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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Prolegomena to Ecumenism

The recent and continuing expressions of outrage by the Moscow Patriarchate over "Uniatism", Catholic "proselytization" in Slavic countries, over the Catholic Church's recognition of St. Josaphat of Polotsk and a few other saints, and quite often simply the existence of Eastern Catholics call for the recognition of some much-needed prolegomena to ecumenical discussion.

Ecumenical discussion must be grounded in mutual respect for each other. It will accomplish nothing and go nowhere if we cannot come to grips with the fact that each other exists, that each other has saints who have suffered at our hands, that we have mistreated each other in the past, and that each communion takes its own ministry seriously and cannot reasonably be expected to shut itself down to avoid offending the other party.


There will be no ecumenical progress of any sort so long as one group complains about the existence of a minority rite in the other communion.

There will be no ecumenical progress of any sort so long as one group takes offense at the existence of another jurisdiction and insists that they not be mentioned.

There will be no ecumenical progress of any sort so long as one patriarch demands that another patriarch suppress an entire jurisdiction (to go where, exactly?), or that any jurisdiction within either the Orthodox or Catholic communion is a "stumbling block" to reunion.

There will be no ecumenical progress of any sort if one group takes offense at the self-designation used by faithful of the other group.

There will be no ecumenical progress of any sort if one group demands that the other cease ministering to its faithful or preaching the Gospel, whether universally or in any particular region.

There will be no ecumenical progress of any sort if one group takes offense at discussion of the other group's saints and martyrs.

These are a bare minimum needed to talk to each other. If you do not respect the person or church you are talking to, whether you are a layman, priest, or patriarch, you should not be talking at all.

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