2010-10-14 17:11:16

Intervention of Mons. Guy-Paul NOUJAIM, Titular Bishop of Caesarea Philippi, Auxiliary Bishop and Syncellus for Sarba (LEBANON)

The Instrumentum laboris (no. 76), quoting Vatican II, declares that the division between Christians is the object of scandal and that it handicaps the most holy of causes: the preaching of the Gospel. Further on (no. 78), it recalls that His Holiness Pope John Paul II hoped for a new form of practice of the primacy without harming its mission, and inspired by the ecclesial forms of the first millennium which, while varied, did not stop the Christians from feeling at home in all its forms, be it spirituality, moral life or structure.

This is an invitation to review the role and the place of the Eastern Patriarchs in function of origins. A principle supported the organization of the Church at the time: in the same space, a single jurisdiction. And the Church that had spread or was more central than others, ensured unity by being elevated to the level of Patriarchate. The Council of Nicea in 325 mentions three Patriarchates: Rome, Alexandria and Antioch. During the 5th century, the Pentarchy is achieved according to the following order: the Pope in Rome as the first, then the Patriarch of Constantinople, then of Alexandria, then of Antioch and finally the one from Jerusalem.
A return to union presupposes therefore a theology and a juridical organization of the Church which gives back to the Eastern Patriarchs their privileges from the first periods in the Universal Church, next to the Pope, the head of the entire Church. The main difficulties with this project:
- the foundation of new Patriarchates since the first millennium;
- the existence of several Catholic Patriarchs and one Orthodox Patriarch for the same see;
- a Roman Curia with badly defined prerogatives concerning the relationship with the Patriarchal curia.
Proposition: Your Holiness entrust a commission of theological, historical and pastoral experts to propose concrete solutions to these problems and the Church commits itself to apply them as soon as possible.

[00076-02.03] [IN054] [Original text: French]

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