Melkite Greek Catholic Church
 

The Liturgy

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

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

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

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

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

1. Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy

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

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

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

2. The Use of Living Languages in the Eucharistic Celebration

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

3. Communion under Both Species

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

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

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

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

5. Concelebration of the Eucharist

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

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

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

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

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

6. Reserved Blessings

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

7. Feasts of the Saints

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

For the Use of Living Languages in the Liturgy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Concelebration and Communion under Both Species

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting the Date for Pascha (Easter)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The 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.

 

The Church in the Modern World

For a New Presentation of Morals

An intervention of the Patriarch on October 27, 1964.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Profound Causes of Atheism

An intervention of the patriarch on September 27, 1965.

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

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

Today I shall speak only on the first point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Servant Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Church of the Poor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Church and Human Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- The worker is infinitely superior to all money.

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

- The pay of workers should correspond to personal and social justice, and be in harmony with the superiority of the worker over money, in harmony with the diverse parts of product of the work, and in harmony with modern progress.

2. Of the meaning of ownership and of money:

- Ownership of the goods of production should not in any fashion contribute to the domination of men, but, on the contrary, should help everyone's progress.

- This ownership is not an untouchable axiom and an absolute to which the social doctrine would be tied, but a way destined to bring about the common object of the goods.

- The Church is not tied to any economic, social, or political system. It encourages the collaboration of all men to promote the common good.

3. Of materialism and atheism:

- Materialism and atheism are theoretical and practical at the same time.

- Under these two forms, materialism and atheism are condemned, for, in many ways, they arouse the spirit of domination, luxury, and hedonism, and because their principles are spreading more and more in regions that are called Christian.

- But the various regimes called socialist, spread out in several regions, are not condemned with Marxist atheism without differentiation.

4. Of equality among men:

- All discrimination based on race, religion, or social condition is condemned, both in laws and in customs.

- Men who exploit other men, whether it be economically, socially, or politically, are condemned.

5. Of international solidarity and peace:

- All nuclear, bacteriological, or chemical war is condemned, all of which affect mankind without discrimination.

- The hunger of a multitude of mankind cries to the rich peoples, so that through action, through technology, and through fraternal charity without stinginess or avarice, they may aid the less developed peoples.

- All works of social and international peace, founded on justice, liberty, and fraternity, are praised.

- Institutions, whether social or international, in which men work together for true human progress are encouraged.

- Let the faithful be encouraged to have, with prudence and simplicity, an active part in all these institutions.

6. Various points:

- All mankind has the right to associate for the common good.

- Totalitarianism is contrary to the dignity of the human person.

- In the light of the separation between the Church and workers, existing in several nations, and already denounced by Pius XI in his encyclical "Quadrigesimo Anno," let there be encouragement for all attempts, started by the laity or by priests, which lead to the true evangelization of the poor.

Mankind today is awaiting clear and frank words, without ambiguity. I have humbly tried to propose an example along this line, while knowing that it is indeed imperfect. Let the experts work for a better method of expression.

Venerable Fathers, on October 13, 1962, in our message to the world, indicated above, we said: "Having come together from all the nations that are under heaven, we carry in our hearts the corporal and spiritual distresses, the sufferings, the aspirations, the hopes of the people who are entrusted to us. We are very attentive to the vexatious problems that beset them. That is why our solicitude desires to extend first to the humblest, the poorest, the feeblest. Like Christ, we feel ourselves moved with compassion at the sight of crowds that suffer from hunger, misery, and ignorance; and we always remember all those who, not having the desired help, have not yet attained a life worthy of human nature."

For three years we have been in laborious sessions, and what have we proposed? Have we decided on the practical and redeeming examples by which we ourselves would begin the reforms that the modern world expects of us, in our stations, our way of life, our customs, our habits?

In the absence of concrete examples, let us at least give clear and frank responses to the problems of our times.


Condemnation of War

An intervention of the patriarch on November 10, 1964.

A menace of destruction hovers over humanity; it is nuclear armament. And this menace grows from day to day through the increasing number of these infernal devices.

Without entering into physical and scientific considerations, which are beyond us and which cannot be expanded here, we believe that we must raise our voices, for we feel that we are oppressed. From our hearts there springs forth a cry of alarm, a cry of agony, I would even say a cry of despair... And we pray you to do all that is in our power, with whatever effect it may have, to ward off such an evil.

The intervention in favor of peace of two thousand bishops, spread out through the entire world, can be capable of changing the course of history and defending the fate of mankind.

There is talk of a just war. What adequate reason can justify, in sound morality, a destruction which constitutes a true worldwide cataclysm? Can a civilization and peoples be annihilated under the pretext of defending them? And if mankind must disappear in an instant, what is the good of this pastoral on which we have been working so laboriously since the announcement of Vatican II, and for whom is it intended?

Should not the concept of just war in modern times be lived and reconsidered in the light of the present situation? Should not national sovereignty have limits? Should the human community be completely ignored?

Venerable Fathers, all humanity is gasping as it looks to us with haggard eyes, to see what we are going to do. We cannot be silent because of considerations of whatever nature they may be. As faithful guardians of the souls of our peoples, we still have duties in regard to their earthly life. We must speak, speak boldly, speak courageously, like John the Baptist before Herod, like Ambrose before Theodosius, to condemn the use of these infernal devices.

Our Holy Father John XXIII, of blessed memory, has done so in his encyclical "Pacem in Terris." The schema that we are studying "On the Church in the Modern World" also does it in a manner that is clear, but a little platonic. But that is not enough. We must make on behalf of the council a declaration "to the city and to the world" that is clear, frank, and precise.

This radical condemnation on the part of the Church can grow like a snowball, since all truth contains a force of penetration and of expansion in souls. Other authorities, civil or religious, will be able to follow our example. A worldwide swell of opinion could oblige rulers, shut up in their national concepts, to reflect further. Sanctions of various natures could be foreseen. But always we cannot be silent under the peril of disappointing the world, of disappointing what is noblest in ourselves, and of rendering our ministry fruitless among the peoples.

For the love of Christ, Lover of Mankind and King of Peace, we pray and beseech you to make a solemn and energetic condemnation of all nuclear, chemical, and bacteriological warfare. Let this council address a message to the world, according to the example of the one through whom our conciliar labors began. Let this council condemn, in principle, all nuclear warfare in all its forms, and to demand that the billions saved through disarmament be employed for the relief of a poor humanity, of whom two-thirds do not eat enough to relieve their hunger, and who needs everything.

Venerable Fathers, the history of the past two thousand years has not ceased to view the bishop as "the defender of the city." More than ever, the world today needs these disinterested and courageous defenders. Let us not disappoint the world in this regard. The Church is expected to remain always a pillar of strength and of truth.

 

The Sacraments of the Church

The Minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation in Eastern Theology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sacrament of Penance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Penitential Discipline of the Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indulgences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mass Stipends

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

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

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

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


Non-Catholic Ministers and Their Admission to Holy Orders

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

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

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

 

Ecumenism The Requirements for Union

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of the Secretariat for Christian Unity

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

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

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

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

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

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


Union and the Christians of the East

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The Historical Consideration

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

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

2. The Ecclesial Consideration

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

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

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

3. The Theological Consideration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. The Pastoral Consideration

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ecumenical Movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Communicatio in Sacris"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However:

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

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

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

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

We propose:

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

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

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

 

Preparation for the Council

A – At the Stage of the Ante-preparatory Commission

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

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

Note on Reconciliation with the Orthodox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions to be Submitted to the Council

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

I. Dogmatic Questions

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

II. Pastoral questions

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

III. Liturgical Questions

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

IV. Questions of Discipline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calling Upon Non-Roman Collaborators

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

Most Holy Father:

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

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

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

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

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

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

B – At the Stage of the Preparatory Commissions

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

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

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

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

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

For a Permanent Roman Organization on Ecumenical Matters

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

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

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

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

The Language of the Council

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

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

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

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

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

Holiness:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We address to him in advance our most sincere thanks.

Organization and Internal Regulation of the Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II. The Language of the Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

Invitation of Non-Catholics to the Council

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

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

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

2. What qualifications should these observers have?

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

3. To what sessions should the observers be admitted?

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

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

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

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

4. What non-Catholic Churches should be invited?

Limiting ourselves to the Eastern Orthodox Churches, we say:

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

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

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

Remarks Concerning a New Formula for the Profession of Faith

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

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

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

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

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


Patriarchal Letter on the Eve of the Council

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

Glory always to God!

Maximos IV

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

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

Peace, Salvation, and Apostolic Benediction!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Given at our patriarchal residence at Ain-Traz,

September 30, 1962.

MAXIMOS IV

Patriarch of Antioch and of All-the-East,

of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
 

The Missionary Church

"The Missions and the Roman Pontiff," a statement presented by the patriarch at the March-April 1962 meeting of the Central Commission.

In approving as a whole the schemas that are proposed to us by the Commission on Missions, I believe that I must make the following comments:

1. There is found in these schemas, perhaps more than in the others, a certain tendency to flatter the supreme pontiffs, and this flattery at times inspires inappropriate or excessive expressions.

Thus, in the preamble of the schema "De regimine missionum" (On the administration of the missions), historical perspectives are distorted by placing the Roman pontiffs at the head of those who received the missionary torch from the hands of the Apostles. Indeed, one knows that during the first centuries of Christianity not only was the evangelization of unbelieving lands not reserved to the Roman pontiffs, but also that the Roman Church did not always come at the head of the missionary Churches. What should not be forgotten is the missionary work displayed by the great apostolic sees of Antioch , Alexandria , and Constantinople, which brought the faith to Asia, to Africa , and to the Slavic peoples. It is unfair to these apostolic Churches to mention exclusively, in the history of evangelization, the missionary activity of the Roman pontiffs. At the present time there is prevalent in certain Catholic circles a trend toward conscious or unconscious adulation of the Roman pontiffs that distorts all ecclesiastical perspectives.

This tendency to adulation sometimes inspires expressions that may be pleasing to certain circles, but that have a definite result of inflexibility and exaggeration of the dogma of Roman primacy, thus contributing to the needless widening of the gulf that separates us from our Orthodox or Protestant brethren. For instance, in the above-mentioned schema "De regimine missionum," it is probably not very catholic to say that, "all the faithful have the Pope of Rome as their own bishop," and to add that he can "rule the faithful either by himself or through other bishops who possess vicarial power." If the Pope of Rome is their own bishop for the faithful of Constantinople, then the Bishop of Constantinople is only his locum tenens, his proxy, a "prelate possessing a vicarial power," and hence his vicar? And what happens to apostolic succession?

The dogma defined at the First Vatican Council declares that the pope has authority, even immediate authority, over all pastors and faithful. But it does not follow from this that the pope is the immediate bishop of all dioceses and that the bishops of the world are his vicars. Such exaggerations should indeed be condemned by the council, as being contrary to Catholic dogma.

2. In a general way, the schemas of the Commission on Missions do not seem to have anything else in view than to assert to a surfeit the rights of the Roman pontiffs.

Now, when the patria potestas (fatherly power) of the father of a family or of a king is recognized, loved, and respected by his children, what need is there to recall it and affirm it all the time? It would seem that there is a constant fear of seeing it contested, as if his children owed him love, respect, and obedience solely because of his potestas! The constant reminder of this potestas has two disadvantages:

a. With respect to the faithful children of this father-king, they can grow tired of always hearing this reminder, as if their loving fidelity were in doubt.

b. With respect to those of his children who are still separated, this constant reminder of potestas embitters them, and above all frightens them and drives them away. The frequent repetition of the assertion of potestas seems to them to be a constant threat that they could some day easily become victims of possible abuses of this power.

3. It should also be noted that the suggested reforms and recommendations are good not because the supreme pontiffs made them. On the contrary, the supreme pontiffs made them because they were good in themselves. In prescribing them, the council must not rely on the already published acts of the popes, but on the innate goodness of these reforms or recommendations.

These remarks do not affect the essence of the reforms, but only the form in which these reforms must be expressed. The fundamentals are excellent.

For an East That Is Again Missionary

The Eastern Church today, confronted by all sorts of difficulties, has as it were withdrawn within itself as though renouncing as a whole the work of the distant missions. Only the Syro-Malabar Church of India , in the light of its large numbers, seems to be able to devote itself effectively to the missions. Yet it has been prevented from doing so until now by a series of discriminatory measures. In its "Observations on the Schemas of the Council" [1963], the Holy Synod claimed for the East a place in the missionary work of the Church.

Considering the injustice of which the Malabar Church of India is the victim, whose numerous clergy can spread the Gospel outside Malabar only by embracing the Latin rite, we wish to proclaim here the right of our Eastern Churches to cooperate in the work of evangelizing the world without ceasing to be themselves, and to create Christian communities of the Eastern rite. On this subject of evangelization, we wish to call to mind the role played by the Patriarch of Constantinople in the Christianization of the Slavs, or that of the Patriarch of Antioch in the conversion of Asia . We wish to be living, organizing, and dynamic Churches in the great Church of Christ , and not archeological relics, or variations to be maintained because they are interesting and picturesque. Nevertheless, the exercise of this right must be regulated by agreement with the central authority, in conformity with the rules of Christian prudence.


Mission in Eastern Theology

When at the third session of the council the assembly discussed the schema "De activitate missionali Ecclesiae," Archbishop Elias Zoghby, Patriarchal Vicar in Egypt and the Sudan , made a valuable contribution to the debate on November 9, 1964, by stressing the Orthodox concept of mission.

You are perhaps wondering what an Eastern bishop can say about the missions, when the Eastern Churches, because of certain historical vicissitudes, have been obliged to suspend their missionary activity. However, over the centuries the Eastern Churches have themselves also been eminently missionary, and they possess a rich and fruitful mystical life of mission, which our schema seems in great part to disregard.

While giving homage to the intense and admirable missionary activity of the Latin Church, I dare hope that the Eastern Churches will some day be able to resume their missionary drive.

The whole Church is essentially missionary. Our schema should therefore be inspired not only by the Latin tradition, but also by the Eastern traditions, in order to promote the missions in the entire Church. Now, this schema seems more concerned with organizing the already existing Western missionary activities than with deepening the sense of mission and opening up new ways better adapted to the needs of the present-day world. The missionary theology of the Eastern Fathers could perhaps help us to work out a more complete schema. Here is how the Eastern Fathers conceived the mission of Christ and of the Church:

1. Since the first centuries, the Eastern Fathers have considered the mission of Christ in the world to be an epiphany, i.e., a flood of divine light on the work of creation. The mission of the Church consists in perpetuating this Epiphany of the Lord and thus preparing, over the centuries, for the coming of the Kingdom.

2. Another idea dear to the Eastern Fathers is the following: the redemptive mission of Christ and of the Church is carried out for a humanity that has already been made fruitful by the divine sowing, the "seeds of the Word," according to the expression of Saint Justin, of Clement of Alexandria, and of Origen. The Gospel message, when it has reached a land that has not yet been evangelized, does not cast the seed of God's Word into souls that are totally ignorant of the Word of God, but rather into souls that have been prepared over a long period of time by the Holy Spirit, since they received at their creation the creative "seed of the Word," the divine seed that awaits the dew of the new dawn in order to grow and bear fruit.

This progressive preparation of the world for the coming of the Savior was conceived by the Fathers as a "divine pedagogy" in which Saint Irenaeus and Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, among others, saw and admired God's plan from the beginning to save mankind. This traditional concept of Mission has two advantages: a. The first advantage is that it does not isolate the Redeemer-Word from the Creator-Word, or redeemed humanity from created humanity. Mission-epiphany is simply the flooding in the world of the divine light communicated to all men with their life on the day of their creation. As Saint John the Evangelist tells us: "In the beginning was the Word... In Him was life, and the life was the light of men..." (John 1:1,3). Just as the Word, by communicating life, had deposited in every human being the "seed of the Word," so too the Word incarnate, in redeeming humankind, communicated to it the fullness of life. So there was light at the beginning, and the flooding of light at the Incarnation; the seed of the Word at creation, and the fullness of the Word through redemption: "From His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace" (John 1:16).

The mission of the Church, after the example of the mission of John the Baptizer, is to bear witness to "the light that enlightens everyone who comes into the world." But the mission of the Church does not stop there. It transmits to all human beings the fullness of life; and "the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he (John the Baptizer)" (Matthew 11:11).

In thus linking the mission of the Word Incarnate with the mission of the Creator-Word, the Fathers affirmed by that very fact the universal character of the Church's mission.

b. The second advantage of this patristic concept of mission lies in the fact that it invites the missionary Church to respect this "seed of the Word" deposited in every human creature, and this direct action of God in humankind that the Eastern Fathers called the "divine pedagogy."

The Church must begin by discovering in the peoples it evangelizes the divine seed and the natural riches that are the fruit of that Seed. The evangelized peoples must not only receive the Gospel message from the Church: they themselves must also enrich the Church by contributing their own human values, the fruit of this Seed of the Word received from God in the beginning and cultivated by them over the centuries, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, the divine Teacher of humankind.

Since the Redeemer-Word is also the Creator-Word of all humankind, He belongs to all men and to all peoples. He must be at home everywhere: everywhere among his own. The missionary Church must therefore not impose on the peoples it evangelizes a ready-made Christ, the Christ of one particular people or one particular civilization. The peoples who receive Jesus Christ must be able to express Him, to reincarnate Him in their image and likeness, so that He may be all things to all. The Church is catholic, that is to say, universal, to the extent that it is capable of recognizing the stripped Christ in the transformed Christ it receives from them.

In our own time, when the young nations are justifiably proud of bringing their own cultural and spiritual patrimony to humanity and to the Church, it is important that our schema develop this traditional theology of missionary activity.

3. Mission is not the only epiphany of the Lord and germination of the Word. There is another aspect of missionary activity that is very dear to the Eastern Fathers: mission is a pasch, a paschal outpouring. The sacramental sign of this outpouring that will be perpetuated until the coming of the Lord is the Eucharist.

Speaking to His Apostles, Jesus said, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you" (Luke 22:20). And so it is around the Eucharist that the Church must ratify the new covenant between God and men. It is through the Eucharist that the Church takes root in a land. Besides, the stages through which unbelievers are introduced into the Church are those of their participation in the Eucharistic office: the liturgy of the catechumens prepares them for baptism, and baptism introduces them into the liturgy of the faithful.

In speaking about the Kingdom of God, did not our Lord more than once evoke the parable of the feast to which the Master of the house invites not only his friends and fellow-citizens—who do not come—but also all who wish to enter?

The Church's mission, wherever it exists, consists first of all in setting the table of the Eucharistic sacrifice, in preparing men to participate in it, in convoking them to assemble around the Lamb. The altar thus becomes the gathering place of the people of God and firmly plants the Church in the new soil.

Furthermore, the Eucharistic presence of the Word incarnate is the first gift that the Church gives to the people it comes to evangelize. The community of charity that unites all those who participate in the Eucharistic meal with one another and with the risen Christ is the beginning and the completion of the mission of the Church until the coming of the Lord. The paschal outpouring is perpetuated in the Church by the Eucharist. And so in the East the celebration of the Eucharist is accompanied every Sunday by the office of the Resurrection. The life of the Church, therefore, is a perpetual Easter, and its presence in the world is a liturgy in which the New Covenant between God and men is sealed by the blood of the Savior.

As we express the wish for a new working out of this schema, we Eastern Christians hope to find in it the Eastern missionary mystical life that will help us to collaborate with our Western brothers in the great work of the missions.



[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 Religious Life

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

1. The religious life and the eremitical life

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

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

2. Perfection to be acquired and perfection acquired

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

3. Patriarchal and pontifical exemption

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

4. In the case of a multiplicity of rites.

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

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

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

5. Title of the schema

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

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

6. Contemplation and Action

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

7. Secular Institutes

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

8. Privileges of Religious

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

9. Latin Religious in the East

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

10. Associations of Major Superiors

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

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

 

The Constitution of the Church

Episcopal Collegiality and Papal Primacy

The problem of the episcopate was of deep concern to the Melkite Greek Catholic hierarchy. As early as their arrival in Rome for the first session of the council, the patriarch and his prelates signed, on October, 1962, the following "proposition" tending to give to the schema "On Bishops" priority over all the others in the discussion.

The undersigned, Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and the Bishops of his Patriarchate, Fathers of the Second Vatican Council:

Inasmuch as the First Vatican Council, after having defined the primacy and the infallibility of the Roman pontiff, was interrupted without being able to study the origin and the powers of the bishops, who, by divine right, succeed the Apostles; and inasmuch as the determination of the origin and of the powers of bishops is of the greatest importance for clarifying the other questions which are proposed for conciliar debate, such as ecumenism, decentralization, pastoral activity, missions, and the apostolate of the laity; we do propose that priority be given to the study of the schema "On Bishops."

Episcopal Collegiality

An overall study of this question had been prepared by Patriarch Maximos in May, 1962, some months before the holding of the first session of the council. It was to inspire all his conciliar interventions. We publish it in full.

Theologians sometimes wonder if the government of the Church, as it has been willed by its divine Founder, is monarchial, oligarchic, or democratic. In reality, this problem has been poorly stated, for the Church, as a divine and human society of a type that is completely unique, escapes all the classifications of human constitutions. The Church is in a sense monarchial, through its one head, who is Christ, and through the leader of its human pastors, who is the Bishop of Rome. It is in a sense oligarchic, if one considers the small number of those who exercise power in it. It is also in a sense democratic, through the royal priesthood of its faithful and the apostolic mission entrusted to all its members. But, strictly speaking, it is none of the above in particular, and all the above at the same time.

Christ wished a minimum of external constitution, around which the Church has developed its organization according to forms that are very variable, according to persons, times, and places. This diversity, because of its contingent nature, can still evolve indefinitely, except for the untouchable constitutional core willed by its divine Founder. So it is that the Christian East has in general adopted forms of organization that are more democratic and more decentralized, while the West has set forth gradually on the road toward forms that rather recall absolute monarchy and nearly total centralization of all powers of jurisdiction in the hands of the Bishop of Rome alone.

Importance of the Problem

All these forms of organization are legitimate, on the condition, however, that they respect the divine constitution of the Church. For example, to push democratic and decentralizing forms to the extreme could end in the denial of all central power and to the establishment of absolutely autonomous particular Churches, to the detriment of the unity desired by Christ. On the other hand, to push the monarchial and centralizing element to its extreme limits ends fatally in transforming the Church into a society that is purely human and external, submissive to a single head, whose other subordinate leaders receive their powers and their mandate by way of a permanent or occasional delegation. It is precisely this trend in the Catholic Church toward autocratic forms of government centered around individuals that the Council must, it seems to us, rectify.

This rectification is necessary if we desire that our Catholic East, with its particular forms of organization and of internal government, should not be in Catholicism as a strange body, a poorly tolerated exception, a paternalistic concession, although its organization and its ecclesiological concepts are perfectly apostolic.

This rectification is also necessary if we wish to continue the dialogue with Orthodoxy and Protestantism. In particular, Orthodoxy refuses to see in the excessive enhancement of the Roman primacy a normal evolution of the primitive core laid down by the Lord in the divine constitution of the Church, and accuses the papacy of engrossing power for reasons of ambition or human self-interest.

Finally, this rectification is necessary if we wish to remain faithful to the thought of Christ and the tradition of the Apostles and of the Fathers of the Church. The apostolate, and in particular the missionary apostolate, presupposes a collective responsibility of the whole episcopate in the preaching of the Word. Bishops are not governors of provinces, charged with executing the directives of a central authority that is solely responsible for the definitions of the ecclesiastical magisterium, of the liturgical worship, and of the power of jurisdiction. Bishops are successors of the Apostles, or, more precisely, the episcopal college is the successor of the apostolic college. Power in the Church belongs fundamentally to the college of the Apostles and their successors under the direction of the leader of the Apostles, Peter, and his successors, the bishops of Rome. Bishops, after all, are not responsible for their dioceses alone, and their power is not limited to their dioceses; in union with their head, the Bishop of Rome, and under his direction, they have the collective responsibility for the whole Church, and they exercise with him, in some manner, a collective power over the universal Church. This is what we mean when speaking of episcopal collegiality. This is a rich idea, as ancient as the Gospel, but very much blurred in the concepts and the practices of these recent centuries, and one that on the occasion of the Council should be restored to the light.

In Scripture

The collegiality of the Church is an idea as old as the Gospel. The apostolic college, in fact, is designated in the Gospels by the most concrete expression "the Twelve." The Twelve constitute the foundation of the New Israel, of which they are at the same time the Fathers and the Judges (Matthew. 29:27). This is what the number twelve symbolizes. With the defection of Judas, it appeared indispensable to find a replacement for him, so that the college would remain complete. The Twelve are forever the foundations of the Church. In the Apocalypse (21:14) Saint John says, "The wall of the city [the heavenly Jerusalem] had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb." Thus the Church rests on the foundations of the twelve Apostles and their successors, a collegial government.

The Twelve are not, however, an occasional and inorganic group. They form a college, having a president: "Peter and those who were with him," the Evangelists say (Mark 1:36, Luke 9:32, 8:45).

Peter certainly appears in the life of the primitive Church as the one who has primary responsibility, but always as head of the apostolic college, which shares with him his responsibilities. When Philip evangelized Samaria, "the Apostles...sent Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:5, 14-16). Did not Jesus send the Twelve on mission, two by two (Mark 6:7)?

Everywhere we see the Apostles exercising their mission collegially. The Acts say that Paul, converted to the Christian faith, "attempted to join the Apostles... Barnabas took him and brought him to the Apostles... So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord" (Acts 9:26-29). He writes, "After three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Cephas" (Gal. 1:18). "Finally, after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me... I laid before them [that is to say the apostolic college] the Gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately among those who were of repute, lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain... And James and Cephas and John, who were pillars, gave me the right hand of fellowship" (Gal. 2:1-9).

Everywhere the evangelization appears to be collective. Although the mission among the Jews was more especially the role of Peter, and that of the Gentiles the role of Paul, we nevertheless know that Paul always spoke first to the Jews before going to the Gentiles (Acts 16:13; 17:1,10; 18:4; 19:8-10; 28:17), and that Peter equally evangelized the Gentiles (Acts 10 and 11). Peter came to Antioch, where Paul and Barnabas were evangelizing (Galatians 2:11), and finally Peter and Paul both evangelized at Rome, a Church founded by Paul as much as by Peter. The memory of Paul is, in liturgical worship, inseparably tied to that of Peter, and Byzantine icons represent both of them supporting the Church of Christ.

The Apostles' helpers also evangelized collegially, without being tied definitively to one territory. When, after the deaths of the Apostles, they succeeded them, they kept the consciousness of collegiality in evangelization and remained itinerants, not permanently attached to one or another Church. How far we are from a Saint Peter exercising control and authority over the whole Church by himself alone!

In the Tradition of the Fathers

Later, when the successors of the Apostles settled down in one Church, they nevertheless continued to be aware that their care went beyond that Church and extended in a certain manner to all the Churches. St. Clement of Rome was concerned with the Church of Corinth. It could be said that he did it as successor of Peter. But Ignatius of Antioch wrote to the Churches of Asia to strengthen them in the unity of faith around their respective bishops. Polycarp of Smyrna wrote to the Church of the Philippians in Macedonia. Dionysius of Corinth, said Eusebius, "not content to exercise a zeal in God over those who were subject to his authority, extended it further and freely to other countries;" he wrote letters to the Lacedemonians, the Athenians, the Nicomedians, the Cretans, the Churches of Amastris, of Pontus, and of Gnossus (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., IV, 23, 1-8).

If we limit ourselves to the modern theories of the pope as the sole responsible person in the Church, all these Fathers, who are the foundations of the Christian tradition, should be considered intruders.

St. Cyprian of Carthage gives us the reason for the behavior of these Fathers when he says: "There is, in fact, among the bishops only one Church, only one soul, only one heart... There is, through the institution of Christ, one and only one Church, spread out over the whole world, one and only one episcopacy represented by a multiplicity of bishops united among themselves... The Church forms a single whole, whose bond is the union of bishops" (Epistle 66, 8,3). For, he adds, "the episcopacy is one and indivisible episcopal dignity is one and every bishop possesses jointly and severally a portion of it without any division of the whole" (De Unitate, V). Can anything be clearer and more explicit?

Finally, episcopal collegiality manifests itself through the meetings of the bishops in synods, either regional or ecumenical, to compare local traditions and to make decisions having obligatory force for the whole region or the whole Church. If each bishop had authority only over his diocese, the synods would not have been able to decide in common for a whole region or for the whole Church. If they do so, it is because they are expressing and putting into action the collegiality of the episcopal body.

In brief, when we listen to the Fathers, it is evident that the Church of Rome, and its bishop, are situated within the union of the Churches and of the apostolic collegiality of their bishops, according to the expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, who calls the Church of Rome "president in love" (Epistle to the Romans, Par. 1). Such is the underlying sense of its primacy and of its privileges, which are manifested above all in the cases where the faith is in peril, according to the words of Jesus to Peter: "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren" (Luke 22:32).

Theological Deductions

From this brief survey of the contributions of Holy Scripture and of the teachings of the Fathers of the first centuries, one can legitimately deduce the dimensions of episcopal collegiality:

1) In the first place, it is clearly apparent that the theology of collegiality is linked with the theology of ministry and of the service of the word. If the hierarchy in the Church is conceived solely in the sense of a power, in place of being thought of and expressed in the sense of a service, episcopal collegiality becomes impossible, for in the face of a universal and direct power—if such is the way that the Roman primacy is understood—all other power can only be delegated and particular. It is quite the opposite if the primacy is considered as a ministerial charism at the service of the Church, which is granted to the one who likes to call himself "servant of the servants of God."

Ministry in the Church is a power, but a power to serve. The human notion of jurisdiction, applied indiscriminately to the hierarchs of the Church, has falsified the nature of the apostolic ministry. It is well known that in the East not only is the term "jurisdiction" unknown, but also that the institutions of the Church escape the legalism that characterizes the mentality and the institutions of the Western Church.

2) In the second place, this apostolic ministry, which constitutes the totality of ecclesiastical power, is not entrusted solely and individually to Peter, with the responsibility of distributing it by delegating it to the other Apostles. Nor is it entrusted to the Apostles individually. It is given to the Twelve, that is to say, to the apostolic college as such, taken collectively, collegially, with solidarity, having Peter as the head.

3) In the third place, the charism of primacy conferred upon Peter has meaning only when it is considered in its total context, as being the power to lead the apostolic college. It is not a personal power independent of any reference to the Twelve, to whom collectively has been granted all power in the Church. Neither chronologically nor as an idea does the primacy of Peter come before the ministry of the Twelve. Even while possessing this primacy of leadership, Peter remains one of the Twelve, an Apostle like them, sharing the power which was given to them jointly and severally, not only as a member of the college, but also as president and chief of the college, an eminent member who sees to it that the Twelve are an organic college, and not an aggregation of independent individuals. Likewise, after as well as before the granting of primacy to Peter, the other Apostles did not cease to be the brothers and the companions of Peter in the apostolate. The primacy of Peter does not take away from the Apostles any of the powers which were given to them by Christ, but sustains, coordinates, and guides them. Without Peter the power of the Apostles would degenerate into confusion, and without the Apostles, Peter's power would degenerate into absolutism. These two powers complement each other, and are mutually indispensable.

4) In the fourth place, the Bishop of Rome, successor of Peter, has no more power than Peter, and the episcopal college has no less power than the apostolic college. The exercise of the power of each bishop in particular may vary and has in fact varied. Yet the totality of the powers of the episcopal body must not yield anything to the whole of the apostolic powers. If the episcopal college should encroach upon the powers of the Bishop of Rome, or if the Bishop of Rome should encroach upon the powers of the episcopal college, there is in both cases, violation of the Lord's will, and therefore danger of controversies and even of schisms in the Church.

5) The government of the Church thus does not rest on one man alone, but on a college of men, the bishops, who must work together and in union with their chief, the Bishop of Rome. The Bishop of Rome operates as the center of unity of the body, from which he receives at all times suggestions, advice, reminders, which may go so far, as in the case of Paul with Peter at Antioch, and so many Fathers of the Church with the popes of Rome, as respectful but vigorous objections. "When Cephas came to Antioch," says Paul, "I opposed him to his face, for he was clearly wrong" (Galatians 2:11). Without doubt the pope reserves for himself the right to judge as a last resort, discerning what in the wishes of his brothers comes or does not come from the Holy Spirit. It is his responsibility to affix his definitive seal on what has been decided by the unanimity, at least moral, among his brothers of the episcopal college.

6) The successors of the Apostles have long since ceased to be itinerant and are generally given charge of a specific diocese that they must administer and where they are expected to reside. But this direct and immediate responsibility of the bishop over his diocese does not dispense him from continuing to assume a more general responsibility over the Church as a whole. Now, this more general responsibility of each bishop with respect to the universal Church is manifested first of all in the ecumenical councils where the episcopal college, having the pope as its head, exercises in the Church a sovereign power of judgment and of government. This responsibility is also exercised in synods, conferences, and other episcopal meetings, in which each one of the attending bishops participates in the pastorate of a whole region, without having the decisions of the synods necessarily submitted, of divine right, to the approbation of the Bishop of Rome.

Finally, this responsibility is exercised each day in the suggestions, the adaptations, the observations, that bishops make to each other, and also make, with all due respect, to their hierarchical superiors: archbishops, metropolitans, patriarchs, and pope. It is exercised through the participation of the entire Church in the Roman central administration, which must also be representative of collegiality. It is exercised through concern for the preaching of the word throughout the world: a care which does not weigh solely on the shoulders of the Bishop of Rome, but which is a burden on the consciences of all bishops. It is exercised, finally, through the constant preoccupation which each bishop should have for the good of the universal Church, according to the words of Saint Paul, who said, "There is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the Churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is scandalized, and I am not aflame with indignation?" (2 Corinthians 11:28-29)

In the last analysis, that is what episcopal collegiality is: the taking charge, by all bishops jointly, in communion with their head, the Pope of Rome, of the interests of the Kingdom of God that is the Church. Such is the Church willed by Christ.

The Pope and the Origin of the Bishops' Powers

The preparatory Theological Commission of the Council had prepared a schema "On Residential Bishops." This schema proposed a theory, that the patriarch deemed "inadmissible," of the "pope, ultimate and only source of all power in the Church." The patriarch refuted this theory in a long memorandum that he addressed to the Central Commission, in its meeting of May, 1962.

This Chapter IV of the Constitution "On the Church" is, by all means, the most serious and burdensome in consequences among all the schemas that have been presented until now for the examination of the Central Commission.

Not only is this chapter dogmatic in nature, but it advances a theory that, unless there is a mistake, we consider as to be a truly new dogma: the dogma of the Roman pontiff as the ultimate source of all power in the Church.

In its exposition of the divine constitution of the Church, the First Vatican Council emphasized only the constitution and functioning of its visible head, who is the Roman pontiff. Almost unanimously the bishops of the Catholic world have wished that the Second Vatican Council would present a less unilateral vision of things, by stressing this time the constitution and divine origin of the power of the bishops, the successors of the Apostles. The schema which should have been presented to us was intended to satisfy this legitimate desire. Now, the one that has been presented to us emphasizes even more the powers of the Roman pontiff, and does not supply anything very notable in the determination of those of the bishops.

In the light of the gravity of the question, we reserve for ourselves the presentation to the Central Commission of a more detailed study on this point. In the meantime, we take the liberty of making the following comments. If we are mistaken, we declare that we are submitting in advance and without reservation to the infallible magisterium of the Church and of the Roman pontiff. If, on the contrary, it is the theological commission that wishes to introduce surreptitiously a new dogma, we ask it either to withdraw its schema or to present it openly as the introduction of a new dogma, a corollary of the dogma of Roman primacy, and to ask the Fathers of the Council explicitly to discuss it and define it. But it is not permissible to present as doctrine tacitly accepted by all something that is, in reality, only a simple opinion at best. Having said this, we here briefly present our comments:

1. Holy Scripture affirms a power of primacy, on the part of Peter, over the rest of the Apostles and over the whole Church. But Scripture does not affirm in any way that no bishop can be constituted in the Church except through the intervention, "direct or indirect," of Peter and his successors, the bishops of Rome. We even explicitly see the other Apostles constituting bishops without referring in any way to Peter. The same is true of their disciples, such as Titus or Timothy. If it is necessary to understand the text as applying to bishops in the strict sense, doesn't the Scripture say that it is the Holy Spirit who instituted the bishops to rule the Church (cf. Acts 20:28)? It is difficult, without doing violence to the text, to find in the Scripture a basis which permits affirming that no bishop obtains jurisdiction over his Church except through the "direct or indirect" intervention of the Bishop of Rome, successor of Peter.

2. As for Tradition, one finds, it is true, certain texts in favor of that opinion, especially in the writings of Popes of Rome, like Saint Leo. But we cannot say that this is the teaching of the majority of the Fathers. On the contrary, there are numerous ancient and impartial texts which affirm the opposite. There are Fathers of the Church who are even opposed to this trend of exaggeration of the papal power. We can even say that the majority of the Fathers, above all in the East, are of a contrary opinion. While conceding a power of primacy of the Roman pontiff, they do not agree that he is the source of all power of jurisdiction in the Church, to such a point that no bishop can be appointed except by him.

Thus Tradition is not on the whole favorable to the extremist opinion which this schema demonstrates. May I be permitted here to make a remark which holds true for many other excessive tendencies in modern theology: the West does not produce untrue texts, but it produces only texts that please it, and passes over in silence, consciously or unconsciously, the texts that do not agree with its theories, even if they are more numerous. An objective study of Tradition must take into account all the currents of thought and all the texts. In the face of a few texts favorable to "the Roman pontiff, sole and ultimate source of all power," there are many other texts which ignore this theory or affirm the contrary. Where then is the true Tradition to be found?

3. In this matter, the practice of the Church remains the best criterion. Indeed, even in the West, bishops were not always appointed and invested directly or indirectly by the Roman pontiffs. As for the East, during the first nine centuries of the Church, when the East and the West were usually united, the popes have certainly claimed the right to intervene, especially when serious danger threatened the Church, to name or occasionally depose a bishop. But the East has never surmised that only the popes of Rome could, directly or indirectly, name the bishops.

When Pope Nicholas I chided Patriarch Photius for having been elected without the intervention of Rome, Photius could answer that it had never been the custom of the Church. Now, Pope Nicholas seems to have based his claim, in good faith, above all on the False Decretals that had just been circulated in the West. We don't wish to say that the extremist position of the schema is based on the False Decretals. We only wish to affirm that for centuries the Church did not claim that the appointment of bishops or their "mandate" in their respective dioceses was the exclusive province of the Roman pontiff. In our Melkite Church, until some twelve years ago, the bishops were chosen in a synod, and we sought no confirmation for them from the Roman pontiff. It was Pope Pius XII who demanded for the first time that no bishop of our Church henceforth be proclaimed without papal confirmation. Pope Pius XII was no doubt applying the opinion which the schema of the theological commission is now appropriating.

4. The supporters of this extremist opinion, aware that Tradition is not on their side, have recourse to an expedient and believe that they have solved everything by inserting this clause: "directly or indirectly." Thus, if history proves that out of one hundred thousand episcopal elections in the East, from the time of the Apostles until the middle of the twentieth century, the popes have intervened in only a hundred cases, certain theologians will nonetheless say that it is through the authority of the pope that these appointments were made, their view being that this authority was exercised "indirectly" either by synods, or patriarchs, or in some other way...

Actually, the popes themselves did not think along those lines, any more than they thought of granting Eastern priests the power to confirm. Such deductions do not result from the facts, but bend the facts to preconceived theories. With this method it can also be claimed that ordinary priests obtain their canonical mission from the pope, but indirectly, through the intermediary of their bishops. Following this train of thought, we can ask ourselves what, in the Church, does not issue from the pope! The very excesses of these deductions show that the method is scientifically condemnable and that the deductions are unjustified.

5. The supporters of the opinion that we are opposing have recourse to another deduction. They claim that their opinion is a logical conclusion of the dogma of Roman primacy. Therefore, they say, according to the definition of Vatican Council I, the pope possesses an ordinary, episcopal, and immediate power over the pastors and the faithful, and the bishops obtain their power over their respective dioceses only through the pope's mandate. To this we reply: the definition of Vatican Council I does not in any way include a statement that the pope is the ultimate and sole source of all power in the Church. Someone can have authority over another without being the source of all authority for this other person. The two things are distinct. To pass from one to the other is to surreptitiously desire the Church to accept a new dogma that Vatican Council I in no way defined, even though it could have done so.

6. Be this as it may, the new dogma that is being proposed to us accentuates even more the differences between the Eastern Church and the Western Church. While our Orthodox brethren still recognize in the pope a certain power of primacy, their entire ecclesial tradition forbids them from acknowledging in him the ultimate and sole source of all power in the Church. Their entire legitimate ecclesial tradition forbids them from reserving to the pope the nomination or confirmation of all the bishops in the Church. The Second Vatican Council, which the pope desired to prepare the paths for union, would result on the contrary in hardening the positions of the Catholic Church and creating a new dogma that the Orthodox Church cannot accept. With such a theory, the Catholic Church must decide to interrupt all dialogue with Orthodoxy, and it will not be the fault of Orthodoxy, which, on this point, wishes to remain faithful to Tradition.

7. Finally, we can ask ourselves why the theological commission and, with it, certain theologians, persist in wishing to make the council pronounce excessive principles in praise of the papacy. There are certainly certain groups in the Catholic Church today who wish to see in Catholicism only its head: the pope. From exaggeration to exaggeration, they finally lead the Church towards a certain "papolatry," which does not appear to be a chimerical danger. They have made of the pope, not the father, the humble and devoted shepherd, the big brother concerned about the honor and the apostolate of his brothers, but an ecclesiastical replica of the Roman Caesar. An old subconscious imperialism consumes them, and they seem to wish to find in the papacy a compensatory solution for their dreams of universal domination. Now, that attitude has no place in Christ's Church, where authority is a service, and the greatest among us must be the servant of all. Certainly, the popes realize this evangelical ideal magnificently in their private lives. Yet we wish, for the greater good of the Church, that the flattering or self-interested theologians may be kept away from their entourage. This can only enhance the greatness of the papacy and increase esteem for it.

8. In the light of the preceding considerations, we propose the amending of certain passages of the schema in question:

a. A note that seems harmless proposes theories of the greatest gravity. It even stirs up the question of whether the bishops receive their power immediately from God or from the pope. How can anyone say such a thing? If the bishops receive their power immediately from the pope, then they are delegates of the pope. The note claims that it wishes to exclude this theory, but it affirms it nonetheless by insinuation. Now it is this method of tendentious insinuations that places the doctrines of the Church in danger. This entire text should be eliminated.

b. The schema affirms that the bishops receive their mandate "a regimine Ecclesiae, et quidem ab ipso successore Petri... a quo ergo in officium assumuntur, et etiam deponi, transferri, restitui possunt" ("from the government of the Church, and indeed from the very successor of Peter... by whom therefore they are received into their office, and by whom they can also be deposed, transferred, and reinstated"). The text says rightly, "by the government of the Church." But why does it identify the "government of the Church" with "the successor of Peter"? Apart from Peter and his successors, is there nothingness in the Church, and is the "government of the Church" reduced solely to the government of Peter and his successors?

Peter is at the head of the Church, but he is not the whole Church. There is no body without a head, but neither is there a head without a body. This theoretical and practical identification of the pope with the Church and of the Church with the pope is one of the exaggerations that have done most harm to the Church. In order to honor the pope there is no need to see him as being the whole Church and to reduce the Church to him.

c. The text affirms that the pope possesses such power in the Church "ut ipse actualem eorum [episcoporum] iurisdictionem ordinariam ampliare vel restringere possit, etiam subditorum exemptione" ("so that he can increase or restrict their [the bishops'] ordinary jurisdiction, even by exempting those subject to them"). This needs to be toned down. The pope's power is not arbitrary. It is restricted by the divine constitution of the Church that intends that the bishops should not be proxies of the pope, but his brothers and the successors of the Apostles. The pope cannot arbitrarily do whatever he wishes with the Church and in the Church; he must always respect the plan of its Divine Founder. The Church is a monarchy, tempered by an oligarchy, and even by a certain democracy. It is not a dictatorship.

d. After reducing almost to nothing the original and legitimate rights of the bishops, the text continues: "Absit tamen ut per hoc iura episcoporum minuantur" ("The rights of the bishops must not be diminished by this"). That is almost ironical. By these exaggerations the rights of the bishops are most certainly diminished. More than one Catholic bishop has thought in his innermost heart that he was practically reduced to the role of a "prefect" executing the orders of the Roman bureaucracy.

e. Speaking of the unity of the Catholic Church, the text affirms: "cuius centrum et fundamentum et principium unitatis est successor Petri" ("whose center and foundation and principle of unity is the successor of Peter"). What is left to Christ in this concept of ecclesial unity? What needs to be said is that the center and foundation of the unity of the Church is Christ and subordinately and vicarially the bishops, and at their head the Bishop of Rome. In the concept of the Church, it is hardly forgivable to forget the bishops. But it is absolutely unforgivable to forget Christ. The exaggerations of certain theologians have made the pope not the representative of Christ, but his substitute, his successor. And that is very serious.

f. Speaking of the collegiality of the episcopal body—a very rich idea that is still unexplored—the schema conceives it in a rather diminished and simplistic way. It says, "Episcopi, quamvis singillatim sumpti vel etiam quam plurimi congregati potestatem in universam vel in aliam ac sibi commissam Ecclesiam non habent, nisi ex collatione Romani Pontificis..." ("The bishops, whether taken individually or even when many are gathered together, do not have power over the universal Church or over another Church assigned to them, except as it is conferred by the Roman pontiff"). In the minds of the authors of this schema, the bishops, as a body, have no power of their own of universal solicitude. If they do in fact exercise such power, in councils or otherwise, it is solely by virtue of a delegation of power coming from the Bishop of Rome. Is that the genuine Catholic tradition? Does not this tradition affirm that the bishops in some sense share with their head, the Bishop of Rome, the care of the entire Church? Does it not affirm that they possess, with him and under his authority, a certain power over the whole Church, for example in ecumenical councils? It is true that, under present law, an ecumenical council can be held only under the authority and with the approbation of the Bishop of Rome. Yet that does not mean that all the authority that the bishops exercise in such a council comes to them from the Bishop of Rome. Again, these are very harmful exaggerations.

g. The schema concludes: "Nemo episcoporum ad hoc Corpus pertinere potest, nisi directe vel indirecte a successore Petri, Capite Corporis, in Collegium assumptus sit" ("No bishop can belong to this Body, unless he has been directly or indirectly incorporated into the College by the successor of Peter, the Head of the Body"). It is correct to say that no bishop belongs to the Catholic episcopal college unless he is united with and subject to the head of this college, who is the Bishop of Rome. However, to say that no bishop belongs to this college unless he has been chosen by the Bishop of Rome is something else. It is a theory that must be proved, and that we for our part believe is devoid of any foundation in the sources of our faith.

Conclusion: The schema that is presented to us is clearly tendentious. In addition to the exaggerations in form that we have pointed out, it proposes a theory of the constitution of the Church that is not at all certain. We, for our part, believe that it is erroneous. This schema must be restudied by theologians who are more objective and who have been more soundly nurtured in the Patristic tradition. It is our opinion that this schema, as it is now presented, cannot be proposed to the council.

The Divine Constitution of the Church

The Holy Synod, in its "Comments on the schemas of the Council (1963)" made a detailed critique of the first part of the schema "On the Church." It touched on many varied points, but the central theme remained "the Divine Constitution of the Church," or the relations between the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, on the one hand, and on the other, Peter and his successors. Although it sometimes touched on details of wording, this synodal document deserves to be cited in its principal passages.

1) Peter/rock and Apostles/pillars: The simile of the "pillars" applied to the Apostles originates in the New Testament quite as much as the simile of the "rock" applied to Peter. Better still, we propose to replace "founded on Peter the rock and upon the Apostles" with another scriptural formula such as "established on the foundation of the Apostles (and prophets)."

Indeed the draft awkwardly anticipates the following paragraph which deals with the primacy. The present draft is less felicitous than the text from Vatican I which is cited here. That council distinguished three periods in the divine plan: the first period, Christ wishes to found a Church as a temple of eternal duration; the second period, to lead and rule this Church, He gives it as shepherds the twelve Apostles who are perpetuated in the bishops, their successors; the third period "so that the episcopate may be one, he set Peter above the other Apostles." The present schema, by speaking too soon about the primacy of Peter, symbolized by the rock, reverses the perspective.

2) Apostolicity: "Apostolicus primatus" does not adequately designate the primacy of St. Peter. Actually, there are other Apostles besides Peter. It is also a current habit in the West to use "Apostolica Sedes" to designate only the Roman See of Peter. Indeed, in the West, there is no other "apostolic see" than that of Rome founded by Peter. But we must react against this procedure, for not only are there other Apostles besides Peter, but there are also other "apostolic sees" besides the See of Rome. This statement is important in order to make oneself understood by the East, which is so deeply attached to the apostolicity of its patriarchal sees. We know that Orthodox Christians protest against the monopolizing of the epithet "apostolic" by the Roman See in expressions like "apostolic see" or "apostolic blessing," etc.

3) Vicar of Christ: Following Saint Bernard especially, Western piety has liked to give the Roman pontiff the title of "Vicar of Christ." However, even in the West, at least until the eleventh century, the Pope of Rome tended to be called the "Vicar of Peter," and not the "Vicar of Christ." This latter title came into general use only with St. Bernard, without being exclusively reserved to the Roman pontiff, since Western tradition continued here and there to call all bishops indistinguishably vicars of Christ.

The Roman pontiff is naturally the vicar of Christ in a more eminent, but not exclusive, way. The exclusive application of this title to the Bishop of Rome is unknown in Eastern patristic tradition. Moreover, this title leads to lack of restraint, and we know how lack of restraint in this domain, in unwary, flattering, or self-interested minds, is dangerous for the Church. It has led some to blasphemy in the strict sense of the word, when they wanted to make a pope a God: "The pope is God on earth..., Jesus has placed the pope above the prophets..., above the precursor..., above the angels...Jesus has placed the pope on the same level as God..."

For the same reason, we believe that the expression "head of the Church" (especially in Latin: "caput Ecclesiae") must be explained in an ecumenical context. For it is not the pope who is head of the Church in the strict sense, but Christ alone, whom no one succeeds in this capacity. The pope succeeds Peter, but he does not succeed Christ. We should explain it rather in the sense that the pope is the "visible head of the Church" or "the head of the visible Church."

4) Foundation of the Church: The Church was certainly built on Peter, but also on the other Apostles, as many texts of the New Testament prove. It is by combining all these texts that it is appropriate to speak of the foundation of the Church. Orthodox Christians reproach Catholic theologians not for citing false texts, but for not citing all the texts.

The text of the schema would give us to understand that the Church, as such, is founded on Peter alone. On the contrary, the faithful are built on the foundation of the Apostles and the prophets, etc. This seems to be an attempt to avoid the difficulty of the texts of Saint Paul (Ephesians 2:20) and of Revelation (21:14), applying them only to the faithful. Actually, these texts of Matthew, the Letter to the Ephesians, and Revelation complement one another. The Church and the faithful that constitute it are founded on Peter and the Apostles. That is the reason for the proposed addition.

5) The canonical mission of priests. The canonical mission of priests does not come "from the Roman pontiff or from their bishop," but only from their bishop. This does not mean that the Roman pontiff has no power over priests. But it is one thing to have universal power over all the faithful or clerics of the Church and quite another to be the sole source of all power in the Church. Specifically, the bishops do not need any delegation of power to give a canonical mission to one of their priests for the purpose of governing a portion of their flock. In territories directly subject to the Bishop of Rome, as such, priests naturally receive their mission from him.

6) The Latin Church and the universal Church. When the Catholics of the West speak of the Church or of the general discipline of the Church, they are limiting their vision to the Latin Church, as if the Eastern Church and Eastern discipline were exceptions to the rule. On the contrary, they should remember that the Latin Church is one Church within the Catholic Church, just like the lowliest of the Eastern Churches, and that Latin law is a particular law of the Latin Church. "Ecclesia universa" does not signify "Ecclesia Latina," and "jus commune" does not signify "jus latinum." Since in fact the Catholic Church has unfortunately been reduced for centuries to the West, or almost so, the West has acquired the habit of considering its Latin Church as synonymous with the universal Catholic Church. This is a point of view that must be corrected today, not only in terminology but also in the entire conduct of the Church.

7) Head and body of the episcopal college. Instead of saying that the episcopal college has authority (we are speaking here of universal authority) only when united with the Roman pontiff, we prefer to say that the episcopal college, of which the Pope of Rome is a part as its president, constitutes a college only if it is united with the Roman pontiff, who is its president. It is a difference in perspective, but an important one. There is a tendency in the West to place the pope not only at the head of the episcopal college, which is very true, but also outside the episcopal college, which is false. Likewise, there is a tendency to think of the pope as being outside the council, the latter studying, discussing and proposing, whereas the pope confirms and sanctions. More than one proof could be given to demonstrate the existence of this mentality, which does not seem to us to be correct.

8) Nature of the Roman Primacy: The schema begins by affirming that the Roman pontiff has by himself alone full and universal power over the whole Church. We should like to specify that this universal power of the pope is given to him only inasmuch as he is the head of the whole hierarchy and for the purpose of fulfilling his primatial ministry. Indeed, it is important to show that this universal power of the pope is the consequence of a ministry as head of the Church, and that it is not a privilege without foundation or public usefulness.

In the second place, we should like to specify that this universal power of the pope is essentially a pastoral and personal power. It is pastoral in this sense that it is not a prerogative that allows him simply to command for the pleasure of commanding, or in order to dominate the rest of the Church. Power in the Church is a diakonia, a ministry, a pastorate. That is why the East does not like the term "jurisdiction," so dear to the canonists of the West, because it senses a concept of power that is entirely human, composed of superiority and domination over others. Moreover, this universal power of the pope is strictly personal. The pope can certainly be assisted by all sorts of collaborators, but no one shares his primacy in the Church with him. This statement has countless practical consequences. In today's Catholicism all who, whether near or far, are in the service of the pontifical administration claim a primacy over the other bishops of the world, and even over the incumbents of the other apostolic sees of Christendom. It is fitting to specify very clearly that the pope's primacy and infallibility are strictly personal.

To designate the universal authority of the episcopal college, united, of course, with its head, the Roman pontiff, the schema uses a tortuous circumlocution, as if to drown this idea. It says that the episcopal college "indivisum subjectum plenae et supremae potestatis in universam Ecclesiam creditur" ("is understood to be the undivided subject of full and supreme power over the universal Church"). Why this "is understood," and why this "subject of the power"? This might be interpreted strictly as delegated subject of the power, according to the doctrine dear to certain canonists who claim that no power exists in the Church unless it comes from the pope. The truth is that the apostolic college really has universal power over the Church, and this power comes to it directly from Christ. It is an innate, original, divine, ordinary, and inalienable power.

9) What episcopal collegiality includes: Speaking of the collegial power of the bishops, that is to say, of their power as members of the episcopal college, the schema reduces it to an ordinary universal solicitude very useful to the Church. That is too little. It is true that the collegial power of each bishop over the Church as a whole is not the same as his direct power over his diocese, but it is not an ordinary solicitude for the general good of the Church. In fact, the responsibilities that the schema attributes in the following lines to the episcopal college exceed mere solicitude and constitute a real power.

10) Collegiality and Mission: The work of evangelizing the world is not, in itself, one of the exclusive provinces of the Bishop of Rome. Rather it is a mission given by Christ to all the Apostles, and after them to all the bishops of the Church. Indeed, ecclesiastical history shows us that many other bishops of Christendom have concerned themselves with evangelizing the world by sending out missionaries and by supporting them, even founding new missionary Churches and organizing the hierarchy in mission lands. Yet today, in fact, in order to avoid useless dispersion of energies and to better organize the work of evangelization, the central authority over the missions has been reserved to the pope.

11) What is the source of the bishops' canonical mission? A certain school of canonists in the West holds, as we have said, that no bishop receives his mission over his diocese except through the direct or indirect intervention of the pope. This opinion had found a place in the old schema. The new schema has corrected this absolutely unacceptable assertion. Nothing in Scripture or Tradition, in fact, proves that the canonical mission of the bishops over their respective dioceses comes to them exclusively from the successor of Peter. The canonists in question have simply transplanted on the universal level of the whole Church and on the level of doctrine what was a contingent fact in the patriarchate of the West. In the West, for quite a while, the canonical mission, and even the appointment of the bishops, has in fact been reserved to the Roman pontiff. But it was not always so in the Church from its origins and in every place.

In the face of this consideration, which we have energetically stressed in the Central Commission, the new schema has toned down its assertions and recognized that the canonical mission could be given in virtue of laws or legitimate customs not revoked by the supreme authority (which is not only that of the pope, let us recall in passing, but also that of ecumenical councils). This canonical mission can also be given directly by the Roman pontiff, either as Patriarch of the West or as the successor of Peter. But it is not by the same right that the pope names the bishops of the West and can be called, in certain cases, to name the bishops of the East. In the former case, he acts as Patriarch of the West, whether or not he is helped by his synod (specifically the Consistorial Congregation or the Congregation of the Faith). In the latter case, he acts as head of the Church when the good of the universal Church exceptionally demands his direct intervention over and above the institutions peculiar to the East.

In the second place, it is certain that the pope can depose a bishop for very serious reasons. But the wording of the schema risks being misinterpreted, as if no bishop could have a mission in his own diocese unless he were positively accepted by the pope. Such a claim, based on the False Decretals, was, as we know, the origin of the conflict between Pope Nicholas I and Patriarch Photius. In consequence, the text of Canon 392, #2, of the Motu Proprio Cleri Sanctitati must be amended.

12) The foundation of papal infallibility: The pope is infallible only because he is the head of the apostolic college and the spokesman of the infallibility of this college and of the whole Church. When thus clarified, infallibility becomes comprehensible. It is no longer an honorary privilege. The pope does not proclaim infallible dogmas without reason, without foundation, without reference to Scripture, to Tradition, and to the Church, needlessly, just to show that he is pope. Infallibility is a charism granted to him for the general welfare and stemming from his ministry. These clarifications are absolutely essential and indispensable for anyone who wants to work for the union of the Churches, for they have not been sufficiently taken into account until now.

The text of the schema literally reproduces the definition of infallibility given by Vatican I. But this definition has in fact given rise to misinterpretations and regrettable exaggerations. It is therefore fitting that Vatican II should clarify this notion and make it more easily understandable. Thus the "ex sese" (by himself) is clarified by saying: "ex officio suo" (by his office); the "non ex consensu Ecclesiae" (not by the consensus of the Church) is clarified by saying: "non ex delegatione, nec ex canonica, etsi implicita, confirmatione" (not by delegation, nor by canonical collegial confirmation, even if it is implicit).

In the second place, it is true that the definitions of the pope are irreformable and without appeal, but we think that a clarification should be added, namely, that the definitions of the pope cannot contradict the faith of the Church and of the episcopal college.

These clarifications are generally accepted today. It is appropriate to insert them, so that Vatican II may bring new light to this doctrine of papal infallibility.

13) The ordinary magisterium of the Church: By definition this ordinary magisterium is not infallible. However, it deserves respect. The text of the schema even demands respect for the will and for the intellect, sincere adherence to it, etc. But in this case, what is it that actually distinguishes this non-infallible (that is to say, fallible) magisterium from the infallible magisterium? It seems to us that the paragraph must nonetheless make it clear that this ordinary teaching of the popes is subject to error. Actually, more than once popes who did not intend to define a truth of faith have taught things which after careful examination have been seen to be erroneous. What has happened in the past can happen again in the future. It is wise not to expand the field of papal infallibility indefinitely and with specious reasons. The respect due the teaching of the highest authority is one thing, and the infallibility of this teaching is something else. Too rigid censure risks not only halting scientific and theological progress but also transforming a fallible formula into an infallible formula, by artificially creating a false unanimity in the Church.

14) Primacy and sovereignty: We prefer not to introduce into the Church the notion of sovereignty used in international secular law. If the pope's power were a sovereign power in the secular sense, it would logically follow that all the other powers in the Church are delegated powers. Now, as we have seen, that is not the case. The pope's power is traditionally described in the Church by the word "primacy." It is best to hold to it and avoid terms borrowed from secular law. Nor must we forget that the pope is not the only sovereign power in the Church. The same sovereign and universal power belongs to the ecumenical council, that is to say, to the episcopal college with the pope as its head. Besides, even the Latin Code of Canon Law includes in the expression "De suprema potestate in Ecclesia" (On the supreme power in the Church) both the pope and the ecumenical council.

15) The pope, guardian of episcopal collegiality: The episcopate, which succeeds the apostolic college, is not first of all the sum of the dioceses, each forming a relatively closed entity around its bishop. On the contrary, it is first of all the apostolic college, having a common responsibility for the whole human race to be incorporated into Christ.

This responsibility is not one of domination, but strictly of service. Obviously, in order to express this responsibility it is necessary to make use of the concept of authority. However, the most felicitous expression for this authority is not in terms that overemphasize jurisdiction. That is why, it seems to us, that in place of juridical expressions such as "by divine right," "by ecclesiastical right," it would often be preferable to use terms like "evangelical reality," "apostolic reality," and "directed in the Holy Spirit."

It is in order to better serve the flock that it is divided into groupings, whether "patriarchal," "metropolitan," or "diocesan," without detriment to the primary responsibilities retained by each and all of the bishops with respect to the Church as a whole.

In all of this, and up to this point, the pope is the equal of all the other bishops. However, he emerges into a second reality, precisely to second this one episcopate in its mission. For this episcopate needs to preserve its unity. The pope is the recognized responsible conservator of this collective unity. This unity cannot be reduced to himself alone or to some charism that he may possess. On the contrary, he must adapt to "catholicity" in order to serve it with his variety of dynamism, knowing that he is as such not personally coextensive with the Church and that the Church is not coextensive with him... for this would again reduce the Church to the pope, to "Romanism," to his person... in fact, as a result of history so far, making it coextensive with Latinism.

Just as the bishops have powers over the flock in order to serve the Church—powers imbued with humility—so too the pope, in order to serve the episcopate in its mission, has powers imbued with humility and specified by the finality of his function, which does not create the episcopate but is the servant of the episcopate of which he remains a member. His brother bishops, in the situations in which life has placed them, have the same authority as he in the immediate portion of their current responsibilities: diocese, primacy, patriarchate.

Five Declarations of Principle

On October 7, 1963, during the 42nd General Congregation, the patriarch set forth in five principles the essentials of the remarks made by his Synod on the Divine Constitution of the Church. His intervention caused a shock. At the preceding General Congregation the patriarch was also supposed to speak. But the senior cardinal of the Council of the Presidency, troubled by protests made by certain partisans of Latin against the patriarch's use of French, had asked that the patriarch's talks be at least followed by a Latin translation. The rumor spread in Rome and was printed in the newspapers that the patriarch had been forbidden to speak in French. The patriarch stood fast and continued to speak in French. His Bishop-Counselor read the translation of his discourse in Latin.

The First Vatican Council defined the dogma of the primacy of the Roman pontiff. This definition gave rise here and there to abusive interpretations that disfigured it, making the primacy, which is a charism granted by Christ to his Church, an obstacle to Christian unity. Now, we are convinced that the obstacle to union is not the doctrine of the primacy itself, clearly inscribed in Holy Scripture and in the Tradition of the Church. Rather, the obstacle lies in its excessive interpretations and, even more, in its concrete exercise, in which, to authentically divine elements and legitimate ecclesial evolution, there have been added, more or less consciously, regrettable borrowings from modalities in the exercise of a purely human authority.

The Second Vatican Council, according to His Holiness Paul VI's beautiful words in his opening locution to the second period of the Council, proposes to prepare the paths of union. That is why, it seems to us, the Council must not be content to repeat on this point the words of Vatican Council I, which have already been stated, but must seek to clarify and complement them, in the light of the divine institution and the indefeasible rights of the episcopate.

In this sense the new wording of the schema "De Ecclesia" shows notable progress with respect to both the former wording and also the routine formulas of the theological manuals.

The fact remains, however, that from the ecumenical viewpoint several texts should still be improved so as to bring out more clearly the principles that assure the evenhanded exercise of Roman primacy willed by the divine Founder of the Church.

Leaving details of lesser importance to the written notes that we have already transmitted to the secretariat, it seems to us that the text of the schema of the council should emphasize the following principles:

1) It must be clear to all of us that the only ruler of the Church, the only head of the Body of Christ that is the Church, is our Lord Jesus Christ, and He alone. The Roman pontiff is the head of the episcopal college, just as Peter was the head of the apostolic college. The successor has no more power than the one whom he succeeds. That is why it is not fitting to say of the Roman pontiff, by the same right and without distinction, as we say of Christ, that he is the head of the Church: "caput Ecclesiae."

2) We agree completely with the explanation given by several venerable Fathers with respect to the foundation of the Church, constituted not only by Peter but by all the other Apostles, as is proven by several texts of the New Testament. This does not in any way contradict the primacy of Peter and of his successors, but rather sheds a new light on it. Peter is one of the Apostles, and at the same time the head of the apostolic college. Likewise, the Roman pontiff is a member of the episcopal college and at the same time the head of this college. The head commands the body, but it is not outside the body.

3) It must be clear that the power of the Roman pontiff over the entire Church does not destroy the power of the whole of the episcopal college over the whole of the Church—a college which always includes the pope as its primate—nor is it a substitute for the power of each bishop over his diocese. Every canonical mission, within the limits of a diocese, stems from the bishop of the diocese, and from him alone.

Moreover, it would seriously harm the doctrine of the Roman primacy and jeopardize every possibility of dialogue with the Orthodox Church if this primacy were presented in such a manner as to make the very existence of the Eastern Church inexplicable. Indeed, the latter owes its sacramental, liturgical, theological, and disciplinary life to a living apostolic Tradition in which an intervention by the Roman See appears only rarely.

4) It must be stressed that the universal power of the Roman pontiff, total as it is, and remaining within its own mandate, is given to him essentially inasmuch as he is the head of the entire hierarchy and precisely for the purpose of fulfilling this primatial service. Saint Matthew's "You are Peter" (16:18) must not be separated from Saint Luke's "Strengthen your brothers" (22:32). Moreover, this power is of its nature pastoral and strictly personal. It is of its nature pastoral in the sense that it is not a prerogative directed toward commanding for the sake of commanding. It is a ministry, a service, a diakonia, a pastorate, as His Holiness Pope Paul VI has clearly emphasized. This power is of its nature personal and cannot, inasmuch as it remains so, be delegated in any way.

5) Finally, it must be clear that neither the naming of the bishops nor their canonical mission is reserved, by divine right, to the Roman pontiff alone. What has been a contingent circumstance of the Christian West must not be transferred to the universal level of the entire Church and to the level of doctrine.

When the primacy of the Roman pontiff is thus free from exaggeration of doctrine and of exercise, it not only ceases to be the principal stumbling block for the union of Christians, but it becomes the principal dynamism that requires and maintains this union. It is absolutely indispensable as the bond of unity for the Church. Christians can never thank the Lord Jesus enough for this ministry that He has established in his Church.

What Eastern Theology Says

On October 16, 1983, Archbishop Elias Zoghby, the Patriarchal Vicar in Egypt and the Sudan, in an important intervention, called attention to the viewpoint of Eastern theology on the exercise of the Roman primacy and its relations with the episcopacy.

I am surprised that this question has not been asked before now: why, after a quite brief schema "De Ecclesia," another special schema has been proposed, devoted to the "Eastern Catholic Churches," as if these latter formed a kind of appendage to the universal Church. I am not criticizing. I am simply noting a fact, which, indeed, has been quite eloquently illustrated: the fact that the Eastern bishops present at this assembly comprise only 5% of the conciliar Fathers, and that, in turn, they represent only 5% of the Christians of the East.

The general schema "De Ecclesia" would be more useful to everyone if it applied equally to the traditions of both Churches, Eastern and Western, whose ecclesiologies are complementary. In fact, the patrimony of the Eastern Church is very rich and even constitutes the largest part of the patrimony of the entire Church. These two parts of the Church, the East and the West, lived in comparative peace during the first thousand years, each with its own constitution, its own discipline, its own theology, its own customs, languages, character, and spirituality. The state of separation is abnormal in the Church. It would be good to provide a paragraph on the particular Churches, the Latin as well as the Eastern.

For example, with respect to the primacy of the Roman pontiff, the Eastern Churches have never denied its existence, or that it was the principle of Catholicity. Yet in fact, after so many centuries of separation, this doctrine has evolved so unilaterally that it is very difficult for our Orthodox brothers to recognize it today. Formerly the Roman Church rarely exercised its primacy over the Eastern Churches as a whole and over those which, from time immemorial, as major, apostolic, patriarchal Churches, exercised a primacy over the neighboring Churches, and which, even today, are the foundation of the ecclesial structure. This last consideration is of the greatest importance and it is indispensable to any dialogue with the Eastern Churches separated from us.

In its modern form, insinuated into our schema, the doctrine of primacy, which we find too prevalent in several paragraphs, is proposed in an unduly unilateral manner, becoming almost unacceptable to the Orthodox. In fact, it offers a theological aspect elaborated by the West alone, without the concurrence of Eastern tradition.

Eastern tradition, joined to Western tradition, would have prevented the doctrine of primacy from taking on such unacceptable proportions vis-a-vis the episcopate. This must be affirmed especially today with the development of ecumenism, at a time when the efforts of Catholics for unity are being taken seriously into consideration by everyone.

Three remarks will illustrate my affirmations:

1) Every time that the schema deals with the authority of the bishops, it is said to be subordinated to the authority of the Roman pontiff. The excessive repetition of this affirmation finally becomes tiresome and leads to the belief that the authority of the Roman pontiff is simply a limitation of the power of the bishops.

Now, the primacy of Peter in his successors is an invaluable gift to the Church, and it must not be reduced to a yoke imposed by force. The authority of the Roman pontiff was not given in order to restrict the authority of the bishops, but to defend and support it, just as in a family the authority of the father strengthens and sustains the authority of the mother, but does not diminish it in any way, even though it extends to the mother and to the children.

We must be content to affirm once and for all the dependence of the episcopal body with respect to the pope, without repeating this affirmation indefinitely. On this point, let us follow Peter's own warning: "Be sober and watchful." Otherwise, why not, with equal logic, refer each time to Christ as the Supreme Shepherd, from whom both the Roman pontiff and the other bishops draw all their power and their very priesthood?

Moreover, the authors of the schema, somehow obsessed with the primacy, seem to have neglected an essential point, namely, the doctrine of Christ the Priest and the doctrine of the sacraments instituted by Him, especially the Eucharist, which is the bond of unity within each Church and in the universal Church.

2) We speak frequently of the exercise of the episcopal and collegial power, but dependent upon the Roman pontiff. Is there not another truth to be affirmed and emphasized even more in the schema so as to attain balance, namely, that the authority of the Roman pontiff is not absolute, isolated, independent of the existence of the college of bishops? The authority of the Roman pontiff, like that of Peter, can be understood and explained only in relation to the college over which he presides and which truly and efficaciously assumes, under his primacy, responsibility for the entire Church. Not only does this mutual interdependence between the head of the college and the college itself conform to reality, but it appears necessary for any dialogue with Orthodox Christians.

3) May I be permitted to draw attention to Paragraph 16, page 27, line 4, in which "the Successor of Peter, the Roman pontiff" is set in opposition to the bishops, the "successors of the Apostles." The Roman pontiff, the successor of Peter, is also a successor of the Apostles, inasmuch as he is a bishop, just as the other bishops, successors of the Apostles, are in a certain sense also successors of Peter, inasmuch as Peter is an Apostle. I therefore propose the following amendment: "The Roman pontiff, successor of Peter, as head, and the other bishops, successors of the Apostles." This tendency, already pointed out several times at the council, of separating the Roman pontiff from the college of bishops, is more detrimental than helpful. When we do this, we somehow allow the greatest gift, the greatest grace, in the Roman pontiff to be downplayed, namely the grace of the episcopacy. Indeed the greatest grace that Peter received from Christ was being chosen as an Apostle and as a member of the apostolic college, in which the charge to "strengthen the others" is not something special super-added to his eminent apostolic vocation in the strict sense.

That is why the successor of Peter who is the Roman pontiff is first of all a bishop. This grace of the episcopacy remains for him, even after his election to the supreme pontificate, the most important grace of his whole life. The Roman pontiff does not cease being a member of the apostolic college by reason of the fact that he has the responsibility of strengthening his brothers. He does not become a universal bishop in the sense that he would take the place of the others, as the German bishops clearly declared to Bismarck in 1875, in a letter that Pius IX solemnly approved and that would deserve being mentioned in our schema.

According to tradition, the pope is not elected directly by the conclave to the Roman Pontificate, but to the See of Rome, which was once Peter's. Having been elected to the See of Peter, by that very fact he succeeds Peter in his primacy. That is why the electors of the Roman pontiff, regardless of the nation to which they belong, are titulars of the churches of the city of Rome or of the suburban sees. We are very grateful to our Pope Paul VI, who, after the example of his predecessor of holy memory, John XXIII, solemnly declared at the beginning of this session that the See of Rome was indeed his own. He declared: "The college of cardinals has chosen to elect me to the episcopal See of Rome and consequently to the supreme pontificate of the universal Church." In former times this truth had been rather nebulous in the minds of the faithful.

Finally, before concluding, with regard to episcopal collegiality, on which the Fathers have expatiated at length here, I am surprised that so many of you still hesitate, even though it is evident from the life of the Church in the first centuries that collegiality was operative then and that it continues to be in force today in the Eastern Churches. In the patriarchal system, the synod holds a very important place. No important decision is taken without the synod or apart from the synod. The metropolitans, then the patriarchs, conscious of their obligation to safeguard unity among the Churches, were accustomed to exchange synodal letters among themselves, in order to arrive together at common solutions. In doing this, they were convinced that they were continuing the apostolic tradition.

Primacy and Infallibility: Final Synodal Remarks

The schema "On the Church" was profoundly revised. The Melkite Greek Synod, assembled in the summer of 1964, made its final remarks on the new text. A step forward had been made, but, the synod pointed out, there still remained much to do to coincide with the Eastern and primitive tradition of the Church. We reproduce a few remarks.

The present schema on the constitution of the Church is, on the whole, a good work. This is true even with respect to the chapters or paragraphs dealing with the hierarchy of the Church, in particular the college of bishops and their head, the pope... Catholics will accept with serenity and trust everything that is said there...

However, as we see it, from an ecumenical viewpoint with reference to Orthodoxy, all that is said concerning the hierarchy, in particular with regard to papal primacy and infallibility, will give a negative impression. In fact, it might seem to insist more on the pope, his primacy, his supreme jurisdiction, his infallibility "ex sese" especially, than on "episcopal collegiality" itself, and indeed when it is treated ex professo.

We think that, if these texts-written in a context that is admirable but composed in a very Latin style—are adopted by the Council just as they are, there is danger that we would have to say "adieu" to any dogmatically effective conversation with the Orthodox: Vatican II would thus replicate Vatican I as an obstacle.

We have said: "Catholics will accept with serenity and trust" what is said in the chapters or paragraphs dealing with the hierarchical aspect of the Church. In fact, they know through living experience, and they will know even better from all that is said in the schema about "collegiality" and the "communion" aspect of the Church that the papacy is not a dictatorship either with respect to matters of government or those of faith. This is where we should make use of everything that determines and in fact limits all jurisdiction, even that of the pope: natural law, Christian law, the finality of the office, the concomitant co-responsibility of the episcopate in relation to the pope, while maintaining all due respect for his primacy, etc.

Yet, because of the formulas used, the Orthodox world will inevitably see the opposite: that is to say, a dictatorship pure and simple... no matter how charitably the popes in general intended these formulas.

There is therefore need of another formulation of the immutable dogma of the primacy and infallibility of the successor of Peter, and this formulation must also conform to Eastern patristic tradition. But this council is, in fact, in spite of all its sincere good will, physically and psychologically a Latin council for all intents and purposes. It will be difficult for it to imagine such a tearing apart of strictly Western formulas to achieve a synthesis with an Eastern formulation. We must, however, note:

1. that this principle of different formulations of the same dogma is not only obvious but also affirmed by popes John XXIII and Paul VI.

2. that there have been precedents. We shall mention only one:

The Council of Justinian, the Second Council of Constantinople (the Fifth Ecumenical Council), gives such a different formulation of the dogma of Chalcedon (two natures), while being dogmatically identical with it, that Pope Virgilius agreed, then refused, then agreed again (under duress, but agreed nonetheless) to sign it. But others refused: e.g., northern Italy, which was in schism against Rome for 150 years, Latin Africa, which excommunicated the pope, and Ireland, which was content to make remonstrances. The West no longer identified itself with the formulations of this council.

Why, then, would a new Eastern formulation of the dogma of primacy-infallibility be impossible, even if it should surprise some Western theologians?... The overriding duty of encouraging the unity of the Church must, on the contrary, impel us to want an Eastern formulation of this dogma... This is something that can usually be done only during and after one or more Catholic-Orthodox encounters, such as Rhodes proposes.

May we suggest:

1. either affirm Vatican I soberly, and add to it, omitting certain attenuations, the notable votes of October 30;

2. or simply let all this ride until the Roman-Orthodox theological meeting requested by Rhodes, which will more easily find formulas acceptable to both parties.

Meanwhile, we are content to make a few remarks on specific points:

1) The Church of Christ, constituted in this world as a society, is said to "subsist in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops who are in communion with him, even though there exist outside its structures many elements of sanctification and truth, which, being the very gifts of the Church of Christ, impel toward catholic unity."

To say that Christ's Church on earth is identified purely and simply with the Roman Catholic Church is to affirm indirectly that the other Christian groups, whatever they may be, are not part of Christ's Church, are not Churches, and that the Roman Catholic Church is the whole Church of Christ.

The new text of the schema, in spite of some improvements in details, has not succeeded in avoiding this wholly external concept of the Church, a very humiliating concept for the other Christian Churches which are truly Churches.

To say that these Christian groups preserve only "elements of sanctification and truth" does not suffice to characterize them as Churches. Islam and Judaism also possess "elements of sanctification and truth." Now, there is an essential difference between Islam and Judaism on the one hand and the non-Catholic Christian Churches on the other, and especially the Orthodox Churches. These Churches, in a certain measure, in spite of their dogmatic or disciplinary divergences with the Catholic Church, constitute the Church of Christ. In other terms, as soon as we admit that the non-Catholic Churches are nevertheless Churches, we can no longer say that the Roman Church is the whole Church, but only that, in our opinion, within it the notion of Church, as Christ has willed it, is more faithfully realized.

We leave to the specialists of the theological commission and of the secretariat for the union of Christians the task of finding the precise formula that expresses, with reference to the one and only Church of Christ, the real relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the other Christian Churches which, at some moment of history for one reason or another, broke off communion with it. In this connection, we call to mind the words of Pope Pius XI: "The fragments of an auriferous rock are also auriferous." Without falling into a fragmentary conception of the Church, we can envisage, better than the text of the schema does, the relationship between the Roman Church and the non-Roman Churches.

Moreover, between "in eius communione" and "gubernata" we would insert a word or two like "de jure" or "de jure divino" (by divine right), because either in the past or at the present time some episcopal Churches—not governed by the pope—form part of the Church in an exceptional manner and do not merely possess "more or less numerous elements given to the Church."

We are thinking, for example, of the following:

a. The Schism of Antioch: Can anyone say that Saints Mellitus, Flavian, and John Chrysostom were "outside the Church," and that those who supported them, Basil, Gregory, etc. were schismatics? Can anyone say that John Chrysostom, who was outside the Church throughout his life in Antioch, "returned to the Church" when he became Bishop of Constantinople?

b. The "Great Western Schism" in which considerable portions of Latin Christianity were ruled by one or even two anti-popes, were all those persons in actual fact outside the Church? No one in the West thinks so.

c. We are thinking especially of the Orthodox Churches to which the Roman primatial institution by divine right was not clearly transmitted by the Fathers, and for whom the subsequent Roman definitions (notably, Vatican I) arrived after long separations "during which responsibilities were shared," as is now admitted, and under concrete conditions making the acceptance of the definition of Vatican I morally, strictly, invincibly inadmissible.

Therefore, the words that we propose—"by divine right" maintain the right and do not falsify the fact: the Church is the papal Church and it is incontestably the only one. However, in exceptional cases some Churches, not ruled in fact by the pope, are part of this Church, which is necessarily papal, by right.

Do catechumens belong to the Church more than do non-Catholic baptized Christians?

If an insertion of the type indicated is accepted in the spirit manifested by what is said in this note, it will greatly alleviate the painful impression of the Orthodox with respect to the texts dealing with papal primacy and infallibility in the same schema "De Ecclesia."

2) Number 15 should be done over, it seems to us, in a more ecumenical spirit. It seeks to clarify the relations between "the Church" and non-Catholic Christians. The title itself, "Links between the Church and non-Catholic Christians," presupposes that these non-Catholic Christians not only are not the Church, but they are not even part of the Church, since the Church has only some links with them. It is true that the text lists all these links, and they are numerous. But all this is external. There should be a vision of the Church in which non-Catholics would be seen from within, as members of one and the same Church which is in fact "disunited."

The way to achieve this would consist in seeing things from a historical point of view. Christ founded one and only one Church, which includes all those who, believing in him, are baptized in his name. Within the bosom of this Church, which remains always the same and always one, currents of division are always active, as so many currents of sin. Conflicts arise, some of which are quickly calmed; others, on the contrary, have ended up in the founding of true communities claiming autonomy. In these conflicts, responsibilities are shared. We consider those faithful fortunate to whom grace has been given to maintain their adherence to the integral teaching of Christ and of his Church, manifested by submission to their legitimate pastors in communion with the successors of Peter.

Those who, through no fault of their own, are more or less far from sound doctrine or from the necessary communion with their legitimate pastors, and who have constituted themselves into autonomous groups, have nonetheless not broken the unity of Christ's Church, which cannot, through anyone's fault, cease being one, holy, catholic and apostolic. There are schisms in the Church, but the Church remains one. The relations between the Church and these brethren separated from us are not, as No. 15 would indicate, the relations of a human society with deserters who nevertheless maintain a few links with the motherland. They are the relations of a mother with children in trouble, or, better, with brothers who have quarreled among themselves.

We Catholics firmly believe that we have remained faithful to the total thought of Christ and to the constitution that he has given to his Church. But our non-Catholic brethren, although they are separated from us by some articles of faith, or at odds with us for different reasons, in which we often bear some blame, nonetheless belong to the Church of Christ. And their relations with Christ's Church cannot be those of strangers who have "something in common" with us.

3) The expression "under one pastor," if it refers to the pope, is excessive. There are other pastors. There is "collegiality." The "One Pastor," purely and simply, is Christ.

4) The text seeks to reaffirm the declarations of Vatican I concerning the primacy and infallibility of Peter and his successors before going on to study the episcopate. But let us first of all say that in a chapter devoted to "The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church," we must not begin by speaking of the Roman prerogatives. Logically and chronologically, this must come at the end of the treatment. First of all there are the faithful, then the priests and bishops, and finally the "First Pastor" who is the link among the members of the hierarchy and who assures unity. Peter is perpetuated in his successors.

In the second place, the text should be written in such a way as to show how Vatican II, in dealing with the remainder of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, complements, clarifies, and gives equilibrium to the definitions of Vatican I on the prerogatives of the Roman primacy. Vatican II should not simply "go one step further" (in eodem incepto pergens). It should adapt, clarify the first step taken by Vatican I with respect to what could have seemed to be too unilateral, too rigid in its declarations. We must not be afraid to say so. More than one ecumenical council in the past has thus thrown a clearer light on the definitions that preceded it. We need only think of the role of Chalcedon with respect to Ephesus, and of the "Council of the Three Chapters" in relation to Chalcedon. Let us add a few words about terminology:

a. "Apostolic Primacy," at least to Eastern ears, is not the correct term to designate the "primacy of St. Peter." In fact, "apostolic," strictly speaking, is not an epithet reserved to matters relating to St. Peter. There were other Apostles like him. Likewise, "apostolic see" in universal ecumenical language must not be exclusively reserved for the Roman See, any more than the "apostolic benediction" is the exclusive privilege of the bishops of Rome.

b. Once again we ask the Fathers of the Council to use terms that Eastern tradition approves when speaking of the pope so as to facilitate dialogue with our Orthodox brethren. This is not the case, for example, with the expression "Vicar of Christ," even though Vatican I did use it. It is totally unknown in the Eastern tradition, where all the bishops are vicars of Christ. Moreover, the schema "De Ecclesia," No. 27, p.71, line 3, calls all the bishops "vicars and delegates of Christ." Within the Western tradition this designation came very late, in any case after the rupture between the East and the West. The popes are "successors of Peter," and that suffices as a basis for all their prerogatives. Christ continues to live in His Church: no one is his successor, as if he had disappeared and could no longer act effectively.

c. We wish to assert the same thing about the other expression by which the pope is designated: "visible head of the Church." The Church has only one head: Christ. All others who are called "head" are only his humble ministers and the servants of the Church. The annexation of the epithet "visible" does not solve this difficulty. The pope does not rank above Peter. Peter is an Apostle, leader of the apostolic college. Like Peter, the pope is a bishop, the head of the episcopal college. These titles suffice as a basis for all his prerogatives without any need to resort to metaphorical titles which are true only if they are accompanied by detailed explanations, and which in fact have resulted in unseemly exaggerations.

d. Saint Peter is called "the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of faith and communion." This is excessive. Strictly speaking, these words apply only to Christ. Peter and his successors are the sign of unity of faith and communion.

5) After weighing the meaning of the different formulas used in Scripture referring to Christ, Peter, and the Apostles, on whom the edifice of the Church rests, the text of the schema seems to have felt the need to make a distinction between the Apostles, on whom the Church is "founded" (condidit), Peter, on whom the Church is built (aedificavit), and Christ, who is the keystone (angulari lapide) of the whole structure. Actually, these are only metaphors, from which we draw the following conclusion, namely that the Church is founded on Christ, the Apostles, and Peter, but with different titles that the only texts cited do not sufficiently distinguish. There is no doubt that the Apostles are the foundations of the Church and that Peter plays an eminent role in this in relation to his brothers. There is no need to push the deductions any further. 6) "Nonnisi in communione cum collegii capite et membris exerceri possunt." ("They cannot exercise this power except in communion with the head and members of the college.") This affirmation needs to be modified. If a local Church can exercise its power only when united to the head and members of the universal Church, must the union be conscious for this exercise to be efficacious and legitimate? In case of "schism," is the power suspended? To speak of an "implied delegation" in such a case would be a juridical fiction. What became of the power of the Church during the great Western Schism? What is the present power of the non-Catholic Churches? This is certainly a notion that needs to be clarified.

The same is true, on pages 63 and 64, with respect to Orthodox synods. Thus the local Church has an innate vitality... to be determined and defined.

7) "Nisi simul cum Pontifice Romano"; "et numquam sine hoc capite"; "quae quidem potestas independenter a Romano Pontifice exerceri neguit." ("Except together with the Roman pontiff; and never without that head; which power cannot indeed be exercised independently of the Roman pontiff").

Certain schemas of Vatican II, notably its masterpiece "De Ecclesia in Mundo Huius Temporis" (On the Church in the World of Our Time) are concretely pastoral in tone, style, and temper; we cannot affirm the same—in spite of some efforts in that direction—about what is said concerning papal authority in "De Ecclesia." And this is a great shame. More than that: it is extremely serious from the viewpoint of Catholic-Orthodox ecumenism. Here we fall back into abstraction, acrimony... Now, there is a way of saying things differently...

Indeed, can we act as though we were forgetting what theology, history, and experience teach? They tell us:

a. That the pope remains a mortal, responsible man, with all the consequences of that basic situation. Notably, the fact that a mortal man does not and cannot have really absolute power.

b. That the pope can resign, whereas no one resigns from his baptism, or from his priesthood, or from his episcopacy. The pope, therefore, is not a "sacramentalized" personage . . . and even less is he "transfigured," "superior to the prophets."... And yet he has a function—the highest of episcopal functions but a function extrinsic to his personality in its limited substance, just like anyone else's.

c. They also say that a pope—because he is mortal and a sinner like every other man—can find himself in a definitive physical and moral incapability of exercising his function. Who is to determine this if not the college of bishops "without its head." And that is why, instead of saying: "numquam sine suo capite" (never without its head), we would prefer: "et non sine suo capite" (and not without its head). The word "non" defines the rule, but leaves room for the inevitable exception. "Inevitable" because it has not been avoided: consider the Council of Constance.

The episcopate therefore has a permanent, fundamental right and obligation with respect to the exercise of the papal function. And it is here—without scanning the whole course of history—that Saint Paul's resistance to Saint Peter at Antioch assumes its constitutional value in the matter of collegiality, and even of the personal responsibility of each bishop.

d. In addition, traditional theology declares that a pope can become a heretic. Here again, who will pass judgement if not the college of bishops, with the rights and obligations that this responsibility—latent as it may be—necessarily gives it on a permanent basis?

e. Finally, this same traditional theology (cf. Suarez and Wernz, who echoed so many doctors before them) declares that a pope can become schismatic. In other words, he can exercise such abuse of power, as Suarez indicates, giving one or two possible cases, that he, the pope, through his own fault, jeopardizes the unity of the Church to such a degree that he can be considered as having resigned. Here again, who will pass judgement?

It is therefore evident that, supreme as the papal function is dogmatically and juridically (infallibility-primacy), as indeed it is in its order, it is nonetheless not what it would be if there were no episcopal collegiality by divine right succeeding apostolic collegiality, of which and for which Peter was constituted "primate." The apostolic college is primatized in Peter, and not imperialized.

"Strengthen your brothers" means: strengthen them in a faith that is already theirs and not a faith that descends from the pope toward them, toward the Church which would not already possess this faith! This is a faith that the Church possesses in a habitual state, whereas the infallible papal or conciliar confirmation is accidental, called for by specific circumstances. "Strengthen your brothers" means: confirm them in their activities that depend on him only for his "confirmation" or "nonconfirmation" and not for their free inception and development.

Their "activities" are not all limited to strictly diocesan jurisdiction. They can envisage vaster, even universal actions. They can pursue this goal without being acts of local jurisdiction in the strict sense. The achievement of the "Fathers," of the "Church of the Fathers," is there for us to see: their great activity of direction, movement, and thought in the entire Church. In particular, this is the monumental achievement of the so-called "Eastern" Church. What does it owe historically to the Holy See in its activities, apart from an essentially dogmatic collective collaboration between East and West, in the ecumenical councils or around them, "primatized" as this collaboration may have been?

Let us add—and ecumenically this is of capital importance that this dogmatic and jurisdictional papal authority, sovereign as it may be on its own level and in its own order, is of its very nature fraternal and not paternal in relation to the bishops: "strengthen your brothers." The pope remains one of the bishops, regardless of the fact that he is truly their primate.

And this is where we must hope for a profound transformation of the papal ceremonial relating to the bishops. As it now appears, it comes not from Peter but from Constantine. It comes from the emperor of Constantinople, with everything that the feudalism of the Western Middle Ages has added. This is difficult to tolerate, and it will be tolerated less and less, because it is neither evangelical... nor constitutional.

This renewed evangelical spirit should also inspire—as a consequence—the transformation of the ceremonial of bishops.

Humility, poverty, brotherhood must pass from words to action... A rigid hierarchism (in the imperial style) kills them..., causes flights toward old sects..., creates new sects..., in which unbelief grows, and especially the newly created unbelief of Marxism.

8) Why is there hesitation to say "college of bishops"? The term "order of bishops" has been chosen in preference. In itself, we see no problem in this. But one line further, we read: "college of Apostles," and it is affirmed that the "order" of bishops has succeeded the "college" of Apostles. We must be logical. If the Apostles constituted a "college," the bishops who succeed them also constitute a "college."

9) The power to convoke an ecumenical council is reserved at the present time to the Roman pontiff, but it has not always been so in history. Nor does it follow, according to history, that the confirmation of the first seven ecumenical councils was reserved exclusively to the pope of Rome.

10) The relations of the bishops within the college. This is the most delicate of all the paragraphs of this schema, and at the same time one in which we sense the least fidelity to the notable vote of October 30, 1963. There are so many objections that one can make about it that, practically speaking, the entire paragraph needs to be rewritten.

a. The pope is said to be "the principle and visible foundation" of unity in the universal Church, just as the bishops are each "the principle and the center of unity" in their respective Churches. This is excessive. The foundation of unity is adherence to Christ, baptism which incorporates us into him. The pope is, more precisely, the link and the sign of unity, and the same holds true for each bishop in his diocese.

b. The distinction between the bishops taken individually (qua singuli) and the bishops "as members of the episcopal college and lawful successors of the Apostles" does not seem to be correct. The bishops are always successors of the Apostles, and exercise, even individually, their share of authority over the universal Church.

c. Certain lines are a pure and simple negation of the notable vote of October 30, 1963. First, when referring to the pope, the words "power" and even "jurisdiction" are used. When referring to the episcopal college, the word "solicitude" is considered adequate, even though the bishops are "bound" to have this "solicitude"... This is a far cry from the "supreme power" of the episcopal college, as it was voted on October 30, 1963. And then it is said that this "solicitude" which is required of the bishops is not an "exercise of jurisdiction," whereas for the pope the "supreme power" is a "jurisdiction." What is the origin of this distinction, unknown in the Gospel and in patristic tradition?

d. The text indicates wherein this universal "solicitude" of the episcopal college consists: promoting unity of faith and discipline, inspiring love for the Mystical Body of Christ, and especially for his suffering members, working for the propagation of the faith, and, above all, the text says, taking good care of one's own diocese... In other words, the bishops are told: "Take care of your own affairs. You have no power over the universal Church, but it is incumbent upon you to perform a few duties of moral solicitude for this Church." With this text, we can no longer see what happened to the vote of October 30. It has been cleverly emptied of its meaning. It would be better to say that during this famous session of October 30, 1963, the Council purely and simply went astray... as has been said over and over by several Fathers, who ultimately succeeded in imposing their viewpoint on the theological commission.

e. The work of preaching the Gospel to the unbelieving world is said to have been entrusted "in a special manner" to the successor of Peter. On what biblical text does this assertion rest? This great work has been entrusted to the entire apostolic college. Naturally, this will be done in conformity with the pope's directives, but it cannot be said that this task has been entrusted to him either exclusively or personally. Review the history of Christian expansion over the world.

f. With respect to the very beautiful text (which was added) on the patriarchates, there are two desiderata: Instead of "divine Providence," which is more specifically deistic than Christian, we would put something like "A Christo Jesu 'pastore et episcopo' permanenti Ecclesiae suae factum est per Spiritum Sanctum eius ut..." (It was done by Christ Jesus, the enduring ‘pastor and bishop' of His Church, through the Holy Spirit, that...).

Why, since we are dealing with patriarchates, should we avoid the name, when the "coetus episcopales" (episcopal conferences) are named? We would, therefore, put in something like: "Quaedam inter has Ecclesias, veluti matrices fidei alias peperunt Ecclesias guasi filias, quarum celebriores Romana — aliunde ‘primatialis' —Constantinopolitana, Alexandrina, Antiochena, et Hierosolymitana, patriarchales dicuntur" (Among these Churches, certain ones, like mothers of the faith, have brought forth other Churches, like daughters. Among them the more illustrious ones, those of Rome — otherwise primatial — Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, are called patriarchal).

11) The text reads: "If the pope refuses his communion, the bishops cannot occupy their posts." The sentence needs to be toned down to admit episcopacy and episcopal powers outside the Catholic Church among bishops who are not in communion with the Roman See.

12) After "Roman pontiff" add "and other bishops." It does not suffice to be in communion with the pope; it is also necessary to be in communion with the other bishops.

13) On the subject of pontifical infallibility it seems to us that the few explanations given do not sufficiently balance, by shedding new light on them, the definitions of Vatican I. This is how, in our view, the doctrine could be presented under a general title: "Infallibility of the Church, of the Episcopate, and of the pope":

Even though the Church is structured, it is nonetheless a "whole." More precisely, it is first of all a "whole" for which a structure, which is internal, is prescribed.

Thus, it is the whole Church that is infallible, both pastors and faithful. It is indeed in its entirety the "Body of Christ," who is the Word, the thought of the Father, and it is quickened by the Spirit of Truth. The faith of the Church—the faith of the total Church—is necessarily infallible.

However, the authorized formulation of this faith is the responsibility of the pastors, the bishops. It belongs to their collegial function to declare the faith with definitive authority. But it is the faith of the Church that they proclaim, and not their own exclusive faith, separated from the clerics and the faithful who are the Church together with them. This collegial declaration of the episcopate has value "of itself" and not by a subsequent canonically colored approbation of the priests, clerics, and the faithful. A useless approbation: all of them are ontologically one with their pastors within the Body of Christ. And these latter proclaim the faith of the baptized pleroma, giving it an appropriate formulation. It goes without saying that the episcopal body must, for the validity of its dogmatic decision, have spoken with true, primatially "recapitulated" collegiality and not under outside pressure, as was the case, for example, during the Arian crisis.

And yet the apostolic college has a "primate," Peter, who continues to live in his successor. He too, if he speaks under the requisite conditions of manifest information, freedom, and presidency, in his capacity as primate of the apostolic episcopate, and, committing his full authority to it, formulates an indisputable affirmation "ex sese." Just as the college of bishops did not need the canonical consent of the clerics and faithful to formulate their real faith in all clarity, drawing them out of the labyrinth of actual or possible controversies, neither does the pope need the canonical consent of the bishops and the faithful to be infallible. He is united as one with them. He proclaims—in the exercise of his office—their faith and his own. His formulation cannot contradict what the Church—the bishops and the faithful—has believed and believes as a whole, even if only very implicitly until then. If there is an apparent opposition, a more thorough study will show either that there has not been a dogmatic definition (Liberius, Honorius, Boniface VIII), or that the truth thus defined—while remaining true needs to be complemented.

What is the difference then between an infallible papal formulation and an infallible conciliar formulation? The difference is that of a solo without any false note—the voice of itself being more or less beautiful—and a chorale without any dissonance, and yet more or less powerful. Other soloists, succeeding the present one in his function, other choirs will be able to take up the same themes and reveal still greater artistry, richness, and truth. And that is how the councils and the popes irrevocable as their definitions may be—complement one another. The new definitions do not change the old ones, but rather shed a light on them that can be very new. This has been seen in the past—in Christology, for example—and it can very well be seen in the future.

The fact remains that the bishops are the successors of the Apostles and possess in common, collegially—of necessity under a president—the duty of preserving and proclaiming the faith. Consequently, deep-seated customs emanating from the structure of the Church, which has not become "imperialized" but rather "primatized," and likewise rational thinking, the spirit of the Gospel, and even plain common sense, as well as the most elementary prudence demand that papal definitions not be proclaimed without the knowledge and concurrence of those in charge of pastoral teaching, in other words, the episcopate. Far more, definitions should not be declared without preparing the faithful through some preliminary inquiry or dialogue with them.

Because of all these things, the ideal, normal definition remains the conciliar definition: "Strengthen your brothers." This has been proven true in the life of the Church, in the Church's history. The rare papal definitions have all been preceded by an ecumenical episcopal consultation or by a previous majority approbation of the truth to be defined, even if not always of its advisability. It remains the right of the historians and pastors—and indeed of the theologians—to pass judgment on the advisability of papal—or even conciliar definitions.

The definition of papal infallibility by Vatican I confirms what has just been said. In this definition, the infallibility of the Church is declared to be the "principal analogue" to which the infallibility of the pope is referred.

 
Updated: Images of the Pascha Liturgy Continued

On this glorious and holy day, the whole Church celebrates with joy the final triumph and life-giving resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. After the long period of darkness brought about by original sin, after the seemingly endless expectation of the prophets, after the glad tidings of the nativity that came to pass, when the time had come, after the thirty hidden years and the three years of public life, after the frightful passion which had seemed to be the end of all hope, after the two days in the depth of the tomb, behold: CHRIST IS RISEN !

Indeed, indeed, He is risen, all is true, every promise of God has been fulfilled; the Savior has come, the Lamb of God has been sacrificed to take away the sins of the world, and supremely triumphant in his apparent defeat, He has crushed death by his death and restored everlasting life through his resurrection!

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Faithful Proclaim the Resurrection!

Christ is Risen!!

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Rapping on the doors symbolizing
Christ's Descent into Hades

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Entering the Church for Orthros

and Divine Liturgy

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Distributing Pascha eggs

A sign of Christ's Resurrection

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Breaking the Pascha eggs

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Greeting, "Christ is Risen!"

Response, "He is Truly Risen"

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Glorious Tomb of the Risen Christ

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Celebrating the Good News

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