Christian Unity and the East-West Divide (Part 1 of 2)
Interview With Bishop Brian Farrell
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 6, 2006 (Zenit) - To avoid an East-West conflict it is necessary for all Christians to unite, says the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
In this interview with us, Bishop Brian Farrell, who represented the Holy See at the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Brazil, addresses the topic of ecumenism.
Part 2 of this interview will appear Tuesday.
Q: A priority of Benedict XVI is to work for Christian unity. What are the specifics of this goal?
Bishop Farrell: It means to serve Christ, who, the night before he died, prayed that his disciples be one, as he and the Father are one. Because of this, the division that exists at present in the Church must be surmounted.
It is a priority of the Church, of the Pope and of all of us, because we cannot consider it as a merely secondary task; it is essential for the Church, which must give witness so that the world will believe. This is what Christ said -- "united so that the world will believe."
Q: The Pope will meet in Turkey in November with the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, who has invited him to visit his see. What does this mean from the ecumenical point of view?
Bishop Farrell: For some time, we have had a very positive and very cordial relationship with the ecumenical patriarch.
In a certain sense, it is a gesture of recognition and of fraternal love that the Pope goes to meet him in Constantinople.
The patriarch came to Rome on several occasions to visit Pope John Paul II. Now Benedict XVI goes, as John Paul II also did in the first year of his pontificate.
Q: The present work of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is focused on promoting union with the Orthodox churches. What is still lacking to achieve this unity?
Bishop Farrell: There are serious difficulties, the result of 1,000 years of division. One thousand years is a long time. And, over the course of the last thousand years, the East and the West have developed differently, with different perceptions and with different doctrinal formulations.
All these things must be examined as a whole, to show that the differences are few, and what divides us today is almost a psychological perception -- I would say -- cultural, more than a profound theological reason.
However, we do have one specific problem. I am not saying that it is difficult, but it will require an enormous effort on both sides. I am referring to the way of exercising the primacy of the Bishop of Rome.
In a certain sense, the Orthodox could recognize him, but the way in which the primacy of Peter has been exercised in the West is not exactly the same as it was exercised in the East during the first millennium. That is why a way must be found.
In his encyclical "Ut Unum Sint," number 95, Pope John Paul II invites Orthodox churches, Catholic theologians and all in general to think of the way in which this primacy may be exercised in an acceptable manner for them, in the service of unity and love.
Q: We witness an East-West division based on the wave of violence staged by the publication of the caricatures of the prophet Mohammed. Can the promotion of Christian unity in the East and West be a point of departure for work, so that this division of the world is not extended?
Bishop Farrell: It is certainly necessary that Christians speak and collaborate in only one language. Otherwise, they will be unable to give a common testimony and will not be able to respond to the anxieties of the Muslim world and of the world in general.
Because of this, it is necessary that we Christians make an effort to be more united, so that we are able to participate in the interreligious dialogue, uniting the existing strengths and possibilities, so as to be able to address these problems, which consists in avoiding a conflict of civilizations between East and West.
Q: What is the present state of ecumenism in Europe? Are there results of rapprochement between Christians? In Brazil there are many difficulties among separated brethren ...
Bishop Farrell: Ecumenism is not a single reality; it is different in different situations, in different parts of the world.
In Europe, ecumenism is very important, very profound and, theologically, very motivated, because it is in Europe that all these divisions arose, and it is in Europe that work must be done above all on the theological plane, to surmount them.
I cannot speak of Brazil, but what I have seen in the few days that I have been here is that the ecumenical relationship in Brazil is very different from the one we have in Europe.
Here we are talking about recent communities, Pentecostal charismatic and evangelical communities, which come from traditions that are very different from those of the historical Churches; therefore, these new forms of Christian life must still try to find a way and structure that will allow them to enter into serious theological dialogue, on the basis of their beliefs, as occurs between the historical Churches.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Christian, Unity, East, West, Farrell, Ecumenism
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Lesbian Nuns?! Hollywood director to create smut film disgracing ...
- St. Athanasius HD Video
- Irish priest's healing prayers offer MIRACLES - But who is he?
- St. Padre Pio appears in U.S. on 130th birthday anniversary HD Video
- St. Peter Chanel: Saint of the Day for Friday, April 28, 2017
- Daily Readings for Friday, April 28, 2017
- Pope Francis refuses bulletproof popemobile during Egyptian papal visit
- Daily Reading for Saturday, April 29th, 2017 HD
- Day 7 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
- Pope Francis surprises with TED Talk appearance and powerful message HD
- Daily Reading for Friday, April 28th, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.