I want to share my enthusiasm for a book I just finished reading:
After Nine Hundred Years: The Background of the Schism between the Eastern and Western Churches
by Yves Congar, O.P. 152 pgs. Fordham University Press, New York, 1959
Table of contents:
I. THE CENTURIES-OLD ESTRANGEMENT OF THE EASTERN AND WESTERN CHURCHES 1
II. POLITICAL FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE ESTRANGEMENT 7
III. CULTURAL FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE ESTRANGEMENT 29
IV. ECCLESIOLOGICAL FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE ESTRANGEMENT 59
V. CONCLUSION: THE LESSONS OF HISTORY 75
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After Nine Centuries, by Fr. Yves Congar, O.P. was first published in 1954, hence the title, which refers to the event of 1054. Fr. Congar discusses the causes of the schism and traces the path toward reunion. He points out that the "Oriental schism" was a gradual process of estrangement, with political, cultural, and linguistic factors being as important, if not more so, than the theological problems. Yet this gradual estrangement, which has never been complete, is not the schism per se. The real schism consists in the acceptance of that estrangement.
Interestingly, this assessment fits with what the Mother of God said to Myrna Nazzour, the visionary and stigmatic of Damascus: "The Church that Jesus adopted is One Church, because Jesus is One. The Church is the kingdom of Heaven on earth. He who has divided it has sinned. And he who has rejoiced from its division has also sinned." (March 24, 1983). This is Our Lady's own call to unity!
It is my opinion that three things need to be done in order for there to be true unity between the East and West: This is in no particular order, so each is numer 1:
1. The Orthodox need to acknowlege that the primacy of the Roman pontiff is of divine origin, given by the Lord Jesus to blessed Peter.
1. Rome needs to scale back its universal administration to practically nothing as far as the East is concerned and again function as the court of final appeal, as was the situation during the first millenium.
1. We Greek Catholics need to fully reclaim our Orthodox identity and return to our mother Churches once they have returned to union with Rome.
Remember that with God all things are possible!