Melkite Greek Catholic Church
 

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.

 

The Mystery of the Church

The Unilateral Aspect of Roman Ecclesiology

On December 5, 1962, in the course of the 34th General Session, the patriarch charged that the first schema "On the Church" was unilateral in presenting the truth. He showed, for example, how much harm the exclusive and excessive affirmation of the Roman primacy does to the Church. Such a primacy does not fit into the general framework of the hierarchy, which is essentially a ministry of love.

To discuss a draft of a text, in order to supply amendments, or even to demand its complete recasting, should not be considered as an act of hostility, and even less a deviation from sound doctrine. It is rather a proof of the interest which one brings to that text and the importance that one attaches to it.

This schema "De Ecclesia" is the doctrinal centerpiece, by far the most important document of the entire Council. In fact, our task is to complete the teaching of the First Vatican Council relative to the whole of the Church, and more particularly, concerning the episcopate, so that the primacy and the infallibility of the Roman pontiff may be apparent in the general framework of the hierarchical ministry and of the infallibility of the universal Church.

In that perspective, may I be permitted to note what, in the first chapter, does not appear to me to correspond to sound ecumenical theology.

In a general manner, I would say that this chapter does not contain errors, but it does not tell the whole truth. It is incomplete, and, being incomplete, it falsifies the perspective of the very truths that it sets forth.

Here are some examples:

1) The comparison of the Church with "an army set in battle array" (confertum agmen) is not a very happy one. This "triumphalism," as has been already stressed in this venerable assembly, has no foundation in the Gospel. It risks falsifying the conception of the Church which—as Body of Christ, who suffered and rose from the dead—is called to consummate with its Leader, in faith and suffering, the redemption of mankind, and with it the entire creation.

2) Number 5 sees the foundation of the diversity of the members of the Body of Christ only in the command of some and the submission of others. That is partially true, but it is not the whole truth. In fact, between the ecclesiastics and the laity there are many other relations than those of chiefs and subjects. This purely juridical character of the Church falsifies the true idea of the Church of Christ . Through the insistence that one places on it and the exclusiveness which surrounds it, it becomes a concept that is foreign to the thinking of Christ. Here is a typical instance of stifling legalism: since, according to the authors of the schema, jurisdiction is the basis for all powers in the Church, and as titular bishops do not, of the very nature, have jurisdiction, the schema does not even mention them in its chapter on the episcopacy, as if titular bishops, who are indeed successors of the Apostles and members of the episcopal body, did not exist. We find here oversights or very significant reticence.

3) However, the unilateral and consequently incomplete aspect of our schema appears above all when it speaks of the primacy of Peter and his successors. Beyond the unhealthy insistence on recalling this truth, as if all Christianity were contained in this dogma, the text isolates the Roman pontiff from the rest of the hierarchy, as if in the Church there were only the pope, to represent Christ, and the flock subject to him. That is also a false conception and a false presentation of the Church of Christ . Once again what is said positively here is true, but it is equally not the whole truth, for our Lord established the Apostles and their successors to be shepherds of the Church also, in union with Peter and under his leadership, and He likewise built the Church on the Apostles and the prophets. Saint Paul clearly teaches us, saying, "You have been built on the foundation of the Apostles and the prophets, and the cornerstone is Christ" (Ephesians 2:19-20). And St. John says in the Apocalypse, "He showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God... The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb" (Revelation 21:10,14).

I do not wish to push my deductions any further. I have simply wished to give examples of this unilateral character, I would say this partiality, with which a certain school deals with theological problems, going so far as to disfigure them, indeed to accuse ecumenism of wishing to weaken the truth and to seek compromises in the faith. Nobody wishes such compromises, neither the Catholic ecumenists nor our Orthodox or Protestant brethren. What we ask, and what they ask, is that the whole truth be spoken, and not a part of the truth, and that it be spoken accurately.

Venerable Fathers, the primacy of Peter and his successors is truly comprehensible only in the perspective of the ministry of the hierarchy. The primacy is not an human "imperium" or a likeness to the rule of the Caesars, but a ministry, a pastorate of love given by the Lord to the Church, His spouse, in order to unify and guide the efforts of all His Apostles and their successors. It was not in vain that Christ, before entrusting this ministry to Peter, asked him three times, "Peter, do you love me... Feed my lambs, tend my sheep." It is not in stressing the human aspects of this ministry, which are contingent and variable, that one exalts the papacy. It is not by flattering or self-interested exaggerations that one raises its prestige. Christ has tied jurisdiction to love, and confided it to Peter, a man like all human beings, and a repentant sinner.

Venerable Fathers, we confess that we were truly shocked when we read in books made available to everyone statements like the following,

"The pope is God on earth... Jesus has placed the pope above the prophets... above the forerunner..., above the angels..., Jesus has set the pope at the same level as God" (St. John Bosco, Meditazioni, Vol. I, Ed. 2a, pp. 89-90).

The papacy has no need of such intemperate language which turns into impiety, and which misleads consciences and scandalizes even the souls of non-Christians. The papacy is great enough and lofty enough in itself to captivate our minds and subjugate our hearts. It is a charism that Christ, the divine Spouse of the Church, has granted to the Church, for the benefit not only of the Church itself but also of all humanity. The duty of us all, especially of those of us who are pastors of souls, is to help the Church in carrying out its salvific mission to the world, by loving it, devoting ourselves to it, by striving with our humble means to purify it from profane dross, so that we may present it to the world in the beauty in which it was divinely constituted. The primacy of the bishop of this Church of Rome is a primacy of ministry, of universal mission, which is the first among all the others only because, according to the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch, "it presides in charity," for God is Love.

The Absence of Eastern Theology

The next day, December 6, 1962, during the 35th General Session, Archbishop George Hakim of St. John of Acre and of all Galilee, repeated the charge against this schema that he had already made against the dogmatic schemas in general: Eastern theology did not recognize itself in them.

We have all come to this Council, sustained by the hope that great things would be accomplished in us and by us, in spite of our weakness and our small numbers. This hope certainly comes to us from our beloved Pope John XXIII—for whom we wish a prompt and complete recovery—who in his call "Ad Petri Cathedram," in his convocation of the Council, and above all in the opening address to the Council traced a very specific line of conduct.

The pope has certainly opened a new course of action, which corresponds to the aspirations of the world, which, St. Paul tells us, is suffering the pains of childbirth, this world that expects the Church to be its universal mother, "everyone's Church, and especially the Church of the poor," as the Holy Father said on September 11, and as His Eminence Cardinal Lercaro has reminded us in deeply stirring terms.

It is certain that the real results of this council will only be felt in ten or fifteen years. What will the world, what will the Church be like then? Whether we like it or not, a council held during the latter part of the twentieth century must be the council of the twenty-first century, at a time when humanity will have doubled, reaching six billions, at a time when hunger will also have doubled. Where will the evangelization of the world be then?

That is why we would prefer to find in the schema on the Church not the texts of our classic manuals of yesteryear, no matter how exact they may be, but rather what the world of tomorrow expects from us. We would ask that the language be that of our century, that Vatican II do for the episcopate what Vatican I did for the papacy, that, in brief, the language be that of John XXIII, that of the Gospel. It would be so comforting to speak of the Church as "Mater Amabilis," of papal primacy and episcopal power as service, as the reply to the Lord's loving question, "Peter, do you love me more than these?" Such language would be understood by all Christians, and even by non-Christians.

Now here is my comment from the Eastern point of view, and we are grateful to His Eminence Cardinal Frings for having suggested it with his characteristic firm clarity and with unequaled force. Like the schema "De Fontibus," "De Ecclesia" does not take Eastern thought into account. It is conceived solely in juridical categories, and the Mystical Body itself is reduced to visible realities alone.

Here is a simple corroborative detail: in the approximately three-hundred notes and references of this schema, which cover nearly half of the pages, only five references mention the Greek Fathers. Is not the Catholic Church interested in enriching itself with this thought, which is part of its patrimony, so as to be truly Catholic, and thus more open to ecumenical dialogue? Now, what are we declaring here? The realism of Greek theology is being atrophied by the legalism of the schema. Here are two examples:

1) First, the Church, according to the Eastern Fathers, is the continued mysterion of Christ. This mystical reality, into which one enters by an "initiation," and which is nourished by the liturgical mysteries, assumes its consistency and its authenticity in a visible society, with its powers and its magisterium. This essential visibility, however, does not encompass the mysterious substance of the ecclesial Body. Never have Chrysostom, Basil, the two Gregories, in their catechesis, or John of Damascus ― whose feast we have just celebrated and who is the author of the first theological summa, which could be advantageously consulted ― never, I say, did these Fathers reduce St. Paul's doctrine of the Mystical Body to a system in which authority on one side, and obedience on the other, would suffice to define the attitude of the faithful. Thus it is with pained surprise that we read the chapter on evangelization, which is presented only as an indisputable right, and not first of all as the proclaiming of the Good News to men of good will, as the identification of Christ with the poor, according to Jesus' own words, "I was hungry and you gave me to eat."

2) The Episcopate: According to the perfect logic of this ecclesial mystery, bishops are not defined first by their jurisdictional authority, but by the mystery itself, of which they are, by their consecration as successors of the Apostles, the architects and the strategists, to use the words of the Greek hymn of the third century.

Thus the episcopal body proceeds from Christ, and jurisdiction simply localizes, in accordance with the pontifical power, a function which in itself and collectively concerns the entire ecclesial Body.

This collective responsibility is extraordinarily exercised in the Council, but it is the normal duty of every bishop, in as much as he is, beyond his own diocese, in solidarity with the entire work of salvation that Christ has confided to the apostolic college with Peter at its head.

It is a serious matter to diminish this truth. We affirm it with the vigor of the Eastern theology, which has always expressed this truth in its doctrine and in its synodal institutions. The church is a community rooted in mystery, and it thus transcends the juridical system.

In the texts of John XXIII we would find these ideas; why not in the schema?

I suggest that this schema, like that of "De Fontibus," be sent back to a commission including experts on Eastern theology and most fortunately they are numerous among our Latin brothers themselves from whom we Easterners have acquired love and respect for our Tradition and our Fathers.

Finally, may I be permitted to say, to calm one or another Father here present, that if we appeal to the Eastern Fathers, it is not through provincial fanaticism, but rather in order to return to the apostolic wellsprings.

There is no need to say that these very sources confirm us in our fidelity to Peter and his successor, to whom we vow an obedience, of which we have the occasion, in various countries where Eastern Catholics are an infinitesimal minority, to give at times proofs with our very blood. It is with love and joy that we do this, especially those of us who live near the beautiful Lake of Galilee , where these words of our Lord still resound, "Feed my lambs, tend my sheep."

The Church and the Churches

On the same day, December 6, 1962, Metropolitan Athanasius Toutounji of Aleppo intervened in the council to make three suggestions:

1) that there be better clarification of the concept of Church and of Churches;

2) that the Roman Church should not be identified with the Mystical Body of Christ;

3) that the ecclesial character of Orthodoxy should not be called into question.

Since the intervention could not be read aloud, for lack of time, it was transmitted in writing to the secretariat of the Council.

May I be permitted to express before the holy Council three desires relating to the nature of the Church:

1) The first is that the concept of the Church and of the Churches be more clearly stated. We all know that the Church of Christ is one. It is even one of the truths of the Profession of Faith, concerning which there is unanimous accord among all Christians. And yet St. Paul himself talks sometimes about the Church, sometimes about the Churches. These expressions are found in the writings of the Fathers of the Church and in our liturgy, in which we pray every day "for the well-being of the holy Churches of God and the union of all." The sovereign pontiffs themselves call the Roman Church "Mother of all the Churches." Thus it seems to me that we must believe that this concept of the Church and of the Churches represents an enrichment of the ecclesiological doctrine that must not be lost.

If I may be permitted to express my opinion on this subject, I would say that this double use of the word indicates a twofold reality. The first is that the Church is an organic body, and not an aggregation of cells directly connected with the head. Just as in every organic body there are members, constituted diversely and functioning diversely, likewise in the one and catholic Church there are Churches which are so many members.

The second reality is that in each of the Churches the complete notion of the universal Church is found, and that in the universal Church are found the features of each of the particular Churches. In this twofold sense, the Fathers of the Church, and the Apostles before them, have given the name of Church, in the particular sense of the term, to each diocese. This is all the more true for a group of dioceses united around an archbishop or a patriarch. It is in this sense that it is very proper to speak of the Western Church, the Maronite Church, the Syrian Church, etc.

2) My second desire is that the Roman Church not be identified with the Mystical Body of Christ. As His Eminence, Cardinal Lienart has already emphasized, the Roman Church certainly is not to be identified with the Church suffering or the Church triumphant in heaven. Now, the Church militant on this earth is not the whole Church. It is above all with reference to the Church in heaven that the Church in general is to be defined. I would add that, even for this short life, the Roman Church should not be identified with the Body of Christ. One can, in fact, belong more or less intimately to the Body of Christ. If certain Christians are at odds with the Roman Catholic Church, they must not on that account be excluded from belonging to Christ.

3) Finally, I ardently implore the Fathers of the Council not to support excessively the views of a certain theological school, too imbued with legalism, and to safeguard the ecclesial character of our Orthodox brethren. These brethren do not constitute the one and only true Church of God , but they are nonetheless a Church. They possess the word of God, the sacraments, a hierarchy, and all the elements that are required for a church, in the sense that we understand it. The sovereign pontiffs have on several occasions not hesitated to recognize in them this ecclesial character. They are a Church separated from us, but they are a Church.

I humbly submit these three suggestions to your venerable assembly. They are of some importance, it seems to me, for a deeper conception of the Church and to pave the way for a union of all Christians.

The Call to Holiness in the Church

In this intervention, which was simply delivered to the secretariat of the Council, Archbishop Joseph Tawil, Patriarchal Vicar at Damascus, asked for a deepening of the call to holiness according to Holy Scripture, then stressed some aspects of holiness as Eastern theology conceives it.

It can be said of the chapter "On the vocation to holiness in the Church," that it contains many good elements, but that it lacks other essential elements. One of these good elements, and not the least, concerns Holy Scripture. It is true that a few biblical citations illustrate the assertions of this chapter, but that is not enough. We would have desired to see Holy Scripture animate the very inspiration of the subject, not only through some texts that are cited, but, more profoundly, through the idea of the divine Counsel which has been revealed to us in the Sacred Books. But this inspiration is missing. This flaw seems to be the result of a twofold cause:

1. First, to the method of developing the schema. If I am not mistaken, the absence of expert exegetes is clearly apparent in it. Why is biblical theology reduced to silence in the theological commission, to the point that such a deficiency can be seen in the wording of this schema? In contrast, the Sovereign Pontiff Paul VI expressly declared to the observers here present the necessity of biblical theology in the exposition of the mystery of the Church.

2. Then, the defect touches the very thinking of the schema, which depends almost entirely on a certain recent Latin tradition, going back only four centuries, and which, as a result, simply ignores the Eastern tradition of the Church, and which ignores even more the ancient Latin tradition. In those times the Fathers were closer to the living wellspring of the biblical tradition, and that is why they must once again become our teachers. This is very serious, as much for the "sensus fidei" of the universal Church as for ecumenism.

That is why, in the spirit of our Fathers, I propose these four observations:

1) The vocation to holiness is intrinsic to the mystery of the People of God. The People of God exists because it forms the object of the pre-existing love of God. God is Love, and through love He calls all mankind to share in His life, "in many and various ways, formerly by the prophets...in these last days by the Son" (Hebrews 1:1-2). The People of God is essentially called by the Word of God. This calling, in the course of the history of the people of God, has been revealed thus:

- The People of God is holy because, from Abraham to the present, it has been called by the Word of God and justified by faith in Him.

- It is holy because, having been saved by the blood of the Paschal Lamb, it has been freely purchased by "Yahweh the Savior," that is to say "Jesus" in the paschal mystery.

- It is holy because it receives the perfect law from the new Moses, that is to say the Holy Spirit, who writes in our hearts the law of Love.

- It is holy because the promise of Love ("I shall be your God, and you shall be my people") is consummated in a new and eternal covenant.

- It is holy because it is chosen and sent forth as a royal priesthood, as the authentic Eastern tradition constantly affirms.

- It is holy because it is continually being purified and judged in exile and does not yet arrive at the holy land except through the promise of the Holy Spirit.

- It is holy because, thanks to the ceaseless divine solicitude, it is snatched away from its sins and transferred to the true freedom of love through the about-face that consists in penance.

- It is holy because its success is not of this world, but is granted by God alone in poverty; it is a people of the poor.

- It is holy because it is eschatological, anticipating here below the eternal life which is communion (koinonia) with the Father through the Son in the Spirit.

- It is holy, finally, because its vocation is cosmic: this royal priesthood is destined to sanctify and liberate every creature.

2) That is why the Holy Fathers have described the mystery of the Church in the image of the life of the Most Holy Trinity in the communion of love. The Christian vocation is completely contained in these words: "in" the image of God-Love, since the mystery of the unity of the people of God depends essentially on the bond of love.

a. It is useful to recall here that the hierarchy and all the other ministries in the Church have meaning only in view of fostering love. Consequently, the title of paragraph 34, p. 21, line 35, cannot be "Under the authority of the Church," as if the Church were identified with the hierarchy. The hierarchy is not the whole Church.

b. This chapter could also speak at greater length about the newness of the Christian life as a participation in the life of the Most Holy Trinity, in whose name we have been baptized. It is through the Spirit, in fact, that we have already been made heirs of the promises referred to in my first observation.

3) Concerning deification: This expression "deification" was always very dear to the tradition of the Fathers, because it is an excellent explanation of the movement of the divine Counsel in which we live by the Holy Spirit. If this traditional doctrine of deification were explained more clearly, we could more easily avoid the sentimental tone of our preaching, and the faithful would have a deeper understanding of the unity and the simplicity of the "spiritual" life which is "life in the Spirit." The Spirit, in fact, is the true gift of the promises by which "we become partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). But, since we are still awaiting a new heaven and a new earth, the "spiritual" life of the People of God is paschal, in a new exodus, in which "Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed" (1 Corinthians 5:7), "so that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings" (Philippians 3:10). 4) In this chapter, the word "Christians" is rightfully used in place of the word "laity." The word "laity" certainly refers to the "people of God" (laos tou Theou) and consequently includes both those who are ministers and non-ministers. However, under the influence of clericalism, the sense has been confined to those who are not ministers in the Church. And yet where holiness is concerned, we are all Christians, each one being called to the holiness corresponding to his or her particular charism. In conclusion, I propose:

1) that the preamble explain more fully and in greater depth the nature of the vocation to holiness according to the treasure of biblical theology;

2) that the mystery of the Church, here and elsewhere, be presented more as communion in love, in the image of the mystery of the most blessed Trinity;

3) that everything that refers to holiness in the Church be drawn from the traditional doctrine of deification, and that it be said explicitly that "spiritual" life is life "in the Holy Spirit";

4) that the terminology referring to the members of the Church be inspired more by the same terms in the Holy Scripture, as for example: faithful, Christians, brothers, saints, community of brothers.

Archimandrite Athanasius Hage, Superior General of the Chouerite Basilians, discussed the same subject in an intervention sent in writing to the secretariat of the Council. {Ed's. note: In fact, Father Hage's opinion is contrary to the main current of Eastern spirituality which recognizes only one form of holiness in the Church: the life in Christ. Monastics and laity may live it to different degrees of intensity, but it the same life in Christ.) Chapter IV, "On the Vocation to Holiness in the Church," offers us a doctrine founded on Scripture and Tradition, and contains some constructive elements concerning the universal calling to sanctity in general, as well as to the state of perfection in particular. It is necessary to note this beautiful dynamic development in the pursuit and acquisition of holiness by clergymen dedicated to the pastoral ministry, as well as by lay persons successfully carrying out temporal responsibilities and apostolic works, and by those who, whether living in the states of perfection or in the world, observe the evangelical counsels, so that all may collaborate in the extension of the kingdom of God. Life in the states of perfection is here very well presented under its ecclesial aspect, that is to say, as an institution whose members are dedicated to the service of the Church, either in the contemplative life or in the active life. This does away with the conception that some may have of the religious life as being individualistic and self-centered, as if religious were concerned only with their personal perfection and their own salvation. Finally, a large and distinctive place is reserved for the states of perfection in the dogmatic schema "On the Church." May the authors of the schema receive our gratitude! Nevertheless, this rich Chapter IV can be and should be amended and improved in certain respects. In fact, it is highly inappropriate, either for the religious life or for the laity, to speak of only one form of holiness in the Church that everyone must attain, and to refer to the evangelical counsels in the world and in the states of perfection in the same breath, as well as to speak of clergy, laity, and religious under the same aspect, without speaking clearly and firmly of the fundamental distinction that exists between the life of the laity and the religious life, between the holiness of lay persons and the holiness of the state of perfection, and above all without mentioning the superiority of celibate life over the conjugal life. That is why this twofold distinction must absolutely be made, and that for diverse reasons:

1. The Theological Reason
On the one hand, the distinction between the category of the laity and the category or the order of consecrated virgins is based on a constant tradition: the Fathers always and carefully distinguish three orders in the Church, that is, the hierarchical order, the order of virgins and those who live in continence, and the order of lay persons. This tradition has its origin in the words both of Christ and of the Apostles who set up the counsel of virginity, as opposed to the matrimonial life, as absolutely better (cf. Matthew 19:11 and 1 Corinthians. 7:7: "I wish that all were as I myself am; but each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind, one of another").
As for obedience and poverty, if in the Scriptures we have only a general call to cultivate the spirit of poverty and obedience, the Fathers, however, have recognized in this invitation and in the example of Christ and of the Apostles, as in the life of the first Christian community, a way of life appropriate to a special category of Christians.
On the other hand, the holiness of lay persons differs very much from the holiness of the life of religious: there is no question that, as the schema affirms, there is only one holiness in the Church, namely love; but this holiness can have specifically diverse degrees. In fact, holiness is attained in the use of earthly goods and the conjugal life according to the evangelical commandments, while in the states of perfection, sanctity is obtained, in contrast, by the renunciation of earthly goods themselves and conjugal life, by following the evangelical counsels.
2. The Psychological Reason
If this twofold distinction between lay persons and the souls consecrated to God is passed over in silence, a certain ambiguity can arise about it in the minds of the laity. Then the religious life will appear to them, not as a degree of holiness absolutely superior to conjugal life, but as something that is purely institutional and juridical in the Church. The laity, as a result, will not see sufficient reason for embracing this life.
On the other hand, if in the schema "On the Church" the religious life is clearly distinguished and emphasized, and if its superiority is praised, how great will be the life of thousands of religious spread out over the world in the service of the Church, and how great the encouragement given to them so that they may exercise more and more their apostolic zeal.
3. The Ecumenical Reason
Our Orthodox brethren consider the life of the monks as quite an eminent state in the Church, and the monks as forming an order distinct from that of the laity. Likewise, our separated Western brethren fully recognize the importance of the monastic life and are beginning to practice it well. To encourage the dialogue of union, it is very useful to reserve a place of honor in the Church for the states of perfection.
4. The Charismatic and Pastoral Reason
Religious life in the Church is a most eminent charism and constitutes an extraordinary witness of the spirit of abnegation in a world imbued with materialism and hedonism. That absolutely distinguishes the religious life and its holiness from the life of lay persons and their holiness...

Mary and the Church

The preparatory doctrinal commission had begun by preparing an independent schema entitled: "On the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of Men." On June 5, 1962, the patriarch wrote to praise two intentions expressed in the text, namely: no new title for the Virgin, no new Marian dogma. But already he had been struck by the absence in the text of patristic citations, above all Eastern ones, in a domain which the Eastern Fathers have explored superabundantly. Only popes are cited.

1) We agree entirely with the care demonstrated by the theological commission in not granting to the holy Mother of God any new titles that have not been accepted by the Tradition of the Church.

2) We equally agree with the care to avoid defining new Marian dogmas, in spite of the pressure, as blind as it is well intentioned, of certain groups of devotees of the Virgin. In this matter, as in so many others, we must never lose sight of our separated brethren, above all those of the East, and avoid that which, in our efforts to honor the Virgin, deepens the chasm that separates us from them. The Virgin surely is not pleased by a homage that unnecessarily contributes to the widening of the divisions among her children.

3) We would point out, with respect to the drafting of the notes, that one should not be content with citing popes, especially in a matter on which the Fathers of the Church have spoken so much and so well. We must avoid giving the impression that in the eyes of the theologians of the council only popes form the magisterium of the Church. With a unionist goal, it would even be good to cite in particular the Fathers of the Eastern Church.

It will have been noticed that during the passionate debates that characterized the Council's discussion of this schema "On the Virgin Mary," Patriarch Maximos and the Melkite Greek Fathers refused to intervene. They were astonished to their very depths at the importance that was attached to recognizing or refusing this new title "Mother of the Church" to the Theotokos. Accustomed to the poetic language of their liturgy, in which the Virgin is saluted with a thousand titles, they had no trouble in accepting this new title, if it is interpreted in a large, liturgical, and poetic sense, or in refusing it, if it is interpreted in a sense that is too realistic and too literal.

Nevertheless, Patriarch Maximos, urged to speak, began to prepare the intervention that we publish below. Finally, he decided not to deliver it. This was in the 1963 session.

Before entering into a study of this schema "Concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary," it is proper to ask ourselves this question: Is it necessary that this Second Vatican Council, already swamped with questions, devote a special dogmatic constitution to the most holy Mother of God?

For my part, I do not think so. Certainly that is not because the subject is not important in itself or that the Mother of God does not deserve a special constitution, but because the insertion of a question in the agenda of the council depends not on the importance of the subject but rather on its necessity or practical usefulness. Now, what is the necessity or practical usefulness of doing this? On the one hand, this constitution does not teach anything new either to the Catholics or to the Orthodox, and, on the other hand, it appears ill-conceived as a means of presenting the Catholic doctrine to our brethren of the Reformed Churches.

That is why I propose either to pass over this constitution in silence or to be content with a single, adequate paragraph inserted in the schema on the Church, to show the relationship of Mary with the Church, since, as it has been said, the Church seems to be the central theme of this council.

However, even if it is abridged, this text must be done over, in my opinion, in a different spirit and according to other methods. It should be less scholastic and more pastoral. It must emphasize the devotion to the holy Virgin and the need to develop it and purify it of affectations and exaggerations. In fact, this devotion must be the path which leads to our Lord, our only Master, showing that the Virgin is a channel that must never be transformed into a wellspring. Thus, in our Byzantine iconography, the Virgin is always represented with her Son, and never alone; for simply as a creature she is nothing, but with her Son she is everything.

Moreover, we need a text with higher inspiration, one that is more ecumenical and less "pontifical." Let me explain: the method, the terminology, everything in this schema has the savor of Latin scholasticism. There is nearly nothing of liturgy, spirituality, and the Eastern Fathers. It is always from only one viewpoint, as if that one viewpoint represented the whole Church. And, what is still more serious, it is that the authors of the schema seem to know no other source of Revelation than the pontifical encyclicals. Besides, they say so ingenuously. In fact, they declare in "Praenotandum III" that, in the light of the controversies of the theologians on the origin, the authority, and the interpretation of the sources of Christian Tradition, they have preferred to have recourse to the authority of the "Magisterium of the Church," and by the "Magisterium of the Church" they naturally mean the teaching of Roman pontiffs only. We must recognize that this is a bit simplistic. Thus, while there are one hundred twenty-three citations of popes, there are only two of St. John of Damascus and one of St. Germanus of Constantinople . And we know the riches of the Eastern Church, especially concerning the Virgin. Have not all the feasts of the Mother of God come to the Latin Church from the East?

Thus, I deem that for the dignity of the council, of which the sovereign pontiff is at once the head and a member, we must at all costs do away with the notes that accompany this schema. We must indeed remember that the purpose of the council is not to summarize the pontifical teachings, and that it is customary, in order to remain faithful to the tradition of these councils, to cite before all else the Holy Scripture and the holy Fathers of the entire Church.

At the beginning of this intervention we have suggested either passing over this constitution in silence or being content with a simple paragraph on the Virgin Mary because the need for it is not obvious. We have also done so with the aim of expediting the work of the Council, for, the way things are going, the conciliar work could last indefinitely: moderation is the daughter of prudence. The council has begun; we should be able to finish.

 

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.

 

Preparation for the Council

A – At the Stage of the Ante-preparatory Commission

On January 25, 1959, Pope John XXIII announced the convocation of the Second Vatican Council. On May 17, the Feast of Pentecost, the pope appointed an ante-preparatory commission, with Domenico Cardinal Tardini as president. The latter hastened to ask, on the following June 18th, for "the advice, counsel, and wishes of the future Fathers of the Council... for the preparation of the problems to be examined... with full freedom and frankness... concerning the questions which are susceptible of being treated at the future council."

Instead of replying individually, the members of the Melkite Greek Catholic hierarchy preferred to give a collective response. Thus the patriarch called them to a synod held at Ain-Traz on August 24 to 29, 1959. It was during this synod, almost exclusively devoted to the affairs of the Council, that the Melkite hierarchy set forth its suggestions for the Council in a collective letter to Cardinal Tardini, dated August 29, 1959, and signed by the patriarch, fifteen bishops, and four superiors general. The Melkite Greek hierarchy would continue to act in this manner: synodically and collegially. This letter accompanied the sending of two notes which we publish below in their entirety: one deals with "Reconciliation with the Orthodox," the other contains the suggestions by the hierarchy on the "Questions to be Submitted to the Council."

Note on Reconciliation with the Orthodox

This note of the Melkite Greek Catholic hierarchy was sent on August 29, 1959, to Cardinal Tardini in his capacity as president of the Ante-preparatory Commission of the Council. It already indicates the tremendous importance that the Melkite Greek Catholic hierarchy intends to give to the ecumenical problem, which, in its eyes, takes precedence over all the other problems of the Council.

Our Melkite Greek Catholic Church believes that its principal mission is to work for Christian unity, and more particularly, to reconcile our Orthodox brethren to the Holy See of Rome.

Therefore we believe that among the labors of the forthcoming Council those that should claim our greatest attention and that of the Council are precisely those which are meant to prepare for the restoration of Christian unity. It is, moreover, on this point that we believe that our contribution to the Council will be most appreciable, for, in spite of our small numbers, we represent, within the Catholicism of our time, the great Eastern apostolic Christianity in its origins. Unfortunately, the greater part of this Eastern Christianity is today still outside the Roman communion.

It is an undeniable fact, evidenced by long experience, that since the separation between the East and the West, and especially during the past two centuries, the attitude of the authorities of the Western Catholic Church, in spite of the purity of their intentions and their personal sanctity, has only exacerbated the estrangement of the Orthodox, deepened the gulf of the schism, and hardened positions. This is seldom realized in the West, where there is a tendency to accuse the Easterners of being at fault. But we Greek Catholics, who feel and endure all the repercussions of the conflict between the Latins and the Orthodox, owe it to ourselves to bring the matter to the attention of the Council, frankly indicating the principal cause of the trouble and proposing the appropriate remedies for it. 1. The principal cause of the trouble, it seems to us, is the tendency of the majority of the Latin theologians and canonists to concentrate all the authority conferred by Christ to his Church in the sole person of the supreme pontiff, making him the source of all power, and as a consequence giving excessively centralized and practically sovereign powers to the Roman Curia which acts in his name. With this perspective, it is difficult for them to see in the apostolic power of patriarchs and bishops anything other than a pure and simple delegation of the supreme authority of the pope, limitable and revocable at will. Thus the pope, the father of Christians, has become, for that part of Christianity presently dissenting from his communion, a disfigured personage, accused by the non-Catholics of insatiable pride and human ambition, often repugnant, whatever may be his personal charm, his human qualities, and his eminent sanctity.

Canon law and ecclesiology influence each other in this sphere, and give birth to theses and governmental measures that are increasingly centralized, and which, in the light of the power of the pope – that is to say, in fact, of the Roman Curia – cause the disappearance of all other authority in the Church.

Therefore the first thing we must do is to resume and complete the work on this matter done by the First Vatican Council which was suspended in 1870. It had defined the powers of the supreme pontiff, but did not have the time to define the nature and the powers of the bishops. Now, the hierarchy instituted by our Lord rests on the Twelve, with the primacy of Peter. It is indispensable from the point of view of union with the Orthodox, and of the internal peace of Catholics as well, that the power of Peter be balanced by that of the Twelve.

From the dogmatic viewpoint, that, it seems to us, is the principal task to be accomplished by the Council.

Moreover, the coming Council must, we believe, henceforth put a rein on the excessive zeal which drives certain groups or certain individuals to campaign in the Church to have the pope pronounce more and more dogmatic definitions in matters that until now have been optional. The effect of this tendency has been to stir up in reaction a contrary doctrinal tendency among other Christians, alienating them still further from the possibility of union around the Holy See of Rome.

2. Creation of a Special Commission to Work for Church Unity – The task of preparation for this part of the Council certainly should be consigned to a special commission. At this stage it is essential to consider two points:

a) Composition - This commission must not be recruited, it seems to us, solely from among the theologians and canonists with the "centralizing tendency," who dominate the bureaus of the Roman Curia and the pontifical universities, where, theoretically and practically, each one thinks that he is doing the right thing by outdoing the others with regard to the concentration of powers in the curia. This commission must also include persons of the other side, that is to say, persons who know the apostolic Christian mentality of the East, who understand its intuitions and recognize the extent to which they are good and just, persons who realize the impression that words and gestures of the Roman See can produce on the Christians of the East. Theologians of this latter category are not numerous, but, thank God, their numbers are increasing. If we were asked to name a few of them and to suggest that they be designated as members of the said commission, we would be happy to do so.

b) Orthodox Contacts – This commission must not restrict its labors to the speculative study of the powers of the bishops and their canonical formation. As a body or through some of its members, it must not fear to get in touch with representatives of Orthodoxy, prelates and knowledgeable theologians, who may even be officially designated by their hierarchy, to study these questions in truth and charity, to compare viewpoints which are often not opposed but rather complementary. Such contacts with the Orthodox are indispensable. By "Orthodox" we naturally mean the Orthodox of the patriarchates or of other autocephalous Churches, but nothing prevents conferring with the other Churches that call themselves Orthodox: the Armenians, the Copts, and the Syrians. Moreover, we know that their "Monophysitism," or, in the case of the Assyrians, their "Nestorianism," is increasingly considered to be merely verbal.

We insist on the necessity of quickly setting up the said commission for two reasons:

Granted that meeting with the Orthodox is indispensable from the viewpoint of restoration of unity, the formation of this commission and its implementation to contact them seems to be the best method of entering into agreement with them, for it is evident from the first reactions that, under the present conditions of Christianity, there will be neither an invitation from the pope to the Orthodox to participate in the Council, nor any possible Orthodox response to such an invitation. There remains only the proposed recourse: a commission which will officially assure the necessary contacts.

Besides, we can hope that the services of this "commission" will be such that the Holy Father will decide to keep it in existence, even after the end of the Council, as a permanent institution for contact with the Separated Churches. It could even become one of the Roman Sacred Congregations, to which would be imparted the handling of everything relating to ecumenism and to the constant effort to reform, without prejudice to Catholic dogma, morality, or discipline, everything that is open to criticism in Catholic relations with other Christians, whether in words or in actions. Thus the Catholic Church will become, as is universally wished, the head of a true catholic ecumenism.

The primacy of Peter, the infallible primacy, is a great grace, a charism granted by God to His Church, not for the advantage of a few, nor of Catholics alone, but of all Christians, including Orthodox and Protestants. All these Christians have the right to profit from this charism. At the present time there are obstacles that prevent them from seeing and attaining to this charism, obstacles placed either by them or by us Catholics. For our part, we must begin by removing the obstacles that stem from us, without waiting for the others to get started. This work will be part of the functions of the proposed commission.

Questions to be Submitted to the Council

The following note, also sent to Cardinal Tardini by the Melkite Greek hierarchy on August 29, 1959, is titled: "Questions proposed by the patriarch, the bishops, and the superiors general of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church for possible submission to the council."

I. Dogmatic Questions

1) In view of progressively preparing for Christian unity, and in order to avoid depriving certain souls of the advantages of ecclesiastical communion, we propose that the Catholic Church relax its present legislation on the matter of "communicatio in sacris" in all cases where doing so would not necessarily involve the denial of Catholic truth or a scandal for Christians. On this subject we note that at the present time, and especially in our countries, what scandalizes the faithful is not so much the participation of Catholics in Orthodox ceremonies as their refusal to participate in them. We believe that it is not permissible to treat Christian "non-Catholics," above all if they are Orthodox, in the same fashion as we treat unbelieving "non-Catholics." 2) Certain movements, parties, or sections, concerning which the Church has formerly made pronouncements, have taken on new forms of a nature to deceive souls. Thus we consider it useful that the Church once more determine its position in their regard, so that the pastors of souls may be provided with the necessary official documents, brought suitably up-to-date. We are thinking in particular of the following doctrines and organizations: Communism, Freemasonry, racism, Nazism, Fascism, extremist capitalism, etc. 3) The teaching of philosophy and theology in our major seminaries and our ecclesiastical faculties must assign a more important place to the doctrines of the Fathers of the Church and to modern philosophical theories.

II. Pastoral questions

4) Our century is the victim of atheistic materialism, of an unbridled pursuit of pleasure, and of religious indifference. Children and young persons are nurtured in this spirit in irreligious secular or atheistic educational institutions; the working class is losing the spirit of faith and increasingly breaking away from the Church. Thus we should review the methods of our apostolate, to re-establish contact with young people and manual workers through religious education, or by Catholic Action, to which the Church should grant an official and canonical form, as well as by encouraging priestly vocations, or through the use of the press, motion pictures, radio, television, etc. 5) Our century suffers from a crisis of priestly vocations and the lack of missionaries, in particular in certain parts of the world, as in South America, Africa, and Asia . To remedy this state of things, would it not be opportune to restudy, in the light of the true interests of the Church and its expansion, especially in mission countries, the question of married priests? The shock that this idea at first causes will perhaps be followed by a state of greater understanding. It would be also necessary to take effective measures to encourage priestly vocations and to guard against the moral isolation and material distress suffered by rural priests in particular.

III. Liturgical Questions

6) It is our hope that liturgical prayers and ceremonies while remaining as faithful as possible to the tradition of the Fathers, may evolve normally, like every expression of life, so as to be understood by all the faithful and lived by them. Certain rites need to be shortened and varied; others could usefully be reviewed with a view to the more exact expression of the truths that they contain. All should be celebrated in the language of the people. As for the Eastern Churches, however, this evolution should take place in a manner that will not accentuate the differences which separate us from our Orthodox brethren, and, if possible, be accomplished in concert with them.

IV. Questions of Discipline

7) Unification of the date of Pascha. The reform of the calendar ordered by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, which has not yet been adopted by the Eastern Churches not in union with Rome with respect to the date for Pascha, has had as a result that Christians in the East seldom celebrate together that "Great Feast," that memorial of the "Resurrection of Christ, foundation of our faith," that symbol of our unity. Thus, according to the ecclesiastical calendar for the next sixteen years, from 1960 to 1975, we shall have the joy of celebrating together only four times (1960, 1963, 1966, 1974); four times there will be a difference of 35 days (1964, 1967, 1970, 1975); the eight other times, the difference will be seven days.

In the West (Europe, America ) and in the countries where Christians are primarily Catholic or Protestant (Africa, Asia , Oceana), there is little awareness of the importance of this problem. Throughout the East, however, and wherever there are Orthodox minorities, Christians suffer painfully from this situation, as much from the religious viewpoint as from the social viewpoint.

In fact, in all those countries, there is no strict compartmentalization between the various Christian communities; many families are mixed: numerous families have a Catholic branch and an Orthodox branch. All families maintain among themselves social relations of friendship, neighborliness, and business. In the East the feast of Pascha assumes a very particular importance, not only to the Christians but also to their Muslim neighbors, who, on this occasion come to visit them and to offer their felicitations. Think of how much pain the Christians feel on this occasion which should be in principle only a time of internal and external joy! Think of the sarcastic remarks of which the Christians are the object on the part of others: "While some raise Him," they say, "others bury Him"! Not all the people are scholars or cultivated persons to see in this calendar difference only a question of astronomical calculations. The Muslims see in it one of the irremediable defects of Christianity, dedicated to division. The majority of ordinary Christians see in it an effect of the stubbornness and ill will of the ecclesiastical leaders. Each year the same catch phrases and the same complaints are stridently repeated.

More than ever, in the Arab East, Christians feel the need for unity, at least in externals, while waiting for a more complete and more permanent unity. This need for unification of the date of Pascha is so great that, when His Holiness Pope John XXIII announced his intention of convoking an ecumenical council, good Christian people of all confessions universally thought that this council would have as its principal aim the setting of a common date for the "Great Feast" of all Christians!

In the days of the League of Nations at Geneva , there were studies of various projects for calendar reform. What interests us is the date of Easter or Pascha. Among those projects there was one which proposed setting the date of Pascha as the second Sunday of April. This project received the adherence in principle of the Catholic Church, of Protestants, and of the Orthodox Churches. However, the political events of that epoch, notably the war of 1939-1945 and the disturbances that it brought to the world and which caused the League of Nations to disappear, have made the reform of the Paschal calendar disappear from view.

That is why we suggest the establishment at Rome of a small commission of a few specialists to study the question technically and to immediately make contacts with the Orthodox Churches on this matter. These contacts are absolutely necessary; they should be pursued with perseverance and charity until a conclusion is reached. They may well result in an agreement which could be put into force even before the meeting of the council.

8) We propose a revision of the Code of Eastern Canon Law, both those parts already published and those to be published in the future, before its definitive promulgation. This revision, in which the Eastern Churches themselves should be better represented and, above all, heard, would be carried on in the spirit of a greater fidelity to the authentic traditions of the Christian East, without excluding the advisability of making minor changes tending to simplify and mitigate the ancient law. We are thinking in particular of matrimonial law and of the need for our countries in the East to recognize the validity of mixed marriages contracted before Orthodox authority. This is a very important point on which our patriarchate and the bishops united in synod have frequently approached the Holy See of Rome, strengthening their propositions with factual arguments, which seem to them to be decisive. 9) The election of the sovereign pontiff should, it seems to us, have a broader base. To confirm the authentic catholicity of the Church, and given the centralizing powers that the pope ordinarily assumes in the Church as a whole, we propose that henceforth the Eastern patriarchs participate in his election. We would be pleased also to have this election carried out by a still larger number of electors, better representing all the Churches of the Catholic world.

10) Pontifical representation in the world, whether its character be diplomatic or simply religious, should be subjected to a serious revision, so as to avoid having the papal representatives transformed in fact into "superbishops" governing, in the name of the pope, the dioceses of the entire world. In selecting them, the choice should not be more or less reserved to those in a Christian nation to the detriment of the others. We would wish also that Easterners might be called to render such services to the Church.

11) We propose that the Holy See bring about a reform of the Roman Curia, leading to a clear-cut decentralization of powers and to a real catholicity (viz., international character) of those who compose it. Excessive and continuously growing centralization is one of the principal grievances of non-Catholics and of Catholics themselves against papal authority.

12) The General Council should, we believe, solemnly reaffirm the declarations of earlier councils and the formal promises of the popes relative to the rights and privileges of the Eastern Churches. Earlier councils and popes assured the Eastern Churches which would unite with the Roman Church that the rank that they occupy in the Church, the rights and privileges of their patriarchs and bishops, and the rite and discipline that belong to them would be respected and protected. It must not happen that these hierarchs should be rendered in fact illogical in their declarations and unfaithful to their promises. With such precedents, which cast doubt on the good faith of the Catholic party, it is not possible to hope to deal fruitfully on the subject of a return to catholic unity with our separated brethren. We think in particular of the following three points:

a) The ranking of Eastern patriarchs in the Catholic hierarchy – This rank, as it was established in ecumenical councils and which the popes have promised to respect, places the Eastern patriarchs immediately after the Roman pontiff. Thus it is not permissible, out of respect for the authority of the ecumenical councils and for the formal promises of the popes, as well as for the very interests of the Catholic Church and for the efforts for the restoration of Christian unity, that all the cardinals and all the representatives of the Holy See of Rome, even if they are not legates a latere, and even if they are simple priests, should precede the Eastern patriarchs. The order of precedence in the Catholic Church should remain what it has always been: the Pope of Rome in first place, then in order the actual Eastern patriarchs, not the titular patriarchs of Constantinople, of Alexandria, of Antioch, and of Jerusalem.

b) The powers of the Eastern patriarchs – The new Eastern canon law, promulgated by the Holy See of Rome, does not respect the prerogatives of the patriarchal institution, and submits the exercise of the majority of patriarchal powers to the humiliating and unnecessary prior or subsequent authorizations of the Roman Curia.

c) The safeguarding of the Churches – The Holy See of Rome should take effective measures to prevent the latinization of the East by poorly-informed Western missionaries. Eastern Catholics should remain Eastern. Eastern Catholics are no less Catholic than their Latin brothers. It is not necessary to be Latin in order to be fully Catholic. The establishment of Latin ordinary jurisdictions whose goal is to sustain the latinization of the East must be forbidden. Such, for instance, is the "Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem," which is a real threat to the Christian East, and which should be suppressed. The Eastern Catholic Churches have as many, if not more, rights over the Holy Places as the Latin Church, rights which today are absolutely unrecognized by Latin authority. Moreover, Eastern Catholics dispersed over the world should be provided with pastors of their own rite, at all levels of the hierarchy, and in collaboration with local authority.

On these three points the bishops of our patriarchate have set forth their thoughts in detail in a synodal letter to Pope Pius XII, dated February 10, 1958, and in a synodal letter to Pope John XXIII, dated May 1, 1959.

13) Restoration of the institution of metropolitan. The role that the institution of patriarch plays in the East, should be played by the institution of metropolitan or primate in the West, in relation to the suffragan bishops of one province or of one country. This presupposes the restoration in the West of the institution of metropolitan, which for centuries has been reduced to the rank of an almost entirely honorary position. Thus at the head of a region or of a country there would be a centralizing function, intermediate between the authority of the pope and that of the bishops, a role which until now has in practice been carried out by the representatives of the pope, thereby contributing still more to the centralization of the Church.

14) Episcopal powers should be recognized and strengthened. In what concerns us, we are thinking of the power of bishops, which has always been recognized, to elect their patriarch, to elect their colleagues in the episcopacy, and to ordain the clerics of their dioceses, and to do these things without any hindrance from the Roman Curia.

15) The position of the priest in the Church should be re-evaluated, both spiritually and practically.

16) Clerical attire. It is time, we think, for clerical attire to conform better to the needs of life and of contemporary duties.

17) The discipline of fasting and abstinence, as well as the number of holy days of obligation and the way to observe them, should be revised. On these subjects there are too many divergences from one place to another. Fasting and abstinence are rarely observed. The abstention from work on Sunday and holy days of obligation can no longer be based on the outdated and sometimes inequitable distinction between servile works and those which are not.

18) The Western Church is inclined to legalism and to the organization of the Church as a human society. This mentality presents the difficulty of viewing the Church from an angle that is too exclusively human, as being like every other society of the world, whereas the Church is above all a spiritual and supernatural society, whose primary goal is not of this world. This mentality should be re-examined, as well as the legislation and the canonical institutions that it animates.

19) The need is felt to set forth solemnly the position of the laity in the Church: their role, their mission, their rights and duties, their participation in the apostolate, and, in particular, their collaboration in the material tasks of the Church. In other words, the Church should establish a theology of the laity, which can be drawn up from the papal documents published especially since Pope Pius XI.

Calling Upon Non-Roman Collaborators

Patriarch Maximos noticed that the members of the Ante-preparatory Commission were all chosen from among the officials of the Roman Curia. He saw in this a possible danger for the direction that the future Council might take. The East, in particular, was not at all represented. On August 11, 1959, the patriarch expressed his thoughts to John XXIII, with his customary frankness and courage.

Most Holy Father:

The consolation that I felt at the time of the long audience that I had the honor and the joy to have with Your Holiness on last May 23rd and also the spirit of supernatural comprehension of the problems of the Eastern Church which Your Holiness demonstrated, induce me to address to you with confidence and frankness these few lines that I believe necessary for the good of the Church in view of the forthcoming Council.

Your Holiness has deigned to name an Ante-preparatory Commission for the ecumenical council, composed of prominent ecclesiastics, whose eminence nobody can dispute from any point of view.

This commission has stated that it "will receive with a respect and veneration the opinions, advice, desires, and requests of the bishops and of all those who by right will be Fathers of the council..." We are all profoundly grateful to it for this, and the episcopal body of our Church will soon submit its ideas to the commission.

However, all the persons who compose this commission – permit me, Holiness, to say this humbly and simply – belong to the Roman Curia. The ideas that guide them follow a predetermined direction, toward an ever more closed centralization from which the Latin world itself is suffering, without anyone daring to talk about it for fear of being considered anti-Roman. As for the Eastern Church, it absolutely cannot live in this atmosphere. Thus the wall that separates the Eastern Church from the Western one is becoming thicker and thicker. The council will without doubt have great repercussions on the Western Catholic Church, but it runs the risk of not having any effect on the Eastern Church, which will not have been touched at all.

Would it not be appropriate and even necessary to have among the members of this Ante-preparatory Commission – and, for greater reason, of the Preparatory Commission that will succeed it – ecclesiastical persons who are profoundly Catholic and Roman, but at the same time open to the problems of the Eastern Church? Must the Eastern Church always remain a closed book for the Western Church ? No successor to Saint Peter is better able to grasp these ideas than Your Holiness. Therefore I implore Your Holiness to break this ice that is over one thousand years old and to hear other voices than those of the Roman Curia, for which we otherwise have the greatest respect and consideration.

I entrust these humble lines to your heart as successor of Saint Peter, for whom the unity of the Church of Christ is the highest ideal.

B – At the Stage of the Preparatory Commissions

During the stage of those commissions which are properly called preparatory, it was at the Central Commission, above all, that the Melkite Greek Church had its greatest influence. Patriarch Maximos was named a member, as were all the other Eastern patriarchs. He made a great contribution. In spite of his age and the occupations of his high pastoral duties, at a profoundly troubled epoch in the history of the Arab Middle East, the patriarch took part personally at one of the meetings of this commission (January, 1962). He had to excuse himself from the other meetings, but he had obtained from the pope the favor of being represented by his secretary, so that his thought and that of his Church were always heard.

Further efforts was expended in the Eastern Commission, in which the Melkite Greek Catholic Church had three representatives: Archimandrite Neophytos Edelby, then secretary to the patriarch, Archimandrite Athanasius Hage, Superior General of the Basilian Chouerite Order, and Archimandrite Maurice Blondeel, Rector of the Melkite Greek Seminary of Saint Anne (White Fathers). A third field of action was provided by the Commission "on Bishops," to which Kyr Philip Nabaa, Metropolitan of Beirut , made an important contribution.

All told, five Melkite Catholic Greek prelates participated directly in the preparatory commissions of the Council. However, these contributions, even when presented with the signature of one or the other, were in reality the fruit of multiple consultations and of close collaboration among the members of the hierarchy.

It is necessary to add here the name of a sixth Melkite Greek Catholic among the most eminent: the late Cardinal Gabriel Acacius Coussa, who died unexpectedly in July, 1962, on the eve of the opening of the Council. As Assessor of the Eastern Congregation, then as Cardinal, he collaborated with the works of the Eastern Commission and of the Central Commission. He would have been able to play a very important role at the Council. Providence decided otherwise.

In general, the interventions of the Melkite Greek Catholic prelates created a sensation. But, with speaking time strictly limited to ten minutes, they sought to present the essentials of their thought, sacrificing proofs and nuances. The notes they entrusted to the different preparatory commissions of the Council are more numerous and more fully developed. It is especially in them that one finds the underlying thought of the Melkite Greek Catholic hierarchy. Since they deal with quite varied questions, we have not chosen to group them all in this chapter devoted to the preparation for the Council. They will be found distributed, according to the order of the subjects, among all the chapters of this collection, interspersed with the interventions that are conciliar in the strict sense.

For a Permanent Roman Organization on Ecumenical Matters

What first drew the attention of Patriarch Maximos in this second stage of the preparation for the council was the absence, around the pope, of a permanent organization for ecumenical matters. For a council that had for one of its principal goals to prepare the path for union between the Churches, this lacuna was serious. Profiting from his first visit with John XXIII, on May 23, 1959, the patriarch sent him the following note, which already demonstrated the constant concern for ecumenism that the patriarch would bring to the council. This note doubtless played a part in the setting up of the "Secretariat for Christian Unity."

Here is a humble suggestion that I entrust to the great heart of His Holiness Pope John XXIII, supreme head of the universal Church. At the present time, when there is so much talk about ecumenism, would it not be advisable to have in the Catholic Church, which represents Christ on earth, a permanent institution to promote the union of the separated Churches, in accordance with the desires of our Lord? The reiterated appeals from time to time by the sovereign pontiffs seem to have had almost no effect. Even more, they seem at times to have produced a more pronounced stiffening against Rome .

Would it not be advisable, for example, to create a new congregation or a special Roman commission to deal with everything that concerns the relations with the Christian Churches that are not in union with the Holy See, and with everything that can promote progress towards union? That is a very serious question that seems to deserve the greatest attention.

In this congregation or commission there would be a high-ranking member of the Holy Office, of the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Church, and a member of the Secretariat of State. Everything relating to ecumenism would be in the jurisdiction of this new institution. Within this institution the member representing the Holy Office would be free to make necessary dogmatic remarks, without his being able to take any measures against the persons subject to this institution, which for its part would have the right to act severely, if need be, whether ex officio or at the request of the Holy Office itself. Through this new creation hearts and horizons would be widened, and thus, it would seem, the first steps would be taken for effectively approaching our brothers separated from the center of Christian unity.

The Language of the Council

In collaborating in the preparations for the council, the patriarch was intrigued by the excessive importance that certain Roman groups gave to Latin. The patriarch saw in this notable drawbacks, relating to the very character of the council: was this a plenary Council of the Latin Church or something more? He first raised the subject with Archbishop Pericle Felici, then Secretary General of the Central Preparatory Commission. The letter is dated February 4, 1961.

Concerning the language to be employed in the forthcoming council, a number of high prelates have already declared to the press that only Latin would be authorized. It has even been specified that although the Fathers of the Council could use modern Latin for the deliberations, it was understood that for the publication of the Acts of the Council only classical Latin would be used.

On this subject, we wish to make a proposition. We agree that, for us also, classical Latin must be the language of the Acts of the Council. However, we suggest that for the speeches and the deliberations, in full session or in commissions, the Fathers should be able to freely use a living language of their own choice from among the four or five living languages most frequently employed today in international meetings. To this end, the organizers of the council will do well, it seems to us, to profit from the progress of modern technology: the speeches, submitted in advance, will be simultaneously heard in all the admitted languages, and the deliberations will likewise be translated and retransmitted by qualified interpreters.

The exclusive use of Latin presents, in fact, notable drawbacks: the great majority of the Fathers of the Council are not able to express easily, rapidly, and correctly in Latin the nuances of their thoughts, above all on matters of the modern apostolate, where the classical formulas render the thought only in an imperfect manner. It would not be proper, we think, that because of insufficient practice in Latin the majority of the Fathers should be reduced to remaining silent or to expressing themselves incorrectly and without nuances…

On May 17, 1961, the patriarch, moved by the evasive responses made to him, decided to write directly to Pope John XXIII on this question of the language of the council. Although these observations unfortunately were not accepted, they certainly had the merit of preparing for the future.

Holiness:

The simplicity and the freedom with which Your Holiness wishes that we express ourselves in addressing you on matters concerning the Second Vatican Council encourage me to submit to Your Holiness the following question regarding the language of the council.

On February 4, 1961, under No. 121313, I had the honor to address to His Excellency the Secretary General of the Central Preparatory Commission a letter containing a concrete proposition for the authorization of the Fathers of the Council to use, in addition to Latin, a few living languages, taking advantage of the progress of modern technology which facilitates the deliberations at international gatherings. In his response of February 13, 1961, Prot. N. 694 COM/1961, His Excellency Pericle Felici gave me the assurance that the question would be carefully studied and that the decisions adopted would be communicated to me.

Now I have just read in the press a note that has all the appearance of being at least a semi-official communiqué. It announces that, "an installation of simultaneous translation will be set up for the use of the official observers of the various non-Catholic Christian confessions who will attend the council, so that they may be able to follow the deliberations that take place in Latin."

I am very happy with this initiative, for which the Technico-Organizational Commission should be congratulated. Nevertheless, I wonder why is it necessary that the said official observers and/or delegates should be favored more than the Fathers of the Council themselves? Is it that there can be a suspicion that the majority of these Fathers even those who use Latin in the performance of their liturgical ministry are not in a position to follow with ease discussions in the Latin language, and above all to participate appropriately in them? Will it thus be necessary that all the substantive activities of the council that are so far-reaching and so diverse be concentrated in the hands of a small number of specialists?

The council must without doubt have an official language and it is natural that this official language be Latin. Still, in addition to this official language, the bishops incapable of expressing themselves sufficiently well in that language should be able to express themselves in one of the languages recognized today as universal. Why is it necessary to exclude from the dialogue successors of the Apostles who have, by divine right, the qualifications to teach and govern and to reserve this right to the latinists, some of whom could not be successors of the Apostles?

The common sense that, in addition to so many other qualities, is a remarkable ornament of the spirit of Your Holiness will not allow that so serious and so just a criticism be made, now or in the future, of so important a council convoked by Your Holiness.

That is why, convinced as I am of being on this subject the spokesman for the great majority of the Fathers of the Council, I come to beg humbly and urgently Your Holiness to kindly give instructions to those in charge to put into practice the suggestions contained in my aforesaid letter of February 4, 1961, namely: 1) to authorize, in addition to Latin, the use in the council of a few other modern languages; 2) to install a system of simultaneous translation, not only for the use of the official non-Catholic observers, but also for the benefit of the Fathers of the Council...

Finally, on October 23, 1962, the patriarch, speaking to the council concerning the use of living languages in the liturgy, took advantage of the occasion to entreat for the use of living languages at the council, by means of simultaneous translations.

Concerning vernacular languages, may we be permitted to say a few more words.

How happy we would have been if we had been permitted to understand all that is being said in the council, by means of simultaneous translations, as is done in all the great international assemblies. We are not maligning anybody when we say that the exclusive use of Latin prevents us, and also prevents many others, from understanding questions that are often serious, on which we are required to render decisions. We of the East are not obliged to know Latin, but we have the right to pronounce judgment only when we understand what we are doing. The words of St. Paul , "How can anyone ...say ‘Amen'... when he does not know what you are saying," applies to us. Moreover, we are required to place our signatures at the bottom of the acts of the council, and this can be done only with full knowledge and understanding of what we are doing. For us of the East, translation in one, or, even better, in two languages will be enough, and that is not so difficult.

We urgently beg the venerable president of the council to do what is necessary to accede to our legitimate request and thus permit us to perform human acts and not mechanical ones.

We address to him in advance our most sincere thanks.

Organization and Internal Regulation of the Council

From June 12 to June 22, 1961, the Central Commission held its first working session. The state of the health of the patriarch did not allow him to make the trip to Rome . He sent his opinion in writing, dated May 19, 1961. He replied to the questions, point by point. Here we publish the most noteworthy passages of his answer in regard to the agenda item, "Questions on the Manner of Holding the Council."

I. "In addition to the persons who must of right be summoned to the council, who should be admitted and by what right?"

The council is a general assembly of all the bishops of the Catholic Church, in communion with one another and with the Roman See, under the presidency of the Bishop of Rome. It is, in other words, the solemn assembly of the successors of the Apostles, under the presidency of the successor of Peter.

This concept, traditional in the East and in conformity with the practice of the first ecumenical councils, entails the following practical consequences:

1) All Catholic bishops, whether residential or titular, are members by right of the council. Episcopal consecration, in fact, and it alone, establishes them as successors of the Apostles. All who hold this title have deliberative votes.

2) It follows, therefore, that no priest or other cleric can by right be a member of the council, whatever his personal qualifications or the high position that he may occupy in the Church. In fact, from one viewpoint it is not ecclesiastical rank, knowledge, or ecclesiastical power which confers the status of successor of the Apostles, but episcopal ordination. From another viewpoint, it is not proper for the Church to change in this regard the constant and universal tradition of at least the first eight centuries its history on a point intimately linked to the foundations of the constitution of the Church.

There have in fact always been in the Church, in the first centuries as well as today, monks and priests who, because of their eminent theological doctrine or their exceptional apostolic activity have exercised in a practical way a greater influence on the destinies of the Church than a sizable number of bishops. Nevertheless, that has not appeared to the Fathers of the Church to be a sufficient reason to have these monks or priests sit in councils as de iure members.

As a result of this principle, no priest not invested with the episcopal dignity—even if he is a cardinal, or nuncio, or apostolic delegate—can be admitted as a member of the council. It is clear, however, that these high dignitaries should be able to be called to the council and to enjoy a deliberative voice in it. Thus we suggest that henceforth these dignitaries be invested with the episcopal character. It is the episcopal character, and it alone, and not the importance of the position that one occupies, that confers in the Church the standing as a successor of the Apostles and consequently constitutes the foundation of all precedence. It seems to us that the Church must hold firmly to this criterion of the apostolic tradition.

3) It is nevertheless desirable and even necessary that there should be monks and priests not only in the preparatory commissions of the council but also as counselors in the course of its business. They constitute vital forces which the Church should utilize, but they can have only consultative voices.

4) On the other hand, the ancient tradition of the Church has admitted to councils clerics who were not bishops, but only as representatives of the Roman pontiff (legates a latere), the patriarchs, and of other bishops who were legitimately absent. As for these representatives, the ancient tradition granted them a deliberative voice, because they were seen as expressing opinions of their mandatories. Today, because of the volume of the matters to be treated and of the ease of communication, it may appear expedient or desirable not to admit these representatives (except those of the Roman pontiff), or to accord them only the right of being present and of signing the Acts in the names of their mandatories.

II. The Language of the Council

1) It is true that today Latin is the ecclesiastical and especially the liturgical language of the Latin Church, but it is false to say that Latin is the language of the Church, meaning by that the Church that is catholic and universal. This confusion between the Church and the Latin Church is very regrettable.

2) Since the council represents not only the Latin Church but the whole Church, it is not proper to consider the language of only one of the Churches that constitute it, albeit the principal one, as the only language of the council.

3) Moreover, from the historical aspect, Latin has not always been the language of councils, at least not the only language. Hence, we should not make the exclusive use of Latin at the council a question of a sacred principle, which would imply, if pushed to the extreme, the denial of the authentic catholicity of the Church. The question is purely practical. In other words, it concerns knowing what language it is proper to use so that the Fathers can speak and make themselves understood. This is not a question of an intangible principle or of prestige. It is a question of convenience. Even to express revealed truths, languages other than Latin have formerly served and can still serve. The Roman Church used Greek during the first three centuries. It is necessary above all to avoid making Latin a sort of untouchable dogma.

4) In all the questions that we have to consider, or the decisions that we have to make, we must always take into account the impression which we will make on those Christians who are not yet in union with the Holy See of Rome. We are not directly a "council of union," but we are a "council preparing for union." Let us then not assume attitudes or make decisions of principle which will rebuff them, drive them further away. They are perfectly capable of understanding the practical convenience and necessities in the use of languages, but they would have every right to complain if we wished to impose on them, as an ecclesiastical principle, the use of the Latin language.

5) Having said this, we readily agree that today the most practical language for the council, when everything is considered, is Latin. The Acts of the council and all other official documents will be drawn up in Latin.

6) As far as the interventions of the Fathers, either in commission or in full session, are concerned, Latin will ordinarily be the language most frequently indicated. But we must provide equipment, like that in use today in international congresses, permitting the Fathers to express themselves in one of five or six of the most widely known languages of the world, with simultaneous translation into Latin and the other languages. We might propose the following languages: French, English, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. It is rare that any cultivated person, as the Fathers of the Council are, is unable to understand and speak fluently one or another of these languages. Thus the Fathers will not be reduced to the role of spectators or of listeners to speeches that have been more or less prepared in advance, giving a disproportionate advantage for the latinists over the pastors of souls and over other theologians who are not always accustomed to using Latin.

Invitation of Non-Catholics to the Council

A second meeting of the Central Commission was held from November 7 to 18, 1961. The patriarch was not able to take part personally. The agenda included, among other items, a series of questions concerning "the invitation of non-Catholics to the Council." It was only this last point that the patriarch developed in his reply of October 4, 1961.

1. Should observers from the Orthodox and Protestant Churches be invited to the council?

Yes, without any doubt. If the coming council were a council of union, in the fashion of that of Lyons in 1273 or of Florence in 1439, we would have wished that all the Orthodox bishops of the East would be convoked to the council, even before the proclamation of union. Since the forthcoming council will be above all "an internal act of the Catholic Church," the least that we can do is to invite the Orthodox Churches of the East and the Protestant Churches to be represented there by official observers, who must not be treated as journalists or simple spectators.

2. What qualifications should these observers have?

It is preferable, on the part of the Catholic Church, not to establish any qualification or requisite condition for these observers. The non-Catholic Churches themselves will decide which observers designated by them will represent them worthily. Their names will be provided to the authorities of the council, who should naturally agree in advance, as is the case for diplomatic representatives. As for the number of the observers, it seems preferable to leave this determination to the invited Churches themselves.

3. To what sessions should the observers be admitted?

It is difficult to reply to this question without knowing in advance how the council will be concretely organized.

At least it is possible to say that these observers should be admitted to as many sessions as possible, and not only to the general sessions, for then their role would consist of a merely ceremonial presence. They should also see the Fathers of the Council at work, whether in commissions or in private sessions, with or without theologians. The observers should not have the impression that they are being invited merely to cleverly-staged ceremonies. Besides, the Catholic Church has nothing to hide, and one can justifiably suppose that the possible discussions among the Fathers of the council will contain nothing that is not edifying. Even differences of opinion or of pastoral attitude will be very well understood by the observers.

We exclude from this general rule only the organizational meetings of subcommissions for drafting or for administration, which have no general interest for the observers.

Before and during the council, the Secretariat for Christian Unity should be the agent for liaison between the council and the observers. It can organize meetings, exchanges of views, etc. It is in this sphere that the non-Catholics could express their viewpoints and obtain replies from qualified Catholic theologians.

4. What non-Catholic Churches should be invited?

Limiting ourselves to the Eastern Orthodox Churches, we say:

a) The invitation must come from the Holy Father himself, and it must not be communicated to the press before it arrives in the hands of the recipients. It is fitting that the personal invitation of the Holy Father be delivered by hand by the representative of the Holy See in each area.

b) The invitation must not be addressed to the Orthodox bishops individually, but to the head of the Church to which they belong. The Orthodox do not like to have the pope go over the heads of the highest authorities of their Church to address each bishop directly. Besides, the invitation is to be addressed to the particular Church as such, requesting that it send observers.

c) The invitation should be addressed to all the Orthodox Churches, autocephalous or autonomous, in the persons of their respective heads: patriarchs, archbishops, or metropolitans. The guidelines on this matter could be what was done recently at the Pan-Orthodox Conference at Rhodes , or else an official request can be made to the Ecumenical Patriarch for the list of Orthodox Churches considered autocephalous or autonomous.

Remarks Concerning a New Formula for the Profession of Faith

The same session of November, 1961, was to study a new form for the Profession of Faith. The patriarch attended, and on November 28th made some remarks reflecting the Eastern viewpoint.

1) Concerning the addition of the "Filioque" – While professing the doctrine expressed by this word, this addition as such remains optional in the Eastern Catholic Churches, according to the declaration of the Council of Florence. A remark, appearing as a note, at the bottom of the text, could explain this. This could have an excellent effect on the attitudes of our Orthodox brethren.

2) Concerning bishops – I believe that it would be good to make more explicit the collegiate responsibility of the episcopate, in communion with the Roman pontiff and under his authority, in the general administration of the Church, according to whatever the forthcoming council may declare to complement the definition of the primacy and the infallibility of the Roman pontiff made at the First Vatican Council. For a complete view of things, that previous definition needs to be balanced by a more precise declaration of the nature and the powers of the episcopal body.

3) Concerning the "words of consecration" – The text of the profession of faith on this point should not be understood as excluding, in transubstantiation, the fulfilling action of the Holy Spirit, such as is traditionally expressed in Eastern liturgies by the prayer of epiclesis.

4) As to form – It would be better to state which are the points of the encyclicals Pascendi and Humani generis that are to be included in the profession of faith, rather than referring to these two encyclicals in a general way.


Patriarchal Letter on the Eve of the Council

When the patriarch was about to leave for the first session of the Council, he addressed to his Church a pastoral letter, dated September 30, 1962. In it he explained the mission of his Church at the Council and called upon the faithful to collaborate with it.

Glory always to God!

Maximos IV

by the grace of God Patriarch of Antioch and of all the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem,

to our dear Children, the Priests, the Religious, and all the Faithful of our Melkite Greek Catholic Church both in the East and in the Emigration.

Peace, Salvation, and Apostolic Benediction!

At the point of my departure for Rome , with most of our venerable brothers the bishops of our eparchies, to take part in the work of the Second Vatican Council, we wish, dear children, to address this letter to you to inform you about the mission to which we intend to consecrate our efforts.

A Church council is not an international congress in which states, nations, or other peoples are represented by delegates, with the view of participating in works or projects relating to scientific, literary, or political interests, or other lofty purposes, for the good of the members of the congress or that of human civilization in general. However noble the aims of these congresses may be, they are very different from those of councils convoked by the Holy Church, in which only the bishops of the Catholic world solemnly take part to testify concerning the truth of the revelation recorded in Holy Scripture and in the deposit of faith conserved in Christian Tradition, as well as to lay down the disciplinary regulations that the Church needs according to the varying requirements of the times to help Christians reach their eternal destiny in the most efficacious way.

The bishops united in the Council are thus not deputies charged with representing their eparchies, their patriarchates, their communities, their nations, or their own people. Neither are they counselors qualified to express their own private opinions before the council. They are the successors of the holy Apostles, to whom Christ entrusted the mission of preaching to the world and of baptizing the nations in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, promising to be with them always until the end of the world.

In this capacity, the bishop has a teaching, jurisdictional, and sanctifying power for the universal Church. A bishop, who in ordinary times is the head of a particular eparchy and whose power is restricted by the boundaries of this same eparchy, sits in the council as one of the successors of the Apostles, with universal jurisdiction over all Christians of the entire world, bearing collective solicitude for all the Churches, in union with the successor of the leader of the Apostles, Peter, whom Christ established as the visible head to shepherd his flock.

The bishops of the council come from all the countries of the world. Each one thus represents the experience of the Christians of his region with respect to the understanding of Holy Scripture, fidelity to the apostolic tradition, practice of the spiritual life, the ordering of public prayer, the observance of fasts and holy days, and also the administration of the sacraments. In addition to that experience, each bishop knows the particular needs of his Church, in regard to a better knowledge of religion and a more faithful practice of the Christian virtues, as well as its needs for assuring the propagation of the word, and for overcoming the spiritual and moral dangers to which his faithful are exposed. Putting together this aggregate of diverse experiences and reactions, the bishops of the council define, in the light of Christ's teaching, what conforms to the true faith and what does not. They reaffirm sound morals, both public and private, and they disseminate evangelical principles throughout society. In all of this, they have at heart safeguarding the unity of spirit, and fulfilling the wish expressed by our Lord that all who believe in Him may be one, as He and the Father are one.

Such is the mission that is confided to us, as well as to your venerable bishops, at the council. Such are also the intentions of the souls of each one of us.

The Second Vatican Council presents some particular circumstances in comparison with councils that have preceded it. Among others, we must point out the fact that previous councils were most often assembled to clarify an obscure point of dogma or to reject a particular heresy or to condemn a sect. The council to which His Holiness Pope John XXIII has summoned us aims, in the first place, at pastoral action that proposes to eliminate everything that mars the Church and makes it appear outmoded in the light of the rapid evolution of humanity in various spheres of life. The Church will thus appear before the world as "glorious, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." In appearing thus to the world, the Church will have taken a great stride along the road toward the regrouping of Christians and will have drawn them closer to the unity that Christ desires.

The matters that will be treated at the council are extremely varied. We cannot give you even an elementary idea of these matters here. We only wish to inform you of the spirit with which we, patriarch and bishops, shall deal with these questions.

Each question in fact, can be treated under different aspects. Preparatory commissions, composed of eminent ecclesiastics, have considered all these aspects. At the council itself, other commissions will be designated to review them. What will be our attitude on all these questions?

The particular viewpoint that we shall use as a basis for our actions will be what bearing each of the proposed solutions might have on the problem of the union of the Churches. This union is not the direct goal of the Second Vatican Council, but it is the ultimate and long-term goal.

The union of the Churches undoubtedly represents for a considerable number of bishops a serious and fundamental problem, but they perceive it only theoretically. For us, the schism is a wound that is always bleeding, that we feel at the greatest depth of our souls. The problem of the union of Churches is our greatest care, our primary concern, and the deepest desire of our hearts. It is the goal to which we stretch all our energies, and for which we wish to be the redemptive victim, so that it may be attained. It seems to us that working for the union of Churches is our reason for being and the fundamental mission which Providence has entrusted to us, individually and collectively. The Orthodox of the East and we constitute only one people, one family, one blood, one language, one mentality, one rite, and one history. Our religious and social problems are the same. We need to unite with them as much as they need to unite with us. Each of us nurtures a sincere love and a deep affection for the other, but each refrains from manifesting what we feel. The time has come for the two brothers to embrace one another at last after their long separation. The time has come for Christians to work to fulfill Christ's wish: "that they may be one."

For all these reasons, you understand, dear childern, why we intend to consider all questions at the council in the light of their effectiveness in facilitating union. We have taken on ourselves the responsibility of representing at the council the true Eastern spirit, this spirit of apostolic tradition, which in itself brings forth sanctity that is just as eminent as that attained by the Catholic West, for in both cases holiness proceeds from the same wellspring, which is the Holy Gospel and the Savior's cross.

On this occasion, We wish to reaffirm here what we have expressed many times before, in various circumstances, officially and privately, orally and in writing, which is to say that we are Catholics adhering to the extreme limit to the Roman Church and the primacy of His Holiness the sovereign pontiff, as we are at that same time Easterners, attached to the extreme limit to the traditions of the Christian East and of the holy Fathers, and also to the rights, privileges, discipline, customs, and rites of the Eastern Church.

We ask you, dear children, to support us in this attitude by your prayers and fervent supplications to the Father of Lights so that He may help us accomplish this duty that is incumbent on us. Pray, pray without ceasing, in spite of the news that perhaps might deceive you. Our sins are great and numerous; the favor for which we implore is very great; thus We must never cease asking insistently and humbly, with absolute trust in God's mercies and the intercession of the "never-failing Protectress of Christians," the All-Holy Mother of God.

During our absence, which may be prolonged and repeated, we have appointed Archbishop Pierre-Kamel Medawar, our auxiliary, to replace us in all spiritual and temporal matters. Archbishop Medawar, as you all know, is worthy of this trust.

Finally, we expect of your piety, dear children, that you will take it to heart to preserve the spirit of charity and harmony among yourselves and in your relations with your fellow citizens, and obey dutifully the vicars who have been set up in each eparchy of our community to administer its spiritual and temporal affairs. By doing so, you will help us to devote ourselves entirely to the work of the council, and you will prove by deeds that you are a "chosen people," worthy of praise.

In conclusion, we renew our paternal greetings and our Apostolic Blessing.

Given at our patriarchal residence at Ain-Traz,

September 30, 1962.

MAXIMOS IV

Patriarch of Antioch and of All-the-East,

of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
 

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 Laity

In their comments on the schemas of the Council (1963), the Fathers of our Holy Synod stated: "This schema appears to us to be one of the best. If the clergy were treated in such a manly way, we would have made the Church progress considerably. In the schema "De Clericis," there is an impression of dealing with minors. Here we are speaking to adults. If this schema produces its full effects, we shall in 50 years have a laity that will be far superior to the clergy, which it must nevertheless obey. Care must be taken not to produce this strange inequality."

The quality of the present schema no doubt stems from the fact that since the question of the laity is new, in thinking it through, men aware of modern needs have been consulted, whereas "De Clericis" and "De Religiosis" were prepared by functionaries who repeated familiar ideas.

The Apostolate of the Laity

Intervention of the Right Reverend Father Hilarion Capucci, Superior General of the Aleppine Basilians, on October 9, 1964.

The Church of the East has always, in the exercise of its mission in the world, known a close relationship between its clergy and its laity. It has never experienced the dissociation between the hierarchy, aristocratically conceived as in sole charge of the Kingdom of God, endowed with the charism of command, and the laity, considered solely as the flock to be governed and from whom only obedience is required. The Church, the Body of Christ, is missionary in its entirety, it is totally directed toward the return of the Lord; it is in its totality on the move and in action, fashioned by the Holy Spirit through the countless gifts of His uniform grace poured out in profusion into the members of Christ, for the service of the whole of the Father's family. "In the last days it shall be, the Lord declares, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.... and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, on my menservants and my maidservants I will pour out my spirit and they shall prophesy" (Acts 2: 17-19).

Perhaps it has even happened that the East has fallen into a certain excess of democracy. It has unduly circumscribed the role of the clergy within hieratic functions, leaving to the laity, organized in councils, but always under the presidency of the pastors, not only all temporal administration but also even theological education, charity, and relations with the state. The role of these lay councils has been preponderant in episcopal elections and in the Holy Synods.

We can cite the advantages and disadvantages of every human institution. Nevertheless, is it not time for the Church to abandon its clericalism and open wide its doors to a laity treated as adults, and to integrate them into ecclesial and pastoral life, with the full responsibilities of mature men and women? The forms of this integration can change according to circumstances of time, place, and persons. Yet the orientation remains the same: a Church of cosmic dimensions closing its ranks; a laity aware of its duties, assuming its full responsibility, gathered around a hierarchy with an open mind and a heart oriented toward the Kingdom of the Lord.

Let us therefore get rid of our clerical complexes of absolute superiority and exclusive effectiveness, and let us put our trust in the zeal, the competence, the feeling for the Church of those we have chosen and trained from the ranks of the laity.

Possible failures, groping starts, cannot discredit a trend that is increasingly asserting itself in the Church by reason of its nature, which is inspired by the action of the Spirit and not simply because of the scarcity of priestly and religious vocations, as is sometimes said.

Let us never forget that in the church bishops and priests are the servants of the Spirit. They are given to the Church "to equip of the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:12), to work in order to give the Church its missionary cohesiveness. They have the responsibility of seeing to it that the Church is in truth a priestly people, faithfully fulfilling its mission of the apostolate: "that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pt 2:9). They must listen to the Spirit who acts in the entire Church, in order to understand how to discern with a completely spiritual comprehension the initiatives inspired by the Spirit for the salvation of the world. They must transmit the divine knowledge that will enable the baptized to become a spiritual sacrifice in the Eucharist. That is to say they must help human freedoms to mature in the awareness of their responsibilities and to develop in a truly Christian freedom, completely transfigured by the Holy Spirit.

Far from lamenting, let us rejoice. The Holy Spirit is making the Church aware of what it is, especially in all the faithful people. The only sign of salvation placed in the world is in the communion of bishops, priests, and laity living the mystery of Jesus Christ at the level of human problems, human values, human efforts.

Concrete Examples of the Lay Apostolate

Intervention of Archbishop Elias Zoghby, Patriarchal Vicar for Egypt and the Sudan, on October 9, 1964.

I shall give you a concrete example of the cooperation of the laity with the clergy in the East among the Orthodox and in certain Catholic communities. I shall speak of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Egypt, where I have exercised my apostolate during twenty-five years as pastor and as bishop.

In each city in Egypt where we have a parish there is a lay commission that is called the Patriarchal Commission. In Cairo and in Alexandria it consists of 24 members, two-thirds of whom are named by the people and the other third designated by the ordinary of the place, who is the patriarch.

This commission is presided over by the patriarch, and in his absence by the patriarchal vicar, who is a bishop, and at the parish level by the pastor.

This Patriarchal Commission plays a broad role in the Church. It is divided into several committees: the education committee takes care of everything that relates to our schools, in collaboration with the priests who direct these schools; the juridical committee, composed of lawyers, settles the legal matters of the patriarchate and directs all activities of the Church from the point of view of their relationship to the law. It was from among these lawyers that the community tribunal was chosen to judge the civil effects of marriages contracted before our Church, such as alimony, the custody of children, adoption, etc. This jurisdiction has been taken away from us by the suppression of religious tribunals in 1955.

There is also the committee of the wakfs, that is to say, of the ecclesiastical resources, which concerns itself with the management of the Church's properties, always under the presidency of the ordinary or of his representative, without whose consent nothing important can be decided. Likewise, there is the committee of cemeteries, which supervises their maintenance; the committee of churches, which collaborates in their material administration, their maintenance, and arranges to have poor churches benefit from the income of those that are less poor. This committee of churches is aided by a certain number of churchwardens, who, under the direction of the pastors, look after the churches directly, take charge of collections, prepare the churches for special ceremonies, and organize parish festivals and gatherings.

Other lay organizations are in charge of the apostolate of charity. Chief among these is the Social Welfare Society, to which some of the faithful bequeath some real estate. A large number of the faithful, both men and women, is mobilized every year to collect the donations necessary for this good work. This Social Welfare Society, composed of laypersons, has its offices in the very buildings of the patriarchate. It provides, insofar as its means permit, maintenance of poor families and hospitalization for the sick; it furnishes the necessary funds for free education. Ladies are associated with this charitable activity. They take care of clothing supply for the poor, and of noon meals for undernourished children, which they themselves take turns in serving. Other ladies take care of the decoration of churches and of altar linens.

All these works are centered in the patriarchate itself. That is where their meetings are held, in the shadow of the Church, in close collaboration with the clergy. The laity devote themselves to these works with an admirable apostolic spirit. They are very respectful of the ecclesiastical authorities; they offer their services without charge, without seeking to impose their will. Conversely, the clergy derives great benefit from the experience of those faithful who are lawyers, engineers, businessmen, whose cooperation is indispensable. Any of our bishops and pastors who refused the collaboration of the laity would be discredited and would lose their influence over the faithful.

In addition to this collaboration of the laity in the material, social, charitable, and pious works within their own Church, one may add an inter-ritual collaboration at the level of Catholicism as a whole: Catholic Action in the strict sense, the Legion of Mary, the Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul, the Vacation Colony Project, etc., about which I shall not speak, because you know them already.

So you see, Venerable Fathers, that the collaboration of the laity with the clergy is close, continuous, and extends to every sphere of activity. Suffice it to note that one third of the premises of our patriarchate in Cairo and in Alexandria are devoted to purely ecclesiastical activities, and two thirds are devoted to lay activities in the service of the Church. The collaboration of the laity extends even to the service of the altar. A layman chants the Epistle during the Divine Liturgy; members of the laity read the prayers and psalms and prophecies at the liturgical hours. In the Coptic Orthodox Church the churches often have, together with their pastor, a lay preacher who has specialized in preaching. I shall not persist any further.

This is another chapter in which the East provides an example. I am certain that the West, as it opens itself to the apostolate of the laity, will in turn help us to preserve and deepen this heritage that our Fathers have bequeathed to us.

The Place of Non-Christians and of Women in the People of God

In an intervention that made a sensation, on October 24, 1963, Archbishop George Hakim called the attention of the council to human realities: the great majority of men and women are not Christians. What is their place in the "people of God"? At least half of the "people of God" consists of women. What is their role in the Church?

After studying with the greatest possible care Chapter III of "The People of God," and after hearing certain comments in this hall, I should humbly like to make the following two points:

1. As Archbishop of Galilee, having under my jurisdiction the Holy Land itself, where there are not many Catholics—and this is also true of most of the regions of the Near East which were once the territory of flourishing Apostolic Churches—I am troubled as I read the text of this schema and when I hear the interventions of certain Fathers in this hall. I am troubled, I say, because of this prevailing spirit of triumphalism already denounced at the first session, and which, after the actions and declarations of John XXIII and Paul VI, we hoped had been destroyed!

In fact, how is it possible to speak of the people of God in the terms used in our schema when Christians—Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants taken together—constitute only one third of the human race, and two out of three men and women do not know Christ? Do these two billion human beings, who apparently are of good faith, having not heard the Gospel, that is to say the good news of salvation, have nothing to do with the people of God?

Calling to mind the momentous words of His Eminence Cardinal Wyszynski, Archbishop of Warsaw, and the path so clearly opened by His Excellency Archbishop Dubois of Besancon, I would hope that the Schema on the Laity would be based on truth and in conformity with the situation of the modern world. This council is in fact the council of the 21st century, and in the modern world the Church must be the epiphany of the charity of Christ. Saint Paul has told us that "His goodness has appeared," and it must not look at itself as if it were alone in the world ... Is it not sent to evangelize this world?

This schema was written by bishops and experts from Christian regions; it was conceived as the sanctioning of that state of ecclesiastical power that, although still alive in certain regions of the West, no longer exists in most of the regions of the world. In fact, if we are not hypocrites, we must admit that the Catholic Church in this world is the "little flock." Its strength continues to rest on the Word of God and not on its self glorification. Besides, certain observations that we have heard do not seem, in my humble opinion, to take into account those who are not Catholics or witness to them the love that we owe them. Here is just one example: several participants in this hall have scorned and belittled married deacons, disregarding how much and what good they do in Christian Churches that fortunately have preserved this institution. As we glory in the ecclesiastical celibacy of the Latin Church, are we not forgetting, are we not scorning these married clerics of the Eastern Churches and so many married pastors and priests of other Christian denominations? ... Actually, it is not a question now of having a deacon who is already ordained marry afterwards, but of elevating a thoroughly tested layman, who is already married, to the diaconate or to the priesthood.

2. In presenting my second comment, I shall speak briefly, since His Eminence Cardinal Suenens has already dealt with it perfectly.

I should humbly like to denounce a serious oversight: there is no reference in our schema to women. Do we not often make declarations as if women did not exist in the world? And yet what an admirable role they play in the apostolate! What great help we enjoy today from the lay auxiliaries who so often constitute the nucleus of the works of God!

In as much as in certain places women are not sufficiently honored, I propose that the Council, in recognizing the advancement of modern women, due in large part to devotion to the Mother of God, declare the eminent place that belongs to them in the people of God, in the apostolate of the laity, and in all works of the Church.

 

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 Eastern Catholic Churches

It was in the bosom of the Eastern Commission that the Melkite Greek hierarchy displayed its greatest activity. It was represented there, in the preparatory stage, by Archbishop Neophytos Edelby, Archimandrite Athanasius Hage, and Archimandrite Maurice Blondeel; in the conciliar stage by the patriarch himself and by Archbishop Edelby. As early as November, 1960, Archbishop Edelby presented to the commission a complete project of a schema "On the Rites in the Church." Although modified many times in the course of the discussions, it continued to form the basis of Chapter I of the conciliar decree "On the Eastern Catholic Churches." The lasting value of this project resides in its commentaries, which reflect very well the thought of the patriarch and his hierarchy on this point. One will notice that the author speaks of the "Rites in the Church," and not of the "Eastern Rites," for in the Church there are not only "Eastern Rites." The Latin Church itself is one of the "rites" in the Church.

The "Rites" in the Church

Relative to the Eastern rites, it seems to me more opportune for our commission to propose to the central commission and, through it, to the Fathers of the council, not by one or another article responding to a particular need (for example, the change from one rite to another), but the schema of a "decree," that is to say, of a chapter that embraces all this question in an organic manner. For, in the first place, that presents a greater logical interest. In the second place, it is not every day that we have a council; now it seems that the very existence of "rites" in the Catholic Church, their content, their innate rights and obligations will remain material for discussion as long as, on all these points, the council itself has not manifested definitely and with ruling authority the thought of the Church. I propose that this chapter "On Rites in the Church" be composed of the ten following articles:

Article 1. On the Variety of Rites in the Church

"The Holy and Catholic Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, is organically composed not only of the individual faithful who are united in the same faith and the same Christian life, but also of many groups joined to the hierarchy, or particular Churches, which are improperly called ‘rites.' These rites or particular Churches, even though they may differ in part in liturgy, intimate constitution, ecclesiastical discipline, and other proper qualities of the spiritual patrimony, yet in an equal manner are committed to the pastoral solicitude of the Roman pontiff, who divinely succeeds Saint Peter in his primacy over the universal Church."

a. This affirmation of principle aims in the first place at dispelling an exclusively "individualistic" concept of the Church. The universal Church is not solely or above all a society of individuals, but also, and in the first place, a communion of Churches (in the particular sense of the word), that is to say, of hierarchical groups (eparchies. metropolitan jurisdictions, archbishoprics, catholicates). This remark has a great importance for the union of the Churches: union should not appear as the absorption of all the Christian communities by one of them, (the Latin community or Church), but as the communion of all the Churches (including the Latin Church) in the same faith, the same sacraments, and the same supernatural life, under the paternal and fraternal vigilance of the Roman pontiff, to constitute the "Catholica."

b. In the second place, in dispelling this "individualistic" concept of the Church, the Eastern Churches, or, as they are called, the "Eastern rites," no longer appear as a concession of the Roman Church, as a privilege, as a more or less inconvenient exception. Too many still consider the Latin Church as being, in brief, the Church, and the communities of Eastern rites as simply tolerated in the midst of Catholicism. They are, some say, "uniate" Churches, a sort of appendix, something annexed, and nothing more than that. This concept is absolutely false. The "Catholica" is composed of all the Churches in communion with one another and with the Roman pontiff. Among the particular Churches in communion among themselves and with the Roman pontiff, there are the Latin Church and a certain number of other Churches, of Eastern rite, today inferior in numbers, in the expectation of the universal reunion of all the Christian Churches.

c. In the third place, one wishes to dispel by the same act the concept—formerly dear to those around Pope Pius IX and still too widespread in certain Western circles—which makes the Eastern Churches a simple affair of "liturgical rite," differing from the "normal" rite of the Church, which is the Latin rite. "Eastern Churches" is not at all synonymous with "Eastern rites." The liturgical rite is only one of the points by which one Church can be distinguished from another Church. But the rite can be the same, while the Churches are distinct (for example, the Byzantine rite is common to a number of Churches); nothing prevents there being different rites in one Church (for example, at Toledo). What constitutes the different Eastern Churches is not only a difference from the Western Church in the liturgical rite. There can be also, and there are in fact, differences in spirituality, in theological points of view, in discipline, in constitution, in organization, in art, etc., so much so that when one "respects" the "Eastern rites" (in the liturgical sense), one has not thereby respected the "Eastern Churches." Now, for the union of Churches, one would wish to arrive at respecting, in the "Catholica," not only the different liturgical rites but also every other difference compatible with the faith and communion with the Roman pontiff.

d. Thus an organic concept of the Church is favored, in which catholicity is not synonymous with Romanism and unity not synonymous with uniformity, in which there is a place for different modes of being, of thinking and acting, not only in liturgy but also in organization and in discipline. Nobody can ignore how much such a concept is indispensable for every effort for union with the autocephalous Orthodox Churches, and not only with individuals.

Article 2. On the Equality of Rites

"While retaining the honor due to the Roman Church, all those particular Churches that constitute the universal or catholic Church possess equal holiness and dignity, enjoy equal rights and privileges, and are held to equal obligations. No superiority or domination or hegemony is allowed in the Church by reason of rite. Therefore all Churches or Rites are with equal right entitled to a just increment and are held by an equally grave obligation of preaching the Christian faith in the whole world, under the vigilance of the ecclesiastic pastors in the place, and also under the moderation of the Roman pontiff."

a. This article aims first at affirming vigorously the equality of all Churches in the bosom of the universal church. If the Church is catholic by right, one cannot deny that it has nevertheless to make efforts to be always more catholic in fact, that is to say, to realize always better a greater universality of spirit, of tendencies, of representation, of authority, of service, etc. The Catholic Church is not a monopoly for any person, any race, any nation, any continent, any rite. It is the great gift of God to all humanity, and all humanity should equally share in its cares, as well as in its honors, its services, its representation, etc. Too often, the Catholic Church appears to be allied to the human interests of certain fixed groups. It would not be difficult to draw up a list of grievances that could be asserted by certain groups that feel that they have been injured or that have the impression of being like poor relatives in catholicity. It is enough for us to affirm the principle of the equality of all the faithful and of all the Churches in the bosom of the "Catholica." Its concrete realization will require many years and much effort. In other words there is in the Church a "pre-eminence of the Roman pontiff," but there should not be a "pre-eminence of the Latin rite."

b. The article aims equally at eliminating from the discipline in force every measure discriminating against a particular Church. An equality of rights should correspond to an equality of situation, of needs, and of aptitudes. Nobody in the Church should feel himself impaired because of the rite to which he belongs.

c. Finally, the article aims at eliminating the intolerance that still weighs, here and there, on Eastern Catholics, and that unjustly deprives them of the right, insofar as they are Eastern Catholics, to evangelize the infidels of a particular region, as if the Eastern Churches were closed communities, destined to disappear rather than expand. No human authority can forbid a bishop to preach the Gospel to the infidels of his eparchy, to baptize them, and to incorporate them in his Church. If, in fact, two or more Catholic bishops are established in the same territory, all and each equally have the right and the duty to evangelize, to baptize, and to incorporate in their Church. The prohibition of evangelizing the infidels should not, above all, weigh upon the hierarchy that represents, better than the others, the native Church.

Article 3. On the Usefulness of Rites

"This diversity in the Church, rather than harming its catholicity, instead declares it and makes it concrete. For the Church greatly wishes that that nearly infinite abundance of ecclesiastical traditions remain uncorrupted and entire, as it wishes its rule of life to adapt to the various spiritual needs of each and every Christian community."

The article affirms the usefulness of this diversity in the Church. One will note that it concerns not only a diversity of liturgical rites. Even the diversity of disciplines in the Church is a good thing in itself, and one should not seek to minimize it or to make it disappear for the sole reason of a greater uniformity. The variety of rites and disciplines responds to a natural variety of needs and of mentalities. To wish to reduce everything to uniformity is to deprive oneself uselessly of the charisms of each Church and to close catholicity to every culture other than our own. Pope Saint Leo IX said it so well in his first letter to Michael Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople, no. 29 (Mansi XIX, 652): "For [the Roman Church] knows that customs differing according to the place and time are no hindrance to the salvation of the believers, when one faith, working through love the good things that it can do, commends all to the one God."

Article 4 On the Rite of the Roman Pontiff

"The Roman pontiff, in his capacity as successor of Saint Peter in his primacy over the universal Church, is not bound to any liturgical rite."

The sovereign pontiff is first the Bishop of Rome, and it is according to that title that he succeeds to the blessed Peter in his primacy. Nobody is astonished that he is a part, from this point of view, of the Western Church, and thus of the Latin rite. The principle aims only at affirming that the Holy Father, insofar as he is father of the universal Church, is not more Western than Eastern, for many of the Westerners have drawn the argument in favor of the "pre-eminence of the Latin rite" from the fact that that rite was that of the Pope of Rome.

It goes without saying that the Roman pontiff can use one or another of the Eastern rites, according to what he judges opportune.

Article 5 On the Safeguarding of Rites

"All and each of the faithful ought to preserve the proper rite that they have, and cultivate it, and, unless they are legitimately impeded, practice it wherever they are located. Therefore all attempts of any rite to absorb other rites is to be severely condemned."

a. Since diversity in the Church is a good thing in itself, this article wishes to affirm the perpetuity of this state of things. The existence of the Eastern Churches is not a transitory concession, in the expectation of the definitive passing to the Latin rite.

b. The article also affirms that this diversity is admitted throughout the world, that it is not limited to the East alone.

c. Finally, this article forbids any Church, Latin or Eastern, to develop at the expense of other Churches by absorbing them. Through it there is a particular condemnation of the latinization of the East, which has been pursued for centuries, often contrary to the directives of the Holy See of Rome.

Article 6 On the Rite of Those Returning to Catholic Unity.

"In restoring unity with the Catholic Church, the faithful who have been up to now separated ought to be received in their proper rite, and to keep it. Therefore, every attempt to draw them into another rite or to admit them to a foreign rite is to be severely condemned."

This article recommends the return to the discipline of "Orientalium Dignitas," as opposed to the dangerous innovation of canon 11, No. 1, of the motu proprio "Cleri Sanctitati." The subject deserves being studied a bit more closely.

a. The innovation of canon 11, cited above, is contrary to the declarations of popes and to the legislation in force before now.

1. Declarations of the popes:

-Benedict XIV, in the constitution "Allatae Sunt" of July 26, 1755, no. 33, intended to summarize the constant norm followed by the popes by declaring: "Never have the Roman pontiffs required from those who return to the Catholic faith that they abandon their rite and embrace by obligation the Latin rite. That would be, in fact, the disappearance of the Eastern Church and of all the Greek and Eastern rites, something that not only has never been attempted, but has always been and today still is absolutely alien to the spirit of the Holy See."

-The Propaganda equally replied, on June 1, 1885 (Collectanea II, No. 1633, second) that missionaries, in receiving into the Catholic Church those who were born in schism, must inscribe them in their own Eastern rite, and not in the Latin rite, except by special authorization of the Holy See.

2 Legislation until now in force

-The Easterners who return to Catholic unity may choose, among the Eastern rites, that which they prefer. See the Decree of the Propaganda dated November 20, 1838 (Collectanea, I, No. 878). Likewise, Letter of the Propaganda dated February 4, 1895.

-Apostates who, abandoning the Catholic faith, have become heretics or schismatics, cannot, on returning to the Catholic faith, enjoy the liberty of this choice, but remain enrolled in their former rite. See the letter of the Propaganda of April 7, 1859.

-Eastern Catholics who have previously passed over to a Western heresy (for example, Protestantism) cannot on reconverting embrace the Latin rite. See Instruction of the Propaganda of July 15, 1876 (Collect. II, No. 1458).

-"If, among the dissidents, a community, a family, or a person shall return to the Catholic unity, while a necessary condition has been set down that they embrace the Latin rite, let them remain for the time being enrolled in that rite, with the ability to return one day to their original Catholic rite. If such a condition has not been set down, but the said community, family, or person are served by Latin priests because of a lack of Eastern priests, they are obliged to return to their rite as soon as there is an availability of an Eastern priest" (Leo XIII, Constitution "Orientalium Dignitas," No. 11).

-If no condition has been laid down and no choice of another Eastern rite has been made, the convert must be admitted into the Eastern rite corresponding to his own.

b. The new canon, it is true, does not oblige non-Catholics to pass over by obligation to the Latin rite. But for the "latinizers" it is sufficient that such is permitted for them to redouble their fervor to deprive the Eastern Catholic Churches of all new help of a nature to nourish them. Certainly, there is nothing improper in that the Holy Roman See, taking into consideration the particular needs of certain individuals, authorizes them to change by exception to the Latin rite, whether at the moment of their return to the Catholic faith or even after they have adhered to it. For the ultimate goal of all legislation must be the good of souls, not a satisfaction of self-love. But, to permit the Latins to admit to their Latin rite the Eastern non-Catholics who wish to return to unity is, under the present circumstances and given the considerable means at the disposal of the latinizers in personnel, in works, and in resources, to condemn the Eastern Catholic Churches to an inability to expand. Thus the equality desired by the canon is equivalent in practice to delivering the weak to the mercy of the strong.

c. Leo XIII had prescribed severe sanctions against those who pushed Easterners to adopt the Latin rite. The sanctions have in practice remained without execution, and the movement of latinization of the East has continued as before. Now, what the severest sanctions have not been able to prevent, will a simple wish, stealthily set at the end of the canon, to encourage the Easterners to remain in their rite, do any more to prevent?

d. While the new canon authorizes the Eastern non-Catholics to pass over to the Latin rite, the law presently in force forbids the Western non-Catholics to pass over to the Eastern rite. Is it normal that the Protestants of Rome, for example, in converting to Catholicism, should pass over to an Eastern rite? It is not more normal for Eastern non-Catholics to pass over to the Latin rite.

Conclusion: If one wishes that the Eastern Catholic Churches should grow and continue to fulfill their mission, it is necessary to forbid the latinization of the East, unless there is a personal exception.

Article 7. "The faithful of Eastern rites who, notwithstanding the instructions of the Roman pontiffs, for whatever reason have at certain times been enticed to desert their native rite in order to embrace the Latin rite, are paternally invited by this holy council to return to their former and original rite."

That is, in other words, the intention of "Orientalium Dignitas" No. 11: "If, among the dissidents, any community or family or person shall return to the Catholic unity, while a necessary condition has been set down that they embrace the Latin rite, let them remain for the time being enrolled in that rite, with the ability to return one day to their original Catholic rite. If such a condition has not been set down, but the said community, family, or person are served by Latin priests because of a lack of Eastern priests, they are obliged to return to their rite as soon as there is an availability of an Eastern priest."

Article. 8. On Change to Another Rite

"It is the prerogative of only the Roman pontiff, having heard from the interested hierarchs, to permit Catholic faithful, for grave and personal reasons, to transfer to another rite."

There can be presented particular cases in which the higher good of a soul requires the change to another rite. In order to avoid all kinds of conflict and above all the abuse which a too easy procedure would produce on this point, it is thought that the best method would be to reserve these transfers to the judgment of the sovereign pontiff.

Article 9. On the Eastern Rites outside the Eastern Regions

"As a Latin hierarchy has been set up in the East for the good of the faithful of the Latin rite dwelling there, likewise there will be a provision throughout the world for the safeguarding and growth of Churches of the Eastern rites through setting up an Eastern hierarchy wherever the number and the spiritual good of the faithful of Eastern rites require it."

The Roman Holy See establishes everywhere in the world its own hierarchy for the benefit of the faithful of the Latin rite (no corner of the world lacks a Latin hierarchy), whereas it does not establish for the benefit of the numerous Eastern faithful of the diaspora its own hierarchy. The most frequent reason for this is the opposition of Latin ordinaries who do not wish a jurisdiction parallel to theirs in the same territory. The above principle aims to affirm the normal character of this multiplicity of jurisdiction everywhere in the world wherever the number of the faithful and their spiritual good require it.

The Orthodox have established a hierarchy almost everywhere in the diaspora. Prevented by the opposition of Latin ordinaries, Eastern Catholics are, in the emigration, almost everywhere without their own hierarchy, which causes considerable injury to them and slowly undermines their existence. While our Orthodox brothers are established in the emigration, we must state that we delay. Thus, for example, the Melkite Church has nearly half of its members outside the East, without a hierarchy, sometimes even without a parish priest. On this point, our union puts us in a position of inferiority compared with our Orthodox brethren.

Article 10. On the Cooperation of Rites

"When there is a multiplicity of various rites of the Catholic hierarchy in the same territory, let more extensive faculties be granted, on behalf of the common good and for nourishing the coordination of apostolic efforts, to the synod of all hierarchs who possess jurisdiction in that territory."

The multiplicity of rites can be, in the absence of organization, a regrettable dispersion of forces. Certain persons do not cease to extol the suppression of different rites and their replacement by a single rite precisely because of the inconveniences which result from the multiplicity of jurisdictions. Now these inconveniences can easily be avoided if there is installed in the Church a system of synodalism charged with all questions of general interest. Concretely, in a fixed territory with multiple jurisdiction, most serious questions will arise even if there is a single authority that, in the place of that of a single hierarch, becomes that of a synod of hierarchs: which is, to be definite, an excellent thing and introduces into the Church a moderated democratic element, more consistent with the traditions of the East. Naturally, all of this must be clearly specified in the future code of canon law.

Each of the propositions mentioned above, taken by itself, could be a subject for discussion, for there is no human institution that does not present some drawbacks. But if one has in view that the principal reason for the existence of us Eastern Catholics is to promote Christian union, these proposals acquire a capital importance and assert themselves on their own merit.

In conformity with the above project, the Eastern Commission prepared a draft of a distinct schema "On the Eastern Rites." The patriarch approved it as a whole, but made a criticism of a detail. The text was read at the third meeting of the Central Commission, held in January 1962.

This schema "On Rites in the Church" corresponds to the ideas that I have always defended on the situation and the mission of the Eastern Catholic Churches in the bosom of Catholicity. Thus I am happy to approve the main part of this schema.

I shall make only one criticism of a passage in the preamble where it is said that the Catholic Church does not place any limits to the recognition and expansion of the Eastern rites other than those "that produce a danger for souls and derogate from ecclesiastical respectability." This phrase, borrowed from the Fourth Lateran Council, is not fortunate. It is indelicate, in fact, and also absolutely false, to suspect that only in the "Eastern rites" as such there is a "danger for souls" or a "derogation of ecclesiastical respectability." The Eastern rites are an integral part of the Catholic tradition. They are not heretical or schismatic rites. Likewise, in the Eastern discipline there is absolutely nothing that constitutes a danger for souls or a violation of ecclesiastical respectability. This phrase of the Fourth Lateran Council is explained by the mentality of the epoch.

Observations of the Synod on the First Conciliar Schema "On the Eastern Churches" (1963)

The first schema "On the Eastern Churches," distributed to the Fathers of the Council, was submitted to an intensive review by the Holy Synod of August, 1963. The text of these first observations of the synod deserves to be published in major part, because of its historic importance. It follows step by step the text of the conciliar schema.

1. Criticism of the Preamble

The council considers itself as belonging to a Church which venerates the Eastern Churches, as if they were not part of the Church. Thus this preamble should be done over, according to the following observations:

-Eliminate the interpolation: "the very large and honorable crown of the Eastern patriarchs and prelates." This expression seems a bit hyperbolic. It is true that at the Second Vatican Council the number of Eastern prelates is greater than at the First Vatican Council, but it still remains only modest, compared with the first councils of antiquity, and also with the total of the Fathers in attendance, who are about 95% Latin.

-"Earnestly desiring therefore to manifest its solicitude for these venerable Churches." These words are paternalistic. Besides, they have been used too frequently. The Eastern Church should not be pampered like a weak child or coaxed like an unmanageable child. There is no need for special "solicitude." It is a branch of the Church, which wishes only that it be granted a just place in Catholicism, which is presently too massively Latin in constitution and in mentality.

-Omit the expression: "Among the people of the East." In fact, the proper mission of the Eastern Church is not limited to only the people of the East. The Church of the East is not today a geographical expression. It is a branch of the Church, nowadays spread out a bit everywhere. It is fitting, therefore, that it display its activity everywhere. The schema reveals, here and there, a mentality that is not very favorable to the East, as we shall see. For the schema, the Latin Church is the rule, the norm. The Eastern Church, the Eastern discipline, the patriarchs are the exception, which it is fitting to limit as much as possible. There are favorable wishes that the Eastern Church live and work, but "among the people of the East." Outside the East, it has nothing to do, and its faithful of the diaspora are normally destined to be latinized. It is necessary to react against this mentality.

-Omit the clause: "proposed by the Eastern patriarchs and prelates." For, to begin with, it is not true. One should not attribute to the patriarchs and prelates of the East this schema, which is not their work, and which is, to be definitive, not very favorable to them. In the second place, it is not fitting that the council be content to affirm what a portion of its members has proposed. The conciliar texts are the work of all the Fathers, even if they have been prepared by one group.

2. Particular Churches

Commence this portion with this affirmation of principle, which has as its aim showing that the epithet "particular Churches" applies not only to the Eastern Churches, as it is said, but to all Churches, including the Latin Church: "All Churches of the apostolic tradition, of whatever rite, whether Eastern or Western, are particular Churches."

-Omit the word "Orientalium." In fact it is not the variety of Eastern Churches that, "far from harming the Church, demonstrates its Catholicity." It is the variety of all the particular Churches. It is not only the Eastern Churches that are particular Churches. Even the Latin Church is a particular Church in the universal Church.

-Replace "of the nation or of the region" with "of the Church." Indeed, it is not a matter of safeguarding the traditions of each "nation or region," but of each "Church." It is not a matter of folklore, but of ecclesial traditions.

3. The Eastern Churches and the Roman Pontiff

One cannot say that all the particular Churches are "in an equal manner" entrusted to the pope. The Church of Rome is entrusted to him as its immediate bishop. The Western Church is entrusted to him as its patriarch. But the Eastern Churches and all the Churches are entrusted to him as the successor of Peter.

4. Easterners not provided with hierarchs

Add the following phrase: "Where indeed an ordinary of any rite has jurisdiction over the clergy and faithful of another rite, he should rule them with paternal love according to the spirit of their own rite. The spirit of the rite is that which thrives in the patriarchate or in other superior authority of that rite."

This addition is intended to prevent certain abuses: contamination of the rite, serious negligence in liturgical and disciplinary matters, etc. Since Latin ordinaries, for example, have jurisdiction over some Eastern faithful, they should govern them according to the spirit of their Eastern rite, and the source of this spirit should be the superior authority of the rite.

5. Religious Institutes working in the East

Add the following proposal: "among whom not only is the Eastern rite observed, but also the Eastern spirit prevails."

To us, this proposal seems to be necessary. In fact, it is not enough for Latin religious institutes to open houses or provinces of the Eastern rite; it is necessary that these foundations be animated by the Eastern spirituality, and, above all, it is necessary that they have the love of the East. The rite does not make the Easterner. One has seen strangers make themselves Eastern in regard to the rite, and at the same time nourish much aversion for the discipline, spirituality, apostolate, etc. of the Eastern Church. One should rather forbid these persons to adopt the Eastern rite.

6. Rite of the Orthodox Passing over to Catholic Unity

This number 9, as it is shown in the schema, is absolutely inadmissible. It constitutes a serious injustice, that we shall never tolerate, and a fatal blow to the Eastern Catholic Church. Therefore, given the gravity of the matter, we must expand a bit on this point.

First, it is appropriate to recall that this number, absolutely unexpectedly, has replaced a paragraph that the Eastern Commission had approved by a large majority, after long discussions. We thought that the affair was closed. But "certain persons"—we do not know which ones—have improperly replaced that former paragraph, favorable to the Easterners, with this new text, which constitutes a true injustice. Naturally, to cover up doing things in this manner, care was taken not to convene the conciliar commission, so that the Fathers of the council would be confronted with an accomplished deed. We protest vigorously against this abuse of confidence.

a. State of the question

While awaiting the blessed general reunion of all the Churches, to which we aspire with all our hearts, and for which we are willing to sacrifice ourselves, we must state that there are inevitably in Christianity some individuals or groups not united to Rome who ask access to union with it. For these cases, which we cannot ignore, we must establish applicable norms that are provisional—that is to say, until the global union of the Churches—to regulate these individual or partial unions.

The working out of these norms should not offend our Orthodox brethren or be considered as an indication of a proselytism of a bad type that "nibbles away" at their Church. We proceed here as would the Orthodox Church itself, which, in its canon laws and in its liturgical books, legitimately decrees prescriptions to be applied to other Christians who come to Orthodoxy.

In this section, it is a matter of baptized non-Catholics who come to the Catholic Church. To which rite should they belong? For example, an American Protestant who becomes Catholic, must he belong to the Latin Church, or should he, at the moment of his conversion, be able to choose to enter the rite that he wishes, for example, the Malabar rite? Common sense will doubtless reply: an American Protestant, if he becomes Catholic, normally should only be made a part of the Latin Catholic Church of America. If particular circumstances require that he become Malabar or Armenian, he has only to make application to the Holy See.

And if it is a question of non-Catholic (Orthodox) Easterners, what should one think? For example, an Ethiopian Orthodox who wishes to become Catholic, to what rite should he belong? Common sense replies: Normally, he will belong to the Ethiopian Catholic Church. However, for personal reasons that are completely special, of which superior authority remains the judge, he will be able exceptionally to become Malabar, Armenian, Ukrainian, or Latin. This is the point of view that we have always defended: Eastern Orthodox, in becoming Catholic, must normally remain not only Eastern (that is to say, not Latin), but also, in a more precise manner, Easterners of the same rite to which they may belong in Orthodoxy, except for personal reasons which may require their change to another rite, with the consent of the Holy See.

Unfortunately, such has not been the opinion of those who wrote this last schema, who have succeeded in maneuvering in such a way as to let the text voted by the preparatory commission fall into oblivion, to avoid summoning the conciliar commission and thus to present, as if it were coming from the Eastern prelates, a latinizing theory which is contrary to the constant attitude of the Holy See on this point.

This requires some explanations. We shall show first the discipline that was in force until now, then we shall review the text that is presented to us now, to defend afterwards the text which was voted by the preparatory Eastern Commission of the council, and which we shall continually defend with vigor, for the very future of Catholicism in the East is involve

b. Discipline in force until 1958

Until 1958, that is to say until the motu proprio "Cleri Sanctitati" of June 2, 1957, came into force, non-Catholic baptized Easterners who came over to Catholicism could choose, among the Eastern rites, whichever one pleased them. Thus, an Orthodox Ethiopian, on becoming Catholic, could become Armenian, Coptic, or Malabar, but he had to remain at least Eastern. To become Latin, he needed either an express indult of the Holy See, or to pose a condition, as it were a sine qua non, of not being willing to become Catholic except in the Latin rite. In practice, the apostles of latinization were not much bothered by this, and they counseled all whom they "converted" to set down this condition sine qua non. Entire regions were latinized in this manner. The Easterners protested vigorously, but the latinizers found powerful support at the Roman Curia and among the representatives of the Holy See in the locale. The most generous intentions of the popes thus remained a dead letter.

This discipline, in force until 1958, had an advantage and presented a drawback. The advantage was that it aimed at normally leaving the Easterners in the Eastern Church, without excluding the possibility of changing into the Latin rite, if special conditions were realized in the judgement of the Holy See. The drawback was that it authorized the Easterners, at the moment of their passing over to the Catholic Church, to join freely any Eastern Church whatsoever. Thus an Ethiopian could become Ukrainian, an Armenian could become Malabar, and a Russian could become Malankar. In practice, that did not happen, for each one remained in fact in his rite, but the legislation was defective in theory. It called for an improvement, in the sense of greater precision.

c. Discipline in force since 1958

The motu proprio "Cleri Sanctitati" of June 2, 1957, instead of improving the situation, aggravated it. Canon 11 of this motu proprio, in fact, gives to baptized non-Catholics of an Eastern rite, on becoming Catholic, the option of choosing the rite that they wish: "they can embrace the rite that they prefer." And that is just as true in the East as outside it. It is well known what vigorous protests our Melkite Church has raised, since the Synod of Cairo in 1958, against this canon. Here we summarize them briefly for the attention of those who have not become aware of them:

i. Canon 11, which was an innovation, is contrary to the declarations of the popes and the legislation which was in force until then. In particular, Pope Benedict XIV, in the constitution "Allatae Sunt" of July 26, 1755, no. 33, intended to summarize the constant norm followed by the popes when he said: "Never have the Roman pontiffs required from those who return to the Catholic faith that they abandon their rite and embrace by obligation the Latin rite. That would be, in fact, the disappearance of the Eastern Church and of all the Greek and Eastern rites, something that not only has never been attempted, but has always been and today still is absolutely alien to the spirit of the Holy See." And the Propaganda equally replied, on June 1, 1885 (Collectanea II, No. 1633, second) that missionaries, in receiving into the Catholic Church those who were born in Orthodoxy, must inscribe them in their Eastern rite, and not in the Latin rite, except by special authorization of the Holy See. Finally, it is clear, from what we have said under letter b, that canon 11 is contrary to the legislation which was in force until then.

ii. The new canon, it is true, does not oblige the Eastern non-Catholics to enter, by obligation, the Latin rite. But it is sufficient that they are permitted to do so in order for the "latinizers," still very numerous in the East and in the West, to redouble their fervor and to deprive the Eastern Catholic Churches of nearly all new development. Certainly, there is nothing improper in that the Roman Holy See, taking into consideration the particular needs of certain individuals, authorizes them to change by exception to the Latin rite, or to an Eastern rite other than their own, for the ultimate goal of all legislation in the Church must be the good of souls. But Church law should anticipate what is normal, not what is exceptional. Normally an Ethiopian Orthodox will be an Ethiopian Catholic, a Malabar Orthodox will be a Malabar Catholic, etc. But it is not normal for a Greek Orthodox to become Latin or Malabar. Besides, to permit the Latins to admit into their Latin rite, on a normal and regular basis, non-Catholic Easterners who wish to come to unity, is in the present concrete circumstances, given the considerable means that the latinizers have at their disposal in personnel, in works, and in resources, to condemn the Eastern Catholic Churches not to develop normally. Thus the liberty and the apparent equality intended by the canon are in practice equivalent to delivering the weak to the mercy of the strong.

iii. Leo XIII had prescribed severe sanctions, going as far as the deprivation of office, against those who pushed Easterners to adopt the Latin rite. The sanctions have in practice remained a dead letter, and the movement of latinization of the East has continued as before. Now, what the severest sanctions have not been able to prevent, will a simple wish, stealthily set at the end of the canon, to encourage the Easterners to remain in their rite, do any more to prevent? Canon 11 says, in fact: "Baptized non-Catholics of Eastern rite, who are admitted into the Catholic Church, can embrace the rite that they prefer; yet it is hoped that they retain their own rite." A platonic wish, which does not deceive anyone.

iv. While this canon 11 authorizes the Eastern non-Catholics to pass over to the Latin rite, the law presently in force forbids the Western non-Catholics to pass over to the Eastern rite! It is quietly admitted, in fact, that an Italian Protestant who wishes to become Catholic cannot normally adopt the Eastern rite, but will belong to the Latin rite. Besides, does it make good sense that Protestants of Rome, for example, in converting to Catholicism, pass into an Eastern rite? It does not make any better sense for Eastern Orthodox to become Latin.

For all these reasons we have protested vigorously against the innovation of canon 11 of the motu proprio "Cleri Sanctitati," and, benefiting from the fact that the Eastern Commission was studying this question anew, the Melkite delegate proposed an amendment to this canon to be submitted to the council. Here is how things have gone:

d. The Text Proposed by the Eastern Commission

The Commission "On the Eastern Churches," preparatory to the Council, approved by a large majority, in its session XVI, of April 21, 1961, the following text (See document No. 81-1961, pp. 2 & 3):

"Baptized non-Catholics, who are admitted to the Catholic Church, are obliged to retain their own rite, while the right is preserved, in particular cases, of having recourse to the Apostolic See."

This text presented the following advantages:

i. It does not set up any discrimination between the Latin rite and the Eastern rites. The rule that it proposes is equally valid for Western non-Catholics and for Eastern non-Catholics.

ii. It indicates that this must be the rule, the norm: each one must remain faithful to his rite, Western or Eastern.

iii. It sufficiently takes into account particular cases: the Holy See can give as many dispensations as it judges expedient.

Nevertheless, in spite of this opening that it allows for passing into another rite, the text has not pleased certain persons, who seem to wish at any price to favor the latinization of Easterners. Not taking into account the majority vote of the commission, they have tried, by the means at their disposal, to change the text, and that by stages, very cleverly, as one will see.

e. Modifications brought about successively to the text voted by the Eastern Commission

A first retouching, made in a photocopied communication entitled "Amended and Abridged Text," and dated December 15, 1962, reduced the text to the following:

"Baptized non-Catholics, in regions of particular rites, who are admitted to the Catholic Church, must retain their own rite; outside the regions of the particular rites they can embrace the rite that they prefer, although it is hoped that they retain their own rite, while the right is preserved, in particular cases, of having recourse to the Apostolic See."

Thus this first retouching, by interpolating very cleverly the addition "in regions of particular rites," limits the norm voted by the commission to Eastern regions alone; outside the Eastern regions, Eastern non-Catholics, on becoming Catholic, are not held to remaining Eastern, and of their original rite, but could choose the rites that they should wish, that is to say, in practice to pass into the Latin rite.

Thus we have protested with extreme vigor both this interpolation and the proceedings that consisted of scorning the deliberative vote of the commission in order to substitute in place of its text a text made in secret by unknown persons.

The result of our protest: the same persons who interpolated the first text drew up a text still more unfavorable to the East, that of the present schema No. 9, which reads as follows:

"Baptized non-Catholics, returning to the Catholic Church, in regions of their own rites, are admonished to retain their own rite..."

Thus, not only has the rule of remaining in one's own rite been limited to the East ("in regions of their own rites") but this obligation itself has disappeared; the verb "must" is cleverly replaced by the verb "are admonished"; after the admonishing, one is free to do what one wishes. And the prelates of the East, who had struggled so hard for the safeguarding of their rights, have been duped. And with the summit of the cleverness it is all presented as if coming from the Eastern prelates themselves: "to approve several chapters, proposed by the Eastern patriarchs and prelates." There is no need to comment.

f. Conclusion

i. The text on which the preparatory commission "On the Eastern Churches" had decided by a large majority should be respected. It can only be changed by a formal decision of the Conciliar Commission, which has no meeting until the middle of September, 1963.

ii. Again we declare that it is the province of the Fathers of the Council alone to approve or reject the only text legitimately proposed by the competent preparatory commission, namely the following:

g. Text proposed to the Council

"Baptized non-Catholics, who are admitted to the Catholic Church, are obliged to retain their own rite, while the right is preserved, in particular cases, of having recourse to the Apostolic See."

This discipline, which does not favor one or another Eastern Church that does not have an Orthodox branch, does not as such close to them the door to a wide apostolate of union. For they still have the possibility of recourse to the Holy See, and of working directly among non-Christians to lead them to the Catholic Church according to their particular rite. Happily, these Churches constitute an exception in the Christian East.

We regret that the study of this No. 9 of the schema has occupied us so long; but the question that is raised is of vital importance to the Eastern Catholic Churches.

7. The Patriarchs

One cannot say "thus and simply" that the patriarchal institution has been bestowed or recognized by the popes or by the ecumenical councils. That is historically false. It is not the Popes of Rome who have created the true and great Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. It is not even the ecumenical councils that created the institution of the patriarchate. The first Ecumenical Council of Nicea, in mentioning the three principal sees of Christianity (Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch), already implied the patriarchal institution, not as to the name, but as to the reality. This supra-episcopal reality that is the patriarchate has its roots in the apostolic age. The councils approved an accomplished fact. The popes have only created certain united patriarchates of recent institution. The patriarchate, as such, if it is not of divine right, is nevertheless apostolic and founded on the most ancient patristic tradition.

No. 12 of the schema can therefore remain as a wish that the council expresses to see the patriarchal institution honored in the Catholic Church. But to follow up on this wish, it will be necessary to do much work. For, truly, in the Catholic Church the patriarchal institution appears to the partisans of centralization as the principal enemy. However, nothing supports the primacy of the successor of Peter as much as the crown of his brothers, the patriarchs of the great sees of Christianity. To depreciate Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, or Jerusalem is to depreciate Peter and his successor. One should recall the words of Pope St. Gregory: "My honor is in the honor of my brothers." But it will doubtless be necessary to wait another century for Catholicity to become aware of what the institution of the patriarchate is. The West has forgotten that it has a patriarch, who is the Bishop of Rome, and that the East, its senior in Christianity, has several patriarchs. To measure the incomprehension of the Catholic West on the subject of the patriarchal institution, it is sufficient to read the three-fourths of a page that the schema "On the Eastern Churches" devotes to it.

We repeat: in a hundred years, it will be necessary to take up this theme again. Knowing the present state of minds, we have no hope of being able to achieve the adoption of a text on the patriarchates which will truly conform to Tradition and to what the Church has a right to expect from an institution that has presided, with the primacy of the successor of Peter, over the destinies of the faith across twenty centuries.

That is why we propose that either the Council should not speak of the patriarchates, rather than speak of them in this manner, or else that it be content with the following few lines, leaving to future generations the care of maturing this question: "The patriarchs are the principal bishops in the Catholic Church. That is to say that they enjoy full episcopal power, which is minimally or little bound by canonical limitation, as it is for other bishops. For it does not exceed the innate power of the successors of the Apostles that the senior bishops, each for his own region, should create other bishops, with whom they collegially govern the same territory, and over whom they preside as princes of the pastors.

"What, however, concerns the title or number or the territorial limits or the precedence of sees, that pertains to ecclesiastical law.

"According to the ancient tradition of the Church and of the ecumenical councils, the following are the titles and order of the major patriarchal sees: the first see is the Roman one of Saint Peter, the leader of the Apostles, the second Constantinople, the third Alexandria, the fourth Antioch, and the fifth Jerusalem."

This very brief text has for its aim first to combat the thesis that underlies the schema, according to which the patriarchate is constituted by the pure privileges that the pope concedes, and which he can modify at will. Now, one would wish to know the name of the pope or the council that erected as patriarchates the sees of Antioch and of Alexandria. On the contrary, for Saint Leo and Saint Gregory the Great, the three sees of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch draw their authority from the Apostle Peter: Peter at Antioch, Peter at Alexandria through his disciple Mark, Peter at Rome. Even if today one does not share the opinion of these two great popes, it still remains none the less true that the patriarchate is not a simple question of privileges granted by the pope or by the council to bishops taken at random.

In the second place, the council owes it to itself to cite the five patriarchal seats of Christianity. In setting aside the Roman seat, and making the patriarchate an institution that is purely Eastern, and almost non-Catholic, one distorts the facts of history and the very character of the patriarchal institution.

If one wishes nevertheless to go into some canonical details, we would propose to add also the following text:

"Except for the Roman See, there exists no patriarchal see, properly so-called, of the Latin rite. "The patriarchs who are called Eastern, by the force of their dignity, power, and traditional pre-eminence, whether in ecumenical councils or outside councils of that type, that is to say in handling all affairs, are, together with the Roman pontiff, their chief leader, special bishops of that Church which is everywhere. "That power of the patriarchs over their own bishops, clergy, and faithful, which has flourished from most ancient times, indeed from apostolic times, is produced by the Holy Spirit in the Mystical Body of Christ.

"The patriarchs thus constitute, by traditional and canonical right, in communion with the Bishop of Rome, the supreme college in the Church.

"What the Synod of Florence and after it the Roman pontiffs have affirmed very frequently concerning not reducing substantially the rights and privileges of the patriarchs, this holy synod solemnly confirms. These rights and privileges are those that were in force during the thousand-year union of the East and the West, and even if they should occasionally be adapted to our times, they are truly not to be diminished appreciably."

8. Minister of Confirmation

One knows that the Council of Trent has defined that the "ordinary" minister of the sacrament of confirmation is the bishop. Besides, the expression "ordinary minister" is not a happy one when applied to the Eastern discipline. It is manifestly inspired by the Latin practice, in which the bishop is in fact the minister who ordinarily administers this sacrament, whereas, in the authentic Eastern discipline it is the priest who ordinarily administers this sacrament, and the bishop quite extraordinarily. On the other hand, the Eastern priest can confirm only when using the Myron or Holy Chrism, which only the patriarch or bishop can consecrate. To reconcile these two practices, it is proposed to say that the bishop is the "minister said to be the ordinary, or rather primary or original." To understand the Eastern point of view on this point of terminology, let the Latin theologians pose this question to themselves: if the Latin Church had confirmation ordinarily administered by the priests and not by the bishops, would they have called the bishop the "ordinary minister" of confirmation? It is thus necessary to find a term which fits both the Eastern discipline and the Western one, and not to make the Eastern point of view bend each time to the Latin practice.

9. The Eucharist to the Newly Baptized

As the Easterners have remained faithful to the usage of conferring the sacrament of confirmation at the same time as baptism, it is logical to confer also the third of the "three sacraments of Christian initiation," which is the Holy Eucharist. All those who have been baptized in Christ are at the same time confirmed in Him and receive His Body and His precious Blood. There is no reason to give confirmation to infants and to refuse to them the Holy Eucharist. It is a universal and very beautiful usage of the Eastern Church, which it is fitting to preserve or to restore.

10. Mixed Marriages

The Eastern Commission has voted a text to ease the present discipline of mixed marriages in the East. It was believed necessary to have this text preceded by a preface that is inspired by a spirit that is rather opposed to the open-mindedness of the section that follows, not to mention that this preface is complicated, a bit offensive to non-Catholics, and definitely unnecessary. It begins by saying that it is not easy to avoid mixed marriages. That is obvious, as well for the East as for the West. However, the text adds, it is necessary to warn the faithful to avoid these mixed marriages. That is to establish as a principle that these marriages are something bad. Then it is said that if one cannot avoid them, one should watch out that the spouses avoid the dangers that they comprise, etc. To remark that the non-Catholics take the same measures to protect themselves against us is to put the faithful in a very tormented state of conscience.

The text of the schema adds two other phrases that we propose to eliminate. The first sets up a condition: "and if there likewise should be danger lest the non-Catholic partner oblige the Catholic partner to join him." This condition is not necessary to permit the bishop to dispense from the form of marriage. It occurs sometimes; at other times it does not. If it is put in the conciliar text, theologians are going to believe that henceforth the Church demands another condition. The second phrase is: "Yet the conscience of the hierarchs is gravely burdened by the observance of the precautions that are prescribed in the law." According to a widespread opinion, which has been officially communicated to us by the Eastern Congregation, the Church only requires of the Catholic party that he or she promise to do as much as possible to ensure that the children are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church. Nothing more seems to have been demanded, above all of the non-Catholic party, except respect of his Catholic spouse. Given that opinion and the practice that it inspires, it seems to us that the phrase of the schema "gravely burdened conscience" becomes a bit excessive. What sort of Catholic party is one who does not wish to do what is possible?

11. Sacred Times

It seems to us that this matter "of sacred times" should be rather in the jurisdiction of the future code of Eastern canon law. It is not appropriate that the council descend to these details, unless it wishes to totally renew and unify this rather complicated matter. Now, this is not the case, for each number of the schema leaves an opening for the regulations of the particular law. Thus, nothing is accomplished. After the council, as before it, each Church will continue pretty much to be guided by its own intentions. Besides, it seems difficult to unify this discipline in all the countries of the world at the same time. It is better, it seems, that the council invite the hierarchs having jurisdiction in the same country to unify the discipline in the matters of the feasts, of fasting, and of abstinence. This is a question of local interest that synods or episcopal conferences can handle more advantageously.

12. Living Language in the Liturgy

The Church is dynamic, living, adapting continuously. Although we Melkites, for example, have passed from the Greek to Syriac, then from Syriac to Arabic, it isn't that we should stop there. In the United States, our "Arabic" is English; in Paris, French; in Argentina, Spanish; etc. Since we are permitted to celebrate everywhere in the living language, we do not have to inform the hierarch of the place, for it is a general law of the Church, which is supposed to be known and respected. Likewise, we do not inform him that we wish to celebrate with leavened bread. But, if we habitually wish to celebrate in a language that is not the living language of the country, or if we wish to celebrate in a language that is not habitually in use in our Church, then, in that case, we must inform the hierarch of the place. For example, if we have to celebrate in Spanish in New York. But if, in New York, we wish to celebrate in English, we do not have to give notice to the ordinary of the place, for the general law of the Church authorizes us to celebrate everywhere in the vernacular, therefore in English in New York.

13. Union of Christians

This second part of the schema deserves complete praise. We say that all the more willingly in that we have been severe on the first part, on the canonical aspect. We shall make one or another remark, primarily of details, so that the text may be even better, if possible, but the spirit with which this second part has been composed is clearly different from the spirit of the first part. One feels there respect and love with regard to the Christian East. All our congratulations, without reservations.

These amendments are proposed to soften what the expressions of the schema may have that is uselessly offensive; for example: "that they may come to Catholic unity." Catholic unity is the unity of all Churches in the universal Church, the "catholica." It is not fitting to present union as the return of our brethren to us, but rather our reunion in the Catholic Church: a matter of nuances, but very important in ecumenical dialogue. Likewise, it is necessary at all cost to eliminate the clause "and that they may participate in the fullness of revelation," for our Orthodox brethren do participate in the fullness of revelation, since they do not deny the Scriptures, nor Tradition, nor the magisterium of the Church. Likewise, it is not completely exact to say that only by their joining Catholicism will our separated brethren "be made members in fact of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ." What were they formerly? The schema "On the Church" has corrected, on this point, the theories of certain too rigid theologians; it is fitting to take this into account.

Having said this, it pleases us to renew our congratulations for this second part, while wishing that the first be done over in the same spirit. We also wish, with the Fathers of the first session of the council, that a single text "On the Union of Eastern Christians" be drawn up in collaboration with the Secretariat for the Union of Christians. A frank collaboration should be sought.

Observations of the Synod on the Second Conciliar Schema "On the Eastern Churches" (1964)

Profiting from the written remarks that had been made to it, the Eastern Commission reviewed its schema, reducing it considerably. The Holy Synod of August 1964 made new observations on it, which were copied and distributed to the Fathers of the council at the time of their Session III (Autumn, 1964). They deserve, like the preceding synodal observations, to be published in major part, in light of their historical importance.

I. Preliminary Question: Is This Schema Necessary?

Many Fathers have thought that a special schema "On the Eastern Churches" was not necessary and that its matter could advantageously be included in other schemas. In fact, the Eastern Churches are not Churches on the margin of the Church, distinct from the Church, of such a sort that the Council should devote a separate schema to them. They are of the Church as much as the Latin Church. There is thus a danger that in addressing itself in a particular manner to the Eastern Churches, the council might identify itself with the Latin Church addressing itself, with a touch of paternalistic benevolence, to the Eastern Churches.

This danger is not chimerical, but it can be avoided by appropriate clarifications, some of which already appear in the text of the schema, and others should be added. The council is the universal Catholic Church, which is no more Latin than Greek, Armenian, or other. Through the council, it is the Catholic Church itself that addresses sometimes the Latin Church to bring about reforms (which is the case for the mass of the canonical schemas), sometimes to the Eastern Churches, which have particular needs, sometimes to the Church as a whole, the Latin and Eastern, without distinction. The confusion between the Catholic Church and the Latin Church can thus be easily avoided.

Besides, numerous positive reasons provide evidence in favor of a particular schema "On the Eastern Churches": a. The Eastern Catholic Churches today certainly have problems to be resolved, which are not posed to the Latin Church as a whole: the effort to resist massive latinization and to remain faithful to their Eastern vocation, the restoration of the patriarchal and synodal privileges, return to a truly Eastern canonical discipline, inter-ritual collaboration, wider inter-confessional relations with our Orthodox brothers, etc. These problems, special to the East, should receive a particular solution and cannot be dispersed among the other schemas, with the risk of being unnoticed, or of receiving a less than adequate solution. Nevertheless, in all the other schemas, institutions particular to the East are often taken into account, in the manner of a lure announcing the schema devoted to the Eastern Churches.

b. In the second place, the present schema has profited from the tendency of the Council, the supreme authority, to abolish, in the present Eastern canonical legislation (done by way of the Roman authority), that which appeared inopportune or contrary to sound Eastern tradition. If it should happen that this schema were eliminated, the codification commission, sitting at Rome, would risk either indefinitely postponing its work or codifying it in a sense unfavorable to the Easterners. See, for example, the measures taken by the schema to forbid massive latinization (No. 4, p. 6, lines 6-7: "and also the baptized non-Catholics coming to the Catholic Church"), to make known everywhere the validity of the sacrament of confirmation administered by Eastern priests (No. 13-14), to widen the Sunday precept (No. 15), to facilitate confessions (No. 16), to restore the sub-diaconate among the minor orders (No. 17), to effect a reasonable easing of mixed marriages in the East (No. 18), etc. Taking everything into consideration, the present schema, even if it can be improved on more than one point, is good, and it will help the Eastern Churches to rediscover themselves.

c. Finally, what is a considerable advantage, the presence of a particular schema on the East, prepared by a special commission, will open the way for the creation of a post-conciliar commission, which will take up the work that has been commenced and will improve it. Like all the other post-conciliar commissions, it will be international, with wide horizons and piously audacious. The progress of the East will thus be, in large part, the work of the Easterners themselves or of brothers who are friends of the East.

For all these reasons, we believe that the present schema should be maintained as a distinct schema, and that it is written well enough to be proposed to the council. It must be corrected on certain points. On other points, it can be improved, but, as it is, it represents an improvement.

II. Title of the Schema

Since the term "Eastern Churches" applies to the Eastern Orthodox Churches as well as to the Eastern Catholic Churches, and since, on the other hand, the council intends to legislate only for Catholics, we propose saying "On the Eastern Catholic Churches." "Eastern" and "Western" are understood not so much as of a geographical position, but as of two manners of being in the Church, of two partially distinct forms of ecclesial life. For, geographically, there are today Easterners in the "West," and Westerners in the "East," in Africa, everywhere. To permit the Easterners, as well as the Westerners, to be "at home" wherever they are, one should no longer speak of the "Eastern territories" and the "Western territories": there are faithful of the Eastern rites and faithful of the Latin rite dispersed throughout the world, and everywhere they are all at home in the bosom of the same Catholic Church.

III. The Preamble

The preamble is not felicitous. It does not sufficiently avoid giving the impression that the Catholic Church is speaking of the Eastern Churches as entities distinct from it. Well, the Catholic Church is composed of the Eastern Churches as well as of the Latin Church.

In the second place, the Catholic Church gratuitously pays the compliment of "having always held in high esteem" the institutions, the rites, the ecclesiastical traditions, and the discipline of the Eastern Churches. Well, apart from the liturgical rites (again!), the other institutions of the East have generally been so little respected in the Catholic Church that, without the relatively recent awareness of certain Easterners, they were running a great risk of disappearing. The latinization of the East is not only a phenomenon of the past; today it is still extolled openly and upheld secretly and even publicly by very weighty authorities of the Catholic Church, in spite of the warnings of the popes, which have been severe and repeated a hundredfold. To say after that that the Catholic Church, represented, to be sure, by Catholics, leaders and faithful, has always held in high esteem the institutions of the East, appears to be almost ironic.

We propose saying more clearly and more humbly: "All the Christian faithful and leaders everywhere must hold... the institutions of the Eastern Churches."

One can also purely and simply eliminate this preamble and substitute for it Number 2, which is, in general, a good introduction to the existence, in the bosom of the Church, of hierarchical groups such as that of the Latin Church or the different Eastern Churches.

IV. The Particular Churches

One is a bit surprised by this title. Not that the expression "particular Churches" causes any difficulty today, as it is widely used in the schema "On the Church." But one is astonished that the council speaks of "particular Churches" right at the beginning of the schema devoted to the "Eastern Churches," as if only the Eastern Churches were particular Churches, and the Latin Church synonymous with the universal Church. This impression, contrary to Catholic doctrine, can be dispelled if there is inserted in the text a word of clarification.

We would willingly propose that Number 2 serve as a preamble to the whole schema, in case the present preamble could not be sufficiently improved. Besides, it repeats an idea, expressed in greater depth in the schema "On the Church," on the origin of Churches within the Church. In every case, this should be sustained in order to exclude all confusion between particular Church and liturgical rite. The same rite can be common to several Churches, for example the Byzantine rite, employed not only by the Greek Church but also by the Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Melkite Churches, etc. Likewise, a Church can have, in itself, different liturgical rites, for example the Church of Lyons, which practices the Lyons rite and the Roman rite. It is thus necessary to distinguish these ideas, and above all to avoid seeing in the Eastern Churches nothing more than different liturgical rites. It is that that Number 2 has wished to avoid doing.

To avoid promoting the belief that only the Eastern Churches are particular Churches and that the Latin Church is the universal Church, it is absolutely necessary to modify the beginning of paragraph 3, as follows: "Particular Churches of this type, whether Eastern or Latin, although in rites, etc...." It is necessary at any cost to declare, once and for all, that the Latin Church is, in the bosom of the Catholic Church, one of the particular Churches, although today it is in fact the most numerous. Thus the Eastern Churches in Catholicism would no longer appear as exceptions, as annexes, but as Churches, as much as the Latin Church.

The expression "yet in an equal manner they are entrusted to the guidance of the Roman pontiff..." does not correspond to theological and historical truth, and that for two reasons:

a. First, it is not true that all the Churches are entrusted in an equal manner to the Roman pontiff. The Church of Rome is entrusted to him as its immediate bishop; the province of Latium, as its metropolitan; Italy, as its primate; the West as its patriarch; finally, all the Churches as the successor of Peter in his universal primacy. It is certain, for example, that over the West the pope exercises prerogatives that are of a rather patriarchal character, which are normally and traditionally reserved, in the East, to the patriarchs and their synods, for example the designation of bishops. These distinctions are bit by bit blurred in the teaching and practice of the Latin West, where ecclesiastical organization is reduced in practice to two ecclesial realities: on one hand, an infinity of dioceses, on the other, a central power directing all of them equally. The East has remained faithful to a more hierarchical organization, and, above all, to a more nuanced conception of the ecclesiastical order. That is why the expression "in an equal manner" appears inadequate.

b. In the second place, the text begins by indicating those things by which the particular Churches differ among themselves: liturgy, discipline, and spiritual heritage. Then it tries to indicate the common bond between these Churches, and it finds only the fact that they are all "equally entrusted to the pastoral guidance of the Roman pontiff." That is very little and purely extrinsic. The different Churches, although having certain particular things, nevertheless and above all have many things in common: adherence to Jesus Christ by faith, the same sacraments, the same morality, the same mission in the world, etc. And even in the matters in which they present some variety, as liturgy, discipline, etc., the points of convergence are infinitely more numerous than the points of divergence.

That is why we propose the following amendment:

"Such particular Churches, although they differ somewhat among themselves in what are called rites, that is in liturgy, ecclesiastical discipline, and spiritual heritage, yet all with equal right constitute one Church."

The rest of the sentence can be omitted. If one nevertheless persists, although it is not necessary to repeat it everywhere, in mentioning the Roman primate, who is the visible basis of the unity among the Churches, one can add: "which (Church) is entrusted to the pastoral guidance of all bishops in communion with the Roman pontiff, who divinely succeeds to Saint Peter in the primacy over the whole Church."

The rest of the paragraph is excellent. It repeals with a stroke of the pen the theory of the pre-eminence of the Latin rite, and affirms the right of the Eastern Churches to have their indispensable part in the evangelization of the world: two fundamental truths, still to a large extent unrecognized.

This schema opens new horizons and sets new landmarks for a radical reform of attitude with regard to the Christian East.

V. New and Important Improvements

Number 4 is very weighty and we request the Council to vote it as a whole without adding any modifications for each word has been carefully weighed. It represents on behalf of the Eastern Churches three new and important improvements, obtained after numerous and laborious discussions in the Commission:

a. The right of Easterners to have their hierarchy everywhere, "wherever the spiritual good of the faithful so demands," that is to say, in practice, wherever they are in sufficient numbers.

Until now, the Latin hierarchy considered itself master of the universe. The Latin Church partitioned the world for itself. It was present everywhere. There is not a point of the globe where there isn't a territorial Latin hierarchy, considering itself fully at home, even at the heart of Constantinople or Moscow. Even where there were only 500 Latins, for the greater part foreigners in the country, a local Latin hierarchy has been installed. Eastern authority could not raise its voice in protest, without the anxiety of being viewed in a bad light or having its Catholic faith suspected.

On the contrary, there are hundreds of thousands of Eastern Catholics who have settled in Europe, in Africa, in Australia, and especially in America. For numerous years we have entreated for the establishment of a hierarchy for them, even a simple personal one, to look after their priests, their works, their future, because the Latin hierarchy, even with the best good will, cannot take care of them effectively. They need not only priests of their rite, but also bishops of their rite. Wasted effort!

Thousands of reasons are found to refuse us what we ask, not for ourselves, but for our poor faithful who are on the road to being separated and lost. The episcopacy of the affected country refuses, we are told. As for us, when a Latin hierarchy has been installed in the very heart of the East, our opinion has not been requested. And when we have succeeded, after an infinite number of proceedings, in convincing the one who had the right to accept an Eastern bishop, there appeared other difficulties of the financial, political, local, or personnel order. Without our faith in God and our love for souls, we would have despaired while seeing our children drifting away more and more because our hands have been tied, when we could save them. We have undergone these misfortunes because we are Easterners united with Rome, while the Orthodox, because they are not united with Rome, are organized and expand.

This injustice must cease. The first part of this paragraph affirms that the good of souls surpasses everything. It goes without saying that this should apply to us also. In the same manner that Latin parishes and hierarchies have been installed in the East on behalf of the faithful of the Latin rite, even when their number is sometimes minimal, one should also in justice without talking about charity and the good of souls—install parishes and hierarchies in the "West" (Europe, Africa, Australia, and especially America) on behalf of the faithful of Eastern rite.

As for the method of bringing about this principal reform, we place our confidence in the common Father, the sovereign pontiff of Rome. The Council, in this beginning of paragraph 4, respectfully calls upon him in this sense, and in doing so shatters the opposition, very prejudicial to souls, of all those who still do not wish to understand.

b. Inter-ritual Cooperation: Although having a single jurisdiction in a territory may be in principle the best formula, there are great advantages and sometimes the necessity for having Churches of various rites and different traditions, existing in the same territory, entrusted to different hierarchies. The fact is that it is impossible, without very serious inconveniences both for the Church and for the faithful, to make at the present time an abstract rule for this state of things. Nevertheless, in spite of the multiplicity of jurisdictions, unity of action in the Church should be protected by inter-ritual synods. This particular form of episcopal collegiality requires that, if for the good of the faithful, several hierarchs have jurisdiction in the same territory, they should take in common, collegially, timely decisions to unify the action of the Church in their territory.

There are thus new attitudes of thought and of action that the bishops have urged, above all in the East. For all the questions that are not of a strictly ritual order or pertaining to a community, it is necessary to collaborate, to unite efforts, to decide in common, collegially, to avoid dispersion of forces: schools, press, radio-television, charitable works, pastoral care of the whole, catechism, preaching, etc.

The different Churches have until now lived as rather shut in on themselves, jealous of their prerogatives. Today, a new mentality should correspond to new times. Although the jurisdictions cannot be united, there can and should be a unification of action, to take the maximum advantage of the possibilities of episcopal collegiality, of synodalism, so dear to the East.

c. Latinization Is Forbidden: The third part of this paragraph is of the greatest importance: it closes the door once and for all to the latinization of the East. In our observations on the preceding schemas, distributed in the course of the second session of the council, we have related the history of this serious question.

With only three votes short of unanimity (in a total of 17 votes), the Eastern Commission has voted the present text, and we beseech the Fathers of the council who have at heart the future of the East to approve it as it is. In brief, the idea is as follows:

Each of the faithful must remain in his rite, that is to say, in the particular Church in which Providence has placed him: if Latin, he must remain Latin everywhere, even in the East; if Eastern, he will remain Eastern everywhere, even in the West.

This rule does not present any difficulty when it is a matter of the Catholic faithful, who can change rite only for reasons that are grave and, except in the case of marriage, with the authorization of the Holy See itself.

Does that also apply to baptized non-Catholics (Orthodox and others) who ask to enter the Catholic communion? That is the whole question. We are not unaware of the great ecumenical movement that impels a dialogue of union between one Church and another. We wish even to confirm again our desire to condemn all proselytism that would diminish one Church in order to expand another.

But, while awaiting the happy general unification of all Churches, we must state that there are inevitably in Christianity some individuals or groups not united with Rome who ask to come to union with it. In these cases, which are not abstract ones, certain applicable norms must be established provisionally—that is to say, until the general unification of Churches—to regulate these individual or partial unions.

It is not necessary that the working out of these norms offend our Orthodox brothers or be considered an indication of a proselytism of a bad kind which seeks to "nibble away" at their Church. We are here acting like the Orthodox Church itself, which, in its canonical and liturgical books, legitimately issues regulations that apply to other Christians who approach Orthodoxy.

Neither should our brethren of the Latin Church be offended if we wish to hinder, under normal circumstances, the changing of these Orthodox to the Latin rite. We respect and love our sister Church of the Latin rite, but we re-emphasize that Easterners should remain Easterners in the Catholic Church, and this for the very good of the Catholic Church.

That having been said, there are three possible attitudes in regard to this problem of the other Christians who wish to join the Catholic Church.

1. Viewpoint of the "latinizers"

They say, let non-Catholics be free to choose, at the moment of their becoming Catholic, the rite which they wish, at least when they set down their joining the Latin rite as a condition sine qua non of their "conversion." Arguments of the latinizers:

a) It is the present discipline of the Church. See canon 11 of the motu proprio "Cleri Sanctitati" of June 2, 1957.

b) Non-Catholics do not belong to any rite. Each (missionary) can admit them, in "converting" them, to his own rite, a bit like the Jews, the Muslims, or the pagans. That creates a rivalry among missionaries as to who can "convert" more.

c) Eastern non-Catholics themselves, that is to say the Orthodox, in becoming Catholic, generally refuse to remain in the Eastern rite and demand that they become Latin.

d) The Eastern Catholic clergy does not try hard enough to "convert" Orthodox. If one wishes to "convert" all the Orthodox, one must let the Latin missionaries do it.

e) Eastern Catholics are "imperfectly Catholics," "of dubious faith." One must avoid having Orthodox transfer to them. "Easterners will never be fully Catholic unless they become Latin."

f) To compel the Orthodox who become Catholic to remain Eastern is to abridge human liberty, which is an element of the person and guaranteed by the "United Nations Charter."

Reply to the Arguments of the Latinizers:

a) The discipline contained in canon 11 of the motu proprio "Cleri sanctitati" dates only from 1957. It was imposed on the Easterners in spite of themselves, following obscure maneuvers which history will one day reveal. The former discipline gave the Orthodox who wished to become Catholic the choice of joining the Eastern rite that they preferred, and not the Latin rite, unless they placed becoming Latin as a condition sine qua non of their joining Catholicism. In practice, the latinizers arranged to have their "converts," each time, place this condition sine qua non. They even had forms printed in advance and distributed beforehand to be signed. What in the thought of the legislators should be an exception became the normal practice. The motu proprio of 1957 suppressed even this theoretical impediment, opening wide the door to latinization. It is this provision of the motu proprio of 1957 that the schema intends to reform.

b) It is not true that the Orthodox are not of any rite. They very definitely belong to a rite, to a Church, and in becoming Catholic they must remain faithful to their rite, as to a calling. The case of the non-baptized is completely different.

c) Orthodox who wish to become Catholic do not demand becoming Latin except when the priests counseling them put this idea into their heads. The best proof of this is that everywhere in the East, except in a region which the latinizers have chosen as their own (Palestine), Orthodox do not place this condition. If they place it in that region, it is because they have been urged to do so by a clergy that has an interest in latinizing them. If the clergy counseled them to remain Eastern, or left them free to choose, the Orthodox would not ask for more. (See our booklet Catholicism or Latinism?)

d) It is not right to accuse the Eastern Catholic clergy of not "converting" sufficiently. The Orthodox do not need to be "converted" but to be "reconciled;" one must show them the ideal of Catholic communion and invite them to restore unity, by showing them by deeds how the Holy See of Rome respects their rites, their discipline, all their spiritual heritage.

e) The latinizers do not believe in our full Catholic faith, although we have defended it, over the centuries, at the price of thousands of sacrifices. But it is certain that Catholicism does not represent for us what they would wish. We wish to be Catholic and Eastern at the same time. That is the only good formula for ecumenism.

f) There is nothing contrary to human freedom in obliging Easterners to remain in their rites. Every law, by definition, places some restraint on human freedom with the view to assuring a higher good, that of society. In this case, the higher good of the society that is the Church requires that Easterners do not become Latin, that they understand their mission and their vocation. Nevertheless, if for personal reasons one or another Easterner is absolutely determined to become Latin, we see no objection to it. That is why the text of the schema anticipates these particular cases by stating: "while retaining the right, in particular cases, of having recourse to the Apostolic See." We prefer, in these cases, recourse to the Holy See, rather than the former condition sine qua non, which has proved to be inefficacious, as we have said. But it is not right, under the pretext of respecting each one's freedom, to utilize the wealth and personnel at the disposal of the Latin missionaries in the East to impel the Easterners towards latinization. Let us help them to regain the Catholic communion, while remaining at the same time Eastern, like their fathers, as Providence has made them.

2.- Another Viewpoint

It is said that the Orthodox should not become Latin. That is agreed. But let us at least permit them, at the time of their joining Catholicism, to choose, among the Eastern rites, whichever they prefer.

Arguments:

a) Thus, it is said, the danger of latinization is averted on the one hand.

b) In addition, this is a return to the discipline existing prior to that of 1957.

c) More freedom is provided for the Orthodox desiring to be reconciled with the Roman Church.

Reply:

a) This theory does not entirely avert the danger of latinization, for the latinizers can object: why do you permit an Armenian Orthodox to become Maronite, and do not permit him to become Latin? Isn't the Latin rite a Catholic rite like the Eastern rites?

b) The discipline prior to that of 1957 represented an objectionable order of logic. It is not normal, in fact, that an Ethiopian Orthodox should become Ukrainian Catholic, or that an Armenian Orthodox should become Greek Catholic. If each one has a mission to fulfill in the Church in which Providence has set him, he should normally remain there and not leave it except for personal reasons, and under extraordinary circumstances.

c) Ecclesiastical law must not guarantee the freedom of escaping from one's vocation, from the mission that is assigned to everyone in his Church.

In other words, when we ask that the Easterners remain in their own rite, in their own Church, it is in order that, at the moment of the so greatly desired general union of Churches they can rejoin their Orthodox brothers of the same rite, and, once again, constitute with them one single Church, united and in communion with the universal Church.

In this perspective, we believe that each Easterner must remain in his own rite.

However, among the Eastern rites there is a community of origin, of thought, and of apostolate, so that an Easterner who changes to another Eastern rite is not at all in the situation of an Easterner who changes to the Latin rite. That is why we state that if the other Eastern communities so prefer, we ourselves give our concurrence for a pure and simple return to the discipline prior to 1957, which is that Orthodox passing into the Catholic Church can ask to join the Eastern rite of their choice, while it remains forbidden to pass into the Latin rite, unless there is recourse, in particular cases, to the Holy Roman See.

3.-Viewpoint of the Great Majority of Easterners

On becoming Catholic, the Orthodox (and non-Catholics in general) will normally remain each in his rite. That is the rule. Exceptionally, if the good of his soul requires it, he can always request the Holy Roman See to grant permission to change to another rite. It will readily be granted, since the final and supreme goal is the good of souls. But outside of these particular cases, each one, as the Apostle says, "should remain in the vocation to which he has been called." That is what the text of the schema has very successfully codified, and we hope that the Fathers of the council will approve it in full.

VI. The Eastern Patriarchs

This chapter is the least pleasing of all those in the present schema. On certain points, it is even inadmissible.

a. Deficiencies of this Chapter

1. The schema, in speaking of the rights and privileges of the Eastern patriarchs, refers to the ecumenical councils and to a "very ancient tradition in the Church." Well, the ecumenical councils and Tradition have not spoken of the "Eastern patriarchs." They have never considered the patriarchate as an institution of the Eastern Churches, but rather as an institution of the Church, conciliar, in which the See of Rome belongs in the first place.

Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI, by asserting constantly that the sovereign pontificate must not hinder their being the regular bishops of Rome and their being personally involved in their diocese, have put an end to this false conception of a papacy detached from the episcopacy, presiding over the episcopal college without being part of it. The pope is the leading bishop of Christianity, but he has not ceased thereby to be the Bishop of Rome.

The pope, the Bishop of Rome, is also the Patriarch of the West. Patristic tradition and the ecumenical councils have always considered him as such, without ever believing that it could jeopardize his primacy. Why should the pope, who does not feel himself belittled by the fact that he is Bishop of Rome, and in this capacity equal to the bishops, feel himself belittled by the fact that he is also Patriarch of the West, equal, on this level, to the patriarchs of the East?

Any attempt to place the papacy above and outside of the episcopacy and the Church would damage the serenity and the sincerity of the dialogue with Orthodoxy.

Is not the secretary general of the council always there to solemnly inform the Fathers of the council of the program of the papal ceremonies in the "patriarchal basilica" of St. John Lateran, the "patriarchal basilica" of St. Peter at Rome, the "patriarchal basilica" of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls, and the "patriarchal basilica" of St. Mary Major? As for the Lateran palace, where the popes live, the archives and the stones have preserved its name: it is named the "patriarchium."

The title of patriarch is thus not a purely Eastern title that does not pertain to the popes of the Roman Church.

2. On the other hand, the schema speaks of the Eastern patriarchs without mentioning, at least in passing, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the three apostolic sees of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. The schema exalts the patriarchal dignity, referring to ancient traditions and to the ecumenical councils. Well, the ancient traditions and the ecumenical councils have not exalted an anonymous patriarchal institution, as the schema does. They recognized for certain specific sees, which they have cited by name, a particular dignity, based on precise reasons, proper to these sees alone.

Moreover, these sees have been declared the foremost in the Church—after Rome—by the oldest tradition of the Church and by the ecumenical councils, even before they were invested in the fifth century with the title of patriarchate. To exalt the institution of the patriarchate, on the basis of tradition and the councils, while remaining silent on the names of the sees to which the patriarchal institution owes its existence, is to give the title priority over the see, and the insignia priority over the person. That could be interpreted as a premeditated desire to submerge the four patriarchates, which are always at the head of the Eastern Churches, in the multitude of the sees to which this title or its equivalent has been granted by stretching and in a secondary manner.

On the contrary, what should have been done is to name—as the councils have done—the five traditional patriarchal sees that have priority over the others, and to put at their head the See of Rome. That was the place to say again in three lines what these councils have wished to say, which is that in the Church there are five traditional sees that have priority over the others and which should be listed as follows: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.

These councils have not said that, in the Eastern Church Constantinople had priority over Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, but they have said that in the Church of God, the Church everywhere, Constantinople was the first see after Rome, Alexandria the second see after Rome, Antioch the third see after Rome, and Jerusalem the fourth. And, in fact, the incumbents of these four patriarchal sees of the East have shared in the solicitude of the whole Church, in collaboration with the Bishop of Rome and under his primacy. And, in fact, the incumbents of the four great Eastern sees have exercised, in the course of the thousand years of union with Rome, a role of the first order in the life of the universal Church.

Popes and Eastern patriarchs were, during the time of the union, the summits of the universal episcopacy. As soon as he was elected, the Bishop of Rome sent his profession of faith to the four incumbents at Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, and only to them. And the latter, on the occasion of their enthronement did the same among themselves and for their consideration exclusively. Thus there was established in the Church a patriarchal college, a "summit" of general care, through which was brought about the visible collegial communion of all the Churches, of all the episcopacy, as was confirmed by this exchange only among themselves of letters which were "irenical," according to the nomenclature used in Orthodoxy.

It should not surprise anyone that at the Fourth Council of Constantinople, called the Eighth Ecumenical, a council that started with a dozen bishops and never had a very full attendance, just the presence, direct or through representatives, of the four Eastern patriarchs would have sufficed to have it considered up to our day as universal. The agreement of the four patriarchs, canonically and actively united with their episcopate as with the Bishop of Rome, appeared sufficient to have it recognized as having such an ecumenical standing. (Canon 21 of this council stated: "We decree that those who preside over the patriarchal sees should be considered worthy of all honor, especially the very holy Pope of Old Rome, then the Patriarch of Constantinople, then the one of Alexandria, then those of Antioch and Jerusalem.")

Likewise, there was nothing astonishing when the Council of Florence, in its turn, after the eighth ecumenical council, stating the order of the foremost seats of Christianity, called patriarchal, as in the ninth century they had already existed for many centuries, listed them in the following order: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and pronounced that in doing so it "renewed the ancient tradition."

From these facts, from so many others, from the esteem, for example, in which Pope St. Gregory held the incumbents of Alexandria and of Antioch, whom he considered as successors with him on the same seat, that of Peter, from all the reality with which today's Orthodoxy in particular is nourished and lives, there bursts forth forcefully the more particularly universal care of the patriarchs in the Church.

There are also all the consequences that this implies: care manifesting itself very specially again through the wonderful missionary activity of Constantinople in eastern Europe, notably through its sons Cyril and Methodius, of Alexandria in Nubia and Ethiopia, of Antioch in Armenia, in Persia, and through the extension of its daughter of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, as far as India and China.

b. Proposed Amendments:

Title: Say "On Patriarchs," without adding "Eastern."

1. To No. 7: Eliminate in this number all the words that could make one believe that the patriarchate is an institution peculiar to the East.

Then say:

"The institution of the patriarchate has flourished in the Church (eliminate the word "Eastern") from the earliest times, and was recognized by the first ecumenical synods. By the name of patriarch (eliminate the word "Eastern") is meant the bishop to whom canon law grants jurisdiction over all bishops, including metropolitans, clergy, and people of that territory or rite." (Eliminate the rest.)

The remainder of that sentence, "to be exercised in accordance with the norms of the law and without prejudice to the primacy of the Roman pontiff," should be eliminated for two reasons:

a) It is evident that patriarchal power must be exercised "in accordance with the norms of law." What power is there which can be exercised "contrary to the law"? It is also evident that the patriarchal power is exercised "without prejudice to the primacy of the Roman pontiff." Nothing in the Church can be done contrary to the primacy of the Bishop of Rome or not taking it into account. Is it necessary to repeat this truth on every occasion, until there is a surfeit?

b) Since the pope of Rome himself is also a patriarch, it is not logically appropriate to say, in speaking of him as a patriarch, that his patriarchal power is exercised "without prejudice to the primacy of the Roman pontiff."

2. To No. 8: Start this number with this very important reminder: "According to the ancient tradition of the Church and the decrees of the ecumenical councils, these are the titles and order of the major patriarchal sees: first, the Roman see of Saint Peter, leader of the Apostles, second Constantinople, third Alexandria, fourth Antioch, fifth Jerusalem."

Then replace the text of No. 8 with the following text: "Although some patriarchates are of later origin than others, all are equal to the major patriarchal sees as far as the exercise of patriarchal power is concerned, retaining among themselves the precedence of honor that has been legitimately established."

In all cases, the word "Eastern" should be eliminated in this No. 8, for the reasons set forth above.

Then add:

a) "The patriarchs with their synods constitute the supreme authority for all affairs of their patriarchates, including the right to establish new eparchies and to freely name bishops of their rite wherever this appears to be suitable, without prejudice to the inalienable right of the Roman pontiff to intervene in individual cases."

b) "The patriarchs who are called Eastern, by the force of their dignity, power, and traditional pre-eminence, whether in ecumenical councils or outside such councils, that is to say in carrying out all affairs, have constituted from ancient times and constitute, in communion with the Roman pontiff and under his primacy, the supreme hierarchical council in the Church."

c) "What the Council of Florence and the Roman pontiffs after it have affirmed very frequently concerning not reducing substantially the rights and privileges of the patriarchs, this holy synod solemnly confirms. These rights and privileges are those that were in force during the thousand-year union of the East and the West, and even if they should occasionally be adapted to our times, they are truly not to be diminished appreciably."

d) "Wherever a hierarchy of whatever rite is established, it is under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of the same rite, even outside the boundaries of the patriarchal territory."

N.B. On the subject of the patriarchs and of the institution of the patriarchate, many other things should be said. This matter is still too much ignored in the Catholic theology of our day. The progress of historical and patristic studies will prepare bit by bit the basis for a more complete view of the subject.

3. To No. 11: It is not normal to speak, in this schema, of the patriarchs, without saying a word about the patriarchal synods and their competence. Thus we would gladly propose a Number llb, which would be devoted to these two points.

In fact, the authentically Eastern concept of the patriarchate is inseparable from the synodal system. The patriarch is the president of the synod of the bishops of his region, the one who coordinates collegially the activity of the bishops, his brothers. Beside him and under his direction, his holy synod holds a principal place. A patriarch is inconceivable without his synod. As this synodal institution has been somewhat forgotten in the majority of the Eastern Churches, in imitation of the West where synodalism is not honored, the schema should revive it.

In the second place, it is appropriate to allow the holy synod its full powers, in particular relative to the election of bishops, which it should be able to do freely, without the necessity of obtaining a previous authorization or a subsequent confirmation by the Holy See of Rome. In sound theology, based on Holy Scripture, patristic tradition, and the history of the Church, the naming of bishops is not reserved for the Holy See of Rome, not even the right of later confirmation. It was Pope Pius XII who, only 16 years ago, extended to all the Eastern Catholic patriarchs the obligation to draw up in the synod lists of the candidates for the episcopacy, previously approved by Rome, or to obtain subsequent confirmation by Rome. But this measure, far from being required by the theology of the Church, as we have said, is contrary to constant Eastern tradition, and it is fitting to return to the respect for the competence of the Holy Synod on this point. When all the bishops, around their patriarch, elect a candidate to the episcopacy, one must recognize the free exercise of their right. In some particular cases, for motives of the general good of the Church, the Roman Holy See can use its right of universal primacy, but, outside of those exceptional circumstances, one must respect the normal action of Eastern institutions and allow the patriarchal synods their full competence, as in the past.

As for this proposal, it is also necessary to say that the present canonical procedure permits, without due cause, going over the heads of normal judicial instances to introduce the instance in the court in Rome. This method is frequently utilized by one of the parties to harass the other party, to cause him excessive expenses, or to draw out the length of the process. Thus we propose the normal succession of instances in the procedure be respected.

We also propose that judgement in the matter of marriage "ratified but not consummated" be reserved not to the pope, but to the Eastern patriarchs for their respective faithful.

To provide examples, we suggest the following formulas:

a) "Without prejudice to the right of the Roman pontiff to have jurisdiction over disputes, cases of every kind must follow the hierarchical course of the various instances, nor is it allowed, without a special mandate of the Roman pontiff, to bypass episcopal or patriarchal instances so that the case may be directly introduced before the tribunals of the Roman Holy See."

b) "The introduction and also the dispensation of cases concerning marriage that has been ratified but not consummated are reserved to the patriarch for the faithful subject to him."

VII. Sacramental discipline

This chapter is good in its entirety. It contains interesting restorations, in the Catholic Church, of the ancient Eastern discipline and pleasing adaptations to the needs of modern times.

Numbers 13 and 14 affirm the validity of the sacrament of confirmation conferred by any Eastern priest, regardless of the territory or the person. Thus the recent regulations, which are absolutely illogical, placed on the exercise of this right in certain Latin regions, are removed.

Number 15 takes account of the custom of certain Eastern Churches according to which the faithful satisfy the Sunday and feast day obligation by participating either in the Holy Eucharistic Liturgy or in other divine services. It also allows the fulfillment of the Sunday or feast day obligation to start at vespers of the vigil, since, logically, the liturgical day begins at vespers; that can facilitate the observance of the obligation by certain categories of the faithful.

No. 16 extends the "jurisdiction" for hearing confessions to all the places and to all the faithful of other rites. That facilitates the exercise of the holy ministry in the East, where several jurisdictions are intermingled.

No. 17 desires the positive restoration of an active diaconate in all the Eastern Churches. The diaconate was never abolished by law, but among nearly all Eastern Catholics, it needs to be put back into force. No. 17 restores the sub-diaconate among the minor orders, in conformity with Eastern discipline, closing a gap opened by the motu proprio "Crebrae allatae sunt" of 1948.

No. 18 proposes a solution to the acute problem of mixed marriages in the East. Every ordinary of the place can, for proper reasons, dispense the Catholic party from the form of marriage, so that he can validly contract marriage before an Orthodox minister. When everything has been well considered, we prefer to recognize purely and simply the validity of mixed marriages of the Eastern faithful entered into outside the Catholic Church, always on the condition that they are contracted before a Christian religious authority. This solution is very important from the ecumenical point of view.

VIII. Divine Worship

This chapter is equally good, and can be passed in its entirety. We only propose to shorten it.

No. 19 speaks of feast days of obligation, both those common to the whole Eastern Church and those limited to a particular Church. It decides what authority can establish these feasts, but it does not teach us anything new and, as a result, does not offer much of interest. We would willingly propose to drop it.

It is the same for No. 21, which permits the Easterners living outside the East to conform to the rule in force in the country, insofar as feasts of obligation are concerned. Spouses of different rites can equally follow one or the other discipline. All this is already known through canon law, and it is not necessary for the council to stoop to these details.

On the contrary, No. 20, discussing the date of Easter, is of very great importance.

The council has already expressed its desire to see the feast of Easter celebrated on the same day by all Christians. On this point all Christians agree. In practice, how can this wish be realized?

If, by agreement among all Churches and eventually with the cooperation of international organizations, the date of the feast of Easter is fixed (for example, the first or second Sunday of April), the problem is resolved. But this solution on the international level can be delayed, although it is necessary to do everything to hasten it.

While waiting, the Eastern Christians are losing patience. The faithful no longer want this difference in dates, which humiliates them in the view of non-Christians. It is necessary at any cost to find a solution. That will be a great step toward the union that is so much desired.

The schema, in No. 20, authorizes patriarchs and other supreme heads of the area to conclude, after unanimous consent of all those interested, local agreements so that all the Christians of a region may celebrate Easter together.

No. 22 only recalls to mind an obligation to the Divine Office, according to the standards and customs proper to each Church. It says nothing new.

No. 23 discusses the use of vernacular languages in the liturgy. It recalls that all this matter is under the exclusive right of the supreme authority in each Eastern Church, which regulates the use of vernacular languages and approves new versions, without any necessity of having recourse to the Roman See, as in the Latin Church, in which the pope has the additional office of patriarch.

As one can see, this chapter "On Divine Worship" is of clearly Eastern and decentralizing inspiration. The Fathers can pass it without hesitation.

IX. Relationships with Our Orthodox Brethren

This last chapter on the relationships with our Orthodox brethren is a true success of the Eastern Commission.

No. 24 begins by affirming the ecumenical calling of the Eastern Catholics, their "vocation as uniters." The schema indicates the circumstances in which they can fulfill this noble and great mission: prayer, authentic example of Christian life, fidelity to Eastern traditions, knowledge of Orthodoxy, and fraternal collaboration.

No. 25 justifies the necessity of adopting, with regard to our Orthodox brethren, a more lenient attitude in the matter of "communicatio in sacris." The dangers that one fears in general from this "communicatio" with non-Catholics do not occur ordinarily as far as the Orthodox are concerned. That is why, all danger in matters of faith having been dispelled, the Church deems it opportune to indicate a new turning point, with the chief aim of enhancing the advances toward union between the Catholics and the Orthodox.

No. 27 sets forth the new rule: Orthodox in good faith, if they ask of their own accord and have the right dispositions, can receive from Catholic ministers the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist, and the anointing of the sick. In their turn, Catholics can ask for these same sacraments from Orthodox ministers as often as necessity or a genuine benefit recommends such a course of action, and when access to a Catholic priest is physically or morally impossible.

No. 28 applies the same rules, a fortiori, to the "communicatio" in other sacred functions, things, and places of worship.

Finally, No. 29 entrusts this new and very delicate discipline to the prudence of the local ordinaries. Each individual must not remain the judge in this matter, for it is a matter of public order.

This chapter alone, concerning "Ecclesiastical relations with our separated brethren," will suffice to show with what depth and with what breadth of viewpoint the Eastern commission has approached these problems of disciplinary order.

We have serious reservations for the chapter "On Patriarchs," which is inadmissible in its present form.

Except for the amendments that we have indicated, we hope that this schema will receive the approval of the Fathers of the council.

This is only a beginning, but it is an indication that the Easterners are starting to find themselves again, and that they know how, proceeding from their own patrimony, to make their discipline evolve and to adapt it to the needs of the times.

Nevertheless, we hope that there will not be a final vote on this schema before it has been reviewed by the Secretariat for Christian Union.

The Rite of Easterners Desiring Union with Rome

On October 8, 1964, the patriarch published at Rome a circular letter addressed to all the Fathers of the council. In it he defended the point of view that the council would finally approve: Easterners desiring to rejoin Rome must normally remain in their native rite.

Your Excellency, Venerable Brother:

You have doubtless received a letter from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in which your vote is solicited against a section of Article 4 of the schema "On the Eastern Churches," which is expressed thus:

"Finally, each and every Catholic, as also the baptized member of every non-Catholic Church or community who enters into the fullness of Catholic communion, should everywhere retain his proper rite, without prejudice to the right of recourse to the Apostolic See in particular cases, and should cherish it and observe it to the best of his ability."

Utilizing in his argument the good of souls, fidelity to the former discipline, and respect for religious liberty, the venerable author of the letter would wish to eliminate the phrase "including baptized non-Catholics who enters into the fullness of Catholic communion," and to add the following clause: "without prejudice to the right, for baptized non-Catholics entering into the fullness of Catholic communion, of choosing another rite if that is set down by them as a necessary condition."

The alleged reasons are not convincing, as Your Excellency can ascertain from the enclosed note.

Besides, the fact that two Eastern Churches, for reasons specific to themselves, have felt that they should uphold the point of view of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, should not make one forget that they are the only ones following this road, and that the other Eastern Churches (more than twelve) are in agreement with the text of the schema.

In reality, the basic question comes down to this: the Eastern Commission, by over three-fourths of the votes has wished once and for all to close the door to the massive latinization of the East, while, as we elsewhere very freely agree, reserving the exceptional cases to the judgement of the Holy See of Rome, which can, if it deems it appropriate, endow its representatives in the area with the necessary powers ad hoc.

It is obvious that this attitude, which puts an end to centuries-old abuses, cannot please everybody. But along the line of ecumenism, in which the Council is definitely engaged, for the general good of the Catholic Church, which should not be in the position of being accused of latinizing the East, as also for the good of the Eastern Churches, which, in order to accomplish their mission, must be able to retain their children, it is necessary that Easterners remain Easterners, while exceptional cases are reserved for the judgement of Rome.

Consequently, I beseech Your Excellency to support the text of Article 4 of the schema as it is presented. With two exceptions, it is the desire of the Eastern Churches themselves and of the Latin bishops who are friends of the East.

"Concerning the Rite of Baptized Non-Catholics Entering into the Fullness of Catholic Communion"

The end of Article 4 of the schema "On the Eastern Churches" considers what the rite will be of non-Catholic faithful (Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, or others) who wish to join the Catholic Church. There are two opposing viewpoints on this subject:

I. The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, to which are joined two or three Eastern communities for reasons that are particular to themselves, proposes to allow those involved the freedom of choosing the rite that they desire, if they make this freedom of choice a necessary condition of their entering the Catholic Church.

In favor of this opinion, there is an appeal to the good of souls, to previous legislation, and to respect for religious freedom. But these reasons are not at all well founded:

a. The law should provide for normal cases and seek to assure the general good of society, without harming the individual. Now, it is normal that an Easterner remains Eastern and that he continues to belong to his own rite, that is to say, to the ecclesial community in which God has placed him to work for his progress. If, in exceptional cases, a necessity of conscience impels him to choose another rite, we do not see any objection; on the contrary, one should help him. That is why the schema has provided, for this kind of exceptional cases, recourse to the Holy See of Rome, which will render judgement, either directly or by the intermediary of its representatives in the area. The good of souls is thus completely protected.

b. As for previous legislation, one knows that it has changed much. The present discipline dates only from 1957, and was imposed on the Easterners in spite of themselves. Against this new legislation, the majority of the Eastern Churches have made their serious criticisms heard. To do justice to these complaints, the Eastern Commission thus proposes to the council a just and beneficial reform, responding to the intimate desire of the Holy See, expressed many times by the popes, to see the Easterners remain Eastern and in their proper rite.

c. As for respect for religious freedom, the text of the schema does no damage to it. The Easterner who wishes to become Latin or to change to another eastern rite can ask for it and obtain it from the Holy See. But the law provides that, normally, he must remain in his own rite. All law restrains the exercise of human freedom in view of the general good of society. There is in the text of the schema no damage to human freedom, any more than in the other laws of the Church.

II. The other Eastern Churches (more than twelve) are in favor of the text of the schema:

Normally everyone must remain in his own rite; in exceptional cases, the Holy See can authorize changing to another rite. This is a wise, practical, and beneficial rule. Here are the principal reasons for it:

a. In the same manner that each Catholic must remain faithful to his rite, the non-Catholic brother who is reconciled to the Catholic Church must remain in his rite, for he already belongs to that rite, to that ecclesial community. That is a calling to which he should remain faithful.

b. It is a desire of the Roman Holy See that Easterners remain Eastern. Now, if one allows them the choice of becoming Latin, it is to be anticipated that the "latinizers" will use their numerical, cultural, and financial superiority to induce them to change to the Latin rite. This is no chimerical danger, but rather a sad reality. The result: instead of helping Easterners to be Catholic and Eastern at the same time, one "latinizes" them. Now, that is contrary to the will, repeated a thousand times, of the Holy See.

c. That "necessary condition" of changing to another rite, set down at the moment of reconciliation with the Catholic Church, is nothing more than a stratagem. There are all sorts of external pressures. Those who wish to latinize arrange in practice to have this condition always set down by their "converts." They even have printed forms that the people sign at the request of the parish priest, as if it were taken for granted. On the contrary, if one had taught the people the respect and the love for their rite, as the Holy See desires, the people would not ask for anything more than remaining in their rite.

d. In every case, the basic question returns to this: does the Catholic Church desire that the Easterners be Catholic or Latin? If it wishes them to be Catholic, why not let them be Eastern and Catholic at the same time? If it wishes them to be Latin, then let us not speak any longer of ecumenism and of union of the Churches. It is better not to put the Catholic authorities in a position of being accused for a long time more of duplicity.

Conclusion:

Our viewpoint, expressed in No. 4 of the schema, is clear:

a. Catholics, Eastern as well as Western, must remain everywhere and always in their rite.

b. Those of our non-Catholic brothers who wish to join us must remain in their rite, in the ecclesial community to which they already belong, and which, with their cooperation, must restore its unity and develop inside the universal Church.

c. If one person or another, for personal motives, desires to change to another rite, we do not see any obstacle to it. But this change to another rite, must depend not on a condition sine qua non set by him and that simply serves to disguise the pressures put on him to make him change his rite (most frequently to latinize him), but on a decision of the Roman Holy See that will give judgment with complete objectivity.

The two solutions, basically, meet on the two most important points:

-Normally, everyone must remain in his rite;

-Exceptionally, particular circumstances can advise change to another rite. But, who will pass judgment as to how well-founded the circumstances are?

-The interested person himself, says the Latin Patriarchate.

-No, says the schema, with good reason, it is the Church, represented by the Roman See, which alone escapes local pressures. Thus: Pass No. 4 of the schema without adding any modification.

The Multiplicity of Catholic Jurisdictions in the Arab Near East

This is a serious and acute problem. The Melkite Greek Hierarchy discussed it in an Appendix to its "Observations on the Schemas of the Council" (1963).

There have been various rumors these days on the subject of an eventual unification of the multiple patriarchal and episcopal Catholic jurisdictions that are exercised in one and the same territory, in the East in general, and more particularly in the Arab Near East.

No draft has until now been officially submitted to the council, but the idea is in the air, and several attempts have been made to have one or another preparatory conciliar commission take hold of such a draft.

Fortunately, public opinion in the East has not been made aware of this.

Only some few Eastern prelates, echoed by some Western scholars who in general are not in touch with the real situation of the Church in the East, think that this question should be debated anew. The authors of this suggestion are beguiled by the possible advantages of such a unification and are not thinking of its real drawbacks and of the dangerous and incalculable reactions that it would arouse in a region that is already too much troubled. The Westerners who echo them favor in this unification a system that agrees well with their mentality and with the ecclesiastical organization to which they are accustomed.

Thus the Fathers of the council are in danger of being saddled unexpectedly with a draft, presented suddenly by the intermediary of a conciliar commission or by a request signed by a number of bishops who in reality are rarely those who can have complete and precise information on this subject.

That is why we have believed it necessary to put the Fathers of the council on guard against the possibility of such actions, which represent only the opinions of a very limited group, by providing them with the elements of brief and objective information. We deliberately limit our study to the Arab Near East, for two reasons: first, it is there that the problem of the multiplicity of jurisdiction is posed most acutely; second, because, living in this milieu and bearing its responsibilities, we are in a better position to speak of it with knowledge of its origins.

A Brief History

It is fitting to begin our inquiry with a brief historical reminder, for the present situation can only be explained through a return to the origins.

It is unfortunately the history of the gradual crumbling of Christianity in our region.

The doctrinal controversies of the first centuries created in the area Churches detached from canonical Orthodoxy, which were hierarchically organized in separate communities. First there was the Nestorian Church, then came monophysitism, which erected a national Church in each region: the Coptic Church in Egypt, the Syrian Church in Syria, the Armenian Church in Armenia. Later, monothelitism also raised up a monothelite Church, which fortunately did not last.

Opposite these Churches separated from canonical Orthodoxy, established from the fifth to the seventh century, the Orthodox-Catholic Church—also called in these regions the Melkite Church—the Church of the councils, maintained the Orthodox faith and Catholic communion with the rest of Christianity, in spite of the diminution in the number of its faithful.

The Muslim conquest of the first half of the seventh century sanctioned this division and even accentuated it. Islam recognized an autonomous status for each of these Churches, seeing in them, more than rites or different religious confessions, autonomous "nations" equally submitted to the "protection" of the conquering Muslims.

As a result of a prolonged vacancy in the Orthodox Patriarchal See of Antioch, the Maronites were also established as an autonomous nation-Church.

Thus the Arabic Near East knew, throughout the Middle Ages, six Church-nations, internally ruled by their religious leaders: the Greek nation, Orthodox or Melkite; the Nestorian nation; the Coptic nation; the Syrian nation; the Armenian nation; and the Maronite nation.

The schism between Byzantium and Rome involved, bit by bit and almost imperceptibly, the great majority of the Greek-Melkite nation in the separation from Rome. In contrast, the Maronite nation maintained constant ties with Rome, at least since the Crusades.

In the heart of these communities-Churches-nations, movements of partial union with the See of Rome began after the setback of the attempt at a global union at Florence and grew firm everywhere at the beginning of the eighteenth century. These movements of union separated from each original community more or less important groups, to which Rome gave or recognized a distinct Catholic hierarchy. Thus the communities listed above, with the exception of the Maronite community, which was entirely united, each broke into two branches, one becoming Catholic, the other remaining what it was (Orthodox, in the sense that each one understands it).

In the last century, Protestants made some recruits and were established as new autonomous churches. On their side, the Latin missionaries, abandoning their old ways that consisted of helping the Easterners ("in auxilium Orientalium"), also made recruits and established them as a new Latin community-Church-nation.

The result of all these variations is shown in the following table of the Christian communities in the Arab Near-East:

The Melkite Church at the Council

Discourses and Memoranda of Patriarch Maximos IV and of the Hierarchs of His Church at the Second Vatican Council

- - - Introduction by Archimandrite Robert F. Taft

Tradition

Non-Catholic Church

Catholic Church

Assyrian

Church of the East

Chaldean Church

Antiochian

Syrian Orthodox Church

Syrian Catholic Church

Alexandrian

Coptic Orthodox Church

Coptic Catholic Church

Armenian

Armenian Apostolic Church

Armenian Catholic Church

Greek (Byzantine)

Greek Orthodox Church

Melkite Greek Catholic Church

Maronite

Maronite Church

Reformed

Protestant Churches

Roman

Latin Church

Present Situation

1. Mere consideration of the above table shows that, at least in theory, there are or can be in the Arab Near East six non-Catholic jurisdictions, as opposed to six Eastern Catholic jurisdictions and one Latin jurisdiction. All these jurisdictions are exercised, or can be exercised, simultaneously and over the same territory, but, it should be kept in mind, over distinct faithful: a multiple jurisdiction, of a character that is territorial and personal at the same time.

2. The multiplicity of Orthodox jurisdictions does not concern us. From here on we shall speak only of the multiplicity of Catholic jurisdictions. Thus everywhere in the Arab Near East there are or can be seven Catholic jurisdictions that are intermingled, for one reason or another.

3. But the intermingling is not equal everywhere, in the sense that the mixture of populations occurs in varying proportions. Although, for example, in the large cities, such as Beirut, Damascus, Aleppo, Cairo, or Alexandria, one encounters faithful of nearly all the communities, elsewhere the Catholic population is either exclusively of the same rite, or at least the faithful of the other rites are in such a minority that they can be considered as immigrants or strangers. Thus, for example, in Upper Egypt one finds only Copts; in some entire regions of Lebanon, there are practically only Maronites; in Palestine, there are practically only Melkites and Latins; in Iraq, the Chaldeans and Syrians share the population, with a minority of Armenians; in Syria, the population is more mixed, but with a Melkite predominance, etc. The mixture is such that it is difficult to draw a geographic map of the distribution of each of these communities.

4. Of the seven Catholic communities, each of the six Eastern communities has a patriarchal authority at its head: the see of Alexandria is occupied by the Melkite patriarch and by the Coptic Catholic patriarch; the See of Antioch is occupied by the Melkite patriarch, the Syrian patriarch, and the Maronite patriarch; the See of Jerusalem is occupied by the Melkite patriarch and by a Latin patriarch, who does not have the powers that are properly called patriarchal; the See of Babylon is occupied by the Chaldean patriarch; the See of Cis is occupied by the Armenian patriarch. Thus, apart from the Latin community, which does not have a unique local head, all the Eastern communities have a patriarch at their head.

5. In principle, if the number of the faithful everywhere so indicated, there could be, in each episcopal see, six Eastern bishops and one Latin bishop. In fact, this exists only in certain great cities, like Beirut, where there are six Catholic bishops, at Aleppo and at Cairo, where there are five, etc. But, even where there are not that many bishops, there are invariably seven Catholic jurisdictions, respectively represented either by bishops, or by patriarchal or episcopal vicars, or by simple pastors.

Advantages and Drawbacks

In this situation, the only one in the world, there are advantages and drawbacks.

1. Advantages

a. The first advantage is that for each liturgical rite there is a corresponding Church, a distinct community, its own hierarchy. From the points of view of liturgy and discipline, this is certainly a perfect framework.

b. The second advantage, at least in the eyes of Catholics, is that for each Orthodox hierarchy there is everywhere, or almost everywhere, a corresponding Catholic hierarchy of the same rite.

c. The third advantage is that in principle this large number of bishops should permit a more meticulous care of the Lord's flock. Many bishops reach the point of knowing practically all the families in their diocese.

d. Finally, the great advantage is above all is that relationships have been established in such a delicate situation of Christianity. Each hierarchy has succeeded, after centuries of efforts, in organizing itself. This multiplicity is established firmly in the souls of the faithful, in their rites, in their history, in their feelings, in their hearts, in their every-day lives. This is a delicate system that it would be difficult to replace without great confusion.

2. Drawbacks

But, on the other hand, this system presents numerous and real drawbacks. Let it suffice to enumerate them briefly:

a. A considerable number of Catholic bishops on the same seat and in the same city; and several patriarchs occupy the same patriarchal see.

b. Patriarchs, whatever may be their see, exercise in practice their jurisdiction over territory of other patriarchal sees, and all are in practice patriarchs of all the Near East.

c. Nobody is the sole responsible individual for the general interests of Catholicism in a given region. This drawback is the most important, for none of the hierarchs is powerful enough to look after, efficaciously and by himself, the most vital interests of the Church: teaching, Catholic action, works of charity, the press, television, social action, and relations with the state. Each one works on these things, but his action is weak. These questions can only be handled by the whole group of the Catholic hierarchs of a given region, and that is naturally more difficult than if there were a single responsible individual.

Unrealistic Solutions

In the light of this delicate situation, some Catholic individuals or groups have conceived and proposed solutions. These efforts date quite far back. But all these solutions have the fault of being more attractive than real, more theoretical than practical. Moreover, they bring with them consequences that are still more unfavorable than the drawbacks that they are intended to avoid.

We do not pretend to enumerate them all, for new ones are invented ceaselessly. Let it suffice to mention the more fashionable ones.

1. A radical solution consists of suppressing all rites and all communities. It is said that one is Catholic, and that is enough. As for the liturgy, if one does not wish to adopt purely and simply the Latin rite, one can adopt one of the Eastern rites, or, better, one can compose a new unified rite (Arabic rite). Canon law is already unified for all the Eastern Catholic communities. It will only remain to unify the liturgical rites. Once these two things have been unified, there would be no need for more than a single Catholic bishop for each city, with a single patriarch for all, and only a single jurisdiction. In that fashion the problem is resolved.

Just the statement of these fantasies turns the head of anyone who possesses the least idea of the East and has even the slightest responsibility for souls in that region.

To suppress rites in the Church is impossible, for there would be the most serious problems everywhere. And if it were possible, it would be criminal, because that would impoverish the Church of the greatest part of its spiritual patrimony. Uniformity on this point, far from being a benefit, is a catastrophe.

It would be above all a catastrophe if the suppression of the Eastern rites must be done in favor of the Latin rite. At that moment, one would have to believe that one could only be Catholic by being Latin, that Catholicism and Latinism are synonymous. Every effort for reunion of all Christians in Catholicity would then have to be abandoned.

As for retaining only one of the Eastern rites (which one, by the way?) or devising one from pieces of all, that is pure fantasy.

Such solutions can be considered only by minds that live only an amorphous Catholicism, without roots in real life, without attachments to the past, and without a grip on the future.

Thus we do not know of any truly responsible persons who share these views.

2. Another solution intends to unify the jurisdictions, while maintaining the diversity of rites. In each diocese, there would be only one bishop, taken in turn from each rite. Thus, at Aleppo, for instance, there would be a Greek Catholic bishop; at his death, a Maronite bishop would succeed him; then, at the latter's death, an Armenian bishop, etc.

That is such a utopian solution that we do not even think that we have to refute it.

3. Others think that all bishops of the same city should remain, but there would be attributed to one of them, taken in turn, the actual administration of all Catholics of the diocese, whatever might be their rite.

This is an even more utopian solution.

4. Others have thought that in an episcopal city, one of the bishops would be truly the bishop, with territorial jurisdiction, and the others would be bishops with purely personal jurisdiction. Thus, at Beirut, for example, the Maronite bishop would be the only Bishop of Beirut, for all the Catholics of that diocese, whatever might be their rite, but there would be also a Melkite bishop for Melkites only (liturgical and communal interests), a Syrian bishop, etc. The relationships between the territorial bishop and the personal bishops would remain to be determined.

This is still imagination with no basis in reality.

5. Others maintain also that it is not necessary to have more than a single bishop, properly so called, in each diocese. This bishop would be responsible for all Catholics, of whatever rite they might be. He, in his role of bishop, would not belong to any rite, or would be, as one might say, of all rites, a bit like the pope, who is of the Latin rite, but who governs the faithful of all rites. This single bishop would have general vicars, invested, if necessary, with the episcopal character, for each of the rites sufficiently well represented in his diocese.

Still pure imagination.

6. Others are indeed content that there should be several bishops in the same city, but ask at least that certain parts of the diocese, where there are practically only faithful of a single rite, be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the bishop of that rite, and that the other bishops have nothing to do there despite the fact that they are theoretically the spiritual heads of the same diocese.

7. Others ask that in the deliberative councils of the bishops of the same city the votes should not be equal among all the bishops, but that they should be weighted in proportion to the number of faithful that each one has in fact under his jurisdiction.

8. Finally, others would be satisfied with the unification of the patriarchates. On each patriarchal seat there would be only one incumbent, with quite limited territorial jurisdiction. For this, one could proceed, if necessary, to a new partitioning of the territories belonging to each see, in such fashion that each patriarch would have an exclusive territory, even if he had suffragans of different rites.

This solution seems to receive more attention today. It has apparently the advantage of preserving the multiplicity of rites; it does not affect the multiplicity of episcopal jurisdictions; it makes the patriarch, henceforth the single incumbent of his seat, a superior head, belonging to no rite, or belonging to all rites, but one who assumes the interests of all rites, that is to say of the whole of Catholicism over all the extent of his patriarchate.

In this perspective, one gets down to some practical details, and there is proposed a division, which one wishes to be as equitable as possible, of the patriarchal sees among the different existing communities. The see of Alexandria would be assigned to the Coptic Catholic patriarch. The See of Antioch would be divided in two: the Lebanese part would be assigned to the Maronite patriarch, the Syrian part should still be contested between the Melkite patriarch (who has the more numerous faithful) and the Syrian Catholic patriarch. The See of Jerusalem would be taken away from the Latins and given to the Melkites. The See of Babylon (of Iraq) would remain occupied by the Chaldean patriarch. The Armenian patriarch would occupy the See of Sis, but he would not have a fixed territory.

General Review of All These Plans

We stop our analysis here, for all these solutions assume, basically, the idea of unifying jurisdictions, whether episcopal or patriarchal, in the Near East.

Now, we are convinced that any unification of jurisdictions in this region is 1) detrimental to the highest interests of Catholicism, 2) excessively dangerous, and 3) not realizable in fact. Here are our reasons, which are all of a general nature:

1. These solutions are detrimental to the highest interests of Catholicism.

a. Apart from the Maronite community, which has already reached its goal by being completely united in Catholicism, all the other Eastern Catholic communities are still in the stage of partial union. Now, in this stage of their mission, as Christ and the Church expect it of them, these communities, hoping ceaselessly to restore their unity in the heart of Catholicism, must not pose anything that is prejudicial to the future of union, which renders it impossible or notably more difficult.

Now, a unification of jurisdiction, whether at the episcopal or patriarchal level, is so sensitive and essential a modification brought to the fundamental institutions of each Catholic community that the corresponding Orthodox community would no longer recognize it.

Our present stage of union is not a definitive formula. We are in some sort of transitional organization. When global union will be realized between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, we must reinstate this catholic orthodoxy and dissolve our hierarchical frameworks in it. By what right will we have previously suppressed such jurisdiction or founded such another one in an organism not pertaining to any rite, in which our Orthodox brothers would not recognize themselves?

This is as equally true for liturgy and discipline as for jurisdiction: there must be no fundamental transformation of these institutions in such a way that union is not realized. When this union will be realized, the Church of that time will make the reforms that it will consider useful.

b. We must also reject any unification of jurisdiction which would result in the absorption of one Church by another. A distinct Church inside Catholicism requires, if not a distinct rite, at least a distinct hierarchy. Any fusion or absorption of a hierarchy by another marks the disappearance of a Church. Thus, the Melkites have a good 50,000 faithful in the United States. These faithful have a distinct rite, their own priests, and their own discipline. But as long as they do not have a distinct hierarchy, one cannot say that there is a Melkite Church in the United States. And if they are not part of a Church, the Melkites in the United States are continually threatened with disappearing.

Now, the Catholic Church wishes to preserve all the Churches that form it, in particular the Eastern Churches, which have the important mission of restoring Christian unity with the corresponding Orthodox branches of their rite. To deprive one or another of its own hierarchy is to prepare for the disappearance, sooner or later, of these Churches. It is to inflict considerable harm on Catholicism.

The final result, which is not acknowledged, of all these artificial efforts for unification of hierarchies will be the fatal absorption of all Churches into Latinism, equated with Catholicism.

2. These solutions are excessively dangerous

The East is extremely sensitive. In the last century, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar brought about a true schism in the Melkite Church, which required a number of years to be resolved, after having taken away from our Church a good number of its children. The direct appointment of a patriarch or a bishop immediately by Rome causes serious troubles which have embittered relations for numerous years. What can one then say about changes that are as radical as those that are proposed to us?

No prelate who knows the East and is aware of his responsibilities will dare to proceed in fact to such revolutionary changes. The difficulties and the dangers are such that it is necessary, for the love of God, to stop discussing these questions. As long as these subjects are treated in a limited circle of those dealing in theory, the harm is limited to a loss of time and to some individual commotion. But the day that these fervent questions are thrown open to the public, none of us could say what might happen.

3. These solutions cannot be realized in practice

It would be necessary to take them up one by one. Let us be content with the two principal ones:

a. First, the solution that calls for a single bishop in each city, under whatever form it is presented. Either this single bishop will be taken from a specific community, the most numerous for example, and then the faithful of other communities will feel that they have been wronged, placed in a position of inferiority, subject to an authority of another rite, or he will be "neutral," that is to say, not belonging to any rite, to any community, and that is unthinkable. What community will accept having its bishop be a bishop who is simply personal and not territorial, who is a simple vicar general in the service of a bishop of another rite, who would not have jurisdiction everywhere in the diocese, who would not have an equal vote in the deliberative councils? Only one who does not know the East could think that such solutions are possible.

b. It is the same for the solution that wishes to unify patriarchal jurisdictions:

1) An amorphous patriarch, not belonging to any rite, to any particular Church, is unthinkable: by definition, a patriarch is the head of a Church.

2) It is not normal that some faithful, clerics, and bishops be dependent on a patriarch of another rite, that is to say, of another particular Church.

3) The distribution of the patriarchal sees among the different rites arises from pure fantasy. It is a fact that doctrinal differences, then the movements of union with Rome, have multiplied the incumbents of each patriarchal see. We do not wish to enter here into interminable discussions to decide, for example, which of the three present incumbents of the see of Antioch is the successor of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Today the three are legitimate. On the seat of Alexandria, the Melkite incumbent is as authentic as the Coptic incumbent, and on the seat of Antioch each of the three patriarchs, Melkite, Syrian, and Maronite, is a legitimate incumbent. According to what criterion, therefore, is the See of Antioch to be reserved for only one of them?

All these solutions are not realizable and are dangerous

Realistic Solution: Collaboration and Synodalism

The only solution that to us appears realistic is the one that takes into account the known facts of what is real, possible, and useful. Since we are not able to suppress the multiplicity of jurisdictions, we organize them in such a way as to avoid as much as possible its drawbacks and to produce the maximum advantages.

Our program can be summed up in two words: collaboration and synodalism.

1. Collaboration

This includes the following manifestations:

a. First create a spirit of collaboration among the different communities. Learn to help one another, to work together, to love one another. It is necessary to cultivate this spirit starting with the seminary. Arrange as much as possible for contacts, encounters, congresses, etc.

b. Avoid dispersion of forces. In small centers, one church could serve two communities. In the same small village, a single Catholic school is sufficient.

c. Do not push the autonomy of jurisdiction to extremes. When the faithful of one rite are greatly outnumbered in a parish of another rite, the administration of them can very well be entrusted to the pastor of the parish, while having them visited from time to time by a priest of their rite.

d. Unify all the spheres in which the communal interest is not strictly at stake: general direction of teaching, of Catholic action, of relations with the press, radio, and television, of social action, of charity, of relations with the state, etc.

2. Synodalism: For all matters of common interest, there should be one seat of responsibility. Who will it be? It cannot be an individual person. Thus it will be the synod of all hierarchs having jurisdiction in the same territory: a patriarchal synod or an episcopal synod.

To reach this goal, patriarchal or episcopal conferences are insufficient, at least in their present form. It is necessary to have a true synod, in the Eastern manner, with power of decision.

This synod should be held more or less frequently: one or two times a year for the patriarchal or the national episcopal synod; each month, perhaps, for the bishops of the same city. Between the meetings of the synod, an executive committee always has the duty of seeing that the decisions are executed. In this fashion, to the question, "Is there in the East a seat of responsibility for all Catholic interest for the whole country or for the whole diocese?" One will be able to reply, "Yes, but this seat of responsibility is not an individual person: it is the synod of all those to whom the Lord has entrusted His Church in this corner of the Lord's field."

We think that that is the only truly realistic solution.

Conclusion

1. Be that as it may, we think that it is not appropriate to burden the council with such a question. It is a situation that is too specific to the Near East. In addition, the Fathers, as a whole, cannot obtain a sufficiently complete and personal conception of this question to settle it while knowing its background.

2. It is necessary at all cost to avoid causing troubles among the people by discussing this question without discretion.

3. In order to realize the collaboration of which we have spoken, it is necessary to rely on patriarchal or episcopal conferences on the spot. Only they can indicate the realistic solutions that are required.

4. It is necessary to work from now on to settle the regulation and the competencies of the patriarchal and episcopal synods that will bear collegially the responsibility for Catholicism on the spot.

We think that it is necessary, as a point of departure, to accept the special form under which the problem of the Church in this region is presented. Each country has its own difficulties to resolve. What suits one country does not necessarily suit another. For each situation it is necessary to find the solution that suits it and resolve the problems according to the given realities.

Given all the reasons that we have put forth, the firm and clear attitude of our Melkite Greek Catholic Church, as opposed to the more or less fanciful projects of unification of jurisdiction in the Arab Near East, is that there should be no innovations: nihil innovetur, but that there should be constant striving to improve the collaboration among all communities with the aim of the general good of the Church.

Archbishop Joseph Tawil, Patriarchal Vicar at Damascus, took up this topic again in a brief intervention at the Council on November 13, 1963.

All the Catholic communities of Eastern rite, taken together or separately, are a miniature of the Churches that they represent. With the exception of the Maronite Church, all have an Orthodox branch, which is more or less large. All, taken together, form scarcely three per cent (3%) of the Orthodox from which they were born. The Orthodox, throughout the world, comprise about two hundred million souls, of which there are three million Syrians, five million Armenians, fifteen million Copts and Ethiopians, and a hundred and eighty million Byzantines.

But among the Catholic communities of Eastern rite, not all present an Eastern appearance; some, in truth, present a Latin appearance. Certainly, the Latin Church is very honorable, but a Church that is latinized quoad modum does not offer to the Western Church anything that it does not already have in abundance; even more, it produces a great disappointment for the Orthodox branch of the same Church, which consequently lacks an authentic witness of its own tradition in the midst of this council.

In this conciliar assembly we have already heard one or another of the Eastern Fathers request the unification of those jurisdictions where the jurisdiction, not being territorial, is in fact personal, as there exist several incumbents of different rites, whose seats are in the same place. This state of things did not arise yesterday; it dates back several centuries. The theory of the remedy is certainly fine, but often the best is the enemy of the good. This proposal seems to us utopian, and at the same time dangerous and harmful.

1. It is utopian. As there are, in fact, faithful springing from so many different rites and leading their own lives in autonomy for fifteen centuries, can they be led to live together under one and the same authority? If such an experiment were tried, it would be without doubt tempting fate and reaping misfortune.

2. It is dangerous and harmful. In fact, each Eastern Catholic Church, taken separately, forms an incomplete entity which awaits, or rather invites, its Orthodox "pleroma." Each of these Churches marks a station on the road to unity. All go forward together like the vanguard of an army that follows, and from which it cannot be separated. But what should one think of a vanguard that so separates itself from the body of the army that the latter can no longer recognize it? Pope Benedict XIV, who so often fought against latinization of the Eastern Churches, requested them to preserve the same aspect as Orthodoxy, because we must look at things not with our Catholic eyes but with Orthodox eyes.

I conclude that the proposed unification of jurisdictions, far from being the remedy for the troubles that it intends to heal, will appear worse than the troubles and will very much increase the confusion.

In fact, a rite, deprived of its own bishop, will disappear bit by bit, or at least be unsound, and its faithful will perish bit by bit.

That is why this proposal offers less a solution than a dissolution. As always, we do not have any objection if the hierarchies that consent make the experiment.

Hierarchies for Eastern Immigrants

Archbishop Philip Nabaa, Metropolitan of Beirut, presented to the Commission of Bishops the following note entitled "Erection of Eastern Dioceses in America."

In the first general session of the commission "On Bishops and Diocesan Administration," held at Rome from the 14th to the 19th of November 1960, I presented a first note on the "Necessity to create Eastern Rite Dioceses in America." Following that note, I wish, in the present report, to add certain necessary precision and suggestions relative to the following points:

I. The numerical importance of Easterners in America

We do not speak here of the Ukrainian Easterners, who already have their own hierarchy in the United States and Canada. We limit our discussion to the Maronites and Melkites, who are the most important Eastern Catholic communities in North and South America. And it is for them that we entreat for the erection of respective personal dioceses. Their present number and their future require that institution.

In the absence of a rigorously exact census, we give the figures that we find in the official annual of the Catholic Church in the United States: The Official Catholic Directory, 1959, p. 256.

Number of Maronites in the United States 125,000

Number of Melkites in the United States 50,000

There are as many and more in South America, in particular in Brazil and Argentina.

These figures constitute important dioceses in the Church in the Near East, where it is necessary to defend the faith of Christian minorities and sustain them against dominating and encroaching Islam. Now these Christians in America are an integral part of the Eastern Church, and must remain faithful to it, for the life and the growth of Catholicism in the East.

The Orthodox in America have understood very well this necessity for life and growth. They already have several bishops in the United States and Brazil. They have a hundred parish churches that are well organized. They have charitable societies that are rich and prosperous. They have an unlimited freedom of action and of growth. This is to such an extent that in the places where the Eastern Catholics are not well organized they go to the Orthodox Churches.

2. Serious and perhaps irreparable harm resulting from the lack of erection of Eastern dioceses in America

The Eastern Catholics of America, in particular the Maronites and Melkites, do not yet have any bishop, nor any hierarchical head of their own. The resulting injuries to them, and to all Eastern Catholicism, are very numerous and very serious.

Many Eastern Catholics, especially those who do not have an Eastern Catholic church near them, do not know who is their leader, nor who their pastors are, and thus lose their faith, or if there is an Orthodox church near them, they become Orthodox. And unfortunately this unhappy fact occurs frequently. As there is no leader to watch over them and to be responsible, the trouble continues and is aggravated, without any remedy being brought to it.

Where there are Eastern Catholic churches, these churches are considered sometimes as personal parish churches, sometimes as chapels under the guidance of Latin parish churches. And in these two cases the Eastern officiating ministers do not know exactly what are the limits of their powers or of their territory.

Free from the supervision of the Latin bishop, and not having an Eastern bishop to watch over them, these churches surrender, from the point of view of ritual, to all kinds of liturgical abuses. The sacred adornments take the Latin form. The religious offices are parodied. Signs of the cross are made backwards, or replaced by genuflections. Icons are replaced by statues. No trace of an iconostasis, of an Eastern altar, of beautiful liturgical processions. It is a diminution, almost a death of the Eastern rite, because of the encroachment of the Latin rite, or rather because of the absence of an Eastern hierarchical authority.

The Orthodox see these harms and abuses, and are scandalized by them, taking the occasion to distance themselves more and more from Eastern Catholicism, when they are not carrying away the discontented members of the Eastern churches.

3. Equality between Eastern and Western Catholics

All Eastern Catholics, and particularly those in America, know that the Latin immigrants in the East have a Western Catholic hierarchy. This is the case, for example, of Egypt, of Lebanon, and of Palestine, which even has a Latin patriarch in Jerusalem beside the Melkite Catholic patriarch. Knowing this, the Eastern Catholics in America entreat forcefully for their own hierarchy, capable of serving them and saving them in line with the religious and national points of view. The services that have been offered to them until now have been definitely ineffective. And if they are not provided with the institution of an Eastern hierarchy, which takes the Easterners and their interests to heart and which is capable of serving them well, the Catholics are going to lose their most sacred rights, and that will be a grave injustice.

Like their Latin brothers who have immigrated to the East and who have in this immigration their own hierarchy, likewise the Eastern Catholics who have immigrated to America have the right to have, in that country, their own hierarchy. Equality between Eastern and Western Catholics requires it. The Holy See has recognized this, and brought it about in several Western countries.

In the United States for the Ukrainians.

In Canada for the Ukrainians.

In Australia, in Germany, in France similarly for the Ukrainians.

And last of all in France for the Armenians also. And since the Holy See has done this for all these countries, it can also do it elsewhere, and for groups as important as the Maronites and Melkites of America.

4. Proclamation of Principle by the Council

So that it may not be said that there are two weights and two measures in the Catholic Church, and that the Westerners have more advantages and rights than the Easterners, we ask that the principle of equality between all Eastern and Western Catholics be proclaimed by this council and that a special mention be made for the erection of Eastern dioceses in Western countries, equal to the Latin dioceses in Eastern countries.

It would not be fitting to leave to the Oriental Congregation alone the proclamation of this principle. But it will be necessary to leave to it the de facto judgment, that is to say the realization and the legal constitution of Eastern dioceses in Western countries. The proclamation of the principle by this council will be an occasion of justice for Eastern Catholics and a great encouragement to the Orthodox, for the great catholic union, which is one of the greatest wishes of this council.

5. The legal constitution of the Eastern personal dioceses

It is necessary to give the Eastern dioceses established in America and in other parts of the West a legal constitution that will safeguard two benefits, the benefit for the Eastern faithful of the immigration and the benefit of the unity of territorial jurisdiction in the same diocese. This constitution must permit the Eastern Church, in the West, to have a rank that is worthy of it and free and effective activity among its faithful, but without creating jurisdictional conflicts. In particular, this constitution must assure to the Eastern bishops established in the West all the rights that bishops have in their dioceses. However, the jurisdiction of Eastern bishops will be principally personal and secondarily territorial. It will be exercised directly over the faithful of that rite, and indirectly over the faithful of other rites, while retaining the common rules on the administration of the sacraments and more particularly of marriage. It will extend to all the places of an ecclesiastical province and of a country where there are faithful of that rite, even if the places belong to different dioceses.

And as there is only one pope who can have and give jurisdiction over a number of dioceses, the Holy See can delegate its powers and designate an Eastern bishop as "Apostolic Exarch." He can also constitute for the Easterners a Metropolitan who, while being a Cardinal or Archbishop of a certain diocese would be also the Ordinary of all the Easterners of the country or of the province. In that case, the Eastern bishop would be the suffragan of this Metropolitan.

The concrete arrangements of this constitution will be specified by the Sacred Oriental Congregation, according to the models of the Constitutions which govern the Exarchates of the Ukrainians and the Armenians in America, Australia, Germany, and France.

6. Conclusions in brief and legal forms

The Catholic world, the Orthodox world, and the Protestant world expect from the Second Vatican Council authentic declarations and useful and effective actions for reviving the union of Christians in one single and unique Church of Christ.

The Second Vatican Council must respond to this universal Christian expectation and thus prove, in the sight of the whole world, that it is ready to do everything that is dependent on it and all that it can justifiably do for the realization of Christian unity.

As for what concerns immigrants and the erection of Eastern dioceses in Western countries, the following declarations and actions are proposed:

1) All Eastern and Western Christians, of whatever rite to which they belong, whether residing in their country of origin or in countries where they are immigrants, have the same rights in the Church of Christ, which is one and universal, that is, catholic.

2) Eastern rite dioceses will be erected in Western countries, as Latin rite dioceses will also be erected in Eastern countries, wherever it is necessary or useful for the salvation of souls and the good of the Church.

3) When several jurisdictions are established in the same place, in the East or in the West, a higher ecclesiastical authority will be constituted, in the form of an assembly of bishops or in the manner of existing metropolitans, to unify the diverse jurisdictions.

+ + +

In its "Observations on the Schemas of the Council" (1963), the Holy Synod returned to the question, asking for at least the beginning of the founding of "personal dioceses" for the Easterners outside the patriarchal territory. They referred to the schema "On Bishops and the Administration of Dioceses.") The schema, very fortunately, recommends establishing personal dioceses for the faithful of another rite, when their number requires it. In reality, this today concerns only personal dioceses of Eastern rite, for the Latin Church has divided up the terrestrial globe, and all the Latin dioceses in the world are considered as territorial. Even when the number of Latins does not reach 2000, the Holy See gives them, even in the heart of the East, a hierarchy of their own rite. But when the Easterners number more than 50,000 or 100,000, (as for example the Melkites or the Maronites in the United States), they must give up having even a simple personal diocese. If the council wishes to do something useful on this point, it must recommend that the bishops should not oppose indefinitely the establishment of personal dioceses for the Easterners, as a prelude to the establishment of true territorial and personal dioceses, for, in justice, why should the Latins be able to have territorial dioceses everywhere, even if they are a very tiny minority, and not the Easterners, when the latter are a respectable number? This system of two weights and two measures in the Catholic Church must cease. It is necessary to add to this that the opposition of certain Western ordinaries to the establishment of personal dioceses for the Easterners results in having Eastern immigrants not receiving sufficient spiritual help, and the priests that serve them lack an episcopal authority to keep them in fidelity to their rite and to their discipline. Because of their union with Rome, the Eastern Catholics of the immigration thus have their arms tied. They cannot expand, and they see their faithful diminish, while their Orthodox brothers, free in this regard, are organized and expanding. Can this unjust situation last indefinitely?

Public Discussion of the Conciliar Schema

It was on October 15, 1964, that the assembly began the public discussion of the schema "On the Eastern Churches." Patriarch Maximos attacked the part concerning patriarchs. Of all the parts of the decree, that was the least admissible. It was Archbishop Elias Zoghby, Patriarchal Vicar for Egypt and the Sudan, who expressed serious reservations against the text of the schema on October 16, 1964.

I would like to make three remarks about the schema on the Eastern Churches: the first is theological, the second historical, the third practical.

1. What was said yesterday by Cardinal Koenig and Patriarch Maximos concerning the first sentence of the prologue shows that the idea of the Catholic Church is still very inadequate. It is astonishing that after so many labors in the council on the nature of the Church, the theologians have not yet clarified this idea.

The universal Church, in fact, is composed of all the particular Churches, united by the Holy Spirit, and formed from the earliest centuries around the great sees. The principal and the most effective of these sees was Rome, and that with the consent of all, because of the apostolic succession on the Seat of Peter. But this universal Church must not be confused with that "universality" of the Western and Latin Church, which did not begin to exist as such until later, notably in the epoch of Charlemagne, and which, bit by bit, because of the canonical separation between the East and the West, one day found itself alone, having lost respect for the ancient patriarchal structure of the Church that the first Councils had authorized, and which it had the temptation to stifle.

It is true that at the time of the Crusades, undertaken by the Roman pontiffs, Latin patriarchs were placed on the Eastern seats, in the place of their legitimate pastors, but they were no more than shadows of the papacy.

Moreover, in the following centuries and still today, Latin missionaries, hardly better inspired, have established Latin churches in the East, from which have arisen rivalries unfavorable to the Eastern Churches. It is also true that certain parts of the Eastern Churches have been united with the Roman Church, but they have been incorporated into the Western structure. As for the separated Easterners, they have always kept the earlier concept, realizing that practical pluralism of which Pope Paul VI spoke in his encyclical "Ecclesiam suam."

So, when one speaks of ecclesiastical separation one does not speak the same language and one is not understood: Easterners think of a separation from the Latin Church as from a particular Church; others think of a separation from the universal Church, according to their own concept. Now, the schema on the Eastern Churches is entirely conceived in the latter manner, as if the Eastern Catholics were parts or appendices of the "universal" Latin Church, something which cannot be logically admitted. Whence the schema must be entirely remodeled so that this false perspective may be eliminated from it.

2. Concerning the primacy of the Roman pontiff, its doctrinal formulation, although declared several times in former Western councils, was not dogmatically defined until Vatican I. Until then it could be considered, at least by the Orthodox, as only a canonical doctrine. The council that re-established Photius in his office in 879 was content to draw up a modus vivendi governing the relationships of the two Churches, without a theological import. The Roman pontiff was certainly then the first bishop of the Church, enjoying undeniable powers. He had to preside over ecumenical councils, or at least to watch over their sessions and to subscribe to their decrees. The Easterners appealed to him in serious questions, and this recourse was construed as being more canonical than dogmatic.

Thus if the two Churches were not opposed concerning the doctrine of the primacy, and if the Eastern theology on the procession of the Holy Spirit were not repudiated by the formula of Filioque, as that was affirmed at Florence, one could say that the Churches of the East and of the West, even after the schism, have not been as much separated as it is believed, and that they have maintained their communion in the faith. The conflict was between two particular and local Churches, or between the Eastern patriarchs and the Roman pontiffs who wished to extend their power over the East as in the West. Easterners never had the perception of being separated from the Church, for they had the perception of being themselves the Church with the Latin Church, and with at least as much right. They constitute, in fact, the most important part of the Christianity which had defined the truths in its councils, and which had given to the Church its best theologians, and which had comprised nearly all of the Fathers at the first ecumenical councils.

When, at the First Vatican Council, there was a question of defining the primacy of the Roman pontiff, and thus determining the theological structure of the Church, practically all the Fathers were Latin. Now, that definition is very important for the Easterners, perhaps more important for them than for the Latins, because it affects the ecclesiastical structure of the East much more than that of the West.

3. I shall say briefly something about communicatio in sacris. It is very good to come back to it, because it was the prevailing pastoral practice in many regions. It didn't stop until the beginning of the 18th century, through a clumsy application of the post-Tridentine decrees in the West relating to Protestants. This was the work of some badly-informed missionaries.

As for the subject of the reception of a non-Catholic Christian into the Catholic Church, I fall in line from the very first with the opinion of the schema "On Ecumenism," according to which no type of proselytism should be encouraged. If, however, the situation occurs, the interested person must strictly retain his own rite. In exceptional cases, an appeal can be made to Holy See of Rome. In this matter, I declare that I am in full accord with the schema, with His Eminence Cardinal Cicognani, with His Beatitude Patriarch Maximos IV and all his bishops, with His Excellency Isaac Ghattas, Bishop of the Catholic Copts in Egypt, and with the great majority of the Eastern Churches.

Venerable Fathers, let us be wise, but still be good and tolerant. Let us not judge the quarrels and schisms of past times with the mentality of our ancestors, but with ours. We live, thank God, in an age of openness and of freedom, even religious. We can have at the heart of the same Church and the same council Fathers who have the right to think and to express themselves differently from the others. Such freedom was not always tolerated in past times. The Church was divided in order to defend formulas, and there were neither mixed commissions or coordinating commissions. If it should be necessary to utilize bygone methods, if we had at the head of the council a Cardinal Humbert, capable of signing a bull of excommunication in a moment of ill-humor, in the name of a pope dead for three months, how many of us, authentic Catholics, would have left the council with a bull of excommunication or of anathema, only to discover, one or two thousand years later, that the formulas were not contradictory, that the primacy was not at all opposed to collegiality, that the so-called monophysitism and the Orthodox doctrine on the procession of the Holy Spirit could be orthodox?

On October 19, 1964, it was Archbishop Joseph Tawil who explained to the assembly his criticisms of the schema.

This holy council has definitely placed the Church in the ecumenical sphere, made it a duty to think of its faith, from now on, no longer only at the frontiers of Catholicity, but also in the dimensions of Christianity, if not of the universe. And for fear of neutralizing all the work of the council, we must definitely change our ways of seeing and acting, as Pope Paul VI reaffirmed at the time of his pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Now, the schema "On the Eastern Churches," which is surely an improvement over that which was presented at the first session, must undergo a number of changes to be in accord with the conciliar decree "On Ecumenism," which has truly opened for the Church a new era, thus deserving all sorts of praise. Here are some observations on the schema:

1. What stands out in this schema is that it speaks of the Eastern Churches as particular Churches, without ever having given this honor even once to the Latin Church, which is equally a particular Church. As a consequence, it has presented the patriarchates as being an exclusively Eastern institution, forgetting that the West, which for a thousand years lived together with the East in this institution, still continues to live in it in our days. What is it that, in fact, distinguishes the Churches among themselves and divides them into Eastern and Western, if not the patriarchate that is at the head, and that defines a Church-source, a Church mother of other Churches? The primacy of the Roman pontiff does not suppress in any manner his capacity as patriarch of the West.

2. What also stands out in the present schema is speaking of the Eastern patriarchs and ignoring the names of their sees, which are Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, coming in that order of precedence after Rome, which is the first among them. As for the super-added Latin patriarchate of Jerusalem, which came later following wars of conquest and the unjust dispossession of legitimate incumbents, then was ended by these same wars and re-established only a century ago, it is a constant reminder of bitter memories for the East, both Catholic and Orthodox. Thanks to this patriarchate, the latinization of the East has proceeded to the state of an institution. May our brothers, the venerable Western Fathers, pardon us: we love the Latin Church, our sister, and we venerate her the more because we owe much to her. But for the good of the universal Church, this holy council must put a final end to this sad episode of history, which has lasted too long. The latinization of the Christian East, in any manner whatsoever, must no longer be tolerated.

3. Paragraph 4, page 5, treating of non-Catholics returning to unity, asks deservedly for the maintenance of their rite. This problem very much preoccupies the above-mentioned latinizers, who would wish, under the cover of respect for personal freedom, to have them join the Latin rite. In my opinion this problem should not be posed, for it is a false problem: it is the same for individuals as for portions of Eastern Churches that have returned at other times to communion with the Roman See, and which did not have to renounce their rite nor their discipline, since they did not come from nothing, but they were born into a Church endowed with sacraments and were already of a distinct rite. To make them join the Latin Church is an offense to the Church to which they belong. For them it is a matter of reconciliation, and not of renunciation.

Conclusion: At this hour of ecumenism and of the collegiality preserved by the East, rediscovered and taken up again by the West, because it is for the good of the universal Church, the Eastern Churches must be able henceforth to lead their own lives, autonomous, governed as they should be by their respective synods, in conformity with the just norms of their tradition. A postconciliar commission composed of Easterners and of specialists who are friends of the East would be entrusted with the work of the aggiornamento of these Churches in the double fidelity to the successor of Peter and to sound traditions, rid of the attachments that are foreign to them. Even the Orthodox, I am sure of it, will be grateful for this work.


The Melkite Greeks had been the principal architects of the schema "On the Eastern Catholic Churches." Those who had spoken so far seemed to recommend the pure and simple rejection of the schema. The moment was grave. Certainly, the schema was far from being perfect. But those who wished to reject it had very diverse motives: "ecumenists" who found it too "uniate," "latinizers" who found it too "Byzantine," "Latins" who found it too "Eastern." By allowing the schema to fail, one would certainly reject its imperfections, but one would lose its real advantages.

The patriarch, in these difficult circumstances, decided to save the schema. There will always be time, he thought, to improve it. But such as it is, it saves the Eastern Catholic Churches from the humiliating status of inferiority in which they found themselves until now. And also, the schema contained one or two general principles that opened the way for "internal canonical autonomy" of the Eastern Churches: the foremost condition for all ecumenical dialogue.

Thus on October 19, 1964, Archbishop Neophytos Edelby, Patriarchal Counselor, openly declared: "The schema is not perfect, but it contains enough good elements so that it should not be rejected." The Melkite hierarchy, aware of the maneuvers that were being plotted behind the scenes, adopted a realistic solution. Here is the intervention by Archbishop Edelby:

The discussion, in this conciliar assembly, of the schema "On the Eastern Churches" is for us of the East a cause of consolation, at the same time that it is for us the occasion of a certain uneasiness.

We certainly rejoice in the Lord when we hear from our Western brothers so many fine words, so many praises with respect to our institutions and to all the spiritual patrimony, of which we have become, without any merit on our part, heirs and guardians. We also rejoice in the Lord when, over and above these words and praises, we feel fraternal affection in our regard. The conciliar Fathers on the whole not only do not wish to impose on their Eastern brethren the weight of the Latin majority, but they seek, on the contrary, by all means to confirm by their votes what is pleasing to the Easterners themselves. But, after having heard the interventions of the Eastern Fathers, a question is born in your hearts, venerable Fathers, and almost rises to your lips: "Exactly what do the Easterners want? In short, does this schema please them, or not?"

The Eastern Fathers who have spoken up to now have given evidence of noteworthy differences. This diversity of opinion is for us, as I have said, a cause of uneasiness. We are ashamed of not having arrived, on all points, at securing unanimity among ourselves. But, if it is permitted to give some explanation of this diversity of attitudes, I would take the liberty of remarking first, venerable Fathers, that such diversity is very natural and should not be astonishing. Aren't there just as many differences among the Western Fathers? Besides, the differing attitudes of the Easterners most frequently depend on different perspectives of the apostolate, of local needs, and of various circumstances.

Since in human affairs, which always include advantages and drawbacks, it is difficult to secure unanimity, the good of ecclesiastical society requires conforming to the opinion of the majority. Our schema, with the amendments already approved by the commission, has already obtained the consent of the very great majority of the Eastern Churches. One can say that, apart from one or another point, the schema has received the nearly unanimous approval of the commission, as His Eminence Cardinal Cicogani, president of our commission, has so well said.

Certainly, the schema is not particularly good. It is far from being perfect. But, in the present circumstances, it was difficult to obtain a better schema.

This schema is good, simply good. It can be improved. Already many amendments have been examined by our commission and approved by it to be inserted in the text. Unfortunately time is lacking for reprinting the text as thus amended. But it is certain that through these new amendments, which are found on an attached leaflet, there has already been a response in advance to a certain number of criticisms that the Fathers have needlessly made in the assembly. Other amendments can still be proposed, and should, in my opinion, be approved so that the parts of the schema that are truly too weak, such as the preamble and the chapter devoted to patriarchs, may become acceptable. On the other hand, our schema takes into consideration the very fine doctrinal schema "On Ecumenism." If the inspiration of the one or of the other schema sometimes seems different, as has been very well remarked by Their Eminences Cardinals Koenig and Lercaro, with whom I am in full agreement, unity of inspiration can be obtained either by re-examining certain expressions in our schema, or by admitting a fruitful collaboration with the Secretariat for Christian Unity. But if the schema is purely and simply rejected, there is a great danger that the disciplinary reforms that we have obtained with great trouble, nearly in extremis, may be tabled indefinitely.

In spite of certain flaws, which can be corrected, this schema constitutes a definite progress, not very great but undeniable, for Eastern Catholics. Do not permit, Venerable Fathers, our being denied this small progress!

And now, allow me to say something about the canonical bearing of this burning question, which is the rite to which non-Catholics being reconciled with the Catholic Church must belong.

It is of little importance, Venerable Fathers, that one Easterner or several become Latin. It is not a matter of the miserable desire to retain or increase the number of one's own faithful. This question cannot be settled without taking into account the ecumenical movement that impels us nowadays, not to increase the number of the faithful of our own Church, but to establish a dialogue between the Churches themselves so that with the grace of God we may arrive at the union of the Churches themselves in a single Church of Christ. Even more, we wish to take advantage of this occasion to solemnly reaffirm our sincere desire to condemn all proselytism that tends to nothing other than nibbling away, by all means, at the number of the faithful of other Churches.

But, while awaiting the joyful union of all Churches, we cannot avoid stating a certain and universal fact, that many persons or certain groups of our Orthodox brothers, moved by the demands of their consciences, already wish to restore their union with the Roman Catholic Church. In these cases, about which we cannot talk abstractly, it is necessary to anticipate having certain disciplinary rules to determine to which rite they must belong.

Thus the fixing of these rules must not alienate us from the heart of our very dear Orthodox brothers, as if we might wish to push them surreptitiously to desert their Church. We wish only that those who, moved by the Holy Spirit, already desire to restore union with the Catholic Church, find clear and precise rules, in the same way that the Orthodox Church itself acts in regard to Catholics who desire to become Orthodox.

Finally, the fixing of these rules, which prescribe in general that the Easterners remain Eastern, and not become Latin, nor transfer to another rite than their own without an indult of the Roman See, must in the same way not alienate us from the heart of our very dear Latin brothers, whom we honor and esteem. What we are doing is only settling rules, as they themselves have done when it affected them. In the same manner that a Western non-Catholic, for example an Italian, who returns to the Catholic Church, must remain in the Western Church, that is to say, in the Latin Church, likewise an Eastern non-Catholic who desires to join the Catholic Church must remain Eastern, and even in his own rite. This is not contrary to religious freedom, or contrary to the good of souls. This is rather for the good of souls, for incorporation in a certain rite normally places each one in the situation that is the providential one for his mission.

If nevertheless special conditions of a soul require that he transfer to another rite, this will be very willingly granted by the Holy See. But it is necessary to reject that stratagem of those who place the transfer to another rite as a "necessary condition" of their joining Catholicism. Everyone knows that it is the strategy of those who wish to leave the door open to latinization of the East. The latinization of the East has already lasted for more than one hundred years. It is time to finally close this door. Otherwise, it is better to stop speaking about the union of Churches and of respect for the Eastern Churches. Easterners must remain Eastern. That is not to satisfy the self-respect of the Easterners, but for the good of the universal Church.

Doubts remained. Rumors were circulating, such as that Patriarch Maximos was against the schema. On the next day, Archbishop George Hakim of Galilee, although the discussion was closed, obtained the right to speak in the name of 70 Fathers, and took advantage of it to declare solemnly to the assembly that Patriarch Maximos and the Melkite Greek hierarchy were in favor of the schema taken as a whole. The assembly was hesitant and even had begun to lean to the contrary opinion. It was sufficient for it to be assured of the opinion of Patriarch Maximos to restore its confidence. It voted for the schema.

I speak in the name of more than 70 Fathers, Latin and Eastern.

The schema of the "Decree on Eastern Churches" is pleasing, and for that we express our gratitude to His Eminence Cardinal Cicognani and the relevant commission. Joining with the official declarations of His Eminence Cardinal Cicognani and of His Beatitude our Patriarch Maximos IV, with those of his counselor, Bishop Edelby and to those of so many other venerable Fathers, I say "placet." I humbly propose to vote in its favor, while introducing all the desirable amendments which will be taken into consideration. To accept the schema will be to perform a positive, wise, and constructive act, for that would permit obtaining all that is good in the schema. To reject it, on the contrary, destroys at the same time both the good and the bad elements. Certainly, we know that the text is not perfect. But what schema is perfect? Are we ourselves perfect? An Arabic proverb says: "Blessed is the perfect! God alone is perfect" (Soubhan el-Kamel! Al-Kamal lillah wahdahou).

Having said that, may I be permitted to add two simple remarks, which, I hope, will be taken into consideration by the commission:

1. In paragraph 3, lines 25 to 28, clarify the idea by adding a sentence through which it would be clearly recognized that, in declaring that all the Eastern and Western Churches are obliged to take care of "preaching the Gospel to the whole world," the holy council declares that all special directives laid down by any dicastery, even a supreme one, or any apostolic delegate, to restrain the apostolic activities of one or another Eastern Church for the benefit of the Latin Church, whether in the Near East, or in black Africa, or in the Indies, or elsewhere, are annulled. Let it be made clear, once and for all, that the holy council decides to put an end to all discrimination in the Church, for the benefit of one rite over another. If, in certain cases, the head of a diocese is responsible for irregularities or imprudence, let him be corrected, admonished, or even reduced in rank, but the respect owed to his Church should not be touched, in the equality owed to all rites.

2. Drawing my inspiration from what is said in number 27 about the intercommunion between Catholics and Orthodox, which we applaud with our whole hearts, I propose that the council give a fortiori the greatest freedom for concelebration among priests of different Catholic rites themselves. May the ad hoc commission find a formula authorizing the ordinary of the place or his vicar, in centers of pilgrimages, in national or international meetings, to permit priests of another rite to concelebrate with his priests, if they are capable of doing so. Communicating with one another, the priests, belonging to different Catholic Churches, will feel themselves to a greater extent brothers in the same Christ.

In fact, in everything that we ask, as in all that is decided by the Decree "On Eastern Churches," there is only one goal in view: That all may be one!

 

The Religious Life

The following reflections are excerpted from memoranda presented by the patriarch at the June, 1962 session of the Central Commission and from the Comments of the Holy Synod on the Schemas of the Council (1963). They refer to the draft of a schema "de statibus perfectionis adquirendae" (on acquiring the states of perfection) and to another schema "de rationibus inter Episcopos et Religiosos praesertim quoad opera exercenda" (on the relationships of bishops and religious, especially in respect to performing the works of the apostolate).

1. The religious life and the eremitical life

The religious life is defined in such a way "ut nunc vita anachoretica individualis inter status perfectionis minime recenseatur" (so that the individual eremitical life is now seldom counted among the states of perfection). And yet the individual eremitical life was the very origin of the religious life, the first model of what has come to be called "status perfectionis adquirendae" (the state of acquiring perfection).

The West constructed its form of religious life around life in common. And since the eremitical life no longer fitted these categories, it was excluded from the idea of the religious life. Should we not on the contrary broaden the definition of the religious life in such a way as to include in some way the original form of the religious life, namely the solitary life? There is all the more reason for this because in our time there are individuals in the Catholic world striving to lead the eremitical life, not to mention that in the Orthodox world this form of religious life is being practiced effectively at the present time. At the present moment, the cause for beatification is pending in Rome for a modern Maronite hermit, Father Charbel Makhlouf.

2. Perfection to be acquired and perfection acquired

There is always question of the famous distinction, dear to Western scholasticism, between "the state of acquiring perfection" and "the state of perfection acquired or being practiced." Bishops are being included in the latter state. Could we not avoid this distinction which is as artificial as it is humiliating for bishops, since what bishop believes that he has arrived at the state of perfection? Besides, is there indeed a state of acquired perfection? Or is not Christian perfection rather always to be acquired, not only by bishops but even by the saints? For the East this distinction is absolutely incomprehensible.

3. Patriarchal and pontifical exemption

Referring to the exemption of religious, the schema affirms that the supreme pontiff "ad seipsum, vel in Ecclesia Orientali ad Patriarcham, avocare potest religiones..." (can exempt religious institutes to himself, or, in the Eastern Church, to the patriarch...) The formula does not seem to be correct, for as it stands, it can lead one to believe that the patriarchal or "stavropegial" exemption is also, although indirectly, a pontifical exemption. More precisely, exemption is the act by which a religious institute is withdrawn on certain points from the authority of the ordinary of the place and is made directly subject to the authority of the pope (pontifical exemption) or to the authority of the patriarch (patriarchal exemption).

4. In the case of a multiplicity of rites.

The schema deals with the "subjectio religiosorum pro diveritate rituum" (authority for religious where there is a diversity of rites). It envisions only two cases. The first case is when religious work in a place where there is so to speak only one rite. In that case, according to the terms of Canons 5 and 15 of the motu proprio "Cleri sanctitati" of Pius XII, the religious are subject to the ordinary of the place of this rite in all that concerns their apostolate. The second case is when Latin religious exercise their apostolate for the benefit of faithful of several different rites. In that case they depend for their apostolate on the ordinary who has called or admitted them.

However, the most frequent case, which has not been envisioned by the schema, is the one in which Latin religious exercise their apostolate for the benefit of the faithful of different rites, but have not been called or admitted by any ordinary of the Eastern rite. In such a case, they may continue to depend on the Latin ordinary, even though the Latin faithful in the territory are very few in number or almost non-existent.

It is this third and more frequent case that the schema should consider in order to provide a suitable solution for it. Naturally, this question should not be dealt with by the council. It would be under the jurisdiction of the commission for the reform of the Western and Eastern codes. A few years ago we worked out a plan for regulating these sorts of cases, and we take the liberty of attaching it to this memorandum for whatever help it may be.

5. Title of the schema

We are not happy with the title of this conciliar schema. The authors have felt the need to compose more than one page to legitimize it, which is clear proof that it has already been subject to objections. This title exudes pedantry and vagueness. It is not correct to say that it is "most ancient," because it goes back only to the scholastics. It is better to use the expression of the Code, "De Religiosis" (or simply "the states of perfection"), although this title does not agree with all the categories, since it is unknown in the East. (It is not possible to argue from the recent codification for Eastern Catholics.)

On the other hand, the term in the former legislation which recognized only monks (and the canons of the West) can no longer suffice. It is better to keep to current terminology than to use difficult formulae that belong only to the scholarly vocabulary. If the intention were to introduce secular institutes and to find a broader generic term, it would have been better to say simply: "De Religiosis et de aliis Institutis Similibus" (Concerning Religious and Similar Institutes). The formula would have remained the one in current use. We might also ask ourselves if, by reason of a more general legislation, we would not have to name monks in the first place, then religious, etc. Let us think of the separated East. A strictly monastic legislation should exist. The Code of Canon Law was written in an era when no thought was given to the separated East. Now that monastic values are regaining interest and rights in the Church, we must speak of them differently. The schema simply takes sections of the Code, adding to it secular institutes. The council is not bound in any way by the Code of Canon Law.

6. Contemplation and Action

A much too rigid division is made between contemplative orders and active orders. There are many cases in which, by the nature of things, contemplation and action are combined. Excessive compartmentalization always brings cumbersome surprises. This is the case, for example, of papal enclosure. Why not simply put an end to it?

7. Secular Institutes

We would be delighted to see an allusion, in connection with the secular institutes, to the first ascetics, the widows, etc., groups dedicated to pious works, in the early days of the Church, and then completely blended into the laity pure and simple, and which seem to be revived in these contemporary forms of secular institutes.

8. Privileges of Religious

These privileges link the religious far too exclusively with the Apostolic See, and are harmful to contacts with the local Churches and bishops.

9. Latin Religious in the East

Stress here that the Latin religious who work in the East must understand and love the Eastern world as a whole and not as an imitation of the Latin world.

10. Associations of Major Superiors

It must be specified that these associations of major superiors can be founded only with the consent or at the very least after notice to the ordinary of the place. Likewise, their statutes should not be approved by Rome without notice to the same ordinary. Where the East is concerned, these associations of major superiors must stem not from the Congregation of Religious but from the Eastern Congregation.

Moreover, it would be good that one of the bishops of the corresponding ecclesiastical province be present at these meetings of major superiors.

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