WASHINGTON (November 5, 2007)—On-going dialogue on church structures continued at the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation Oct. 25-27. The dialogue marked the first of its meetings on the West Coast.
With the generous support of the Huffington Ecumenical Institute, the Consultation met on the campus of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, under the chairmanship of Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh and Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati. The Institute was established in 2005 to foster ecumenical relations between the Catholic and Orthodox communities.
On October 25, two Consultation members spoke at a public lecture on the LMU campus about two of the North American dialogue's most important recent agreed statements. Father Alexander Golitzin of Marquette University spoke about the 1999 statement, "Baptism and 'Sacramental Economy,'" and Jesuit Father Brian Daley of the University of Notre Dame reflected on the 2003 common text, "The Filioque: A Church-Dividing Issue?" On October 26 Archbishop Pilarczyk presided at a Mass in the LMU chapel. It was followed by a luncheon attended by LMU faculty and Michael Huffington.
The main focus of this seventy-third meeting of the Consultation was to synthesize the studies presented thus far on primacies and synodality in the two churches. For this purpose three Orthodox and three Catholic members gave brief presentations summarizing their understanding of the state of the question and an outline of how the churches might function in
the event of the reestablishment of full communion. Orthodox papers included "Primacy in a United Church" by Prof. Paul Meyendorff, "An Orthodox Papacy: Primacy as Principatus" by Father Theodore Pulcini, and "What Exercise of Universal Primacy/Synodality Would be Possible?" by Father Robert Stephanopoulos. Catholic presentations included "Towards a Rapprochement with Orthodoxy: Exercises and Principles of Primacy/Synodality" by Sister Susan K. Wood, Ph.D., "The Reform of Deformed Churches" by Rev. Chorbishop John D. Faris, and "Universal Primacy/Synodality: Problem and Ur-Problem" by Vito Nicastro, Ph.D. Briefer reflections were offered by Father Daley, Father James Dutko, and Paulist Father Ronald Roberson.
As usual, one session of the meeting was devoted to an exchange of information about major events in the lives of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Items discussed included the visit of the Archbishop of Cyprus to Rome, the death of Patriarch Teoctist of Romania and the election of his successor, the meeting of the international Orthodox-Catholic dialogue in Ravenna, developments in the Orthodox Church in America, the Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict XVI on "The Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970," the document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church," and the recent pilgrimage to Rome, Constantinople and St. Petersburg led by Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley and Metropolitan Methodios of Boston.
The next meeting of the Consultation is scheduled to take place June 2-4, at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts.
In addition to the two co-chairs, the other Orthodox members of the Consultation include Father Thomas FitzGerald (Secretary), Father Nicholas Apostola, Prof. Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Father Dutko, Prof. Meyendorff, Father Golitzin, Dr. Robert Haddad, Father Paul Schnierla, Father Stephanopoulos, Dr. John Barnet, Rev Dr Theodore Pulcini, and Father Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA (staff). The additional Catholic members are Father Daley (Secretary), Prof. Thomas Bird, Holy Cross Father Lucien Coutu, Father Peter Galadza, Chorbishop Faris, Father John Galvin, Father Sidney Griffith, ST, Father Joseph Komonchak, Father Paul McPartlan, Father David Petras, Sister Susan K. Wood, Prof. Nicastro, and Father Roberson, who serves as staff.
The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation is sponsored jointly by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since its establishment in 1965, the Consultation has issued 22 agreed statements on various topics. All these texts are now available on the website of the USCCB at http://www.usccb.org/seia/orthodox_index.shtml and on the SCOBA website at http://www.scoba.us/resources/orthodox-catholic.html.