The late John Paul II stated that the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church were the “two lungs” of the Church.
As the above caption indicates, the Vatican has long encouraged unity with the Eastern Orthodox Church. And while the few Orthodox I have actually spoken to about this oppose Roman Catholic domination, it appears that the Orthodox leadership is trying to accept a modified form of this domination anyway.
Three news items, including one reported today, seem to support my view:
Cardinal calls it ‘breakthrough’ that Orthodox discuss authority
CNS – Nov 14, 2007
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The “real breakthrough” in a new Catholic-Orthodox dialogue document lies in the fact that the Orthodox were willing to discuss how authority was shared and exercised on a universal level in the early church, said Cardinal Walter Kasper.The cardinal, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, spoke with Vatican Radio Nov. 14 about the document on the unity of the church and how authority is shared and exercised on a local, regional and universal level. http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0706519.htm
Statement of Joint Catholic-Orthodox Commission “Ecclesial Communion, Conciliarity and Authority”
Zenit – Nov 15, 2007
RAVENNA, Italy - Here is the final document of the plenary assembly of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, held Oct. 8-14 in Ravenna. The statement, which was released today, is titled “Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church: Ecclesial Communion, Conciliarity and Authority.”…
35…These Councils were ecumenical not just because they assembled together bishops from all regions and particularly those of the five major sees, Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, according to the ancient order (taxis)…
41. Both sides agree that this canonical taxis was recognised by all in the era of the undivided Church. Further, they agree that Rome, as the Church that “presides in love” according to the phrase of St Ignatius of Antioch (To the Romans, Prologue), occupied the first place in the taxis, and that the bishop of Rome was therefore the protos among the patriarchs…
42. Conciliarity at the universal level, exercised in the ecumenical councils, implies an active role of the bishop of Rome, as protos of the bishops of the major sees…
45. It remains for the question of the role of the bishop of Rome in the communion of all the Churches to be studied in greater depth. What is the specific function of the bishop of the “first see” in an ecclesiology of koinônia and in view of what we have said on conciliarity and authority in the present text? http://www.zenit.org/article-21012?l=english
Vatican joins historic talks to end 950-year rift with Orthodox church
The Times – Nov 16, 2007
The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches took tentative steps towards healing their 950-year rift yesterday by drafting a joint document that acknowledges the primacy of the Pope…
Unification with the Orthodox churches could ultimately limit the authority of the Pope, lessening the absolute power that he currently enjoys within Catholicism. In contrast, a deal would greatly strengthen the Patriarch of Constantinople in his dealings with the Muslim world and the other Orthodox churches…
If the proposals move forward, the Pope would be acknowledged as the universal Primate, as he was before the schism. Although it is not stated outright, he would be expected by the Orthodox churches to relinquish the doctrine of infallibility. The proposals could also allow married priests in the Catholic Church, as already happens in the Orthodox.
However, continuing disputes within the Orthodox Church between Constantinople and Moscow mean that there is unlikely to be agreement among the entire Orthodox community about reconciliation with Rome.
The document, The Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church, has been produced by a commission of Orthodox and Catholic bishops and theologians that met in Ravenna in western Italy last month. The Russian delegate walked out of the meeting, an indication of the enduring disputes within the Orthodox Church. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2880038.ece
Comments by COGwriter
No matter what is now being said, the Vatican’s ultimate objective is to increase, not decrease, the power and influence of the Roman Pope (although I am not saying that that would be Cardinal Walter Kasper’s personal view as I suspect he really simply does want more cooperation and unity for its sake alone).
As I have written many times before, I believe that the Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics, as this type of unity will lead to the Orthodox becoming part of the final Babylon that the Bible condemns, but that at least one Catholic prophet was hoping for. Notice what the 12th century Catholic Abbott Joachim prophesied:
A remarkable Pope will be seated on the pontifical throne, under special protection of the angels. Holy and full of gentleness, he shall undo all wrong, he shall recover the states of the Church, and reunite the exiled temporal powers. As the only Pastor, he shall reunite the Eastern to the Western Church…This holy Pope shall be both pastor and reformer. Through him the East and West shall be in ever lasting concord. The city of Babylon shall then be the head and guide of the world.
Rome, weakened in temporal power, shall forever preserve her spiritual dominion, and shall enjoy great peace…(Cited in Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, pp. 31-32).
Biblical prophecy states that there will be a major unifying religion that it calls “Babylon the Great” (Revelation 17:5)–but one that the Bible warns against.
The Orthodox (and all others) need to heed the Bible and “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4-5).
The Orthodox, individually, need to reject unity with Rome.
The plain truth is that if those in the Orthodox churches will study their Bibles, they will find a lot more doctrines that the Bible and the COGs hold in common than they will in the Bible and the Roman Church.
The fact that the COGs and the Orthodox trace their histories through cities other than Rome is also something that the two groups have in common.
Perhaps I should also mention that the Orthodox, like the Churches of God, do not accept the Protestant teaching about being “born-again” nor eternal tormenting.
Several articles of possibly related interest may include:
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Pope Benedict XVI and Orthodox Unity This contains some other news articles on this subject.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? This documented article answers those questions.
Europa, the Beast, and the Book of Revelation discusses the largest church since the second/third century.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God?This is an article for those who wish to easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG members or any interested in supporting the faithful church.
History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Did Jesus come to promote ecumenicalism or cause division (Luke 12:51)?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?