Pretending To Work For Unity
From the time of Pope John XXIII, the
A Short History of Success
The only lasting success in uniting one Church with another has been some Eastern Rite Churches with the Roman Catholic Church. Over the years different groups of these Eastern Rite Churches have united with Roman Catholics and at the same time have kept intact all their ancient customs. They are referred to as the Oriental Rite Churches (Unate) and have equal status with the Roman Rite Churches.
Armenians reunited with
In 1726 Melkites joined
And as late as 1930 an Eastern Church known as Malankarese of India became part of the Roman Church. I have deliberately listed all these Eastern Block Churches because they pave the way for the Twentieth Century. There are almost no reunions outside these unions for good reason. The Protestants believe in diversity of belief. The Greek Orthodox believe in unity of belief, but diversity of authority. Therefore, there has been no call to unity.
When Pope John XXIII became the Holy Father of the Catholic world, unity dominated his mind. He called for an "Ecumenical Council." He (and his predecessors) met with all the leaders of the separated Churches. He invited all separated brethren to attend the Vatican II Council. Not only did he want them to come, but to participate actively and to advise the Church on everything it could do to break down the walls of separation.
suggestions made by Protestant and Greek Orthodox leaders that did not violate
the "Doctrine of the Faith" was enacted. Catholic
Churches were stripped of unnecessary decorations. The Latin language was
discarded. Language that did not foster a spirit of loving unity was
eliminated. Bishops and priests were advised to admit the "mistakes
Catholics made in the past, even to overstate them. It was the beautiful speech
of the Melckite Patriarch of
"Christ offered the first Eucharistic Sacrifice in a language which could be understood by all who heard him, namely, Aramaic. ..Never could the idea have come to them [the Apostles] that in a Christian gathering the celebrant should read the texts of Holy Scripture, sing psalms, preach or break bread, and at the same time use a language different from that of the community gathered there. ..because this language [Latin] was spoken by the faithful of that time, Greek was abandoned in favor of Latin. ..Why, then, should the Roman Church cease to apply the same principle today?"
The Church listened to the Patriarch, and the language was changed. A fixed date for Easter, such as the first Sunday in April, was proposed provided that Eastern Orthodox, Protestant and civil authorities would agree. Dr. Kristen Skysgaard, of the Lutheran World Federation, expressed his desire, "that the visible union of Christians can be quickly achieved."
Cardinal Bea gave the true meaning of "loving toward unity" when he added,
"We must welcome criticism with humility, with reflection, and even defend itself by turning a deaf ear to suggestions that come from honest voices, especially if the voices are those of friends and brothers:'
Russian Orthodox observer-delegate, Archpriest Vitaly Borovoy said: The whole history of Christianity in our era is the history of the action of the Holy Spirit upon us and upon our churches, calling us to unity and helping us understand the necessity and urgency of this task. We are always ready to help our Roman Catholic brothers in anything which may contribute to harmony and unity among all Christians, so that, with a single tongue and a single heart, we may together glorify the most Holy Spirit."
VI and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, made a common declaration on
VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I again met on
Pope Paul VI and Mar Ignatius Jacob III, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch met on Oct. 27, 1971 and declared that they had no difference in the faith they professed, and so promised to work together to remove all obstacles to complete unity.
and Shenouda III, Coptic Orthodox Pope of
and Anglican Archbishop Donald Coggan of
Paul II and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch, Dimitrios
I met on
II and Anglican Archbishop Robert Runcie of
Paul II and Ignatius Zakka I, Syrian Orthodox
Patriarch of Antioch met
The norms of Vatican II encouraged common prayer services for Christian unity. Vatican II stated that all Churches of the East and West should be offered equal dignity, no matter what their different spiritual heritages, liturgies, or ecclesiastical disciplines. Under the heading above called "SUCCESSES" I listed a long list of Churches from the Eastern Block that joined the West in common unity. It was to these Eastern Rite Churches that the four Popes of Unity addressed their prayer that they would work hand in hand with the separated Eastern Churches in Charity, Love, mutual prayer, common Liturgies and shared sacraments.
These Popes believed that it would be from the Eastern Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox that full unity would be achieved.
Probably the best example of attempts at unity is in the document of Pope Paul VI in 1972. For many years the Catholics and the Orthodox argued over the Holy Spirit. The Catholics saying "from the Son" and the Orthodox saying "through the Son." Thomas Aquinas insisted six hundred years ago that there was no difference in the two ways of understanding it. However, the wording remained the same for all these years. Finally, in 1972 in the document called "Declaration Regarding The Safeguarding of Faith In the Mysteries Of The Incarnation And Of The Most Blessed Trinity From Some Recent Errors"
We read in Chapter Four: "The Holy Spirit who proceeds, from all eternity, from the Father and from the Son, or, in other words, from the Father through the Son:'
The addition of, "or, in other words, from the Father through the Son." is a major concession towards unity that should not be overlooked, for now there is no difference between the two churches on this point.
Actually, what separates the East and West is not so much theology or Canon Law or differences in Liturgical Rites, but it is the POWER OF THE ELDERS. This was best expressed at the Vatican Council- by Archpriest Borovoy of the Russian Orthodox Church:
I return to
Patriarch Maximos IV rightfully stated that it was illogical that the
Council, while striving to break down the barriers between the Catholic and
Again Patriarch Maximos IV stated,
"the rank assigned to them by the canons of the earliest ecumenical councils, that is, the first place immediately after the Supreme Pontiff: In fact, the decisions of the earliest ecumenical councils in this matter had been respected at the Council of Florence in 1439, where, by order of Pope Eugene IV, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Joseph II, had occupied the first place after the Pope.
question is a grave one and may constitute a nearly insurmountable obstacle to
future union between the Orthodox and
"The most serious problem of all is that of having bishops of different Eastern Catholic rites in the same See, with jurisdiction over the same territory."
These are, the real things that separate and they always have
been. Nowhere in the world is this more evident than in
Charity means to give something. Someone has to have enough love, enough charity to give up his power, his seat, his position. If not, there will never be unity. Those who are well read in history will note that once, in the interest of unity, the Pope gave up his seat. I know of many saintly Cardinals, and I believe if it had to be, even the Pope, himself, would step down for the sake of a unified Kingdom.
is another cause of separation. Nationalism must be given up, at least in the
Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity was set up in 1960. In the
International Bilateral Commissions were set up. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, The International Theological Colloquium between Baptists and Catholics, The Disciples of Christ-Roman Catholic Dialogue,
The Evangelical-Roman Catholic Dialogue on Mission, The Joint Lutheran-Roman Catholic Study Commission, The Joint Methodist-Roman Catholic Commission, The International Catholic-Orthodox Theological Commission, The Pentecostal-Roman Catholic Conversations, and The Reformed-Roman Catholic Conversations.
And what have these commissions, this dialogue, these studies, these conversations produced in the way of unity? Nothing except talk,' talk, talk and talk. Oh, I'm sure the Theologians and the Canon Lawyers will be angry with that statement. They will say that, "we came' to this agreement, or that understanding, or compromised on this and that point." This will not unite.
Unity will come when we refuse to repeat the mistakes of our fathers; when we refuse to remember the mistakes of our fathers; when we refuse to see national and ethnic differences; when we the people say we have had enough of this talk and walk en masse out of our respective Churches and meet in the streets, hugging, loving, giving, forgiving, and praying together. Then you will see the Power, and the Glory of the Holy Spirit.
ONLY ONE FAITH
All it takes to have one and only one Christian Church on earth as it was in the turn of the millennium is having the same faith (the same doctrine).† Without the same faith there is no unity for it is having the same faith that makes us universal.† People who are just pretending to work towards unity will use this or that excuse for not uniting.† But in the end it is not doctrine but power that keeps us from unity.†
pride) is the cause of divisions and not doctrine. It is not doctrine that kept
the Russian Orthodox Patriarch from letting Pope John Paul II visit him in
St. Chrysostom in his homily on Ephesians said: "Nothing will so avail to divide the Church as love of power. Nothing so provokes God's anger as the division of the Church. Yea, though we have achieved ten thousand glorious acts, yet shall we, if we cut to pieces the fullness of the Church, suffer punishment to less sore than they who mangled His body."
And quoting St. Cyprian, St. Chrysostom said,
"not even the blood of martyrdom can wash out this sin. St. Cyprian said: 'God does not accept the sacrifice of a sewer of disunion, but commands that he depart from the altar so that he may first be reconciled with his brother.í"
St. Cyprian was not without some disagreements with the Roman Bishop, St. Stephen, but he knew well the passage in Matt. 5:23:
"If therefore you offer your gift at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has any thing against you; LEAVE THERE YOUR OFFERING BEFORE THE ALTAR, and go first to be reconciled to your brother."
It is not Doctrine that keeps the other Patriarchs from unity but the idea that they will have to give up there absolute power over their people.† Because in the end there is only one doctrine that keeps people separated, and that is the Doctrine of the ™Authority of Peter™
For this reason 15 years ago I wrote a booklet called, ™The Pope, A Sign of Unity or A Sign of Division™.† I wrote this document with this misleading title so that I could get non-Catholics to read it.† But now I am going to change the title to what it should have been, - The Pope In The First 7 Centuries.
In this booklet I prove that the Pope of Rome was always considered the final and only authority of the Church. †If I must say so, I believe this is the best document I have ever written and it took three years of hard research.†
use the passages in the Bible to prove the authority of the Pope, then the
statements of the Saint of the first 7 Centuries, and then the example of the
first 7 Councils. †I use the example of
In the first Council of
Constantinople, we read, "The Bishop of
Again in the second
In every case the Pope of Rome and only the Pope of Rome vetoed it †
At the third Council of Constantinople, and the second of Nice in 787 AD Constaninople is still not an Apostolic See for now other reason that the authority of the Pope of Rome.†
The canons of
the councils did not have the power to place
Ut Unum Sint
Pope John Paul II wrote two Apostolic Letters on unity: "The Light of the East" and "". Both letters are full of love, kindness, and compromise on all things except faith. By their fruits you will know them.
Matthew 18:15-20 tells me that whosoever is not working for the unity of all Christians should be treated like a heathen and a publican. Whosoever is not working for unity has no love. Whosoever is not working for the unity Christ prayed for is not Christian.
Unity can only come about by compromise, but compromise on matters of faith is to compromise Christ. We all know we cannot do that. When we dialogue, and dialogue we must if we have love for Christ, I will ask you to show me your power to prove your interpretation of your faith. For Christ says that his works prove His words, and Paul says, "for the kingdom of God is not in puffed up speech but in power." (1 Cor. 4:20) and in (2 Tim 3:4) "they have the appearance of good but not the power of God." That power is miracles. Miracles bear witness to the faith. Miracles are Godís works. Show me your faith without miracles, and I will show you my faith with miracles. By their fruits you will know them.
Protestants believe in
Scripture only, but they cannot show in Scripture where in the Scriptures it
says that. Catholics and
People even have different ideas of what unity means. The Orthodox say they already have unity with their "Plurus Unum". The Eastern Catholics say they have unity in their "Autocephalous" bishops. Protestants say they have unity in their "Pluralism". Catholics say they have unity "in union with the Pope". Some cults say that if you do not belong to their Church (even though it might be only one building throughout the whole world) you will be lost.
If Plurus Unum (first among many) really works, why do the different Orthodox Churches have different beliefs on the basic facts of religion: like the Trinity, the Resurrection of the Body, or even when the soul goes to heaven. Is this unity? They call it unity, but does God call it unity?
If Autocephalous works (the belief that each bishop is the absolute boss of his people with no other authority over him), who is to say what geographical area he is to cover? What if he is an Arian? Or, perhaps two Autocephalous bishops can build churches side by side and attract whoever they can. In Damascus there are nine bishops.
If Councils are the rule of faith, why haven't the Orthodox had a council since the Sixth Century? Are there no problems to be resolved? Who is capable of ratifying a council Ö all of the members? Only a majority? What if there is a deadlock? What if members can't attend? If only the Patriarchs have to sign, then what if they disagree?
If only the first Four, Five, Six, or Seven Councils are the rule of Faith, has anyone ever read them? Which version have you read? There are many versions. Who keeps the authentic version? Who has the entire world trusted to keep the original for 1600 years?
If Pluralism is already unity, then why do they attack each otherís faith? Pluralism is the belief that there are many roads to heaven and each person can choose his own method of getting there, there being no bad methods, and no taking into account God's method.
So what do we say? Do we already have unity? No! Does Christ want unity? Yes! Can we call ourselves Christians if we do not do all that we can for this unity? No! How can this unity come about?
Only Through the acceptance of the Authority of Peter, the Pope of Rome.