Church: that all may be one." In a memorandum to the Central Commission, dated from Damascus on June 5, 1962, the patriarch made a few remarks on this schema.

First of all, we wish to praise this schema "De Ecclesiae unitate," which unquestionably constitutes progress over the earlier documents of the Holy See, especially in its mode of expression. So that it may more closely approach perfection, we take the liberty of making the following remarks:

1. In this schema there is still too frequent reference to the "return" of the sheep to the fold of Peter, to "dissident" brothers, etc. The entire text should be carefully reviewed so as to eliminate any offensive allusions. In this way the text will avoid producing on the Orthodox an effect contrary to the one intended. The schema speaks of the psychological means of preparing the way to unity. This is the first means. If one speaks of stray sheep in a sermon or in a small committee, it might be overlooked. But to speak about that in an official conciliar document whose purpose is precisely to bring hearts together, is at the very least proof of a lack of psychology.

2. In speaking about the rights, privileges, dignities, honors, etc., to be safeguarded for the Eastern Church, the text uses general terms, and repeats certain declarations of Pope Leo XIII. However, experience has taught us that this kind of declaration accomplishes nothing. It serves rather to show that administrative practice is contrary to the theoretical affirmations of popes. Instead, the text of the conciliar decree should affirm the rights that patriarchs of the Eastern Churches have been demanding for several years: the rank of the patriarchs in the hierarchy of the Church, their freedom in internal government, a reduction in appeals to the Roman Curia, the preservation of the rite of those who wish to accede to union, etc. That does not seem very clear in the schema that is being proposed to us.

3. We prefer that this schema be prepared, or at least reviewed, by the Secretariat for Christian Unity. That secretariat has specific competence to study these questions, and has available personnel qualified to deal with these kinds of subjects.

4. The word "dissidents" should be avoided everywhere, and all the more the words "heretics" or "schismatics." Instead the terms "separated brethren" or simply "the Orthodox" should be used. Charity requires of us to call everyone by the name that he wishes. This does not mean that we therefore share his inward conviction and the personal meaning he attaches to his name.

5. In No. 7, it is said of the separated brethren that they are deprived "of many means of salvation that are found in the true Church, especially the institutions and directions of the magisterium, without which Christian faith and morals are not perfectly preserved." The wording is exaggerated and even somewhat false. The magisterium of the Church is not only that of the Pope of Rome, and it must not be thought that they are so completely deprived of the means of eternal salvation that their faith and morals are somewhat corrupted. This whole sentence needs to be revised so as to be more conciliatory.

6. No. 24 affirms once more that Eastern Christians who return to Catholic unity will never be forced to become Latin Christians. This is true in theory. In practice, however, everything has been done and continues to be done in certain regions, such as in Palestine and the entire Near East, so that Eastern Christians may in fact become Latin Christians. And this has been going on with the knowledge of the supreme authority, which does not seem to have reacted until now except by renewing theoretical declarations on the preservation of the Eastern rites. The entire process of "latinization" needs to be taken up here.

The council should take concrete and energetic action to condemn forever the "latinization" of the East.

7. No. 45 expresses the wish that the beatification and canonization processes of the "martyrs of the union" be introduced. While we recognize the legitimacy of this desire, we think it is useful to make it known that our patriarchate, in its concern for peaceful relations, avoids pushing the causes of these "martyrs of union" if the Orthodox have played a less than flattering role in them. Let us not forget that Orthodoxy likewise has its martyrs of Catholicism.

8. In agreement with No. 46 of the schema, we urgently ask that the Secretariat for Christian Unity be transformed after the council into a permanent dicastery of the Roman Curia. Eastern Catholic Ecumenists should not be systematically excluded from this dicastery, for while their efforts are discredited at the present time, they will be increasingly efficacious in bringing hearts together.

9. We also desire, with No. 47, the internationalization of the Roman Curia, so as to give the central administration a genuinely catholic, i. e., universal, international point of view. Too often our separated brethren see in the Roman Curia a national occupation of a specific people, like a family patrimony, in which a given nation has all the interests and presses for centralization less out of concern for the Church than for its own interests. This perspective must be refuted.

10. Finally, Nos. 48 through 52 deal with the conditions for the worldwide union of Orthodox Christians of the East with the Holy Catholic Church. In envisioning this hypothesis the schema invites them to occupy the place that belongs to them in the Catholic Church. We do not know when and how a worldwide reunion of this kind will be possible. And yet we know for certain that there are already in the Catholic Church Eastern rite communities with hierarchies. These communities must be given the place that is reserved and promised to the entire East. Orthodoxy watches carefully the behavior of the Holy See of Rome toward these Eastern groups that are in union. Orthodoxy concludes from the way that these Eastern groups are treated in the Catholic Church as to the treatment it will receive if reunion is realized. That is why, when we entreat for the preservation of the rights, privileges, and dignity of the Catholic East, and the rank of its hierarchical leaders within the whole Catholic hierarchy, we are not demanding personal advantages for ourselves. We are pursuing the inherent interests of Christian unity. If this is understood some day, many difficulties will disappear. In No. 50, the schema affirms once more that the Catholic Church intends to respect the discipline peculiar to Eastern Christians, but repeats the unfortunate proviso "omitting only those things which, if they perchance are present, are contrary to correct faith and sound morals." This proviso is offensive. There is absolutely nothing in authentic Eastern discipline contrary to faith and sound morals.

No. 51 promises the Orthodox clerics who return to Catholic unity their continuance in the sacred orders already received, "unless it should be otherwise provided by the Apostolic See in a particular case, for truly serious reasons." This reservation is justified. On the other hand, the current practice of reserving to the Holy Office the admission of every Orthodox cleric indiscriminately seems to us subject to amendment. We think that it is better to leave that to the prudent judgment of the local ordinaries, without denying the right of the Holy See of Rome to intervene, as the schema says, "for truly serious reasons."

The schema "De Ecclesiae unitate" came before the Council on November 27, 1962, during the 28th General Session. That day five Melkite Greek Fathers spoke. It was the patriarch who set the tone. His intervention, read in French, was translated into Latin and read by Archbishop George Hakim. The patriarch reserved the right to make some general remarks on the schema, leaving it to the other prelates of his community to take turns developing detailed comments.

This schema "De Ecclesiae unitate," which directly concerns Eastern Orthodoxy, concerns us collaterally.

In order to remain within the time allotted to each one, I shall limit myself to some general remarks, leaving it to my brother Melkite Greek prelates the task of making more detailed critiques.

This schema, providing that there is a radical reworking of certain paragraphs of Part One and amendments to others, could constitute a basis for a worthwhile discussion.

First remark: This concerns the spirit of the wording, especially Nos. 5 to 12. The definite theological truths are often presented in such a way that they can only antagonize those who are not in our communion. The friendly tone beginning with No. 12 changes nothing of the unfavorable impression already caused. In fact, the contrast it presents with the peremptory and exclusive assertions of Roman authority, without mentioning the painful events of the past, leaves an impression of certain unpleasant biases in the sharing of historical responsibilities.

It must not be forgotten, in fact, that here we are addressing the Eastern Church, a Church that is fully apostolic in its intrinsic elements and clearly distinct from the Latin one. It is a first-born Church of Christ and of the Apostles. Its historical development and organization are the exclusive work of the Fathers, our Greek and Eastern Fathers. It owes what it is to the college of the Apostles, still living in the episcopate in collegiality, with Peter at its center, with its distinctive responsibilities and rights.

Historically, this Church owes to Rome neither its origin, its rites, its organization, nor anything of what constitutes it concretely. In short, no one has begotten it in the faith, except the Apostles; no one, except the Fathers, has established it in its entire patrimony of prayer, organization, and activity. Can it be said that Saints Basil, Gregory, Cyril, Chrysostom, and others are second-class Catholics because they were not Roman in all that they received and in all that they bequeathed?

If we wish to speak effectively to the Orthodox East, we must speak to it first of all about the Catholic doctrine relating to the collegiality of the pastorate of the Church. After that, we shall speak to it about the papacy, which will then appear as the central foundation of this collegiality. This is an absolutely important point. It would be fatal to forget it.

Second remark: The lack of collaboration among the Preparatory Commissions for the council has resulted in bringing us three distinct schemas on the same subject matter: the schema that we are now discussing, prepared by the Commission on the Eastern Churches, the schema "De Oecumenismo," prepared by the Secretariat for Christian Unity, and a chapter with the same title, prepared by the Theological Commission. An Arabic proverb says, "When many hands take part in the cooking, the food is burned." Obviously, these three texts sometimes deal with different aspects of the same question, but it is evident that they are dealing with the same subject matter. It is therefore desirable that a single text be presented to us under the title "On the Union of Christians" or some other title, and that it be worked out by a mixed sub-commission composed of members of the three above-mentioned groups. In that way, the subject matter will be more coherent and the council will save time.

Third remark: The schema that is proposed to us today bears the general title "De Ecclesiae unitate." Yet actually, after a few general considerations, the text speaks only of the means of fostering union with our Orthodox brethren of the East. From this perspective our schema could constitute a special chapter in the general schema "On Ecumenism" that we intend to prepare. It is our view that in this single schema on ecumenism we must set aside a special place for our Orthodox brethren of the East. In fact, while the general principles of ecumenism are identical for everyone, the practical means of opening the dialogue with our Orthodox brethren cannot be the same as those for our Protestant brethren. We are closer to our Orthodox brethren in the faith; we even accept the same methods of transmission of divine revelation. With the exception of papal primacy, we have the same hierarchical organization, the same sacraments, the same liturgy and so many other riches in common, to the point that what unites us is infinitely greater and deeper than what separates us. As for our Protestant brethren, we must seek union with them from other perspectives.

Venerable Fathers, the union of the Churches is for all of us a serious and vital problem. For us in particular, the Eastern Catholics of the Byzantine rite, the schism of the Churches is a constantly bleeding wound that we feel in the very depths of our souls. The union of Churches is our greatest concern, our first task, and the most ardent wish of our hearts. It is the goal toward which we are striving with all our strength and for which we desire to be the redemptive sacrifice when it is accomplished. Working for the union of Churches is as it were our reason for being and the fundamental mission that Providence has entrusted to us individually and collectively. The Orthodox and we, their Byzantine Catholic brothers, constitute, in peoples of diverse nationalities, one single family in its religious mentality, its liturgy, its spiritual history, and in many of its attitudes. We need to be united with them as much as they need to be united with us. The time has come when all Christians must forget the quarrels of the past, in which human interests, on both sides, have often played a more decisive role than dogmatic differences. The time has come to accomplish Christ's wish "That all may be one."

The same day, November 27, 1962, it was the turn of Kyr Philip Nabaa, Metropolitan of Beirut and undersecretary of the council. He proposed the omission of the introduction to the schema, which was of a rather doctrinal nature. He extolled the importance of charity in ecumenical contacts, criticized the concept of a "return" applied exclusively to our Orthodox brethren, and stressed the need of safeguarding the distinctive discipline of the East.

The schema on the decree on the Unity of the Church "Ut unum sit" in the form presented for the discussion of the Fathers, pleases me in a fashion. In fact, it contains a great deal of material and deals with many dogmatic, liturgical, and pastoral questions. However, its arguments are not always thoroughly developed, and there is still room for shortening and necessary amendments. Since this is a subject of major importance that concerns the entire Second Vatican Council and whose solution is awaited by all Christians, it is necessary that this decree, which declares the wishes of the council on union, be presented to the Christian world in a more effective way. In order to help the council in its labors, we have thought that it would be useful to present the following observations:

First observation: The dogmatic portion of the decree should be curtailed and inserted in the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church... Thus the decree "Ut unum sit" will be seen to be the solemn declaration of the Second Vatican Council on union and the firm foundation for general and fruitful collaboration for the realization of this great divine work.

However, this decree on unity does not speak of all the separated Churches, but only of the union of the Eastern Orthodox Churches with the Catholic Church. This method is useful because the Eastern Orthodox Church has much in common with the Catholic Church, in the profession of faith, in the doctrine of the sacraments, in the apostolic succession, etc. Its union with the Catholic Church therefore requires its own specific research and conditions.

Second observation: In order to foster union, the decree proposes various means and divides them into supernatural, theological, liturgical, canonical or disciplinary, psychological, and practical means. These suggestions are well-taken. They can even be considered as a prelude and as a firm stance from which to open dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

However, when the schema speaks of practical means, it cites a few ordinary and certainly good means, for example, the ecumenical movement, Eastern studies, the special day for awareness of the East (instituted by Pope Pius XI), etc. But it is silent on the most effective means, that is to say, the means that prepare a surer and more suitable way toward a genuine and perfect union. Concerning these more powerful means the schema merely says in paragraph 38, "This Holy and Ecumenical Synod strongly recommends that everyone use the most efficacious means so that the desire for union may produce the desired fruit."

Thus may I, a humble Eastern Catholic bishop, who has been and still is continually in contact with many Orthodox brethren, be permitted to give a few explanations of the practical and effective method of assisting and restoring union. There can be no doubt that this method must be based on truth and charity, or rather on charity for the truth—"in caritate ad veritatem." For there are some very serious difficulties along the paths that lead to union. Only charity will manifest the truth and sing out the victory hymn of union. In many regions of the East, an immediate union is even impossible. It is therefore fitting first to prepare hearts for union, to breathe a new spirit into our relations with our Orthodox brethren, and to expand the scope of charity.

According to this more suitable way, charity counsels and ordains many things for union in the social and religious life. Here are some examples: collaboration with non-Catholics when there is a question of carrying out charitable works, of defending the dignity of the human person, of promoting justice, and of sustaining morality.

Here is another example: the celebration on the same day of the great Christian feasts, and most especially Christmas and Easter. This common celebration is a great sign of charity and union.

In addition, there are certain laws on the communicatio in sacris that are contrary to union or make it very difficult. In my humble opinion, and providing the danger of perversion of the faith is avoided, we must mitigate and even abolish these laws.

With respect to mixed marriages, I dare to propose, for the Eastern Church, the abrogation of the law that forbids these 16 marriages under pain of invalidity, and to return to the law that was in force before the promulgation of the new Eastern Code. As a matter of fact, the law that imposes the Catholic form on mixed marriages, under pain of nullity, is very onerous, morally impossible, and prevents all hope of union. Third observation: In the schema, as in the entire literature pertaining to union, the path to union is called the "return" of the separated brethren to the house that they have forsaken. However, the idea of this return is very debatable. For in this "return" to us, we must consider the state of soul of our separated brethren, the human frailty that has led to the division, and especially historical truth. It will then appear opportune, in order to foster reconciliation, to assume the part we bear in the culpability and divisions of the eleventh and sixteenth centuries. The abuses within the Church at that time have certainly provided the Orthodox and the Protestants with an occasion for separation, without thereby justifying them. If we set aside, then, the question of faith and of morals, it is the Catholics themselves who need to "return" to their Orthodox brethren and to speak to them with a sounder judgment and a kinder feeling. This Catholic return will overcome many difficulties, and a broader fraternal reaction, more favorable to union, will be created. And the merits of our brethren will be recognized.

Fourth observation: In Nos. 25, 26, and 27 of the schema, the solemn declaration of Pope Paul V is evoked and taken up again by other pontiffs, affirming that all the sacred rites and ceremonies of the Eastern Church will be completely safeguarded. What is said of the sacred rites also applies to legitimate discipline, to the rights and privileges of the Eastern Christians, as Pope Leo XIII declared in his motu proprio "Auspicia rerum."

These authentic papal declarations are serious and solemn decisions. They are even, one might say, a commitment on the part of the Roman See to the Eastern Apostolic Church. These decisions must therefore be applied in order to give certain proof of the truth, of the promise, and of the commitment.

They must be applied in order to realize union with dignity. They must be applied in concrete acts: in the recognition of the rights and privileges of the patriarchs, in the restoration of the ancient and venerable discipline of the Eastern Church, in the declaration and strengthening of the true power of bishops and synods. Finally, they must be applied in this great council so that all our Orthodox brethren, seeing truth in action, come back or return to their home and take their places, of which they are most worthy. And that is how all Christian brothers will be "one" in the one and only Church of Christ.

That same day, November 27, 1962, Archbishop Elias Zoghby, Patriarchal Vicar in Egypt and the Sudan, set forth the Eastern and Orthodox point of view on Christian unity.

I shall speak of Christian unity from the Eastern and Orthodox point of view.

The problem of Christian unity is different for the Orthodox and for the Protestants, because their relations with the Latin Church are essentially different. The Protestant Churches separated from the Latin Church, their mother, within which they had been born and of which they were an integral part. The Eastern Church, for its part, while it always recognized a primacy of the Bishop of Rome, even if somewhat vaguely, has never been part of the Latin Church. It does not emanate from it; it does not owe its existence to it, or its subsistence, or its dogmatic and disciplinary development.

The Eastern and consequently the Orthodox Church is a "source" Church, historically speaking, just like the Latin Church in the West. Founded by the Apostles and their immediate disciples, it was born without the consent of any other Church, since it was born before the others. It worked out its discipline and its liturgy without the approval of the West, since its discipline and its liturgies are clearly different from those of the West. Its inherent doctrine, substantially identical to that of the West, is developed and lived out in a different way. As proof of this, we have those Fathers of the Greek Church whose works are represented in our libraries by the side of those of the Latin Fathers, without ever being confused with them. There are two aptitudes, two different Christian inspirations, both going back to the living source of Christ, but whose waters, passing through lands differing in nature, through civilizations and talents that are obviously different, possess characteristics that are different and often incompatible.

It is important not to forget this fact, so as not to reduce the separation merely to an impulsive act, to use the expression of His Beatitude my Patriarch Maximos IV, and in order to measure the possibilities and procedures for a reunion.

To illustrate what I have just said, it will suffice for me to show you briefly how the same Christian mysteries and the same feasts are viewed, understood, and lived differently by the Latin Church on the one hand, and by the Orthodox Church and ourselves, the Eastern Catholics, on the other.

Let us consider the dogma of the most Holy Trinity, for example. Our Eastern theology has remained faithful to the doctrinal presentation of the Fathers, worked out at the time of the councils (the First Council of Nicea and the First Council of Constantinople), concerning the circumincession of the divine Persons. It has not allowed itself to be influenced by the Western theses of Augustinian theology that were propagated in the West during the Middle Ages and are still current in the Latin Church. Likewise, the East still holds fast not only to the doctrine of the Christological councils but also to the theological aspect given it by the Fathers who were the contemporaries of those councils. This is notably true on the subject of the incarnation of the Word, conceived above all as a divinization of human nature by Christ, a view that is more difficult to derive from the doctrine of vicarious satisfaction that is prevalent in the Latin Church.

These different ways of understanding and assimilating the same dogmas have had their influence on our liturgy and our feasts, which are the same as those of the Orthodox. For us, the feast of the Nativity of Christ, as well as the feast of the Epiphany, celebrates this divinization of human nature. This is not the case in the Latin Church. I also mention in passing the feast of the Annunciation, which, among us as well as among the Orthodox, commemorates the most solemn event in history, i.e., the incarnation of the Word of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary, whereas the same feast in the Latin Church tends more to celebrate the glories of the Virgin Mary, chosen by God to be the Mother of His Son.

And so, Venerable Fathers, you see by these examples cited at random that since its origins there have been in Christianity two principal currents that channel the riches of the redemption in two parallel directions that can complement each other, mutually enrich one another, without being intermingled. As long as East is East, and West is West, there will always be, as there have always been, two Churches in One. With God's help, they can be united but never commingled; they can coexist in unity but never in uniformity. Each of the two Churches will necessarily retain its own individual character, its physiognomy, its personality. Our Lord told His followers, "Be one as my Father and I are One." Now, while the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are united in the same nature, each of them retains His own distinct personality. There is one God in three Persons. It is in this way that Christ wants to see Christian unity realized: Churches that remain distinct but consubstantially united as one in the Church that is truly and supernaturally one in its hierarchical society.

The Orthodox Churches, insisting on the collegial power of the Apostles, are evolving toward an ever-greater autonomy. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, over the last few centuries has evolved in the opposite direction, toward centralization. Catholics and Orthodox Christians will be able to unite only by maintaining their equilibrium in mutual harmony.

I have set up the comparison between the Orthodox Church and the Latin Church when the question is really one of unity between the Orthodox and the Catholics. Why? Because the Catholic Church is, even today, overwhelmingly Latin, just as the Church of the East or the Churches of the East are, in their very great majority, Orthodox.

This fact is very evident in our Second Vatican Council, in which the Eastern bishops, numbering 130, are lost in an assembly of more than 2,000 Fathers, while the Eastern patriarchs, those of the great apostolic sees that, in the great ecumenical councils of the faith, played the principal role around the legates of the Pope of Rome, are today, in the persons of the Catholic patriarchs of the East, submerged in this imposing assembly and disappear behind the sacred purple of the 100 cardinals who are the honor of the Catholic Church today, but who did not then exist.

There are those who will say that the Church has evolved. That's indeed true! But it has evolved one-sidedly without taking into account those who, through the very will of Christ, are called to be part of it. For our brothers the Orthodox hierarchs, to acquiesce at the outset to the present state of our evolution is to renounce once and for all what they are and to dissolve their being and their Churches into Latinism, whereas the purpose of union is to enrich and not to impoverish.

The Catholic Church of today, assembled at this council blessed by God, appears so universal and so ecumenical with respect to territorial representation, geographically speaking. It looks to the day when Orthodoxy with its 200 million faithful will be represented within it in proportion to the patrimony that the Fathers of its Church, its great doctors and its holy monks, have bequeathed to Christianity, and with which they continue to enrich and nourish the Churches of the East and the West.

There are those who have sought to say that this council is not a council of union. So be it! And yet as long as Christians are divided, no council animated by the Spirit of Jesus Christ can dissociate itself from union. The Second Vatican Council seems to wish to serve the cause of union in a significant way. Indeed, when the new Christian communities everywhere and the ancient Christian communities of the West that received the baptism of the Roman Church, their teacher and mother, will soon have recovered the use of their mother tongue in their worship, and perhaps their national rites, when they have recaptured in their regional and national synods the climate favorable to their development, then the Catholic Church, decentralized, generous to its own children and trusting in those who have received baptism from Roman hands, will have passed through the first stage toward union with those who received from Eastern and Greek apostolic hands the same baptism as their own.

Archbishop Neophytos Edelby also spoke on that day, November 27, 1962, to criticize the doctrinal preamble of this schema.

The schema that is proposed to us for discussion under the title "On the Unity of the Church," when considered in its entirety, presents a practical and pastoral approach rather than a theoretical one. In fact, it deals with the means that seem most appropriate first of all for bringing the hearts of Christians closer together, and more specifically to encourage union with the Eastern Christians separated from the Catholic communion. Various means have been proposed in the schema: supernatural, theological, liturgical, canonical or disciplinary, psychological, or practical.

Before enumerating and explaining these means, the drafters of the schema thought that they should present a general introduction of a rather doctrinal nature on the nature of ecclesiastical unity. This introduction covers the first eleven paragraphs, about which I should like to say a few words.

To speak very simply and at the same time very charitably, I must admit that, while the body of the schema, with a few exceptions, generally deserves praise, the same cannot be said of this doctrinal introduction that is altogether incomplete and indeed not very accurate.

1. First of all (paragraphs 1-5), a few texts are proposed from Holy Scripture on the work of the redemption, on the earthly and heavenly Church, on the hierarchical Church. All this is excellent, but finds its normal place in a treatise "On the Church" rather than in a specific and practical decree on the means of bringing about union. Besides, the texts cited are not used to the best advantage to make possible the deduction of some principles of ecclesiology that provide the basis of the Catholic doctrine of Christian unity.

2. This doctrine seems to be presented in the following paragraphs (6-11), which deal with the visible unity of the Church "under Peter," the indivisible unity of the Church, unity in diversity, etc. I regret to say that these paragraphs, in my humble opinion, are not very satisfactory and must be completely revised, so that the spirit that animates them may be rendered more friendly, the historical perspective more objective, and the theological doctrine more profound. Here are a few explanations:

a. The spirit that animates this part of the schema is far removed from the ecumenical spirit, which is a spirit of truth in charity. The text of these paragraphs reflects here and there a certain animosity against the Eastern Christians that is not consonant with what is said subsequently. Thus, for example, it is unnecessarily and unjustly asserted that all non-Catholic Eastern Christians recognize "the undue right of the temporal regime of a civil government to interfere in the government of the Church." Other examples could be cited.

b. The historical perspective of this part of the schema is neither correct nor just. Thus, for example, the history of the schism is again represented in a very simplistic way, as if certain parts of the Church, namely the Eastern Churches, decided purely and simply out of spitefulness, without any responsibility whatever on the part of others, "to withdraw from the authority of the Vicar of Christ" (p. 253, lines 20-22). The historical reality is far more complex, and the responsibilities are widely shared. In addition, the Catholic Church is presented as if it had never ceased doing everything it could everywhere and unremittingly to foster Christian unity (p. 254, lines 12-25, and p. 255, lines 3-4). Everyone knows that that is not altogether true, since Catholics no less than non-Catholics have often acted contrary to the best interests of union, and, like the nonCatholics, are in need of God's mercy. All of us Christians, Catholics and non-Catholics, must confess that we have sinned grievously against union.

c. As for the theological teaching that is expressed in this part of the schema, it is neither firm nor deep. Very serious questions are considered, but no solution is presented.

Thus, for example, in paragraph 6, the visible unity of the Church is based solely on the primacy of the Roman pontiff. Not a word is said about unity with the hierarchy, about the collegiality of the bishops, or their collective and universal responsibility. Again, in paragraph 7, lines 13-14, the unity of the visible Church is based solely on the submission of the faithful to the authority of the bishops and of the Roman pontiff. This teaching is not false, but it is very incomplete. The bonds of unity among the faithful go beyond the relations of authority between superiors and subjects.

In the same paragraph 7, lines 24-26, the ecclesial character of non-Catholic Christians is not recognized, even though the Roman pontiffs themselves have often proclaimed clearly and distinctly that these Christians constitute true Churches.

In paragraph 9 nothing is said of the relationship of other Christians to the Mystical Body of Christ. It is asserted without distinctions that they are deprived "of several means of salvation," "especially of the institutions and directives of the magisterium, without which Christian faith and morals are not perfectly preserved." The schema seems at times to doubt their eternal salvation. All this is obviously greatly exaggerated and in any case hardly consistent with the ecumenical spirit. It is not even consistent with the schema's mode of expression in its other parts.

From all this it appears that this introduction contained in the first 11 paragraphs is neither necessary, useful, nor well drafted. I therefore humbly propose that the schema begin only with paragraph 12 and form a special chapter in the more general schema "On Ecumenism," which should be prepared in collaboration with the doctrinal commission and the Secretariat for Christian Unity.

Archimandrite Athanasius Hage, Superior General of the Chouerite Basilian Order, was the last of the Melkite Greek speakers for that day, November 27, 1962, making detailed comments on the schema as a whole.

Chapter III of the schema wisely devotes a special section to Eastern Christians and clarifies their particular situation. It is good also that in speaking respectfully of the spirit, history, liturgy, tradition, and discipline that are peculiarly theirs, it recommends that Catholics recognize and jealously preserve this magnificent patrimony.

However, this chapter in particular and the schema in general pass over in silence a very important point for the pursuit of reconciliation and union with the separated brethren. In fact, among the most effective means to this end that the situation of the Eastern Christians requires, absolutely the first in importance and the most urgent is the mitigation of the discipline of communicatio in sacris. It is surprising that this mitigation, which was insistently requested by several Eastern prelates and missionaries, and was voted for in the Preparatory Eastern Commission, has not found its place in the schema "On Ecumenism," and particularly in Chapter III. It is useful, indeed even necessary, to add to the first section of Chapter III a paragraph in which the general principle is set forth that the ecclesiastical discipline in this matter must be alleviated. To illustrate, may I be permitted to offer a few considerations.

1. The Historical Consideration

Formerly, as the documents and acts of the Holy See at the beginning of the 18th century attest, wide latitude was left to the Catholic faithful and to the priests themselves to relate on sacred matters with Eastern non-Catholics. Thus missionaries and the Eastern clergy, with the consent of the Orthodox bishops themselves, celebrated, preached, and conferred the sacraments in Orthodox churches, with the result that the people were spontaneously renewed spiritually. Without any proselytizing on their part, the Catholics drew the Orthodox toward union, and thus the Eastern communities in union were formed and grew over the years.

However, beginning in 1729 and after some violent reactions, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith forbade any relations in sacris with the Orthodox. But the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office somewhat mitigated this rigid law, especially in 1864 and 1898, and even more in 1959, on behalf of the non-Catholic students who attended Catholic schools. This mitigation shows that certain disciplinary norms concerning communicatio in sacris are of ecclesiastical law and that these norms can and must be changed according to the conditions of place and time.

2. The Ecclesial Consideration

a. Orthodox faithful, with very few exceptions, are separated from Catholic unity only in a material way, that is to say, not because they would have chosen this separation or that they firmly wish it now, but because they were born into it, and that is why they desire union, just as we do, with all their hearts.

b. Besides, Orthodox in general do not formally and without distinction reject primacy, infallibility, the Immaculate Conception, etc. They are like a number of Catholics who are absolutely, invincibly, and inculpably ignorant of the nature of infallibility, primacy, or the Immaculate Conception, and who in a certain sense admit these dogmas implicitly.

c. On the other hand, there is nothing contrary to the Catholic faith in the rites and prayers of the Orthodox. Therefore, there is nothing to fear for the Catholics who in certain circumstances are called to participate in Orthodox rites.

3. The Theological Consideration

Normally, participation in sacred worship with non-Catholics is not permitted. The reason for this prohibition is taken as much from natural law as from ecclesiastical law (Can. 1258).

By divine natural law, active or formal participation, insofar as it includes adherence to a false doctrine, is intrinsically illicit. Passive or material participation that has no heterodox intention is forbidden by ecclesiastical law in order to avoid the dangers of perversion or scandal or of indifferentism. If these dangers are unquestionably imminent, this participation is forbidden by natural law itself. However, since these effects do not appear to be so imminent at times, the Church can permit this participation for the pursuit of a great good, applying the theological principle of the double effect, namely: "It is permissible, if the end in view is honorable, to postulate a good or indifferent case that will produce a double effect, one good and the other bad, provided that the good effect does not result from the bad one, and provided that there is a proportionate serious reason." In fact, participation in sacred matters would in certain cases be a lesser evil than its negation.

Besides, the above-mentioned evils can often be easily avoided, especially in material and passive participation. In fact:

a. No danger to the faith can be feared, since the Orthodox faithful do not profess any error, explicitly and formally.

b. There is no danger of scandal, since Catholics have been living for a long time mingling with non-Catholics, and non-Catholics habitually frequent Catholic churches and often request the sacraments from Catholic priests without causing any surprise at this way of acting. On the contrary, rigorism in this matter causes indignation among Catholics and is harmful both to the salvation of souls and to Christian unity.

c. There is no danger whatsoever of indifferentism; this danger would be imminent if the participation in sacred worship were total and unconditional. But if it is partial and limited, that is to say, in certain cases and done with the necessary precautions, the danger of indifferentism can easily be avoided.

Finally, the notion of the danger of scandal or indifferentism or of perversion, which is often imaginary in our cases—since the paramount positive reason is lacking—must yield to the salvation of the souls of Christians and to the best interests of the Church whenever this is required either for the very salvation of souls, for a great spiritual benefit, or for Christian unity.

4. The Pastoral Consideration

The Church was founded by Christ for the purpose of achieving salvation of all men. Thus, conscious of its supreme mission, the Church has the obligation to provide the means of salvation not only to Catholics but also to non-Catholics, especially those who, being closely linked to it by the sacrament of baptism and the other sacraments, remain its sons, even if they live actually and not formally outside its bosom, as Saint Basil remarks quite clearly in his Canonical Letter I to Amphilochius (P.G. 32, 668, A), when establishing a distinction between those who openly revolt and those who are simply separated and whom he declares to be "still living outside the Church."

Venerable Fathers, in certain regions of the East we have a tragic sociologic-religious situation: in view of the fact that Orthodox clergy are sometimes lacking, the Orthodox faithful are in danger of being de-Christianized. They may flock either to Protestantism or to other sects, or embrace Islam, as is the case in Egypt where numbers of separated Christians accept the Muslim religion every year.

We ask whether it is fitting in these cases that our discipline regarding participation in sacred worship yield, so that Catholic priests, with the consent of the Orthodox hierarchs and with the approbation of their respective Catholic hierarchs, can help the Orthodox clergy or replace them in preaching and in administration of the sacraments, so that the spiritual life in these regions may be revived, strengthened, and preserved until the day when, with God's grace, the perfect union of all Christians in the Catholic Church becomes a reality.

And so it is fitting that the Church have a spirit of charity toward our Orthodox brothers who have as good faith as we (both faithful and hierarchs), offering them very lovingly all those means of salvation that they might need, such as the Sacrifice of the Mass, and especially the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, preaching, etc.

Conclusion

It is our wish, therefore, that in Section I of this chapter that deals with the Eastern Christians, a paragraph be added in which the Council would establish a general principle prescribing that the ecclesiastical law concerning communicatio in sacris with the Eastern Christians be alleviated, especially in certain cases approved by the hierarchs of the areas, such as, for example, the admission of the Orthodox to the sacraments, the authorization for Catholics in certain cases to attend Orthodox ceremonies, and the validity of mixed marriages entered into before Orthodox priests.

The next day, November 28, 1962, the reaction erupted. Some blamed Byzantium and Byzantinism, which were accused of all the ills that the East has suffered. It was stressed that the East is not Byzantium. Even the Patriarchate of Constantinople was attacked, "that little diocese in Turkey," for which the Melkites would like the council to make compromises in the faith and forget the other Catholic Churches of the East. It was repeated that Chalcedonian Orthodoxy is not the entire East, and the Melkites are not the Eastern Church... The Melkite Greek hierarchs, nevertheless, peacefully continued their observations on the schema. Archbishop Michael Assaf of Transjordan, spoke of the "liturgical means suitable for fostering the desired union."

The schema "De Ecclesiae unitate" is one of the most important schemas presented for the study and approbation of this holy council. Besides, it is the primary thinking of our Holy Father Pope John XXIII, who is already deservedly called the "Pope of Unity." And in agreement with our revered Patriarch, His Beatitude Maximos IV, and the entire Melkite Greek Catholic episcopate, we approve it as a whole.

However, may I be permitted to suggest a few amendments to the text of the schema in question and more specifically to the four paragraphs 23-26, relating to the liturgical means suitable for fostering the desired union.

1. Twice, in paragraph 23 and in paragraph 26, the Holy Catholic Church's desire to respect the Eastern rites is emphasized. And yet each time I see an added reservation that seems to me offensive and unwarranted. There it is said, "Provided these rites contain nothing that is contrary to Catholic dogma and to communion with the Holy See." Those who know the Eastern rites are well aware that they contain absolutely nothing that is not completely Catholic and very ecumenical. The disputes among the Churches did not affect the liturgical rites.

I therefore propose that this reservation be eliminated from the final text, even if it literally cites words from Pope Paul V, written under circumstances that are no longer applicable today.

2. In paragraph 24, it is solemnly asserted in lines 34-35 that Eastern Christians will never be forced to abandon their own rite.

Without speaking of the very painful past, when countless Eastern Christians were forced to pass over to the Latin rite, I should like to point out that there are several ways of exerting pressure, and that moral pressure is often more effective than physical pressure. The Roman Church is sincerely anxious to safeguard the Eastern Churches with their entire spiritual patrimony, but it is not enough to reprove every procedure whose purpose is to latinize Easterners. It would be necessary to forbid latinization itself under whatever form it is practiced, reserving to the Apostolic Roman See alone the right to authorize, in exceptional cases, transfer to the Latin rite.

Once again, we are all certain that the Apostolic Roman See does not wish to latinize the East, and yet things are happening as if it could not prevent them. Energetic action is required, therefore, to put into practice the good intentions of the Holy See against biased and self-interested interpretations.

3. Paragraph 25 insinuates that reforms or innovations could be usefully introduced into the Eastern rites. To this end the schema cites the words of Pope Leo XIII in his masterly encyclical "Orientalium Dignitas." Yet it is evident from the context that these words refer to modifications made necessary in the discipline of the Eastern Churches. As far as the liturgical rites themselves are concerned, I must say that our Melkite Greek Catholic Church does not intend to innovate anything in the rite unless in concurrence with our Orthodox brethren, so as to safeguard the unity of the Byzantine rite, and also so that the variations in the rite may not create new and unnecessary differences between our Orthodox brethren and ourselves.

4. Paragraph 25 seeks to pacify the Easterners by assuring them that they will find in the Catholic Church not the house of a stranger but their own home. This declaration is beautiful and also very clear. The reality is less obvious. Too often the Catholic Church still appears, especially in our Eastern lands, as if it consisted of the Latin Church alone. How many examples of this I could cite here. I deliberately refrain from doing so for reasons that your august assembly readily understands. My only wish is that these declarations of good intentions be followed by effective results. We confidently count on the collaboration of everyone, with God's grace.


That same day, November 28, 1962, Kyr Joseph Tawil, Titular Archbishop of Myra and Patriarchal Vicar for Damascus, offered new criticism of the text and proposed amendments that affected the very spirit of the schema.

The first condition for attaining this desired unity is that the paths that lead to this unity be cleared of all unnecessary and harmful human obstacles. It seems that the schema "On the Unity of the Church" has been prepared with this in view. Nevertheless, in order that this work may become truly suitable for taking up ecumenical dialogue, I would set forth these remarks, to be added to the propositions already made by the Fathers.

1. On page 253, paragraph 7, line 20, we read: "Ita ut partes quaedam Ecclesiae se ab auctoritate Vicarii Christi substraxerint et in coetus independentes se constituerunt" (So that certain parts of the Church have withdrawn themselves from the authority of the Vicar of Christ and have set themselves up as independent groups). In this context the word "group" is incorrect, because the Eastern Churches, even those that are separated, are called Churches, and not groups, as is proved in the new schema "On Ecumenism," pages 87 and 88.

It would be preferable that these Eastern separated brethren were simply called Orthodox, as is the common usage and as the word is accepted in the liturgical readings and dictionaries, and as they in fact call themselves. Besides, in the text cited the nature and conditions of this withdrawal are not clearly demonstrated. For, at no time in its history has the Eastern Church been considered to be part of the Western patriarchate. Almost from apostolic times, it has always enjoyed an administrative and disciplinary autonomy that was never disputed.

2. On the same page and in the same paragraph, line 23, we read: "Error multo perniciosior habetur, quando regimini temporali cuiusdam civilis gubernii agnoscitur indebitum jus sese ingerendi in gubernium Ecclesiae..." (An error that is considered much more pernicious when the right of intruding into the administration of the Church is acknowledged to the temporal rule of any civil government...). Inasmuch as the polemical tone of this text does not harmonize at all well with ecumenical dialogue, I think this paragraph should be eliminated.

3. On page 259, paragraph 27, line 35, we read: "Exceptis illis quae periculum generant..." (excepting those things which produce danger...), and in the same vein, page 266, line 35, we read: "Iis tantummodo quae, si forsan adsint, rectae fidei aut bonis moribus adversantur expunctis" (omitting only those things that, if they are perchance present, are contrary to correct faith and sound morals). I frankly acknowledge that I have looked in vain in all Eastern liturgies now in use among us for anything whatever that is contrary to sound morals. I know only that these liturgies have come down to us through the solicitude of the holy Fathers, who are the norms of faith as well as of morals in the universal Church.

4. On page 267, paragraph 52, we read: "Ut tandem omne dubium..." (so that finally all doubt...) This entire paragraph is absolutely deficient with respect to ecumenism, insinuating that the Eastern Churches united to the Holy See do not possess a duly definitive state, while awaiting the union of all the Eastern Churches. We believe, on the contrary, that our Eastern churches never attain their fullest development in the Catholic Church unless they are first truly considered not only for what they are but for what they represent, namely the Orthodox Churches not yet in union.

The provisional state in which the Eastern Churches find themselves, as an ecclesiastical third world that is neither Eastern nor Latin, has a false ring and tends in practice to construct a house on sand. These Churches are, in fact, for the Orthodox, a mirror in which they can sense and see how things will be for them once union has been attained. When His Beatitude Christophorus, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, learned the hierarchical order recognized for Catholic patriarchs in the new Eastern Code, namely, after cardinals, as well as after apostolic delegates, and far more significantly, after the Latin bishop in his own diocese, did he not exclaim in a pained voice, "Pity! Lord have mercy!"?

All of these things require that the schema "On Unity" be worked on once more and in greater depth in collaboration with the Secretariat for Christian Unity. But it is necessary that once amended it be submitted to the council, since the question "On Unity" is definitely current and urgent because of the present circumstances. It would perhaps be useful for the joint commission to work on the unity of the Church rather than on "Sources of Revelation."

On November 30, 1962, it was the turn of the dean of the Melkite Greek hierarchs, Kyr Eftimios Youakim, Archbishop of Zahle in Lebanon, to speak. He stressed that not all of the East is "separated" and that the West must not equate itself with the Catholic Church.

The schema "On the Unity of the Church" is quite broad in scope and very important. Union is indeed the greatest desire of all of us and also of the Orthodox, who, when they saw us leave for the council, cried out unanimously, "When you return, announce that union has been achieved!" This must therefore arouse the attention of this illustrious assembly, whose members are imbued with the zeal of Christ. Truly, all of us are carrying forward the mission of Christ, the divine Founder of the Kingdom of God on earth. All of us are happy to repeat with great devotion and very frequently Christ's own prayer: that they may be one.

Certainly, the compilers of this schema deserve great praise because of their wide experience and their fervent zeal. That is why I do not hesitate to declare my complete acceptance. I greatly rejoice in particular that, among the useful means for the promotion of union, the supernatural means have not been neglected. Far more, these means must undoubtedly take precedence over all the human means, whatever their power and efficacy. To this end, it seems to me that it is fitting to recall here the doctrine of operating grace and of cooperating grace.

I should like to begin my contribution with these two observations relating to paragraphs 14 and 15:

l. Paragraph 14 begins "lamentably" by saying, "In order to eliminate this lamentable separation, which for centuries has become entrenched between the Eastern Churches, and that continues in our day...," when it would have been better to begin in this way, "In order to nurture and multiply the partial unions already accomplished and that still endure..." Here are the reasons:

a. There are communities in the East whose leaders have turned away from union, but whose faithful, who are also the Church, have retained the spirit of unity.

b. In absolute terms, this expression, "the separation still continues in our day," is one that I do not like. On the contrary, what endures is the dualism and the parallelism, thanks to which there are also on the part of the "separated brothers," "those who have preserved the union" and those who, in this union, have preserved the liturgical rites that constitute as it were a bridge destined to restore this deeply desired union.

c. It seems to me that this same expression traces its origin, at least in part, to a certain Latin-Western group that pretends to consider all Eastern Churches as being separated from it. It is only reasonable that this manner of speaking is ill-suited to a text emanating from a council that speaks in the name of the whole Church, both Latin and Eastern Catholic. That is why I think that the form that I have cited above is more felicitous, namely: "To nurture and multiply the unions already accomplished and that still endure..."

2) Paragraph 15, page 256, in which the novena of prayers and supplications decreed by Leo XIII is recommended, induces me to digress in order to express my joy in having known this great pontiff personally and, above all, in having experienced the very noble spirit of this illustrious common Father of all the faithful in his immortal encyclical "Orientalium dignitas," which was proclaimed after Vatican Council I. Today God is giving us another Leo, his successor John XXIII, to whom we direct our best wishes from the depths of our hearts and for whom we ask a long life so that he may consummate Vatican II with another encyclical like "Orientalium dignitas."

The prayers I cited earlier take the place in my opinion of operating grace. It is "cooperating grace" that is expected of us and which we find in the above-mentioned prayers, providing they are said well and with the true ecumenical spirit, as we wish them to be, that is to say, not only with our lips, without faith or charity of heart, or under the aspect of the return and conversion of the prodigal son, but in the manner of Christ's own prayer, which is unalloyed with human elements but sincerely and truly fraternal.

Our prayers will be heard only if we welcome the praying Christ within us and among us.

That same day Archimandrite Athanasius Hage, Superior General of the Chouerite Basilians, made detailed remarks on the text of the schema, in order to improve it. For lack of time, Kyr John Bassoul, Archbishop of Homs, transmitted this intervention in writing to the secretariat of the council.

We rejoice greatly over the fact that the schema "On the Unity of the Church" speaks in detail of the psychological means that promote unity between the Roman Church and the Eastern Church. The psychological means that always hold in high regard the sincerity of persons and the authentic faith of the Orthodox, foster this mutual understanding that is an indispensable condition for attaining ecclesiastical union.

For this reason, may I be permitted to make these three observations:

l. Expressions like "separated brethren" or "dissident brethren," so often used in this schema to designate the brethren of the Eastern Church, seem ill-adapted to attracting these brethren.

Why not call them by the name they give themselves, namely, "Orthodox brethren"? Indeed, since they have preserved the true and authentic faith against the heterodox, they have reserved for themselves the glorious name of "Orthodox."

2. Article 34 uses the term "Oves extra ovile vagantes" (Sheep wandering outside the fold) to designate our Orthodox brethren. This expression has a sour ring. In fact, these brethren hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, even though not as carefully as we do, they are sympathetic to the voice of the pope, the vicar of the Good Shepherd, and they follow the Good Shepherd by reason of the fact that they have received from the Shepherd of our souls and still faithfully keep the true faith, the true sacraments, and the true hierarchy, according to the words of the Patriarch Athenagoras in an article published in La Croix, "We have the same Gospel, the same faith, the same traditions, the same sacraments, the same saints..."

3. Article 43 reads: "reditus fratrum separatorum" (return of the separated brethren). I should like this expression to be changed, because it insinuates that the rupture is due to one party only, whereas historically it appears that both parties bear responsibility for this rupture, and that it was born of political and cultural differences rather than of differences of doctrine and worship.

Besides, why not speak of a union to be restored, of a reunion among brethren, all of whom are responsible for the rupture that came about over the centuries? Do we not also have the obligation to follow the road to union? Have we not also the duty to return to our brethren? Then this reunion will not be the return of one party only, but the re-assembling of two parties in the bosom of a single ecclesiastical unity. In this peaceful gathering, there will be neither victor nor vanquished, or rather the victor will be the one who is the first to recognize and embrace his brother.

It is certain that when the Orthodox themselves are convinced that this unity has been restored and established on a solid foundation, all Orthodox Christians can consider that the fundamental psychological condition has been realized in the efforts toward the reunion that is so fervently and eagerly desired by men of good will.

The Ecumenical Movement

At the 1963 Session, the schema "De Unitate Ecclesiae," prepared by the Eastern Commission, had been replaced by a schema "De Oecumenismo" prepared by the Secretariat for Christian Unity. In its "Observations on the Schemas of the Council (1963)," the Holy Synod made some detailed criticisms of this text.

We can only rejoice over the text of this schema and address our warmest praise to the Secretariat for Christian Unity that drafted it.

The reason we take the liberty of making a few observations is in order to contribute to making the text still better, especially from the point of view of the feelings of our Orthodox brethren.

l. The expression "fratres separati" should be corrected everywhere to read "fratres a nobis separati" (brethren separated from us). They are separated from us, as we are separated from them. That does not prejudge the dogmatic question: who was right in separating? We recognize the fact that we are separated from one another. That is if we do not wish to use more simply, as far as Eastern Christians are concerned, the expression "fratres Orthodoxi," which would be simpler, more historical, and more pleasing to the interested parties. In fact, we would be calling them by the name by which they wish to be called, without seeing it as a dogmatic assertion. In the same way, when we say, "the Evangelical Churches," we are not asserting that we are not in that category. We are content to use a designation accepted by the interested parties.

2. Replace "vestigia enim Christi" (indeed the signs of Christ) with "praesentia enim Christi" (indeed the presence of Christ). These brethren who are separated from us have more than signs of Christ, they have His presence.

3. Instead of saying "remota quavis communicatione in cultu officiali" (having avoided any participation in official worship), we prefer to say "remota quavis officiali communicatione in cultu" (having avoided any official participation in worship). In fact, prayer for the union of the Churches can sometimes take on, as it does with us, the aspect of an official liturgical prayer. What remains forbidden is official participation in worship, not participation in official worship.

Likewise, instead of "celebrare" we prefer "concelebrare." What is forbidden is the concelebration of the sacred mysteries, not necessarily attendance at these mysteries.

4. Say "arbitra etiam Sede Romana..."(and also with the Roman See as arbitrator...). In fact, historically, recourse to the arbitration of the Roman See was only one of the means that enabled the Churches to settle their differences. The other means were the councils, imperial authority, etc.

If all the schemas of the council were composed in the same spirit as this schema "De Oecumenismo," it would be a great step forward on the road to Christian unity.

The new schema came under discussion at the Council on November 18, 1963, during the 69th General Session. On that day, His Beatitude the Patriarch, while making a few criticisms, strongly supported it in a memorable intervention.

Considering the schema "De Oecumenismo" as a whole, we wish first of all to express our keen satisfaction with it. We believe that it is the first schema submitted to the examination of the council Fathers that joins in a balanced way doctrinal depth with a pastoral meaning. Even allowing for adjusting certain details, we believe it can be accepted by everyone as an excellent basis for discussion.

Among the qualities that commend it to our approval, certain ones deserve to be pointed out briefly:

l. This schema is the sign that we Catholics have finally emerged from the period of sterile polemics with regard to both our Orthodox brethren of the East and the communities born of the 16th century crisis, polemics that have excessively influenced a unilateral development of theology, discipline, and even of spirituality.

2. Following the same line of thought, this schema is the sign that we have decided to leave behind the impasses of an incorrect proselytism that has as its goal the weakening of one's brother and to enter the path of evangelical emulation and sincere witness to the faith in charity, leaving untouched the freedom of a sincere conscience.

3. This schema also reflects what our late lamented Pope John XXIII and His Holiness Pope Paul VI recommended by their example and their words, namely, to acknowledge our faults, for this opens hearts to dialogue and ecumenism.

4. But above all we are eager to express publicly our joy and, we are sure, that of our Orthodox brethren at the sight at last in this schema of the beginning, still a bit timid but sincere and official, of a true theology of the Church, which has never ceased to be the theology of the entire Eastern tradition: the communion of the Father and of the Son in the Holy Spirit, which, springing from the resurrection of Christ, is unceasingly poured out by the life-giving Spirit through the Divine Liturgy in all the members of the new People of God.

However, these merits must not conceal certain deficiencies that are common to the schema as a whole. May I be permitted to point them out:

l. This schema seems to be a bit too descriptive. We should like the presentation to be also more critical, proceeding from the real causes to the appropriate remedies.

2. The schema is still too much concerned with the causes of the divisions, especially the theological causes that arose in former times. Besides, both in the East and with respect to our Anglican and Protestant brethren, the difficulties of former times have often disappeared, while other new difficulties have arisen since the separation. There is need to pay greater attention to the latter, with a sound, critical perspective.

3. With a view to union, we should perhaps also not be solely concerned with the divisions that affect the structure of the Church, but also point out that within all the Christian communities there are daily clashes that work against unity, that is to say, the sin that kills charity. In the eyes of God and of Christ who will judge us on love, these often invisible ruptures are certainly more serious than the sociological condition in which each of us finds himself when he is born into one or another Christian group.

4. We also point out a fault in form, which can be improved. In certain passages, one cannot know whether it is meant to be the description of the characters of our brethren, or a message addressed to them, or else an exhortation meant only for Catholics. Unity of form could easily be assured if we always placed ourselves in the perspective not of a council of union, but of a council for the renewal of the Catholic Church, which is the first step, that should be repeated constantly, toward a meeting with our brethren.

5. Finally, we must say very clearly—and this is very important—that Chapter IV of this schema that has recently been distributed to us is absolutely irrelevant. Ecumenism is an effort for the reunion of the whole Christian family, that is to say, the gathering of all who are baptized in Christ. It is, therefore, a strictly intimate family matter. Non-Christians have no place in it. And we do not see what role Jews have in Christian ecumenism, and why they have been brought into it.

In addition, it is a serious offense to our brethren who are separated from us when we seem to treat them on that an equal footing with the Jews.

It is therefore urgent that this Chapter IV be removed from the schema "De Oecumenismo."

However, if, for some reason unknown to us, the decision is made to keep this chapter, then the following must be done: a) it must be inserted into another schema in which it would fit more appropriately, for example, in the schema "De Ecclesia" in connection with the history of salvation, or in the schema being prepared on "The Presence of the Church in the Modern World," as the Church's witness against racism of every sort; b) then, if there is a discussion of Jews, other non-Christian religions must also be discussed, especially the religion of the Muslims who number 400 million and in whose midst we live as a minority.

So let us be fair and logical. If we wish to disavow anti-Semitism—and we all disavow it—a short note condemning both anti-Semitism and racial segregation would have sufficed. It is useless to create an injurious agitation in the world.

In conclusion, and repeating our substantial agreement with this schema, we shall emphasize two points.

l. The absolutely unique nature of our relations with our Orthodox brethren, which justifies the special place devoted to them in Chapter III in its paragraph 1. We should rediscover the authentic meaning of the Church held by our Fathers, both Orthodox and Catholic. In former times no one would have dared to speak of a Catholic Church and an Orthodox Church. Only one undivided Church was recognized, even if some of its members were temporarily divided with "shared responsibilities," to use the words of John XXIII. At Lyons and at Florence—regardless of what we think of these councils of union—our brethren the Orthodox bishops participated in the councils as members, and their empty places here should cause us painful anguish and be a still more pressing call to rediscover complete communion in charity.

2. That is why we embrace the wish, expressed unanimously at the last Pan-Orthodox Conference of Rhodes, for the establishment as rapidly as possible of a permanent dialogue on an equal-to-equal basis between Orthodox and Catholic brethren. It is our wish that the Secretariat for Christian Unity effectively initiate this new permanent and direct contact. Let all human passions be silent to hear only the voice of the Lord. Christian people are impatient, with the impatience of the Spirit. We must open ourselves wide to this divine breath, which, as the Prophet Ezekiel has said (37:11), will transform a valley of dry bones into a living, holy people, united in faith to glorify the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


On November 25, 1963, Archbishop Joseph Tawil, Patriarchal Vicar in Damascus, criticized the title of the first chapter, which should speak of the "Catholic principles of ecumenism," and not of the "principles of Catholic ecumenism," since there is only one ecumenism. Then he gave an outline of a "theology of division," and explained in passing why the Eastern Fathers at the council did not always agree among themselves.

I should like to make three comments on the subject of this Chapter I of "De Oecumenismo."

1. In the title "On the principles of Catholic Ecumenism," it seems that there is a typographical error. We were expecting to read "On the Catholic principles of Ecumenism." If, indeed, ecumenism is a movement of all Christians toward greater unity, it cannot be said to be strictly Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican, or something else. However, we can speak about Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, or other principles of this same ecumenism.

2. Paragraph 2 deals with the divisions in a purely descriptive way, but is completely silent on the theology of the division as such. This is something about which we can find light in the Holy Scripture.

The people of God possess unity when, seeking salvation in faith, they receive the promise. On the contrary, they are divided when, trusting in the flesh, they lose the promise. That is the constant theology of the books of the Law and the Prophets. It is confirmed later in the New Testament in the separation of the larger part of Israel that placed its trust more in faith than in the Law. Then the Church, the new people of God, exposed itself to the temptation to "Judaize," the temptation to "Hellenize" (5th century), to "Latinize" (11th century), and finally to "Romanize" (16th century and subsequently). In the end, the Church found that it was relying on the justification of the flesh and not on the justification of faith (cf. Philippians 3:7-9).

And yet God's gifts are irrevocable (cf. Romans 11:29). He never abandons His people, so that if unity is given through grace, the divisions themselves are directed to a greater grace, so that all of us may obtain mercy. God's wonderful deeds, beginning in the Old Testament and continuing until now, are of such a nature that the divisions that are born of the disavowal of the free gift of salvation are directed to a greater gift. The biblical vision of unity and division of the God's people places everything in the history of the Church in the light of mercy and grace. "For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that He may have mercy upon all" (Romans 11:32).

3. We are in total agreement with what is said in paragraph 3:

"In necessariis unitatem custodiendo, fideles in variis formis vitae spiritualis et disciplinae..." (by maintaining unity in those things that are necessary, while the faithful are in various forms of spiritual life and discipline), and "Hac de causa, synodus omnes catholicos hortatur ut abstineant a verbis, judiciis et operibus quae fratrum separatorum conditioni..." (For this reason, the synod strongly urges all Catholics to refrain from words, judgements, and works that... compare to the condition of our separated brethren...). May I be permitted to develop this idea.

The conciliar Fathers, the great majority of whom are of the Latin rite, have no doubt been surprised that the Eastern Fathers do not always agree among themselves. Let us say first of all that this division is not any more extraordinary than those among the Latin Fathers. It stems from several reasons:

1. From the positive, distinct traditions inherited in common with the Orthodox, such as the Byzantine, Syrian, or Coptic traditions, substantially alike among themselves, but nevertheless noticeably different;

2. From collective psychological residues, due to the establishment of distinct communities long before the conversion of the peoples of Central and Western Europe, that is to say, of the Slavs, the Germans, and the English. Whence their distinct life for the past 1,500 years, or 1,300 years, for example, for the Maronites;

3. Eastern Catholics are also diverse with respect to varying degrees of latinization. We have all been latinized ecclesially. The proof of this is that I must speak to you in Latin in this assembly. What constitutes the Eastern Christian is neither race nor nationality, but the direct, living apostolic tradition, which does not contradict the Latin tradition but is distinct from it. Anyone who has ever taken a course in theology remembers that the arguments from Tradition are given by citing the Greek Fathers on the one hand and the Latin Fathers on the other, as corroborating one another through their distinct origins. Now that this has been said, it can be understood that communities that are strongly latinized by their history are less easily receptive to ecumenical necessities, and that consequently one or another Father, reflecting this mentality, has demanded within Catholicism a single code for the two Churches of the East and the West, and a single jurisdiction, something that is unthinkable for anyone who has preserved the positive meaning of Tradition and of the Orthodox outlook.

Conclusion: All the Catholic Churches of the East taken together represent scarcely two per cent of the total of Orthodoxy, estimated at over 200 million, of whom 180 million belong to the Byzantine rite, 15 million to the Coptic and Ethiopian rite, and 5 million to the Syrian rite. Now, these Churches are of interest, ecumenically speaking, only in relation to Orthodoxy, whose tradition they are supposed to represent. In fact, each of them awaits its fullness, and does not have the right to consider itself as being in a final definitive form, but only as a stage on the road to unity. Now, to ask for the unification of a single code for the Churches of the East and the West, or unification of jurisdiction, is to close all paths which lead to ecumenism, and is to be imprisoned in a deadly isolation, becoming for the universal Church a definite obstacle.

On November 27, 1963, His Beatitude the Patriarch intervened again on the schema "De Oecumenismo" to defend the variety of disciplines in the Church and the preservation of the hierarchy of each particular Church.

Speaking of the discipline that is peculiar to Eastern Christians, No. 16 of our schema "solemnly affirms the principle of diversity in unity." And it adds that, "the perfect observance of this traditional principle, which has not always been carefully respected, is among the absolutely indispensable conditions for any restoration of unity."

We agree fully with this solemn declaration through which the Catholic Church affirms its determination to respect, in the unity of faith, the legitimate diversity of discipline in the Eastern Churches.

On the basis of this principle the Holy Roman See has made considerable efforts to endow the Eastern Catholic Churches with a code of ecclesiastical law distinct from that of the Latin Church. The result is doubtless not perfect, yet the principle at least is safeguarded, namely, the distinction of two codes, the Eastern Code and the Latin Code.

We regret that certain Fathers have thought they had to ask for the unification of the Eastern Code with the Latin Code. This unification, we believe, would inevitably result, whether we wish it or not, either in substituting Latin discipline for Eastern discipline, or in giving Latin discipline such preponderance that it would be impossible to see in this unified code the discipline peculiar to the East. In the ecumenical dialogue it will be most unfortunate if we show our Orthodox brethren that the discipline which awaits them, in case of union with the Roman Church, is not their own but the discipline of the Latin Church or something very similar to it. It is doubtless not realized what harm is done to the cause of ecumenism by the demand for the unification of the Eastern Code with the Latin Code.

This cause of ecumenism also demands, as a second indispensable condition, the preservation of the hierarchy of each particular Church. On several occasions there has been a question in this assembly of plans for the unification of jurisdictions in countries where there are different rites. This idea of unification of jurisdictions is tempting, but if it is pushed to its extreme limits without the appropriate distinctions, it can have serious consequences.

To clarify this question, we believe that three cases must be distinguished.

1. The first case is that of mission countries: China, India, Japan, etc. At the present time, the Latin Church has its hierarchy constituted throughout the world. However, it is only just that Eastern Christians be associated in the work of the missions. Certain territories should be entrusted to them, especially in countries where they have long been permanently established and in those that have such strong ethnic, linguistic, and cultural affinities with theirs that evangelization through them is, as it were, providentially provided. In these countries, unification of jurisdictions can be successfully realized through agreement with the bishops of the localities, with the intervention, if that is necessary, of the Holy Roman See. Is it necessary to ask that in the very interests of the Church, all things being equal, the indigenous Church, the local rite that harmonizes best with the genius and aspirations of the people, should be given preference?

2. The second case is that where Christian communities are already established and where the majority are of the Latin rite, such as, for example, in Europe and in America. There, whenever Eastern Catholics are sufficiently numerous, there must be no hesitation in giving them not only parishes of their own rite, independent of Latin parishes, but also their own hierarchy, as, indeed, is wisely provided for in the schema "De Episcopis et dioecesium regimine" (No. 31).

3. The third case—which concerns us more particularly—is that of the classical East, where for centuries Christianity has existed in a form of community, and where at the head of each Church there is already a distinct, organized hierarchy.

In these countries, where there is already a time-honored organization that has proved its worth, where numerous ecclesiastical authorities live side by side in the same territory in a spirit of understanding and peace, in spite of a few inevitable clashes due to the weakness of human nature, the situation cannot be changed without causing serious disturbances. Even if it is decided to change this state of things, the new situation will not be able to endure, because it is contrary to nature, because the people will not be able to accept it, and because it will create very serious disturbances that will imperil the very life of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

Besides, it must not be forgotten that our present stage of union is not a definitive formula. We are some sort of transitional organization. When worldwide union is accomplished between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, all hierarchical structures will merge of themselves to form a single hierarchy. By what right, then, would have such a jurisdiction have been previously eliminated or another similar one merged into a non-ritual organization where our Orthodox brethren would not recognize themselves?

Any unification of jurisdiction that would result in the absorption of one hierarchy by another must also be rejected. Any fusion or absorption of one hierarchy by another marks the disappearance of a Church. Besides, the Catholic Church desires to safeguard all the Churches that compose it, in particular the Eastern Churches that have the very important mission of restoring Christian unity with the Orthodox branches that correspond to their respective rites. To deprive one or the other of its own hierarchy is to prepare for their disappearance at a more or less early date.

We have transmitted to the secretariat a long study on this entire question. Lack of time does not allow us to do more here than give a very succinct summary of this study.

Rather than debate theoretical solutions, which we know very well to be impossible and dangerous for the tranquility of the Christian people, we should like to make a fraternal appeal that, on the one hand, the established order, with the distinction of communities and hierarchies, be respected, and that, on the other hand, the disadvantages of a multiplicity of jurisdictions be avoided through a still closer cooperation among ecclesiastical leaders in all areas of the apostolate, thanks to an augmentation of inter-ritual synods.

The preservation of a distinct code of canon law for the East and the preservation of a distinct hierarchy for each Church, with maximum collaboration: these are the two indispensable conditions for ecumenical efforts. That is also the guarantee of the presence of the spirit of Christ, who is the spirit of harmony, charity, and peace.

On November 29, 1963, Archbishop Elias Zoghby, Patriarchal Vicar in Egypt and the Sudan, developed in his intervention the causes of the rupture between the East and the West.

If, after ten centuries of schism and separated development, the Latin and the Eastern Churches continue to declare that they are substantially similar, is it possible to suppose that they had major reasons for separating a thousand years ago? Certainly not! The schism would not have taken place if the Churches of the West and of the East had not been morally involved in the conflict that set the two empires against one another.

Indeed, there are times unfavorable to dialogue and times that are favorable. The Schism of the East, which can be called more ecumenically the Great Christian Schism because the responsibility for it is shared, occurred at a time when the Christian East and the Christian West could not enter into a dialogue on a footing of equality and in an effective way.

The minor clashes between the Latin and the Eastern Churches, which had previously been considered mild incidents between brethren of the same family, were increasingly taking on the disturbing proportions of the great conflict between the two empires. The Latin Church was beginning to see in it a resistance to the primatial authority of Peter, and Orthodoxy saw in it an attempt at domination that was not justified by a primacy of service.

The primacy of the Bishop of Rome, which a thousand-year tradition had endorsed as being the bond of unity, was beginning to be understood in the East as the extension of a local Church as the universal Church. That was the beginning of the crisis that culminated in the separation.

Modern Catholic historians of great merit interpret the Great Schism as a failure of efforts to apply Roman centralization to the Churches of the East, accustomed as they were, during ten centuries of union with Rome, to combine a legitimate diversity with unity.

Actually, the Churches of the East were radically opposed to centralization from the start. Why? There are those who say: out of solidarity with the civil power. That is possible. Others say: out of pride. That has not been proven. Eastern Christians have a different view: Eastern Churches had practiced a synodal collegial system of ecclesiastical government during the ten centuries of union with the Holy See of Rome, without the latter having found anything abnormal about that. Besides, Eastern hierarchs did not find in authentic tradition a religious justification for the change that had occurred. Furthermore, the Eastern Churches, which were founded by the Apostles or their immediate successors, and which owed to the Church of the West neither their beginning nor their development, possessed a religious, theological, liturgical, monastic, and disciplinary patrimony that was different from that of the West, without, however, being opposed to it. Now, it is evident that a Church governed by organizations extraneous to its tradition quickly sees this tradition greatly impaired.

And so Roman centralization appeared to the Easterners, and rightly so, as a measure of uniformity that could call into question the legitimacy of their own religious patrimony, which they had received from their Fathers by virtue of an incontestable apostolic succession.

Dialogue was called for at that time in order to clarify, as we are doing today at the Council, the nature of the Mystery of the Church, the relationship between primacy and collegiality, between the local diocese of Rome and the primatial power of the Bishop of Rome. However, this dialogue could not take place either in the 11th century or in Florence because it could not be carried on in a favorable social and political context.

It might have been asked why God did not intervene to prevent this lamentable rupture the way He intervenes to prevent every error of doctrine in the Church. The answer is not hard to find. First of all, Christian unity ought not to be solely the work of God, but also the work of men. Besides, since the primacy of Peter is intended to protect the integrity of the Christian patrimony, God could not wish this primacy to be exercised to the detriment of this integrity. Indeed, the two authentic and apostolic traditions, complementary but different, i.e., Latin and Eastern, are the two halves of the Christian patrimony and together constitute the whole of Christianity, all of which benefits from the promise of divine protection until the end of the ages. Any unity which might be forged to the detriment of one or the other Apostolic tradition would impoverish the Church instead of enriching it.

Catholic unity to which ecumenism is striving will be vaster and more fruitful than that of the present day. Actually, current Catholic unity appears to be partial and rather Latin. It groups the Latin Churches of the West and the Latin Churches founded by them in mission countries, and the modest portions of the Eastern Churches that are in union and that are substantially latinized as a whole, although they have preserved their external liturgical rites. Today only Orthodoxy possesses the authentic Eastern tradition, even if sometimes in a diminished way; only a union with equality between "Latinity" and Orthodoxy can gather together the apostolic tradition and perfect Catholic unity.

I speak of a union with equality because the day union is realized, Orthodoxy will have at least as much to give as to receive. It will thus participate in the government of the reunited Church as an equal with the Latin Church, under the primacy of Peter, you may be sure of it. The dialogue between equals decided on by the Rhodes Conference must be entered into by the Catholic Church with the conviction that it will benefit from it as much as will Orthodoxy.

In fact, the Schism has equally disfigured both of them. The Church of the West lost, together with the communion of the apostolic sees of the East, the most collegial portion of the episcopal college. Centralization was pursued at an exceptional gait without anyone being able to hold it back. The Church of the West has been governed respectively by the consistory, the fragments of the consistory that are the Roman congregations, and finally in practice by the congresso or weekly meeting of Curia officials.

As for the Churches of the East, they lost, because of the Great Schism, communion with the center of unity of the whole Church, namely, the Bishop of Rome. Excessive decentralization has weakened them considerably, making difficult the regular exercise of episcopal collegiality, which however remained their dominant form of government.

And yet, God, who brings good out of evil, has willed that this tragic rupture shelter the Orthodox Churches from the centralization of latinization, to the great benefit of ecumenical dialogue and of the reunited Church.

This dialogue among equals between Latinity and Orthodoxy, which was in practice impossible at the time of the Great Schism, has now become possible, not to say obligatory, in the bosom of a humanity tending more and more to seek unity through the means of international organizations where all peoples are represented on a basis of equality. His Eminence Cardinal Cicognani said this well in his Relation on the subject of the schema "De Oecumenismo."

This dialogue must be accompanied by an effort toward decentralization on the part of the Catholic Church, an effort already undertaken by this holy Council, and, on the part of the Orthodox Churches, by an effort toward relative centralization around the successor of Peter and within the framework of traditional collegiality.

In this dialogue that concerns first of all the Latin and Orthodox Churches, Eastern Churches that are in union will have a secondary but necessary role to play as witnesses. They must, by de-latinizing themselves, at last live more completely as traditional Eastern institutions within Catholicism, in order to familiarize Latin Catholics with these institutions and make dialogue easier and more fruitful. At the present time, this is their only means of being of some use to the Church of Jesus Christ.

"Communicatio in Sacris"

On this important and delicate question, the patriarch, commenting on the draft of a schema prepared by the Oriental Commission, composed in Rome on January 19, 1962, the following note, which he read before the members of the Central Commission.

On this important and serious question of communicatio in sacris with our Orthodox brethren of the East, I am happy to bestow unreserved praise on the schema that is presented to us by the Commission on the Eastern Churches. Such a schema indicates what a good start ecumenism has made in our Catholic circles. If this schema, as I hope, is accepted by your venerable assembly, I believe that a great step will have been taken in the preparation of Christian unity.

The first advantage of this schema is that it gives our Orthodox brethren of the East a special canonical status on this point of communicatio in sacris. Indeed, I hope that a similar approach is likewise made for the discipline of communicatio in sacris with our brethren of the Reformed Churches. Yet it will always be right that for our Orthodox brethren of the East the discipline on this point be eased still more. For we are dealing with Christians who share our faith, who have our sacraments, a hierarchy of divine institution, and the same wellspring of faith as we, namely, Holy Scripture and the Tradition of the Church. In our relations with them, there is question more of reconciliation than of conversion in the strict sense. Now, in order to reconcile a brother in a family where moral responsibilities are divided, does not a multiplying of contacts remain the best approach?

In the second place, the schema, while it justifiably makes the distinction between the formal dissident and the dissident in practice, does not presume, as was too often done until now, that every dissident is a heretic or a formal schismatic until proof is given to the contrary. An objective and psychological knowledge of the souls of our separated brethren makes us presume on the contrary to their absolute good faith and makes us presuppose bad faith only as a very rare exception. Indeed, the schema bases its main portion not on the presumption that they are formal non-Catholics in the absence of proof to the contrary, but that they are non-Catholics in practice, in good faith, in the absence of proof to the contrary. This change in perspective naturally involves a change in canonical attitudes.

In the third place, it must be noted that when heresy or schism arises in the Church, the responsible authorities take very severe measures to try to stifle the evil in its inception and to protect souls whose faith is weak. Then, little by little, a continuing situation is established. Christians are born into a shattered Christian community through no fault of their own. The Church does not adopt the same attitude in both situations. While it is very severe at the moment heresy or schism is born, it is more indulgent once the rupture is entrenched, lest too much severity drive the lost sheep farther away, as the Fathers of the Church tell us.

This explains why on this point of communicatio in sacris with non-Catholics of good faith, the attitude of the Church has not always been absolutely invariable. Moreover, this variation in the discipline of the Church proves to us that the prohibition of ecclesial communion with non-Catholics of good faith is not a matter of divine law but of ecclesiastical law, and hence subject to evolution according to the wisdom of the Church's pastors and to changing circumstances of time and place.

Now, it seems that today's circumstances demand that we redouble our charity toward our Orthodox brethren of the East in particular. It is detrimental to the work of union to treat them in the same way as others who do not share our faith, i.e., unbelievers or heretics.

This is neither weakness nor compromise on the part of the Catholic Church. Nor is it a diminution of its prestige. On the contrary, it seems to us that, in this effort at reconciliation that draws Christian Churches toward one another, those who have received the more grace, more light, more charity from God, and who feel stronger in the faith must make the first step.

Let us not constantly and without distinction conjure up the specter of religious indifferentism, of corruption of faith, and of scandal. Doubtless this danger exists, but first of all we must not exaggerate it; then, the shepherds of the Church are there to measure out the concrete amount of modification that it is suitable to grant, and to distinguish between those persons who can or cannot without danger enter into religious contact with our separated brethren. Finally, one must not forget that the scandal that is feared is most often created in the reverse direction; by this I mean that Catholics, quite as much as Orthodox Christians, are rather scandalized not by intercommunion but by its prohibition. We say this on the basis of our long experience.

When the Council was announced, Christians, whether Catholics or not, began to hope that union could again be achieved there, or that, at least, measures would be taken for greater mutual understanding and greater charity among the different Christian confessions. Let us not disappoint the hopes of all those who are expecting from the Council a new direction in relations among Christians, as they are excellently codified in the schema that the Commission on the Eastern Churches proposes to us. It is a truly ecumenical schema for which I am happy to offer the commission my congratulations.

The Very Reverend Hilarion Capucci, then Superior General of the Aleppine Basilian Order, in his intervention before the Council on November 28, 1963, also demonstrated the opportunity for easing the discipline of communicatio in sacris.

In relation to what is said in Chapter 2, No. 7 of the schema "De Oecumenismo," and considering the particular circumstances in which Catholic communities in the East are living and their relations with their Orthodox brethren, may I be permitted to make the following general remarks on the subject of communicatio in sacris with our brethren who are separated from us. The discipline now in force and the text of this same paragraph 7 seem totally inadequate. The ecumenical, social, and apostolic situation in which we live in the East demands a broadening of this discipline and a corresponding text in the schema.

The ecumenical aspect – A broadening of communicatio in sacris truly facilitates the outcome of the ecumenical movement. We are daily witnesses of the reactions of our Orthodox brethren in the face of the current prohibitions: reactions of repugnance, revolt, and antipathy. On the contrary, nothing thaws hearts and brings them closer like united invocation of the same Lord.

The social aspect. Social and familial bonds unite us to our Orthodox brethren. Within the same family do we not often encounter both Orthodox elements and Catholic elements? Now, in the East, the social and the religious are intimately linked, and we often face extremely painful situations for the consciences of Catholics, both clergy and faithful, and for peace and union within the same family. These situations are offensive and repugnant for our separated brethren and scandalous for non-Christians. Our Christians cannot understand how, while we exhort them to be united in matters relating to trade union, social, political, and educational action, and to love and esteem one another, we forbid them in conscience to participate in those religious realities that are the meaning and strength of human life and activity. Thus, there is a scandal that is contrary to the one envisioned by the discipline that strictly forbids communicatio in sacris, which is under discussion. It is not so much communicatio in sacris that causes scandal, but rather its refusal imposed on them in conscience that scandalizes them.

For centuries we have been living side by side with our Orthodox brethren. Far more, even before the official constitution of our hierarchical structure, numerous Catholic elements united to Rome have never ceased existing within the very bosom of general Orthodoxy. Our pastoral experience shows us that it is rather our brethren who come to us, and the very rare cases of Catholics turning to Orthodoxy do not in any way stem from communicatio in sacris. It is thanks to the preaching and the general apostolate of Latin missionaries in Orthodox churches, and to the jurisdiction received by them from Orthodox bishops that the Catholic movement developed.

The apostolic aspect – Our Christian divisions, solidified before the non-Christian public by these rigid barriers in the matter of communicatio in sacris, are a great scandal to non-Christians, our shame and our weakness in their eyes, and one of the major obstacles to their conversion. On the other hand, it is a requirement for the salvation of souls: for Orthodox Christians sometimes left without sacraments; for Catholics in this same situation; for Orthodox students in our schools, accustomed to us, trusting us and depending on us to teach them to live in grace... How can we remain pastorally insensitive in the face of situations such as these?

However:

1. We do not lose sight of the possibility of a danger of indifferentism or scandal, correctly stated, in individual cases.

2. We also understand that the Fathers of the Western Church can have a different attitude from ours, either because the regional circumstances are different or because attitudes toward our separated brethren cannot be uniform, or because in one country or another the problem does not arise or is less severe.

3. We understand that certain Eastern Catholic communities with no Orthodox branch, or that are less closely linked to that branch, are less sensitized in regard to this problem than we are.

Therefore, realizing that the demands of divine law must be strictly observed, and that, on the other hand, the presumption of a common peril of indifference or scandal, correctly stated, which is the basis of this ecclesiastical discipline, is not sufficiently established in practice in our regions and in our relations with our Orthodox brethren, but on the contrary is harmful;

We propose:

1. that communicatio in sacris prohibited by divine law be strictly forbidden, that is to say: a) when this communicatio in sacris means, for the Catholic conscience, formal adherence to schism or to heresy; b) in case there is danger of scandal or indifferentism; or c) when, in the Christian sense, it is the expression of a unity already realized, as would be in concelebration of the Sacred Mysteries;

2. that while purely ecclesiastical legislation in the matter of communicatio in sacris remains intact as a general rule, the power of the Ordinary be recognized in individual cases, and also the power of a patriarchal holy synod or of an episcopal conference for a specific region to dispense from it, motivated by pastoral wisdom and with regard to the multiple circumstances of fact that can legitimize such a dispensation;

3. that legislative measures be taken with the view of removing the clause of invalidity affecting mixed marriages celebrated before a non-Catholic minister.

 

Marriage and the Family

Indissolubility of Marriage

In an intervention on September 29, 1965 concerning the schema "The Church in the Modern World," Archbishop Elias Zoghby, Patriarchal Vicar for Egypt and the Sudan, spoke to the council about the trauma of the innocent spouse and asked whether a solution could be provided in the Catholic Church, especially in view of tradition in the Orthodox Church, which considers adultery a cause for the dissolution of marriage. Here is the complete text of Archbishop Zoghby's intervention.

There is a problem even more agonizing than that of birth control: it is the problem of the innocent spouse who, in the prime of life and through no fault of his or her own, is left alone through the other spouse's fault.

Shortly after entering into a marriage that seems to be happy, one of the spouses, through weakness or with premeditation, abandons the family and contracts a new union. The innocent spouse comes to his or her pastor or bishop and receives only one answer, "I can do nothing for you. Pray and be resigned to live alone and to practice continence for the rest of your life!" This solution presupposes heroic virtue, a rare faith, and an exceptional temperament. It is not, therefore, a solution that everyone can accept.

The young man or woman who had married because he or she did not feel called to perpetual continence is thus very often driven, in order not to become a bundle of nerves, to contract a new and illegitimate union outside the Church. Although up to then a practicing Catholic, he or she is henceforth doomed to be tortured in conscience. Only one choice is offered: either become an exceptional soul overnight or... perish!

We know on this subject that this solution of perpetual continence is not one for the ordinary Christian. In other words, we know that we leave these young victims without an answer. We ask them to depend on faith that works miracles; but faith that works miracles is not given to everyone. Many among us, bishops of the Church, still have to struggle hard and pray in order to obtain it.

Therefore, the question that these anguished souls are asking the council today is this: has the Church the right to answer an innocent faithful, whatever the nature of the problem that is torturing him or her, "Make the best of it; I have no solution for your case!" Or can the Church in this case offer only an exceptional solution that it knows is meant only for exceptional persons?

The Church has certainly received from Christ sufficient authority to offer all its children the means of salvation proportionate to their strength, and, of course, with the help of divine grace. Heroism, the state of perfection, has never been demanded by Christ under pain of damnation. Christ says, "If you wish to be perfect" ... if you wish it!

The Church therefore cannot lack sufficient authority to protect the innocent spouse against the consequences of sins of the other spouse. It does not seem normal that perpetual continence, which belongs to the state of perfection, can be imposed, like a punishment, on the innocent spouse because the other spouse has been unfaithful.

The Eastern Churches have always been aware of having this authority, and they have always exercised it in favor of the innocent spouse.

The bond of matrimony has certainly been made indissoluble by the positive law of Christ, but, as the Gospel of Saint Matthew indicates (5:32, 19:9) "except on the grounds of adultery." It is up to the Church to judge the meaning of this clause; even though the Church of Rome has always interpreted it in a restrictive sense, the same has not been true in the East, where the Church interpreted it, from the earliest times, in favor of the possible remarriage of an innocent spouse.

It is true that the Council of Trent in its 24th Session (Canon 7 of De Matrimonio) sanctioned the restrictive Roman interpretation. However, it is widely known that the formula adopted at that holy council in that canon has been revised intentionally so as not to exclude the Eastern tradition that followed a practice contrary to that of the Church of Rome. Credit for this is due to the Venetian orators who were well acquainted with the Greek tradition based on the interpretation of the Greek Fathers, and even of certain Western Fathers such as St. Ambrose of Milan .

We know how much the Fathers of the Eastern Church tried to dissuade widowers and widows from a second marriage, thus following the Apostle's advice, but they have never wished to deprive the innocent spouse who has been unjustly abandoned of the right to remarry. This tradition, preserved in the East, and which was never reproved during the ten centuries of union, could be accepted again and adopted by Catholics. Progress in patristic studies has indeed brought to the fore the doctrine of the Eastern Fathers who were no less qualified exegetes or moralists than the Western ones.

Pastoral concern for sorely tried spouses has been manifested among the Western canonists in another way. By means of a subtle casuistry that sometimes borders on acrobatics, they have applied themselves to detecting all possible impediments that could vitiate the marriage contract. They have certainly done this out of pastoral concern, but the result sometimes been detrimental to souls. For instance, if it happens that after ten or twenty years of marriage a previously unsuspected impediment of affinity is discovered, it is permitted to resolve everything as if by magic. The jurists find this quite normal and natural, but we pastors must admit that it sometimes amazes and scandalizes our faithful.

Is not the tradition of the Eastern Fathers, cited above, more appropriate than these impediments to marriage for granting divine mercy to Christian spouses?

Abuses are always possible, but abuse of authority does not eliminate authority.

In this age of ecumenism and dialogue, may the Catholic Church recognize the immemorial tradition of the Eastern Church, and may theologians apply themselves to the study of this problem, in order to bring a remedy to the anguish of innocent spouses permanently abandoned by their spouses, and in order to deliver them from the danger that seriously threatens their souls.

On October 2, 1965, Patriarch Maximos gave some "clarifications" to La Croix on the delicate subject of the indissolubility of marriage. When he was consulted in regard to the intervention of Archbishop Elias Zoghby, his Vicar General in Egypt and the Sudan , on the indissolubility of marriage in the event of infidelity of one of the spouses, he offered La Croix the following clarifications:

Archbishop Zoghby, like all Fathers of the council, enjoys full freedom to say what he thinks. And although he is our vicar in Egypt , he naturally speaks only for himself personally.

As for me, I knew about this intervention only at the time I heard it at the session of the council.

With respect to the heart of the problem, the Church must hold fast to the indissolubility of marriage, for, even though in certain cases the innocent spouse is sorely tried because of this law, the whole of family life would be shaken and ruined without this law. Moreover, if divorce in the strict sense were to be allowed on the grounds of adultery, nothing would be easier for less conscientious spouses than to create this cause.

The contrary practice of the Eastern Orthodox Churches can be supported by a few texts by certain Fathers. But these texts are contradicted by others and do not in every case constitute a sufficiently constant and universal tradition to induce the Catholic Church to change its discipline on this point.

Nevertheless, this question, with the proper nuances, could have been brought before the council as a serious difficulty to be resolved in the dialogue with Orthodoxy. Yet, presented as it is now, without the necessary precision, it can create confusion in many minds.

On October 4, 1965, in a new intervention at the council, Archbishop Zoghby made his ideas more precise.

Since certain publications have attached too much importance to my last intervention at the council concerning the frequent and unfortunate particular case of the innocent spouse abandoned by his or her spouse, and since they have broadcast the text of this intervention throughout the world, I have asked to speak again in the assembly, not to retract or change what I have said, but to call to mind briefly the following:

1. The purpose of my intervention was strictly pastoral, i.e., to discover a solution to the problem of so many young spouses condemned to live alone, in forced continence, through no fault of their part.

2. I clearly affirmed in my intervention the immutable principle of the indissolubility of marriage, and I intentionally avoided using the word "divorce," because in Catholic usage this word signifies an infraction of the immutable principle of the indissolubility of marriage.

3. This indissolubility of marriage is so deeply rooted in the tradition of Eastern and Western Churches , both Catholic and Orthodox, that it could not be called into question in a conciliar intervention. In fact, Orthodox tradition has always held marriage to be indissoluble, as indissoluble as the union of Christ and His Spouse, the Church, a union that remains the "exemplary model" of the monogamic and sacramental marriage of Christians.

In Orthodox theology, divorce is simply a dispensation granted to the innocent spouse in very clearly defined cases and with a purely pastoral concern, by virtue of what the Orthodox call the "principle of economy," which signifies "dispensation," or better, "condescension." This dispensation does not exclude the principle of indissolubility of marriage. It is even placed at its service, like the dispensation from valid and consummated marriages granted by the Catholic Church by virtue of the Petrine privilege. We shall not speak about the abuses, which are always possible but do not change the theological reality.

4. It is therefore a "dispensation" in favor of the innocent spouse that I was suggesting in my intervention. Referring to the traditional interpretation in the East of Saint Matthew's texts (Chapters 5 and 19), I envisioned the possibility of adding to the grounds for a dispensation already accepted by the Catholic Church those of fornication and of permanent abandonment of one spouse by the other, to avert the peril of damnation that threatens the innocent spouse. Such a dispensation would not have the effect of placing the validity of the indissolubility of marriage in doubt any more than the other dispensations.

5. This is not a frivolous proposal. It is based on the incontestable authority of the holy Fathers and of the holy Doctors of the Eastern Churches, who cannot without rashness be accused of having yielded to political or human considerations when they interpreted the Lord's words in the way they did.

6. It is in this perspective, in the East as in the West, of universal fidelity to the principle of the indissolubility of marriage, that the Roman Church, during the long centuries of union as well as after the separation, has not contested the legitimacy of the Eastern discipline favorable to the remarriage of the innocent spouse.

That is the meaning, the tenor of my last intervention at the council. It involves an exegetical, canonical, and pastoral problem that must not be disregarded. As to the opportuneness of accepting new grounds for a dispensation, analogous to those already introduced by virtue of the Petrine privilege, it is up to the Church to decide.

After studying the entire file of the question reopened by the intervention of Archbishop Zoghby, Patriarch Maximos IV wrote the following memorandum in Paris during the month of November 1966, which he requested be inserted in this anthology. "The important thing," he declared, "is that the door on further research should not be closed."

The interventions made at the conciliar assembly on the subject of the dissolution of a marriage when one of the two spouses is abandoned by the other have had worldwide reverberations and stirred up reaction among people and in the press. Yet they had no practical effect on the council or even held its attention, for we find no trace of them in the explanations of the amendments or in those of the modi. Moreover, it seems that they have hardened the contrary position, when it might have been possible, by revealing this difficulty with the required prudence and discretion, to open the door to a study or even to an ecumenical dialogue that could have thrown more light on it.

It seems that this difficulty could have been set forth to the council in the following way, in the hope of holding its attention:

1. The indissolubility of marriage has been solemnly defined by the Council of Trent. It is an object of faith for every Catholic and closes the door to all discussion. Period.

2. In the Catholic Church, as well as in the world, there are cases, which civilization and the love of well-being make increasingly frequent, cases of truly revolting injustice that forces human beings, whose vocation is to live in a normal state of marriage according to the laws of nature created by God, and who are unjustly prevented from doing so through no fault of their own, to endure this abnormal state for the remainder of their lives, although they are not able to do so, humanly speaking. Generally speaking, the world has found a way out of this impasse either by divorce or by other means that the Church does not accept. As for Catholics who find themselves in this situation, they turn their anxious eyes toward the Church, their mother, because they wish to be able to live honorably in the world according to their consciences.

3. Concerning laws that govern the Church spiritually and temporally, there have been created over the centuries and according to specific and varied modes what we might call safety valves for protecting the normal life of the Church and the life of its children. In the East, which is mystical by nature and inclined in its spirituality to consider everything within the mystery of the Church, this safety valve is called oikonomia (economy). This alters, or rather elevates, the difficulties that seem inextricable to it, and centers them on Christ, who is the fullness of the Church. In the Western Church , whose basis is more juridical, this safety valve is called a "privilege." Thus we have in the Church the "privilege" known as the "Pauline privilege," with a scriptural basis. But we have other safety valves that have no basis either in Scripture or in Tradition, such as the privilege to dissolve a marriage that has not been consummated, even though it is completely religious. Likewise, the privilege to dissolve a marriage between a baptized person and a non-baptized one through what is called the "Petrine privilege," which is also foreign to Holy Scripture and Tradition.

4. This being the case, we do not ask that the general teaching of the Church be disregarded or that we be given an immediate reply or even one in the near future. What we are asking is simply whether it would not be opportune on the occasion of the Second Vatican Council, which desires the union of the Churches and the peace of mind of souls, to seek to settle, or at least to clarify to a greater extent, this great question by creating a commission composed, if possible, of eminent members of the two Churches, Eastern and Western, in order to conduct a study in the light of faith, in a spirit of openness and charity, taking into account Holy Scripture, theology, Tradition, the Fathers, and the conduct of the Church through the centuries, by having recourse to either the oikonomia of the Eastern Church or to the "privilege" of the Western Church, in order to alleviate the unjust suffering of such a large number of souls.

We also believe that as long as the Church does not resolve, through its leaders, to do absolutely everything in its power to find a way out of this impasse, it is not entitled to enjoy a peaceful conscience; and its conscience cannot be liberated before God and man unless, after this conscientious work, it turns out to be true that the status quo is indispensable.


Birth Control

Text of the patriarch's intervention pronounced on October 29, 1964, concerning No. 21 of the schema on "The Church in the Modern World."

Today I should like to draw the attention of your venerable assembly to a special point of morals, birth control.

The fundamental virtue that is required of us, pastors assembled in a council that intends to be pastoral, is the courage to come face-to-face with the problems of the hour, in the love of Christ and of souls. Now, among the agonizing and painful problems that disturb the multitudes today, the problem of birth control stands out. It is an urgent problem if there ever was one, for it is at the root of a serious crisis of Catholic conscience. There is a situation of a variance between the official doctrine of the Church and the contrary practice of the immense majority of Christian families. The authority of the Church is called into question on a broad scale. The faithful find themselves driven to live in a state of rupture with the law of the Church, without the sacraments, in constant anxiety, for lack of finding a viable solution between two contradictory imperatives: conscience and normal conjugal life.

Besides, on the social level, demographic pressure in certain countries, especially those with teeming populations, militates under present circumstances against any rise in the standard of living and condemns hundreds of millions of human beings to a shameful and hopeless poverty.

The council must bring a valid solution to this situation. That is its pastoral duty. It must declare whether God really desires this impasse that is depressing and against nature.

Venerable Fathers, since we are aware, in the Lord who died and rose again for the salvation of men, of the painful crisis of conscience which our faithful are now suffering, let us have the courage to grapple with it without any bias.

Frankly, should not the official positions of the Church on this matter be revised in the light of modern science, theological as well as medical, psychological, and sociological?

In marriage, the development of the human being and his or her integration into the creative plan of God form a single whole. The finality of marriage must not be dissected into a primary finality and a secondary finality. This consideration opens up the horizon to new perspectives concerning the morality of conjugal behavior considered as a whole.

Besides, are we not correct in asking ourselves if certain official positions are not tributary to outworn concepts, and perhaps also, to a psychosis of celibates who are strangers to this sector of life? Are we not, without wishing to be, under the influence of that Manichean concept of man and the world, for which sexual intercourse is corrupt in itself and therefore tolerated only for having a child?

Is the external biological rectitude of acts the only criterion here of morality, independently of family life, of its conjugal and familial moral climate, and of the serious imperatives of prudence, the fundamental rule of all our human activity?

Furthermore, does not present-day exegesis urge us to greater prudence in the interpretation of two passages in Genesis—"Be fruitful and multiply," and that of Onan, which have been used so long as classical scriptural proofs of the basic condemnation of birth control?

How relieved was the Christian conscience when His Holiness Pope Paul VI announced to the world that the problem of birth control and of family morality "is under study, a study as broad and deep as possible, that is to say, as serious and honest as the great importance of this subject requires. The Church will have to proclaim this law of God in the light of scientific, social, and psychological truths that, during these recent times, have been the object of studies and documentation" (Doc. Cath. July 5, 1964).

In addition, given the extent and gravity of this problem that concerns the entire world, we ask that this projected study be carried out by theologians, physicians, psychologists, and sociologists, with the viewpoint of finding the normal solution that is needed. The collaboration of exemplary married Christians also seems necessary. Besides, is it not in harmony with the ecumenical path of the council to enter into a dialogue on this subject with other Christian Churches , and even with thinkers of other religions? Why fall back on ourselves? Are we not facing a problem that affects all humanity? Must not the Church be open to the world, both Christian and non-Christian? Is not the Church the leaven that will make the dough rise? It must also achieve positive results that give peace of conscience in this area as well as in all other areas that concern humankind.

Far be it from me to minimize the delicacy and gravity of the subject, as well as possible future abuses. But here as elsewhere, is it not the duty of the Church to educate the moral sense of its children, to train them in personal and community moral responsibility that is profoundly matured in Christ, rather than to envelop them in a network of regulations and commandments, and to ask them purely and simply to conform to them with closed eyes? As for us, let us open our eyes and be practical. Let us see things as they are and not as we would wish them to be. Otherwise we would risk talking in a desert. This involves the future of the mission of the Church in the world.

And so let us loyally and effectively put into practice the declaration of Pope Paul VI at the opening of the second session of the council, "Let the world know: the Church looks out on it with profound understanding, with sincere admiration, sincerely disposed not to subjugate it, but to serve it; not to depreciate it, but to give it greater value; not to condemn it, but to give it support and to save it."

At the fourth session of the council, a public discussion of the problem was avoided. In the appropriate commission, at the last minute, the accent was placed on fertility and its primacy in marriage, calling to mind exclusively the doctrine of the encyclical of Pius XI "Casti connubii" and the discourse of Pius XII to Italian midwives. There was therefore a danger of closing the path to any possibility of evolution in the discipline of the Church on this point. The patriarch decided to write directly to the pope [letter of November 29, 1965] to entreat him not to close the door to a possible evolution.

Mixed Marriages

In its "Observations on the Schemas of the Council" [1963], the Holy Synod said what it thought about a plan for the regulation of mixed marriages, valid especially for the Latin Church, since the Eastern Commission likewise dealt with this question concerning mixed marriages between Eastern Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

We begin by asking the question: Does this chapter "on mixed marriages" apply to Easterners as well? In fact, the subject is dealt with again, in what concerns them, in the schema "On the Eastern Churches." In this case, one of the two chapters or paragraphs is a duplicate and should be eliminated. If, on the contrary, this chapter is limited to the Latin Church alone, it must be clearly stated.

However, even if this chapter were to apply only to the Latin Church, we think that it is drafted in a tone that is needlessly severe and often offensive to our non-Catholic brethren. Needlessly severe, since the percentage of mixed marriages is continuing to grow in every country, and harsh words can do nothing to prevent this. Often offensive, since it considers the non-Catholic party as necessarily being a danger, whatever his or her personal behavior may otherwise be.

At a time when Christian Churches are opening themselves to ecumenical dialogue, it is not fitting, it seems to us, for the council to speak so superficially of a very serious problem that touches the life of the faithful and of the Church itself. It is a chapter that must be reworked completely from beginning to end, in a perspective that is at once more realistic and more ecumenical.

1. We must start from the principle that mixed marriages are inevitable. Let us think above all of countries where Catholics are in a minority, or even equal in number to other Christian confessions. It is normal for love to blossom among young persons belonging to different religious faiths.

2. Mixed marriages are not necessarily bad. Everything depends on the attitudes of the contracting parties. Neither Scripture nor the Fathers absolutely forbids them.

3. Marriages between Catholics and non-Catholic Christians must not be grouped in the same classification as marriages between Catholics and non-Christians. For a young Catholic girl, there is a great difference between marrying an Orthodox Christian and marrying a Muslim. Canon Law must take this into account not only theoretically but also in a practical way, by not requiring the same conditions for the one case as for the other.

4. The Church must never countenance hypocrisy. Mixed marriages are often, from the religious point of view, a conflict between two sincerities. The Catholic spouse rightly thinks that he or she must contract the marriage in the Catholic Church, baptize the children in the Catholic Church, and then educate them in the Catholic faith. The non-Catholic spouse makes the commitment to respect the religious convictions of his or her Catholic spouse. And yet, in conscience, he or she cannot renounce his or her own religious convictions. And so he or she will also wish to baptize the children and have them educated in his or her own faith. What is to be done? Current Catholic canon law requires that the non-Catholic spouse commit himself or herself in conscience to do things against his or her conscience. Is that moral? What actually happens? If the non-Catholic spouse is an unbeliever or indifferent, he or she promises everything that is asked. And so the marriage is authorized, and on the Catholic side this mixed marriage is considered a success, when it is really based on irreligion and hypocrisy. But if, on the other hand, the non-Catholic spouse, conscious of his or her obligations, claims his or her rights, which are subjectively not less than that of the other spouse, namely, to baptize and educate the children in his or her faith, the authorization is refused. At the very least, this is an abnormal attitude.

5. Besides, might we not succeed, with a little good will on both sides, in seeing in mixed marriages not necessarily a danger but an opportunity for bringing Christians together, an apostolate, the pursuit of ecumenism? Where our Eastern countries are concerned, we frankly declare that our Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic, are shocked by the rigidity that Catholic discipline demonstrates in the authorization of mixed marriages. What scandalizes the faithful is not the fact that Christians belonging to different confessions marry one another, but the fact that they have so many difficulties getting married.

6. Finally, the concept of the cautiones ("guarantees") required by current canon law must be completely re-examined. It is normal to require that the Catholic party make a commitment to do what he or she can on behalf of his or her faith. But it is not normal to require a commitment to do what does not depend on him or her, or that he or she make the commitment to bring the non-Catholic spouse to do what his or her conscience forbids him or her to do.

This chapter on mixed marriages must be studied by the council on entirely different bases from those of the present schema, which still holds to the hypothesis of a Catholicism lived in isolation and bitterly regretting any contact with the outsider, whether he be an infidel or a non-Catholic. Fortunately, we have gotten far beyond that. If the council is to achieve a work of aggiornamento, it is certainly to be in this domain. It is necessary to see realities as they are, and to bring to them Christ's response. Harshness arising from an imaginary situation only serves to aggravate the trouble.

Now here are a few detailed remarks:

1. Why the adverb "rashly" in the expression "de matrimonio mixto temere non contrahendo" (on not contacting a mixed marriage rashly), and other similar terms? It would be better to say: "de matrimonio mixto imprudenter non contrahendo" (on not contracting a mixed marriage imprudently). The word "temere" is offensive.

2. The drafters of the schema set out to explain the reasons why the number of mixed marriages has increased, but they do it in such a simplistic way that the council risks being held up to derision if their text is adopted.

The first reason, it is claimed, is the migration of peoples which has brought Catholic populations in contact with non-Catholic populations, and this is seen as regrettable. This may be true of certain regions of Germany . However, for the world's nations taken as a whole this reason is as old as the world. Almost everywhere Catholics live side by side with non-Catholics, and that is a good thing.

The second reason, it is said, is "that it is often not possible to prevent Catholics from entering into social contacts with non-Catholics, and that these friendly relations lead to marriages." Could it be otherwise?

Finally, the third reason, it is said, is "the decline of piety." Therefore, mixed marriages are an evil, and a Catholic who wishes to be devout must abstain for that very reason from contracting marriage with a non-Catholic, and that independently of any personal attitude of the non-Catholic party. On the contrary, we think that mixed marriages are the expression of more extensive relations among Christians belonging to different confessions than in the past. It is a sign of the times.

3. As a necessary condition for authorizing a mixed marriage, it is required "that the Catholic party sincerely guarantee that he or she will fulfill his or her duty to baptize the children and to educate them in the Catholic religion." How can the Catholic party make a commitment to something whose fulfillment does not depend solely on him or her? The Catholic party must not be asked to commit himself or herself to more than he or she can do.

Rationally speaking, we must be content to ask the Catholic party to make the commitment to do everything that he or she can, sincerely and honestly, so that the children belong to his or her Church and share his or her faith. He or she cannot promise more than that.

4. The non-Catholic is required "se non repugnaturum ut proles catholice baptizetur eiusque catholicae educationi provideatur" (that he or she will not resist having the children baptized as Catholics, and that there will be provision for their Catholic education). How can a non-Catholic Christian, if he or she is sincere and deeply committed to his or her faith, make such a promise?

Only an unbeliever, an indifferent person, or a liar will do that. Thus, vices have been encouraged, in order to satisfy canon law. That is not normal.

5. Then there is the intent to show ill humor to the very end. Since mixed marriages cannot be prevented, an effort is made to show that they are authorized only reluctantly. As a result, provision is made for a diminished, private, humiliating rite. Why all that? If the mixed marriage has been authorized, it is because all the requisite conditions have been fulfilled. There is need only to bless this marriage like all others.

 

Codification of Canon Law

Against the Drawing up of a Single Code for the Eastern and Western Churches

A letter addressed to His Holiness Pope Paul VI by His Beatitude Patriarch Maximos IV on November 22, 1963.

Most Holy Father:

Replying to the invitation that Your Holiness extended to us, in the course of the audience of November 11, 1963, to inform him of everything that could facilitate drawing closer to our Orthodox brethren, I, in the name of all the conciliar Fathers of our Melkite Greek patriarchate, would like to explain the following to Your Holiness:

We have learned incidentally that a campaign is presently being conducted for the drawing up of single code of canon law, which would be equally binding on the Eastern Churches as on the Latin Church. In this single code it would be considered sufficient to point out, where it was relevant, the particularities of the law that are specific for the Easterners.

We are sure that our position, and that of all ecumenists and of all those who have at heart the harmonious progress of the Christian East along its proper path, coincides with that adopted, after a long examination, by the Roman See itself, namely, the drawing up of a special code of canon law for the Eastern Churches.

The arguments in favor of this position are the following:

1. Canon law is one of the principal and formal expressions of that "diversity in unity" that is a characteristic mark of the Catholic Church. While safeguarding the unity of faith, of the sacramental life, and of the hierarchy, the Catholic Church has always proclaimed its desire to protect entirely not only the diversity of the liturgical rites of the Christian East but also the diversity of its discipline. Well, making a single Code of law for the Eastern Churches and for the Western Church necessarily ends in the following results:

a) Either the Latin discipline will be almost entirely imposed on Easterners, which in actual fact means the pure and simple latinization of the East, against which Easterners, as well as the Holy See, have struggled for a long time;

b) Or the Latin discipline will be so prevalent in this single code that one will not be able to see in it, in any manner, the expression of the specific discipline of the East; for, in every place that the two disciplines are different, it can be foreseen that the Latin discipline will not be made to yield to the Eastern discipline, but vice versa. This will be a new—and most serious —manifestation of the latinization of the East, concerning which all those who know and love the East complain.

2. In the ecumenical dialogue, it will be truly catastrophic to show to our Orthodox brethren that the discipline which awaits them, in the unity with the Roman Church, is not theirs, but that of the Latin Church. The unification of the two codes is contrary to the ecumenical orientation of Vatican II and destroys the whole schema "On Ecumenism."

3. The Holy See has made a considerable effort since 1929 to attempt to give the Eastern Churches a code of law that would be as consistent as possible with their own discipline. Cardinal Massimi, who, with Cardinal Coussa, has labored the hardest in this work, said to our late predecessor, Patriarch Cyril IX, "I wish that when the Orthodox shall see our Eastern code, they will be able to say, ‘That is truly the discipline of our Fathers!'" It is necessary to acknowledge that, in spite of the definite good will and the immense labor that has been performed, the result has not always conformed to the expectations of the Easterners and has been accused of hybridism and latinization. This criticism will be based on much stronger grounds if a single code, with a Latin emphasis, is imposed on the Easterners.

4. Too many elements distinguish the Eastern law from the Latin one to make it possible to unite them in a single code, without sacrificing one or the other, and the law that will be sacrificed will certainly be the Eastern law. Let one think of the frequent differences in terminology, as also the institutions that pertain exclusively to the East, like those of the patriarchate, synods, rite, episcopal elections, etc. Let one think of the institutions that do not exist at all in the authentic Eastern law, like those of canons, benefices, censures latae sententiae, etc. Thus, while in Latin law one single canon suffices to regulate the patriarchal institution considered simply as an honor, in the Eastern law more than 200 canons are required to define the patriarchal institution. In contrast, in the authentic Eastern law, the treatment of "on sins and their satisfaction" can be covered in four pages. Thus, how is it possible to draw up a single code where there are such different elements?

5. Those who ask for a single code for the Eastern and the Latin Churches appear to us to be either latinizers, who wish to absorb the East, not in Catholicism but in Latinism, or Easterners with latinized mentalities, who do not realize how much harm their deviation from the authentic Eastern discipline does to the cause of growing closer to our Orthodox brethren.

For all these reasons, may Your Holiness permit us:

a.) to remain steadfast to the very wise position adopted by the Holy See, in ordering the drawing up of a special code for the Eastern Churches;

b.) to desire ardently that this special code for the Eastern Churches be reviewed to make it even more consistent with the authentic Eastern discipline;

c.) that this code be written according to authentically Eastern criteria, by competent jurists chosen among non-latinized Easterners, Latins friendly to the East, and ecumenists;

d.) that this question be not treated in the hall of the council, since many Fathers of the council are not aware of the gravity of the problem.

 

The Episcopate and the Roman Curia

This memorandum was presented at the February 1962 meeting of the Central Commission. In an analysis of the schema "On the Relations between the Bishops and the Congregations of the Roman Curia," the patriarch established the theological foundations of decentralization.

This schema could be entitled "On Decentralization in the Church." It states the desire to recognize broader powers for the bishops and at the same time limit the competences, which we believe are too broad, of the dicasteries (offices, congregations, tribunals, etc.) of the Roman Curia.

I. The least felicitous part of this schema, it seems to us, is its preamble. Certain doctrines are insinuated in it that seem to us to be at the very least debatable.

1. Thus, after affirming in the first paragraph that the episcopate stems immediately from Christ, the preamble continues: "Jurisdictio particularis, quam singuli Episcopi vi officio pastoralis in suas dioeceses exercent, a Romano Pontifice, tanquam ex causa proxima, est derivanda" (The particular jurisdiction which the individual bishops, by the power of their pastoral office, exercise in their dioceses, must be derived from the Roman pontiff, as if from the immediate cause).

First of all, this theory, which makes the Roman pontiff the immediate source of the pastoral power in their dioceses, is in no sense a dogma. It is not even a necessary consequence of a dogma, since the Roman primacy does not necessarily determine that the pope be the source of all episcopal power in a specific diocese. Inasmuch as the bishops are by divine right the successors of the Apostles, they receive their power over a specific diocese through the authority that presided over their election or nomination.

In the West, for many centuries but not always, no bishop has been nominated except through the definitive intervention of the Roman pontiff. Thus the proponents of the theory that prevails in the preamble have been able to find a certain basis in this fortuitous canonical custom. In the East, however, it is unanimously agreed that the bishops were neither named nor confirmed by the popes. This was recognized not only by Eastern Christians but also by the popes themselves, who, in classical Christian antiquity before the great separations, never asserted that the designation of the bishops or their investiture depended solely on them, either explicitly or implicitly. What, then, is the basis for the theory which the preamble sets forth?

It is true that this theory is currently called a "common doctrine." We would prefer to call it a "current theory." However, in our opinion, not only is this theory not defined, but it is very debatable, to say the least. It is therefore not appropriate to insinuate it as a doctrine peaceably accepted by everyone, because it is heavy with consequences for a dialogue between the East and the West. We see it as one of the ever-growing number of theories popularized by certain modern theologians and canonists in order to exalt papal power at all costs, to the detriment of the power of the bishops. Besides, the preamble finds no document to support this theory other than a reference to the canonists Wernz-Vidal. We believe that this is not sufficient and that nothing in the authentic tradition of the Fathers could be found to support such an extreme theory. It is better, therefore, to remain in the traditional line of the dogma defined by the First Vatican Council: the Roman pontiff has a direct power over each of the pastors and the faithful. But it does not logically follow from this that he is the ultimate and exclusive source of all power in the Church.

2. Furthermore, the preamble states that the Roman pontiff, by reason of his right of primacy "jurisdictionem episcopalem plus minusve amplificare vel restringere potest" (He is able to widen or restrict the episcopal power to a greater or lesser degree). Asserted in this way without any nuances, this proposition is not correct. It is true that in view of the common good, the synods, the patriarchs, and the popes can, up to a certain point, limit the exercise of the power of the bishops in order to better coordinate their pastoral activity. It is also true that the pope can reserve for himself as many "major causes" as the common good of the Church demands. But it is false to insinuate, as the preamble does, that the limits of episcopal power depend unconditionally on the will of the pope who can widen them or restrict them arbitrarily. This would make the bishops simply legal representatives of the pope, having no attributes except those that the pope cares to give them. Such insinuations are very serious.

3. Then, the preamble gives the reasons why the popes have reserved for themselves certain "major causes." We must say that the extensive extension of these "major causes" has been the principal reason for the excessive Roman centralization about which the Catholic world is now complaining almost unanimously. Before a "major cause" can be reserved to the pope, there must be assurance that this reservation is demanded by the higher good of the Holy Church, and not by the human desire to "centralize." All power has a natural tendency to monopolize as many prerogatives as possible at the expense of the powers of others. The trend toward centralization that for certain fortuitous historical reasons has dominated the Roman organizations for centuries must now give way to a trend toward decentralization, for the greatest good of the Catholic Church and of the Roman organizations themselves.

4. Finally, the preamble, in response to the almost unanimous hopes of prelates and Catholic universities, proposes that broader faculties be granted to the bishops. On this subject we take the liberty to point out that the power of the bishops must not be conceived as the aggregate of the faculties that are granted to them by the pope. A bishop in his diocese should have all the powers necessary for his apostolic ministry, certain cases being reserved to the synods, to his patriarch or metropolitan, or to the pope. It is not a question of giving the bishops powers they would not already have; it is a question rather of enumerating the cases that are believed to be reserved to supra-episcopal authority for the common good.

Therefore, instead of drawing up a list of faculties, whether quinquennial or other, there is need to pinpoint more precisely a list of reservations that are truly "major causes," while limiting them considerably. It is not a question of giving more to the bishops; the need is to take less away from them. This change in perspective is of the greatest importance.

II. Turning now to the details of the measures taken to decentralize the Church, we make the following comments:

1. The schema proposes that certain more important "faculties" be reserved to the nuncios and apostolic delegates. It seems to us that this is not expedient, for it would contribute still more to having these representatives of the Holy See considered as super-bishops. Now this falsifies the true notion of the episcopacy. Either the "faculty" in question can be left to the bishop, or else, if it is a very serious matter involving the general good of the Church, the bishop must have recourse to the supreme authority. But the representatives of the Holy See must not be made into viceroys of sorts, commanding "prefects" (bishops) guided from afar by central organizations. This does not seem to us to be the authentic concept of the Church.

2. Once again we propose the elimination of the "secrecy of the Holy Office" which might open the way to abuses, just as we also propose the reform of the Holy Office itself, which must be reorganized in such a way as to avoid the numerous complaints that are justifiably being leveled against it from all sides, even if one does not always dare to say so because of the climate of fear that the Holy Office has created in the Church.

3. Among the proposed reforms should be added the internationalization of the Roman Curia. At least seventy-five percent of the central government of the Church and the external representation of the Holy See is in fact reserved today to Italians who are tempted to consider the Holy See a little like a family patrimony, a source of advantage and an opportunity for a career. An internationalization of the curia would broaden the horizons of the central government, permit a wider choice of personnel, lead to a salutary renewal in ideas, and make the Church appear as truly and effectively catholic. There is still too much nationalist chauvinism in the Roman Curia. We hold no brief against the Italians, whose beautiful human qualities on the contrary we esteem, but we must affirm that they are not the whole Catholic Church and therefore must not have a monopoly on it. These are things that everyone thinks deep in their hearts and about which there is talk in small committees, but concerning which unfortunately few of the ecclesiastical leaders dare express their opinions openly, in order to avoid the annoyances and trouble that it might cause them. As for us, we owe it to our conscience, to God, and to the Church to be very frank on this point as well as on all others, even at the risk of displeasing persons who are most dear to us.

The comments that we have just made on this schema are of a very serious nature. If certain theologians insist on applying to the papacy ideas that do not adequately conform to dogma, and if there is a militant effort to have them accepted, we run the great risk of seeing this council fail lamentably from the point of view of Christian unity. Far more, we would have definitively created an insurmountable obstacle to union between the Eastern Church and the Western Church. This is enough to make every soul that loves our Lord and who wishes to accomplish his divine desire for unity tremble with fear.

For a "Synod of Bishops" around the Pope

This is one of the most important interventions of Patriarch Maximos IV. It took place on November 6, 1963, at the end of the sixty-first General Congregation. Received with applause, it was to encounter strong opposition in certain quarters. We know that ultimately the pope constituted around himself a "Synod of Bishops," an eloquent sign of episcopal collegiality in the central administration of the Church.

Chapter I of this schema on "The Bishops and the Government of the Dioceses" envisions, around the supreme pontiff and to help him in his primatial ministry with respect to the universal Church, only the congregations, the tribunals, and the offices which in their totality form what has come to be called the "Roman Curia." In No. 5, it is true, our text proposes a small and timid reform, envisioning the possibility of inviting bishops from the entire world to take part in the dicasteries of the Roman Curia in the role of members or counselors.

It seems to me that this way of limiting to the Roman Curia the collaboration of the Catholic episcopate in the central government of the Church corresponds neither to the real needs of the Church of our time nor to the collegial responsibility of the episcopate with respect to the Church.

Likewise, may I be allowed to propose a new solution, which appears to me to meet more fully the needs of our time and to agree with sound theological principles: Peter with the Apostles, that is the pope with the episcopal body.

The pope is the Bishop of Rome, the Primate of Italy, and the Patriarch of the West. Yet these roles are secondary although real—by comparison with his universal primacy. Such being the case, it follows that when the pope governs the universal Church, he associates to himself, to share his responsibility, the college of bishops which succeeds the college of the Apostles, and not the priests, deacons, and other clerics of the Diocese of Rome.

The particular court of Rome, which belongs specifically to the Diocese of Rome, must not take the place of the college of the Apostles living in their successors the bishops. It is therefore the duty of this holy council to use the means necessary to bring to light this truth beclouded by an age-old practice wrapped in ever-deepening shadows, to the point where many, even among us, have come to think of the situation as being normal, even though it is something else. With the present court of the pope it is difficult for those who are outside the Catholic Church and for some who are in it to see the ecumenical stance of the Church, and they see instead the particularism of a particular Church to which men, time, and favorable circumstances have given a considerable human and temporal increment of grandeur, power, and wealth. The very fact of assigning the cardinals to particular churches in Rome clearly shows that the cardinals belong to the particular Church of Rome, and not to the universal Church of Christ.

It goes without saying that all the bishops of the world cannot be constantly assembled in council. This concrete responsibility of helping the pope in the general government of the Church must devolve upon a small group of bishops representing their colleagues. This is the group that could form the true holy college of the universal Church. It would consist of the principal bishops of the Church. These would be first of all the residential and apostolic patriarchs, as recognized by the ecumenical councils of the first centuries; then the cardinal-archbishops as a prerogative of their cathedral and not of a Roman parish; and finally there would be bishops chosen in the episcopal conferences of every country. The last suggestion should be studied in order to be made perfectly clear. This universal holy college could be convoked by the pope at certain fixed times and when the need is felt to debate the general concerns of the Church.

Yet, of course, that is not enough. There would be a need to have constantly in Rome what the Eastern Church calls the "synodos endimousa," that is to say, a few members of this apostolic and universal holy college succeeding one another so as to be at the side of the pope, their leader, who always has the last word by primatial right. That is where the supreme council of the Church, the "suprema," would be, the executive and decisive supreme council of the universal church. All the Roman bureaus must be submissive to it. This suprema will have its special rules concerning its constitution. It will make Christ shine out over the entire world, especially the pagan world. Since it will not be closed in on itself, it will not even think of wishing to monopolize everything, regulate everything, dominate everything in a uniform and sometimes petty way. It will understand that the problem of peoples must be settled by themselves or with them but never without them.

To sum up, we say that the Holy Father cannot, any more than anyone else in the world, whoever he or she may be, govern with his confidants an institution as large as the universal Church in which the best interests of Christianity in the whole world are at stake. And all this is in conformity with the Gospel, for while the Church has been entrusted in a special way to Peter and to his successors, it has also been entrusted to the Apostles and their successors. And if this government is entrusted to nonconstitutional persons, such as confidants and the local clergy, the general good would not be served and real disasters could ensue. History gives us examples of this.

In our time, these truths of a theological, constitutional, and practical order take on an aspect of urgency and gravity.

In the lands of the Mediterranean civilization of the ancient Roman Empire of the East and the West, or in lands that have sprung up from it, things might work out for an indeterminate time if we are content to grant great powers to the episcopal conferences, which, after all, are a modern form of the historical patriarchates. However, in the countries with great agglomerations of peoples like China and India, lands of great and ancient civilizations that have nothing in common with Mediterranean civilization, something more is needed and it must be found with the help of Christianity itself. The same can be said of the African Churches, which are so rich in their dynamism.

This will involve a great and fundamental effort so that these Churches may feel at home with respect to their language, mentality, ways, and customs. They must feel that Christianity is not foreign to them, that it can become the soul of their soul. These peoples should also enjoy a greater internal autonomy than that of the Mediterranean lands, while preserving the necessary link at the highest level with the See of Peter. Only what is essential to the constitution of the Church should be imposed on them, as was decided by the first council at Jerusalem in the early days with respect to the Gentiles. After so much very meritorious work, dedication, expense, and sacrifice, can we say that Christianity has won the hearts of these lands? However, this must be achieved.

Is up to the new holy college to elucidate these great problems and to give them the solution they require, with the help of prayer, study, time, and the necessary prudence. The members of the holy college, coming from all parts of the world and thus having an ecumenical mentality, will be in a position to bring this work to a successful conclusion and to endow the Church with an organization capable of leading all peoples to Catholic unity.

Seeing that the Holy Spirit, through the intermediary of Pope John XXIII of holy memory, inspired the holding of this council to bring about openness and dialogue on the part of the Church with the entire world, and seeing that after his death, the Holy Spirit inspired the choice of our Holy Father Paul VI to continue and organize this divine work, it is because He is still in His Church to guide and vivify it. "Send forth your Spirit and He will renew the face of the earth."

Episcopal Conferences

First of all, here is a memorandum presented by Patriarch Maximos at the meeting of February 1962 of the Central Commission. It is dated February 9, 1962. It comments on the draft of a schema "On the Meetings or Conferences of Bishops."

I approve the schema as a whole. The idea of encouraging episcopal conferences on the national level coincides with one of the concerns of the Eastern Catholic Churches: the restoration in Catholicism of the idea and the exercise of episcopal collegiality. The Church is not made up of individuals directly linked to the head, or even of bishops directly and exclusively subject to the pope. The Church is an organic body, constituted not of individual cells and of a head, but of organs, diversely constituted, diversely grouped, and with diverse functions. The bishops are not responsible only for their respective dioceses. Collegially they are also responsible for the Church of their country and for the universal Church.

However, I feel that I must make the following observations on the text of the schema that is presented to us:

1. In the East, episcopal conferences or synods must be viewed overall on a twofold level: first, synods of one specific Church or rite, then synods of the entire Catholic episcopate independently of rites. The former, namely the synods, generally extend beyond the borders of one nation. The latter can usefully be confined to a specific nation. It would be good likewise to look forward to inter-ritual patriarchal synods for the East.

2. The decisions of these episcopal conferences, it is said, have no juridical value. Actually, I don't see why these conferences that assemble the entire episcopate of a country would not be able to make decisions that are binding, as long as they are not contrary to the common law of the Church. When these conferences are held annually or frequently, synods or plenary councils will be rather rare. Why then, not grant these conferences the juridical strength that the decisions of the plenary councils have, especially since constitutionally there is no difference between the episcopal conferences and the plenary councils?

3. It is said that if in these episcopal conferences a question requires a juridical solution there must be recourse to the Holy See and they must abide by its decision. It seems to me that the plenary assembly of the bishops of a whole nation unquestionably possesses a legislative power. It would be desirable to recognize that the synods of bishops, even in the Latin Church, possess a genuine power in the Church, without requiring that their decisions have binding power only through recourse to the Holy See. What one bishop can do in his diocese where he possesses legislative power, as is recognized by No. 4 of this paragraph, all bishops of a country can do collegially for all their dioceses. Papal confirmation has been necessary only according to recent ecclesiastical law. In the past, even in the West, provincial or regional synods were held and made decisions having the power of law for the province or region, without anyone believing it necessary to have a confirmation by the Roman pontiff. It would wise to step back a bit and recognize in the bishops, whether individually or collegially, the powers that the authentic tradition of the Church admits that they have. This contributes to the decentralization that is necessary in the Church.

4. The schema envisions episcopal conferences only at the national level. Today international conferences are increasing in number. Why would the Catholic Church be the last to profit from the benefits of these international gatherings? Episcopal congresses or conferences on the regional or continental level would be useful.

On the same subject of the episcopal conferences, here is the text of the intervention at the Council on November 15, 1963, by Archishop Elias Zoghby, Patriarchal Vicar for Egypt and the Sudan

I sum up my intervention on the subject of the episcopal conferences in the four following considerations, some of which have ecumenical importance.

1. The Roman Church was involved with the Orthodox East through ten centuries of union, during which it not only recognized its collegial and synodal system, but even lived this system, in common with the traditional or apostolic Churches of the East.

Indeed, apart from the great ecumenical councils that assembled the episcopates of the East and the West, the Roman Church exchanged with the traditional or apostolic Churches of the East synodal letters that dealt with problems concerning both the local Churches and the universal Church.

In our own era, when the Catholic Church is striving to become more accessible to communion with the Orthodox East and is preparing for ecumenical dialogue, the Second Vatican Council cannot propose to the Churches of the East any ecclesiastical system other than the synodal system, i.e., the system of active and effective episcopal conferences. To speak of purely consultative conferences is to condemn all dialogue to failure beforehand.

2. The synods or episcopal conferences in the Eastern Catholic Churches have been stripped of all real power to the advantage of the Roman dicasteries, and especially of the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Church. In order to realize this, it is sufficient to consult the new code of Eastern canon law. This congregation actually assumes the role of a pseudo-patriarchate.

It is true that the six patriarchs have been named adjunct members of the Congregation for the Eastern Church, which already has some thirty members, all of them cardinals. This solution is neither efficacious, nor honorable, nor ecumenical.

To make the patriarchs, who are the presidents de iure of their own synods, inferior members, numerically in the minority, in a congregation responsible for the affairs of their own patriarchates is in fact to condemn the synodal system.

In the place of this congregation there should be an organization whose members would be delegates of the episcopal synods or conferences of the Churches of the Eastern rite.

3. The bishops are the pastors and have primary responsibility for Catholic action and for the entire lay apostolate. Now, this apostolate is no longer circumscribed within the limits of specific parishes or dioceses. It is organized on a national or worldwide scale. Only the collective power of the episcopate will enable it to exercise its pastoral function at the level of the national or universal organizations of the lay apostolate which the bishops must control and direct.

4. In this hall the specter of danger of nationalism has been raised in opposition to collegiality and to episcopal conferences with jurisdiction.

Now, we live in an era when nationalism, as long as it is not exclusive and dedicated to centralization, no longer constitutes an obstacle to the general welfare, but is rather a principle of enrichment for the whole of human society.

Indeed, while young nations are rising and attaining liberty, we see international organizations arise with greater prestige than ever, in which all peoples participate on an equal basis.

Can churchmen be less generous and less open-minded than statesmen?

Episcopal "Faculties" or Pontifical "Reservations"?

The patriarch discussed this question in a memorandum presented at the meeting of the Central Commission in May, 1962.

In my opinion, there should be no question in the Catholic Church of "faculties conceded to the bishops," permanently or for a specific time, since the bishop has in his own Church by divine right all the powers necessary to rule his flock, without any limitation. However, when there is a higher interest, certain powers are reserved to the metropolitan, to the patriarch, to the synod, or to the Roman pontiff. We should speak of "reservations" rather than "faculties." In other words, we must not draw up a list of "faculties" but a list of "reservations." Moreover, these reservations must be limited to serious cases in which the general interest of the Church requires that the bishop not use his rightful power. But to reserve to the Holy See the blessing of stations of the cross or permission for those in cloisters to leave their enclosure to go to the dentist, and then to cede the "faculty" for this to the ordinaries is a manifest abuse. If the bishop cannot by his own right bless stations of the cross, what else can he do? We have started from the false principle that the Holy See has all the powers and that it alone has them; it then cedes their use, sometimes and as it chooses, to the bishops, as a favor. This concept, never formally stated but applied in practice, is inadmissible.

We even suggest that the future Eastern canon law, even if it is worked out in Rome in the interest of greater uniformity, be promulgated not by the Holy See but by the highest authority of each Eastern Church. The consequence of its promulgation by the Holy See is that every dispensation, even the most minimal, is reserved to the Holy See. If this canon law is promulgated by the highest local authority, there will be no need to have recourse to the Holy See for dispensations in very trivial matters. Only certain serious cases of general interest will be reserved to the Holy See.

Dividing Dioceses

A memorandum presented by Patriarch Maximos at the session of the Preparatory Commission in February, 1962. It deals with the problem of "personal dioceses" for Eastern emigrants.

In general I approve this schema "de Episcopis et dioecesium regimine" (on bishops and the administration of dioceses) presented by the commission. I take the liberty, however, of making the following comments:

1. Article I sets out to define what a diocese is. Very felicitously, it stresses that the diocese is a Church in the particular sense of the word, entrusted to a bishop, who is a successor of the Apostles, to govern it, and it adds: "sub Romani Pontificis auctoritate" (under the authority of the Roman pontiff). We think that this definition should be amplified by saying: "sub Romani Pontificis auctoritate aliorumque qui, iure ecclesiastico, potestate supra-episcopali gaudent" (under the authority of the Roman pontiff or of others who by ecclesiastical right, enjoy supra-episcopal power), such as patriarchs, archbishops, metropolitans, etc. In fact, it is not correct to present the pope as being the only one to have supra-episcopal power in the Church. Other hierarchs likewise enjoy this power, but only by ecclesiastical right.

2. Paragraph 6 recommends that an episcopal commission in each nation have the responsibility of proposing to the Holy See the fixing of boundaries of dioceses. We know that changes in the boundaries of dioceses are not reserved directly to the Holy See in Eastern law. It is therefore also necessary to amend the text of the schema as follows: "Sanctae Sedi vel aliae auctoritati competenti ad normam iuris proponat" (Let it propose it to the Holy See or to another competent authority according to the precepts of the law.)

3. The same comment applies to Paragraph 8, which deals with the union of two dioceses that are "equal in importance." Inasmuch as this matter is not directly reserved to the Holy See in Eastern law, the text of the schema must be amended as follows: "nisi Sedes Apostolica vel alia competens auctoritas ad normam iuris aliter decreverit" (unless the Apostolic See or another competent authority according to the precepts of the law should decree otherwise).

4. Article 12 envisions the creation in each country of a commission of bishops with the responsibility of proposing to the Holy See all the necessary mutations in the boundaries of the dioceses, allowing the rights of the Eastern Church to remain unchanged. We think that even for the Latin Church the formation of such a commission is inopportune. We propose that this work be the responsibility of the national episcopal conference itself. It is useless to create new organizations.

5. Paragraph 13 envisions the possibility of creating personal dioceses for the faithful of a different rite. Yet the terms that it uses appear to us inadequate because they are either too weak or too elastic: "erigi poterunt" (they could be erected). This paragraph must be harmonized with an article already presented by the Commission of the Eastern Churches in which it is said that whenever the number of the faithful of another rite is sufficient and the welfare of souls requires it, the maintenance and development of the Eastern rites must be provided for by the creation of personal dioceses.

The Latin Church has divided up the entire world in such a way that there is not a single parcel of land that is not subject to a Latin jurisdiction. Even in places where there is only one Eastern Catholic jurisdiction, a Latin jurisdiction has been created for the benefit of the Latins, thus doubling the local Catholic hierarchy. By contrast, even for tens of thousands of Eastern Catholics, the Latin hierarchy of certain countries still refuses to allow a personal diocese of the Eastern rite to be created by the Holy See, under the pretext that it wishes to remain alone and free in its movements on its own territory. The modern history of the Eastern Catholic Churches also offers many examples of such discriminatory measures that unjustly affect Eastern Catholics, especially in India and in America.

We think that the Council, by using more categorical terms, must request the creation of these personal dioceses of the Eastern rite whenever the number of the faithful permits it and the welfare of souls requires it, so that the long-standing opposition of certain territorial bishops may at last be seen by them to be prejudicial to the good of the Church. In the countries of emigration our Orthodox brethren have their own hierarchy, organize themselves, and develop. We, on the contrary, because we are Catholic, see ourselves deprived of a hierarchy, which not only places us in a state of inferiority by comparison with the Orthodox, but also prevents us from assuring the spiritual service of our faithful and the effective oversight of our priests. This results in a veritable confusion in our parishes of the diaspora, and as a consequence the loss of our children in many localities.

Internationalization of the Roman Curia

In its "Comments on the schemas of the Council" (1963), the Holy Synod proposed the practical means of internationalizing the Roman Curia. The comment is made on the subject of a paragraph of the schema "On the Bishops and the Government of Dioceses."

The schema proposes that certain members of the episcopate, designated by the episcopal conferences of each country, be named members or consultors of the Roman congregations. This, it is hoped, will accomplish the internationalization of the Roman Curia, which is so strongly desired. We believe that this measure is not sufficient. To accomplish this internationalization we think that the following measures must be taken:

1. Have the courage to face reality clearly: the Catholic Church, in its central administration, is not very universal, not very international. More than ninety percent of the representative staff of the Holy See consists of Italians: at the Roman Curia the percentage must not be much lower. The same holds true of the Roman universities as a whole. How can we prevent anyone from thinking that the administration of the Catholic Church is de facto monopolized by the Italian nation, which, for that matter, is extremely venerable and obliging? A thousand reasons will be given to justify this state of things. Yet, are these authentic reasons, valid before God, or self-interested pretexts? If the Council does not remedy this situation, the reforms it plans to accomplish in the Church will not be complete. Whether we like it or not, we are faced with an abnormal situation, which can perhaps be explained by the historical evolution of pontifical power, but which is no longer justifiable.

2. In order that the bishops of the entire world be appointed members of the Roman congregations, current canon law, according to which only cardinals can be members of a Roman Congregation, must be changed. Even recently, His Holiness Pope John XXIII, favorably accepting a suggestion that we had made to him, wished to introduce the Eastern patriarchs into the "plenary" assemblies of the Eastern congregation. It seems that in order not to contravene canon law it was considered adequate to give the patriarchs the title of ''adjunct-members'': a useless insult to the patriarchs whom the Holy Father intended to honor.

3. The practice of the Roman congregations, which holds that the members be neither convoked nor regularly consulted, must also be changed. If, in fact, one of them is temporarily in Rome, and if by chance a "plenary" is held during that time, he is permitted to attend. But no file is sent to him ahead of time to study. In reality, to be a member of a Roman congregation, for those members who live outside Rome, is a purely honorary title. As a matter of fact, this has been the case for the Eastern patriarchs who have been appointed "adjunct-members" of the Eastern Congregation. L'Osservatore Romano and other newspapers have outdone themselves in pointing out this gesture of "special benevolence" by the Holy See for the Eastern patriarchs. In fact, since they were named, the patriarchs have never been convoked; they have never received a file to study; they have never been asked for their opinion. That is how the most generous reforming intentions are neutralized by the routine of administration.

4. In actual fact, the most important questions must be reserved for the deliberations of all the members and not be settled by the Cardinal Prefect or the Secretary, with at most one or two officials of his department.

Naturally, the text of the schema is not opposed to these reforms, but it does not require them. It is content to make theoretical assertions, but it would be good for it to go into a few details on this point.

One would also like to see provision made for a sort of supreme council around the pope, composed of the Eastern patriarchs (as incumbents of the great apostolic sees of Christendom), the cardinals, and even the primates (under whatever title they are called) of all the Churches (for example, the presidents of the national episcopal conferences).

Reform of the Holy Office

The Holy Synod, in its "Comments on the Schemas of the Council" (1963) asked for the reform of the Roman Curia in general and of the Holy Office in particular.

In our opinion, the Council owes it to itself to provide the fundamental principles of a reform of the Roman Curia. The faithful will be shocked to see the Council begin the reform of dioceses, of parishes, of religious institutions, of associations of the faithful, etc., and not touch on the reform of the organizations of the Roman administration. More than one will think that this indicates the premeditated intention to avoid all reform of the curia, whereas this reform, according to the universal view of popes, bishops, and the faithful is necessary for the good of the Church.

The reform of all dicasteries of the Roman Curia requires detailed studies which are more within the province of the post-Conciliar commission. The council should merely order the reform and indicate its broad outlines.

Reform is especially necessary in what concerns the "Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office." With respect to this congregation there is something like a conspiracy of silence: a respectful silence perhaps, but above all a silence of fear. We think that on the contrary, through love of the Church and of the Holy See, the Fathers of the Council should speak out, always respectfully but frankly and courageously, for God will hold them accountable for having seen the evil, of complaining about it in secret, and not denouncing it. We shall simply say what we think. But others than ourselves have certainly much more to say.

Every physical or moral body owes it to itself to possess a structure capable of defending itself against ailments. Likewise, the Catholic Church must have within its bosom an effective structure to defend the faith and sound morals. The necessity of a congregation "De Fide et Moribus" is therefore not called into question. Yet between such an organization and a "Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office" with its current form and procedures, there is a difference, and what a difference!

Thus a reform of the Holy Office is indispensable. Here are the reforms that, in our opinion, are the most urgent ones:

1. First of all, the spirit that dominates at the Holy Office must be changed. This spirit does not seem to us to be the spirit of Christ and of His holy Gospel. From its origins, the Holy Office has inherited an absolutism of thought and procedures that was inherent in the customs of the time, but that our contemporaries, with good right, can no longer tolerate. The spirit of Christ is a spirit of non-violence, of charity with respect to those who sin or who involuntarily go astray, a spirit of humble search for the truth, of graciousness, service, openness, forgiveness, etc. The members of the Holy Office can be, and we believe are in fact holy persons who individually possess all these qualities. However, as a body, they do not act according to the spirit of Christ. As a result, they give the faithful and others a false idea of Christianity. The Christian virtues must be practiced, not only individually but also collectively, in a body.

2. In particular, what shocks our contemporaries is this self-assurance that the Holy Office displays in every domain, dogmatic as well as moral, political, artistic, etc., so that in its view everything is clear, evident, and certain. The Holy Office acts as if it were endowed with infallibility.

3. It is also necessary that the Holy Office no longer remain above the Law. Its public legislation must be widely known. In legislating on procedure, the Code begins by excepting the Holy Office (can. 1555, #1), which would have its own particular norms, which would remain secret. The procedure of the Holy Office must cease to give the impression of being left to the arbitrariness of the members of this congregation.

4. The Holy Office must also have a clearly-defined jurisdiction. Under the pretext of safeguarding faith and morals, it must not take care of everything. In fact, the entire discipline and the entire administration, and in the last analysis everything in the Church stems in a certain respect from faith. The Holy Office has been seen to meddle in the liturgy, the apostolate, politics, art, nominations, everything, under cover of faith and morals, for example, when it sought to prohibit priests of the Byzantine rite from using the vernacular language in the liturgy or to forbid an Eastern bishop from exercising the apostolate with regard to certain non-Christians of his diocese in order to reserve it for Latin authority of the same diocese.

5. Likewise, it must never happen that a sentence handed down in the first instance by the Holy Office be final. When the Holy Office pronounces on appeal, it is normal that its sentence be final, but when it pronounces in the first instance, an appeal must be assured.

6. Moreover, no sentence of the Holy Office must be handed down without the interested party's having knowledge of the grievances imputed to him and very ample means available to him for defending himself.

7. The system of "secret accusation," tolerated if not encouraged by the Holy Office, must be eliminated. The accusers must be severely punished. Except in very rare and very serious cases, such accusing, even when it is not false, harms the Church by creating an atmosphere of suspicion, fear, and terror.

8. No member of the laity, and especially no ecclesiastic, must be judged and condemned by the Holy Office except after his hierarchic leader has been heard. That is ordinary common sense.

9. The Holy Office must no longer condemn ex informata conscientia, by arrogating omnipotent and absolute power over consciences. Justice, and even simple decency, condemns such a method.

10. We must put an end to this terror of the "Secretum Sancti Officii" (under the secrecy of the Holy Office), which forbids speaking under pain of very serious censures or which imposes commands that are sometimes repugnant to the conscience. Such for example would be the case when the Holy Office directs a bishop "sub secreto Sancti Officii" to take a stern measure against a priest while making the priest believe that this measure comes from his bishop and not from the Holy Office. Such procedures are repugnant to the natural conscience and create mistrust in the Church. It is even immoral.

In a word, the Holy Office can no longer live in the Middle Ages. The Inquisition of Torquemada is over. The Holy Office, which inherited its spirit, must also come to an end in its present form and with the procedures that it still uses, in order to give way to a normal Congregation "De Fide et Moribus" (On Faith and Morals).

We for our part acknowledge that throughout our life we have never heard anything but complaints, and often very bitter ones, concerning the Holy Office. Yet very few are those who dare to raise their voices. We have done so, and we shall do it again, because we deem that our patriarchal and episcopal duty demands that we speak out openly but also with respect for the venerable members of this congregation.

Ecclesiastical Censures and the Holy Office

A memorandum presented by Patriarch Maximos at the May 1962 meeting of the Central Commission concerning two schemas on ecclesiastical penalties that will not be retained in the future.

I completely approve of this schema which has introduced into the penal administration of the Church some indispensable guarantees of justice. It was a point of weakness in the procedures of the Church to commit the accused to the prudent judgement of the ordinary. Certainly, the ordinaries must have our trust, but trust must also be inspired in the accused, and he should not be given reason to believe that the Church refuses him the guarantees of defense and equity that all the tribunals of the free world today now provide. On this point the Church law was still manifesting the customs of the Middle Ages.

And yet the tribunal that, in the Church, is most seriously accused of not observing these formal guarantees of justice will still escape, according to the schema, this absolutely indispensable reform. I speak of the Holy Office, which Canon Law still dispenses from these rules of common procedure.

We do not doubt the virtue and good intentions of the members of the Holy Office, but that is not the question. What is at stake is whether the Church will continue to tolerate in the mid-20th century that the Holy Office will continue to proceed like the Holy Inquisition of the Middle Ages, for example by condemning someone ex informata conscientia, without having heard him, without giving him the opportunity to defend himself, and by reserving for itself the rights to inflict penalties not provided by law and to follow an unknown procedure. Such ways of acting degrade the Church in the eyes of unbelievers, and of believers as well. They embitter Catholics. They give the Holy Office an exaggerated power in the Church, to the point of sometimes allowing it to neutralize the wishes of the supreme pontiff. They humiliate the Catholic hierarchy. They surround this organization, which should be only a simple dicastery of the Roman Curia like the others, with a reputation for shadowy terror, something that is most contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. The Holy Office must defend faith and morals, but by evangelical means, not by the means, mitigated it is true, of the Holy Inquisition of the Middle Ages, and, in any case, with the formal and external guarantees of justice that all tribunals of the free world approve.

For all these reasons, we ask that the Holy Office be obliged to observe the common procedures of the Church and not constitute an exceptional tribunal either as to jurisdiction, procedure, or penalties. For the honor of the Church, a radical reform is absolutely indispensable.

I approve all the simplifications in the penal law accomplished by this schema. I would even wish for greater simplification. Ecclesiastical penalties are most often vestiges of a past medieval society. It is enough to have ten or so censures or penalties for really serious cases, intended to avoid scandal and to put an end to contumacy.

The censure foreseen for No. 16 (censure latae sententiae reserved for the Holy See against clerics or religious who become guilty of moral offenses with minors under the age of 16) should not be introduced, in our opinion. First of all, the statement of such an offense in conciliar acts does not befit the honor of the Church and the dignity of the clergy. Besides, there is no need to inflict a censure on this sin. Inasmuch as it is concerned with clerics or religious, the evil of the sin, in itself, should suffice to deter them from such a shameful offense. Finally, and above all, it is not fitting that the censure be reserved for the Holy See. This would be interpreted as an indirect means used by the Holy See to dominate consciences. It suffices that confessors warn their penitents of their serious duty, under certain circumstances, to denounce their accomplice to the ordinary who will take the appropriate measures, since he knows the circumstances of place and persons. Generally speaking, the custom of informing, even if anonymous, must not be introduced into the Church. In fact, if informing to the Holy See is anonymous, it has little usefulness; if it reveals the name of the guilty party it transforms the Holy See into a bureau of police investigation, which is odious.

Restoring the Free Election of Bishops in the Eastern Church

This is a post-conciliar memorandum written by the patriarch in Damascus on April 9, 1965. In its "Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches," the Council had decided to restore to the patriarchs together with their synods the right to freely elect, without need of pontifical confirmation, the bishops of their rite within the limits of the patriarchal territory. However, when, after the Council, it was necessary to exercise this right, difficulties arose. This memorandum had to be written in order to defend the decision of the Council.

1. Nothing in Holy Scripture or in the Tradition of the Fathers reserves to the Roman pontiff the election or confirmation of bishops in the entire world.

In the East, after the variety of customs in the first three centuries, the designation of bishops was always carried out by way of an election in a provincial synod, presided over by the metropolitan, by the patriarchal synod, presided over by patriarch, or by any other synod possessing internal canonical autocephaly.

This in no way denies the right of the supreme pontiff to intervene by directly naming a bishop. However, this intervention is only sporadic, motivated by extraordinary urgent circumstances or by the supreme interest of the universal Church. Apart from these cases, the supreme pontiff respects the normal functioning of the institutions of the East that reserve to the holy synod the free election of bishops.

Once the Eastern bishops have been elected in a synod, they do not need, according to authentic Eastern law, to be confirmed by the supreme pontiff.

Never during the thousand years that the union of the East and the West endured did the Bishop of Rome intervene to confirm the election of an Eastern bishop.

Even in the West, it was only very recently that the nomination or confirmation of bishops was reserved to the Roman pontiffs. This is an evident proof that there is question here of a reservation of a purely disciplinary nature, not demanded by Catholic dogma. Now, in a purely disciplinary matter, not only is evolution accepted, but also divergence between the East and the West must be accepted. On this question of the designation of bishops, the East does not impose its discipline on the West. Conversely, neither must the West impose its discipline on the East.

2. Unfortunately, it has happened that when segments of the Eastern Churches united with Rome during the last few centuries, the West did impose its own discipline on them in this matter. Whether due to ignorance of the institutions of the East or to an erroneous conviction that this was a point of doctrine, the fact is that little by little the various Eastern Catholic Churches have been compelled in this matter of the designation of bishops to follow measures that have been progressively restrictive of their internal canonical autonomy, even when the right to freely elect their bishops was not completely taken from them and reserved entirely to the Roman pontiff.

The Eastern Catholic Churches allowed this to be done to them. It did not even occur to them that they could do anything else, since their hierarchs were for the most part imbued with the theories of the Counter-Reformation, according to which all power in the Church issues from the pope and no bishop can be received into the college of the successors of the Apostles unless he is directly named or at least confirmed by the pope.

In this general atmosphere of submissiveness amid the forgetfulness of the authentic discipline of the East, which is more ancient on this point than the discipline of the West, the Melkite Church and the Maronite Church refused to allow themselves to be latinized. The Melkite Synod, presided over by the patriarch, has always proceeded freely in the election of bishops without being held to any previous authorization or confirmation by the Holy See of Rome. Out of deference to the supreme pontiff, the patriarch simply transmitted to Rome, purely by way of information, the name of the elected bishop. Thus Rome knew that there was a new bishop in the Melkite Church and could deal with him. It was in no sense a request for confirmation, but simply the transmission of information. The name of the bishop was not cited by the pope in consistory, and he received no bull of nomination or confirmation.

It was only under Benedict XV that the Eastern Congregation took the initiative on its own to publish in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, when learning of a new bishop elected among the Melkites or the Maronites, that the Holy Father "ratam habuit" this election. This does not mean that he "ratified" it, but that he simply "recognized it as valid." On the other hand, with respect to the other communities subject to a latinizing discipline that demanded the confirmation of the pope (the Armenians, the Copts, the Syrians, and the Chaldeans), the Acta said that the pope "electionem confirmavit" (confirmed the election). (Cf. on this question A. Coussa, "Epitome praeelectionum de jure ecclesiastico orientali," Vol. I, Rome, 1948, No. 296, pp. 297-8.) As for the communities that had no patriarch, such as the Ukrainians, the Ruthenians, the Romanians, the Malabarese, etc., Rome named the bishops directly.

3. This last vestige of internal canonical autonomy, this last trace of authentic Eastern discipline miraculously preserved by the Melkite Church and the Maronite Church, was destroyed by Pope Pius XII.

Under his orders, the Sacred Eastern Congregation, by a letter of December 15, 1951 (No. 389-51), addressed to all the heads of the Eastern Churches, made obligatory the part of the proposed codification of Eastern law which concerns the elections of bishops. This new discipline went into effect immediately, but it was to remain secret by the order of the pope. It was to be made public by the publication of the Motu Proprio "Cleri sanctitati" of June 2, 1957. We have energetically protested against these measures, but in vain.

The most serious aspect of this new discipline is the obligation, henceforth unlimited and extended to all the Eastern Churches, including the Melkite Church and the Maronite Church, to receive from the Holy See either the confirmation of bishops elected or else the prior approbation of lists of those under consideration for elevation to the episcopacy, to be renewed every six months. In each alternative, there is the same obvious and serious infraction of authentic Eastern discipline.

More serious still is the principle adopted for legitimizing this restriction of the freedom of election of bishops. According to the letter of the Sacred Eastern Congregation mentioned above, it is "the intention to provide that these promotions to the episcopal dignity more perfectly reflect the fundamental principles of doctrine..."

This allusion in turn reflects not Catholic doctrine but a certain theory, very much honored in certain quarters, notably the Roman, according to which Catholic dogma requires that no bishop be designated except by the pope, directly or indirectly. This is the theory that inspired the first draft of the schema "De Ecclesia," still completely imbued with the above-mentioned theory. This draft said in substance that no bishop is received into the apostolic college except through the direct or indirect intervention of the pope. The Melkite representative and also the late Cardinal Acacius Coussa demonstrated to the Central Commission, where this first draft was submitted for discussion, how lacking this theory was in scriptural, patristic, and historical foundation. It projected on the universal Church what was simply a fortuitous disciplinary and rather recent custom of the Western patriarchate alone, while elevating it to the level of a theological doctrine.

In the face of these criticisms and others that came later, this theory was abandoned, and a new draft was adopted by the Theological Commission that respects the truth of revelation and of history.

This new draft, with slight modifications, found a place in the dogmatic constitution "On the Church," approved by the Council on November 21, 1964, which says the following in the last paragraph of No. 24:

"The canonical mission of bishops can come about:

-by legitimate customs which have not been revoked by the supreme and universal authority of the Church,

-or by laws made or recognized by the same authority,

-or directly through the successor of Peter himself. If the latter refuses or denies apostolic communion, a bishop cannot assume office."

Of the three possibilities envisioned by this text, the third is the one that suits the Latin Church, in which the pope directly names all bishops; the second has been applied to those Eastern Catholic Churches upon which a so-called "Eastern" legislation has been imposed in this matter, which is really only a stage of latinization. Only first possibility constitutes the true and authentic law of the East, in which bishops are elected by the Holy Synod, by virtue of legitimate customs and of a conciliar law that should not be revoked.

4. In other words, the transitory law that is the latinizing legislation of the motu proprio "Cleri Sanctitati" must be replaced by an authentically Eastern law. On this point, as on so many others, the authentic Eastern law must be restored.

a. This is absolutely necessary if we wish to enter into discussions with Orthodoxy with a view to union. Orthodoxy will never accept union if it knows that its bishops will be nominated or confirmed by Rome, as are the Latin bishops.

b. The Latin Church must not absorb the Eastern Churches. We must be Catholic, but not necessarily Latin. In everything that does not concern dogma and the necessary communion with the successor of Peter, it is necessary to recognize the broadest disciplinary autonomy of the Eastern Churches.

c. One must have confidence in the synods of bishops. The candidate whom they will elect is better known and judged by a group of 15 or 20 bishops assembled in synod than by a "minutante" or by another functionary of the Roman Curia, who necessarily judges on the basis of reports that are not always truthful. In our own time especially, the episcopate is demonstrating great maturity of judgment, and we believe that no pernicious influence could make it deviate from its course.

d. It is necessary to avoid the shame of having to receive approbation of lists of those qualified to become bishops and of having the approbation renewed every six months. Likewise, it is necessary to avoid the shame of electing a bishop in synod, and then waiting at least one month until Rome has studied his file, as if the judgment of the bishops assembled in synod had no value compared with the judgment of a "minutante" of the Roman court. Meanwhile the Catholic episcopate is the laughing-stock of Orthodox Christians.

e. The council, aware of these difficulties, has made serious decisions that radically remedy the situation and must now be put into practice.

Referring to the Eastern patriarchs, the Council in its "Decree on Eastern Catholic Churches" sets forth in No. 9 three governing principles that absolutely require a radical recasting of the "latinizing" legislation in force until now.

The first principle: "This sacred Synod, therefore, decrees that their rights and privileges should be re-established in accord with the ancient traditions of each Church and the decrees of the ecumenical Synods."

Now, it is evident, absolutely evident, that the free election of bishops is one of the moat authentic and most serious prerogatives of the Eastern patriarchs with their synods, according to the ancient traditions of the Eastern Churches and the decisions of the ecumenical councils.

The second principle specifies how we are to understand this restoration and what are these rights and privileges to be restored. It says: "The rights and privileges in question are those which flourished when the East and West were in union, though they should be somewhat adapted to modern conditions."

Therefore this restoration must be accomplished not according to a hybrid and latinizing law conceived by the Roman Curia, but according to the authentic Eastern law as it was applied during the thousand years of union between the East and the West. Now, during the time of union, never, absolutely never, would it have come to anyone's mind that the bishops of the East must be elected or confirmed by Rome. Those who think otherwise are ignorant of the elements of history. It is all the more true in that even until the twentieth century, and more precisely until the end of 1951, no Melkite bishop ever needed confirmation by Rome.

It is true that this authentic Eastern law can and sometimes must be "somewhat adapted to modern conditions." But these modern conditions in no way require, quite to the contrary, that the Eastern bishops be confirmed by Rome.

The third principle removes all doubt about this matter, since it considers our case in particular. It says: "The patriarchs with their synods constitute the superior authority for all affairs of the patriarchate, including the right to establish new eparchies and to nominate bishops of their rite within the territorial bounds of the patriarchate, without prejudice to the inalienable right of the Roman pontiff to intervene in individual cases."

According to this conciliar text, the patriarchs with their synods are normally the superior authority for all the business of their patriarchates, including the right to name the bishops of their rite within the patriarchal territory. This could not be stated more clearly. The pope can certainly intervene whenever he so wishes, but if he does not intervene for reasons of exceptional gravity in which the general welfare of the Church is at stake, the nomination of bishops, as well as all the other business of the patriarchate, is under the jurisdiction of the patriarch with his synod.

5. The three principles naturally call for a complete recasting of the current Eastern codification in the direction of greater internal canonical autonomy, but this work will no doubt require several years.

Meanwhile, one must conclude that through these principles the Council virtually abrogates the directly contrary restrictive provisions of the motu proprio "Cleri sanctitati," in particular Canons 253 and 254, that require the confirmation the confirmation by Rome of elected candidates or the prior approbation of lists of those being considered as potential bishops.

6. Practical conclusion

In order to avoid any doubt as to interpretation, and while awaiting the recasting of Eastern canon law, we humbly suggest that the Holy Father, as an application of the decrees of the council, abrogate or suspend the effect of the two above-cited canons by declaring that the Eastern patriarchs with their synods can freely proceed to the election the consecration and the installation of the bishops of their rites within the limits of the patriarchal territory.

This point, which is of very great importance, is, as it were, the touchstone which will indicate the sincere determination of the central administration to apply the reforming decisions of the Council in accordance with the spirit of the Council.

Indeed, the decisions of the Second Vatican Council approved and promulgated by Pope Paul VI must not remain dead letters, in the state of futile solemn declarations but never applied, as happened with all those that were proclaimed by Leo XIII and a few other popes but never put into force by their central administration. For the honor of the Roman Church, these decisions of the Second Vatican Council must be put into practice.

The Oriental Congregation had expressed interest in gathering the opinions of the Eastern patriarchs on the practical way of applying Article 9 of the conciliar "Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches." Patriarch Maximos again assembled his Synod in Beirut on January 11, 1966. The Synod proposed to Rome a procedure which would allow the Holy See of Rome to intervene on occasion if the good of the Church required it, and allow the Eastern Churches to exercise their prerogative of free election.

The patriarch, as of January 18, 1966, transmitted to His Eminence Gustave Cardinal Testa, Pro-Prefect of the Oriental Congregation, the deliberations of the Holy Synod.

Your Eminence:

Following up on my letter of November 27th last, relating to the practical procedure proposed by Your Eminence for applying Article 9 of the Conciliar Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches, I hasten to inform Your Eminence that I convoked the Synod of our Bishops on Tuesday, the eleventh of this month, in Beirut. Seventeen bishops were able to attend; five excused themselves from coming for reasons of health or work...

The Fathers asked me to transmit their response to you in writing the following text:

1. The Synod, by law as well as in conscience, must hold to Article 9 of the Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches, restoring to the said Churches their full freedom in episcopal elections that they enjoyed previously. That is why the Synod does not wish to give an opinion in what concerns the procedure of the elections that could be interpreted as if we were renouncing a right that the council has recognized that we have.

2. Inasmuch as the patriarch is obliged by reason of his function to consult before proposing the candidacy of anyone for episcopal election, it is natural that he consult the Holy See of Rome, on condition, however, that this consultation not be considered as a renunciation of our rights or as the recognition of a new right of others.

3. The procedure of consultation indicated below must be considered not as an obligatory juridical norm to be inserted in the Codex, but as a practical measure of the pastoral order.

Here, then, is the practical procedure of consultation before the election:

a. The patriarch writes to the Holy See of Rome to present to it at the opportune time a list of names of priests who seem to him deserving of being candidates in future episcopal elections.

b. This presentation of names does not have as its purpose to obtain approval or confirmation of future candidates. However, its purpose is to provide information that enables the Roman pontiff to intervene in each election if he judges it appropriate, as the Second Vatican Council says (Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches, 9).

c. The list presented by the patriarch can be increased by new names, or reduced, according to the circumstances of times and persons and the needs of the Church.

d. The names on this list that have been formally vetoed by the Holy See of Rome will be the objects of explanation or definitively excluded. The other names can be presented to the electoral Synod, as candidates for episcopal election.

As soon as they are elected, they can, without other prior notice, be proclaimed bishops.

e. However, out of deference to the Holy See of Rome, the first notification shall be made to the pope through the intermediary of his representative in the locality.

In transmitting this response of the Holy Synod, I am certain that Your Eminence will understand the underlying reasons why our Church wishes to retain the freedom of elections restored by the Council, and at the same time benefit from the authoritative opinions of the Holy See of Rome. I believe that the proposed procedure allows Rome to exercise its right and allows our Church to exercise its prerogatives...

Meanwhile, the patriarch learned that the post-conciliar Central Commission, as of January 31, 1966, had given Article 9 of the conciliar "Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches" an interpretation contrary to the text and spirit of the decree. The patriarch convoked his Synod once again, at Ain-Traz on April 25 and 29, 1966. On April 30 he wrote an urgent letter to the Holy Father, begging him to please defer the publication of this interpretation. The Holy Father in fact suspended the effect of this interpretation. In a second letter dated May 11, 1966, the patriarch transmitted to the Holy Father the reasons why he, together with his Synod, believed that the interpretation of the post-conciliar commission was inadmissible. He accompanied his letter with an explanatory memorandum; the full text follows:

Memorandum on the Interpretation of No. 9, sentence 4, of the Conciliar Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches I The Context

The fourth sentence of No. 9 of the conciliar "Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches" states the following:

"The patriarchs with their synods constitute the superior authority for all affairs of the patriarchate, including the right to establish new eparchies and to nominate bishops of their rite within the territorial bounds of the patriarchate, without prejudice to the inalienable right of the Roman pontiff to intervene in individual cases."

In order to understand this text it is advisable first of all to place it in its context. Several interventions of the conciliar Fathers stressed that in the current discipline of the Catholic Church the authentic rights of the Eastern patriarchs were greatly reduced. This appeared to be an obstacle to ecumenical dialogue with Orthodoxy, in which the patriarchal dignity is held in high esteem. That is why the Eastern Commission submitted to the Council, which approved them, a series of measures intended to restore the dignity and the powers of the Eastern patriarchs.

After explicitly affirming in the first sentence of this No. 9 that "the patriarchs of the Eastern Churches are to be accorded exceptional respect," the second sentence goes further and says: "This sacred Synod, therefore, decrees that their rights and privileges should be re-established in accord with the ancient traditions of each Church and the decrees of the ecumenical Synods." Thus, the Council presumes that at the present time, according to the discipline in force (in particular, the discipline of the motu proprio "Cleri sanctitati"), the patriarchs are deprived of at least certain of their rights and privileges and the Council decides that they must be given back to them. Therefore, if the pre-conciliar law of the motu proprio is maintained as such, the Council, which decided to restore the rights and privileges of the Eastern patriarchs, is not being obeyed.

In order to make for still greater clarity, the third sentence indicates in what direction this restoration must be made. The Council says: "The rights and privileges in question are those which flourished when the East and West were in union, though they should be somewhat adapted to modern conditions." The Council therefore commands that the inspiration for the restoration of the rights and privileges of the patriarchs be drawn not from the recent law of the motu proprio of Pius XII, or even from the recent synods of the communities united with Rome, which have often introduced a very shocking hybrid law, but from the classical and authentic Eastern law such as it was practiced during the millennium of union between the East and the West. It is the Council's thought, therefore, that we must pass over a certain recent period of legislation and return to the ancient law. It is not in accordance with the thinking of the Council to refer constantly to the motu proprio of Pius XII and cling to it as to an immutable law. The interpretation of the conciliar texts on this matter need not culminate in the confirmation of pre-conciliar legislation. If that were to happen, the Council would have accomplished nothing. There was no need to assemble a Council in order to confirm, purely and simply, the status quo ante.

To conclude, the Council approved, in the fourth sentence, an important application of the principles of restoration that it had just set forth. The fourth sentence is intended to return to the patriarchs with their synods a certain internal canonical autonomy insofar as it is reconcilable with the recognition of the dogma of Roman supremacy. We must not allow ourselves to be impressed by the expression of opinion that has indeed been used at the Council by eminent orators, such as Cardinal Francis Koenig himself. There is no question of autonomy in the sense of independence vis-a-vis Rome or of autocephaly such as the Orthodox understand it. It is a question of recognizing the right of the Eastern Churches to govern themselves internally, with full recognition of the prerogatives of Roman primacy, without being obliged to have recourse, constantly and often for administrative details, to previous authorizations and to subsequent confirmations by the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, as is the practice today, according to the current law in which the patriarch cannot even give a celebret to a priest who is going to America for two or three months without obtaining an authorization from Rome, etc.

The Council has sought to react against this state of affairs and to liberate the patriarchs from these administrative servitudes by recognizing their right, as in former days of union, to govern their patriarchates as leaders of particular Churches, conscious of their duties and responsible for their apostolic mission, not as executive agents of the Sacred Eastern Congregation. This does not mean that Roman primacy and the exercise of that primacy are denied. However, from the fact that the pope can intervene in all ecclesiastical matters, even the smallest, it does not follow that he must intervene in all matters and that no measure can be taken without his consent or his confirmation.

The East was closely united with Rome before the great rupture of the eleventh century and fully recognized Roman primacy. However, it governed itself freely, while the pope retained the right to intervene when he deemed it advisable for the good of the Church; and in fact he did intervene, more or less frequently, according to the gravity of the cases.

It is this perfectly Catholic state of affairs, during the millennium of union between the East and the West, that the Council intends to give as the model for the future codification of the Eastern Canon Law when it pronounces the following principle contained in the fourth sentence of No. 9: "The patriarchs with their synods constitute the superior authority for all affairs of the patriarchate, including the right to establish new eparchies and to nominate bishops of their rite within the territorial bounds of the patriarchate, without prejudice to the inalienable right of the Roman pontiff to intervene in individual cases."

Before passing to the commentary on this text, it is perhaps appropriate to recall that this text is henceforth a conciliar text. Whether it please certain persons or not, whether it has been presented by the Melkites or by others, whether it has been bitterly debated at the Eastern Commission or not, it belongs from now on to the incontestable heritage of the universal Church. Those who were formerly opposed to it at the preparatory stage should not be authorized today to raise doubts about it or to cleverly empty it of its efficacy by the devious means of all sorts of interpretations that do not respect its original meaning.

II. What Does This Text Grant to the Patriarchs with Their Synods?

The council is deciding that "for all the affairs of the patriarchate" without exception "the patriarchs with their synods constitute the superior authority."

The affairs that the patriarchate deals with are many and unlimited: the discipline of the clergy and of the faithful, seminaries, the apostolate, etc. No exception is made.

In all these affairs, the patriarchs, alone or with their respective synods, according to the determinations of positive law, constitute the "superior authority." The term "supreme" is not used, in order to respect the "more superior" or "supreme" authority of the Holy See of Rome. And yet, the Council says that normally all the affairs of the patriarchate are under the authority of the patriarch with his synod. This is the obvious meaning of the Council's statement. In accordance with this principle it will therefore be necessary to review completely current legislation which takes an infinite number of affairs of the patriarchate away from the patriarchs with their synods. The council has chosen to set bounds to these countless limitations on the rights of the patriarchs, in order to restore it to the situation that prevailed "during the time of union."

The council, naturally, could not enter into the details of a reform of legislation. Nevertheless, in order to avoid possible hesitations, it mentions two affairs among the most important ones of the patriarchate, to make it clear that even these two matters are under the jurisdiction of the patriarchs with their synods. It says: "including the right to establish new eparchies and to nominate bishops of their rite within the territorial bounds of the patriarchate..." If the council felt the need to mention these two matters, it is because they had in fact during modern times been withdrawn, in certain rites, from the competence of the patriarchs and of their synods. The council commands that they be restored to them.

III. What is the Role of the Roman pontiff?

This role is indicated in the conciliar decree by the final clause "without prejudice to the inalienable right of the Roman pontiff to intervene in individual cases."

In order to fully understand this clause, it is necessary to take note of the following:

1. This clause is general in character. It is found, in this form or in similar form, hundreds of times in the documents of the council. Actually, it would suffice to affirm the prerogatives of the Roman primacy once and for all, without having to repeat this clause each time. It is clearly understood, in fact, that the pope can intervene everywhere, always, in all matters. The reason that a special need has been felt to insert this clause in the section that we are discussing is that the text lays the foundations for a certain internal canonical autonomy for the Eastern Churches. Now, in order that there may be no misinterpretation of the meaning of this internal autonomy and so that it may not be confused with autocephaly as it is practiced in the Orthodox Churches, the authors of the decree have felt the need to add the clause cited above in order to show clearly that the internal autonomy in question presumes respect for the prerogatives of the Roman primacy. Yet this clause, once again, is of a general nature and has no more authority in this paragraph than anywhere else. It simply signifies this: the broad jurisdiction recognized for the patriarchs and their synods to manage their own affairs must remain compatible with the rights of Roman primacy, such as they have been defined by Vatican I and clarified by Vatican II in the light of the powers of the episcopate.

2. Having said this, the conciliar text affirms that the pope has the right to intervene in every case, and that this right is inalienable. The difficulty—if there is a difficulty—would relate to the meaning of the words "jus interveniendi" (right to intervene) and "in singulis casibus" (in individual cases).

a. "In singulis casibus" does not mean "in aliquibus casibus" (in some cases) or "in particularibus casibus" (in particular cases). According to Catholic doctrine, the right of the pope extends to all persons and all cases. If necessary, according to the letter of the law, there is not a single ecclesiastical matter in the world of which it can be said to the pope: "this is not within your competence as pope." According to the letter of the law, the pope can intervene even to name a pastor in a parish, the rector of a church, or a school principal, etc.

"In singulis casibus" includes "in omnibus casibus," but adds a nuance to it. It could be translated "in all cases, these being considered each in particular." The nuance is not to be scorned; it is in each case in particular (it does not say: in certain particular cases) that the pope can intervene. This therefore presumes not a general rule commanding intervention, but a particular determination appropriate for each case in particular, even if, in an extreme hypothesis, this determination were to be repeated for all cases.

b. "The right to intervene" means the power to intervene, if the pope deems it appropriate. The right to intervene does not involve the obligation to intervene, namely, the necessary exercise of this right. The fact that the pope can intervene even in the nomination of pastors of parishes does not signify that he must intervene for each nomination of a pastor and that the ordinary of the place cannot name a pastor without the previous or subsequent intervention of the pope. Likewise, the fact that the pope has the right to intervene in each nomination of a bishop or in the erection of a new diocese does not signify that he must necessarily intervene, and that without his prior or subsequent intervention the patriarch with his synod cannot validly and licitly perform the acts in question.

It should be noted that we do not distinguish here, as certain persons do abusively, between the right and the exercise of the right. If the pope has the right, he can always exercise it. What we affirm is that neither the obligation nor the necessity to intervene logically result from the right to intervene.

It is true that the pope's right to intervene involves a corresponding obligation for the patriarch and the synod. But this is the obligation not to prevent this right from being exercised whenever the pope wishes to do so.

Nothing more can logically be deduced from the conciliar text.

Since the conciliar decree of November 21, 1964, sufficient time has not elapsed to permit discerning from experience whether the clause in question is the object of abuse on the part of the Eastern Churches. If in spite of this the pope wishes to assume the responsibility of imposing on the patriarchs and on their synods a new obligation by restricting the jurisdiction which the council has acknowledged in them, he can according to the letter of the law do so by relying on his supreme power. However, one must not have recourse to a violent interpretation of a text by making the council say what it has not said.

To make our explanation clearer, let us imagine a similar text, for example this one: "Ordinarii locorum suorum cum suis variis Consiliis superiorem constituunt instantiam pro quibusvis negotiis suae dioeceseos, non secluso jure constituendi paroecias novas atque nominandi parochos sui ritus intra fines territorii dioecesani, salvo inalienabili Romani Pontificis jure in singulis casibus interveniendi." (The ordinaries of their locations with their various councils constitute the superior authority for all the affairs of the diocese, including right to establish new parishes and to nominate pastors of their rite within the territorial bounds of the diocese, without prejudice to the inalienable right of the Roman pontiff to intervene in individual cases.)

By virtue of such a canon the pope could certainly, if he so desired, intervene in the establishment of a new parish or the nomination of a pastor, and even, in the last analysis, if the welfare of the Church demanded it (a purely extreme hypothesis) intervene in the establishment of all new parishes and the nomination of all pastors. But does that mean that the ordinary of the place cannot validly and licitly establish new parishes and name pastors without the intervention of the pope?

Let it not be said that the analogy is invalid since the founding of a parish is not the founding of a diocese, and the nomination of a pastor is not the nomination of a bishop. Admittedly, these matters are not of equal importance. But that is not the question. The question is to recognize that, through the conciliar text, the founding of a diocese and the nomination of a bishop have been said to be within the superior authority of the patriarch and of his synod, just as the formation of a parish or the nomination of a pastor is within the jurisdiction of the ordinary of the place with or without his council.

In the light of what precedes, it is possible to pass sounder judgment on the interpretation given by the Central Commission on January 31, 1966: "Utrum per clausulam 'salvo inalienabili Romani Pontificis jure in singulis casibus interveniendi', de qua in No. 9, comm. 4 Decreti ‘Orientalium Ecclesiarum' statuatur, quod spectat ad elegendos episcopos, plena facultas indicandi singulis in casibus, ante electionem, utrum candidatus dignus et idoneus sit?" "Affirmative." (Whether through the clause "without prejudice to the inalienable right of the Roman pontiff to intervene in individual cases," which appears in No. 9, sentence 4, of the "Decree on Eastern Churches," which pertains to nominating bishops, there is a full faculty for the Roman pontiff of indicating in individual cases, before the election, whether the candidate is worthy and suitable? In the affirmative.)

In our opinion "facultas" (faculty) says no more than "jus" (right). We remain at a standstill. We would even say that this interpretation, rightly understood, actually restricts the power of the pope unduly, for he has not only the "faculty of indicating in individual cases before the election." He can intervene just as much after the election as before the election. The council places no limitation on the pope's power of intervention.

However, the interpretation has not touched the crux of the problem. No one can deny that the pope has the full faculty to intervene either before or after the election.

Yet the question remains whether he must intervene, or at least whether it is necessary that he intervene so that the acts laid down by the patriarch and his synod may be valid and licit. To this question the interpretation of January 31, 1966, gives no answer, at least if it is understood in its obvious sense. The answer is given in the Central Commission's proceedings. In it we read, "All members...have unanimously decided to reply that the Holy Father has the right to intervene. Consequently, the patriarchs must present a request before the election of bishops. More precisely, that the patriarchs present the names of the candidates and wait until the Holy See gives the answer as to their suitability."

This interpretation appears to us to be erroneous on two points:

a. In that it passes from the right to intervene to the obligation to intervene;

b. In that it limits the unconditional right of the pope to intervene in every case to an intervention only prior to the election, as if the pope could not intervene even after the election.

After this statement of a canonical nature, may we be permitted to add a few words on the human and ecclesial level.

The whole history comes down to this: the conciliar text in question won in the Eastern Commission the necessary majority of two-thirds plus one vote. It displeased certain members and consultors of the commission. When afterwards it was almost unanimously approved by the council, it displeased certain groups that see in it a diminution in Roman control over the activities of the patriarchs. The reform of the former legislation on this point displeased them. Since they were unable to block the conciliar text, they are now trying to empty it of its content. With this violent interpretation of the text there is practically a return to the prior situation and we act as if the council had never existed. That is the whole story.

However, this conciliar text is of primordial importance from the pastoral and ecumenical point of view. It marks the beginning of decentralization. It indicates that there is an ever-growing desire to place trust in the patriarchs with their synods. In the ecumenical dialogue, it places before the eyes of Orthodoxy the state of affairs that Catholicism can offer it in the event of union. In the eyes of Catholics themselves it is a test that will show if there is a decision to go forward according to the spirit of the council, or if, by evasions through more or less violent interpretations we wish to nullify the council and come back, whatever the cost, to the prior situation. The problem is more serious than it appears.

On June 22, 1966, the Sacred Eastern Congregation transmitted to the patriarch a new solution adopted by the postconciliar Central Commission to solve the problem arising over the interpretation of Article 9 of the "Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches." This solution, which conformed essentially to the practical procedure proposed by the Melkite Synod of January, 1966, was received by the Synod of August, 1966. Thus, the freedom of episcopal elections and of the erection of new eparchies was confirmed, at the same time that the pastoral utility of a previous and private consultation between the patriarchs and the Holy Father was recognized.



[1] Actually, at the first session of the Council the representatives of the Roman See did not obtain any precedence, but occupied their rightful places as bishops, which is altogether normal.

[2] A few copies of this memorandum were sent to Archbishop Felici in a letter dated September 27, 1962, No. 1435/14.

[3] Here the patriarch unwittingly subscribes to the rhetoric of uniatism from which both the Roman Church (in the Balamand Statement) and the Melkite Church (in the bishop's 1995 Profession of Faith) subsequently distanced themselves.

 

The Liturgy

The Liturgical Commission had submitted to the Central Preparatory Commission an excellent schema "On the Sacred Liturgy." At the March-April, 1962, meeting of the Central Commission, the patriarch praised this schema. That did not prevent him from making some reservations on the points where the Eastern liturgical practices did not seem to have been sufficiently taken into consideration.

The schema of the constitution presented by the Liturgical Commission deserves all praise. It does honor to the commission which prepared it....

Granted, this schema concerns only the Latin Church, and, more particularly, the Roman rite. Thus, I am not directly qualified to offer amendments of a technical nature. I would only say that in what concerns the Eastern Church and the movement towards union, the schema seems to me to reflect attitudes of spirit that are excellent in every regard. It emphasizes in its preamble that every reform in the Catholic Church should have in view, among other aims, the drawing closer of our separated brothers, that this council should avoid making any new dogmatic definitions, that the proposed liturgical renewal concerns only the Roman rite, which is only one of the rites of the Holy Catholic Church, and that the Holy Catholic Church intends to safeguard and to surround with an equal respect all liturgical rites that are presently in use. This last mentioned truth, repeatedly declared by the Roman pontiffs, should, it seems to us, be solemnly declared by the council, in order to discourage definitively the reactionary "apostles" of the latinization of the East. This does not appear at all superfluous to anyone who knows the stubbornness of these latinizers and the support which they unfortunately still find in certain circles.

In the second place, the liturgical reforms which are proposed to us contribute indirectly to the work of union, by bringing the Western liturgical usages back to a traditional form, better preserved in the Christian East: Eucharistic concelebration, Communion under both species, diaconal litanies, etc.

Having said this, I believe that I must nevertheless make a few brief observations concerning this schema, which is otherwise excellent:

1. Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy

I agree with the principle of the necessity of adapting the liturgy to changing conditions of place and time. I shall make, however, two remarks on this subject:

a) The first is that the Eastern Catholic Church should, for more than one reason, renounce at this time making any change in its rites independently of the corresponding Orthodox branches, to avoid creating new differences with our separated brothers. Liturgical adaptation should be made only in concurrence with them.

b) The second remark is that we should not exaggerate to an obsession our concern for liturgical adaptation. Liturgical rites, like the inspired texts, have enduring value in spite of the circumstances which brought them into being. Before making any change whatever in a rite, we must be sure that this change is absolutely necessary. Liturgy has not only an impersonal character, but also a character of universality both in space and time.

2. The Use of Living Languages in the Eucharistic Celebration

This use is confined to the biblical readings, to the common prayer after the homily, and to certain paraliturgical hymns. We are resolute adherents of a much wider use of living languages, even in the celebration of the Mass. Whatever may be the advantages of liturgical Latin—and they are numerous—they should, it seems to us, be outweighed by the irreparable disadvantage that it is not understood by 99% of the faithful who participate in the sacred action. In the light of this painful consideration, we think that the example of the Eastern Church, which strongly advocates the use of language that can be understood by the people, should serve as a model. We fear above all that the fervor with which certain groups defend the almost exclusive use of Latin is not inspired by purely pastoral or ecclesiastical considerations, not to mention those who claim that Latin is "the language of the Church," forgetting that the Latin Church is only one of the Churches within the Catholic Church, and that latinism and Catholicism are in no sense identical.

3. Communion under Both Species

Very fortunately the schema proposes to restore in the Latin Church Communion under both species. This restoration first of all conforms with our Lord's wish, for He did not lightly institute the Eucharist under two species, for the faithful as well as for the priests. Without condemning the Latin practice of giving Communion to the faithful only under the species of bread, our separated brethren could well have been surprised that the Latin Church does not follow more closely in this regard the desire of the Lord and the ancient tradition of the Church. Thus it is a restoration that is equally desirable from the point of view of drawing closer to our separated brethren of the East and of the West.

This restoration is unquestionably inspired by the example of the Eastern Church. That should convince the partisans of total "latinization," if there is still a need to do so, that there are other rites in the Catholic Church, and how senseless it is to deprive the Catholic Church of everything that is not Latin, in the matter of the liturgy, as well as in discipline, art, organization, etc.

4. The Obligation to Attend Mass on Sundays and Feast Days

The schema rightly recommends to the pastors of souls that they make the faithful understand that they should participate in the whole and entire Mass, and not only in those parts that are called "essential" or "integral." On this proposal, I hope that the council can find a way to prevent the casuistry of the moralists who have dissected the Mass into segments differing in nature and involving an unequal obligation. I am delighted that this schema, while retaining the obligation to attend Mass, has avoided talking of mortal sin and venial sin. Western moralists, since the Middle Ages, have indulged in two excesses: juridical excess, which seeks to specify rigorously the limits of serious sin, and the excess of casuistry, which corrupts the moral sense of the Christian. A Christian must be able to go to God without the constant threat of serious sin and of censures, and likewise ought to serve God a bit more fully than the subtleties of casuistry may indicate.

5. Concelebration of the Eucharist

Here again is a desirable restoration inspired by the example of the Eastern Church. I likewise applaud without reservation this felicitous innovation, whose benefits will quickly make themselves felt. I shall merely take the liberty of making the following remarks:

a) "The faculty to concelebrate is restricted to specific circumstances," although it is concelebration which is the rule, and individual celebration the exception. The Eucharistic sacrifice is above all the sacrament of unity, and in the first place of priestly unity. There should be a truly serious reason for a priest to refuse to concelebrate with his brothers. Here again there would have to be a reversal of perspective. No limit should be placed on concelebration other than the necessity of assuring other Masses in the course of the day for the good of the faithful.

b) "The concelebrants are only permitted to wear the alb and the stole." We think that the concelebrants should wear all their sacred vestments and participate intimately in the liturgical action, which is simply presided over by the principal celebrant, notwithstanding the recent practice of certain non-Byzantine Eastern clergy. Moreover, it is not necessary that all concelebrants say all the prayers at the same time. Concelebration is not a simultaneous gathering of several individual celebrations, but rather a common action in which each one plays his role.

c) "Only the ordinary of the place has the right to permit concelebration, on a case by case basis, and to set the number of concelebrants." Again, this is an excessive limitation of an act that is not only more legitimate but even more consistent with tradition. Priests should be able to concelebrate as often as they wish, as long as this does not interfere with their pastoral duties, and to do so in as large a number as they choose.

d) Finally, "concelebrants are permitted for good reason to receive an honorarium for a concelebrated Mass, just as for an individual celebration." That is self-evident, for a concelebrated Mass is no less a Mass than a Mass celebrated individually. It is even surprising that the Roman Curia believed that it had to intervene, in the 18th century, to affirm this obvious fact. However, this affirmation should not be based on the assumption that in concelebration each priest celebrates a distinct sacrifice. In concelebration there are not several Masses, but one single Mass offered and celebrated in its entirety by several priests.

6. Reserved Blessings

There should be no blessing that a bishop cannot give. No blessing should be reserved for the pope, for patriarchs, for cardinals, or, least of all, for religious. The bishops should be able to give even the Apostolic Blessing, since all bishops are successors of the Apostles.

7. Feasts of the Saints

The schema seems to favor the critical spirit towards the "legends" of the saints and even the celebration of their feasts. The liturgy is not a school of historical criticism. For instance, the blunder of taking St. George down from the pedestal on which the Church had placed him for centuries had the most unhappy consequences among our people in the East. We ourselves have been obliged, in order to calm the populace, to insist that St. George exists and retains his sanctity and his dignity, just as our Eastern Church has always proclaimed.

For the Use of Living Languages in the Liturgy

On October 23, 1962, the council held its fifth General Session in which the discussion concerned the liturgical language. At the very end of the meeting, the patriarch was given the opportunity to speak. In a strong and confident voice the patriarch gave his first address to the council in French. He affirmed that Latin is a dead language, but the Church is living and should speak the living language of its faithful today. Some said, "A bomb has been hurled at St. Peter's." The Fathers of the Council were introduced to this noble elder, who did not fear to say what he thought simply and courageously. Many bishops ran to shake his hand at the end of the meeting, thanking him for daring to say what many thought inwardly. Through this historic discourse, it was said by some, Patriarch Maximos had put an end to the "myth of Latin." The cause of living languages in the liturgy had been won.

Although the schema "De Sacra Liturgia" concerns only the Roman rite, may I nevertheless be permitted to bring to the debates the testimony of a patriarch of the East, who follows with interest the progress of the liturgical movement in the Latin Church. To make it briefer, this testimony will bear only on the problem of the liturgical language, considered in No. 24 of our schema.

I should begin by saying that this schema, as a whole, is excellent. With the exception of some amendments, which the interested bishops will not fail to make, the schema does honor to the commission which prepared it, and more generally, to the liturgical movement itself, which inspired it.

I shall take the liberty only of remarking that the principle expressed in the heading of No. 24 appears to me to be too arbitrary: "Let the use of the Latin language in the Western liturgy be preserved." It seems to me that the quasi-absolute value that they wish to give to Latin in the liturgy, in teaching, and in administration of the Latin Church represents, for the Eastern Church, something quite abnormal; for, after all, Christ indeed spoke the language of His contemporaries. It was also in the language understood by His listeners, Aramaic, that He offered the first Eucharistic sacrifice. The Apostles and disciples did likewise. The idea never occurred to them that in a Christian assembly the celebrant could have the scriptural pericopes read, or the psalms sung, or could preach or break the bread while using a language other than that of those who were assembled. Saint Paul even tells us explicitly: "If you bless with the spirit (that is to say, speaking a language that is not understood), how can anyone who does not comprehend say the ‘amen' to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying. For you may give thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified... In Church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue (that is not understood)" (1 Corinthians 14:1619). All the reasons invoked in favor of an untouchable Latin—a liturgical language, but a dead one—should, it seems, yield before this clear, frank, and precise reasoning of St. Paul.

Besides, the Roman Church itself, at least until the middle of the third century, used Greek in its liturgy, because it was the language spoken by its faithful at that time. And when, at that date, it began to abandon Greek in order to use Latin, it was precisely because in the meantime Latin had become the language spoken by its faithful. Why should it nowadays cease to apply the same principle? As for the East, after the Aramaic and Greek of the first Christian generations, Coptic was introduced in the Egyptian countryside. Then it was the turn, from the fifth century on, of Aramaic, Georgian, Ethiopian, Arabic, Gothic, and Slavonic.

In the Western Church, it was only in the Middle Ages that Latin was considered the only universal language of the Roman civilization and of the Holy Empire, in contradistinction to the languages of the barbarian nations that dominated Europe. Likewise the Western Church made Latin its official and sacred language.

In the East, on the contrary, no problem ever arose concerning the liturgical language. Every language is, in fact, liturgical, for in the words of the psalmist: "Praise the Lord, all nations;" in every language, whatever it may be, we must glorify God, preach the Gospel, and offer the Sacrifice. We, in the East, do not conceive that it is possible to assemble the faithful to pray in a language that they do not understand.

The Latin language is dead, but the Church remains alive. The language, vehicle of grace and of the Holy Spirit, should also be living, for it is for men and not for angels. No language should be immune to change.

We all admit, however, that in the Latin rite, the adoption of the spoken languages should be carried out gradually and with the precautions required by prudence. But I would propose first to soften somewhat the rigidity of the initial principle contained in No. 24, which is "Linguae latinae usus in Liturgia occidentali servetur" ("Let the use of the Latin language in the Western liturgy be preserved"), by saying, for example: "Lingua latina est lingua originalis et officialis ritus romani" ("Latin is the original and official language of the Roman rite").

In the second place, I would propose to leave to the episcopal conferences in each region the responsibility to decide if, and in what measure, it is fitting or not to adopt the living language in the liturgy. The text of the schema leaves to the episcopal conferences only the task of proposing this adoption to the Holy See of Rome. There is, however, no need at all to have an episcopal conference make such a proposal. Any member of the faithful can make it. Episcopal conferences should have the power not merely to propose, but to decide, subject to the approbation of the Holy See.

Thus I would propose that No. 24 (lines 619) conclude as follows: "It should indeed be left to the episcopal conferences in each region to set the limits and the manner of admitting the vernacular language in the Liturgy, with recognition of the right of the Holy See to act."

Concelebration and Communion under Both Species

At the General Session of October 30, 1962, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani attacked with some irony the efforts of the Latin liturgists to reintroduce the usage of concelebration and of Communion under the both species under certain conditions. There was no direct allusion to the Eastern usage, but it was made to appear, after the Cardinal's speech, as exceptional and merely to be tolerated. Some eminent members of the Liturgical Commission telephoned to the Patriarch, asking: "Doesn't the East have anything to say to defend itself and us?" The next day, October 31, Kyr Neophytos Edelby, Archbishop of Edessa and Patriarchal Counselor, made an intervention at the Council, stating in brief: it isn't the Eastern usage which is the exception; it is the Western usage which needs to be vindicated; concelebration and Communion under both species are the rule, not the exception.

Although the schema "De Sacra Liturgia" deals only with the Roman rite, as the preamble clearly affirms, may I nevertheless be permitted to make a few brief remarks on Chapter II, so that the voice of the East, even in the matter of the reform of the Latin liturgy, may be usefully heard and that eventual obstacles to the union of Churches may be averted in case the reform of the Latin liturgy is not carried out as well as could be wished.

I shall limit myself to two remarks. The first concerns Communion under both species:

Christ instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist under the two species of bread and wine, and it is under these two species that He wished that His faithful should normally receive Him. Since Christ acted in this way, we cannot doubt that He acted well. It is also necessary to notice that Christ did not in any way reserve Communion of the chalice to priests alone, but He authorized access for all the faithful. It even seems that He made it as a precept, saying: "Drink of this, all of you." These words of the Lord are definite and clear. It is also certain that the Apostles and their first successors distributed Communion to all the faithful under the species of wine as well.

Likewise, it is certain that the Eastern Church, or at least the Byzantine rite, faithfully following in this matter the example of the Lord and the usage of the Apostles, has always admitted the properly disposed faithful to Communion under both species at each Eucharistic liturgy. Therefore the practice of Communion under both species should be considered as an evangelical, authentic, apostolic, and normal practice. It is neither a privilege nor an exception.

Nevertheless, we recognize that there can be, and there have in fact been, prudential reasons which require that Communion be given under one or the other species alone, since Christ is totally present under the species of bread and totally present under the species of wine. These reasons of practical order have been confirmed, not only in the Western Church, but also in the Eastern Church, which, under extraordinary and exceptional conditions, has occasionally given Communion under the sole species of wine. Still, Communion under only one species should be considered an exceptional, extraordinary, and less traditional practice.

It follows that no one who adheres to the truth can claim that the practice of Communion under both species is erroneous, condemned, or dangerous for the faith. It is true that the Council of Constance condemned the error of those who maintained that the Latin Church had forbidden Communion under both species without reason and illegitimately. But it never condemned the usage of Communion under both species as such; otherwise, we would have to consider the Eastern Christians as affected by this same condemnation.

We must conclude that the usage of Communion under one or two species is a purely disciplinary matter which is subject to change with the times. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that, insofar as possible, it is better to follow faithfully the example of the Lord and the practice of the Apostles. Among the reasons which have gradually induced the Church to abandon the ancient practice of Communion under both species, some are of a psychological order, others of a practical order, but none is of a doctrinal order.

The reasons of a psychological order constitute mainly what modern thinkers call a "complex." The Catholic hierarchy of the Latin rite fears, on one hand, that the Church may appear to concede today what it has refused in the past so many times and with so much tenacity. It is as if by retracting its ancient refusals, it would be succumbing to external pressure. Another "complex" consists in the fear some of the Fathers among us have of being assimilated on this point to our separated brothers, Protestant and Orthodox.

If I am not mistaken, we must reject our complexes, and "de-complex" ourselves, as the modern thinkers say. In the first place, the circumstances have changed; there is no shame for the Church in changing its discipline. Today, nobody denies the presence of Christ under each of the two species. Nobody any longer exerts pressure on the Church to obtain by force the usage of the chalice. That is why the Church can, in all truth, authorize what it formerly forbade. On the other hand, if, while completely safeguarding the Catholic faith, we can bring our liturgical practices nearer to those of our separated brethren, there is no shame in that. It is, on the contrary, a very glorious achievement, since it contributes to assist union among Christians.

As for the practical difficulties which make Communion under two species somewhat inconvenient, they surely exist, but they should not be exaggerated. We Eastern Catholics, at least those of the Byzantine rite, each day give Communion under both species, and in our churches the number of communicants is not that much less than in the other churches.

Of course, the faithful do not drink directly from the chalice, which nowadays would appear to be nearly impossible. But the priest dips the consecrated bread partially in the Precious Blood, and places it, thus intincted, on the tongue of the communicant. There is thus nothing unsuitable about it, or so little that it amounts to nothing, in comparison with that great and eminent grace of receiving the Lord also under the species of wine, as the Lord instituted it.

Be this as it may, on this point as on all the others, it is necessary to give proof of moderation. We must not in one fell swoop, immediately and without distinction, grant the use of the chalice in the Latin Church. Indeed, nobody is asking for this. What many desire is that the door be not closed to a subsequent evolution of the liturgical discipline, and that meanwhile the Holy See of Rome can concede the usage of the chalice to the faithful, in certain well-defined cases.

That is why, in my humble opinion, the text of the schema, as it is now proposed to us, is sensible and moderate. It deserves our support, for reasons that are above all ecumenical.

May I just be permitted to propose one small amendment. In the schema, Communion under both species is proposed, "provided danger to the faith is removed." These words do not seem to me correct, for there is the risk of interpreting them as if Communion under both species were of itself a danger to the faith. Much to the contrary, Communion under both species is the legitimate and normal usage, founded on the example itself of the Lord and of the Apostles. What is doubtless meant is that the heretical doctrines of the Middle Ages, denying the total presence of Christ under each of the two species, are over and done with, and that, since the danger of this false doctrine has passed, nothing any longer prevents once again giving Communion to the faithful under both species. That is why I would propose the following amendment: "Communion under both species, since the perversions of the faith have now ceased...may be given not only to clerics and religious, but also to lay persons."

Now I wish to add a few words on sacramental concelebration.

We know that the practice of concelebration continues in force in the Eastern Church, occurring frequently and indeed even daily. It can even be said that for us concelebration is, as it were, the rule and individual celebration the exception. The practice of concelebration, which is apostolic and traditional, is not based on some practical necessity. In other words, we do not concelebrate because there are not enough altars or to save time. We concelebrate because in concelebration the unity of the priesthood is made more evident, as is the unity of the mystical sacrifice; fraternal charity among the priests is better sustained, and the public character inherent in all liturgical action is more clearly seen.

When our schema extends the practice of concelebration "to gatherings of priests, if it is not possible to arrange otherwise for individual celebrations" the authors of the schema demonstrate that they have not understood the real meaning of concelebration, its spiritual usefulness, its mystical value. We do not concelebrate because we are unable to celebrate individually. We concelebrate because we wish to celebrate better.

I am certain that this poor empirical conception was not to be found in the first schema prepared by the Liturgical Commission. Thus I propose that on this point there should be a return to the original text, as it read prior to the changes introduced by the Central Commission.

Setting the Date for Pascha (Easter)

This is one of the themes closest to the hearts of the Eastern bishops, especially in the Arabic Middle East. There, in fact, Christians and Muslims live side by side. In the years in which Orthodox and Catholics do not celebrate Pascha on the same day, they feel themselves humiliated before their Muslim fellow citizens. Unification of the date of Pascha is for them the first condition for union. Kyr Philip Nabaa, Metropolitan of Beirut and Under-Secretary of the Council, devoted his intervention of November 10, 1962, to this question.

Much could be said on the subject of setting the date of the feast of Pascha, on a single and invariable Sunday. Chapter V of the schema "On Renewal of the Liturgical Year," which speaks of it, could lead to prolonged liturgical, historic, scientific, social, and ecumenical developments. However, I shall be brief. I shall develop here only the ecumenical reason which postulates the stabilization of the feast of Pascha throughout all the universal Church, and most of all in the Eastern countries where Christians live with non-Christians, and where Catholics are side by side with non-Catholics of all rites and nationalities.

It is the ecumenical reason that we must focus on especially here, since it clearly illustrates what setting date for the feast of Pascha means in the universal Church. Now, this common celebration of Pascha signifies that it unites all Christians in one and the same faith in the resurrection of Christ, and that it raises the same hope in all Christians, who do not wish to celebrate Pascha as separated brethren, but who await from this council a broader, more nearly perfect, and stronger Christian unity. This great hope is alive and is the prayer of the Church of Christ all over the world, and more particularly in those regions where Christians are divided.

Indeed, in all these regions, which extend over the whole Middle East, and even to many other Western nations which have Eastern rites, the union of Christians is fervently desired, and is sought especially in the celebration and the glorification of the Resurrection of Christ, Savior of the whole world. Here, in fact, we must point out that Catholics and Orthodox do not use the same calendar for the feast of Pascha. The Orthodox, who follow the Julian calendar and not the Gregorian one, celebrate Pascha sometimes on the same day as Catholics, sometimes one week later, sometimes five weeks later.

There are two principal ecumenical reasons that press us in the East to unify the glorious celebration of Pascha.

The first reason relates to our one undivided faith. All Christ's faithful, regardless of the rite or confession to which they belong, have the same faith in Christ, raised from the dead for all, on the third day. Thus it is fitting that Christ's faithful be united as one in the glorification of the resurrection. It is also fitting that they be one in beginning a new life, in the unity of the grace that Christ merited for us by his resurrection.

Besides, we must not forget that perfect unity among Christians will be realized only gradually and by stages. The union of brothers and sisters in the celebration of these days of grace and of salvation constitutes not only a first stage, but also a firm and necessary step toward union. Many Christians even say, and with reason, that the union of Churches should even commence with the union of the faithful in celebrating together the great mysteries of Christ, and above all His resurrection. This common Paschal manifestation, even if it is not complete and perfect union, represents a great step forward and sets us on the sure path of charity and of union.

The second ecumenical reason concerns the non-Christians who live in the same region as Christians. In fact, the division of Christians in the celebration of Pascha, or rather the division of Pascha itself into the first Pascha, for Westerners and Catholics, and the second Pascha, for Easterners and Orthodox, causes a great scandal for non-Christians. They see it as dividing Christ and the mystery of His passion, His death, and His resurrection. Moreover, it provides them with the opportunity to doubt our true, firm, and undivided faith. Finally, by these Christian divisions over Pascha, we offer to the non-Christian world a spectacle in which we are the object of confusion and irony. All of this unfortunately is detrimental to our faith. These are the reasons why, to avoid these scandals and promote Union, I propose to the venerable ecumenical council the following suggestions:

1. The formation of a mixed commission, composed of Catholics and non-Catholics, to develop a new and single Paschal calendar. This commission would function with the consent of the sovereign pontiff to avoid making the liturgical calendar a new obstacle to union with our separated brethren who follow the Julian calendar.

2. The acceptance of the World Calendar prepared by the League of Nations. This acceptance should be given, in the universal Church, with the consent of all the Separated Brethren, in the East and in the West, at least the part concerning the setting of the date for Pascha.

3. If none of these suggestions is accepted, let the feast of Pascha be set, with the consent of the Separated Brethren, at a Sunday which never falls before the Passover of the Jews, for example the second or third Sunday of April.

4. In any case, let the feast of Pascha at least be fixed on an invariable Sunday, in all the Eastern Church, so that all Eastern Christians may be united, in the eyes of the non-Christian world, on the day of the Resurrection and of glory.

 

Formation and Life of the Clergy

We glean from Patriarch Maximos' memoranda to the Central Commission (1962) and from the "Comments of the Holy Synod on the Schemas of the Council" (1963) a few thoughts on the subject of the formation of future priests. They refer to the schema "De sacrorum alumnis formandis."

I. Concerning the "Apostolic" Visitation of Seminaries

Provision is made for a periodic apostolic visitation of the seminaries. It is also said that this visitation is requested by several Fathers of the forthcoming council. We believe that the Fathers who have asked for such a visitation do not constitute the majority. Besides, more than once the Fathers of the forthcoming council have expressed the desire to see the central administration advance in the direction of a progressive decentralization. As a matter of fact, the present centralization is excessive, burdens the Holy See of Rome with too many minor cares, and involves a considerable number of other serious disadvantages for the Church. It is not fitting at the moment when the council is preparing to initiate the movement of decentralization to introduce in the discipline of the Church a periodic apostolic visitation of the seminaries. This visitation does not appear to us to be at all appropriate. It can even cause serious conflicts between the ordinary of the place and the apostolic visitors. It can also reduce the mutual trust between the bishop and the directors of his seminary, as well as diminish the bishop's sense of his total responsibility for his seminary. Apart from a few advantages, the periodic visitation of seminaries involves a great number of disadvantages, and we therefore believe that it is not opportune. Besides, there is nothing to prevent the Holy See of Rome from ordering an extraordinary visitation, if the need arises.

II. The Teaching of the Popes

By way of introduction, there is a stress on how much the Roman pontiffs have elucidated the need for holiness in priests. On this subject we should like to make a general comment which applies to almost all the schemas proposed to date to the Central Commission. It would seem that the authors of these schemas know, in addition to the Holy Scripture, only the encyclicals of the recent popes, and above all those of Pope Pius XII. Beyond doubt, the encyclicals of the popes are very important documents of the Church's magisterium. We also understand that the writings of the most recent popes, assembled in convenient collections, provide citations that are easy to reproduce, thanks to the detailed indexes that have been carefully provided. However, it is not fitting that the council have such limited horizons.

After Holy Scripture, the texts that should be cited most often are those of the ancient ecclesiastical tradition, in which the Fathers of the East occupy a place of the first rank. Besides, the popes do not constitute the only voices of the ecclesiastical magisterium. The bishops of the entire world, the councils, the authors who are approved and truly competent on these matters should also be cited. The schemas give the invincible impression that in the Catholic Church of the present day only the Popes of Rome count for anything. This way of doing things, apart from the fact that it is false and savors of flattery, does not facilitate the acceptance and comprehension of the texts of the council by our separated brethren.

III. Education for Celibacy.

It is strongly urged that seminarians be educated in the practice of ecclesiastical celibacy "quo Ecclesiae ritus latini sacerdotes statum virginitatis christianae assumentes, integra animae et corporis deditione Domino interserviunt ..." (by which the priests of the Latin Rite Church, taking on the state of Christian virginity, serve the Lord with complete dedication of soul and body...)

The expression is inexact, for in the Eastern Church as well there are priests who vow their celibacy to God. In the Eastern Churches they are even by far in the majority. Celibacy is not an exclusive glory of the Latin Church. The difference between the Latin church and the Eastern Churches is that in the former celibacy is obligatory, whereas in the Eastern churches it is optional, but recommended and held in special honor.

IV. Latin and Greek.

Greek remains the source language not only of the Byzantines but also of all the Easterners, and was used in the Western Church as well during the earliest times. Moreover, we propose to add the following:

"In the seminaries of the Eastern rites, a place of choice will be reserved for the study of their own liturgical languages, as much for the sake of a better celebration of the liturgical services as for a greater appreciation, for the benefit of the universal Church, of the patrimony bequeathed by the Fathers and the ecclesiastical writers in that language."

V. The Teaching of Philosophy.

Philosophy is not in every sense and solely "the handmaid of theology." This formula has done too much harm to the value of pure philosophical thinking in the Church, and to the philosophical formation in Catholic seminaries and universities. It is referred to as "philosophy adapted to theology."

Why always hold on to this distinction, especially in a conciliar document, if not to say this opposition between "perennial philosophy" and "modern philosophy"? Philosophy, like every science, is one. Starting out from fundamental notions, it evolves, it never ceases to be enriched by new contributions, bringing to light one or another aspect of being. Why grant Thomistic philosophical thought so much prominence in the Church? It was a stage in the evolution of philosophical thought. For this reason we propose a draft that would be along these lines:

"A philosophical formation as sound as it is broad is necessary both for education and for a deeper formation in the aggregate of the ecclesiastical disciplines, as well as for apologetics and the priestly apostolate in the modern world."

VI. Thomism.

In the Church there exist legally and in fact several theological trends, without prejudice to the fundamental identity of dogma, several ways of expressing in human terms the same revealed deposit. Divine revelation, which is universal in it's thinking, cannot be linked to one human way of thinking, whatever its merits and its richness, because it is part and parcel of a particular civilization.

VII. Formation of the Married Clergy.

There should be a paragraph in this schema on the formation of married clergy, which exists in the Eastern rites. Even though, since the introduction of certain disciplinary reforms in the West, especially since the Council of Trent, Latin theologians are loath to speak of a "married clergy," the traditional institution of this married clergy in the East is indeed a very useful and living canonical reality which the East as a whole is not prepared to abandon. That is why a paragraph on the formation of the married clergy should be included in this schema. We propose that it be drafted as follows:

"In proclaiming the superiority of the evangelical counsel of perfect chastity and the practice of ecclesiastical celibacy, the council respects the tradition of the Eastern Churches with respect to the promotion to Holy Orders of men bound by the sacrament of matrimony. It moreover directs that the greatest care be taken in their recruitment and in their priestly formation, both during their stay in the seminaries appropriate to their state, as well as after their ordination, in conformity with the holy canons in force in the above-mentioned Churches."

VIII. A Manly Formation.

We think that the schema should make a greater effort to provide a manly formation to future priests. In the Church there is too great a tendency to consider the clerics as perennial minors, as overage children who cannot assume their responsibilities. In this system, there are evidently cases that turn out successfully, but in many other cases the results are mediocre.

Reviving the Diaconate

Concerning the draft of a schema "On the Sacrament of Orders" presented to the Central Commission in its session of January, 1962, the patriarch said what he thought about the restoration of an active diaconate and about a few other related questions concerning the age of the ordinands.

1. The statement is made that the restoration of an active diaconate "ne fiat nisi de iudicio Sanctae Sedis" (should not be done except by the judgement of the Holy See). This regulation must apply only to the Latin West, for, in the Eastern Church, the institution of a functioning diaconate has always been accepted and therefore has no need of being restored, nor does it need any authorization by the Holy See of Rome.

2. It is stated that "permanent" deacons are those who do not aspire to receive priestly orders. It should be added: "normally" or "generally," for there is nothing to prevent one or another of these deacons from later being raised to the priesthood if his bishop deems it opportune and if he fulfills all of its conditions. The diaconate is not a sentence never to rise to a superior level, if all the conditions are fulfilled. Just as a priest is not necessarily destined to become a bishop, but nevertheless can become one, so, too, a deacon may always remain a deacon, but he can also become a priest if he fulfills the necessary conditions.

3. The schema sets forth the liturgical functions of the deacon. To be truthful, it is necessary to add at the end a clause such as the following: "Haec omnia juxta disciplinam unuscuiusque ritus" (all these things according to the discipline of each rite). This is because the liturgical functions enumerated in these lines relate only to the Latin rite, which, to repeat, is not the only rite of the Catholic Church and must not serve as the exclusive point of reference in the Council's decrees.

4. It is affirmed that "by a general dispensation set down for certain regions, or by a particular apostolic dispensation," married men can be ordained deacons. I completely approve this new discipline which is inspired by the age-old custom of the East and answers the needs of the Church in many countries. However, it is well understood that this general or particular dispensation is necessary only for the West. In the Eastern Church, the ordination of married deacons has always been considered licit, and is currently in force, independently of any dispensation from the Holy See of Rome or from the patriarchal See.

5. It is said that deacons, if they are celibate and fulfill all the other conditions, can be ordained priests by their bishop, "accedente dispensatione apostolica" (by means of an apostolic dispensation). This dispensation seems to me to be superfluous, for, on the one hand these deacons are celibate and fulfill all the conditions for acceding to the priesthood. What more is needed, and why is such a dispensation necessary? Such a restriction makes the situation of celibate deacons worse than the situation of celibate laity, which is contrary to all justice and to the whole ecclesiastical spirit. To repeat, the status of these deacons must not be considered as exceptional, barely tolerable, and restricted by all sorts of prohibitions.

6. The schema states that the level of education of deacons must be fixed by "instructions emanating from the Holy See," according to the needs of each nation. I think that it is more appropriate to leave to the regional councils or national conferences the responsibility for determining the level of education, since the bishops of the place are expected to be better informed on the needs of their country. Since there is talk in the entire Church of the need of a certain administrative decentralization, this is a concrete case in which decentralization should be put into practice.

7. A married deacon can continue to attend in part to his civilian functions. The schema says that that can only be done through an indult from the Holy See: "Quodsi Sancta Sedes indulserit" (insofar as the Holy See permits). I think that the bishop's authority suffices and that there is no need to have recourse to the Apostolic See for that. In my opinion, the supreme authority of the pope must never be burdened with too many responsibilities about details. That does not diminish the pope's prestige, but on the contrary reinforces it. There are matters that the local authority can regulate more easily and more effectively on the spot. The central authority should intervene only in order to provide general rules and to settle conflicts. Let it be said by way of a general principle: Excessive centralization is a danger for the Church.

8. It is said that a deacon can be reduced to the lay state through a rescript of the legitimate authority and "for just cause." It seems to me that in order not to be arbitrary it is necessary to determine what this legitimate authority is and what this just cause may be. We believe that the legitimate authority is naturally the authority of the deacon's own bishop.

9. The schema reserves all dispensations concerning the age of the ordinands exclusively to the Apostolic See. If this discipline is to be applied to the East, it is fitting that the same power be granted in the East to the patriarch, as the head of a Church. Besides, he is in a better position to judge the appropriateness of this dispensation than a Roman dicastery. Once again I repeat that responsibilities must not be reserved to the supreme authority when they can be carried out by the local authority.

10. I approve the idea of having deacons spend a year in pastoral practice before their priestly ordination. But I believe that this year need not necessarily be spent in a seminary or other institution. In the East we consider that the normal place for a deacon to be is with his bishop. It is by learning from the bishop and living in community with him that he will learn the practice of the sacred ministry.

11. The schema provides that candidates for the diaconate, if they are celibate, cannot be ordained before they are thirty years old. This severity appears excessive to me. I do not see why, if priests need only be twenty-five years old, functioning deacons must be thirty years old, inasmuch as the ministry of the latter is easier and both groups are celibate.

12. The requirement for married deacons is forty years of age. It seems to me that thirty-five years suffice.

13. I should like to specify that the subdiaconate must not be a diriment impediment to marriage, for it is considered to be a minor order. In spite of a few fluctuations, this has been the classical discipline of the East and its continuing practice for centuries. Actually, in the Byzantine Church ordination to the subdiaconate is carried out not at the altar but in choir with prayers that are practically as simple as those for the lector, whereas ordination to the diaconate, the priesthood, and the episcopacy is performed at the altar with almost identical prayers and ceremonies for all three.


Priesthood and Celibacy

There is a serious question that all the Fathers of the Council asked themselves, but which no one justifiably dared to discuss in the conciliar assembly: the question of ecclesiastical celibacy.

From all sides the patriarch received urgent requests to speak either to defend the Eastern Custom of the married priesthood, cavalierly dismissed in a few lines by the conciliar schema, or to open a new approach to the discipline of the Latin Church.

After careful consideration the patriarch decided to intervene. He reworked his discourse several times, constantly making modifications so as not to hurt anyone's feelings, but also in order to serve more courageously the spiritual interests of the Church.

In the end, the superior authority decided that a public debate on this delicate question should be avoided.

The patriarch limited himself to sending the text of his intervention to the Holy Father, accompanying it with an explanatory letter. We are publishing both documents here. In fact, even though at the time of the council it was considered dangerous to discuss publicly a question which an ill-informed press could seize upon to cause discord in the Church, it seemed to us that after the council it was necessary to explain clearly and soberly the discipline of the Eastern Church on this point which is misunderstood in the Western Church, as we ascertained from the many letters we received.

I. The Patriarch's Discourse (not delivered) "Priesthood, Celibacy and Marriage in the Eastern Church"

Venerable Fathers:

The text being proposed to us "On the ministry and life of priests" devotes one paragraph (No. 14 in the draft, No. 16 in the final text) to the "evangelical counsels in the life of the priest," namely, perfect chastity, poverty, and obedience.

Referring to the chastity of the priest, the text emphasizes the advantages of celibacy.

Stressing the importance of celibacy, its particular fittingness for the priesthood, and the ascetic and apostolic advantages for the priesthood that result from it is truly excellent, just, and most necessary, especially today when celibacy is the object of unjust attacks.

Indeed, virginity and celibacy for the Kingdom of God are two eminently priestly virtues which illumine the Church with an aura of distinguished glory and make its action more far-reaching and more redemptive. Christ and His Mother are perfect models.

While the Council in its schema "On the Church and the Modern World" has praised the nobility of families and of conjugal love, it is no less true that voluntary consecration to celibacy constitutes the loftiest mark of a life totally dedicated to God. On this, the entire ecclesiastical tradition of the East and the West is in accord.

And yet, while stressing the beauty of celibate priesthood, we must not ruin or depreciate the parallel and equally apostolic tradition of a priesthood living within the bonds of holy matrimony, as the East has lived it and continues to live it now.

When we speak of married priests, we mean men who are already married being able to accede to the priesthood. but not men who are already priests being able to accede to marriage. For, according to the tradition of the East as well as the West, ordination establishes a man permanently in his state of life.

When they read this paragraph No. 14, the married priests of the East, and those very few married priests of the West, who are as Catholic as the others, will inevitably feel that their priesthood is simply being tolerated, or at best an expedient.

Now, that is not the case at all. The conciliar text must rise to a high enough level of Catholicity to embrace all situations.

Permit me, therefore, venerable Fathers, to present briefly to you the spiritual and apostolic advantages of a married clergy, such as it exists in the East. In doing this, I am aware of fulfilling a duty, for here is a matter of a profoundly Catholic institution that it is not fitting to dispose of in an incidental clause consisting of two lines, as the schema does in No. 14. I do this by way of information. The Christian West is free to follow the evolution that best suits its temperament and which it believes to be in the best interests of the Church. But—as on many other points—the Christian East has also preserved, for the good of the universal Church, a parallel tradition that is founded quite as much on Scripture, the Apostles, and the Fathers. And this tradition, at the moment and in the countries where the Church deems it appropriate, can be invoked in order to support a turning point in history that will perhaps be made necessary by the changing circumstances of time, place, and persons.

Now that this has been said, we offer the following considerations:

1. Neither Scripture nor Tradition, especially the Tradition of the first centuries, considers celibacy as an indispensable condition for the priesthood, a condition sine qua non. The early text of the schema affirmed that "even among the first Apostles, a few were married." The new text preferred to omit this mention, as if by omitting it we could change the truth of history. It is unnecessary to recall that Saint Peter and most of the Apostles and the first disciples were married. Those who today in the Eastern Church are likewise married deserve all our support.

2. The East clearly distinguishes between priesthood and monasticism. A man can be called to the one without being called to the other. This distinction opens up new perspectives. Celibacy is the specific vocation of the monk-religious, but it is not necessarily the specific vocation of the priest, in his capacity as a minister of the Church. The priesthood is a function before being a state of life. It is linked not to a personal striving toward perfection such as celibacy for the sake of God, but to the usefulness to the Church. Therefore celibacy can disappear if the usefulness for the ministry of the Church requires it. The mystery of the redemption, perpetuated in the priesthood, is not subject by obligation to any accidental form. In case of need, it is not the priesthood that must be sacrificed to celibacy, but celibacy to the priesthood.

3. This distinction between the priestly vocation and the monastic or religious vocation was from the earliest centuries of Christianity subjected to the influences of an idealistic rigorism. At the First Council of Nicea in ad 325 we see certain Fathers seeking to impose perfect continence on the married clergy. According to Socrates (Hist. Eccl., Book I, Chapter 2, P. G. Vol. 67, Col. 103), Saint Paphnutius, Bishop of upper Thebaid, a confessor of the faith and a miracle worker, universally renowned for his chastity and his austerities, defended with much common sense and with a realistic spirit the traditional discipline of the married priesthood. And, the historian tells, all the Fathers of the Council were won over to his view. Since then, the Church of the East has remained faithful to this tradition that favors celibacy of priests but does not impose it. The Western Church has followed a different tradition which gradually brought it to impose, definitively and universally, ecclesiastical celibacy at the First Lateran Council of ad 1123. This is a tradition that, after all, was established at a more recent date.

4. Be this as it may, it is certain that the Eastern tradition maintains and favors more numerous priestly vocations, which the Church needs so much, especially today. In fact, the lack of priests, felt in our modern times in an agonizing way especially in certain countries, cannot be resolved by palliatives that are not sufficiently effective even if excellent, such as the lending of priests by the more favored dioceses, because the urgent needs are disproportionate to the help offered. The Church is in danger of being submerged by this rising human tide, and the danger is growing with each passing day. In this state of urgency, the Christian East counsels that more should not be imposed on priests than Christ himself has imposed.

5. In addition, there are many individuals who experience an immense desire to serve the Church and souls, but who are incapable of maintaining perfect chastity. This is particularly true in certain areas where physical and moral isolation constitutes a serious danger for an average celibate priest.

6. Finally, I shall add that there is no need to fear that the freedom provided by Eastern discipline to choose between celibacy and marriage may gradually cause ecclesiastical celibacy to disappear. There are now and there always will be in the Church many souls called in a special way, to whom flesh and blood are foreign, and who, while they are free to marry, will remain virgins in order to give themselves more totally to God. We have proofs of this in the Eastern Churches, whether Catholic or Orthodox, in which the two categories of priests have rubbed elbows for centuries, each developing fully according to his state and in his own special perfection. With this freedom of choice and of consecration, we have on the contrary fewer downfalls to deplore and more virtues to admire.

Another very serious consideration is this: In our capacity as heads of Churches we cannot fail to consider with anxiety that Christianity is declining in terms of the conversion of the world to Christ, and that this is due to the dearth of priests. The growth of Christianity in the world, through births and conversions, is far from corresponding to the staggering increase in world population. Consequently, Christianity is in a continuous relative decline, and this relative and continuous decline is accelerating each year at a more rapid rate, something that gives us much cause for thought.

Venerable Fathers, that is the tradition of the East on the married priesthood. This is certainly a very delicate subject. And yet it seems to me it must not always remain a subject that is taboo, absolutely closed.

While justifying the Eastern tradition, I cannot but admire the lofty morality of the parallel tradition of the West. But perhaps the time has come when, through the will of the Church, and wherever it may chose, the Eastern tradition might be useful to the universal Church.

I conclude: granted that our thinking is not yet sufficiently mature for definitive decisions, we propose the creation of a post-conciliar commission for the study of this serious problem that concerns in the highest degree the very life of the Church. We believe that a pure and simple return to the ancient and authentic tradition of the Church would be welcomed both by informed lay Christians and by the clergy open to the realities of life. This will bring peace of soul and freedom of conscience.

II. Letter to the Pope (Rome. October 13 1965)

To His Holiness, Pope Paul VI

Vatican City

Most Holy Father:

In conformity with the desire of Your Holiness, I hasten to transmit to You, through the intermediary of the council of the presidency, the text of the intervention that I had the intention of delivering before the council on "Priesthood, Marriage, and Celibacy in the Eastern Church."

My sole intention was to set forth and explain the Eastern practice of the married clergy. Actually, the text of the schema that is proposed to us disposes in three lines of this venerable institution which goes back to the Apostles, as if it were a practice that is just barely tolerated. It seems to me that on this point the text of the schema must be significantly amended. If it is not, it would be an insult to the married clergy of the entire Eastern Church, both Catholic and Orthodox.

As for the Latin clergy, all that I take the liberty of submitting to Your Holiness is that you set up a special commission to study this problem and face it squarely. Most Holy Father, this problem exists and is becoming more difficult from one day to the next. It demands a solution. It serves no purpose to hide it from ourselves or to make it a taboo subject. Your Holiness knows very well that truths that are silenced become envenomed.

I fully agree that a public debate in the council chamber would have produced more scandal than concrete results, especially when the press and passions are involved. Yet I am absolutely convinced that in spite of the applause that welcomed the directives on this subject, the problem troubles the conscience of more than one bishop. We are constantly receiving confidences from priests who are indeed known for their piety and their zeal, begging us to raise our voice, to break the silence. Alarming statistics are offered. Too many candidates for the priesthood are turned away because of the increasing difficulties of celibacy. Others are pushed into the celibacy of the priesthood and accepted thoughtlessly. A host of married men could serve the Church in the priesthood.

Celibacy will always remain the ideal of an elite that God chooses for Himself, and it will never die out. But celibacy should not therefore be imposed as an indispensable condition for the priesthood. Considering that secular priests are not forced to assume monk-like poverty, which is easier to practice, why impose on them celibacy, which certainly requires a very special vocation, and very special aptitudes?

The Catholic West does not yet seem disposed to make such a radical change in discipline, but one will go slowly with all the necessary prudence, after the experience of the married deacons authorized by the Council.

All that I ask of Your Holiness, in order to obey a serious imperative of my conscience, is that the door not be systematically and irreversibly closed.

With this trust, I humbly kiss Your hands, imploring Your paternal and apostolic blessing.

Fair Remuneration for Priests

During the discussion of the schema "On the ministry and life of priests," Kyr Philip Nabaa, Metropolitan of Beirut, made the following intervention:

The equitable remuneration of priests, dealt with in No. 16 of the schema, is a very serious and very urgent question. It must hold the attention of the Second Vatican Council and find a sure and comforting answer for priests who are poor and discouraged and disappointed in their ministry. There are many such priests, and they are to be found in all dioceses and in all countries. A few of them even live in a state of material poverty that places them below the poor laborers of society. Given such great poverty, the poor priest has no access to any social life, and he is unable to provide any charity to the poor.

A solution based on social equity and justice is immediately in order. Priests responsible for souls and those who no longer have this responsibility expect this from our council. Aspirants to the priesthood also expect it, for they would not want to be priests with means of livelihood that are so precarious, ineffective, and discouraging. In order to help find the desired solution and to show our feelings of justice and gratitude for the priests who are our beloved associates and collaborators in the service of the people of God, may I be permitted to make the following comments:

1. It is certain—and the schema makes it very clear—that priests who serve the Church are deserving of a fair remuneration. Indeed, Christ has said: "The laborer deserves his wages" (Luke 10:7). And St. Paul added: The Lord has so ordained. "The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:14).

2. But how much will this fair remuneration be, and who is to pay it? These are the two points that the council must establish, at least in a general way. In order to help it to do this, we must first of all affirm that fair remuneration must never allow priests or bishops or any other minister of the Church to give up the evangelical poverty, in which they must live, in order to conform more closely to Christ and to be more ready to serve Him, for Christ became poor for our sakes, even though He was rich: "Although He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor" (2 Corinthians 8:9). The remuneration of priests must not, therefore, become a means of getting rich, even less of living like prosperous capitalists, but a means of living in a dignified way and of working effectively.

That is why the schema requires only what is necessary for an honorable standard of living. It declares that the bishops of a diocese or of a region must establish norms that assure priests who serve or who have served the people of God a remuneration that provides them with a suitable livelihood and also enough to share a little with the poor.

The amount necessary for the suitable subsistence of a priest on a monthly or yearly basis is difficult to determine exactly. And yet we can say in general that a priest needs what a man of the middle class needs to live suitably. It is up to the bishop of the place to specify the required sum, the method of collecting and distributing it, taking into account all the appropriate circumstances.

This sum must be basic and equal for all priests. Social inequality, which is often very great, among priests who are members of the same family, is a scandal. It must be stopped. Equity, the dignity of priests, and the welfare of souls require it imperatively.

3. Who is to pay the fair remuneration of priests? The schema does not state it explicitly. And yet it is obvious that it must be paid by the people of God, that is to say, the faithful who are served by the priests, or better by the parishes and dioceses where they provide their services and their lives. For while the bishop has the obligation to determine the fair level of payment due to priests, it is up to the faithful, all the faithful of all the parishes and all the dioceses, to pay these suitable salaries of their priests and of other sacred ministers.

In this council we must lay great stress on this obligation of the faithful to support their priests and their churches. The reason that many of our churches are poor and deserted is that the faithful are not fulfilling their duties of piety and charity. And the reason many of our priests in the country or in small parishes live in great poverty and insecurity is that the faithful do not fulfill their duties in justice toward them, but depend on the bishop to do so.

An explanation is in order here, to reassure our priests and enlighten our faithful. We shall never allow our priests to live in penury while we live in opulence. On the contrary, we shall always share our life and our substance with them, striving to assure them a fair and dignified livelihood. And if God wills that we serve Him in great poverty, our hearts will remain joyful, as we repeat with Saint Paul: if we have something to eat and if we have clothes to wear, that suffices.

As for our faithful, we must enlighten them. The obligation to assure their priests a fair livelihood devolves on them in the first place, and not on the bishop. Indeed, the priests are not the servants of the bishop in the Church, or his paid employees, engaged in an enterprise that belongs to him, but are collaborators in the same priesthood and the same ministry. They are also shepherds together with him of the same flock, the people of God, which, for its part, must provide for all an honorable and dignified life. They are the ones who are served first, and not the bishop.

In conclusion, I therefore propose two additions to No. 16 of the schema (No. 18 in the final text):

a. We must explicitly affirm that the obligation to assure an honorable livelihood to the priests and the sacred ministers devolves first of all on the faithful.

b. The just remuneration of priests must be equal, or nearly so, to the amount required for the ordinary life of a man of the middle class in their respective regions.

Metropolitan Nabaa likewise presented the following proposition for a common discipline to regulate the honorable sustenance of the clergy.

I. In order to provide greater equity in the distribution of the ecclesiastical resources, and in order to help and encourage priestly vocations, a general fund for priests should be set up in each diocese or ecclesiastical province. This general fund must support all priests who devote themselves to pastoral work and assure them at least the minimum income for their upkeep, since those who serve the altar have the right to live by the altar in like manner and in dignity. In any case, no one should live in indigence.

II. The general fund for priests must come from:

1. all the revenues of the churches;

2. all the honoraria or gifts received by the priests;

3. all the gifts of the faithful offered for the upkeep of the priests.

III. The salaries of the priestly ministry must be diocesan rather than parochial, so that all priests may be equally remunerated. Thus a pension fund should be instituted, to which all priests will have access after a certain number of years of age or service.

IV. The amount of the pension to be provided a priest for his honorable support must be determined by the bishop, or by the episcopal conference, for the entire diocese, or by the entire ecclesiastical province, according to the needs of time and place.

V. Priests who have provided for the spiritual needs of the faithful but who are no longer able to provide these services because of age or infirmity must be assured a fair and sufficient pension for their honorable sustenance until they die.

VI. Each diocese or ecclesiastical province should have a priests' residence for elderly priests and for the care of those who are invalids or in poor health.

VII. All priests are required to pay a premium to an insurance company providing for illness or disability. This insurance will not only benefit them but will also benefit all their brother priests in the diocese who are poor, sick, disabled, or elderly.
 

The Church in the Modern World

For a New Presentation of Morals

An intervention of the Patriarch on October 27, 1964.

The Church, whose role in the world is to lead all peoples to Christ, must at the very first be interested in the vital problems of its children, its witnesses in the world, to instruct them in the full knowledge of Christ. And if it wishes to engage in dialogue with the modern world through its faithful, they must be formed and treated according the fundamental principle of conduct enunciated by Christ: "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15). If the Church also wishes to contribute to the construction of the heavenly city in a manner fit for propagating the faith, it must necessarily form its faithful according to Christ's law, which is a law of grace and of love, so that all arrive at a profound responsibility in the liberty of the children of God.

This education to maturity and responsibility is also a need of the times in which we live. These times are no longer those of the Middle Ages. The age of infancy has been passed. Today the world asks, with tenacity and force, for the recognition of human dignity in all its fullness, social equality of all classes. This world enjoys an intense intellectual culture; it witnesses scientific discoveries that yesterday were inconceivable; it is in love with freedom, and has—at least among its elites—awareness of its responsibilities. Well! We can no longer impose laws on this world, without demonstrating to it their positive significance and wisdom. Doe not this state of mind of today's society call out for a revision of the presentation of the teaching of morality? In fact, this teaching, especially since the sixteenth century, has been adapted too much to the legalism and the immaturity of a closed and absolutist society. Present teaching is marked too much by the legalism of a former era and completely impregnated with the Roman law.

Now, our Christian morality must have a Christocentric character with an expression of love and of freedom. It must bring forth in everyone a sense of personal and communitarian responsibility. Consequently, a profound revision of many of our disciplines—changing also their nature—is obligatory. It goes without saying that this is not a matter of immutable dogmas, which, however, need to be explained well. This revision is necessary for the sake of the sanctification of our people by the encouragement, the respect, and the purification of this desire for a responsibility that is deeper and more courageous. Many things of the good old times, accepted by our simple and pious ancestors, are no longer accepted today. We need only to cite, for example, the presentation in our catechisms of the commandments of the Church. According to our catechisms, to miss Sunday Mass without good cause, or to eat meat on Friday, constitutes a mortal sin, deserving eternal damnation as a consequence. Is this reasonable? How many Catholics believe this? The Church is a mother; would a stepmother impose such an obligation, under the penalty of eternal damnation? And isn't the person, with a right conscience and a sincere mind, who does not believe, correct in taking pity on us? We could also say many things concerning the sacrament of penance. Revision is indispensable. There can be no doubt about that. Besides, the commandments should be the way to blessedness rather than to condemnation, "Keep the commandments and you will live," says the Book of Proverbs (7:2). Would it mot be more evangelical, more efficacious, and even more practical to present the commandments not as orders under the pain of sin, but as counsels that attract, like a light that produces love? A mother wins over her children, not by blows of a rod, but by the warmth of her love. In addition, twentieth-century man is rebellious against any and all coercion. As for ourselves, how much has our conduct in regard to our children undergone change? Why would it be otherwise for the Church in regard to the faithful?

The legalistic spirit obstructs the energy of priests and faithful, who should be courageously employed for the salvation of the world and for the building of a better earthly city that is freer and more brotherly. Moreover, isn't this spirit of a wide opening that of our Lord, according to whom "the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath"? Isn't it that of Saint Paul , who freed the Gentiles? Isn't it also that of the Fathers of the Church? And if many of us Eastern Catholics are not unharmed by this excessively legalistic spirit that we point out, it is a result of the influence of the books on canon law and morals that we studied in our youth.

The Church, in revising its position in regard to its positive laws, is not submitting to a bending of Catholic doctrine on behalf of modern and capricious ideas, but adapting its Christian pedagogy to the needs of the present epoch. Didn't Pope John XXIII, of blessed memory, talk of adapting the Church to the needs of the social and religious life of our times, and didn't he state before his death, "We have not yet discovered the requirements of charity"?

This presentation of morals should be not at the level of man bent back on himself, but that of plainspoken man, responsible artisan of the universe. Today's world awaits this presentation by the Church.

Having said this, we propose the creation of a fairly large commission of informed theologians to study, in the light of the Gospel and of the Tradition of the Fathers, in openness of heart and sincerity of faith, the teaching of morals in general and of the commandments of the Church in particular, to put them in tune with our real life of the present time, so that the Church may no longer be accused, as it often is, of being a suppressor, but that it may rather be a beacon of truth and of light to enlighten everyone coming into this world.


The Profound Causes of Atheism

An intervention of the patriarch on September 27, 1965.

The schema on "The Church in the Modern World" is fundamentally good, both in the intention that instigated it and in the spirit that animates it.

Numerous voices in the council have asked for a text that is properly centered on Christ and displays a spirit of love to the world. That is essential, and in that the present schema has given them satisfaction, in our opinion. It seems to us, nevertheless, that this spirit is somewhat lacking on two points: on the subject of atheism and on the subject of war.

Today I shall speak only on the first point.

Number 19 on atheism is, in our opinion, too negative. It decries Marxism without naming it, but clearly enough and in a rather summary fashion. It condemns, it goes without saying, that atheistic doctrine, those who defend it, and the civil authorities that support it. But it is clear that one does not save humanity from atheism by condemning Marxism.

To save humanity from atheism, it is also necessary—and this is the new and constructive element—to denounce the causes that instigate atheism, by proposing above all a dynamic theology and a vigorous social morality, demonstrating Christ as the source of workers' efforts towards their true liberation.

This number could be advantageously replaced by the passage, so strong and so positive, of our dear and venerated Pope Paul VI in his encyclical "Ecclesiam Suam":

"We see atheists also moved sometimes by good sentiments, disgusted with mediocrity and with the selfishness of so many contemporary social groups, and borrowing from our Gospel forms and language of solidarity and of human compassion. Will we not some day be capable of leading these expressions of moral values back to their true sources, which are Christian?"

And Paul VI in "Pacem in Terris" returns to the words of John XXIII, saying: "The doctrines of these atheistic movements, once they have been worked out and defined, remain always the same, but the movements themselves cannot avoid evolving and undergoing even profound changes. We should not lose hope of seeing them one day opening another dialogue with the Church, one that is positive and different from the present dialogue, which is necessarily limited to deploring and complaining.

These texts of Paul VI and John XXIII seem to us to be preferable to the present text of the schema, which is "limited to deploring and complaining."

We all know from experience that many of those who call themselves atheists are not really opposed to the Church. There are among them those who are very close. In reality, as Paul VI says, they seek a truer presentation of God, a religion harmonizing with the historical evolution of humanity, and above all a Church supporting not only the poor but also the effort for solidarity with the poor. They are often scandalized by a mediocre and self-centered Christianity, entangled with money and false riches, defending, even with arms, not its faith, which can never be defended by force, but its interests and its short-term security.

Certain persons have claimed that the schema denounces the sins of the world. But here is the great, the enormous sin of the world, which Jesus denounced ceaselessly in his Gospel, namely selfishness and the exploitation of man by man.

Certain persons would wish that this text speak to a greater extent of the necessity of carrying one's cross, of enduring one's lot with resignation. But, who do in fact carry the cross more than the laboring and miserable masses who try to emerge from their misery by work, solidarity, indeed even by socialism?

It is only regrettable that they do so in atheistic systems. But, isn't it the selfishness of certain Christians that has provoked and still provokes, to a large extent, the atheism of the masses?

Jesus puts us on guard against scandalizing the little ones, that is to say the humble ones: "Woe to the man through whom scandal comes!" Jesus said that at the conclusion of the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus. Many of these atheists are simply like Lazarus, scandalized by the rich who call themselves Christians.

Let us then have the courage to "lead back" to their true sources, which are Christian, these moral values of solidarity, fraternity, and social unity. Let us show that true socialism is Christianity integrally lived in the just sharing of goods and the fundamental equality of all. These modern forms of the economy and sociology need, not condemnation, but the leaven of the Gospel to extricate themselves from atheism and to fashion themselves in a harmonious manner. Instead of condemning them ceaselessly, let us restore them to their true meaning, which is Christian. Above all, let us apply ourselves to the Gospel of sharing and of fraternity, and help others to do so. If we had lived it, if we had preached it fully, the world would have been spared atheistic Communism.

Thus, rather than a commonplace condemnation, which is already well known, let us send to the working world a much larger number of priests and laity, ready to share the life of labor and the social endeavors of men of our times, making themselves all things for all people, to reveal to them this God whom they reject, but whom they seek gropingly, drawn by Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter, Savior of the world and "Lover of Mankind."

The Servant Church

An intervention by Archbishop Elias Zoghby, Patriarchal Vicar in Egypt and in the Sudan , on October 27, 1964.

I would like to make five observations on Chapter II, which lacks warmth and love:

1. Chapter II of this schema begins by presenting the Church's mission of service: it is, in fact, at the service of mankind to assure their salvation and to convey to them the evangelical message. I suggest that this second chapter begin by presenting the Church's mission of love. It is more touching and truer. In fact, Christ began his ministry with works of mercy, healing the sick, consoling the afflicted, and distributing bread to the hungry. He began by relieving the corporal miseries that presented some resemblance to death and led to death, announcing by this victory His victory over the death of sin and over the death of the body. Christ accordingly opened His ministry with works of mercy and thus prepared the crowds to accept His message of salvation. The Church was instituted to continue Jesus Christ's mission of love. I propose that that be mentioned at the beginning of Chapter II of this schema.

2. In presenting the Church in this fashion, let us remind the world right at the start that the Church, like a mother, has been solicitous, following Christ's example, for the temporal and material well-being of mankind, not to lead them cunningly to the faith, but because it loves them and wishes to comfort them. Therefore, before saying that the Church has for its mission assuring the eternal salvation of mankind, let us present it to the world as being demonstrated as the author of so many works of mercy spread out through the world: hospitals, asylums, schools, etc., which relieve so many miseries and do so much good. This is most efficacious for opening the hearts of men to what is good. How many religious men and women have, through their apostolate of charity, opened to God minds that the apostolate of the word has never been able to open.

3. In doing this, let us use a language that is less didactic, less solemn, more spontaneous: the language of the Mother-Church that presents itself to its children and to those who are called to become its children. Let us address ourselves to the heart as much as to the mind.

4. In Chapter II, paragraph 2, after having spoken of the mission of the Apostles and their successors, let us insist more on our authority of service, for the world accuses us of wishing rather to exercise an authority of domination. Let us say clearly that we are men, chosen among men, with our limitations and our weaknesses. Salvation is not an ecclesiastical undertaking that we impose on the world, nor is paradise a feudal estate that belongs to us and for which we want to conquer mankind. We ourselves must struggle to achieve our salvation. This schema must call to mind that we do not seek to impose our domination on the world, nor to offer our salvation to mankind, but rather to set forth humbly the salvation that comes from Christ and the means that He himself has placed at our disposal.

5. Our testimony can reach the modern world only if it is carried out in simplicity and poverty, and in a direct contact with the poor. The world, believing or unbelieving, today gathers together around the poor and the undernourished. It is there above all that we must be present. It is necessary that this presence of the Church among the poor be asserted in Chapter II of the schema and in the concrete life of the men of the Church.

Let us then be present among the poor, frequently visiting the houses of charity in our dioceses. But let us also arrange our episcopal residence so that it may, if possible, shelter a work of charity and appear to be truly the house of the poor. It is urgent to achieve in some manner the presence of the Church among the poor, if we wish it to be present in the modern world.

And since the world no longer recognizes any authority other than that of service, let us avoid the titles and the insignia that too frequently call to mind the honors and the spirit of domination. Let us also spare the pope, the first vicar of Jesus crucified, the pain of hearing us style him as "gloriously reigning." The popes call themselves the servants of servants and seek to be such in fact. When one says "Holy Father," is there a need to add anything?

To conclude, to speak only of the deceased, let us remember that the one whom the world calls "Good Pope John" demonstrated by his simplicity, his humility, and above all by his love, the presence of the Church in the world. He laid out the dominant path of this schema, when he said these memorable words: "I have loved all men whom I have encountered in my life."


The Church of the Poor

An intervention of Archbishop Elias Zoghby, Patriarchal Vicar of Egypt and the Sudan , on October 21, 1964.

If this council is a blessing for the Church and for the world, it is also a blessing for us bishops. It brings us back to the pure spirit of the Gospel and to the methods of the apostolate of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Certain conciliar Fathers have insisted on the obligation of the bishops to be poor. Others have insisted on his duty to advance the works that look after the poor. Permit me to add that that the Church must also love the company of the poor, and appear to the world as surrounded with the poor. Why? I shall not limit myself to the example of Our Lord, who preferred the company of the poor, nor to the spiritual advantages that a bishop can draw from fellowship with the poor. I would rather insist on the fact that the company of the poor is today for the apostle, the bishop, the priest, or the layperson, the best means of bringing his witness to the world.

In fact, the Christian and non-Christian world is on the way to mobilize all its energies to come to the help of the poor class, whose number and misery cause a scandal. Men of good will, baptized and not baptized, have set a rendezvous in the places where misery abounds. They have adopted service to the poor as a new form of religious practice, the only one for many of them. The only man of the Church whom they approach and who interests them is the one they see involved in this apostolate and who can help them in it, becoming an intermediary between them and the poor. Well, nobody is better suited to be this intermediary than the man of the Church.

The time has passed in which the Christian world saw in the bishop the "prince" of the Church who in order to preserve his prestige, had to remain distant and withdrawn in what was called the "episcopal palace." A bishop should renounce his isolation and his comfort, to be present where modern men have established the place of their meeting. Presiding in charity, the bishop should act, not only in the manner of an able administrator of the works of charity, but in the manner of Jesus Christ, who, in multiplying the bread, distributed the loaves with his own hands: "He gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the people." It is there, in the distribution of bread, that the pastor will encounter both the poor who need to be served and the others who desire to serve.

That being so, permit me to suggest modestly what follows:

As we are sometimes obliged to participate in official receptions, to sit at the tables of the rich, and to meet the important persons of this world, we should be, as much as possible, present among the poor and those who suffer, mingling with those in our orphanages, in our asylums, and in the hospitals. Why should we not visit more frequently the houses of charity, sharing the bread with the poor and living a few hours of their lives? By doing so, we shall often draw men to us, we shall be able to converse with them and lead them to the light of the Gospel. This witness will sometimes have more effect than our pastoral letters and the most sparkling acts of our ministry.

Why should we not share our episcopal residences with a work of charity or a small group of the unfortunate ones, even if only symbolically, thus transforming the home of the bishop into a house of charity, where one will recognize the presence of Christ and of His vicars? Did not Pope St. Gregory the Great have a dozen of the poor at his table each day? Are there not already among the bishops those who share their table with these chosen ones of Jesus Christ and live their life?

It is common in the East to see the bishopric or the patriarchate, where the clergy dwell, become the home of a community of the faithful, always opening the doors to the Christian people. It is there that charitable works originate and are organized with the cooperation of the faithful, and it is from there that they distribute their benefits over the whole region. It is there, in the residence of the pastor, that these charitable works have their secretariat, it is there that they hold their meetings and receive the poor at all hours. The bishop or priest who thus opens his house and his heart to all truly appears as being the father of the poor

I know that time may be lacking for many of us, but I believe that all our activities put together cannot have the effectiveness of this living testimony. Let us entrust to our co-workers, priests, deacons, and laypersons, the care of filling in our stead certain of our obligations, but when it is a matter of service to the poor, let us not renounce the honor that comes to us from being in the first row.

In a rather legalistic system, it is enough for the bishop to be a good administrator in order to be a good bishop. In a pastoral system, that is not enough. Never has "good administrator" been synonymous with "good pastor."

As the modern world does not recognize more than one single authority, that of service, let us avoid the expressions "prince of the Church" and "episcopal palace," which bring to mind honors and domination. Let us cease to style the foremost vicar of Jesus crucified as "gloriously reigning". The popes call themselves the servants of the servants of God, and today behave as such. When one has said "Holy Father," is there need to add anything else? I conclude, venerable Fathers! I have said that this council is a blessing for us bishops. It is also a gift of God to the world. Everything demonstrates to us that divine providence has positively wished it and has entrusted it to us. Have we the right to wish absolutely to finish our business at any price? Certainly, the progress that has been realized until now is admirable, but the world moves very quickly, and it becomes hard to please, and fortunately we all are hard to please. Nearly all our schemas need amendments. Neither the religious, nor the priests, nor the missionaries, nor the Eastern Churches, nor the laity, nor the world are yet satisfied with the schemas that concern them. Now, if all find that the schemas are backward in our time, how will they be considered in twenty years, and how will our council be judged?

Let us not object that our dioceses are waiting for us. Do we believe that our priests feel very much deprived because we are far away? Do you believe that something has changed in the life of our faithful because we are not near them?

Do our faithful see us that often when we are at home? For my part, I believe that we have never been as present to our priests, to our faithful, and to the world as at this time of the council, where at Rome we work more efficaciously than ever for our priests, our faithful, and for the world.


The Church and Human Rights

An intervention by Archbishop George Hakim of Saint John of Acre and of All- Galilee , on November 10, 1964.

Since our message to the world, the message with which we inaugurated the work of this council, the world has not ceased to wait for the conciliar response of the Church to the grave problems whose profusion and severity overwhelm it. Woe to the Church and to the world if this expectation and this hope should be disappointed!

The schema that is presented to us, and which is of a pastoral urgency of the highest level, while containing many excellent things, does not seem to us to respond to this expectation.

Far from being the charter of a council of modern times, the schema appears to us to be hesitant, paternally full of exhortations, when we would have wished to find in it clear and frank assertions, which would be the directing principles for the future of the relations of Christians with the present world. We would desire a conciliar assertion, according to the model of the first councils, which would settle the following points mentioned in paragraphs 23 to 25:

1. Of the meaning of human labor in the divine plan:

- By their labor, men perfect creation and man himself.

- In Jesus Christ, labor is dignified and finds its place in the spiritual life and in the Redemption.

- Men have a primordial right to make, through their work, their lives and those of their families consistent with their true dignity as men and as sons of God.

- The worker is infinitely superior to all money.

- It is intrinsically wrong to control work in such fashion that men are by their work, or the conditions of this work, led to be less than men.

- The pay of workers should correspond to personal and social justice, and be in harmony with the superiority of the worker over money, in harmony with the diverse parts of product of the work, and in harmony with modern progress.

2. Of the meaning of ownership and of money:

- Ownership of the goods of production should not in any fashion contribute to the domination of men, but, on the contrary, should help everyone's progress.

- This ownership is not an untouchable axiom and an absolute to which the social doctrine would be tied, but a way destined to bring about the common object of the goods.

- The Church is not tied to any economic, social, or political system. It encourages the collaboration of all men to promote the common good.

3. Of materialism and atheism:

- Materialism and atheism are theoretical and practical at the same time.

- Under these two forms, materialism and atheism are condemned, for, in many ways, they arouse the spirit of domination, luxury, and hedonism, and because their principles are spreading more and more in regions that are called Christian.

- But the various regimes called socialist, spread out in several regions, are not condemned with Marxist atheism without differentiation.

4. Of equality among men:

- All discrimination based on race, religion, or social condition is condemned, both in laws and in customs.

- Men who exploit other men, whether it be economically, socially, or politically, are condemned.

5. Of international solidarity and peace:

- All nuclear, bacteriological, or chemical war is condemned, all of which affect mankind without discrimination.

- The hunger of a multitude of mankind cries to the rich peoples, so that through action, through technology, and through fraternal charity without stinginess or avarice, they may aid the less developed peoples.

- All works of social and international peace, founded on justice, liberty, and fraternity, are praised.

- Institutions, whether social or international, in which men work together for true human progress are encouraged.

- Let the faithful be encouraged to have, with prudence and simplicity, an active part in all these institutions.

6. Various points:

- All mankind has the right to associate for the common good.

- Totalitarianism is contrary to the dignity of the human person.

- In the light of the separation between the Church and workers, existing in several nations, and already denounced by Pius XI in his encyclical "Quadrigesimo Anno," let there be encouragement for all attempts, started by the laity or by priests, which lead to the true evangelization of the poor.

Mankind today is awaiting clear and frank words, without ambiguity. I have humbly tried to propose an example along this line, while knowing that it is indeed imperfect. Let the experts work for a better method of expression.

Venerable Fathers, on October 13, 1962, in our message to the world, indicated above, we said: "Having come together from all the nations that are under heaven, we carry in our hearts the corporal and spiritual distresses, the sufferings, the aspirations, the hopes of the people who are entrusted to us. We are very attentive to the vexatious problems that beset them. That is why our solicitude desires to extend first to the humblest, the poorest, the feeblest. Like Christ, we feel ourselves moved with compassion at the sight of crowds that suffer from hunger, misery, and ignorance; and we always remember all those who, not having the desired help, have not yet attained a life worthy of human nature."

For three years we have been in laborious sessions, and what have we proposed? Have we decided on the practical and redeeming examples by which we ourselves would begin the reforms that the modern world expects of us, in our stations, our way of life, our customs, our habits?

In the absence of concrete examples, let us at least give clear and frank responses to the problems of our times.


Condemnation of War

An intervention of the patriarch on November 10, 1964.

A menace of destruction hovers over humanity; it is nuclear armament. And this menace grows from day to day through the increasing number of these infernal devices.

Without entering into physical and scientific considerations, which are beyond us and which cannot be expanded here, we believe that we must raise our voices, for we feel that we are oppressed. From our hearts there springs forth a cry of alarm, a cry of agony, I would even say a cry of despair... And we pray you to do all that is in our power, with whatever effect it may have, to ward off such an evil.

The intervention in favor of peace of two thousand bishops, spread out through the entire world, can be capable of changing the course of history and defending the fate of mankind.

There is talk of a just war. What adequate reason can justify, in sound morality, a destruction which constitutes a true worldwide cataclysm? Can a civilization and peoples be annihilated under the pretext of defending them? And if mankind must disappear in an instant, what is the good of this pastoral on which we have been working so laboriously since the announcement of Vatican II, and for whom is it intended?

Should not the concept of just war in modern times be lived and reconsidered in the light of the present situation? Should not national sovereignty have limits? Should the human community be completely ignored?

Venerable Fathers, all humanity is gasping as it looks to us with haggard eyes, to see what we are going to do. We cannot be silent because of considerations of whatever nature they may be. As faithful guardians of the souls of our peoples, we still have duties in regard to their earthly life. We must speak, speak boldly, speak courageously, like John the Baptist before Herod, like Ambrose before Theodosius, to condemn the use of these infernal devices.

Our Holy Father John XXIII, of blessed memory, has done so in his encyclical "Pacem in Terris." The schema that we are studying "On the Church in the Modern World" also does it in a manner that is clear, but a little platonic. But that is not enough. We must make on behalf of the council a declaration "to the city and to the world" that is clear, frank, and precise.

This radical condemnation on the part of the Church can grow like a snowball, since all truth contains a force of penetration and of expansion in souls. Other authorities, civil or religious, will be able to follow our example. A worldwide swell of opinion could oblige rulers, shut up in their national concepts, to reflect further. Sanctions of various natures could be foreseen. But always we cannot be silent under the peril of disappointing the world, of disappointing what is noblest in ourselves, and of rendering our ministry fruitless among the peoples.

For the love of Christ, Lover of Mankind and King of Peace, we pray and beseech you to make a solemn and energetic condemnation of all nuclear, chemical, and bacteriological warfare. Let this council address a message to the world, according to the example of the one through whom our conciliar labors began. Let this council condemn, in principle, all nuclear warfare in all its forms, and to demand that the billions saved through disarmament be employed for the relief of a poor humanity, of whom two-thirds do not eat enough to relieve their hunger, and who needs everything.

Venerable Fathers, the history of the past two thousand years has not ceased to view the bishop as "the defender of the city." More than ever, the world today needs these disinterested and courageous defenders. Let us not disappoint the world in this regard. The Church is expected to remain always a pillar of strength and of truth.

 

The Constitution of the Church

Episcopal Collegiality and Papal Primacy

The problem of the episcopate was of deep concern to the Melkite Greek Catholic hierarchy. As early as their arrival in Rome for the first session of the council, the patriarch and his prelates signed, on October, 1962, the following "proposition" tending to give to the schema "On Bishops" priority over all the others in the discussion.

The undersigned, Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and the Bishops of his Patriarchate, Fathers of the Second Vatican Council:

Inasmuch as the First Vatican Council, after having defined the primacy and the infallibility of the Roman pontiff, was interrupted without being able to study the origin and the powers of the bishops, who, by divine right, succeed the Apostles; and inasmuch as the determination of the origin and of the powers of bishops is of the greatest importance for clarifying the other questions which are proposed for conciliar debate, such as ecumenism, decentralization, pastoral activity, missions, and the apostolate of the laity; we do propose that priority be given to the study of the schema "On Bishops."

Episcopal Collegiality

An overall study of this question had been prepared by Patriarch Maximos in May, 1962, some months before the holding of the first session of the council. It was to inspire all his conciliar interventions. We publish it in full.

Theologians sometimes wonder if the government of the Church, as it has been willed by its divine Founder, is monarchial, oligarchic, or democratic. In reality, this problem has been poorly stated, for the Church, as a divine and human society of a type that is completely unique, escapes all the classifications of human constitutions. The Church is in a sense monarchial, through its one head, who is Christ, and through the leader of its human pastors, who is the Bishop of Rome. It is in a sense oligarchic, if one considers the small number of those who exercise power in it. It is also in a sense democratic, through the royal priesthood of its faithful and the apostolic mission entrusted to all its members. But, strictly speaking, it is none of the above in particular, and all the above at the same time.

Christ wished a minimum of external constitution, around which the Church has developed its organization according to forms that are very variable, according to persons, times, and places. This diversity, because of its contingent nature, can still evolve indefinitely, except for the untouchable constitutional core willed by its divine Founder. So it is that the Christian East has in general adopted forms of organization that are more democratic and more decentralized, while the West has set forth gradually on the road toward forms that rather recall absolute monarchy and nearly total centralization of all powers of jurisdiction in the hands of the Bishop of Rome alone.

Importance of the Problem

All these forms of organization are legitimate, on the condition, however, that they respect the divine constitution of the Church. For example, to push democratic and decentralizing forms to the extreme could end in the denial of all central power and to the establishment of absolutely autonomous particular Churches, to the detriment of the unity desired by Christ. On the other hand, to push the monarchial and centralizing element to its extreme limits ends fatally in transforming the Church into a society that is purely human and external, submissive to a single head, whose other subordinate leaders receive their powers and their mandate by way of a permanent or occasional delegation. It is precisely this trend in the Catholic Church toward autocratic forms of government centered around individuals that the Council must, it seems to us, rectify.

This rectification is necessary if we desire that our Catholic East, with its particular forms of organization and of internal government, should not be in Catholicism as a strange body, a poorly tolerated exception, a paternalistic concession, although its organization and its ecclesiological concepts are perfectly apostolic.

This rectification is also necessary if we wish to continue the dialogue with Orthodoxy and Protestantism. In particular, Orthodoxy refuses to see in the excessive enhancement of the Roman primacy a normal evolution of the primitive core laid down by the Lord in the divine constitution of the Church, and accuses the papacy of engrossing power for reasons of ambition or human self-interest.

Finally, this rectification is necessary if we wish to remain faithful to the thought of Christ and the tradition of the Apostles and of the Fathers of the Church. The apostolate, and in particular the missionary apostolate, presupposes a collective responsibility of the whole episcopate in the preaching of the Word. Bishops are not governors of provinces, charged with executing the directives of a central authority that is solely responsible for the definitions of the ecclesiastical magisterium, of the liturgical worship, and of the power of jurisdiction. Bishops are successors of the Apostles, or, more precisely, the episcopal college is the successor of the apostolic college. Power in the Church belongs fundamentally to the college of the Apostles and their successors under the direction of the leader of the Apostles, Peter, and his successors, the bishops of Rome. Bishops, after all, are not responsible for their dioceses alone, and their power is not limited to their dioceses; in union with their head, the Bishop of Rome, and under his direction, they have the collective responsibility for the whole Church, and they exercise with him, in some manner, a collective power over the universal Church. This is what we mean when speaking of episcopal collegiality. This is a rich idea, as ancient as the Gospel, but very much blurred in the concepts and the practices of these recent centuries, and one that on the occasion of the Council should be restored to the light.

In Scripture

The collegiality of the Church is an idea as old as the Gospel. The apostolic college, in fact, is designated in the Gospels by the most concrete expression "the Twelve." The Twelve constitute the foundation of the New Israel, of which they are at the same time the Fathers and the Judges (Matthew. 29:27). This is what the number twelve symbolizes. With the defection of Judas, it appeared indispensable to find a replacement for him, so that the college would remain complete. The Twelve are forever the foundations of the Church. In the Apocalypse (21:14) Saint John says, "The wall of the city [the heavenly Jerusalem] had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb." Thus the Church rests on the foundations of the twelve Apostles and their successors, a collegial government.

The Twelve are not, however, an occasional and inorganic group. They form a college, having a president: "Peter and those who were with him," the Evangelists say (Mark 1:36, Luke 9:32, 8:45).

Peter certainly appears in the life of the primitive Church as the one who has primary responsibility, but always as head of the apostolic college, which shares with him his responsibilities. When Philip evangelized Samaria, "the Apostles...sent Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:5, 14-16). Did not Jesus send the Twelve on mission, two by two (Mark 6:7)?

Everywhere we see the Apostles exercising their mission collegially. The Acts say that Paul, converted to the Christian faith, "attempted to join the Apostles... Barnabas took him and brought him to the Apostles... So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord" (Acts 9:26-29). He writes, "After three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Cephas" (Gal. 1:18). "Finally, after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me... I laid before them [that is to say the apostolic college] the Gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately among those who were of repute, lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain... And James and Cephas and John, who were pillars, gave me the right hand of fellowship" (Gal. 2:1-9).

Everywhere the evangelization appears to be collective. Although the mission among the Jews was more especially the role of Peter, and that of the Gentiles the role of Paul, we nevertheless know that Paul always spoke first to the Jews before going to the Gentiles (Acts 16:13; 17:1,10; 18:4; 19:8-10; 28:17), and that Peter equally evangelized the Gentiles (Acts 10 and 11). Peter came to Antioch, where Paul and Barnabas were evangelizing (Galatians 2:11), and finally Peter and Paul both evangelized at Rome, a Church founded by Paul as much as by Peter. The memory of Paul is, in liturgical worship, inseparably tied to that of Peter, and Byzantine icons represent both of them supporting the Church of Christ.

The Apostles' helpers also evangelized collegially, without being tied definitively to one territory. When, after the deaths of the Apostles, they succeeded them, they kept the consciousness of collegiality in evangelization and remained itinerants, not permanently attached to one or another Church. How far we are from a Saint Peter exercising control and authority over the whole Church by himself alone!

In the Tradition of the Fathers

Later, when the successors of the Apostles settled down in one Church, they nevertheless continued to be aware that their care went beyond that Church and extended in a certain manner to all the Churches. St. Clement of Rome was concerned with the Church of Corinth. It could be said that he did it as successor of Peter. But Ignatius of Antioch wrote to the Churches of Asia to strengthen them in the unity of faith around their respective bishops. Polycarp of Smyrna wrote to the Church of the Philippians in Macedonia. Dionysius of Corinth, said Eusebius, "not content to exercise a zeal in God over those who were subject to his authority, extended it further and freely to other countries;" he wrote letters to the Lacedemonians, the Athenians, the Nicomedians, the Cretans, the Churches of Amastris, of Pontus, and of Gnossus (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., IV, 23, 1-8).

If we limit ourselves to the modern theories of the pope as the sole responsible person in the Church, all these Fathers, who are the foundations of the Christian tradition, should be considered intruders.

St. Cyprian of Carthage gives us the reason for the behavior of these Fathers when he says: "There is, in fact, among the bishops only one Church, only one soul, only one heart... There is, through the institution of Christ, one and only one Church, spread out over the whole world, one and only one episcopacy represented by a multiplicity of bishops united among themselves... The Church forms a single whole, whose bond is the union of bishops" (Epistle 66, 8,3). For, he adds, "the episcopacy is one and indivisible episcopal dignity is one and every bishop possesses jointly and severally a portion of it without any division of the whole" (De Unitate, V). Can anything be clearer and more explicit?

Finally, episcopal collegiality manifests itself through the meetings of the bishops in synods, either regional or ecumenical, to compare local traditions and to make decisions having obligatory force for the whole region or the whole Church. If each bishop had authority only over his diocese, the synods would not have been able to decide in common for a whole region or for the whole Church. If they do so, it is because they are expressing and putting into action the collegiality of the episcopal body.

In brief, when we listen to the Fathers, it is evident that the Church of Rome, and its bishop, are situated within the union of the Churches and of the apostolic collegiality of their bishops, according to the expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, who calls the Church of Rome "president in love" (Epistle to the Romans, Par. 1). Such is the underlying sense of its primacy and of its privileges, which are manifested above all in the cases where the faith is in peril, according to the words of Jesus to Peter: "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren" (Luke 22:32).

Theological Deductions

From this brief survey of the contributions of Holy Scripture and of the teachings of the Fathers of the first centuries, one can legitimately deduce the dimensions of episcopal collegiality:

1) In the first place, it is clearly apparent that the theology of collegiality is linked with the theology of ministry and of the service of the word. If the hierarchy in the Church is conceived solely in the sense of a power, in place of being thought of and expressed in the sense of a service, episcopal collegiality becomes impossible, for in the face of a universal and direct power—if such is the way that the Roman primacy is understood—all other power can only be delegated and particular. It is quite the opposite if the primacy is considered as a ministerial charism at the service of the Church, which is granted to the one who likes to call himself "servant of the servants of God."

Ministry in the Church is a power, but a power to serve. The human notion of jurisdiction, applied indiscriminately to the hierarchs of the Church, has falsified the nature of the apostolic ministry. It is well known that in the East not only is the term "jurisdiction" unknown, but also that the institutions of the Church escape the legalism that characterizes the mentality and the institutions of the Western Church.

2) In the second place, this apostolic ministry, which constitutes the totality of ecclesiastical power, is not entrusted solely and individually to Peter, with the responsibility of distributing it by delegating it to the other Apostles. Nor is it entrusted to the Apostles individually. It is given to the Twelve, that is to say, to the apostolic college as such, taken collectively, collegially, with solidarity, having Peter as the head.

3) In the third place, the charism of primacy conferred upon Peter has meaning only when it is considered in its total context, as being the power to lead the apostolic college. It is not a personal power independent of any reference to the Twelve, to whom collectively has been granted all power in the Church. Neither chronologically nor as an idea does the primacy of Peter come before the ministry of the Twelve. Even while possessing this primacy of leadership, Peter remains one of the Twelve, an Apostle like them, sharing the power which was given to them jointly and severally, not only as a member of the college, but also as president and chief of the college, an eminent member who sees to it that the Twelve are an organic college, and not an aggregation of independent individuals. Likewise, after as well as before the granting of primacy to Peter, the other Apostles did not cease to be the brothers and the companions of Peter in the apostolate. The primacy of Peter does not take away from the Apostles any of the powers which were given to them by Christ, but sustains, coordinates, and guides them. Without Peter the power of the Apostles would degenerate into confusion, and without the Apostles, Peter's power would degenerate into absolutism. These two powers complement each other, and are mutually indispensable.

4) In the fourth place, the Bishop of Rome, successor of Peter, has no more power than Peter, and the episcopal college has no less power than the apostolic college. The exercise of the power of each bishop in particular may vary and has in fact varied. Yet the totality of the powers of the episcopal body must not yield anything to the whole of the apostolic powers. If the episcopal college should encroach upon the powers of the Bishop of Rome, or if the Bishop of Rome should encroach upon the powers of the episcopal college, there is in both cases, violation of the Lord's will, and therefore danger of controversies and even of schisms in the Church.

5) The government of the Church thus does not rest on one man alone, but on a college of men, the bishops, who must work together and in union with their chief, the Bishop of Rome. The Bishop of Rome operates as the center of unity of the body, from which he receives at all times suggestions, advice, reminders, which may go so far, as in the case of Paul with Peter at Antioch, and so many Fathers of the Church with the popes of Rome, as respectful but vigorous objections. "When Cephas came to Antioch," says Paul, "I opposed him to his face, for he was clearly wrong" (Galatians 2:11). Without doubt the pope reserves for himself the right to judge as a last resort, discerning what in the wishes of his brothers comes or does not come from the Holy Spirit. It is his responsibility to affix his definitive seal on what has been decided by the unanimity, at least moral, among his brothers of the episcopal college.

6) The successors of the Apostles have long since ceased to be itinerant and are generally given charge of a specific diocese that they must administer and where they are expected to reside. But this direct and immediate responsibility of the bishop over his diocese does not dispense him from continuing to assume a more general responsibility over the Church as a whole. Now, this more general responsibility of each bishop with respect to the universal Church is manifested first of all in the ecumenical councils where the episcopal college, having the pope as its head, exercises in the Church a sovereign power of judgment and of government. This responsibility is also exercised in synods, conferences, and other episcopal meetings, in which each one of the attending bishops participates in the pastorate of a whole region, without having the decisions of the synods necessarily submitted, of divine right, to the approbation of the Bishop of Rome.

Finally, this responsibility is exercised each day in the suggestions, the adaptations, the observations, that bishops make to each other, and also make, with all due respect, to their hierarchical superiors: archbishops, metropolitans, patriarchs, and pope. It is exercised through the participation of the entire Church in the Roman central administration, which must also be representative of collegiality. It is exercised through concern for the preaching of the word throughout the world: a care which does not weigh solely on the shoulders of the Bishop of Rome, but which is a burden on the consciences of all bishops. It is exercised, finally, through the constant preoccupation which each bishop should have for the good of the universal Church, according to the words of Saint Paul, who said, "There is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the Churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is scandalized, and I am not aflame with indignation?" (2 Corinthians 11:28-29)

In the last analysis, that is what episcopal collegiality is: the taking charge, by all bishops jointly, in communion with their head, the Pope of Rome, of the interests of the Kingdom of God that is the Church. Such is the Church willed by Christ.

The Pope and the Origin of the Bishops' Powers

The preparatory Theological Commission of the Council had prepared a schema "On Residential Bishops." This schema proposed a theory, that the patriarch deemed "inadmissible," of the "pope, ultimate and only source of all power in the Church." The patriarch refuted this theory in a long memorandum that he addressed to the Central Commission, in its meeting of May, 1962.

This Chapter IV of the Constitution "On the Church" is, by all means, the most serious and burdensome in consequences among all the schemas that have been presented until now for the examination of the Central Commission.

Not only is this chapter dogmatic in nature, but it advances a theory that, unless there is a mistake, we consider as to be a truly new dogma: the dogma of the Roman pontiff as the ultimate source of all power in the Church.

In its exposition of the divine constitution of the Church, the First Vatican Council emphasized only the constitution and functioning of its visible head, who is the Roman pontiff. Almost unanimously the bishops of the Catholic world have wished that the Second Vatican Council would present a less unilateral vision of things, by stressing this time the constitution and divine origin of the power of the bishops, the successors of the Apostles. The schema which should have been presented to us was intended to satisfy this legitimate desire. Now, the one that has been presented to us emphasizes even more the powers of the Roman pontiff, and does not supply anything very notable in the determination of those of the bishops.

In the light of the gravity of the question, we reserve for ourselves the presentation to the Central Commission of a more detailed study on this point. In the meantime, we take the liberty of making the following comments. If we are mistaken, we declare that we are submitting in advance and without reservation to the infallible magisterium of the Church and of the Roman pontiff. If, on the contrary, it is the theological commission that wishes to introduce surreptitiously a new dogma, we ask it either to withdraw its schema or to present it openly as the introduction of a new dogma, a corollary of the dogma of Roman primacy, and to ask the Fathers of the Council explicitly to discuss it and define it. But it is not permissible to present as doctrine tacitly accepted by all something that is, in reality, only a simple opinion at best. Having said this, we here briefly present our comments:

1. Holy Scripture affirms a power of primacy, on the part of Peter, over the rest of the Apostles and over the whole Church. But Scripture does not affirm in any way that no bishop can be constituted in the Church except through the intervention, "direct or indirect," of Peter and his successors, the bishops of Rome. We even explicitly see the other Apostles constituting bishops without referring in any way to Peter. The same is true of their disciples, such as Titus or Timothy. If it is necessary to understand the text as applying to bishops in the strict sense, doesn't the Scripture say that it is the Holy Spirit who instituted the bishops to rule the Church (cf. Acts 20:28)? It is difficult, without doing violence to the text, to find in the Scripture a basis which permits affirming that no bishop obtains jurisdiction over his Church except through the "direct or indirect" intervention of the Bishop of Rome, successor of Peter.

2. As for Tradition, one finds, it is true, certain texts in favor of that opinion, especially in the writings of Popes of Rome, like Saint Leo. But we cannot say that this is the teaching of the majority of the Fathers. On the contrary, there are numerous ancient and impartial texts which affirm the opposite. There are Fathers of the Church who are even opposed to this trend of exaggeration of the papal power. We can even say that the majority of the Fathers, above all in the East, are of a contrary opinion. While conceding a power of primacy of the Roman pontiff, they do not agree that he is the source of all power of jurisdiction in the Church, to such a point that no bishop can be appointed except by him.

Thus Tradition is not on the whole favorable to the extremist opinion which this schema demonstrates. May I be permitted here to make a remark which holds true for many other excessive tendencies in modern theology: the West does not produce untrue texts, but it produces only texts that please it, and passes over in silence, consciously or unconsciously, the texts that do not agree with its theories, even if they are more numerous. An objective study of Tradition must take into account all the currents of thought and all the texts. In the face of a few texts favorable to "the Roman pontiff, sole and ultimate source of all power," there are many other texts which ignore this theory or affirm the contrary. Where then is the true Tradition to be found?

3. In this matter, the practice of the Church remains the best criterion. Indeed, even in the West, bishops were not always appointed and invested directly or indirectly by the Roman pontiffs. As for the East, during the first nine centuries of the Church, when the East and the West were usually united, the popes have certainly claimed the right to intervene, especially when serious danger threatened the Church, to name or occasionally depose a bishop. But the East has never surmised that only the popes of Rome could, directly or indirectly, name the bishops.

When Pope Nicholas I chided Patriarch Photius for having been elected without the intervention of Rome, Photius could answer that it had never been the custom of the Church. Now, Pope Nicholas seems to have based his claim, in good faith, above all on the False Decretals that had just been circulated in the West. We don't wish to say that the extremist position of the schema is based on the False Decretals. We only wish to affirm that for centuries the Church did not claim that the appointment of bishops or their "mandate" in their respective dioceses was the exclusive province of the Roman pontiff. In our Melkite Church, until some twelve years ago, the bishops were chosen in a synod, and we sought no confirmation for them from the Roman pontiff. It was Pope Pius XII who demanded for the first time that no bishop of our Church henceforth be proclaimed without papal confirmation. Pope Pius XII was no doubt applying the opinion which the schema of the theological commission is now appropriating.

4. The supporters of this extremist opinion, aware that Tradition is not on their side, have recourse to an expedient and believe that they have solved everything by inserting this clause: "directly or indirectly." Thus, if history proves that out of one hundred thousand episcopal elections in the East, from the time of the Apostles until the middle of the twentieth century, the popes have intervened in only a hundred cases, certain theologians will nonetheless say that it is through the authority of the pope that these appointments were made, their view being that this authority was exercised "indirectly" either by synods, or patriarchs, or in some other way...

Actually, the popes themselves did not think along those lines, any more than they thought of granting Eastern priests the power to confirm. Such deductions do not result from the facts, but bend the facts to preconceived theories. With this method it can also be claimed that ordinary priests obtain their canonical mission from the pope, but indirectly, through the intermediary of their bishops. Following this train of thought, we can ask ourselves what, in the Church, does not issue from the pope! The very excesses of these deductions show that the method is scientifically condemnable and that the deductions are unjustified.

5. The supporters of the opinion that we are opposing have recourse to another deduction. They claim that their opinion is a logical conclusion of the dogma of Roman primacy. Therefore, they say, according to the definition of Vatican Council I, the pope possesses an ordinary, episcopal, and immediate power over the pastors and the faithful, and the bishops obtain their power over their respective dioceses only through the pope's mandate. To this we reply: the definition of Vatican Council I does not in any way include a statement that the pope is the ultimate and sole source of all power in the Church. Someone can have authority over another without being the source of all authority for this other person. The two things are distinct. To pass from one to the other is to surreptitiously desire the Church to accept a new dogma that Vatican Council I in no way defined, even though it could have done so.

6. Be this as it may, the new dogma that is being proposed to us accentuates even more the differences between the Eastern Church and the Western Church. While our Orthodox brethren still recognize in the pope a certain power of primacy, their entire ecclesial tradition forbids them from acknowledging in him the ultimate and sole source of all power in the Church. Their entire legitimate ecclesial tradition forbids them from reserving to the pope the nomination or confirmation of all the bishops in the Church. The Second Vatican Council, which the pope desired to prepare the paths for union, would result on the contrary in hardening the positions of the Catholic Church and creating a new dogma that the Orthodox Church cannot accept. With such a theory, the Catholic Church must decide to interrupt all dialogue with Orthodoxy, and it will not be the fault of Orthodoxy, which, on this point, wishes to remain faithful to Tradition.

7. Finally, we can ask ourselves why the theological commission and, with it, certain theologians, persist in wishing to make the council pronounce excessive principles in praise of the papacy. There are certainly certain groups in the Catholic Church today who wish to see in Catholicism only its head: the pope. From exaggeration to exaggeration, they finally lead the Church towards a certain "papolatry," which does not appear to be a chimerical danger. They have made of the pope, not the father, the humble and devoted shepherd, the big brother concerned about the honor and the apostolate of his brothers, but an ecclesiastical replica of the Roman Caesar. An old subconscious imperialism consumes them, and they seem to wish to find in the papacy a compensatory solution for their dreams of universal domination. Now, that attitude has no place in Christ's Church, where authority is a service, and the greatest among us must be the servant of all. Certainly, the popes realize this evangelical ideal magnificently in their private lives. Yet we wish, for the greater good of the Church, that the flattering or self-interested theologians may be kept away from their entourage. This can only enhance the greatness of the papacy and increase esteem for it.

8. In the light of the preceding considerations, we propose the amending of certain passages of the schema in question:

a. A note that seems harmless proposes theories of the greatest gravity. It even stirs up the question of whether the bishops receive their power immediately from God or from the pope. How can anyone say such a thing? If the bishops receive their power immediately from the pope, then they are delegates of the pope. The note claims that it wishes to exclude this theory, but it affirms it nonetheless by insinuation. Now it is this method of tendentious insinuations that places the doctrines of the Church in danger. This entire text should be eliminated.

b. The schema affirms that the bishops receive their mandate "a regimine Ecclesiae, et quidem ab ipso successore Petri... a quo ergo in officium assumuntur, et etiam deponi, transferri, restitui possunt" ("from the government of the Church, and indeed from the very successor of Peter... by whom therefore they are received into their office, and by whom they can also be deposed, transferred, and reinstated"). The text says rightly, "by the government of the Church." But why does it identify the "government of the Church" with "the successor of Peter"? Apart from Peter and his successors, is there nothingness in the Church, and is the "government of the Church" reduced solely to the government of Peter and his successors?

Peter is at the head of the Church, but he is not the whole Church. There is no body without a head, but neither is there a head without a body. This theoretical and practical identification of the pope with the Church and of the Church with the pope is one of the exaggerations that have done most harm to the Church. In order to honor the pope there is no need to see him as being the whole Church and to reduce the Church to him.

c. The text affirms that the pope possesses such power in the Church "ut ipse actualem eorum [episcoporum] iurisdictionem ordinariam ampliare vel restringere possit, etiam subditorum exemptione" ("so that he can increase or restrict their [the bishops'] ordinary jurisdiction, even by exempting those subject to them"). This needs to be toned down. The pope's power is not arbitrary. It is restricted by the divine constitution of the Church that intends that the bishops should not be proxies of the pope, but his brothers and the successors of the Apostles. The pope cannot arbitrarily do whatever he wishes with the Church and in the Church; he must always respect the plan of its Divine Founder. The Church is a monarchy, tempered by an oligarchy, and even by a certain democracy. It is not a dictatorship.

d. After reducing almost to nothing the original and legitimate rights of the bishops, the text continues: "Absit tamen ut per hoc iura episcoporum minuantur" ("The rights of the bishops must not be diminished by this"). That is almost ironical. By these exaggerations the rights of the bishops are most certainly diminished. More than one Catholic bishop has thought in his innermost heart that he was practically reduced to the role of a "prefect" executing the orders of the Roman bureaucracy.

e. Speaking of the unity of the Catholic Church, the text affirms: "cuius centrum et fundamentum et principium unitatis est successor Petri" ("whose center and foundation and principle of unity is the successor of Peter"). What is left to Christ in this concept of ecclesial unity? What needs to be said is that the center and foundation of the unity of the Church is Christ and subordinately and vicarially the bishops, and at their head the Bishop of Rome. In the concept of the Church, it is hardly forgivable to forget the bishops. But it is absolutely unforgivable to forget Christ. The exaggerations of certain theologians have made the pope not the representative of Christ, but his substitute, his successor. And that is very serious.

f. Speaking of the collegiality of the episcopal body—a very rich idea that is still unexplored—the schema conceives it in a rather diminished and simplistic way. It says, "Episcopi, quamvis singillatim sumpti vel etiam quam plurimi congregati potestatem in universam vel in aliam ac sibi commissam Ecclesiam non habent, nisi ex collatione Romani Pontificis..." ("The bishops, whether taken individually or even when many are gathered together, do not have power over the universal Church or over another Church assigned to them, except as it is conferred by the Roman pontiff"). In the minds of the authors of this schema, the bishops, as a body, have no power of their own of universal solicitude. If they do in fact exercise such power, in councils or otherwise, it is solely by virtue of a delegation of power coming from the Bishop of Rome. Is that the genuine Catholic tradition? Does not this tradition affirm that the bishops in some sense share with their head, the Bishop of Rome, the care of the entire Church? Does it not affirm that they possess, with him and under his authority, a certain power over the whole Church, for example in ecumenical councils? It is true that, under present law, an ecumenical council can be held only under the authority and with the approbation of the Bishop of Rome. Yet that does not mean that all the authority that the bishops exercise in such a council comes to them from the Bishop of Rome. Again, these are very harmful exaggerations.

g. The schema concludes: "Nemo episcoporum ad hoc Corpus pertinere potest, nisi directe vel indirecte a successore Petri, Capite Corporis, in Collegium assumptus sit" ("No bishop can belong to this Body, unless he has been directly or indirectly incorporated into the College by the successor of Peter, the Head of the Body"). It is correct to say that no bishop belongs to the Catholic episcopal college unless he is united with and subject to the head of this college, who is the Bishop of Rome. However, to say that no bishop belongs to this college unless he has been chosen by the Bishop of Rome is something else. It is a theory that must be proved, and that we for our part believe is devoid of any foundation in the sources of our faith.

Conclusion: The schema that is presented to us is clearly tendentious. In addition to the exaggerations in form that we have pointed out, it proposes a theory of the constitution of the Church that is not at all certain. We, for our part, believe that it is erroneous. This schema must be restudied by theologians who are more objective and who have been more soundly nurtured in the Patristic tradition. It is our opinion that this schema, as it is now presented, cannot be proposed to the council.

The Divine Constitution of the Church

The Holy Synod, in its "Comments on the schemas of the Council (1963)" made a detailed critique of the first part of the schema "On the Church." It touched on many varied points, but the central theme remained "the Divine Constitution of the Church," or the relations between the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, on the one hand, and on the other, Peter and his successors. Although it sometimes touched on details of wording, this synodal document deserves to be cited in its principal passages.

1) Peter/rock and Apostles/pillars: The simile of the "pillars" applied to the Apostles originates in the New Testament quite as much as the simile of the "rock" applied to Peter. Better still, we propose to replace "founded on Peter the rock and upon the Apostles" with another scriptural formula such as "established on the foundation of the Apostles (and prophets)."

Indeed the draft awkwardly anticipates the following paragraph which deals with the primacy. The present draft is less felicitous than the text from Vatican I which is cited here. That council distinguished three periods in the divine plan: the first period, Christ wishes to found a Church as a temple of eternal duration; the second period, to lead and rule this Church, He gives it as shepherds the twelve Apostles who are perpetuated in the bishops, their successors; the third period "so that the episcopate may be one, he set Peter above the other Apostles." The present schema, by speaking too soon about the primacy of Peter, symbolized by the rock, reverses the perspective.

2) Apostolicity: "Apostolicus primatus" does not adequately designate the primacy of St. Peter. Actually, there are other Apostles besides Peter. It is also a current habit in the West to use "Apostolica Sedes" to designate only the Roman See of Peter. Indeed, in the West, there is no other "apostolic see" than that of Rome founded by Peter. But we must react against this procedure, for not only are there other Apostles besides Peter, but there are also other "apostolic sees" besides the See of Rome. This statement is important in order to make oneself understood by the East, which is so deeply attached to the apostolicity of its patriarchal sees. We know that Orthodox Christians protest against the monopolizing of the epithet "apostolic" by the Roman See in expressions like "apostolic see" or "apostolic blessing," etc.

3) Vicar of Christ: Following Saint Bernard especially, Western piety has liked to give the Roman pontiff the title of "Vicar of Christ." However, even in the West, at least until the eleventh century, the Pope of Rome tended to be called the "Vicar of Peter," and not the "Vicar of Christ." This latter title came into general use only with St. Bernard, without being exclusively reserved to the Roman pontiff, since Western tradition continued here and there to call all bishops indistinguishably vicars of Christ.

The Roman pontiff is naturally the vicar of Christ in a more eminent, but not exclusive, way. The exclusive application of this title to the Bishop of Rome is unknown in Eastern patristic tradition. Moreover, this title leads to lack of restraint, and we know how lack of restraint in this domain, in unwary, flattering, or self-interested minds, is dangerous for the Church. It has led some to blasphemy in the strict sense of the word, when they wanted to make a pope a God: "The pope is God on earth..., Jesus has placed the pope above the prophets..., above the precursor..., above the angels...Jesus has placed the pope on the same level as God..."

For the same reason, we believe that the expression "head of the Church" (especially in Latin: "caput Ecclesiae") must be explained in an ecumenical context. For it is not the pope who is head of the Church in the strict sense, but Christ alone, whom no one succeeds in this capacity. The pope succeeds Peter, but he does not succeed Christ. We should explain it rather in the sense that the pope is the "visible head of the Church" or "the head of the visible Church."

4) Foundation of the Church: The Church was certainly built on Peter, but also on the other Apostles, as many texts of the New Testament prove. It is by combining all these texts that it is appropriate to speak of the foundation of the Church. Orthodox Christians reproach Catholic theologians not for citing false texts, but for not citing all the texts.

The text of the schema would give us to understand that the Church, as such, is founded on Peter alone. On the contrary, the faithful are built on the foundation of the Apostles and the prophets, etc. This seems to be an attempt to avoid the difficulty of the texts of Saint Paul (Ephesians 2:20) and of Revelation (21:14), applying them only to the faithful. Actually, these texts of Matthew, the Letter to the Ephesians, and Revelation complement one another. The Church and the faithful that constitute it are founded on Peter and the Apostles. That is the reason for the proposed addition.

5) The canonical mission of priests. The canonical mission of priests does not come "from the Roman pontiff or from their bishop," but only from their bishop. This does not mean that the Roman pontiff has no power over priests. But it is one thing to have universal power over all the faithful or clerics of the Church and quite another to be the sole source of all power in the Church. Specifically, the bishops do not need any delegation of power to give a canonical mission to one of their priests for the purpose of governing a portion of their flock. In territories directly subject to the Bishop of Rome, as such, priests naturally receive their mission from him.

6) The Latin Church and the universal Church. When the Catholics of the West speak of the Church or of the general discipline of the Church, they are limiting their vision to the Latin Church, as if the Eastern Church and Eastern discipline were exceptions to the rule. On the contrary, they should remember that the Latin Church is one Church within the Catholic Church, just like the lowliest of the Eastern Churches, and that Latin law is a particular law of the Latin Church. "Ecclesia universa" does not signify "Ecclesia Latina," and "jus commune" does not signify "jus latinum." Since in fact the Catholic Church has unfortunately been reduced for centuries to the West, or almost so, the West has acquired the habit of considering its Latin Church as synonymous with the universal Catholic Church. This is a point of view that must be corrected today, not only in terminology but also in the entire conduct of the Church.

7) Head and body of the episcopal college. Instead of saying that the episcopal college has authority (we are speaking here of universal authority) only when united with the Roman pontiff, we prefer to say that the episcopal college, of which the Pope of Rome is a part as its president, constitutes a college only if it is united with the Roman pontiff, who is its president. It is a difference in perspective, but an important one. There is a tendency in the West to place the pope not only at the head of the episcopal college, which is very true, but also outside the episcopal college, which is false. Likewise, there is a tendency to think of the pope as being outside the council, the latter studying, discussing and proposing, whereas the pope confirms and sanctions. More than one proof could be given to demonstrate the existence of this mentality, which does not seem to us to be correct.

8) Nature of the Roman Primacy: The schema begins by affirming that the Roman pontiff has by himself alone full and universal power over the whole Church. We should like to specify that this universal power of the pope is given to him only inasmuch as he is the head of the whole hierarchy and for the purpose of fulfilling his primatial ministry. Indeed, it is important to show that this universal power of the pope is the consequence of a ministry as head of the Church, and that it is not a privilege without foundation or public usefulness.

In the second place, we should like to specify that this universal power of the pope is essentially a pastoral and personal power. It is pastoral in this sense that it is not a prerogative that allows him simply to command for the pleasure of commanding, or in order to dominate the rest of the Church. Power in the Church is a diakonia, a ministry, a pastorate. That is why the East does not like the term "jurisdiction," so dear to the canonists of the West, because it senses a concept of power that is entirely human, composed of superiority and domination over others. Moreover, this universal power of the pope is strictly personal. The pope can certainly be assisted by all sorts of collaborators, but no one shares his primacy in the Church with him. This statement has countless practical consequences. In today's Catholicism all who, whether near or far, are in the service of the pontifical administration claim a primacy over the other bishops of the world, and even over the incumbents of the other apostolic sees of Christendom. It is fitting to specify very clearly that the pope's primacy and infallibility are strictly personal.

To designate the universal authority of the episcopal college, united, of course, with its head, the Roman pontiff, the schema uses a tortuous circumlocution, as if to drown this idea. It says that the episcopal college "indivisum subjectum plenae et supremae potestatis in universam Ecclesiam creditur" ("is understood to be the undivided subject of full and supreme power over the universal Church"). Why this "is understood," and why this "subject of the power"? This might be interpreted strictly as delegated subject of the power, according to the doctrine dear to certain canonists who claim that no power exists in the Church unless it comes from the pope. The truth is that the apostolic college really has universal power over the Church, and this power comes to it directly from Christ. It is an innate, original, divine, ordinary, and inalienable power.

9) What episcopal collegiality includes: Speaking of the collegial power of the bishops, that is to say, of their power as members of the episcopal college, the schema reduces it to an ordinary universal solicitude very useful to the Church. That is too little. It is true that the collegial power of each bishop over the Church as a whole is not the same as his direct power over his diocese, but it is not an ordinary solicitude for the general good of the Church. In fact, the responsibilities that the schema attributes in the following lines to the episcopal college exceed mere solicitude and constitute a real power.

10) Collegiality and Mission: The work of evangelizing the world is not, in itself, one of the exclusive provinces of the Bishop of Rome. Rather it is a mission given by Christ to all the Apostles, and after them to all the bishops of the Church. Indeed, ecclesiastical history shows us that many other bishops of Christendom have concerned themselves with evangelizing the world by sending out missionaries and by supporting them, even founding new missionary Churches and organizing the hierarchy in mission lands. Yet today, in fact, in order to avoid useless dispersion of energies and to better organize the work of evangelization, the central authority over the missions has been reserved to the pope.

11) What is the source of the bishops' canonical mission? A certain school of canonists in the West holds, as we have said, that no bishop receives his mission over his diocese except through the direct or indirect intervention of the pope. This opinion had found a place in the old schema. The new schema has corrected this absolutely unacceptable assertion. Nothing in Scripture or Tradition, in fact, proves that the canonical mission of the bishops over their respective dioceses comes to them exclusively from the successor of Peter. The canonists in question have simply transplanted on the universal level of the whole Church and on the level of doctrine what was a contingent fact in the patriarchate of the West. In the West, for quite a while, the canonical mission, and even the appointment of the bishops, has in fact been reserved to the Roman pontiff. But it was not always so in the Church from its origins and in every place.

In the face of this consideration, which we have energetically stressed in the Central Commission, the new schema has toned down its assertions and recognized that the canonical mission could be given in virtue of laws or legitimate customs not revoked by the supreme authority (which is not only that of the pope, let us recall in passing, but also that of ecumenical councils). This canonical mission can also be given directly by the Roman pontiff, either as Patriarch of the West or as the successor of Peter. But it is not by the same right that the pope names the bishops of the West and can be called, in certain cases, to name the bishops of the East. In the former case, he acts as Patriarch of the West, whether or not he is helped by his synod (specifically the Consistorial Congregation or the Congregation of the Faith). In the latter case, he acts as head of the Church when the good of the universal Church exceptionally demands his direct intervention over and above the institutions peculiar to the East.

In the second place, it is certain that the pope can depose a bishop for very serious reasons. But the wording of the schema risks being misinterpreted, as if no bishop could have a mission in his own diocese unless he were positively accepted by the pope. Such a claim, based on the False Decretals, was, as we know, the origin of the conflict between Pope Nicholas I and Patriarch Photius. In consequence, the text of Canon 392, #2, of the Motu Proprio Cleri Sanctitati must be amended.

12) The foundation of papal infallibility: The pope is infallible only because he is the head of the apostolic college and the spokesman of the infallibility of this college and of the whole Church. When thus clarified, infallibility becomes comprehensible. It is no longer an honorary privilege. The pope does not proclaim infallible dogmas without reason, without foundation, without reference to Scripture, to Tradition, and to the Church, needlessly, just to show that he is pope. Infallibility is a charism granted to him for the general welfare and stemming from his ministry. These clarifications are absolutely essential and indispensable for anyone who wants to work for the union of the Churches, for they have not been sufficiently taken into account until now.

The text of the schema literally reproduces the definition of infallibility given by Vatican I. But this definition has in fact given rise to misinterpretations and regrettable exaggerations. It is therefore fitting that Vatican II should clarify this notion and make it more easily understandable. Thus the "ex sese" (by himself) is clarified by saying: "ex officio suo" (by his office); the "non ex consensu Ecclesiae" (not by the consensus of the Church) is clarified by saying: "non ex delegatione, nec ex canonica, etsi implicita, confirmatione" (not by delegation, nor by canonical collegial confirmation, even if it is implicit).

In the second place, it is true that the definitions of the pope are irreformable and without appeal, but we think that a clarification should be added, namely, that the definitions of the pope cannot contradict the faith of the Church and of the episcopal college.

These clarifications are generally accepted today. It is appropriate to insert them, so that Vatican II may bring new light to this doctrine of papal infallibility.

13) The ordinary magisterium of the Church: By definition this ordinary magisterium is not infallible. However, it deserves respect. The text of the schema even demands respect for the will and for the intellect, sincere adherence to it, etc. But in this case, what is it that actually distinguishes this non-infallible (that is to say, fallible) magisterium from the infallible magisterium? It seems to us that the paragraph must nonetheless make it clear that this ordinary teaching of the popes is subject to error. Actually, more than once popes who did not intend to define a truth of faith have taught things which after careful examination have been seen to be erroneous. What has happened in the past can happen again in the future. It is wise not to expand the field of papal infallibility indefinitely and with specious reasons. The respect due the teaching of the highest authority is one thing, and the infallibility of this teaching is something else. Too rigid censure risks not only halting scientific and theological progress but also transforming a fallible formula into an infallible formula, by artificially creating a false unanimity in the Church.

14) Primacy and sovereignty: We prefer not to introduce into the Church the notion of sovereignty used in international secular law. If the pope's power were a sovereign power in the secular sense, it would logically follow that all the other powers in the Church are delegated powers. Now, as we have seen, that is not the case. The pope's power is traditionally described in the Church by the word "primacy." It is best to hold to it and avoid terms borrowed from secular law. Nor must we forget that the pope is not the only sovereign power in the Church. The same sovereign and universal power belongs to the ecumenical council, that is to say, to the episcopal college with the pope as its head. Besides, even the Latin Code of Canon Law includes in the expression "De suprema potestate in Ecclesia" (On the supreme power in the Church) both the pope and the ecumenical council.

15) The pope, guardian of episcopal collegiality: The episcopate, which succeeds the apostolic college, is not first of all the sum of the dioceses, each forming a relatively closed entity around its bishop. On the contrary, it is first of all the apostolic college, having a common responsibility for the whole human race to be incorporated into Christ.

This responsibility is not one of domination, but strictly of service. Obviously, in order to express this responsibility it is necessary to make use of the concept of authority. However, the most felicitous expression for this authority is not in terms that overemphasize jurisdiction. That is why, it seems to us, that in place of juridical expressions such as "by divine right," "by ecclesiastical right," it would often be preferable to use terms like "evangelical reality," "apostolic reality," and "directed in the Holy Spirit."

It is in order to better serve the flock that it is divided into groupings, whether "patriarchal," "metropolitan," or "diocesan," without detriment to the primary responsibilities retained by each and all of the bishops with respect to the Church as a whole.

In all of this, and up to this point, the pope is the equal of all the other bishops. However, he emerges into a second reality, precisely to second this one episcopate in its mission. For this episcopate needs to preserve its unity. The pope is the recognized responsible conservator of this collective unity. This unity cannot be reduced to himself alone or to some charism that he may possess. On the contrary, he must adapt to "catholicity" in order to serve it with his variety of dynamism, knowing that he is as such not personally coextensive with the Church and that the Church is not coextensive with him... for this would again reduce the Church to the pope, to "Romanism," to his person... in fact, as a result of history so far, making it coextensive with Latinism.

Just as the bishops have powers over the flock in order to serve the Church—powers imbued with humility—so too the pope, in order to serve the episcopate in its mission, has powers imbued with humility and specified by the finality of his function, which does not create the episcopate but is the servant of the episcopate of which he remains a member. His brother bishops, in the situations in which life has placed them, have the same authority as he in the immediate portion of their current responsibilities: diocese, primacy, patriarchate.

Five Declarations of Principle

On October 7, 1963, during the 42nd General Congregation, the patriarch set forth in five principles the essentials of the remarks made by his Synod on the Divine Constitution of the Church. His intervention caused a shock. At the preceding General Congregation the patriarch was also supposed to speak. But the senior cardinal of the Council of the Presidency, troubled by protests made by certain partisans of Latin against the patriarch's use of French, had asked that the patriarch's talks be at least followed by a Latin translation. The rumor spread in Rome and was printed in the newspapers that the patriarch had been forbidden to speak in French. The patriarch stood fast and continued to speak in French. His Bishop-Counselor read the translation of his discourse in Latin.

The First Vatican Council defined the dogma of the primacy of the Roman pontiff. This definition gave rise here and there to abusive interpretations that disfigured it, making the primacy, which is a charism granted by Christ to his Church, an obstacle to Christian unity. Now, we are convinced that the obstacle to union is not the doctrine of the primacy itself, clearly inscribed in Holy Scripture and in the Tradition of the Church. Rather, the obstacle lies in its excessive interpretations and, even more, in its concrete exercise, in which, to authentically divine elements and legitimate ecclesial evolution, there have been added, more or less consciously, regrettable borrowings from modalities in the exercise of a purely human authority.

The Second Vatican Council, according to His Holiness Paul VI's beautiful words in his opening locution to the second period of the Council, proposes to prepare the paths of union. That is why, it seems to us, the Council must not be content to repeat on this point the words of Vatican Council I, which have already been stated, but must seek to clarify and complement them, in the light of the divine institution and the indefeasible rights of the episcopate.

In this sense the new wording of the schema "De Ecclesia" shows notable progress with respect to both the former wording and also the routine formulas of the theological manuals.

The fact remains, however, that from the ecumenical viewpoint several texts should still be improved so as to bring out more clearly the principles that assure the evenhanded exercise of Roman primacy willed by the divine Founder of the Church.

Leaving details of lesser importance to the written notes that we have already transmitted to the secretariat, it seems to us that the text of the schema of the council should emphasize the following principles:

1) It must be clear to all of us that the only ruler of the Church, the only head of the Body of Christ that is the Church, is our Lord Jesus Christ, and He alone. The Roman pontiff is the head of the episcopal college, just as Peter was the head of the apostolic college. The successor has no more power than the one whom he succeeds. That is why it is not fitting to say of the Roman pontiff, by the same right and without distinction, as we say of Christ, that he is the head of the Church: "caput Ecclesiae."

2) We agree completely with the explanation given by several venerable Fathers with respect to the foundation of the Church, constituted not only by Peter but by all the other Apostles, as is proven by several texts of the New Testament. This does not in any way contradict the primacy of Peter and of his successors, but rather sheds a new light on it. Peter is one of the Apostles, and at the same time the head of the apostolic college. Likewise, the Roman pontiff is a member of the episcopal college and at the same time the head of this college. The head commands the body, but it is not outside the body.

3) It must be clear that the power of the Roman pontiff over the entire Church does not destroy the power of the whole of the episcopal college over the whole of the Church—a college which always includes the pope as its primate—nor is it a substitute for the power of each bishop over his diocese. Every canonical mission, within the limits of a diocese, stems from the bishop of the diocese, and from him alone.

Moreover, it would seriously harm the doctrine of the Roman primacy and jeopardize every possibility of dialogue with the Orthodox Church if this primacy were presented in such a manner as to make the very existence of the Eastern Church inexplicable. Indeed, the latter owes its sacramental, liturgical, theological, and disciplinary life to a living apostolic Tradition in which an intervention by the Roman See appears only rarely.

4) It must be stressed that the universal power of the Roman pontiff, total as it is, and remaining within its own mandate, is given to him essentially inasmuch as he is the head of the entire hierarchy and precisely for the purpose of fulfilling this primatial service. Saint Matthew's "You are Peter" (16:18) must not be separated from Saint Luke's "Strengthen your brothers" (22:32). Moreover, this power is of its nature pastoral and strictly personal. It is of its nature pastoral in the sense that it is not a prerogative directed toward commanding for the sake of commanding. It is a ministry, a service, a diakonia, a pastorate, as His Holiness Pope Paul VI has clearly emphasized. This power is of its nature personal and cannot, inasmuch as it remains so, be delegated in any way.

5) Finally, it must be clear that neither the naming of the bishops nor their canonical mission is reserved, by divine right, to the Roman pontiff alone. What has been a contingent circumstance of the Christian West must not be transferred to the universal level of the entire Church and to the level of doctrine.

When the primacy of the Roman pontiff is thus free from exaggeration of doctrine and of exercise, it not only ceases to be the principal stumbling block for the union of Christians, but it becomes the principal dynamism that requires and maintains this union. It is absolutely indispensable as the bond of unity for the Church. Christians can never thank the Lord Jesus enough for this ministry that He has established in his Church.

What Eastern Theology Says

On October 16, 1983, Archbishop Elias Zoghby, the Patriarchal Vicar in Egypt and the Sudan, in an important intervention, called attention to the viewpoint of Eastern theology on the exercise of the Roman primacy and its relations with the episcopacy.

I am surprised that this question has not been asked before now: why, after a quite brief schema "De Ecclesia," another special schema has been proposed, devoted to the "Eastern Catholic Churches," as if these latter formed a kind of appendage to the universal Church. I am not criticizing. I am simply noting a fact, which, indeed, has been quite eloquently illustrated: the fact that the Eastern bishops present at this assembly comprise only 5% of the conciliar Fathers, and that, in turn, they represent only 5% of the Christians of the East.

The general schema "De Ecclesia" would be more useful to everyone if it applied equally to the traditions of both Churches, Eastern and Western, whose ecclesiologies are complementary. In fact, the patrimony of the Eastern Church is very rich and even constitutes the largest part of the patrimony of the entire Church. These two parts of the Church, the East and the West, lived in comparative peace during the first thousand years, each with its own constitution, its own discipline, its own theology, its own customs, languages, character, and spirituality. The state of separation is abnormal in the Church. It would be good to provide a paragraph on the particular Churches, the Latin as well as the Eastern.

For example, with respect to the primacy of the Roman pontiff, the Eastern Churches have never denied its existence, or that it was the principle of Catholicity. Yet in fact, after so many centuries of separation, this doctrine has evolved so unilaterally that it is very difficult for our Orthodox brothers to recognize it today. Formerly the Roman Church rarely exercised its primacy over the Eastern Churches as a whole and over those which, from time immemorial, as major, apostolic, patriarchal Churches, exercised a primacy over the neighboring Churches, and which, even today, are the foundation of the ecclesial structure. This last consideration is of the greatest importance and it is indispensable to any dialogue with the Eastern Churches separated from us.

In its modern form, insinuated into our schema, the doctrine of primacy, which we find too prevalent in several paragraphs, is proposed in an unduly unilateral manner, becoming almost unacceptable to the Orthodox. In fact, it offers a theological aspect elaborated by the West alone, without the concurrence of Eastern tradition.

Eastern tradition, joined to Western tradition, would have prevented the doctrine of primacy from taking on such unacceptable proportions vis-a-vis the episcopate. This must be affirmed especially today with the development of ecumenism, at a time when the efforts of Catholics for unity are being taken seriously into consideration by everyone.

Three remarks will illustrate my affirmations:

1) Every time that the schema deals with the authority of the bishops, it is said to be subordinated to the authority of the Roman pontiff. The excessive repetition of this affirmation finally becomes tiresome and leads to the belief that the authority of the Roman pontiff is simply a limitation of the power of the bishops.

Now, the primacy of Peter in his successors is an invaluable gift to the Church, and it must not be reduced to a yoke imposed by force. The authority of the Roman pontiff was not given in order to restrict the authority of the bishops, but to defend and support it, just as in a family the authority of the father strengthens and sustains the authority of the mother, but does not diminish it in any way, even though it extends to the mother and to the children.

We must be content to affirm once and for all the dependence of the episcopal body with respect to the pope, without repeating this affirmation indefinitely. On this point, let us follow Peter's own warning: "Be sober and watchful." Otherwise, why not, with equal logic, refer each time to Christ as the Supreme Shepherd, from whom both the Roman pontiff and the other bishops draw all their power and their very priesthood?

Moreover, the authors of the schema, somehow obsessed with the primacy, seem to have neglected an essential point, namely, the doctrine of Christ the Priest and the doctrine of the sacraments instituted by Him, especially the Eucharist, which is the bond of unity within each Church and in the universal Church.

2) We speak frequently of the exercise of the episcopal and collegial power, but dependent upon the Roman pontiff. Is there not another truth to be affirmed and emphasized even more in the schema so as to attain balance, namely, that the authority of the Roman pontiff is not absolute, isolated, independent of the existence of the college of bishops? The authority of the Roman pontiff, like that of Peter, can be understood and explained only in relation to the college over which he presides and which truly and efficaciously assumes, under his primacy, responsibility for the entire Church. Not only does this mutual interdependence between the head of the college and the college itself conform to reality, but it appears necessary for any dialogue with Orthodox Christians.

3) May I be permitted to draw attention to Paragraph 16, page 27, line 4, in which "the Successor of Peter, the Roman pontiff" is set in opposition to the bishops, the "successors of the Apostles." The Roman pontiff, the successor of Peter, is also a successor of the Apostles, inasmuch as he is a bishop, just as the other bishops, successors of the Apostles, are in a certain sense also successors of Peter, inasmuch as Peter is an Apostle. I therefore propose the following amendment: "The Roman pontiff, successor of Peter, as head, and the other bishops, successors of the Apostles." This tendency, already pointed out several times at the council, of separating the Roman pontiff from the college of bishops, is more detrimental than helpful. When we do this, we somehow allow the greatest gift, the greatest grace, in the Roman pontiff to be downplayed, namely the grace of the episcopacy. Indeed the greatest grace that Peter received from Christ was being chosen as an Apostle and as a member of the apostolic college, in which the charge to "strengthen the others" is not something special super-added to his eminent apostolic vocation in the strict sense.

That is why the successor of Peter who is the Roman pontiff is first of all a bishop. This grace of the episcopacy remains for him, even after his election to the supreme pontificate, the most important grace of his whole life. The Roman pontiff does not cease being a member of the apostolic college by reason of the fact that he has the responsibility of strengthening his brothers. He does not become a universal bishop in the sense that he would take the place of the others, as the German bishops clearly declared to Bismarck in 1875, in a letter that Pius IX solemnly approved and that would deserve being mentioned in our schema.

According to tradition, the pope is not elected directly by the conclave to the Roman Pontificate, but to the See of Rome, which was once Peter's. Having been elected to the See of Peter, by that very fact he succeeds Peter in his primacy. That is why the electors of the Roman pontiff, regardless of the nation to which they belong, are titulars of the churches of the city of Rome or of the suburban sees. We are very grateful to our Pope Paul VI, who, after the example of his predecessor of holy memory, John XXIII, solemnly declared at the beginning of this session that the See of Rome was indeed his own. He declared: "The college of cardinals has chosen to elect me to the episcopal See of Rome and consequently to the supreme pontificate of the universal Church." In former times this truth had been rather nebulous in the minds of the faithful.

Finally, before concluding, with regard to episcopal collegiality, on which the Fathers have expatiated at length here, I am surprised that so many of you still hesitate, even though it is evident from the life of the Church in the first centuries that collegiality was operative then and that it continues to be in force today in the Eastern Churches. In the patriarchal system, the synod holds a very important place. No important decision is taken without the synod or apart from the synod. The metropolitans, then the patriarchs, conscious of their obligation to safeguard unity among the Churches, were accustomed to exchange synodal letters among themselves, in order to arrive together at common solutions. In doing this, they were convinced that they were continuing the apostolic tradition.

Primacy and Infallibility: Final Synodal Remarks

The schema "On the Church" was profoundly revised. The Melkite Greek Synod, assembled in the summer of 1964, made its final remarks on the new text. A step forward had been made, but, the synod pointed out, there still remained much to do to coincide with the Eastern and primitive tradition of the Church. We reproduce a few remarks.

The present schema on the constitution of the Church is, on the whole, a good work. This is true even with respect to the chapters or paragraphs dealing with the hierarchy of the Church, in particular the college of bishops and their head, the pope... Catholics will accept with serenity and trust everything that is said there...

However, as we see it, from an ecumenical viewpoint with reference to Orthodoxy, all that is said concerning the hierarchy, in particular with regard to papal primacy and infallibility, will give a negative impression. In fact, it might seem to insist more on the pope, his primacy, his supreme jurisdiction, his infallibility "ex sese" especially, than on "episcopal collegiality" itself, and indeed when it is treated ex professo.

We think that, if these texts-written in a context that is admirable but composed in a very Latin style—are adopted by the Council just as they are, there is danger that we would have to say "adieu" to any dogmatically effective conversation with the Orthodox: Vatican II would thus replicate Vatican I as an obstacle.

We have said: "Catholics will accept with serenity and trust" what is said in the chapters or paragraphs dealing with the hierarchical aspect of the Church. In fact, they know through living experience, and they will know even better from all that is said in the schema about "collegiality" and the "communion" aspect of the Church that the papacy is not a dictatorship either with respect to matters of government or those of faith. This is where we should make use of everything that determines and in fact limits all jurisdiction, even that of the pope: natural law, Christian law, the finality of the office, the concomitant co-responsibility of the episcopate in relation to the pope, while maintaining all due respect for his primacy, etc.

Yet, because of the formulas used, the Orthodox world will inevitably see the opposite: that is to say, a dictatorship pure and simple... no matter how charitably the popes in general intended these formulas.

There is therefore need of another formulation of the immutable dogma of the primacy and infallibility of the successor of Peter, and this formulation must also conform to Eastern patristic tradition. But this council is, in fact, in spite of all its sincere good will, physically and psychologically a Latin council for all intents and purposes. It will be difficult for it to imagine such a tearing apart of strictly Western formulas to achieve a synthesis with an Eastern formulation. We must, however, note:

1. that this principle of different formulations of the same dogma is not only obvious but also affirmed by popes John XXIII and Paul VI.

2. that there have been precedents. We shall mention only one:

The Council of Justinian, the Second Council of Constantinople (the Fifth Ecumenical Council), gives such a different formulation of the dogma of Chalcedon (two natures), while being dogmatically identical with it, that Pope Virgilius agreed, then refused, then agreed again (under duress, but agreed nonetheless) to sign it. But others refused: e.g., northern Italy, which was in schism against Rome for 150 years, Latin Africa, which excommunicated the pope, and Ireland, which was content to make remonstrances. The West no longer identified itself with the formulations of this council.

Why, then, would a new Eastern formulation of the dogma of primacy-infallibility be impossible, even if it should surprise some Western theologians?... The overriding duty of encouraging the unity of the Church must, on the contrary, impel us to want an Eastern formulation of this dogma... This is something that can usually be done only during and after one or more Catholic-Orthodox encounters, such as Rhodes proposes.

May we suggest:

1. either affirm Vatican I soberly, and add to it, omitting certain attenuations, the notable votes of October 30;

2. or simply let all this ride until the Roman-Orthodox theological meeting requested by Rhodes, which will more easily find formulas acceptable to both parties.

Meanwhile, we are content to make a few remarks on specific points:

1) The Church of Christ, constituted in this world as a society, is said to "subsist in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops who are in communion with him, even though there exist outside its structures many elements of sanctification and truth, which, being the very gifts of the Church of Christ, impel toward catholic unity."

To say that Christ's Church on earth is identified purely and simply with the Roman Catholic Church is to affirm indirectly that the other Christian groups, whatever they may be, are not part of Christ's Church, are not Churches, and that the Roman Catholic Church is the whole Church of Christ.

The new text of the schema, in spite of some improvements in details, has not succeeded in avoiding this wholly external concept of the Church, a very humiliating concept for the other Christian Churches which are truly Churches.

To say that these Christian groups preserve only "elements of sanctification and truth" does not suffice to characterize them as Churches. Islam and Judaism also possess "elements of sanctification and truth." Now, there is an essential difference between Islam and Judaism on the one hand and the non-Catholic Christian Churches on the other, and especially the Orthodox Churches. These Churches, in a certain measure, in spite of their dogmatic or disciplinary divergences with the Catholic Church, constitute the Church of Christ. In other terms, as soon as we admit that the non-Catholic Churches are nevertheless Churches, we can no longer say that the Roman Church is the whole Church, but only that, in our opinion, within it the notion of Church, as Christ has willed it, is more faithfully realized.

We leave to the specialists of the theological commission and of the secretariat for the union of Christians the task of finding the precise formula that expresses, with reference to the one and only Church of Christ, the real relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the other Christian Churches which, at some moment of history for one reason or another, broke off communion with it. In this connection, we call to mind the words of Pope Pius XI: "The fragments of an auriferous rock are also auriferous." Without falling into a fragmentary conception of the Church, we can envisage, better than the text of the schema does, the relationship between the Roman Church and the non-Roman Churches.

Moreover, between "in eius communione" and "gubernata" we would insert a word or two like "de jure" or "de jure divino" (by divine right), because either in the past or at the present time some episcopal Churches—not governed by the pope—form part of the Church in an exceptional manner and do not merely possess "more or less numerous elements given to the Church."

We are thinking, for example, of the following:

a. The Schism of Antioch: Can anyone say that Saints Mellitus, Flavian, and John Chrysostom were "outside the Church," and that those who supported them, Basil, Gregory, etc. were schismatics? Can anyone say that John Chrysostom, who was outside the Church throughout his life in Antioch, "returned to the Church" when he became Bishop of Constantinople?

b. The "Great Western Schism" in which considerable portions of Latin Christianity were ruled by one or even two anti-popes, were all those persons in actual fact outside the Church? No one in the West thinks so.

c. We are thinking especially of the Orthodox Churches to which the Roman primatial institution by divine right was not clearly transmitted by the Fathers, and for whom the subsequent Roman definitions (notably, Vatican I) arrived after long separations "during which responsibilities were shared," as is now admitted, and under concrete conditions making the acceptance of the definition of Vatican I morally, strictly, invincibly inadmissible.

Therefore, the words that we propose—"by divine right" maintain the right and do not falsify the fact: the Church is the papal Church and it is incontestably the only one. However, in exceptional cases some Churches, not ruled in fact by the pope, are part of this Church, which is necessarily papal, by right.

Do catechumens belong to the Church more than do non-Catholic baptized Christians?

If an insertion of the type indicated is accepted in the spirit manifested by what is said in this note, it will greatly alleviate the painful impression of the Orthodox with respect to the texts dealing with papal primacy and infallibility in the same schema "De Ecclesia."

2) Number 15 should be done over, it seems to us, in a more ecumenical spirit. It seeks to clarify the relations between "the Church" and non-Catholic Christians. The title itself, "Links between the Church and non-Catholic Christians," presupposes that these non-Catholic Christians not only are not the Church, but they are not even part of the Church, since the Church has only some links with them. It is true that the text lists all these links, and they are numerous. But all this is external. There should be a vision of the Church in which non-Catholics would be seen from within, as members of one and the same Church which is in fact "disunited."

The way to achieve this would consist in seeing things from a historical point of view. Christ founded one and only one Church, which includes all those who, believing in him, are baptized in his name. Within the bosom of this Church, which remains always the same and always one, currents of division are always active, as so many currents of sin. Conflicts arise, some of which are quickly calmed; others, on the contrary, have ended up in the founding of true communities claiming autonomy. In these conflicts, responsibilities are shared. We consider those faithful fortunate to whom grace has been given to maintain their adherence to the integral teaching of Christ and of his Church, manifested by submission to their legitimate pastors in communion with the successors of Peter.

Those who, through no fault of their own, are more or less far from sound doctrine or from the necessary communion with their legitimate pastors, and who have constituted themselves into autonomous groups, have nonetheless not broken the unity of Christ's Church, which cannot, through anyone's fault, cease being one, holy, catholic and apostolic. There are schisms in the Church, but the Church remains one. The relations between the Church and these brethren separated from us are not, as No. 15 would indicate, the relations of a human society with deserters who nevertheless maintain a few links with the motherland. They are the relations of a mother with children in trouble, or, better, with brothers who have quarreled among themselves.

We Catholics firmly believe that we have remained faithful to the total thought of Christ and to the constitution that he has given to his Church. But our non-Catholic brethren, although they are separated from us by some articles of faith, or at odds with us for different reasons, in which we often bear some blame, nonetheless belong to the Church of Christ. And their relations with Christ's Church cannot be those of strangers who have "something in common" with us.

3) The expression "under one pastor," if it refers to the pope, is excessive. There are other pastors. There is "collegiality." The "One Pastor," purely and simply, is Christ.

4) The text seeks to reaffirm the declarations of Vatican I concerning the primacy and infallibility of Peter and his successors before going on to study the episcopate. But let us first of all say that in a chapter devoted to "The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church," we must not begin by speaking of the Roman prerogatives. Logically and chronologically, this must come at the end of the treatment. First of all there are the faithful, then the priests and bishops, and finally the "First Pastor" who is the link among the members of the hierarchy and who assures unity. Peter is perpetuated in his successors.

In the second place, the text should be written in such a way as to show how Vatican II, in dealing with the remainder of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, complements, clarifies, and gives equilibrium to the definitions of Vatican I on the prerogatives of the Roman primacy. Vatican II should not simply "go one step further" (in eodem incepto pergens). It should adapt, clarify the first step taken by Vatican I with respect to what could have seemed to be too unilateral, too rigid in its declarations. We must not be afraid to say so. More than one ecumenical council in the past has thus thrown a clearer light on the definitions that preceded it. We need only think of the role of Chalcedon with respect to Ephesus, and of the "Council of the Three Chapters" in relation to Chalcedon. Let us add a few words about terminology:

a. "Apostolic Primacy," at least to Eastern ears, is not the correct term to designate the "primacy of St. Peter." In fact, "apostolic," strictly speaking, is not an epithet reserved to matters relating to St. Peter. There were other Apostles like him. Likewise, "apostolic see" in universal ecumenical language must not be exclusively reserved for the Roman See, any more than the "apostolic benediction" is the exclusive privilege of the bishops of Rome.

b. Once again we ask the Fathers of the Council to use terms that Eastern tradition approves when speaking of the pope so as to facilitate dialogue with our Orthodox brethren. This is not the case, for example, with the expression "Vicar of Christ," even though Vatican I did use it. It is totally unknown in the Eastern tradition, where all the bishops are vicars of Christ. Moreover, the schema "De Ecclesia," No. 27, p.71, line 3, calls all the bishops "vicars and delegates of Christ." Within the Western tradition this designation came very late, in any case after the rupture between the East and the West. The popes are "successors of Peter," and that suffices as a basis for all their prerogatives. Christ continues to live in His Church: no one is his successor, as if he had disappeared and could no longer act effectively.

c. We wish to assert the same thing about the other expression by which the pope is designated: "visible head of the Church." The Church has only one head: Christ. All others who are called "head" are only his humble ministers and the servants of the Church. The annexation of the epithet "visible" does not solve this difficulty. The pope does not rank above Peter. Peter is an Apostle, leader of the apostolic college. Like Peter, the pope is a bishop, the head of the episcopal college. These titles suffice as a basis for all his prerogatives without any need to resort to metaphorical titles which are true only if they are accompanied by detailed explanations, and which in fact have resulted in unseemly exaggerations.

d. Saint Peter is called "the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of faith and communion." This is excessive. Strictly speaking, these words apply only to Christ. Peter and his successors are the sign of unity of faith and communion.

5) After weighing the meaning of the different formulas used in Scripture referring to Christ, Peter, and the Apostles, on whom the edifice of the Church rests, the text of the schema seems to have felt the need to make a distinction between the Apostles, on whom the Church is "founded" (condidit), Peter, on whom the Church is built (aedificavit), and Christ, who is the keystone (angulari lapide) of the whole structure. Actually, these are only metaphors, from which we draw the following conclusion, namely that the Church is founded on Christ, the Apostles, and Peter, but with different titles that the only texts cited do not sufficiently distinguish. There is no doubt that the Apostles are the foundations of the Church and that Peter plays an eminent role in this in relation to his brothers. There is no need to push the deductions any further. 6) "Nonnisi in communione cum collegii capite et membris exerceri possunt." ("They cannot exercise this power except in communion with the head and members of the college.") This affirmation needs to be modified. If a local Church can exercise its power only when united to the head and members of the universal Church, must the union be conscious for this exercise to be efficacious and legitimate? In case of "schism," is the power suspended? To speak of an "implied delegation" in such a case would be a juridical fiction. What became of the power of the Church during the great Western Schism? What is the present power of the non-Catholic Churches? This is certainly a notion that needs to be clarified.

The same is true, on pages 63 and 64, with respect to Orthodox synods. Thus the local Church has an innate vitality... to be determined and defined.

7) "Nisi simul cum Pontifice Romano"; "et numquam sine hoc capite"; "quae quidem potestas independenter a Romano Pontifice exerceri neguit." ("Except together with the Roman pontiff; and never without that head; which power cannot indeed be exercised independently of the Roman pontiff").

Certain schemas of Vatican II, notably its masterpiece "De Ecclesia in Mundo Huius Temporis" (On the Church in the World of Our Time) are concretely pastoral in tone, style, and temper; we cannot affirm the same—in spite of some efforts in that direction—about what is said concerning papal authority in "De Ecclesia." And this is a great shame. More than that: it is extremely serious from the viewpoint of Catholic-Orthodox ecumenism. Here we fall back into abstraction, acrimony... Now, there is a way of saying things differently...

Indeed, can we act as though we were forgetting what theology, history, and experience teach? They tell us:

a. That the pope remains a mortal, responsible man, with all the consequences of that basic situation. Notably, the fact that a mortal man does not and cannot have really absolute power.

b. That the pope can resign, whereas no one resigns from his baptism, or from his priesthood, or from his episcopacy. The pope, therefore, is not a "sacramentalized" personage . . . and even less is he "transfigured," "superior to the prophets."... And yet he has a function—the highest of episcopal functions but a function extrinsic to his personality in its limited substance, just like anyone else's.

c. They also say that a pope—because he is mortal and a sinner like every other man—can find himself in a definitive physical and moral incapability of exercising his function. Who is to determine this if not the college of bishops "without its head." And that is why, instead of saying: "numquam sine suo capite" (never without its head), we would prefer: "et non sine suo capite" (and not without its head). The word "non" defines the rule, but leaves room for the inevitable exception. "Inevitable" because it has not been avoided: consider the Council of Constance.

The episcopate therefore has a permanent, fundamental right and obligation with respect to the exercise of the papal function. And it is here—without scanning the whole course of history—that Saint Paul's resistance to Saint Peter at Antioch assumes its constitutional value in the matter of collegiality, and even of the personal responsibility of each bishop.

d. In addition, traditional theology declares that a pope can become a heretic. Here again, who will pass judgement if not the college of bishops, with the rights and obligations that this responsibility—latent as it may be—necessarily gives it on a permanent basis?

e. Finally, this same traditional theology (cf. Suarez and Wernz, who echoed so many doctors before them) declares that a pope can become schismatic. In other words, he can exercise such abuse of power, as Suarez indicates, giving one or two possible cases, that he, the pope, through his own fault, jeopardizes the unity of the Church to such a degree that he can be considered as having resigned. Here again, who will pass judgement?

It is therefore evident that, supreme as the papal function is dogmatically and juridically (infallibility-primacy), as indeed it is in its order, it is nonetheless not what it would be if there were no episcopal collegiality by divine right succeeding apostolic collegiality, of which and for which Peter was constituted "primate." The apostolic college is primatized in Peter, and not imperialized.

"Strengthen your brothers" means: strengthen them in a faith that is already theirs and not a faith that descends from the pope toward them, toward the Church which would not already possess this faith! This is a faith that the Church possesses in a habitual state, whereas the infallible papal or conciliar confirmation is accidental, called for by specific circumstances. "Strengthen your brothers" means: confirm them in their activities that depend on him only for his "confirmation" or "nonconfirmation" and not for their free inception and development.

Their "activities" are not all limited to strictly diocesan jurisdiction. They can envisage vaster, even universal actions. They can pursue this goal without being acts of local jurisdiction in the strict sense. The achievement of the "Fathers," of the "Church of the Fathers," is there for us to see: their great activity of direction, movement, and thought in the entire Church. In particular, this is the monumental achievement of the so-called "Eastern" Church. What does it owe historically to the Holy See in its activities, apart from an essentially dogmatic collective collaboration between East and West, in the ecumenical councils or around them, "primatized" as this collaboration may have been?

Let us add—and ecumenically this is of capital importance that this dogmatic and jurisdictional papal authority, sovereign as it may be on its own level and in its own order, is of its very nature fraternal and not paternal in relation to the bishops: "strengthen your brothers." The pope remains one of the bishops, regardless of the fact that he is truly their primate.

And this is where we must hope for a profound transformation of the papal ceremonial relating to the bishops. As it now appears, it comes not from Peter but from Constantine. It comes from the emperor of Constantinople, with everything that the feudalism of the Western Middle Ages has added. This is difficult to tolerate, and it will be tolerated less and less, because it is neither evangelical... nor constitutional.

This renewed evangelical spirit should also inspire—as a consequence—the transformation of the ceremonial of bishops.

Humility, poverty, brotherhood must pass from words to action... A rigid hierarchism (in the imperial style) kills them..., causes flights toward old sects..., creates new sects..., in which unbelief grows, and especially the newly created unbelief of Marxism.

8) Why is there hesitation to say "college of bishops"? The term "order of bishops" has been chosen in preference. In itself, we see no problem in this. But one line further, we read: "college of Apostles," and it is affirmed that the "order" of bishops has succeeded the "college" of Apostles. We must be logical. If the Apostles constituted a "college," the bishops who succeed them also constitute a "college."

9) The power to convoke an ecumenical council is reserved at the present time to the Roman pontiff, but it has not always been so in history. Nor does it follow, according to history, that the confirmation of the first seven ecumenical councils was reserved exclusively to the pope of Rome.

10) The relations of the bishops within the college. This is the most delicate of all the paragraphs of this schema, and at the same time one in which we sense the least fidelity to the notable vote of October 30, 1963. There are so many objections that one can make about it that, practically speaking, the entire paragraph needs to be rewritten.

a. The pope is said to be "the principle and visible foundation" of unity in the universal Church, just as the bishops are each "the principle and the center of unity" in their respective Churches. This is excessive. The foundation of unity is adherence to Christ, baptism which incorporates us into him. The pope is, more precisely, the link and the sign of unity, and the same holds true for each bishop in his diocese.

b. The distinction between the bishops taken individually (qua singuli) and the bishops "as members of the episcopal college and lawful successors of the Apostles" does not seem to be correct. The bishops are always successors of the Apostles, and exercise, even individually, their share of authority over the universal Church.

c. Certain lines are a pure and simple negation of the notable vote of October 30, 1963. First, when referring to the pope, the words "power" and even "jurisdiction" are used. When referring to the episcopal college, the word "solicitude" is considered adequate, even though the bishops are "bound" to have this "solicitude"... This is a far cry from the "supreme power" of the episcopal college, as it was voted on October 30, 1963. And then it is said that this "solicitude" which is required of the bishops is not an "exercise of jurisdiction," whereas for the pope the "supreme power" is a "jurisdiction." What is the origin of this distinction, unknown in the Gospel and in patristic tradition?

d. The text indicates wherein this universal "solicitude" of the episcopal college consists: promoting unity of faith and discipline, inspiring love for the Mystical Body of Christ, and especially for his suffering members, working for the propagation of the faith, and, above all, the text says, taking good care of one's own diocese... In other words, the bishops are told: "Take care of your own affairs. You have no power over the universal Church, but it is incumbent upon you to perform a few duties of moral solicitude for this Church." With this text, we can no longer see what happened to the vote of October 30. It has been cleverly emptied of its meaning. It would be better to say that during this famous session of October 30, 1963, the Council purely and simply went astray... as has been said over and over by several Fathers, who ultimately succeeded in imposing their viewpoint on the theological commission.

e. The work of preaching the Gospel to the unbelieving world is said to have been entrusted "in a special manner" to the successor of Peter. On what biblical text does this assertion rest? This great work has been entrusted to the entire apostolic college. Naturally, this will be done in conformity with the pope's directives, but it cannot be said that this task has been entrusted to him either exclusively or personally. Review the history of Christian expansion over the world.

f. With respect to the very beautiful text (which was added) on the patriarchates, there are two desiderata: Instead of "divine Providence," which is more specifically deistic than Christian, we would put something like "A Christo Jesu 'pastore et episcopo' permanenti Ecclesiae suae factum est per Spiritum Sanctum eius ut..." (It was done by Christ Jesus, the enduring ‘pastor and bishop' of His Church, through the Holy Spirit, that...).

Why, since we are dealing with patriarchates, should we avoid the name, when the "coetus episcopales" (episcopal conferences) are named? We would, therefore, put in something like: "Quaedam inter has Ecclesias, veluti matrices fidei alias peperunt Ecclesias guasi filias, quarum celebriores Romana — aliunde ‘primatialis' —Constantinopolitana, Alexandrina, Antiochena, et Hierosolymitana, patriarchales dicuntur" (Among these Churches, certain ones, like mothers of the faith, have brought forth other Churches, like daughters. Among them the more illustrious ones, those of Rome — otherwise primatial — Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, are called patriarchal).

11) The text reads: "If the pope refuses his communion, the bishops cannot occupy their posts." The sentence needs to be toned down to admit episcopacy and episcopal powers outside the Catholic Church among bishops who are not in communion with the Roman See.

12) After "Roman pontiff" add "and other bishops." It does not suffice to be in communion with the pope; it is also necessary to be in communion with the other bishops.

13) On the subject of pontifical infallibility it seems to us that the few explanations given do not sufficiently balance, by shedding new light on them, the definitions of Vatican I. This is how, in our view, the doctrine could be presented under a general title: "Infallibility of the Church, of the Episcopate, and of the pope":

Even though the Church is structured, it is nonetheless a "whole." More precisely, it is first of all a "whole" for which a structure, which is internal, is prescribed.

Thus, it is the whole Church that is infallible, both pastors and faithful. It is indeed in its entirety the "Body of Christ," who is the Word, the thought of the Father, and it is quickened by the Spirit of Truth. The faith of the Church—the faith of the total Church—is necessarily infallible.

However, the authorized formulation of this faith is the responsibility of the pastors, the bishops. It belongs to their collegial function to declare the faith with definitive authority. But it is the faith of the Church that they proclaim, and not their own exclusive faith, separated from the clerics and the faithful who are the Church together with them. This collegial declaration of the episcopate has value "of itself" and not by a subsequent canonically colored approbation of the priests, clerics, and the faithful. A useless approbation: all of them are ontologically one with their pastors within the Body of Christ. And these latter proclaim the faith of the baptized pleroma, giving it an appropriate formulation. It goes without saying that the episcopal body must, for the validity of its dogmatic decision, have spoken with true, primatially "recapitulated" collegiality and not under outside pressure, as was the case, for example, during the Arian crisis.

And yet the apostolic college has a "primate," Peter, who continues to live in his successor. He too, if he speaks under the requisite conditions of manifest information, freedom, and presidency, in his capacity as primate of the apostolic episcopate, and, committing his full authority to it, formulates an indisputable affirmation "ex sese." Just as the college of bishops did not need the canonical consent of the clerics and faithful to formulate their real faith in all clarity, drawing them out of the labyrinth of actual or possible controversies, neither does the pope need the canonical consent of the bishops and the faithful to be infallible. He is united as one with them. He proclaims—in the exercise of his office—their faith and his own. His formulation cannot contradict what the Church—the bishops and the faithful—has believed and believes as a whole, even if only very implicitly until then. If there is an apparent opposition, a more thorough study will show either that there has not been a dogmatic definition (Liberius, Honorius, Boniface VIII), or that the truth thus defined—while remaining true needs to be complemented.

What is the difference then between an infallible papal formulation and an infallible conciliar formulation? The difference is that of a solo without any false note—the voice of itself being more or less beautiful—and a chorale without any dissonance, and yet more or less powerful. Other soloists, succeeding the present one in his function, other choirs will be able to take up the same themes and reveal still greater artistry, richness, and truth. And that is how the councils and the popes irrevocable as their definitions may be—complement one another. The new definitions do not change the old ones, but rather shed a light on them that can be very new. This has been seen in the past—in Christology, for example—and it can very well be seen in the future.

The fact remains that the bishops are the successors of the Apostles and possess in common, collegially—of necessity under a president—the duty of preserving and proclaiming the faith. Consequently, deep-seated customs emanating from the structure of the Church, which has not become "imperialized" but rather "primatized," and likewise rational thinking, the spirit of the Gospel, and even plain common sense, as well as the most elementary prudence demand that papal definitions not be proclaimed without the knowledge and concurrence of those in charge of pastoral teaching, in other words, the episcopate. Far more, definitions should not be declared without preparing the faithful through some preliminary inquiry or dialogue with them.

Because of all these things, the ideal, normal definition remains the conciliar definition: "Strengthen your brothers." This has been proven true in the life of the Church, in the Church's history. The rare papal definitions have all been preceded by an ecumenical episcopal consultation or by a previous majority approbation of the truth to be defined, even if not always of its advisability. It remains the right of the historians and pastors—and indeed of the theologians—to pass judgment on the advisability of papal—or even conciliar definitions.

The definition of papal infallibility by Vatican I confirms what has just been said. In this definition, the infallibility of the Church is declared to be the "principal analogue" to which the infallibility of the pope is referred.

 

The Patriarchs in the Church

The ranking of the patriarchs at the Council had been discussed at length at the Melkite Synod of August, 1959: In the light of the rank presently given to the Eastern patriarchs, was it fitting for Patriarch Maximos to take part personally in the Council at the risk of scandalizing the Orthodox? On the one hand, the patriarch understood how imperative his personal presence was. On the other hand, he realized how much the relegation of the patriarchs to a rank after all the cardinals of the Roman Church must have shocked the Orthodox East at the very moment when the papacy was planning a vast effort of rapprochement with it. It was a painful dilemma. Before making any decision the patriarch attempted a personal approach to John XXIII, whom he knew to be open to these questions. The letter is dated October 8, 1959.

Most Holy Father:

The announcement of the approaching council has filled the entire Christian world with joy. The bishops of our Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the superiors general of our religious orders, and we ourselves, desirous of making our modest contributions to the success of the Council, after careful study by our Synod, have with solicitude proposed to the ante-preparatory pontifical commission the wishes, recommendations, and suggestions that it asked of us in the name of Your Holiness. It is a pleasure for us to remain entirely at your service with respect to any additional studies or information you might judge suitable to ask of us, especially on matters in which we believe that we can be most useful, namely, everything that concerns rapprochement with our separated brethren of the East.

The holding of this council is such an important event in the life of the Church that all our bishops and superiors general will make a point of attending this one personally and participating in a holy and active way in its labors. The ends for which such a council is convoked are always of the greatest importance for the faith, ethics, discipline, and life of the Church. In particular, the council that Your Holiness is planning to convoke is all the more important in our eyes inasmuch as through Your Holiness' declarations, as well as through the efforts made to resume contacts with the separated confessions, we have the firm hope that the means of facilitating the reunion of divided Christendom will be treated cordially there.

Now, this goal is precisely one of the reasons for the existence of our Eastern Catholic Church. We represent in Catholicism the hope and already the seed of a corporate reunion of the Christian East with the Holy See of Rome, maintaining all due respect for everything that constitutes the riches of the East's specific spiritual patrimony. Likewise, in spite of our advanced age we cherish the hope of being able to participate in person in the labors of this council, in which the Christian world hopes to find a truly open door leading to the Christian unity for which it so deeply yearns.

However, there is a preliminary difficulty to a personal and fruitful participation on our part in the labors of the Council. We owe it to ourselves to set it forth to Your Holiness with simplicity and trust. It concerns the rank of patriarchs in the Catholic hierarchy in general, and consequently the rank that they must hold in these very solemn sessions of Christianity which the ecumenical councils constitute. This question was given prolonged consideration by the bishops and superiors general of our Church gathered in their annual Synod held under our presidency at Ain Traz (Lebanon) during the last two weeks of August, 1959. They asked themselves the following question: In a council in which the Roman Church wishes to deal especially with the means of rapprochement with the separated East, how can one explain the presence of the patriarch and the bishops of an Eastern Catholic Church that is suffering because it is browbeaten and scoffed at with reference to its rights, which are the most obvious, the most palpable rights of the Eastern Church? Does not the presence of this patriarch, belittled and reduced to an inferior rank, constitute in these instances an inconsistency both on the part of the pope who invites and on the part of the patriarch who accepts his invitation? The considerations that I shall have honor of submitting to Your Holiness's benevolence are echoes of the deliberations of the Fathers of our above-mentioned Synod concerning this question.

According to the Motu Proprio "Cleri Sanctitati" of your predecessor of blessed memory, the late Pope Pius XII, promulgated on June 2, 1957, the patriarch is relegated to a rank after the cardinals (Canon 185, par. 1, no. 21), indeed after the representatives of the Holy See: nuncios, internuncios, and apostolic delegates, even if they are simple priests (Canon 215, par. 3, complemented by an authentic interpretation of August 25, 1958, which, far from changing the mind-set of the canon, essentially affirms it more definitively).

Most Holy Father, is it conceivable that at a council where they formerly traditionally occupied the first rank after the pope, the patriarchs of the East appear at the 150th rank after all the cardinals, all the nuncios, internuncios, and apostolic delegates, even those who are simple priests?[1]

The very statement of this historical "enormous mistake" suffices, we are sure, for Your Holiness to order immediately a total review of this question and restore the patriarchs of the East to the rank that has always been given to them by ecclesiastical tradition, the decisions of the ecumenical councils, and the so-often-repeated declarations of the supreme pontiffs, and to do this not in order to satisfy a petty vanity, but out of respect for authentic ecclesial values and in the interest of Christian unity for which the ecumenical council is proposing above all to prepare the way.

In fact, ecclesiastical tradition since the first centuries has been unanimous in determining the rank of the sees in the universal Church according to the following order: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Ecclesiastical tradition is equally unanimous in recognizing that the incumbents of these five patriarchal sees precede, according to the rank of their respective sees, all other ecclesiastical dignitaries. In conformity, therefore, to this ancient and unanimous tradition, the supreme pontiff of Rome is followed immediately, in the Church's hierarchy, by the incumbents of the four other apostolic patriarchal sees. The cardinals are auxiliaries of the pope, first of all as the Bishop of Rome, then successively as Metropolitan of the Roman Province, as Patriarch of the West, and finally as the ecumenical pastor. Their dignity is a participation in the first see, of which they are auxiliaries, but this dignity cannot logically exceed that of the other sees, by infringing upon their traditional and legitimate rights. Just as an aide or a patriarchal vicar—that is to say, a prelate whose dignity is a participation in the dignity of the patriarchal see—cannot precede the suffragan bishop of the patriarch, so too the pope's aides cannot, under the pretext that their dignity is a participation in that of the pope, precede the patriarchs. As for the representatives of the Holy See as such, unless they are legates a latere, they cannot precede the bishops, much less the patriarchs. That is the simple and sound norm of authentic apostolic Tradition. All the councils that have had to deal with this question have been unanimous in recognizing the hierarchic order as set forth above. As for the precedent set by Vatican Council I, where patriarchs were seated after cardinals, we should now take time to examine it for the following reasons:

1) This derogation, the first in history, was the result of a regrettable anti-Eastern mentality that then dominated certain groups of the Roman Curia, a mentality that was understandable at a time when the West did not know the Eastern Church the way it does in our day, and when Eastern Catholics themselves did not know one another and—as a result of persecutions and other vicissitudes—had a certain inferiority complex vis-a-vis Europe, which was then at the height of its colonial vigor. But Your Holiness surely would not approve of such a mentality.

2) The apostolic letter "Multiplices inter" of November 11, 1869, which Pope Pius IX promulgated, "de ordine sedendi et non inferendo alicui praeiudicio" (concerning the order of seating and not introducing any precedent), made the decision about infractions against the order of precedence to the effect that no prejudice can result from it and no new right can be acquired by it (Cf. E. Ceconi, Storia del Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano, Vol. I. P.424).

3) In any case, our Patriarch Gregory II, who was present at the aforesaid council, formulated, before he signed its acts, the limitations he could set in order to safeguard the rights recognized by the Council of Florence, including, of course, the order of precedence of the patriarchs.

Finally, all the supreme pontiffs without exception have declared on many occasions that the return of the Eastern Churches to Catholic unity was being accomplished with total respect for all their rights, traditions, privileges, and rites. How can we reconcile these explicit and solemn promises with an approach that reduces Eastern patriarchs to the rank of simple bishops within the framework of the centralized system that has come to prevail in the West since the Middle Ages?

It is not out of a desire for vainglory that on this specific point we now claim respect for ecclesiastical tradition, for the decisions of the ecumenical councils, and for the promises of the supreme pontiffs. Of this Your Holiness can be sure. In this matter, as in all others that we discuss with the Holy See of Rome, our humble person counts for nothing. Besides, we are on the threshold of eternity, and, at our age and after long years of Apostleship and struggles for the Church, self-love seems a very paltry thing to us. If all precedence is renounced in the Church, we shall be the first to accept the lowest place. However, since the importance of Churches is signified by their rank and since rank is only a symbol of greater service and the expression of the homage rendered to the Apostles, we owe it to our mission in the Church and to the memory of the holy Apostles to defend as much as is in our power the rank that rightfully belongs to our patriarchs.

We simply add that it is useless for the Catholic Church to seek paths leading to reunion with our separated brothers if the patriarchs of the East do not obtain the rank that is due them within the universal hierarchy. Our Orthodox brothers want to see, on the basis of our example, what place the Roman Church would give their patriarchs in the event of union, what respect it holds for ecclesiastical tradition and for the decisions of the ecumenical councils, and how well it honors its own promises.

This question of the rank of the Eastern patriarchs in the Catholic hierarchy has been the subject, in part, of a long synodal letter, sent by special messenger, that we had the honor of addressing to His Holiness Pope Pius XII on February 10, 1958. May Your Holiness deign to refer to it.

Since we know with certainty Your Holiness' greatness of heart, as well as your experience in the East and your sense of justice, we have no doubt that the questions we have allowed ourselves to raise in this letter will receive your careful attention and a just and worthy solution. Otherwise, God forbid, our personal participation in the council would tend to be an insult to the Christian East and would contribute on the contrary to widening the gulf that divides Christians.

Confident that Your Holiness will receive our proposition benevolently and will deign to give it the only just solution that it deserves, we humbly bow to kiss your august hands and to implore your apostolic benediction...

On January 17, 1962, having at last decided to take part personally in the labors of the Central Commission, Patriarch Maximos reminded Archbishop Pericle Felici of his earlier comments and expressly claimed all the rights and privileges of the patriarchs of the East: for the greatest good of the Church, the patriarch agreed to be seated at the inferior rank assigned to him, but retained the rights of the patriarchal institution as such. It was a historical declaration that the patriarch asked to be inserted in the official acts of the council:

On October 8, 1959, I had the honor of asking His Holiness, in the name of all the Fathers of the Synod of our Melkite Greek Catholic Church, to be so good as to settle, even before the holding of the council, the question of the rank of Eastern patriarchs in relation to the Catholic hierarchy as a whole.

On September 22, 1961, Reg. 14, No. 404, I took the liberty of writing to Your Excellency about this same subject.

As Your Excellency and all the Fathers of the Council can easily realize, this question of the rank of the Eastern patriarchs, as it has been established by the ecumenical councils, and recognized by the supreme pontiffs up until the union of Florence, is in no sense a personal question of vanity or of human prestige. If it depended only on our humble person, nobody would snatch the lowest place from us.

However, in this council above all, where, through the express wish of the supreme pontiff, concern for the union of Churches holds a place of choice, it is harmful to the best interests of union and of Catholicism to humiliate in our person the Eastern Church which we unworthily represent. Orthodoxy is listening intently. If the Eastern patriarchs who, according to the decisions of the ecumenical councils, occupy the first places after the Roman pontiff, are relegated to places after all the cardinals and even theoretically after all the representatives of the Holy See, even if the latter are simple priests, how can the Orthodox East believe that the popes, in inviting it to unity, wish to respect it and are determined, while they await the hour of union, to maintain its place of honor within the bosom of the Catholic hierarchy? Indeed, on the basis of the way we are treated today, Orthodoxy draws conclusions as to the way it will be treated if some day union is achieved.

Because of my burning concern to spare the Catholic Church and Orthodoxy a scandal that is all the more serious in that it is occurring in these general sessions of Christendom that this council represents, my conscience would have made it a duty for me to be seen as little as possible.

Yet, in order to clearly demonstrate that my defense of the legitimate rank of the Eastern patriarchs is not, in my eyes, a personal matter; in order to give a new proof of my desire to cooperate to the extreme limit possible with my brothers in the episcopate in the preparation of appropriate reforms of the existing discipline, especially on points relating to the reaching out in fellowship of the Western Church to the Christian East; and in the hope that the Central Commission, and later on the Council itself, will approve the plan presented by the commission of the Eastern Churches for once again recognizing the rank of Eastern patriarchs in the Church immediately after the Roman pontiff:

I thought it my duty to participate in the sessions of the Central Commission, expressly retaining all the rights and privileges of the patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, as previously decided by the ecumenical councils, as recognized by the Roman pontiffs, and as confirmed by time-honored usage, in the face of the diminution's to which they have been subjected in recent years by a frame of mind with little concern for Christian unity.

I would be grateful to you, Your Excellency, if you would be so kind as to submit to our holy and beloved Father the pope the contents of this letter, which I beg you to consider as an official declaration of principle that to my mind is of greatest importance...

On the eve of the opening of the Council, the patriarch was requested by the Holy Synod of August 1962 to attempt a final effort to persuade the general secretariat of the council. He wrote to Archbishop Felici on September 20, 1962:

The Fathers of the annual Synod of our Melkite Greek Catholic Church, held at our residence at Ain Traz from August 27 to August 31 last, have requested that I make a last effort through your good offices to reach our Holy Father the pope, as well as the presidential commission of the council, so that the Eastern patriarchs be given the rank assigned to them by the canons of the first ecumenical councils, namely, the first rank immediately after the supreme pontiff.

The decisions of the ecumenical councils on this matter were respected at the sessions of the Council of Florence in 1439, where, by order of Pope Eugene IV, the Patriarch of Constantinople Joseph II held the first rank after the pope and preceded the cardinals. The union between the Greeks and the Latins was proclaimed in Florence only on the basis of respect for all the rights and privileges of the patriarchs of the East. Now, among these rights and privileges of the patriarchs of the East, the first to consider is the privileged rank these patriarchs hold in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Since that time, these decisions of the ecumenical councils have never been expressly revoked. However, as was the case during the First Vatican Council, today the Eastern patriarchs again face a fait accompli on the part of those in charge of protocol who invariably grant precedence to cardinals over patriarchs.

In order to demonstrate the cogency of our claims, we thought we should make an objective study of the entire question in a memorandum on "The rank of the Eastern patriarchs in the Catholic Church," which we consider it our duty to transmit to Your Excellency within a few days.[2]

The question is serious and can constitute an almost insurmountable obstacle for the future of the union of the Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church.

Our humble person plays no part at all in this matter of Church discipline. If it depended only on ourselves, no one would snatch the lowest place from us. However, we owe it to the Church to reclaim the observance of the decisions of the ecumenical councils and Tradition, respect for the conditions of union set in Florence, and fidelity to the solemn promises made so many times by the popes to our predecessors.

Above all, we owe it to Christ to avert everything that could constitute an obstacle to the reunion of the Churches. We are more convinced than ever that Orthodoxy cannot envision a rapprochement with the Roman Church if its leaders, the patriarchs of the apostolic sees, to whom the ecumenical councils gave precedence, immediately after the supreme pontiff, over the entire hierarchy, find that they have been relegated to the hundredth rank.

Because of these considerations which affect the supreme good of the Church, we would have wished not to appear at the approaching council, in order to prevent the depreciating, in our person, of the honor due to the patriarchal sees of the East.

But in order to prove that this is not a personal matter of conceit or vainglory on our part; in order to enter into the views of our Holy Father the pope, who has opened the way to a better understanding with respect to the Christian East and given proof of profound benevolence; in order that through our presence the voice of the East may be heard; and to collaborate with our brothers in the episcopate for the progress of the pastoral work in the Church, we have decided to take part personally in the sessions of this Council, in spite of our advanced age and the state of our health, but explicitly declaring that our presence must not prejudice in any way the respect of rank due to our see and reserving in the most explicit way the rights and privileges of the Eastern Church, as the ecumenical councils and Tradition have defined them and as the popes have promised many times to have them respected.

I beg Your Excellency to be so good as to submit the present letters to our Holy Father the pope with the homage of my deepest respect as well as to the presidential commission of the council.

I likewise beg Your Excellency to consider this letter an official declaration that is an integral part of the acts of the council.

Now that I have thus unburdened my conscience before Christ, before the Church, before my community, and before my Orthodox brethren, there remains only for me to pray the Father of Lights to deign to inspire those in whose hands rests the responsibility for souls to take the measures that He deems appropriate.

In unshakable faith that Christ will sustain His Church and that the best solutions will always ultimately triumph for the greatest good of souls, I beg Your Excellency to accept...

Archbishop P. Felici, in a letter dated October 4, 1962, acknowledged receipt of the patriarch's letter and of the memorandum that accompanied it. He added that the question would be submitted to the Holy Father.

To its 1963 "Remarks on the schemas of the Council," the Holy Synod added the following memorandum.

On the Rank of the Eastern Patriarchs in the Catholic Church

Part One – The Authentic Tradition of the Church

1. The Decisions of the Ecumenical Councils

The Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon held in 451 approved what had been a gradual development whose principal stages were marked by Canons 6 and 7 of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325 and Canons 2 and 3 of the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381. In its Canon 28 the Council of Chalcedon first of all confirmed the privileged rank granted to the Bishop of Constantinople by Canon 3 of the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381, placing him immediately after the Bishop of Rome and before the Bishop of Alexandria. Then the same canon established the ranks of the five great patriarchal sees of Christianity as follows: Rome (without prejudice to its universal primacy), Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. This canon, which ratified a new ecclesiastical organization in the East (the patriarchal organization) and a new order of precedence in the Church, was at first contested. Yet, notwithstanding the initial opposition of Rome, the new organization remained in force. Emperor Justinian confirmed this "patriarchal pentarchy." (Novella 126, De sanctissimis et Deo amabilibus episcopis, Cap. II: Novella 131, De ecclesiasticis titulis.) Pope Adrian II (867-872) finally recognized it indirectly by approving Canon 21 of the Fourth Council of Constantinople in 869-870. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 officially recognized it and again approved the ranks of precedence among the five patriarchates of the Christian world, as it had been fixed by Canon 28 of Chalcedon. It is true that at that time the patriarchal sees of the East were occupied by Latin incumbents by reason of the Frankish conquests of the Crusades: Jerusalem since 1099, Antioch since 1100, Constantinople since 1205, and Alexandria since 1209. But the rites of the incumbents mattered little, and it is certain that for the Catholic Church the decisions of the ecumenical councils still remain valid today. According to these decisions, the five highest places in Christianity are reserved, without prejudice to the primacy of Rome, in descending sequence, to the incumbents of the Sees of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. These decisions of the ecumenical councils have never been abrogated either by the popes or by any other subsequent council. Thus, if we wished to hold to the decisions, still in force, of the ecumenical councils, the first places, after that of the supreme pontiff, at the sessions of the forthcoming Second Vatican Council should belong by right to the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.

2. The Rise of the Cardinalate

However, in the meantime a new institution was being born in the Church of Rome: the "College of Cardinals." In the beginning this college included only the principal pastors of the city of Rome, who formed a sort of diocesan council around their bishop, such as there were in other Western dioceses, especially in Paris. Then little by little this college came to embrace also the principal deacons of the city and even the suburban bishops, thus forming a sort of council for the entire Roman province. In this capacity it replaced with increasing frequency the ancient Roman "synods" which the popes had been using to administer not only the affairs of their Roman province but also those of their Papal State, of all Italy, of the West, and even of the entire Church. There were also some laymen among them. The importance of the College of Cardinals has not ceased to grow at the expense of the hierarchy of the bishops, the successors of the Apostles. This importance was manifested especially in 1059, when Pope Nicholas II reserved to the cardinals the exclusive right to elect the pope.

This decisive development in the importance of cardinals occurred, we might point out, when the East and the West were already separated. It was a phenomenon intrinsic to the Western Church. In the West, cardinals, even those who were laymen, assumed priority over priests and even over the bishops, who are divinely instituted, something that is absolutely unthinkable in the East. Until the twelfth century history indicates no marked opposition to this prodigious ascent of the cardinals, who ultimately were given precedence over the entire hierarchy of the Western Church.

3. The Cardinals and the Latin Patriarchs

The cardinals faced an initial opposition by the Latin patriarchs, who, beginning in 1099, occupied the patriarchal sees of the East. The problem then arose: which of the cardinals or Latin patriarchs should have precedence?

Until 1439 a compromise solution seems to have prevailed. The Latin patriarchs were seated among the cardinal-bishops, and, as a rule, immediately after the first cardinal-bishop and before the other cardinals. This is recorded in the "Liber caeremoniarum pontificalium" compiled in 1488 by Agostino Patrizi, Bishop of Pienza in Tuscany, and published for the first time in Venice in 1516 by Cristoforo Marcello, the archbishop-elect of Corfu. Thus, speaking of the "Ordo Sedendi in Cappella Papae" (Lib.III, Sectio II, Cap. I, fol. 195 verso), Patrizi says: "Indeed the four principal patriarchs, namely those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, were accustomed to sit among the cardinal bishops, as we said above concerning kings, and consequently to wear a cope, and they had train-bearers, like the cardinals."

And the author adds, speaking of the period after 1439: "However, in our days and in the days of Eugene IV, neither do they sit among the cardinals, nor do they have train-bearers."

Actually, we know that at the sessions of the Council of Ferrara in 1438, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem was seated after the first cardinal-bishop and before all the other cardinals.

However, under Pope Eugene IV, and more precisely in 1439, a change occurred in the order of precedence which placed the Latin patriarchs after the cardinals. A conflict arose that year between John Kemp, Archbishop of York, who had been created a cardinal by Pope Eugene IV in 1439, and Henry Chicheley, Archbishop of Canterbury, who refused to cede the first place to him (this was an ancient quarrel over precedence between the two great archepiscopal sees of England). Pope Eugene IV intervened to definitively approve the precedence of the cardinals over every other hierarch in the Latin Church, be he archbishop or even patriarch. In his letter "Non mediocri," written in Florence and dated as of the eighth year of his pontificate (March 4, 1439 March 4, 1440), the pope traced the origin of the cardinalate to Saint Peter himself, attributed some of the Cardinals' privileges to the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea, which he dated as "about the year 330," declared that the cardinals constituted "part of his body," referred to the donation of Constantine, whose authenticity he, like all his contemporaries, naturally admitted, and referred as well to the honorific privileges with which this emperor was said to have endowed the cardinals, and concluded that it was a common canonical and traditional doctrine that the cardinals were superior to the (Latin) patriarchs.

As matter of fact, after this letter of Pope Eugene IV, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, who, as we have seen, was seated at the sessions of Ferrara after the first cardinal-bishop and before all the other cardinals, gave precedence from then on to the cardinals, and we see him at the last session of the Council of Florence, on July 6, 1439, sign the Bull of Union "Laetentur coeli" after the eight cardinals present.

So we see that in the discipline of the Latin Church, it is since 1439 that the cardinals, continuing their ascent, have taken precedence over the Latin patriarchs.

4. The Cardinals and Patriarchs at the Council of Florence

This applied only to the relations between the Latin cardinals and the Latin patriarchs. But when it came to the respective rank of the cardinals and the Eastern patriarchs, precedence was always granted before, during, and immediately after the Council of Florence to the Eastern patriarchs over the cardinals, and not only with the knowledge of the pope but at his express command. Our proofs naturally come from the history of the Council of Florence, because before that council, cardinals and Eastern patriarchs had never met and consequently the problems could not have arisen.

On January 8, 1438, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Joseph II, having arrived in Venice, received the homage in that city of a deputation composed of bishops and notables sent from Ferrara by Pope Eugene IV and led by Cardinal Nicola Albergati (also called Cardinal of Santa Croce), who had been named president of the council by the pope. On March 9, 1438, Patriarch Joseph II arrived in Ferrara. By order of the pope, the two youngest cardinal-deacons, Prospero Colonna and Domenico Capranica, went to welcome him.

On April 8 the first session of the council in which the Greeks participated was held in Ferrara. The Latins were to the right of the altar and the Greeks to the left. This was an ingenious compromise, for the left side of the altar, where the icon of Our Lord and the throne of the hierarch are located, was considered to be the first place by the Greeks, whereas the right side of the altar was considered by the Latins to be the first place. Thus the Patriarch of Constantinople faced the first cardinal-bishop.

When the council was transferred to Florence, the patriarch entered that city on January 23, 1439, with one cardinal on his right and another on his left (the same ones who had welcomed him in Ferrara).

So there can be no doubt that Pope Eugene IV considered the Patriarch of Constantinople to be superior in rank to his cardinals.

This view must have been shared by his immediate successors. Indeed, after the failure of the Council of Florence we see two cardinals raised to the patriarchal See of Constantinople: Bessarion, former Metropolitan of Nicea, and Isidore, former Metropolitan of Kiev. Both had been made cardinals by Pope Eugene IV on December 18, 1439. Now, Isidore of Kiev was promoted by Pope Pius II in 1458 to the patriarchal See of Constantinople, and when he died on April 27, 1463, Cardinal Bessarion was chosen to succeed him, and he remained the incumbent of the patriarchal See of Constantinople until his own death on November 14, 1472.

So here are two cardinals raised to the patriarchal dignity: a sign that the supreme pontiff of that time considered the patriarchal dignity in the East as being superior to the dignity of the cardinalate.

5. The Cardinals and the Eastern Patriarchs in Modern Time

What happened after that? From the middle of the 15th century to the beginning of the 18th century there was in the Byzantine East no patriarchal succession officially united with Rome.

This long absence of Eastern Byzantine patriarchs in the Catholic hierarchy sufficed to make the contrary point of view prevail among the canonists. The Latin West withdrew within itself. Its Latin institutions seemed to it the only valid ones in the entire Catholic Church. Inasmuch as in the West, since the time of Eugene IV, cardinals have held precedence even over the Latin patriarchs, it was thought that they must precede all patriarchs, even the patriarchs of the East.

This is a false analogy, because the Latin patriarchs are simply ordinary archbishops endowed with the purely honorific title of patriarch, whereas the Eastern patriarchs are true heads of particular Churches with a hierarchy of bishops under their jurisdiction, by the same right as the Bishop of Rome is the patriarch of the West.

On the other hand, however, there were not at that time any Eastern Byzantine patriarchs to defend their rights, and on the other hand the Romanists were not displeased to see the Eastern patriarchs identified with the honorific Latin patriarchs. Finally, the cardinals were continuing their unobstructed ascent in the hierarchy and assuming ever greater importance in the general administration of the Church, whereas the importance of the Eastern patriarchs, on the level of influence, wealth, and membership was continually decreasing.

That is why at the First Vatican Council the Roman Curia does not seem to have distinguished between the Eastern and the Latin patriarchs. They were all considered inferior to the cardinals. It was even thought that the patriarchs of the East were being honored by being likened to the Latin patriarchs, because by virtue of the discriminatory theory of "precedence of the Latin rite" that was in favor in Rome during the 18th century the Latin patriarchs were supposed to take precedence over the Eastern patriarchs. However, Pope Pius IX intervened and declared that in the Catholic Church all rites were equal.

Thus, during the 19th century as well as at the beginning of this century, everybody, or almost everybody, was henceforth convinced that cardinals are the highest dignitaries in the Catholic Church after the Roman pontiff and must take precedence over patriarchs, whether they be from the East or from the West. Only the Melkite patriarchs have continued to claim for their patriarchal sees the rank that was assigned to them by the ecumenical councils, explicitly recognized by the popes up to the 15th century, and since then never explicitly revoked.

Part Two – Reasons for Respecting This Authentic Tradition in the Church

There is no doubt whatever that the primitive and authentic tradition of the Church places in the first ranks of the Catholic hierarchy after the supreme pontiff not the cardinals but the incumbents of the patriarchal sees of the East.

Must this tradition be respected? We believe that the answer should be an unhesitating "yes," for the many reasons given below:

1. The reason of ecclesial tradition itself

In the first place, the Catholic Church owes it to itself to respect the decisions of the ecumenical councils, even in the matter of discipline. If, in the course of time a modification appears to be necessary, it is fitting to have it adopted by another ecumenical council or to have the authority of the supreme pontiff intervene in an explicit way to revoke it. Now, in the case of this serious question of the rank of the Eastern patriarchs, neither the popes nor subsequent ecumenical councils have revoked the decisions made by the first ecumenical councils. After the 15th century, certain Latin canonists have allowed themselves to make erroneous analogical deductions to support the rise of the institution of the cardinalate at the expense of the honor of the apostolic sees of the East.

2. The reason of apostolicity

The patriarchal institution in the East, contrary to what is happening in the West, is not simply an honorific title. It is founded first of all on the apostolicity of the see. When Canon 28 of Chalcedon sought to base on human considerations the first rank that it wished to grant, after Rome, to the See of Constantinople because that city had become the capital city of the Empire, it was Pope Saint Leo who took care to rectify the thinking of the Fathers of the council. He told them: "The structure of human things is not the same as the divine. The apostolic origin of a Church, its foundation by the Apostles, this is what assures it a higher rank in the hierarchy." (Epist CIV, 3 = PL, Vol. LIV. Col.995)

In the Catholic Church the highest honor must be granted to the apostolic foundation. The reason that Rome is the mother of all the Churches is because it was founded by the Apostles Peter and Paul and because it was the definitive see of Peter.

This honor due to the preeminent "apostolic see" that is Rome applies by analogy to the other apostolic sees of Christianity, which are the patriarchates.

We know the famous texts of certain popes which seek to ground the origin of patriarchal dignity as though on some sort of diffuse primacy of Peter, thus making them participate in a certain sense in the supreme solicitude for all the Churches that Peter bequeathed to his successors on the See of Rome: Peter to Jerusalem, Peter to Antioch, Peter to Alexandria (through his disciple Mark), Peter to Rome. Thus Pope Innocent (402-417) writing to the Bishop of Antioch, said: "Wherefore we observe that this has been attributed not so much because of the magnificence of the city as that it is shown to be the leading seat of the leading Apostle." (PL, Vol. XX, col. 548)

Still more clearly, Pope Saint Gregory the Great (580-604) wrote the following in a letter to the Emperor Marcion: "He (the prince of the Apostles) exalted the see in which he deigned to settle and to finish his life on earth (Rome). He adorned the see to which he sent his disciple the evangelist (Alexandria). He confirmed the see in which he sat for seven years before leaving (Antioch). (PL, T. LXXVII, col. 299)

Jerusalem certainly cannot be excluded from the circle of these "Petrine" cities, for it was there that Peter first and so manifestly exercised his primacy.

While Constantinople cannot historically claim to have been founded by Peter or by another Apostle, it has other grounds, as we shall see, for its claim to patriarchal honor.

And so we see from the testimony of the popes themselves that the eminent rank of the patriarchates of the East in the Catholic Church is an honor due to their apostolicity. Cardinals do not occupy apostolic sees, and are not, as cardinals, successors of the Apostles. Now, what more important criterion is there than the apostolicity of a see, in a Church one of whose essential marks is that it is apostolic and at whose head is the "apostolic see"? Must not the apostolicity that made Rome the first see and the head of Christendom logically give the other sees that claim apostolic origin the first ranks after the Roman pontiffs? Is not apostolicity as a criterion of precedence, recognized by the pope and by the ecumenical councils, superior to every other criterion of precedence that could be claimed by the cardinals, some of whom in earlier times were not even priests?

Beyond this, the patriarchal sees, as the popes testify, participate in a certain way in the primacy of Peter. It is Peter who founded them, even if he did not remain in them permanently. From this Petrine origin the patriarchal sees have inherited not only a primacy of honor over all the other sees, but also a certain participation in the universal solicitude for the Churches, bequeathed by Peter in an eminent and absolutely unique right to his successors in the See of Rome.

From this it follows that the first auxiliaries of the pope in the overall administration of the Church are, according to the authentic tradition of the first centuries, not the cardinals but the patriarchs. It was to the patriarchs that the pope first announced his election. The patriarchs, in turn, wrote their letter of communion to him immediately after their election. In moments of danger and during the dogmatic or disciplinary crises that convulsed the Christian world, it was to the patriarchs that the pope turned to devise a plan of action. When they could, the patriarchs maintained a permanent representative at the pope's side, and the pope maintained a legate called an apocrisiary by the side of his patriarch in Constantinople. In their letters to the patriarchs, the popes expressed themselves in very fraternal terms. It was evident that for the popes the Eastern patriarchs, the incumbents of the apostolic sees, were their brothers and their principal collaborators.

This apostolicity is the basis in the Catholic Church for the eminent rank given to the Eastern patriarchs.

3. The reason of gratitude

The Eastern patriarchs, however, have other grounds for occupying the first ranks after the pope. Christianity owes them this honor out of gratitude. Whatever the past and present merits of the cardinals, they are far from equaling those of the patriarchal sees of the East.

It was in Jerusalem that our salvation was accomplished. It was from Jerusalem that the faith spread first "in Judea, Samaria, Galilee, and in the entire world." According to our liturgical books and the constant tradition of the first Fathers of the Church, Jerusalem is the "Mother of all the Churches," for it was the first Church and it was from Jerusalem that all the other Churches were founded throughout the world.

Alexandria made the Christian faith reach out over Egypt, Pentapolis, Libya, Cyrenaica, Nubia, and Ethiopia. It brought monasticism to Europe. For a long time, it was the mouthpiece of Rome in the East.

It was in Antioch that the faithful were first called Christians. Antioch preached the Gospel throughout the then-known portions of Asia. It implanted the Christian faith in the Persian Empire, in India, and even as far as Mongolia and China.

Constantinople converted the Slavic world, which, by itself, once represented one third of Christendom.

Can the Catholic Church forget these first centers of Christianity? Is it not somewhat unfitting to give precedence over them to young Churches in America, Australia, or Africa which have just recently been founded, simply because their incumbents have been made cardinals?

4. The reason of fidelity to the promises given by the popes

In addition, the popes solemnly and repeatedly promised the Eastern patriarchs who reunited with the Holy See of Rome that none of their legitimate rights and privileges would be diminished, that they would find again in the Catholic Church the same rank, rights, and prerogatives which they had enjoyed up to that time.

The promises are so numerous that it is hard to find one pope who did not feel obliged to repeat them, and in ever more solemn terms. In order not to lengthen this memorandum, we shall be content to cite only a few of these declarations, among those that are most significant:

a. At Florence the union was proclaimed only on condition that all the rights and privileges of the Eastern patriarchs be safeguarded: "with all their privileges and rights preserved." This solemn promise, originally made to the four Byzantine patriarchs, was repeated in the Bull of Union with the Armenians. (Cf. texts in J. Gill, The Council of Florence, Cambridge 1959, p.415).

b. After Florence, more than once the Holy See of Rome proposed union to the Eastern patriarchs, always with the same conditions, that is to say "with all their privileges and rights preserved" (Cf. G. Hoffman, Patriarch Kyrillos Lukaris, in Orientalia Christ., XV, 1, Rome 1929, p.53).

c. On the occasion of proceedings for union, the Holy See of Rome solemnly promised the Eastern patriarchs that their dignity would not be diminished in any manner because of their union with Rome, but that on the contrary their rights and privileges would be fully maintained. Thus Pope Clement XI, writing on April 11, 1703, to the Coptic Patriarch John XVI: "By which salutary measure (namely union)... you would again set that distinguished patriarchal see in that place of dignity in which because of its extraordinary prerogatives.. almost all the records of the Catholic faith demonstrate that it was formerly placed." And the pope continues: "When with the help of divine grace you will have fulfilled the laudable plan (of union), most certainly you will be able to convince yourself that We, having retained the practices of this Holy See, which strives not only not to diminish but indeed to protect and enlarge the rights and privileges of the Eastern Churches, will embrace you in the Lord with all the good will and testimonials that are harmonious with your office and dignity, and that nothing will ever be omitted by us that is deemed to be fitting for your future convenience, distinction, and splendor." (Cf. J.P.Trossen, Les relations du Patriarche Copte Jean XVI avec Rome (1676-1718), Luxembourg, 1948, pp. 171-172)

On July 8, 1815, Pius VII wrote to the Coptic Patriarch Peter VII: "We shall take care that the prerogatives and privileges of your see are most diligently restored and protected." (De Martinis, Pars I, Vol. IV, p. 530)

Likewise, in 1824, Pope Leo XII promised the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria that he would preserve all his ancient rights and privileges: "We grant to this Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria, and to the one who will hold it, all the honors, privileges, prerogatives, titles, and all power that are based on the sacred canons or usages, which not unreasonable circumstances may support." (Loc. cit., p. 651)

d. Finally, here are more general and still more solemn promises:

Pope Benedict XV, in his famous "Demandatam" of December 24, 1743, wrote: "For the rest, we desire that all rights and privileges and the free exercise of your jurisdiction remain intact for your Brotherhood." (Loc. cit. Vol.III, p. 130)

The great Pope Leo XIII wrote in the motu proprio "Auspicia rerum" of March 19, 1896: "For nobody can deny, inasmuch as it is fitting and wholly in order, that the patriarchal dignity does not lack among Catholics any of those supports and distinctions which it enjoys abundantly among the dissidents." (Acta S. Sedis, T. 28 (1895-1896), p. 586)

More clearly still, in his apostolic letter "Praeclara gratulationis" of June 20, 1894, the same Leo XIII addressed the Eastern Churches in these terms: "Nor is there any reason that you should hesitate in that thereby [because of the union] we or our successors would detract anything from your rights, your patriarchal privileges, or the liturgical usage of any Church." (Ibid., T. 26 (1893-4), p. 709)

It is certainly the heartfelt wish of the Holy See of Rome to honor its solemn promises. The greatest of the rights and privileges that the pope promised the Eastern patriarchs they would maintain is precisely the right to occupy in the Catholic Church the rank that the ecumenical councils and the authentic tradition of the Church assigned to them, namely, the first rank after the Roman pontiff. To relegate these patriarchs to the 100th place cannot constitute the maintenance of their rights and privileges, as solemnly promised by the popes at the time of the union and after the union.

This assumes extraordinary gravity the moment that the Holy See of Rome once again is proposing union to the Orthodox Churches, guaranteeing, on the condition of unity of faith and government, the safeguarding of their own liturgy and discipline. How could the Orthodox Churches not be tempted to mistrust when they see that the guarantees so solemnly given by the pope to the Eastern patriarchs who are in union have not been respected?

5. The reason of the apostolate for union

This consideration brings us to the definitive and conclusive reason why the Catholic Church owes it to itself to respect the rank that the Eastern patriarchs traditionally hold in the hierarchy. This reason is precisely the supreme interest of Christian unity.

Indeed, if the Eastern Catholic patriarchs claim for their apostolic sees the first ranks after the Roman pontiff, it is not out of vanity or out of a desire for vainglory.

Nor is it out of concern for antiquated ideas.

It is solely because the humiliating and in their view unjust position in which they are placed by the Catholic hierarchy constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to rapprochement and then to union with the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

In Orthodoxy, whatever the real and current importance of the patriarchal sees, the patriarchs continue to represent a summit in the hierarchy. They are the heads of Churches. Even a Patriarch of Moscow bows and kisses the hands of the patriarchs of the ancient apostolic Sees of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, regardless of the number of their faithful. These patriarchs know and proclaim that they are the highest dignitaries of the Church after the Roman pontiff. How can we speak to them of union if we do not recognize for them today what Pope Eugene IV recognized for their predecessors at the Council of Florence?

If the Orthodox patriarchs are thinking of reuniting some day with the Roman Church, it can only be in order to reoccupy in Catholicism the place that was theirs before the schism. But if they notice that this place is being refused them, and that in the event of reunion they are to be relegated after all the cardinals, or if—worse still—this place is promised to them but afterwards refused, there is little hope that the dialogue that has begun will culminate in union.

For all these reasons, and especially the last-mentioned, it seems to us that the supreme interest of the Church demands that the rank that authentic ecclesial tradition has assigned to the Eastern patriarchs and which the popes have promised be indeed maintained.

Part Three – Response to the Objections

1. It will be objected: This is a question of vanity and of human prestige.

- Not at all. Certainly, questions of precedence are very paltry, especially on the part of the disciples of the One who said: "The first among you must be the servant of all." But the honor given to the hierarchs in the Church is not addressed to their individual persons but to their ministry, to Christ, and to the Apostles whom they represent. In this case, the privileged rank claimed by the Eastern patriarchs is, as we have seen, a recognition of the apostolicity of their sees and a debt of gratitude toward these first centers of the spread of Christianity. Besides, why would the patriarchs who claim their traditional rights be at fault, and not those who contest those rights so as to pass ahead of them? In any case, Patriarch Maximos IV has declared more than once that if it depended only on him, no one would snatch the last place in the Church from him, but that only the supreme interests of the respect for tradition and for Christian unity made him consider it his duty to claim the rank that is due to patriarchal dignity.

2. The following objection will also be made: Today the cardinals are universal auxiliaries of the pope, whereas the sphere of the patriarch's ministry is limited to their flocks.

- Even if the patriarchs were not in any way auxiliaries of the pope, that would not be a reason for depriving them of the rank assigned to them by the ecumenical councils and the authentic tradition of the Church. The councils and the Fathers knew what they were doing.

Besides, we have seen through the testimony of the Roman popes themselves that, in a sound ecclesiology, the patriarchs were to be considered as the foremost auxiliaries of the pope, his innate auxiliaries.

The patriarchs are even more than auxiliaries of the pope; they are his brothers, incumbents like him—naturally without prejudice to his universal primacy—of the great apostolic sees of Christendom.

When addressing the cardinals, the pope says: "my son;" when he addresses the bishops, and especially the patriarchs, he says: "my brother." The cardinals are freely created by the pope, and, as cardinals, are in no sense successors of the Apostles. The patriarchs are elected by the bishops of their Church and are, by the loftiest right, successors of the Apostles.

Compared with the nobility of apostolicity and the importance of the patriarchal ministry which participates secondarily in the universal solicitude of Peter's successor, the claims of the cardinals to precedence cannot be supported unless the patriarchates are in fact treated as simply honorary titles. In that case, it would be understood that the patriarchs would not appear to be more important than the cardinals. But this is a distorted notion of the patriarchates, popularized by a certain self-interested ecclesiology that has no links to the authentic tradition of the Fathers.

3. Yet another objection is that the privileged rank of the patriarchs is a matter of simple ecclesiastical discipline decreed by the ecumenical councils. Now, what an ecumenical council has done can be abrogated by the pope or by another ecumenical council.

R. That is correct. Indeed no one claims that the rank of the patriarchs as established by tradition is immutable or of divine right. However, the fact that this rank can be changed is one thing, and that it should be changed is something else. Now, from what we have seen, no ecumenical council or pope has until now expressly given precedence to the cardinals over the patriarchs of the East. It is as if the matter were settled and not subject to possible contestation. It is our opinion, on the contrary, that so many and so serious decisions of the first ecumenical councils should be discussed at length, and then should be abrogated only if the supreme interest of the Church demands it, and then by an explicit contrary decision emanating from an ecumenical council or from the pope by virtue of his supreme power. It is not fitting that in such a serious matter the Eastern patriarchs should continue to be faced with a fait accompli, as happened at the last Vatican Council, and as we foresee will happen at the forthcoming council.

4. Another objection will be that the privileged rank of the Eastern patriarchs was founded on an actual importance that they no longer have today, whereas the cardinals are constantly gaining greater importance in the Church.

R. It is correct that the patriarchates no longer have in the Church the importance that they once had as true capitals of the Christian world. However, first of all, influence, wealth and numbers are not the only criteria of rank in the Church. Rome may some day be only a little town, or even disappear. It will nonetheless remain the Holy See of Rome and the head of all the Churches. In fact, as of now several dioceses in the world are already more "important" than Rome. Is this a reason to diminish its leadership?

Admittedly Rome holds primacy in the Church by immutable divine right, but this example is cited here only to show that the rank of a see does not necessarily coincide with its real and current importance.

Besides, does anyone believe that the subvicariate dioceses of Rome are so very much more important than the other sees of Christianity that it is necessary to raise their incumbents to the rank of cardinals?

How many dignitaries there are in the Roman Curia who have almost no importance today and who nonetheless continue to receive precedence over bishops of larger and more important dioceses of the Christian world!

If there is any community in the world that respects traditions relating to precedence, it is certainly the Roman community. Why, then, must the Eastern patriarchs be the only ones who can no longer maintain their traditional rank?

Finally, resorting to reductio ad absurdum, if we say that the Eastern patriarchs must give up their traditional rank because their actual importance has declined and that of the cardinals is increasing, we logically have to place them not only after the cardinals but even after all the bishops whose dioceses are more "important" than those of the patriarchs.

If numbers, wealth, and membership were all that counted in the church, the Eastern patriarchates would count for nothing. But in Christ's Church there is room for superior values: apostolicity, tradition, the initial Christian expansion, the proclamation of the Word, Christian unity. According to these values, infinitely more important than the former, the Eastern patriarchs still represent what deserves the greatest respect in Christ's Church after the Roman papacy. These are values that do not pass away, and, thanks to them, the Eastern patriarchs have lost none of their true importance.

5. Finally, the objection is made that when the "true" patriarchs of the East, namely the Orthodox patriarchs, agree to think about union, it will naturally be necessary to recognize the eminent place they occupied before the schism. But the Eastern patriarchs presently in union are new creations of the Holy See, which therefore grants them the rank and powers that it deems appropriate.

- This concept, which denies the Eastern Catholic patriarchs the right to be considered the legitimate successors of their predecessors in their respective sees, is the new weapon that the "latinists" have used against the Catholics of the Eastern rites. Unfortunately for them, this concept, while it can, if necessary, be accepted by the Orthodox separated from Rome, is incomprehensible for Catholics and absolutely contrary to the concept of the supreme pontiffs themselves.

Since we cannot cite the countless pontifical texts supporting our view, we shall be content to reproduce those that concern our own Patriarchate of Antioch, whose incumbent Cyril VI Tanas officially proclaimed union with Rome in 1724. When the papal legate enthroned him on April 25, 1730, he proclaimed him "legitimate Greek Patriarch of Antioch." (Mansi, Vol. 46, col. 189) Pope Benedict XIV, in his allocution in the consistory of February 3, 1744, recognized Cyril VI as the true and only incumbent of the Orthodox See of Antioch, and said of his dissident rival Sylvester that "he invaded the patriarchal see," and declared of the Melkites that in them "the venerable remnants of the Church of Antioch, formerly buried, are brought back to life" (Ibid., col. 340).[3]

In his letter of February 29, 1744, addressed to the same Patriarch Cyril, Benedict XIV expressed himself in this way: "While we consider that illustrious Antiochian Church of the Greeks, for a long time separated from the Roman See by a calamitous schism and ruled by patriarchs infected with that blemish, now it is at last committed to your brotherhood, in the safeguarding of a legitimate pastor." (Ibid. col. 341) And the pope continued, rejoicing that it was henceforth possible once again to introduce the name of the Patriarch of Antioch into the diptychs of the Roman Church.

From all of this, it is clear that, for the popes, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate is the legitimate continuation of the successors to the See of Antioch. Therefore the same rights and privileges are due to its patriarchs as to his ancient predecessors.

Other objections can be found. It will be easy to answer them as well. The heart of the problem comes down to this: should the Catholic Church of our time purely and simply ratify the special development of the Latin West from which the cardinalate sprang, or should it harmonize in its heart the more recent institutions of the West with the more ancient institutions of the East? In other words, is Catholicism a broadened and conquering Latinism, or is it a divine, supra-regional, supra-national institution in which the traditions of the East and those of the West have equal inherent rights?

The problem of the rank of the Eastern patriarchs in the Catholic Church is not a question of vainglorious precedence. It postulates a return to more apostolic and hence more authentic ecclesiological concepts.

We know the outcome of all these discussions. By order of Pope Paul VI, the patriarchs, including the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, were placed beginning on Monday, October 14, 1963, on a platform set apart, to the right, facing the cardinals, as had been the case in Florence. History will some day relate the exhausting labors of Patriarch Maximos, with the help of his episcopate, to have this change accepted. On October 15, 1963, the patriarch wrote to Pope Paul VI to thank him for it.

For an Amelioration of the Conciliar Schema

The Eastern Commission had submitted to the session of January 1962 of the Central Commission the draft of a schema "On the Eastern Patriarchs." Since the patriarch did not expect to take part personally in that session, he sent from Damascus on December 21, 1961, a few notes intended to improve the contents of the draft:

This schema is of the greatest importance for the future of the union of Churches. The rights claimed in it for the Eastern Catholic patriarchs refer not to their humble persons but to their mission. Depending on the way that the Catholic Church treats these Eastern Catholic patriarchs, Orthodoxy will reach conclusions as to how its patriarchs will be treated in the Catholic Church the day that union can be achieved.

On this matter, here are a few criticisms to be made to the preamble, as well as to the expository portion of the document:

1. The preamble, intended in principle to introduce and justify the rights recognized for the patriarchs in the following section, seems rather to aim at minimizing these rights, as if it were feared that they might be an infringement on those of the supreme pontiff. Not only do the rights of the patriarchs not encroach upon those of the supreme pontiff, they confirm them. "My honor is in the honor of my brothers" are the words of Pope St. Leo. In addition, the wording of this preamble seems to need reworking.

a. "Episcopi quoque, Apostolorum successores, ex divino iure, mediante tamen Romano Pontifice, plena pollent potestate ... (Also the bishops, successors of the Apostles by divine right, although with the mediation of the Roman pontiff, are endowed with full power...).

This intervention or "mediation" by the Roman pontiff in the transmission of the divine right to the bishops seems to us contrary to the tradition of the Church. I fear lest it invite confusion and lest certain individuals might wish to give it a meaning that it does not have, for example, the meaning that all power in the Church emanates directly and exclusively from the Roman pontiff.

b. "Si autem.. prae oculis iura habeantur, quae saeculorum decursu tacite vel expresse a suprema auctoritate concessa sunt ..." (If, however,...those rights should be held up to view which in the course of the centuries have been tacitly or expressly conceded by the supreme authority...)

This phrase also invites ambiguity. The patriarchal institution has not always and exclusively depended on a tacit or explicit concession by the supreme pontiff. It was also created by the ecumenical councils, as No. II of the proposed schema acknowledges: "quippe qui amplissima potestate, a Romano Pontifice vel a Concilio Oecumenico data seu agnita..." (who indeed [have] the fullest power, given or acknowledged by the Roman pontiff or by an ecumenical council...) Now, an ecumenical council, even though it requires the confirmation of the pope, is not one and the same authority with him. The expression "supreme authority" designates in canon law the Roman pontiff as well as the ecumenical council. It would be wise to avoid ambiguity by clarifying the thought.

c. The same ambiguity occurs a little farther on where the patriarch is said to have a supra-episcopal power "ex participatione pontificiae potestatis" (by participation in the pontifical power). In one sense, it is true to say that the patriarchs, as heads of particular churches, participate in some manner in the universal solicitude of the Roman pontiff. But does this also mean that all supra-episcopal power, whether metropolitan, primatial, or patriarchal, is necessarily an emanation or a delegation of the supreme power of the supreme pontiff?

The author of the preamble seems to wish to glide toward a theory that is not in any way defined—and which it is not advisable to define or even to encourage defining today. According to this theory, all power in the Church would be a delegation or an emanation of the power of the supreme pontiff.

2. The expository portion of the document seems to me to be well drafted, and I approve it except for the following points:

a. It is abnormal and prejudicial to the work of Christian unity that the patriarchal sees of the East be occupied by Latins, even those that are simply honorary. Thus Article IX proposes that the titular Latin patriarchates be eliminated, but it illogically makes an exception for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, whose continuance it recommends. We would say that on the contrary it is the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem that must above all be eliminated.

This patriarchate of Jerusalem, founded by the Crusaders in 1099 in accordance with the mentality of that time, disappeared after their domination ended in 1273. It was not restored as a residential see until 1847 by Pope Pius IX. Since then and contrary to the explicit and repeatedly expressed will of the supreme pontiffs, this patriarchate has made every effort to latinize Eastern Christians, whether Orthodox or Catholic. This has constituted a painful denial of the pope's declarations promising the Eastern Christians who returned to unity that they would not have to become latinized. Our own patriarchate has explained at length its point of view on this question in a brochure entitled: Catholicisme ou Latinisme? A propos du Patriarcat latin de Jerusalem (Harissa, Lebanon, 1961) [Catholicism or Latinism? Concerning the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem]. We ask that it be referred to for fuller information on this subject.

b. Given the mission of each Eastern Catholic Church, it appears difficult to reduce the patriarchal sees within the same territory to only one, just as it is difficult and harmful to limit the rites to one. The fact that there may be two or three Catholic incumbents occupying the same patriarchal see is a historical reality that cannot easily be avoided at this time. It is better to accept it as it is, to organize it, and to try to make the best of it, considering it as a division of labor rather than as a dispersion of energies. The disadvantages of this situation can be diminished if there is a sincere collaboration among patriarchs. This depends on the persons involved rather than on the institution itself. In any case, this phenomenon exists especially in the See of Antioch. On the other hand, in Jerusalem, where there had always been a single Catholic patriarch, the Holy See doubled the hierarchy by restoring the Latin patriarchate of Jerusalem. So we see this division of authority is not always the fault of the Eastern Churches. I therefore completely reject this article X as premature, unrealizable and harmful.

c. Article XI cannot be accepted, and it is not in the best interests of the Catholic Church that it be accepted. If it is clearly understood what a patriarch is in the Eastern Catholic Church, it cannot be wished or allowed that he become a cardinal, even if this is merely an honorary title. It is not necessary to make the patriarchal institution an appendage in order to honor it. It is a sufficient dignity in itself in the Catholic Church. It must retain this dignity the way that it has been defined over the centuries.

d. In itself, Article XII is contrary to ecclesial tradition, namely, that the patriarchs of the East not participate in the election of the Roman pontiff. However, since this tradition has been changed in the direction of greater centralization, to the point that the Roman pontiff now intervenes in the confirmation of the patriarchs, and even very often in their election or nomination, another innovation can be accepted, namely, that the Eastern patriarchs participate in the election of the Roman pontiff. On the other hand, if, as Article XIII provides, the Eastern patriarchs are considered to be superior in rank to the cardinals, it is normal that they should also be the first to participate in the election of the Common Father of the Church. In this sense, I approve Article XII.

e. Article XIII proposes three drafts relating to the precedence of the patriarchs. Only the first draft, which maintains for the patriarchs the first rank in the Church after the pope, seems to us to conform to the decisions of the ecumenical councils and, of course, to the best interests of union. I reject the other two drafts, and I would like to see a decision made in this direction at the very opening of the Council, so that the presence of the Eastern Catholic patriarchs may not turn out to be disadvantageous to the work of union in this council, which is intended to be a prelude to union.

The Patriarchate and the Cardinalate; Latin Patriarchs of the East

At the last minute the patriarch decided, for serious reasons, that he must take part personally in the Central Commission's meeting of January 1962. When invited to speak on the theme of patriarchs, he set aside his written text and developed two important aspects of the problem: The patriarchate and the cardinalate, then the Latin patriarchs of the East. His talk was given on January 18, 1962.

I The Patriarchate and the Cardinalate

The patriarchate and the cardinalate are two institutions of different orders. A patriarch is the head of a particular Church, and generally the incumbent of an apostolic see. According to the decisions of the ecumenical councils, the Bishop of Rome, in addition to his universal primacy in the Church, is also considered to be the Patriarch of the West, the first of the five classical patriarchs of ancient times. After the pope, considered as Patriarch of the West, next in order of priority come the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Later on, other so-called minor patriarchates were constituted in the East, and purely honorary patriarchs were constituted in the West.

As for the cardinals, they were originally the immediate auxiliaries of the pope in his office as Bishop of Rome (the cardinal-priests and the cardinal-deacons), or in his office as Metropolitan of the Roman Province and as patriarch of the West (the suburban cardinal-bishops).

When the East and the West were still united, no one could have imagined that these immediate auxiliaries of the Roman pontiff could eclipse the incumbents of the other patriarchal sees of the East.

Then, little by little, cardinals increased in rank in the hierarchy, until even the primates of the Western Church were relegated to the background. But this rise of the cardinalate occurred at the moment when the West and the East were divided.

When partial reunions were achieved between the Roman Church and the majority of the Eastern Churches, the question arose as to the relations of priority between the Catholic patriarchs of the East and the cardinals who had meanwhile been promoted to the pinnacle of the hierarchy of the West.

A twofold question arises here: first, which of the patriarchs or cardinals are to have priority in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church; second, whether it is fitting that the Eastern patriarchs be named cardinals through the free choice of the supreme pontiff.

As to the first question, namely the order of precedence between the patriarchs of the East and the cardinals, the Commission of the Eastern Churches answered by voting by a majority in favor of the honorific priority of the Eastern patriarchs. I ask the venerable members of this commission to ratify in this manner this schema that has been presented to us. It is not a question of personal pride or human prestige. If it were simply a matter of our humble person, we would on the contrary see to it that no one would snatch the lowest place in the Church from us. But Orthodoxy is listening intently. The Holy Father wishes to prepare in this council the paths toward Christian unity. If the Orthodox patriarchs of the East should desire union today we should be able to show them that the Catholic Church continues to reserve for them the place that is rightly theirs through the decision of the ecumenical councils and through the explicit promises of the popes. Besides, it is not normal that the cardinals, who are the auxiliaries and sons of the pope, should proceed ahead of the patriarchs, who are his brothers in the apostolic sees.

As to the second question, namely, whether it is fitting that the patriarchs of the East become cardinals, I believe, contrary to Article XI of the schema proposed to us, that we must answer in the negative. In fact, if we really understand what a patriarch is in the Catholic Church, we must not, in my humble opinion, either wish or permit that he be made a cardinal. One must not wish it, since by the very fact that he is a patriarch he possesses an eminent rank in the Catholic Church, as we have said earlier. Nor must we permit it, for it is unthinkable that a patriarch should become a deacon, a priest, or even a suffragan bishop of the Roman Church. Even if these titles are purely honorary and do not correspond with reality, it remains abnormal that a patriarch, the head of a Church, should become a member of the clergy of another Church.

However, there is nothing to prevent a priest or a simple bishop of the Eastern Church from becoming a cardinal, as did Bessarion and Isidore of Kiev.

There is a trend in the Catholic Church today which tends to reaffirm the institution of the patriarchate. Now, the best way to do this is still to respect the meaning of the patriarchate in the East, to safeguard its authentic place, and to recognize its legitimate rights.

In achieving this, we should not consider the number of faithful subject to each of the patriarchal sees or the influence of their respective Churches. The criteria of numbers and influence are neither the only nor the most important ones in the Catholic Church. If they were, then the Archbishop of New York, or Paris, or Malines (in Belgium) would precede all the suburban bishops who govern much less important dioceses.

In reality, we know that the Christian Church owes a debt of gratitude to these great Eastern sees that spread the Gospel to Asia, Africa, and even to Europe, and we owe a debt of respect toward the sees founded by the Apostles. That is the origin of the rights and privileges of the great patriarchs of the East.

II The Latin Patriarchates of Eastern Sees

Today in the Latin Church of the West there is a double series of patriarchs: the Latin patriarchs of Western sees, such as Venice, Lisbon, and Goa, and the Latin patriarchs of Eastern sees, such as Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem.

Concerning the Latin patriarchs of the Western sees (Venice, Lisbon, Goa), I have nothing to say.

As for the Latin patriarchs who occupy the Eastern sees, I must distinguish between the sees that are purely titular, such as Constantinople and Antioch, and the see of Jerusalem, which was once again made a residential see in 1847.

In itself, it is abnormal and prejudicial to the work for the union of the Churches for the Eastern patriarchal sees to be held by Latin titulars. In fact, these Latin patriarchates were created at the time of the Crusades on behalf of the political-religious domination of the Franks in the East. In particular, the survival of a Latin patriarchate in Constantinople is felt very painfully by our Orthodox brethren who cannot forget the excesses of the Fourth Crusade. Besides, the Holy See of Rome seems to wish to prepare for the pure and simple elimination of these titles, since it has been leaving these sees without titulars for some years now. I therefore believe that the elimination of these honorary Latin patriarchs of Constantinople and Antioch does not present any great difficulty.

On the contrary, the schema that is presented to us seeks to make an exception, in Part 2 of Article IX, for the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, so that in this very Eastern see a Latin incumbent is maintained, who is not merely honorary but residential, as he is today.

At this point, I earnestly beg the venerable members of this Commission not to consider what I have to say as a personal matter. I have here beside me His Beatitude Archbishop Gori, the worthy and greatly-revered incumbent of this Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, whose post I would ask to be cancelled, naturally in the manner and at the moment that the Holy See of Rome deems advisable. His Beatitude Archbishop Gori, the incumbent of the see, is our colleague and our friend. What will be said of the see does not in any way concern his dear person, whom we love and respect because of his dignity and his remarkable qualities. Nor does it concern our own poor person, who already has one foot in the grave. What is at stake here is a lofty question of principle that affects to the highest degree the existence of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.

I deem before God, therefore, that it is illogical and harmful to the best interests of the Catholic Church and to the progress of union to make an exception in favor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. This Latin patriarchate of the most venerable see, that of Jerusalem, must be abolished. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem must be Catholic, but not Latin. It must remain an Eastern see.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was created by the Crusaders in 1099, on behalf of Frankish domination in Palestine. It was attuned to the mentality of that period, according to which a Latin hierarchy was needed to correspond with Latin domination. In fact, when the Latin-Frankish domination ceased in 1273, with the fall of St. Jean d'Acre into the hands of Muslims, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem ceased to exist. It became a purely honorary title until 1847, the date on which Pope Pius IX, for political-religious reasons that it would take too long to explain here, deemed it good to restore it as a residential see.

Since then, and contrary to the express will of the supreme pontiffs, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has latinized Eastern Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic, instead of letting them remain in their Eastern rite.

The presence of this Latin patriarchate in Jerusalem cannot please the Eastern Christians, since it reminds them of Frankish domination and the exile of their own patriarchs. Whatever one makes of it, it is still a foreign patriarchate. In our own time, we Catholics must not be the last ones to open our eyes. What is happening at the present time in the Afro-Asiatic countries is such that we can understand that it is good for the Catholic Church to be represented everywhere not only by a local hierarchy but also by a local rite, especially if this rite is of the greatest antiquity and answers to the spirit and needs of the people for whom it was created. Today all the peoples of the world are gaining their independence. Must the Church be the last, for human reasons, to share this history lesson?

Finally, the latinization of the East, undertaken by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, constitutes a painful repudiation of the explicit declarations of the popes, who promised the Eastern Christians who return to unity that they will not be latinized.

If the Eastern Christians can be Catholic without being Latin Catholics, I ask: why, then, maintain in the East, in the middle of the twentieth century and in a Muslim land, a Western patriarchate that can survive only by latinizing at the expense of the Eastern Church?

For all these reasons, I owe it to my conscience and to my fidelity to Christ to ask for one of two things: either that this Latin patriarchate not be an exception to the general plan that is proposed to us to eliminate all the Latin patriarchs of the East, or that this question not be dealt with by the council but be left to the judgement of the Holy Father, who, through the grace given him, will see what appropriate steps should be taken according to the variable needs of the times. In the last analysis, this is a purely administrative matter that ecumenical councils are not in the habit of handling.

Besides, what I ask for is the elimination of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem as a patriarchate, and not the elimination of the Latin rite or the Latin community in the Holy Land. The East offers hospitality to everybody. Far more, I hope that the Latin presence in the Holy Land may be more vital and stronger still, without the necessity of clothing the person who governs this Latin community in the Holy Land with the patriarchal dignity. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is an Eastern patriarchate, and I believe that it must remain Eastern.

Final Declarations on the Patriarchate

In the end, the Eastern commission decided not to present a distinct schema "On the Eastern Patriarchs." The subject was to be treated in a few paragraphs within the schema "On the Eastern Catholic Churches." Patriarch Maximos IV, in his intervention at the Council on October 15, 1964, expressed his views on the matter:

In its disciplinary proposals the present schema "On the Eastern Churches" constitutes, generally speaking, a certain progress, for which we wish to congratulate the Eastern Commission that prepared it.

Unfortunately, we cannot say the same about what in the schema stems from a more doctrinal or more ecumenical vision of the problems.

Thus, for example, the preamble praises the Catholic Church for always having had the highest esteem for the institutions of Eastern Christianity. In doing so, it sets up the Catholic Church, which extends this praise, as opposite to or as distinct from the Eastern Churches which are the objects of this praise. This leads to the belief either that the Catholic Church is identical with the Latin Church, which is not correct, or else that the Eastern Churches are not in essence in the Catholic Church, which is equally incorrect.

And yet of all the chapters in the present schema the weakest is without doubt the one devoted to patriarchs (Nos. 7-11). This chapter, as it has been presented to us, is inadmissible. It defies history and in no sense prepares for the future.

In dealing with the most venerable institution of the hierarchy after the Roman primacy, the schema has succeeded only in giving definitions that are academic and also incomplete, while expressing platonic hopes, most often repeating recent canonical texts, as if Vatican II had not been called to take a few steps forward but had to be content with the imposed status quo.

Four important comments need to be made:

1. It is false to present the patriarchate as an institution just for the East. It is a universal institution of the Catholic Church that is proud to have at its head the veritable successor of Peter in the Roman See. The foremost patriarch of the Catholic Church is the Bishop of Rome, as the ecumenical councils have declared so many times, as it appears in the official titles of the pope in the "Annuario Pontifico," as is confirmed by the very name of this "patriarchal" basilica of Saint Peter where we are assembled. We are also reminded by the name of the residence of the Bishop of Rome, the Lateran Palace, perpetuated in archives and in stone: "Patriarchium." As successor of Peter in his universal primacy over the whole Church and as Bishop of Rome, the pope is also Patriarch of the West. Patristic tradition and the ecumenical councils have always considered him to be such, without ever believing that this could be detrimental to his primacy. Why would the pope, who does not feel diminished by reason of the fact that he is the Bishop of Rome and as such the equal of the bishops, feel diminished by reason of the fact that he is also patriarch of the West, and on that level the colleague of the Eastern patriarchs? Today we have gone too far in forgetting the concept of the "Patriarchate of the West" and replaced it by the institution of a few honorary titles. This last-named institution must disappear in order to make way for the true concept of the patriarchate, a concept that is absolutely necessary for a serene dialogue with Orthodoxy. Why deny these facts, as if that could wipe them out of history?

2. The patriarchate is not an anonymous institution. The councils that the schema cites have recognized this dignity as applying to certain designated sees that they cited by name, for specific reasons peculiar to those sees. Now, these sees should be cited once again, even if the list needs to be complemented by the names of other patriarchal sees that have been created more recently. It is not permissible to speak of the Eastern patriarchs without citing even once, for example, the Holy See of Rome or the Ecumenical See of Constantinople, whose incumbent represents, above and beyond any consideration of numbers or temporal influence, the leading dignitary of the Orthodox Church, recognized and honored as such by His Holiness Pope Paul VI. As far as the drafters of the schema are concerned, it would seem that the historic encounter between His Holiness Pope Paul VI and His Holiness Patriarch Athenagoras I means nothing at all.

3. If we wish to be faithful to history, which is as it were the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church, we must not forget that the incumbents of the patriarchal sees were intimately linked to the universal solicitude for the whole Church entrusted to Peter and his successors. The popes and the Eastern patriarchs were, during the period of union, the peaks of the universal episcopate. Almost as soon as he was elected, the Bishop of Rome would send his profession of faith to the four Eastern patriarchs. And the latter, as soon as they were enthroned, did the same exclusively among themselves and with the Bishop of Rome. And so a patriarchal college was constituted in the Church, or as we would say today, a "summit" of universal solicitude, through which, while safeguarding the inalienable and personal rights of the successor of Peter, was brought about the visible collegial communion of all the episcopate. Their exchange of "irenical" letters (the name in use in Orthodoxy) would be proof enough of this, without mentioning the exchange of the pallium, sent by the patriarchs to the pope as well as by the pope to the patriarchs, and the commemoration by each of the patriarchs of the Bishop of Rome and of the other patriarchs.

It is certainly up to the supreme authority in the Church to renew or rejuvenate these forms of ancient ecclesial communion. But the principle on which they were founded must not be passed over in silence if we wish to offer our Orthodox brothers a rough draft of the charter of union.

4. Finally, the patriarchate is not merely an honorary dignity. Its dignity can only be the external expression of its actual importance. Besides, we must not heap honors and precedence on the Eastern patriarchs, only to treat them afterwards as subordinates whose authority is limited in its smallest details by infinite obligatory recourse, both in advance and afterwards, to the offices of the Roman Curia. While leaving untouched the prerogatives of the successor of Peter, each patriarch, with his Holy Synod, must under ordinary conditions be the ultimate recourse for all the business of his patriarchate. It is this internal canonical autonomy that saved the Eastern Christian Churches from all sorts of vicissitudes over the course of history. It could be an interesting formula to envision for other ecclesial groups that find themselves in exceptional situations. It could also serve as the basis for union between the Catholic Church and other Churches, in the West as well as in the East.

Venerable Fathers, when we speak of the East, we must not think only of those who humbly represent it today within the bosom of Roman Catholicism. We must reserve a place for those who are absent. We must not have a closed circuit of Catholicism in a dynamic and conquering Latinity on the one hand and a rather weak and absorbed fragment of the East on the other. We must leave the circuit open. Let us make Catholicism faithful to its solemn affirmations, to its definition of "catholic" in the sense of universal. Let us make it great, not for our humble persons and communities in blessed communion with Rome, but so that our original Churches can recognize themselves in it when it has been enlarged, in fact as well as legally, through the accomplishment of love, to universal dimensions.

Patriarch -Cardinal

What Patriarch Maximos dreaded—being made a Cardinal—was to happen to him. It was the greatest trial of his life. Taken by surprise by events, the butt of misunderstanding, the patriarch gave the ultimate proof of his faith: he placed his trust in the pope. Summing up and repeating in part the different declarations through which he sought to legitimize his attitude, the patriarch on March 14, 1965, in the Cathedral of Beirut, gave an important discourse "on his acceptance and of the dignity of the cardinalate." The discourse represented the ultimate evolution of his thinking. We are publishing an extensive part of it:

Most beloved sons:

You have chosen, in the person of your revered Pastor, our brother Archbishop Philip Nabaa, to invite us to celebrate before you a solemn Liturgy on the occasion of our return from Rome where the supreme pontiff His Holiness Paul VI has just given the Eastern Church a greater global radiance by conferring the cardinalate on some of its patriarchs, with full respect for the dignity of the Eastern Church, its particular mission, and its ancient traditions.

We for our part would like to profit from this happy occasion to explain to you, with the clarity and frankness that is our custom, this question whose true nature has escaped certain persons, for it is not without difficulties, given the historical, canonical, and theological implications which have given rise to differing interpretations.

Yes, for valid reasons, we have now accepted the dignity of the cardinalate, just as for valid reasons we had in the past excused ourselves from receiving it. In acting in this way we have not deviated from the course which, with God's grace, we have always tried to follow.

Here are a few clarifications:

I. The reasons that formerly motivated the refusal can be summed up in a few words: patriarchal dignity in the East, especially the dignity of the apostolic sees, constitutes a peak above which there is only the papal primacy which extends to the entire Church, both East and West. As for the dignity of the cardinalate, from its origins it has been an institution of the particular Church of Rome. Organized during the Middle Ages, it evolved over the centuries, but it never ceased being a Western dignity whose incumbents were considered as counselors or auxiliaries of the pope in the central administration. We likewise know that according to the decisions of the ecumenical councils, in particular the first seven, equally recognized by the East and the West, there are five apostolic patriarchates in the universal Church: Rome, which holds primacy in the entire Church, a primacy that the Eastern Church recognizes as much as Western Church, even though they do not agree as to the extent or scope of this primacy, then Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and finally Jerusalem.

Therefore, since the patriarchal institution constitutes a peak in the East, surpassed only by the papacy, and since on the other hand the cardinalate is, in the patriarchate of the West, an accessory dignity and of more recent institution, it is not normal for the dignity of the cardinalate to be conferred as an indication of promotion to someone who already possesses through the patriarchate the highest dignity. For a patriarch, the very fact of receiving this dignity as a promotion constitutes an incompatibility with the discipline of the Eastern Church.

That is the truth that, for years and even before the present the Second Vatican Council, we have worked and continue to work to propagate, in order to make it known to the Christian West where the idea of the patriarchate has almost vanished. In fact, the only existing patriarchate in the West is the patriarchate of Rome. Now, this Roman patriarchate has somehow been merged with the papacy. It has become so completely identified with it that its distinctive signs are no longer discernible, and it has become, so to speak, simply a title. Moreover, for many, if not the majority, that pointing out that the pope is also the Patriarch of the West arouses astonishment, if it is not considered an offense against the Holy See of Rome and a diminution of its rank. But is it possible to open a dialogue with a view to union with our Orthodox brothers if the authentic rights of the patriarchates recognized by the ecumenical councils are not restored to them? Now, these authentic rights require that the patriarchal sees succeed one another in rank without intermediaries, according to the established order of precedence: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.

For these many reasons, we have maintained that the cardinalate, as it has existed in the Latin Church, was not appropriate for an Eastern patriarch.

II. As for the reasons that now justify the acceptance of this dignity, they may be summed up in the following considerations:

1. The role of the cardinalate, under the impetus of His Holiness Pope Paul VI, is manifestly evolving. It is being transformed from being a local and Western institution into a worldwide and catholic institution embracing both the East and the West. Today the cardinalate has in fact become a senate of the entire Catholic Church.

In order to emphasize this transformation and avoid any confusion, we have chosen not to use the expression "Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church," but to say simply "Cardinal of the Holy Church." In this way everybody will understand that in accepting the cardinalate we did not join the Western Church, but that we have remained Eastern, faithful to the East. Thus the evolution of the very notion of the cardinalate entails an evolution in our attitude toward it. 2. In addition, the valid motives that militated against the acceptance of the dignity of the cardinalate by an Eastern patriarch have disappeared, or almost so. There remains only a trace of them that will progressively disappear, we hope, thanks to the understanding shown by His Holiness Pope Paul VI with respect to existing realities, and thanks also to his heart's openness to the dimensions of the world.

Here, then, are the principal changes that have in fact already occurred and whose absence has until now prevented the patriarchs of the East from accepting the dignity of the cardinalate:

a. According to Latin usage, every cardinal received a titular church in Rome, which he was supposed to administer as a bishop, priest, or deacon. In this way the cardinals became, even though in appearance only, bishops, priests, or deacons of the particular Church of Rome and became, so to speak, a part of its local clergy. Obviously, this was not applicable to the situation of an Eastern authority, especially if it is patriarchal. Now, according to the new dispensation, the Eastern patriarchs receive no Roman titles but enter the sacred college in the title of their own patriarchal sees.

b. A second modification in the discipline in effect until now affects the rank of the Eastern patriarchs in relation to the cardinals. We know that the ancient ecumenical councils decided that the Eastern patriarchs occupied the first rank after the patriarch of Rome. But during the centuries of separation the Christian West experienced a disciplinary evolution that was independent of the East. As a result, it came to consider the cardinalate as the highest dignity in the Church after the papacy. It thus gave the cardinals, even those who were laymen, deacons, or simple priests, precedence over all the bishops, archbishops, and patriarchs. On the basis of this unilateral evolution, the canon law for the East promulgated in 1957 relegated Eastern patriarchs to the last rank after cardinals, and indeed after every representative of the pope, even simple priests. Such an error cannot be accepted by Eastern tradition.

Today, the Holy Father intends to recognize in practice the prerogatives of the Eastern patriarchs. At the second session of the council he transferred their places, having them face the cardinals. Today, he introduces them, at least a few of them, into his supreme council, by recognizing their right of precedence not only over all the Catholic bishops and archbishops of the entire world, numbering over 2,000, but also over the cardinals as well, except for those whom His Holiness considers as forming a single person with him, namely the six cardinals who are placed at the head of the so-called suburban dioceses, and who are immediately subject to the Roman metropolitan. Even this exception is subject to change, and it is possibly a first step toward recognizing the rights of precedence and the other historical prerogatives of the Eastern patriarchs, not because of their entrance into the college of cardinals, but simply by reason of the fact that they are patriarchs.

c. The third modification of the discipline in effect until now is that in accepting the dignity of the cardinalate we do not cease to consider the patriarchal dignity as a peak in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, after the papal dignity. As for the cardinalate, we consider it an additional responsibility given to us for the good of the universal Church. That is why we do not see the cardinalate as a promotion in the strict sense of the word. We were and we remain above all the patriarch of our patriarchal sees. To this primary and fundamental dignity we shall add the title of cardinal, indicating an additional and independent responsibility that we assume in the council of His Holiness the Pope and in the Roman dicasteries (congregations, tribunals, offices, etc.) for the good of the whole church. That is the reason we have changed nothing of our attire, of our general comportment, of our daily routine, or of our traditional titles. His Holiness the Pope himself, when he graciously spoke to us, continued to address us as Beatitude and Patriarch. We are preserving this title as a precious patrimony of the Church. In our turn, we shall ask that we continue to be called: "His Beatitude the Patriarch." That is what we were, that is what we shall remain.

d. A fourth change has affected the investiture ceremony of the cardinals. This ceremony included gestures, symbols, and words incompatible with the patriarchal dignity. Inherited from the Middle Ages when the papacy experienced its temporal apogee, it was inspired by the customs of feudalism. The pope transformed this rather secular ceremony and replaced it with the most sublime of the liturgical rites, namely a Eucharistic concelebration, in which he joined with us in consecrating and receiving the Body of Christ. To this rite he has added the fraternal embrace, the symbol of our greater collaboration with His Holiness in carrying, as His Holiness says, the weight of the keys of the Kingdom that have been entrusted to him for the government of the Church. By this gesture the pope soared like an eagle from earth to heaven. Who would have predicted a few years ago that such a transformation would come about in so short a time?

All these things and other less important ones have produced a change in the cardinalate which we cannot fail to take into consideration as if it had never occurred. It is one thing to hold fast to principles, and it is quite another to apply them according to the variable circumstances and events that arise. Levelheadedness is the principal quality of good judgement.

These bold modifications that are indispensable for dialogue with Orthodoxy, for the sake of restoring the necessary equilibrium of the Church, have been realized today in great part, sooner than expected, bringing divergent points of view closer together and saving the time and efforts of those participating in the dialogue.

3. If we add to all that has been said the reiterated wish of our Holy Father the Pope to see us closer to him in the central administration—for the general good of the Church, with the aim of making it reach out more to the world in order to give this world back to Christ—we would have thought that we were failing in our duty if we had not responded to this paternal appeal coming from the pope's apostolic heart. If, in accordance with our axiom, we wish to remain faithful to the East and to Orthodoxy, should we be less faithful to the Catholic Church?

Another consideration is added to this, namely: in questions in which opinion is divided and in which theoretical discussion is still possible, it is permissible for each one to express his point of view on the serious measures that the highest authority intends to take. But once this duty of forewarning is accomplished, there is nothing more pleasing to God and more useful to men than conforming to the wishes of superiors. If, indeed, the Catholic Church can take glory in anything, it is certainly in its spirit of order and discipline which has enabled it to experience an unparalleled spiritual development in the world.

It is also a principle followed from the earliest days by the Eastern and Western Churches that in controversial questions the view of the Bishop of Rome must prevail, for the common tradition recognizes in him the function of arbiter, moderator, director, and chief pastor in the universal Church of God.

Two motives have inspired us, in agreement with our Holy Synod, to assume the attitude that we have followed and which, in our view, must be followed. These are on the one hand our personal conviction, following the changes made in the institution of the cardinalate, and on the other hand the reiterated wish of our Holy Father the Pope, for whom we nurture in the depths of our heart the greatest respect, veneration, and love. For God has chosen him to lead the Church according to the legitimate requirements of our times, after his predecessor of holy memory had opened its bronze portals to the world.

Perhaps God also willed this new situation for the Eastern patriarchs so as to permit them to make their voices heard more forcefully by the Latin world in which their faithful are already scattered to the four corners of the world.

Here we call to mind another consideration which has determining weight in the decision of our brothers the bishops. History and experience are the best teachers. At the synod that we held during the summer of 1962 to study the conditions for our participation in Vatican II, which was soon to open, an extremist opinion was expressed and discussed which advised us to boycott the council and not participate in it as a form of protest, until the Holy See of Rome granted us our rightful demands. But the Holy Synod decided that we had to be content to formulate the necessary reservations and then take part in the council. If the extremist position had then prevailed and we had abstained from being present at the council, we would not have accomplished the great good that God, through no merit on our part, has worked through us. Today, likewise, we are convinced that our positive attitude toward the cardinalate—although this institution, in its relations with the patriarchate has not attained its fullest development—is preferable to the attitude of negative intransigence which, had we adopted it, would perhaps have inspired in certain groups an ephemeral reaction of admiration and praise, but which would surely have prevented any efficacious contribution on our part within the council, not only for the good of our particular Church but also for the good of the ecumenical movement itself.

We also think that it would be underestimating the great personages of Orthodoxy—as has been reported to us from one of them—to suppose that they are incapable of understanding that the cardinalate, like every other ecclesiastical institution, is susceptible to evolution and has in fact evolved.

My very dear sons, we have wished to give you these brief clarifications so that you might know the real truth, just as it is, and so that you might appreciate the efforts of your spiritual leaders who are working not for their own personal interests but for the interests of the universal Church and yours as well. We have also done this so that you might know the efforts being made by His Holiness Pope Paul VI, who, in his work of understanding and openness to the Eastern Churches, must also take into account the mentality of hundreds of millions of our Western Catholic brothers and the ancient traditions in effect in the Roman Curia, and all of this so as to bring hearts closer together in view of the union of the holy Churches of God, efforts that history will record with his name in letters of gold.

As for us, we shall actively and humbly pursue our apostolic ministry for the remainder of the days that will be given to us to live on this earth, so as always to do the will of Christ, to whom we have consecrated our life and all that we are. To Him, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever.



[1] Actually, at the first session of the Council the representatives of the Roman See did not obtain any precedence, but occupied their rightful places as bishops, which is altogether normal.

[2] A few copies of this memorandum were sent to Archbishop Felici in a letter dated September 27, 1962, No. 1435/14.

[3] Here the patriarch unwittingly subscribes to the rhetoric of uniatism from which both the Roman Church (in the Balamand Statement) and the Melkite Church (in the bishop's 1995 Profession of Faith) subsequently distanced themselves.

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