medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dennis Martin" <[log in to unmask]>
<<< It would be respectful to avoid the term "Uniate"--it's offensive and
takes sides in the, yes, very complicated history involved. >>>
It seems to be fashionable in the States to protest against the word
"uniate." Now this is very odd since the papers and discussions at the
Baltimore meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological
Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church Baltimore
Conference used that word in official titles and throughout the discussions
of the participants, Orthodox and Catholic.
I think that the objection to its use stems from the restless American
desire to redefine and rename just about everything that moves and to turn
it into a cause celebre. The rest of the world doesn't pay any attention and
goes on using the vocabulary which has been customary terminology for ages.
Orthodox-Catholic relations at an impasse after Baltimore talks
'Bitter differences' lead to dead-end, Polish ecumenist says
WARSAW, Poland -- High-level talks between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox
churches which ended in the United States recently were marred by
"methodological deficiencies" and a "polemical atmosphere," leaving
relations between the two Christian communions at a dead-end, according to
an expert on ecumenism who took part.
Professor Waclaw Hryniewicz, a Catholic theologian and director of the
Ecumenical Institute at Poland's Catholic University of Lublin, said that
the leaders of Catholic and Orthodox churches now appeared "unwilling or
hesitant" to recognize their churches as "sister churches." Future
ecumenical dialogue would depend on better relations at the local level,
particularly in Eastern Europe.
The 64-year-old ecumenist was speaking to ENI after attending the eighth
plenary of the , which ended on July 19 in Baltimore without producing the
expected joint declaration on progress between the Orthodox and Roman
The two communions have much in common, but must resolve several bitter
differences, including the issue of papal primacy, before they can come any
closer to one another.
Hryniewicz said Roman Catholic negotiators had wanted to retain the term
"sister churches" to describe the relationship between the Roman Catholic
and Orthodox churches. However, the use of the term sister churches in past
documents of the commission had been rejected as "insufficiently thought
over" by most Orthodox churches, while Roman Catholics had also now
acknowledged that it "posed certain difficulties."
The commission's 10-day meeting was devoted to a key issue of dispute
between Orthodox and Catholics -- the "ecclesiological and canonical
implications of Uniatism." The gathering was the commission's first plenary
session in seven years.
A communique released at the end of the Baltimore meeting stated that
participants had expressed "reserve and even outright opposition" to
documents prepared for the meeting. Participants at the meeting agreed that
further studies were needed of "theological, pastoral, historical and
canonical issues" arising from the "exceptionally thorny question of
Uniatism refers to the historical process by which Orthodox communities
accepted the jurisdiction of Rome, but retained their eastern liturgy. The
process, which gathered momentum after the 1596 Union of Brest, continued
for two centuries, during which more than a dozen Greek Catholic (also
called Eastern Catholic) churches were created in Ukraine, Romania and other
countries, in the face of vigorous opposition from the Orthodox Church.
Hryniewicz told ENI that the atmosphere at the Baltimore talks had been
"generally tense" because of the complexity of the issues and some personal
animosities. He added that Orthodox delegates had had to "argue hard among
themselves, sometimes exceeding the rules of courtesy." The Roman Catholic
co-chairman of the talks, Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, had at one point staged a
"Besides difficult moments like this, caused by the very polemical
atmosphere, the talks also lacked sound methodological organization,"
Hryniewicz said. "Such discussions should be led in an intelligent, orderly
way. If the method had been better, we could have expected better results."
He said that Uniatism continued to provoke "deep divisions" among Orthodox
churches, adding that some Orthodox participants had had difficulty
"tolerating" the presence of a Romanian Greek Catholic bishop at the talks.
At a press conference on July 19, Cardinal Cassidy said that Uniatism had
become the "real core" of Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, but it was too
"complicated and involved" to allow an "easy solution."
The commission's Orthodox co-chairman, Archbishop Stylianos of Australia,
said he believed the issue was connected with the primacy and infallibility
of the Pope, both of which were unacceptable in their present form to the
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