Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Oriental Orthodox


The fourth meeting of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches took place in Rome from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, 2007, under the co-chairmanship of His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, secretary-general of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Addressing the group, Pope Benedict said, "Your meeting concerning the constitution and mission of the Church is of great importance for our common journey toward the restoration of full communion. The Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches share an ecclesial patrimony stemming from apostolic times and the first centuries of Christianity. This 'heritage of experience' should shape our future 'guiding our common path toward the re-establishment of full communion' (cf. "Ut Unum Sint," 56)." The Pope also expressed his concern for the situation of Christians in the Middle East, calling upon them to be "courageous and steadfast in the power of the Spirit of Christ."

Following the plan for the dialogue that was adopted at the Preparatory Meeting in 2003, the following papers were presented during the course of the meeting:

-- "Mission, Witness, Service and the Problem of Proselytism," by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian
-- "The Mission of the Church," by Bishop Paul-Werner Scheele

-- "The Salvation of Nonbelievers in the Patristic Period," by Father Mark Sheridan, O.S.B.
-- "The Church and the Salvation of Non-Christians in the Second Vatican Council and Afterward," by Monsignor Johan Bonny

-- "The Salvation of Nonbelievers," by Metropolitan Bishoy
-- "Marriage Between Catholics and Muslims: A Catholic Perspective," by Archbishop Peter Marayati
-- "Mixed Marriages With Non-Christians," by Metropolitan Bishoy.

Bolding is mine as well as the link to the encyclical. The full commission is scheduled to meet again in 2008 in Syria. The Eastern Orthodox tend to get all the hoopla, but the Chalcedonian-schism churches and Rome have been making steady progress over the years.

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