Melkite Greek Catholic Church
 

Marriage and the Family

Indissolubility of Marriage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Birth Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mixed Marriages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now here are a few detailed remarks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Catholic Teaching

The Infallible Magisterium

A statement presented by the patriarch at the June 1962 session of the Central Commission with respect to a draft of a schema "On respect for the magisterium of the Church."

No. 6 distinguishes in the Church between the infallible and immutable magisterium of the pope and an ecumenical council and the "non-infallible" magisterium, which requires not only a respectful silence but also an "internal religious compliance," so much so that "when the Roman pontiffs in their actions concerning a matter that had hitherto been controversial, having given their attention to it, lay down a decision, that matter, according to the thinking and wishes of the same pontiffs, can no longer be considered a question for free disputation among the theologians." May we be permitted to make the following remarks on this subject:

1. The "non-infallible" magisterium is, by the very strength of the term and by definition, "fallible," and thus susceptible to error. If it is susceptible to error, like every other human teaching, even the most authoritative, the intervention of the pope cannot give to the doctrine that he proposes either the force of a dogma of faith or such a certitude that it removes every basis for possible discussion. Otherwise this "fallible" or "noninfallible" teaching would be practically equivalent to an "infallible" definition. The schema must explain clearly what the internal and essential difference is between the "infallible" teaching of the Roman pontiffs and their teaching that is theoretically called "fallible" but that still is to be considered as practically infallible, not allowing discussion. We do not wish to deny the assertion of the schema, but we ask that a clarification be presented, for, apparently, such an assertion seems to have no other goal than to extend surreptitiously the scope of pontifical infallibility and to transform into immutable certitudes, and thus practically dogmas, all the teaching of the popes, which, as is well known, includes, especially in recent years, almost all the field of human knowledge.

2. It is necessary to specify whether this exceptional authority of the pontifical teaching also extends, and if so to what extent, to all the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and to the persons who constitute it. Some of our separated brethren complain at times that in the Catholic Church everyone considers himself somewhat infallible.

3. It is also necessary to state precisely that this practical infallibility claimed for the teaching of the popes, even outside every dogmatic definition as such, does not extend to disciplinary measures taken by the Roman Curia, measures susceptible of being based on inexact information or on human motives.

4. While safeguarding the deposit of the faith, it is necessary, it seems to us, to avoid a continuously increasing constriction of the area of truths that are called in our Eastern tradition theologoumena: truths that have not yet been transformed into dogmas and whose reasoned discussion constitutes the proper work of theology. Their denial is not reasonable, but it does not automatically draw the thunderbolt of ecclesiastical censures. In other words, there should be no fear of leaving the widest possible field to the freedom of reasoned theological reflection, but with the way open for intervention if the domain of dogma is in danger. Certain Catholic authorities behave as if, for them, everything must be certain and evident. There is a violent reaction when what to them appears evident is not so in others' eyes. Many troubles in the Church would be avoided if persons knew how to be firm on dogmas and definite truths, while respecting freedom of theological thought for all other matters.


Thomism

A statement presented by the patriarch at the session of the Central Commission in June 1962.

It is our opinion that, in spite of the very high regard that one must have for St. Thomas Aquinas, it is not fitting that this council should declare that his doctrine is purely and simply the very doctrine of the Church or of the council. Therein is the risk that the Angelic Doctor be substituted for all the teaching and the entire Tradition of the Church. From the viewpoint of bringing Christians together, there is more than one disadvantage in the pure and simple adoption of the whole Thomistic system as the Church's own doctrine. Here are a few examples:

1. The Thomistic system, in fact, cannot be called universal in the Church. The East, in particular, possesses another theological system, which must not be cast aside from Catholic thought.

2. Thomistic terminology does not always conform with that in traditional usage in the Eastern Church, especially on the subject of the sacraments.

3. There is an involuntary risk of giving St. Thomas ' doctrine more consideration than the collective thought of the Fathers who constitute the ecclesial Tradition. In addition, the patristic thought of St. Thomas , although commendable for his epoch, is deficient on certain points compared with modern research.

4. St. Thomas is of his epoch and shares a good number of the prejudices of his time in regard to Easterners. He must not be utilized in dialogue with the Orthodox except with discretion.

5. Finally, Scholasticism, which is dependant on St. Thomas , has gradually made certain positions of its master more inflexible, and renders dialogue with the Orthodox still more difficult.

However that may be, Thomism is perhaps the most perfect expression of the theological evolution of the West in the Middle Ages. But Eastern theology does not die easily. It is better to leave the framework of the Church's universal theology open to a number of currents. Thus while recommending St. Thomas for the study of theologians, the council must avoid making it something absolute. Divinity is infinitely rich and varied. Nothing is more impoverishing than to contemplate it from a single viewpoint

Extracts from the "Observations of the Holy Synod on the Schemas of the Council" (1963)

It is impossible to accept in a text emanating from this council, and thus of universal significance both as to time and as to place, a constantly repeated call for the adoption in Catholic teaching of the doctrine, the method, and the principles of St. Thomas . Although dogma, as a revealed given fact, cannot change, its human expression, on the contrary, is subject to variation. It is the fruit of each people's own cultural spirit, a result of its mental inclination, its traditions, and of the circumstances under which its history has unfolded. In right and in fact, a number of currents of theological thought have existed and will exist in the Church, without prejudice to the fundamental unity of dogma. To tie dogma to a human culture necessarily coexistent with the particular civilization of a people, is unlawful and actually impossible, because it is against nature. Besides, that is to impoverish it, reduce it, whereas it is the message of God to men, all men. It is agreed that Thomism, itself an heir of Aristotelian philosophic thought, has contributed much to the Church, and that present day theological expression owes much to it, and it is only just to recognize it; but one cannot impose it, bind it to dogma, above all in a conciliar document.

 

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 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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Divine Revelation

The Sources of Revelation

On November 14, 1962, the 19th General Session undertook the study of the dogmatic schema "On the Sources of Revelation." A strong opposition to this schema, and, more generally, to all the dogmatic schemas, had already been apparent for several weeks. It was felt that there was too docile an attitude towards the ideas of certain Roman groups, an unjustified hostility to the great theologians of the hour, a too scholarly mentality, anxious to hunt out heresies everywhere, and making the dialogue with non-Catholics more inflexible. The patriarch took the floor to reject this schema in its entirety.

May I be permitted to express, on the subject of the schema of the dogmatic constitution "De Fontibus Revelationis," a general opinion, inspired above all by pastoral and ecumenical considerations.

The criterion for choosing the subjects to be submitted to the deliberations of the Fathers in council is not that of their objective importance, but their relationship with the life of the Church. Thus, as the Holy Father has stressed more than once and even in his speech opening the council, he wished to see all questions dealt with from the pastoral angle. Now, I ask, what present and pastoral interest is there for the council to discuss the question of the sources of Revelation from the narrow, negative, and polemical angle with which it is being presented to us? I shall explain:

1) First of all, we may well wonder in what measure this schema "De Fontibus Revelationis" truly responds to the desires and wishes of the bishops and Catholic universities. The suspicion comes spontaneously to mind that this text was written rather to put an end to quarrels between theological schools. It seems to me that the council should keep its distance from these quarrels.

2) As for the specific matter of the doctrine of the Church on the sources of Revelation, no danger is truly menacing the Church. There is no need to proceed to new definitions of faith or to dogmatic declarations, which would risk stiffening traditional positions or arresting the harmonious development of dogma. In fact, certain ideas, such as those that concern the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, or the interpretation of certain passages of the books of the Old and of the New Testament, have been for some years the objects of research and in depth discussions among specialists both in the empirical sciences and in sacred studies. Do we today have all the necessary knowledge which would permit us to settle definitively the current debates? These discussions, in our opinion, have not yet reached a sufficiently mature stage to justify imposing definitive solutions.

3) Certain parts of the schema, it is true, repeat the traditional teaching of the Church on points that are certain, but this certain teaching is presented in a rather negative form, of condemnations and polemics. Now, that is not acceding to the wishes of the pope or the expectations of the faithful who await from us a statement that is serene, constructive, and rich in the history of our salvation, to nourish their Christian life.

4) On the ecumenical level, one must regret that the schema does not strive to prepare the way for further dialogue with other Christians, but is content to repeat the dated formulas of the "Counter Reformation" and of "Anti-Modernism."

For all these reasons, and without wishing to go into detail, I propose that the council reject purely and simply the examination and the adoption of this schema.

The teaching of the Church on this point should be explained in a positive and pastoral manner, and the way should remain open to the research of specialists, among whom are Catholic scholars and theologians of great renown, in whom the Church normally would place its trust.

The Absence of Eastern Theology

On November 17, 1962, during the 21st General Session, Archbishop George Hakim of St. John of Acre and of all Galilee, returned to the charge and rejected the schema "Concerning the Sources of Revelation," but for a more general reason, namely: this schema, like all the dogmatic schemas presented to the council, took into account only one theological tradition: that of the West. Eastern theology was not recognized.

If I intervene now, it is not to repeat what numerous and eminent prelates have already said perfectly on these doctrinal schemas. I am only expressing my explicit adherence to the criticism that they have formulated, and which lead them to think that these schemas should be not only amended but rewritten, if we wish to remain faithful to the apostolic goals of this council.

I only wish to let the council hear a voice of the East and of its patristic tradition, and to say that the doctrinal schemas presently being studied are foreign to that venerable and authentic tradition, in their wording, in their structure, in their perspective, and in their conceptualization.

These schemas certainly contain riches and values of Latin theology, and we are pleased to pay fervent homage to the magnificent intellectus fidei that this theology has provided for the Church. Nevertheless, we regret that, completely ignoring Eastern catechesis and theology, that of Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximos the Confessor, John of Damascus, and so many others, the drafters have apparently monopolized the universal faith for the benefit of their particular theology, and seem to wish to erect as exclusive conciliar truth what is a valid expression, but a local and partial one, of God's Revelation.

In Eastern theology, where the liturgy is the efficacious place for the transmission of the faith, where initiation occurs within the sacramental mystery, and not in an abstract instruction without any symbolic links, the mystery of Christ is set forth directly as an economia. It unrolls in the history of the preparation in the Old Covenant, the accomplishment in Christ, and the realization in the time of the Church. Theoretical explanations, however legitimate and necessary they may be, are never separated from the warp and woof of Scripture and the testimony of the Fathers.

This concrete character of the Word of God manifests its presence in the world. The Church, the Body of Christ, is precisely the authentic site and the living magisterium of its transmission. Any separation, or even the appearance of separation, between Scripture and Tradition, as occurs in the draft of "De Fontibus" now being submitted to this Council, will be judged by many as doing violence to the authentic unity of the paths of transmission, which are never separated in Eastern theology, and which we cannot conceive of as being separated.

The schemas that have been presented are exclusively the fruit of scholasticism — good and true fruit, certainly — but produced by only certain elements of the Tradition of the Church. The character of this council invites us to avoid confining the word of God within particular categories, and to avoid eliminating another intellectus fidei by disregarding it.

Here are some examples that illustrate what I am saying:

Eastern theology gives full emphasis to the definition of man as image of God, which leads it to conceive in a manner different from that of the Latins the abstract distinction between nature and grace, and thus the relationship of God and men, as it is presented in Revelation.

Another example: Eastern theology considers the Paschal mystery in its unique totality—death and resurrection—while Latin theology dwells more on the aspect and the theory of satisfaction.

I enumerate quickly these examples to demonstrate the Catholic presence of Eastern theology, whose truth and orthodoxy are clearly indisputable.

That is why I, nourished by this authentic tradition, feel myself a stranger to the terminology and the structure of the proposed schemas, and I understand still more clearly the criticisms that have been made from the evangelical and pastoral perspectives, and with which I am in complete agreement.

Growth and Progress of the Living Tradition in the Church

Under this title, the Melkite Greek Patriarchate published at Rome, on October 3, 1964, as a supplement to the sessions of the council, a note stressing the notion of living Tradition, referred to in the new schema, and explaining in what sense it can grow and develop.

In its new form, the schema on Revelation shows not only an improvement, not only a substantial change, but a complete reversal of the earlier schema "De Fontibus Revelationis." Its primary merit consists in the affirmation of the unity of the revealed object. This object is God himself, intervening in the lives of men and manifesting himself to them through Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ. The mystery of Christ is the whole of revelation. As the author and perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ, in the indissoluble unity of his being, is at once the one who reveals and who is revealed. The overwhelming majority of the Fathers seem to be very much pleased with themselves for making such an affirmation. Several of them even ask that it be stressed still more, such as Bishop Zoughaie of Upper Volta, who cites on this subject the beautiful chapter of Saint John of the Cross in The Ascent of Mount Carmel.

Another datum of the Catholic faith is that the revelation of Christ is definitive; it is a truth ordinarily expressed by saying that revelation "ended with the death of the last of the Apostles," witnesses of Christ. When revelation is seen as only the communication of a series of pronouncements, one can adhere to this truth of faith; however, it is not so understood. One does not see, in fact, that which would render impossible the communication of new pronouncements in the future. On the other hand, if one holds that all revelation is summed up in the mystery of Christ, one understands immediately that God, having spoken his one and only Word to us, having spoken it to us (insofar as it is possible for us in our earthly condition to hear it) in its totality, has henceforth nothing more to say to us, in the same way that having given us his only Son, He has nothing more to give to us. It then becomes impossible to imagine any new revelation in the future, that of the incarnation of a new Son of God. The New Testament is truly, in the strictest sense, the "last" and the "eternal" one ("novissimum et aeternum").

For this very reason, we can understand at the same time that a limitless field is open to Christian reflection, which can and should be unremittingly pursued, with the view of exploring and cultivating what Saint Paul calls the "unfathomable riches of Christ." This is in fact not a question of dead formulas to be preserved in the intellect, like precious stones in a jewel box, although the irreformable formulas have an essential role to play. The Word of God reechoes perpetually in the bosom of the Church, as the perpetual truth of life. Now, the conditions of human life (historical, intellectual, social, and cultural) are subject to change. In each generation, in each place, in the face of each new situation, we must draw from this Word the light to illuminate our journey to God. It is to this task that the Church applies itself, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The Spirit does not provide a new object, but introduces us "into all truth," that is to say, into all the truth of Christ.

However, we must really understand that this ever-new fruitfulness of the revealed "object" is in no way comparable to a continuation. Revelation, as we have already said, is unique and final. The magisterium of the Church, which has the responsibility for safeguarding it, cannot add anything to it. The conceptual clarifications and the developments, even the doctrinal ones, which have appeared in the course of the ages in response to the needs of the times, through the influence of various factors, and in conformity with the laws of the human intellect, are only a means of better preserving and analytically encompassing an object, who, in himself, does not have to grow and indeed cannot grow. Thus they never constitute more than an advance "secundum quid." The Church preserves and transmits the preaching of the Apostles in the two forms in which it has been embodied: Scripture and Tradition, without ever claiming to make additions, under one of these forms or under the other. Scripture and Tradition, whatever may be our method of visualizing their relationship (in any case their intimate connection must be recognized, since one and the other both express the single Mystery), contain divine revelation and constitute the absolute and indispensable norm of our faith. Just as there is nothing to add to Scripture, there is likewise nothing more to add to apostolic tradition. Just as the effort to "examine the Scriptures," which is pursued from age to age, does not claim to enrich the treasures of the Scriptures, so, too, the living Tradition of the Church, which is expressed from age to age in various forms, does not claim to enrich the treasure of the Tradition received from the Apostles. It discloses and develops their inexhaustible resources, to bring their light to bear on the successive aspects of human life and to provide for the salvation of successive generations. For Christ is the universal Savior: "Jesus Christ yesterday, today and forever."

It is perhaps this that paragraph 8 of Chapter II, devoted to the description of Tradition, does not stress sufficiently. This was a particularly difficult task because the idea of apostolic tradition does not offer to the intellect the same readily evident consistency as does the idea of Scripture. While it is easy for us to distinguish, through the words themselves, Scripture and its interpretation, the same word serves as a matter of course to designate (apostolic) tradition and its subsequent transmission. These last two ideas seem to converge to form the idea of "living tradition," as set forth in this paragraph 8. Thus by saying that this living tradition "grows" and "develops," we seem to imply more or less that the apostolic tradition—that is to say, in fact, divine Revelation itself, the Word of God—"grows" and "develops."

A few slight editorial modifications would undoubtedly suffice to prevent such an interpretation, which certainly does not represent the thinking of the drafters.

Yet these corrections seem to be all the more imperative because there is confusion today in the minds of many. It is not entirely absent from one or another intervention that is otherwise excellent. It threatens to gain ground. There is a tendency in certain theories of progress to interpret various phases of development as a sort of continuous revelation. Thus the uniqueness of the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ would be compromised, drowned in a universal flood. We therefore have reason to rejoice that a number of Fathers, coming from the most antithetical points of the theological spectrum, have agreed on the same request, that the language of paragraph 8 be made more precise. It was Cardinal Leger who in our opinion requested this with the loftiest thoughts, greatest doctrinal rigor, and most compelling power in his speech of October 1, in defense of the transcendence of the deposit of Revelation.

Scripture and Tradition in the Eastern Perspective

On October 5, 1964, at the 94th General Session, during the debate on the second part of the schema on Divine Revelation, Kyr Neophytos Edelby, Archbishop of Edessa and Patriarchal Counselor, spoke to the Council about the relationship between Scripture and Tradition according to the theological perspective of the East.

Number 12, which deals with the interpretation of Holy Scripture, contains excellent elements concerning the contribution of sciences to exegesis, particularly literary criticism. It seems, however, that the second paragraph (i.e. lines 21 to 32, page 28) is too weak compared with the first, and requires a few developments in conformity with the principles contained in Chapter II. It is on the subject of the specifically theological principles for the interpretation of Scripture that we would like to offer the testimony of the Eastern Churches. Our Orthodox brethren will recognize in it our common faith in its purest form.

The timidity of this paragraph is without doubt explained by the difficulty of the Latin Church has had in freeing itself from the post-Tridentine frame of mind. Now, the age of the controversy with the Reformation has passed; it was always extraneous to the Eastern Churches, as it is to the new Churches of Asia and Africa. We must definitively overcome this obsession and enter into the totality of the mystery of the Church, for this schema concerns the whole Church, and not subtle and sterile scholarly debates.

Certainly the Reformers set up Scripture in opposition to the Church, but the reason for that is that the Latin Church, in which they were born, had allowed the authentic Tradition, in which the East and the West had lived together during the first millennium, to atrophy. In separating itself from its Eastern sources, the Latin Church had ended up in the sterility of the 16th Century, and in the pseudo-problems which trouble us, in particular with regard to the interpretation of Scripture.

The best remedy is for us to return once more to the heart of the Mystery of the Church. We must break away from the mentality that is too juridical, even nominalist, in which the Reformed Churches and the Latins have imprisoned themselves. Already in the Middle Ages this mentality had opposed the combination of the consecration and the epiclesis; it is this that recently thought of the primacy and collegiality as separate realities. It is always this, which here reappears in juxtaposing Scripture and Tradition. The question is badly posed. We must return to the mystery of the Church, which is the heart of the council. We cannot separate the mission of the Holy Spirit from that of the incarnate Word. It is there that the foremost theological principle of all interpretation of Holy Scripture is found.

We need to recall that, beyond all the auxiliary sciences, the goal of Christian exegesis is the spiritual understanding of Scripture in the light of the risen Christ, as the Lord himself instructed his Apostles according to Chapter 24 of Saint Luke.

Here is another principle: Scripture is a liturgical and prophetic reality, a proclamation before being a book, the testimony of the Holy Spirit on the event of Christ, whose privileged moment is the Eucharistic Liturgy. It is through this testimony of the Spirit that the whole "economia" of the Word reveals the Father. The post-Tridentine controversy has above all seen in Scripture a written norm; the Eastern Churches see there the consecration of the history of salvation in the form of human words but inseparable from the Eucharistic consecration, in which all history is recapitulated in the Body of Christ.

Still another principle: this consecration needs an epiclesis, and it is the Holy Tradition. Tradition is the epiclesis of the history of salvation, the theophany of the Holy Spirit without which this history remains incomprehensible and Scripture a dead letter. This is what should be developed under the term "In viva Ecclesiae traditione" (I. 23). Our schema is at the heart of the mystery of the Church, that is to say of the People of God assembled by the Holy Spirit to become the Body of Christ in its full stature.

From this follows another principle: Scripture must be interpreted within the totality of the history of salvation. In an earlier time the Spirit of God raised up saving events and a community that was the witness of and the performer of these events, and the writings of the Old Testament are as it were the first epiphany of God to his people. In a second era, the saving event and the community were realized one time for all in Christ: it is the economia of the incarnate Word, of whom the writings of the New Testament are as it were the one and only epiphany. In yet a third era, the final days in which we live, the Holy Spirit is poured out personally in order to make present for all history the economia of the incarnate Word and the power of his Resurrection. This is the economia of the Spirit, or Tradition in the age of the Church.

We see thus that Tradition, that is to say the Church in transmitting the outpouring of the economia of the Word, is essentially liturgical. "Lex orandi, lex credendi." We opened this council with the mystery of the Liturgy; we have deepened it in the sacramentality of collegial episcopate. It remains for us to draw conclusions on the total mystery of Tradition.

One of the applications of the interpretation of Scripture concerns the living criterion of this interpretation, for the Spirit is not disincarnate, but truly the Spirit of the Body of Christ. Tradition must be seen and lived first of all in the light of the sacrament of apostolicity, that is to say of the episcopate. This liturgical and prophetic sign is also an epiclesis of the unity of the infallible faith of the People of God. And how desirable it would be, let us say in passing, that the infallibility of the successor of St. Peter be more clearly explained according to this mystery of epiclesis! Authority, as a juridical reality, derives from authority as liturgical and prophetic reality; it is not the source, any more than the canonical mission is the source of the episcopal order.

Finally, let us mention one last principle, which is not the least important: the sense of mystery. The God who reveals himself is the "hidden God." Revelation must not let us lose sight of the unfathomable depths of the life of God the Trinity, lived by his people but always inexhaustible. The East declares that Revelation is first of all "apophatic," that is to say, lived in mystery before being uttered in words. This apophatic aspect of Revelation is for the Church the basis of the always-living richness of Tradition. One of the causes of theological deadlocks in recent centuries has been the effort to imprison the mystery within the framework of formulas. Indeed, the mystery in its plenitude exceeds, not only theological formulation, but even the limits of the letter of Scripture. Thus, although the council does not have to take sides on the question of the "full" sense of Scripture, it should affirm the necessity of reading Holy Scripture "spiritually," that is, in the Spirit. There is a question here of far more than the analogy of the faith, there is a question of the meaning of the totality of the risen Christ, whose testimony and parousia the Holy Spirit is progressively actualizing in 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 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 Church and Other Religions

The Jewish Problem at the Council and Arab Reactions

The reaction of Arab countries to the conciliar declaration on the Jews surpassed in violence the most pessimistic expectations. Like any popular reaction, it at times went too far, above all because of the public's ignorance of the exact tenor of the conciliar text, which, as we know, was still only a draft. But, even independent of all passionate exaggeration, the reaction of the Arabic peoples, Christian and Muslim, Orthodox, Protestant or Catholic, should be an eye-opener. It was not without cause that the Eastern patriarchs warned the Fathers of the council that such a declaration was inopportune. This was not because of pusillanimity or anti-Semitism. It was not enough for the Secretariat for Christian Unity, which prepared this text, to declare that it was in good faith, that it was not playing politics, to justify washing its hands. The secretariat and the world-wide episcopacy cannot ignore the fact that there is a state that calls itself Israel, that that state claims to embody Judaism, that what is said of Judaism as a religion is inevitably interpreted by Israel as being said of itself as a state and a world-wide Zionist movement, that any declaration in favor of Judaism as a religion is exploited by Israel as a support given indirectly to the imperialist and expansionist politics of worldwide Zionism against the Arab countries. Nobody doubts that the council does not wish this interpretation, but Israel wishes it, and the Fathers of the council, as responsible and realistic leaders, must not lend themselves to this maneuver, above all in the circumstances where the tension between the Arab states and Israel is at its maximum, without mentioning that the draft of the text leaves itself open even to criticisms of the theological order. What is said about Judaism is not false, but it does not represent all the revealed truth. Being incomplete, it can easily be also considered partisan, saying only, on the subject of Judaism, what is pleasing to Jews. In the face of what this painful position has done to the Church in Arab countries, where Orthodox and Protestants have broken the ties with Catholicism, causing a substantial lag in the ecumenical movement, which had begun under better auspices, we believe that it is useful, as much to fulfill our responsibilities as to clarify world opinion, to publish the notes, documents, and commentaries that His Beatitude the Patriarch, with the concurrence of the hierarchy of our Church, has made public until now on this subject.

(Note of the Bulletin de Presse of the Patriarchate, dated December 31, 1964).

Note to the Central Commission, dated at Damascus , June 5, 1962

We understand very well the reasons that motivated proposing this "decree." The Church owes it to itself to acknowledge the glories, the promises, and the mission of the Jewish people. It also owes it to itself to eliminate from its liturgy, from the thoughts and actions of its faithful every trace of spite, vengeance, or racial discrimination against the Jewish people.

We would suggest only that, in order to avoid any confusion tending to be of a political character, the text make a clear distinction between the Jewish people as a religious community― the only aspect which interests the council — and the State of Israel, which must be treated according to the same criteria that govern the relations between the Church and civil societies, without any privilege or special consideration on the part of the Church.

We would equally wish that a similar decree be prepared relative to Islam and other monotheist religions. Christians who have frequent relationships with the followers of these religions would be pleased to know some positive teaching of the Church concerning them, beyond purely and simply rejecting them as "errors."

Already before the draft was presented to the council, the synod of our Church held at Ain-Traz, Lebanon, in the month of August, 1962, moved by the Zionist attempts to confuse the ideas of the Christians in connection with the responsibility for the crucifixion of our Lord and in connection with the realization of the prophecies, believed that it had to publish the following communiqué, dated August 31, 1962.

In the meeting held by His Beatitude Maximos IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All-the-East, of Alexandria, and of Jerusalem, and the bishops of the Greek Catholic community in the last week of August, 1962, at the patriarchal residence of Ain-Traz, Lebanon, to study questions concerning the general interest of the Church and that of their faithful, Archbishop Elias Zoghby, Patriarchal Vicar in Egypt and the Sudan, pointed out the attempts made by members of certain sects or by persons with political aims to stir up trouble among the Christians of Arab lands and induce them to doubt the right that their brothers the Palestinian refugees have to return to their country and to recover their land. In their attempts, the propagandists of error resort to texts of the Holy Scripture, which they modify or interpret in a sense that is different from that commonly used by Catholic commentators.

After deliberation, the Fathers of the Holy Synod, while carefully avoiding intervening in political affairs, judged it opportune to draw the attention of their faithful to the danger of these attempts and to publish the following communiqué:

"In recent years, some new and strange opinions have been propagated in the matter of the interpretation of the Holy Scripture in a sense contrary to that of the Fathers of the Church and of Christian tradition as it has been settled since the first centuries, in the East as well as in the West. We wish to point out this grave danger which threatens the belief and the conduct of our faithful, and which consists of the propaganda of those who call themselves "Jehovah's Witnesses," who have distorted the texts of the Old and the New Testaments, and have invented a new religion containing teachings openly contradicting those of Christianity, not only in the matter of belief and worship, but also in the matters of social and patriotic questions. This leads to the belief that they are rather a sect employed by a political organization that, by sabotage and by troubling minds, aims to dominate the world.

Likewise, we must put our faithful on guard against certain recent publications relative to the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. The promises made by God to the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give them the land of Palestine were realized when the land of Canaan was invaded by Joshua, son of Nun and his successors as leaders of Israel until the time of David and Solomon, that is, from the 12th to the 10th centuries before Jesus Christ. Similarly, the prophecies relative to the return of the Jews to Palestine after the Babylonian exile were realized when they were brought back home by Cyrus, King of Persia, in the 7th century bc.

Consequently, these promises and these prophecies are today deprived of any reality, having been realized many centuries ago. It is not necessary to believe that they are valid forever and that they confer on the Jews an eternal right to possess the Promised Land.

Likewise, we put our faithful on guard against the doubts that have been stirred up by certain persons on the subject of the truth of what the Holy Gospels report concerning the responsibility for the crucifixion of Christ. These persons try by tricks to place the responsibility on the Romans and to acquit the Jews. However, the Holy Gospels are very clear when they affirm that it was the Jews who decreed and demanded Christ's crucifixion, and that the Roman officials authorized and executed it.

Whatever that may be, we believe through our Christian faith that Christ was crucified and died voluntarily for the redemption of the sins of the world. In fact, He said on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Christianity does not bear any hatred or spite against Jews or Romans for a crime committed by their ancestors nearly two thousand years ago. But there is no right to make the Word of God serve political ambitions and to deny the historical facts related in our revealed books.

In a few words, the Fathers of the synod ask their faithful to be attentive and very much on guard against fine words and sectarian innovations in questions of the Holy Scripture. They should hold fast to the authentic and traditional interpretation of the Holy Scripture that the Church has followed since its origin.

If charity makes it a duty for our Christian faithful to avoid any hatred or spite whatsoever, justice, humanity and patriotism make it a duty for them to place themselves at the sides of their brothers, the Arabs of Palestine, to demand their right to return to what is their land and the land of their ancestors, rejecting any attempt made by interested parties to exploit revelation and religion on behalf of political ambitions which right and conscience condemn."

Communiqué of the Greek Catholic patriarch, dated at Rome, November 11, 1963. This communiqué concerns the first draft, presented to the council on November 8, 1963.

On the subject of the agitation that was displayed in certain Arab countries when the news spread that the Second Vatican Council might examine certain texts relating to the Jewish religion, His Beatitude Patriarch Maximos IV made the following statement:

1. It is correct that the Secretariat for Christian Unity has prepared a short text of less than two pages, distributed to the Fathers of the council in the course of the meeting of November 8, 1963, treating the relationships of the Catholic Church with other religions that are not Christian, in particular with the Jewish religion. But this text has not yet been studied, and nobody can foresee what the outcome will be, for it can be amended, rejected, or even erased from the agenda, exactly as happened to a similar text.

2. The Jewish question can be considered from two viewpoints: the spiritual-religious viewpoint and the civil-political one.

The Church, when it considers Judaism, does so only on the spiritual-religious level. The council has often declared that it does not intervene in civil and political questions.

The Jewish religion, as one knows, is the oldest of the revealed religions. In it were born the great prophets, such as Abraham, Moses, David, as well as others recognized by Christianity, as well as by Islam. Thus there is nothing wrong if the council treats of Judaism as an inspired religion and as one after which Christianity came to substitute for it and to complete it according to the plans of divine providence.

3. The text in question does not make any allusion to the present political situation between the Arab states and the State of Israel, which the Vatican has not yet recognized, in spite of all the attempts and all the efforts made in this direction. It is a religious text, in which no objective criticism can find anything other than an attempt, theoretical and practical, to condemn the racial campaigns and the confessional hatreds in certain regions of the Christian East.

4. Our Arab countries, while struggling against Israel from the political viewpoint as an unjust occupant of Palestine , have not ceased to respect the liberty of all the inspired religions, including Judaism. They protect, in all their territories, the rights of Jewish citizens, and clearly distinguish between Zionism, which is a political movement, and Judaism, which is an inspired religion. If some interested persons try to exploit for unjust political ends the purely religious position that the council takes, let them know that the Arab bishops wish to prevent any prejudice—God forbid—from affecting the interests of their countries.

5. But in return we ask the Arab states to help us accomplish our duty. Israel has been trying for a long time to obtain recognition from the Vatican . It employs, to arrive at that goal, all the effective means, and these means in that matter are considerable. Nevertheless, the Vatican has not recognized it, out of consideration for our Arab countries and to protect Christian interests, while our Arab states are standing with their arms crossed, without any propaganda other than the anger of the newspapers, the anger of speeches, and other ineffective means of that nature, if they do not take, here and there, positions constricting the Christian communities, as is the case in the question of the schools. It is easier today, in certain Arab countries for a Christian religious leader to "grasp the moon in one's hand" (an Arabic expression) than to open a primary school in a small village for the faithful of his community. On this subject, one could say much.

Let us thus be just, let us look at things objectively, and let us work to render reciprocal help, since the sacrifice, if it is indefinitely required from the same side, cannot be continued.

An extract from the intervention of His Beatitude to the council on November 18, 1963, criticizing the first text on the Jews presented by the Secretariat for Christian Unity as a Chapter IV of the schema "On Ecumenism."

We must say very clearly—and this is very important—that Chapter IV of the schema, which has recently been distributed to us, is absolutely extraneous. Ecumenism is an effort for the gathering together of the whole Christian family, that is to say, the consolidation of all those who have been baptized in Christ. It is thus a strictly intimate family affair. Non-Christians are thus not involved. One cannot see what the Jews are going to do in Christian ecumenism, and why they have been introduced into it.

Besides, it is gravely offensive to our separated brethren that they seem to be treated on the same footing as the Jews.

It is thus urgent that this Chapter IV be removed from the schema "On Ecumenism."

If one nevertheless clings to retaining it for some reason, of which we are ignorant, it is necessary:

a) First, to insert it in another schema where it will be more at home, for example in the schema "On the Church," in speaking of the history of salvation, or in the schema in preparation "On the Church in the Modern World," as testimony of the Church against racism of whatever kind;

b) Then, if one speaks of the Jews, it is also necessary to speak of the other non-Christian religions, and above all of the Muslims, who number 400 million, and among whom we live as a minority.

Let us then be just and logical. If we wish to disavow anti-Semitism—and all of us disavow it—a short note condemning both anti-Semitism and racial segregation would be sufficient. It is useless to create harmful; agitation in the world.

A note on the undesirability of making special mention of the Jews in the general declaration on non-Christians. This note, drawn up by the holy synod, concerns the second draft of the "Declaration on the Jews and non-Christians." Dated September 3, 1964, it was sent to all the authorities of the council.

1. In the various interventions at the beginning of the second session of the council, the Eastern patriarchs have particularly insisted on the undesirability of a special mention of the Jews in the general declaration on non-Christians, influenced by the highly excited sensibilities of the Arab states and the Muslims, who could not understand and interpret such a mention except as a political support that the Roman See and the whole council wished to give to Zionist claims against the Arabs. The consequences of such an interpretation would be serious for the Christian minority in the said countries. It is not a matter of promulgating a declaration of a speculative type, but of seeing if it is proper for the Church, at the risk of arousing fifty million Arab Muslims against the Christian minority of five to seven million living scattered in their midst, to make declarations that cannot be understood by the interested parties—Jews, Christians, and Muslims of the East except as expressing pro-Israel political tendencies.

2. Given the great skill of the Israelis in exploiting politically in their favor the slightest word pronounced by Christian authorities, numerous groups of Christians—Catholics and others—are not able to understand why Cardinal Bea and some other bishops now wish to make this declaration. They are scandalized and begin to have doubts about the teaching of the Church. Besides there are "bad ones" who unjustly accuse the Holy See of having been bought by the money of the Jews and of Americans who are tools of the Jews. Is it necessary, then, to discontent Christians and to promote dissension among them, in order to satisfy the Jews?

3. As long as other Christians—Orthodox and Protestant—do not publish a similar declaration at the same time as the Catholics and with them, this will confirm in the minds of the non-Catholics that the Catholic Church always acts alone, without taking other Christians into account. Is this not one of the reproaches often addressed to it?

4. These same Christians, above all those in Islamic countries, address to us the following language: "If the pope and his council believe that they have the right to make Eastern Catholics run the risk of vexations resulting from a pro-Israeli declaration, they do not have the right to expose us, the Orthodox of these countries, to the same risk, for the Arab States and the Muslims do not distinguish between the different Christian confessions and will not fail to make us undergo the same vexatious measures."

5. Such a declaration will be exploited not only politically by Israel against the Arabs but also religiously by the judaizing sects (Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses) who will cause the Church even more trouble.

6. The actual and collective responsibility of the Jews, who condemned and killed our Lord—even though the death was voluntary—is an undeniable historical fact. Jews of all times and all places recognize that fact. The Bible and the Liturgy also assert it in explicit and severe terms. Why is there today a desire to acquit them of this crime? The Church today is made to bear the responsibility for the errors committed at other times by some of its men (the abuses of the Inquisition, St. Bartholomew's Day, the Albigensians...); people are made to bear the responsibility for errors committed at other times by their ancestors or by certain ones of their leaders. Why does one not wish to have the Jews bear the moral responsibility for a crime committed by their ancestors and the leaders of their nation? Is it to prevent their being persecuted? But it isn't for this crime that certain peoples reject them nowadays; it is for reasons that are social, racial, economic, political, etc. Now that the pope himself feels the need and the appropriateness for not acquitting men of the Church of errors of other times, why is there an insistence on officially acquitting the Jews of the blood of Jesus Christ, whom they crucified? Why is there an insistence on this official declaration of their innocence, when they themselves, through the mouths of their ancestors, said in the Gospel, "His blood be on us and on our children" (our posterity)? All that seems truly astonishing on the part of this great council.

It is not because of anti-Semitism that we ask the Holy Roman See and the holy council to omit mentioning the Jews and their innocence, since we ourselves are Semites, both by blood (we belong to the descendents of Shem) and by religion (the New Testament is the continuation of the Old). What makes us act is the desire to avoid having the Church of our times make a declaration susceptible to creating trouble for the Christians of Arab and Muslim countries, and of being exploited politically by Zionists.

Besides, it is evident that we have nothing against the Jewish religion as a revealed religion or against the Jews as human beings. Arab countries have Jewish citizens, who enjoy full religious liberty and the free exercise of their rights.

What we can admit is that there is an exploitation of these considerations of a strictly religious kind in order to serve the interests of Zionism, which is a political and imperialist movement, upon which weighs the responsibility for more than a million Palestinian refugees, driven from their country and deprived of their property: a human problem for which the state of Israel refuses to consider an equitable solution.

We clearly distinguish between Judaism and Zionism, and we do not wish that, under the pretext of speaking about the Jewish religion and the Jews, one in fact favors Zionism, the unjust invader with obvious expansionist aims.

Extracts from an intervention at the council by Archbishop Joseph Tawil, Patriarchal Vicar General at Damascus , on September 29, 1964.

We do not see the precise object of this schema, and where it is leading.

- Is it a matter of affirming that the Church arises from the synagogue and that Christ, His Mother, and the Apostles came forth from the Chosen People, the people of the Holy Scriptures and of the Prophets? There is no dispute.

- Is it a matter of cleansing the Jewish nation of this epoch of the murder of Christ? But Christ himself pardoned them, and every Christian worthy of the name must do likewise.

- Is there a desire to prevent having the crime of their ancestors placed on the Jews of our days? But they are as little responsible for this crime as the whole of humanity is for original sin and for so many national crimes, so many genocides.

- Finally, is there a desire to condemn, by a conciliar declaration, anti-Semitism in all its forms, and racial and religious discrimination? But in this case, why limit it to the Jews?

This Council has always considered with great diligence the repercussions of its acts and its declarations. Now, does not this declaration of sympathy with the Jews, in spite of all the precautions that have been taken, stir up a burning problem that has not yet been extinguished? Does it not risk the explosion of the powder keg that is unfortunate Palestine , where no less than a million Arabs have been unjustly and violently chased from their lands by those to whom the council makes advances? Doesn't it risk by the same action the alienation of all movement of sympathy by these same peoples to the Catholic Church? And from then on what value would there be in a declaration made by the council on the subject of the Muslims when it will have already lost their friendship? Now, is that what the council is seeking? And hasn't His Eminence Cardinal Bea declared from the beginning that it is necessary to choose the practice of the open door? And isn't action of this sort closing it?

Statement of the Greek Catholic Patriarchate on the affair of the exoneration of the Jews, November 30, 1964.

There is today in the Arab countries a great clamor on the subject of the reports that claim that the Second Vatican Council, held at Rome, has given to the Jews an act acquitting them of the blood of Christ.

It is painful for us to see the press and the radio become agitated, the pens and the tongues become inflamed, the crowds become enthusiastic to criticize, to menace, to accuse the Church and the greatest religious and moral authority on earth on the subject of a question that they do not understand, that they have not studied in its text and its context, but about which they have simply heard something said.

In this tumult, we have a word to say, a word of truth and of justice, to all those who desire to know the truth, and that not only from love of the truth, but also to protect the reputation of our countries, for fear that they may be accused of having an immature attitude.

A similar agitation took place last year, when His Holiness Pope Paul VI, impelled by sentiments of charity, piety, ecumenism, and reconciliation among peoples, decided to visit the holy places in Palestine . It was said at that time in our Arab countries that the pope, upon arriving at the entrance to occupied Jerusalem , would be solemnly received by the head of state, to whom he would deliver an act or a document acquitting the Jews of the death of Christ. This childish manner of thinking was not borne out by the actual events. Today all the talk is about the document "on the exoneration of the Jews of the blood of Christ." On this subject we must assert the following: 1. The declaration of this council has a purely religious character: it studies the relationship of the Catholic Church with non-Christian religions. The Church has likewise stated precisely its relationships with the other Churches and ecclesial communities that are non-Catholic. It is enough to read the title of this declaration to be convinced: "Relationships of the Church with non-Christian religions."

The Catholic Church today is in a position of dialogue: dialogue with itself, dialogue with other Churches, dialogue with the world that has its multiple human and social problems, dialogue with whomever seeks God in his own manner. And this dialogue aims to strengthen human solidarity and the unity of God's family, on the road toward the object of its existence. Arab countries, since Zionism was established as a state in Palestine , have known how to distinguish Judaism as a religion and Zionist Judaism as a political movement. They have respected the first and fought the second.

2. Certainly there were some among the leaders of Israel and the Pharisees who, with their partisans, plotted Christ's doom, the death on the cross. The responsibility for this crime falls on those who committed it, not on those who did not commit it, who were the majority of the nation. Consequently, the Jews of that time who lived in Jerusalem or elsewhere in Palestine, among whom were also some Sanhedrin such as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, as also the Jews dispersed then in the four corners of the Roman Empire, and the millions of Jews who have lived since these events or live now, all of these cannot be held as personally responsible for the death of Christ, and consequently cannot be subjected to acts of vengeance or to destruction through hatred or spite, although a sign of a stigma remains graven on their foreheads insofar as they remain far from Christ the Savior promised and announced by the prophets of the Old Testament. But this mark does not constitute a personal crime for which innocent persons would be responsible and should pay the price through their blood. These are the evident truths that no reasonable man would know how to deny. Thus if this council has proclaimed these truths, moved by sentiments of humanity, justice, and evangelical pardon, following the greatest massacre that history has known, intended to wipe out an entire people, under the regime of the Nazis in Germany and in Europe, has it thus acquitted the Jews, murderers of Christ, of their abominable crime? Can one believe that the council has repealed the Holy Gospel? Can it destroy the foundations of Christian dogma based on redemption through Christ's blood? Is that not childish language?

3. If the Roman See had in mind recognizing the state of Israel , as is insinuated here and there through ignorance or bad faith, it would have done so after the establishment of that state sixteen years ago. But it has not done so, and it will not do so, out of regard for the Arab attitude and out of good will for the cause of the Arab refugees from Palestine , unjustly driven out of their country. We are absolutely sure of what we say.

Here one may object, saying, if the text of the declaration does not in any way contradict religious belief, why have we, Arab religious leaders, insisted on rejecting it entirely, so that there may be no mention at all made of Israel.

Here are the reasons for our attitude:

a. The Jewish question is a thorny one. It is a silk cover on a bunch of brambles. No matter how you grasp it, you cannot get loose from it without bloodying your fingers. Besides, it is not a question that the council cannot avoid treating. Why then take chances by studying it?

b. The Jews try by all means to identify Judaism, a divine religion from which the prophets came forth, with Zionism, an unjust aggressor, and that in order to gain world sympathy.

c. The Jews are very skillful in their propaganda, so much the more because they hold in their hands the reins of opinion. They modify the facts as they wish, and know how to exploit every word in favor of their political interests.

d. The Arab ecclesiastical leaders are faithful to their respective fatherlands in both good and bad circumstances, in everything that does not contradict their religious belief. They feel with their fellow citizens. Now, the Arab world experiences a profound repugnance, not in regard to Judaism, which is a divine religion, but in regard to Zionism—an aggressor, with unlimited imperialistic ambitions, an implacable enemy of Arab nationalism.

That is the pure truth. The rest is demagoguery, which our countries would do well to avoid, for that contributes to harm them politically, socially, and economically.

Let us then have some maturity and common sense!

To finish, may we be permitted to state again that Israel cannot be vanquished by talk, anger, or demonstrations. Rights will not be re-established and Israel vanquished except by the loyalty, the solidarity, and the unity of the Arab front and the effort to induce the international groups that support it to understand the position of the Arabs and their inalienable rights. Likewise, Israel cannot be vanquished by Arab estrangement from the Holy See of Rome. The whole world knows how great is the weight of the Vatican in the balance of international moral forces. Such an attitude would weaken the Arab position.

We stop here, and we declare again that, in spite of the lack of attention, in spite of suspicion and the bad reception, we shall not cease to defend firmly, courageously, and without ostentation our country, on whose welfare we spend ourselves without any limit. God and the fatherland appreciate our intentions and our acts.

Observations on the draft of the declaration "On the Jews and non-Christians." A note presented by the holy synod in August 1964.

We do not have any fundamental objection on the theological level in opposing this draft of the declaration. But from a practical viewpoint, we maintain that there should be added to No. 32 a last paragraph, with the following wording:

"This holy council insists on emphasizing that the present declaration—which is a purely religious act inspired only by theological considerations—has no political motive or any political aim. This holy council condemns in advance any tendentious interpretation that would try to give the present declaration any political meaning whatsoever in favor of anyone or against anyone."

The reasons for which we hold that this paragraph should be added to the relevant declaration are the following:

1. Because of the exacerbation of the feelings of the Arab and Muslim states due to the Jewish invasion that has driven from occupied Palestine a million Arab refugees, and because of the skill of the Israelis in exploiting politically in their favor the least word pronounced by Christian authorities...

2. In this state of mind, the least word pronounced by the Fathers of the council can stir up a storm of protestations and risk exciting the fifty million Muslim Arabs against the Christian minority of five to seven million living among them. And among the non-Catholics, there are many who say, "The Church of Rome, through its declarations, can expose its followers to the troubles of insecurity, but it does not have the right to expose us also to such an eventuality."

3. We also deem it is necessary to affirm and reaffirm publicly the absence of any political intention or import in this conciliar act that is the "Declaration on the Jews."

4. It is true that the authors of the text submitted for our approval strove to expurgate from it any expression of a nature that would offend the sensitivities of the Arabs. In spite of everything, two short passages can still leave it open to criticism. These are

a) lines 20, 21, and 22 of No. 32, with respect to which the Arabs can say that it is also necessary to deplore the injustices committed by the Jews;

b) lines 31 and 32 of the same section, to which there will be no failure to give a pro-Israeli interpretation, for anti-Semitism does not have for its cause the responsibility of the Jews in Christ's passion, but rather it has causes that are political, social, racial, economic, etc. To avoid any possible criticism of the text of No. 32 as a whole, we propose to add the paragraph placed at the head of our present observations.

5. Let us not say that it is understood that in principle the council does not occupy itself with politics, and that consequently the paragraph in question is useless. No, it is very useful, it is even necessary, for the council cannot make decrees simply in a speculative manner, without considerations of time and place; on the contrary, it must take into account the historic circumstances in which we live. And let us not say that a declaration along this line made by an official of the Church in an interview or a press conference would be sufficient. No, it must be inserted into the text itself of the "Declaration on the Jews." From this point of view no precaution is too much.

6. We are not acting out of anti-Semitism; we are not, and we cannot be anti-Semites, since we are Semites by blood (we belong to the descendants of Shem) and by religion (the New Testament is a continuation of the Old). But we do not wish that the Church, mother and mistress of all nations, mistress of justice, charity, and peace, make a declaration that can be considered, evenly incorrectly, as taking sides in an international political conflict, in which considerable vital interests are involved.

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