Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Follow-up on Newsmakers II

This link was sent to me this morning by Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. For those interested in a good commentary on the "Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church," I recommend Fr. Thomas Ryan's balanced assessment.

One aspect with which I began yesterday but did not spell out is that much depends on whether we are using a formal and technical definition of 'church' or the colloquial one. In other words, it is possible, as pointed out by Lutheran bishop Wolfgang Huber, to speak of Protestant communities as 'not churches in the sense required here' (my emphasis, in the sense that intramural discussions of Catholic theologians have special ground rules). Also, I believe that there is some importance to recognizing that the fullness of the 'Church' exists in any diocese that is in communion with the Holy Father. In other words, this discussion of 'church' is also bound up with the important advancements in the notion of 'subsidiarity', the idea that the Catholic Church is not a religious order with the Pope as superior general. The bishop is the vicar of Christ in his own diocese. In order that this teaching not dilute the importance of unity via the Petrine ministry exercised by the Pope, certain thresholds of ecclesial identity must be maintained.

'nuff for today...

1 comment:

Bob said...

The Catholic Church is obviously convinced that its institutional “elements”, such as episcopacy and the Petrine ministry, are gifts of the Spirit for all Christians, and it wants to offer them as a contribution, in a spiritually renewed form, to the fuller ecumenical unity of Christ’s Church.

Spiritually renewed form? We recognize that we, too, can learn from the Orthodox and Reformation traditions how best to integrate the episcopate and Petrine ministry with synodical structures. This is likely the only way in which an ecumenical consensus could be reached about the Petrine and episcopal ministries.

This does not mean the insertion of other Christians into a given “system” but mutual enrichment and the fuller expression and realization of the one Church of Jesus Christ in all the churches and ecclesial communities.

This is what I was talking about. If the Church is ever reunited (Catholic, Orthodox, Reformation) is will take an intense level of humility but would emerge as a "fuller expression" that is better than any one component.


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If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
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and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

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