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Eastern tradition of canon law links Catholic, Orthodox churches, Pope notes

October 11, 2010

The Eastern Catholic churches should protect and maintain their own distinctive traditions, Pope Benedict XVI said on October 9 during an audience with participants in a conference on the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

“In maintaining Catholic communion the Eastern Catholic Churches had no intention of renouncing faithfulness to their own tradition," the Pope remarked. He said that the canon laws of the Eastern churches should contribute to the effort of “preserving their legal heritage and nourishing their traditions, which are a treasure for the whole Church.”

Pope Benedict also observed that the canon law of the Eastern Catholic churches traces its origin back to the sacri canones of early Christianity. Because the Orthodox churches draw their own canon law from the same source, he said, the canonical traditions of the Eastern Catholic churches “can make a specific and important contribution to the progress of ecumenism.”


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