Fr. Ray Ryland is the chaplain of the Coming Home Network.
This will be looked at from what the Church teaches about those traditions. Of course, the Church acknowledges that in part the Church was partially to blame in the original divisions.
We accept all Christians as brothers, and in some degree or another in union with the Catholic Church.
All of this is imperfect, and not to be accepted as the desirable final state.
The view of the Separated Eastern Christians is different, primarily because of the valid apostolic succession.
For more detail, read the Apostolic Letter by JP2 entitled The Light of the East … well worth reading. With that in mind, the separation from the Bishop of Rome leaves them “wounded”.
So this is the context for the remainder of this talk.
All non-Catholic bodies originate in subtraction and subjective selection … Karl Adams.
All of the separated groups follow this principle, to one degree or another.
All reasons for the breaks always boil down to one issue … authority.
Four features of reconstructionism can generally be seen. These are …
Discontinuity vs. Catholic Continuity. The Church is in union with He who is the Incarnation, and is the means for communicating that continuity to human beings.All recontructionists harken back to a “golden age”, and therefore break with Rome. The moment this happens, the separated group turns into something else. It might do the same things, but it cannot be the same things – G.K. Chesterton.
Reconstructionism Always Brings New Definitions of the Church. Wow, this makes sense and can be seen absolutely in every case.
For example, Protestantism has lost sight of the visible, universal Church (in many different ways). For that matter, the Eastern Orthodox has done pretty much the same.
Picking and Choosing from the Church. Every group that leaves the Catholic Church gradually morphs it’s doctrines … even the Orthodox have caved on marriage, abortion, and more. Had to step out for a moment, so this’ll have to be filled in later!
Appeal to an Utterly Unworkable Authority. For example, Anglicanism has appealed to Scripture, Tradition, and RIght Reason. The current tragic meltdown of the Anglican Communion testifies to the inadequacy of this approach.
Same with the classic Protestant appeal to Sola Scriptura. This has almost single-handedly resulted in the current situation of more than 30,000 separate denominations, all appealing to “Scripture Alone” yet differing on many, many doctrines.
Same with the Eastern Church’s appeal to the seven early councils (Conciliarism), which is at variance with the historical reality. None took effect until the Pope gave their approval, and enforcement was always initiated by the Bishop of Rome.
They recently added Receptionism, which is both impractical and not historically based.
Note that since the 13th Century not a single authoritative pronouncement has ever been made by the separated Eastern churches.
The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostoic Church is Mother to all particular churches … never a “sister” to them. Thanks to Cardinal Ratzinger for that clarification.
This is why we must all pray, along with every Pope in recent years for the re-unification with the separated Eastern churches, and beyond that with all Christians.