Wednesday, June 29, 2005

a key to unity: the papacy

In an address to Orthodox clerics visiting Rome today, the feast of saints Peter and Paul, Pope Benedict again called for unity between the Catholic and Orthodox sister churches.

According to this report, Benedict stressed the importance of looking at those elements between the churches that unite them, rather than those that divide.

Also, he suggested that both churches look to the centuries before the Great Schism to find models on how to work together.

Well, one of the things that is seen as a hindrance to unity is the role of the pope. If both sides are going to look at models prior to the Schism, one will find a less-centralized, less-monarchical, and in some respects a more collegial model. That would be quite different from a model the papacy we have today: and perhaps a welcome difference and change.

Pope John Paul II himself in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint wasn’t adverse to a “new” model for the papacy. He wrote: “I have a particular responsibility…in heeding the request made of me to find a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation” (Ut Unum Sint, #95).

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