This screed below is from Asia News, so, caveat lector. It’s a field full of fresh cow pats just waiting for the unwary… as though Orthodox give a rat’s ass about Vatican II… we don’t, it’s an internal papist council, that’s all that it is, it’s of no interest or applicability to us… HO HUM. Papal encyclicals are equally groaners and sleep-inducers. This is crapola from stem to stern… but read it… do read it, please. You must be informed on what’s out there.
The sole representative of Orthodoxy at the ceremony for the start of the Year of Faith, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople retraced the stages of the search for unity between Catholics and Orthodox, and between the Orthodox themselves, favoured by the Second Vatican Council.
“Love”, “desire for harmony”, “dialogue,” and “mutual respect”, were values witnessed by the presence of Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis at the ceremony that began the Year of the Faith, which marked 50 years since the Opening of the Second Vatican Council. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople was the sole representative of Orthodoxy invited to the ceremony. Moreover, as he himself recalled at the end of the Mass celebrated by Benedict XVI Ratzinger, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has always been committed to ecumenism, which was the mainspring of the Second Vatican Council.
In his speech, which we publish below in full, Bartholomew retraced the steps that led up to the opening of the theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox. At the same time, he pointed up that the Vatican Council also catalysed tensions in the search for unity even among the Orthodox Churches. Unity among Christians, that for which Christ prayed before the “Gethsemane experience”, is a function of the common witness of the “message of salvation and healing for our brethren… the poor, the oppressed, the marginalised in world created by God”. “In the current turmoil of violence, separation, and brokenness that is escalating between peoples and nations, may the love and desire for harmony we profess here, and the understanding we seek through dialogue and mutual respect, serve as a model for our world”. The full address by the Ecumenical Patriarch follows below.
Beloved brother in the Lord, Your Holiness Pope Benedict;
Brothers and Sisters;
As Christ prepared for His Gethsemane experience, He prayed a prayer for unity, which is recorded in the Gospel according to St John Chapter 17 verse 11:
“Keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are”.
Through the centuries we have, indeed, been kept in the power and love of Christ, and in the proper moment in history the Holy Spirit moved upon us and we began the long journey towards the visible unity that Christ desires. This was confirmed in Unitatis Redintegratio §1:
Everywhere large numbers have felt the impulse of this grace, and among our separated brethren also there increases from day to day the movement, fostered by the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the restoration of unity among all Christians.
Fifty years ago in this very square, a powerful and pivotal celebration captured the heart and mind of the Roman Catholic Church, transporting it across the centuries into the contemporary world. This transforming milestone, the opening of the Second Vatican Council, was inspired by the fundamental reality that the Son and incarnate Logos of God is “…where two or three are gathered in his name” (Gospel according to St Matthew 18.20) and that the Spirit, who proceeds from the Father, “…will guide us into the whole truth.” (Gospel according to St John 16.13).
In the 50 years that intervened, we recall with vividness and tenderness, but also with elation and enthusiasm, our personal discussions with episcopal members and theological periti during our formative time… then, as a young student… at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, as well as our personal attendance at some special sessions of the Council. We witnessed firsthand how the bishops experienced a renewed awareness of the validity… and a reinforced sense of the continuity… of the tradition and faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Epistle of St Jude 1.3). It was a period of promise and hope for your Church both internally and externally.
For the Orthodox Church, we’ve observed a time of exchange and expectation. For example, the convocation of the first Pan-Orthodox Conferences in Rhodes led to the Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conferences in preparation for the Great Council of the Orthodox Churches. These exchanges will demonstrate the unified witness of the Orthodox Church in the modern world. Moreover, it coincided with the “dialogue of love” and heralded the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church, which was established by our venerable predecessors Pope John Paul II Wojtyła and Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios Papadopoulos.
Over the last five decades, the achievements of this assembly have been diverse as evidenced through the series of important and influential constitutions, declarations, and decrees. We’ve contemplated the renewal of the spirit and “return to the sources” through liturgical study, biblical research, and patristic scholarship. We’ve appreciated the struggle toward gradual liberation from the limitation of rigid scholasticism to the openness of ecumenical encounter, which has led to the mutual rescinding of the excommunications of the year 1054, the exchange of greetings, returning of relics, entering into important dialogues, and visiting each other in our respective Sees.
Our journey has not always been easy or without pain and challenge, for as we know “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way” (Gospel according to St Matthew 7.14). The essential theology and principal themes of the Second Vatican Council… the mystery of the Church, the sacredness of the liturgy, and the authority of the bishop… are difficult to apply in earnest practice, and constitute a life-long and church-wide labour to assimilate. The door, then, must remain open for deeper reception, pastoral engagement, and ecclesial interpretation of the Second Vatican Council.
As we move forward together, we offer thanks and glory to the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that the same assembly of bishops recognised the importance of reflection and sincere dialogue between our “sister churches”. We join in the “. . . hope that the barrier dividing the Eastern Church and the Western Church will be removed, and that, at last, there may be but the one dwelling, firmly established on Christ Jesus, the cornerstone, who will make both one” (Unitatis Redintegratio §18).
With Christ as our cornerstone and the tradition we share, we’ll be able, or, rather, we’ll be enabled by the gift and grace of God, to reach a better appreciation and fuller expression of the Body of Christ. With our continued efforts in accordance with the spirit of the tradition of the early Church, and in the light of the Church of the Councils of the first millennium, we’ll experience the visible unity that lies just beyond us today. The Church always excels in its uniquely prophetic and pastoral dimension, embraces its characteristic meekness and spirituality, and serves with humble sensitivity the “least of these My brethren” (Gospel according to St Matthew 25.40).
Beloved brother, our presence here signifies and seals our commitment to witness together to the Gospel message of salvation and healing for the least of our brethren… the poor, the oppressed, the forgotten in God’s world. Let’s begin with prayers for peace and healing for our Christian brothers and sisters living in the Middle East. In the current turmoil of violence, separation, and brokenness that is escalating between peoples and nations, may the love and desire for harmony we profess here, and the understanding we seek through dialogue and mutual respect, serve as a model for our world. Indeed, may all humanity reach out to “the other”, to work together to overcome the suffering of people everywhere, particularly in the face of famine, natural disasters, disease, and war that ultimately touches all of our lives.
In light of all that has yet to be accomplished by the Church on earth, and with great appreciation for all the progress we have shared, we’re, therefore, honoured to be invited to attend, and humbled to be called to address, this solemn and festive commemoration of the Second Vatican Council. It’s fitting that this occasion also marks for your Church the formal inauguration of the “Year of Faith”, as it’s faith that provides a visible sign of the journey we have travelled together along the path of reconciliation and visible unity.
In closing, Your Holiness, Beloved Brother, we wholeheartedly congratulate you, together with the blessed multitude assembled here today, and we fraternally embrace you on the joyous occasion of this anniversary celebration. May God bless you all.
11 October 2012
Look at the GOOD NEWS in this, kids. They only invited Bart… that means that he’s the only bum kisser amongst our First Hierarchs. Y’know, it gives one hope for the future of Christ’s Church. It means that the papists didn’t trust the rest of our First Hierarchs. Raise a glass and cheer… the good guys won again!