Adam DeVille: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy
Posted 21 February 2011 - 07:11 PM
Author: Adam A.J. DeVille
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
Among the issues that continue to divide the Catholic Church from the Orthodox Church—the two largest Christian bodies in the world, together comprising well over a billion faithful—the question of the papacy is widely acknowledged to be the most significant stumbling block to their unification. For nearly forty years, commentators, theologians, and hierarchs, from popes and patriarchs to ordinary believers of both churches, have acknowledged the problems posed by the papacy.
In Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity, Adam A. J. DeVille offers the first comprehensive examination of the papacy from an Orthodox perspective that also seeks to find a way beyond this impasse, toward full Orthodox-Catholic unity. He first surveys the major postwar Orthodox and Catholic theological perspectives on the Roman papacy and on patriarchates, enumerating Orthodox problems with the papacy and reviewing how Orthodox patriarchates function and are structured. In response to Pope John Paul II’s 1995 request for a dialogue on Christian unity, set forth in the encyclical letter Ut Unum Sint, DeVille proposes a new model for the exercise of papal primacy. DeVille suggests the establishment of a permanent ecumenical synod consisting of all the patriarchal heads of Churches under a papal presidency, and discusses how the pope qua pope would function in a reunited Church of both East and West, in full communion. His analysis, involving the most detailed plan for Orthodox-Catholic unity yet offered by an Orthodox theologian, could not be more timely.
Posted 04 October 2012 - 01:18 PM
Posted 09 October 2012 - 11:49 AM
sorry to be a wet blanket but, ugh! BTW, there are not 1 billion Catholics and Orthodox in the world. I bet there are 5 times as many Catholics as Orthodox, at least, with a total more like 200 million.
Sorry, but is the 'ugh' in your post a review of the book? If so, can you expand on that a little? Come to think of it, if it's not, can you expand on that a little also?!
Posted 15 October 2012 - 01:46 PM
Posted 23 March 2013 - 08:38 AM
Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East–West Unity
by Adam A. J. Deville
Notre Dame, 280 pages, $38
In Orthodoxy and the Modern Papacy, the author, a member of the Ukrainian Catholic Church who teaches theology at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana, examines John Paul II’s Ut Unum Sint, the few official Orthodox responses it evoked, and the views of Orthodox and Catholic theologians on the “renewal” of the papacy. The general drift of their arguments, which the author endorses, is to suggest that the pope’s “patriarchal” and “primatial” functions ought to be disentangled—although they disagree as to whether this would be a recovery of a distinction the Roman See maintained in the first millennium or an unprecedented “orientalization” of the papacy based on historical considerations to which the papacy was, even in the first millennium, largely indifferent.
Deville proposes dividing the Latin (or Western) Catholic Church into six regional, roughly continental, patriarchates on the “Byzantine model,” with each possessing synods that would replace the Roman Curia and be responsible for electing bishops, regulating liturgical and sacramental practice, and canonizing saints, among other matters. The pope would remain CEO of his patriarchate, the “global spokesman” for Christianity, and the sovereign of the Vatican city-state. He considers and rejects the objections that such “reforms” would be foreign to the structure of the Latin Church, involve an excess of “democracy,” and unleash moral, doctrinal, and disciplinary chaos.
He also proposes a “permanent ecumenical synod” to assist the pope in the exercise of his primatial responsibilities: “keeping watch” over the episcopate and the sacramental life of the Church in general; “ensuring the communion” of all the churches of which he is universal primate; “admonishing and cautioning” concerning heterodox ideas and practices; and “declar[ing] ex cathedra that a certain doctrine belongs to the deposit of faith.” It also proposes what seems to be a cumbersome process and “electoral assembly” to select the pope.
I must confess that I do not see the necessity of such “reforms.” More fundamentally, such changes might narrow the practical width of the gap that separates the two churches, but would not reduce its doctrinal depth.
—William Tighe teaches history at Muhlenberg College.
Posted 23 March 2013 - 02:26 PM
It is my understanding that Orthodoxy still, in a sense, recognizes Papal primacy, but not having an Orthodox bishop in Rome. It is the doctrinal differences that are paramount, not the structural ones. It is so "Western" to think that structrual reforms are a solution to the problem. And when I say doctrinal differences, I really mean aesthetic differences. They represent two very different ways of looking at things. And the aesthetic is paramount. Orthodoxy is an aesthetic, first and foremost. In contemporary thinking, one would say, oh, there are only aesthetic differences, much as one might say, these are just semantic differences. But aesthetics are everything.
Posted 26 March 2013 - 09:32 AM
To put it simply, Orthodoxy is not about thinking about God. It's about seeing God -- in the things He has made.
Owen: Do you really think that this is a purely Eastern way? I can assure you that it's not - in fact, two minutes on google would be research enough to verify it. Your statement is too sweeping, and I think this is a common problem between Orthodox and Catholic. We need to be attentive to detail and not lost in polemic. It is the will of Our Lord that we be one, and our own willfullness that divides His Body.
I do, however, understand and sympathise with your overall point here - there is, certainly since the protestant reformation and so-called 'enlightenment', a tendency in some quarters in Latin Catholicism to over-rationalise; to approach the mysteries as problems. The west has 'forgotten', for the most part, how to read. Utilitarianism is the default mindset of the average westerner, but then the average westerner practises no religion. Western does not necessarily equal = Catholic, and Catholic does not necessarily equal = western.
This is completely off the point, but you have a very Welsh name - your ancestry? There are a growing number of Orthodox Christians in Wales - I actually had two Orthodox professors when studying for my M.Th in West Wales.
Yours in Christ,
Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:40 AM
I find a belief in the neccesity to reunite completely absurd. You would think after centuries of enstrangement, people would see the differences and conclude the obvious; that we are now two distinct and seperate religions.
If anyone feels something is lacking in their current religion, then they can convert. If they think as do the ecumenists, that the Holy Spirit suffers from some sort of asthma and needs two lungs, then no unified Church should do, as the gates of Hades has already prevailed against Her centuries ago.
Edited by Kosta, 27 March 2013 - 09:42 AM.
Posted 27 March 2013 - 01:49 PM
I'm second generation American-Welsh. As for generalizations, they all break down at some point, but they have value nonetheless. If you were to look at the sermons of Fenelon (1651-1715), they could have been written by virtually any Orthodox Father of the Church. But his contemporary, Bossuet, represents the dominant theological method in Roman Catholicism on Grace. The differences between the two are aesthetic. Let's put it this way. In Orthodoxy, it is not God's mercy that saves us. His mercy is the precondition to salvation. Salvation is God's Beauty applied to us. That does not mean that you won't find the occasional Anglican or RC who also recognizes this. But the mere fact that Catholics simply do not understand Orthodox aesthetics reveals the problem.
Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:47 PM
Aesthetics! Can one say that aesthetics are Orthodox? I guess this idea of Orthodox aesthetics that you put forth seems a little obscure to me. What is meant when you say "Orthodox aesthetics"? By aesthetics, Owen, do you mean beauty as in the saying: "Beauty will save the world!" ?
Isn't Mercy also Beauty, in the sense that it has also been created by God, and that beauty is revealed in mercy?
Above in post # 10 you say "To put it simply, Orthodoxy is not about thinking about God. It's about seeing God -- in the things He has made"
I can see God in an act or words of "mercy" as well as I can perceive Him in a panorama of Nature which reveals itself as beautiful!
Posted 31 March 2013 - 02:54 PM
The thing about Orthodoxy, Marie is that one thing does not exist in opposition to or distinct from another thing. Everything works together. But there is also a hierarchy, and I think I am sound in saying that Orthodoxy does not reduce salvation to mercy. That does not mean that mercy is a not a necessary ingredient. It's just that it is much more than that. And, yes, Beauty will save the world.
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