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His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches Paperback – January 11, 2008
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His Broken Body may be the sui generis among books on this subject due to its novel approach. Because it attempts to provide "both sides of the story" in a comprehensive and detailed manner under one cover, it offers a unique contribution to this discussion. New light is shed on a multiplicity of concurrent (and competing) early church viewpoints and practices such as Eucharistic vs. Universal Ecclesiology and Petrene Succession in (every) bishop as well as the bishop of Rome. Then there is the fascinating concept of "The Church as Hologram."
For many readers, seeing this material for the first time will seem like an epiphany. It was for me. Though not all the concepts covered are new, I know of no other source that addresses all of this in one place. I've had to dig for years through both Roman Catholic and Orthodox resources to even gain an inkling of what is now available in His Broken Body.Read more ›
1. The EO concept of "Church," "The Church," "Churches," and similar terms. They are not exactly the same as the Catholic or Protestant understandings. He spends considerable time explaining "Eucharistic Ecclesiology" which is an EO articulation of the early Fathers' understanding (according to Orthodoxy) of the "local church" as being the whole fullness of the "catholic Church" wherever the Eucharist is celebrated by the faithful in communion with their bishop in succession from the apostles. Thus, it is the presence of Christ (in the Eucharist, through the bishop, and among the people) that sanctifies the gathering and makes it to be "Church." It is not that body's relationship to a particular earthly focal point (i.e. Rome, Constantinople or what have you). Thus, each local church is THE Church, not simply "a part of the Church."
2. A very balanced view of early writings regarding Peter, the bishop of Rome, other bishops, and the like. He cuts through much typical popular apologetic work (from both sides, though the RC side swamps the EO simply in sheer volume...at least in America) that plucks verses without really considering the full context of the complexities surrounding that Father's particular letter.Read more ›
First, the criticism. Overall this book has an irenic spirit. As a Catholic of the Byzantine Rite, I find his discussion of "uniatism" to be dismissive. Also, he ought to know better than to use the U-word in reference to us. For very good reasons, our bishops re-established the broken communion with Rome centuries ago. We have paid a heavy price for doing the right thing. First of all, there was interference by Latin Rite Catholics in our internal affairs resulting in a severe distortion of our spiritual heritage. This is now admitted by Rome which calls us to recover that heritage. If unity with the Orthodox is achieved it will be in part because Rome has learned how not to approach the patrimony of the Eastern churches. Secondly, wherever the Tsars and the Soviets extended their power, they tried to crush us - often with the complicity of Orthodox priests and bishops.
Now the observation. The author makes much of the liturgical revolution in the Roman Catholic Church and the sense of many Eastern Christians that the Latin Church has drifted so far from from apostolic Christianity in its day to day practice that it seems alien to us. The author suggests that this is a profound barrier to the restoration of unity at the ground level. I believe this is correct and Roman Catholics who are interested in healing the Great Schism need to understand this fact.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although I don't agree with everything expressed by the author, this is an excellent bit of writing nonetheless. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Maxim
Good information, but too detailed for me. I was looking for a more general and basic overview.Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
I don't have time to clarify now the five stars I gave to this book. But I can say with confidence that rarelly I saw so much honesty in any debates I've saw. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Cliente Amazon
This work illustrates with precision and fairness the substantive issues dividing the Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church. Read morePublished on June 3, 2014 by scrivener
This is a truly comprehensive overview of the many issues which are involved in the division between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. Read morePublished on June 28, 2013 by Anthony of the Desert
This is the best organization of material and thoughts on this topic I have ever read. We see a balanced approach with thoughtful citations. Read morePublished on July 27, 2011 by Curt Howell
This is by far the most complete and most balanced introduction to the issues separating the Roman Catholic Church from the Orthodox Church that I have yet read. Read morePublished on April 7, 2011 by David Withun
This book gets fours stars not because it deserves it on its own merit, but rather because of the typically poor quality of the other popular books that touch on this subject. Read morePublished on March 2, 2011 by Alveus Lacuna
This is an excellent overview of the great divide between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. Having said that, it should be noted that the author exhibits a lack of understanding as... Read morePublished on April 17, 2010