Catholic World News

Cardinal Koch challenges Orthodox to reexamine tendency to nationalism

June 11, 2013

Speaking at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, the Vatican’s leading ecumenical official challenged the Eastern Orthodox world to “boldly examine its main ecclesiological problem, namely, autocephaly of national churches and their inclination toward nationalism.”

“From the Orthodox point of view, the Church is present in every local church that celebrates the Eucharist, so each Eucharistic community is a complete church,” said Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. “Instead, from the Catholic point of view, a separate Eucharistic community is not a complete church. Therefore, a basis of the Catholic Church is the unity of separate Eucharistic communities with each other and the bishop of Rome. That is, the Catholic Church lives in the mutual intersection of local churches in one universal Church.”

Thus, the Catholic Church should “strengthen the argument for the importance of the life and work of the church of the primacy of the Pope,” he continued, while Eastern Orthodoxy should “boldly examine its main ecclesiological problem, namely, autocephaly of national churches and their inclination toward nationalism.”

“The most important thing is not to lose sight of the goal of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which, at least from the Catholic point of view, can consist only in the restoration of a visible communion of churches.”

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  • Posted by: trini - Jun. 11, 2013 6:38 PM ET USA

    Seeing that Cardinal Koch is saying that the dissident Orthodox Churches need to come back to full union with Rome even if they have a valid Eucharist, it seems very puzzling to me that the present Pope, and his predecessors since Vatican II, seem to treat the so-called (Anglican) Archbishop of Canterbury as an equal church head, with never a word about the need for tha Anglican church to return to full obedience to Rome, especially since Anglicans certainly do not have a valid Eucharist.