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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Perspective on the Schism

In No End to Schism, Andrei Zolotov Jr. presents a perspective on the relations between the Vatican and Moscow. The Holy See has decided to grant Cardinal Lubomir Husar the title of metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia. This title has historically belonged to the Orthodox Church. Cardinal Husar is the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church which uses the Eastern liturgy but is in full communion with Rome. This move makes the Greek Catholic Church happy but might make the Russian Orthodox Church unhappy. This leads to questions about how Pope Benedict XVI views the Orthodox Church. Mr. Zolotov goes on to describe a very interesting irony: the ecumenists and liberals in the Roman Catholic Church who "bank on the `spirit of Vatican II'" are the friendliest to the Orthodox Church, but share the least with Orthodox Christianity. That is an irony -- perhaps a painful one, but Mr. Zolotov probably meant the irony considering the other side of the fence: "orthodox Catholics who are closest to the Orthodox Church in their desire to keep strictly to Christian tradition tend to view the Orthodox Church in a traditional Roman Catholic way, or in other words as schismatics who need to be proselytized or reunited with the Holy See." I'm not sure how far I'd take that supposed attitude that tends towards proselytizing the Orthodox. That would put the Orthodox on edge, although I'm not sure how that can actually be prevented. Catholic and Orthodox doctrine are identical in so many ways and both share episcopal succession stretching back to the apostles. On the other hand, I can see how a policy that prefers reunion with the Holy See, as against reunification of East and West might make sense. There is a difference, although I don't mean for the Roman Catholic Church to sit smugly waiting for the Orthodox to "join up." If both sides were to faithfully keep their eyes on their common Lord, there can be no question about what result must be: one Church founded on Peter, the rock, who is first among equals but first, nonetheless. Getting there is going to be rough, and there's no point denying that. But make no mistake: this is God's work, not ours. It will happen, despite our penchant for discord. Darn, I must be one of those orthodox Catholics. Hat tip to Kharaku who posted this at Free Republic.

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