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Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity Paperback – March 15, 2011
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The book before us is a readable version of his doctoral dissertation from MASI, which is a principal crossroads of Byzantine/Roman Catholic and Orthodox studies in North America. Footnotes have been collated at the end of the book [164-235], and the bibliography is superb [236-64]. DeVille acknowledges Ukrainian Catholic protopresbyter as his chief promoter, along with Professors Catherine Clifford [Roman Catholic], Professor-Archpriest John Jillions [OCA], and Professor-Priest Thomas Fitzgerald [GOAA] as members of his dissertation jury [vii].
Despite a shared river of ecclesiology running through East and West, this river had already divided into respective East-West tributaries even prior to the Great Schism in 1054. Historical tributaries is a fact that receives adequate discussion in this text so that standard objections from "radical conservatives"  among Roman papacy defenders, and "radical rejectionists" [5-6] among Orthodox anti-ecumenists get a run for their money.
The author's task in this book is to recover both an ancient shared understanding of the Patriarchal institution in the East and West as well as explore divergences from the same. Of course, divergences increased and became magnified after the Great Schism.Read more ›
First of all, the treatment regarding "what is a patriarchate" was really fascinating and presented in a way that was probably overdue. The Orthodox Churches have understood patriarchates in a pretty dualist way: we all know that there are patriarchates, we all know that "Moscow does this" while "Bucharest does that" while being content not to rise to the challenge of a definition. Thus, it's been unfair to call Rome "back" to something that is really as many somethings as there are patriarchates.
Secondly, the author detects what appears to be a "sliding scale" polity in the Armenian Church, and shows that the Armenian Church, on the one hand, has maintained its Orthodox faith assiduously but has, on the other hand, done so while making some rather dramatic adjustments due to its numerous (and often uncomfortable) historical realities. In short, the Armenians have learned to maintain and adapt almost simultaneously. Nonetheless, the "democratic" nature of their polity seems all bound up with being Armenian: its doubtful that such a construction could work if it were tried in the highly individualistic, multi-cultural milieu of American or Western Europe.
Third, DeVille suggests a jurisdictional re-tooling by Rome to include numerous Latin Patriarchates.Read more ›
(1.) The author is in the unfortunate position to try to speak with the voice of both Orthodoxy (often unable to speak for itself) and Catholicism (often incapable of allowing others to speak). He uses Pope John Paul II's unreciprocated ecumenical encyclical "Ut Unum Sint" as his point of departure.
(2.) Then, in irenic fashion (with no attempt to conflate traditionally irreconcilable positions), the author summarizes the official and popular (if unofficial) voices of modern and contemporary Orthodoxy on the question of primacy (i.e. its definition, its positive features, its relevance). DeVille's work is purposively current and therefore extremely relevant for providing a context (by avoiding nostalgia or adoption of an ecclesiological position to develop it through his work). This a posteriori approach may not allow for a full "Orthodox" exposition of primacy (since they are struggling themselves with a pan-Orthodox definition), but it completely avoids caricature and provides a meaningful basis for subsequent discussion.
(3.) Deville absolutely nails down the best possible explanation for the elimination of the title "Patriarch of the West." Though I would be more cautious to strike it (due to my sensitivities towards Orthodox), the removal of this term is placed in justifiable and positive terms (from the perspective of Ratzinger).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting scholarly take on what the future of the Catholic Church would be in the event of East-West reunion. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nicholas Silva
If you take this book for what it really is, i.e., an annotated bibliography, then it is definitely of some value. Read morePublished 19 months ago by P.H.
A thoughtful, sober, and insightful look at the path toward greater unity between the Eastern Churches and the Catholic Church. Read morePublished on November 22, 2013 by Timothy