DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     September 30, 1998     vol. 9, no. 191

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

POPE IN "SOLEMN" MEETING WITH EASTERN PATRIARCHS

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II today met with five patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic churches, and urged them to participate actively in dialogue with the Orthodox churches.

          In greeting the patriarchs, the Holy Father cited the words of Pope Leo XIII, spoken at a meeting with the Eastern leaders in 1984: "It is to give an indisputable proof of our affection that we have called you to Rome, wishing to speak with you, wishing to highlight the prestige of your patriarchal authority." Pope John Paul said that he wished to "make those words his own," and he repeated that the patriarchs are "fathers and chiefs" of their churches. Thus he stressed "the solemnity and importance" of today's meeting.

          The Church leaders gathered with the Pope were Patriarchs Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir of Antioch (Maronite), Maximos V Hakim of Antioch (Melkite), Jean-Pierre Kasparian of Cilicia (Armenian), Stephanos II Ghattas of Alexandria (Coptic), and Raphael I Bidawid of Babylon (Chaldean).

          The Pope observed that the universal Church has shown a keener understanding of the Eastern churches in recent years; he cited the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law for the Eastern churches in October 1990, and his own apostolic letter Orientale Lumen. In that letter the Pope emphasized the need to preserve and nurture the traditions and spirituality of the Eastern churches. Today he told the patriarchs that they must conserve their "specific liturgical, spiritual, theological, and canonical treasures" so that the Gospel can be offered to the Church and the world with an ever greater abundance."

          At the same time, the Pope did not shrink from discussion of the Petrine ministry, which remains a contentious subject with the Orthodox churches. He suggested-- again repeating the message of his apostolic letter-- the need to define the function of the papacy carefully, as a service of unity for the entire Church.

          The Eastern patriarchs, the Pope continued, are themselves signs of unity within the Church, acting as the heads of their respective synods. He also stressed the role that the Eastern Catholic churches can play in the effort to restore full communion with the Orthodox churches.


Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

September 30, 1998       volume 9, no. 191
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

Back to HomePort    |    Back to Text Only Front Page     |    Back to Graphics Front Page     |    Archives     |    Why the DAILY CATHOLIC is FREE     |    Why we NEED YOUR HELP     |    What the DAILY CATHOLIC offers     |    Ports o' Call LINKS     |    Books offered     |    Who we are    |    Our Mission     |    E-Mail Us     |    Home Page