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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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(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). Furthermore, Deville states his own (better) preference for the historically more pregnant title of "Patriarch of Rome." This title (and its attributes) is historically meaningful. St. Nicephorus of Constantinople is a common topos/locus of reflection for the meat in this title, ulteriorly developed in the Photian synods and ultimately serving as the common sources for St. Mark of Ephesus.
(4.) Deville is correct to observe the worrisome ecclesiological situation of Rome, who stands in for any real local and regional magisterial authority. The proposals and reflections on a "sitting synod (endemousa synodos)" are timely and real. It is time to recognize the fact that the state of the Latin Church is such that orthodoxy on the local and intermediate level is not holding the Catholic Church together anymore. Unfortunately, only the threats (in some few areas) of curia and papal intervention acts as a unifying factor. The restoration of authentic structures appears to be Deville's goal, not the destruction thereof. Thus, Deville's own suggestion wisely draws on functional models within current Orthodoxy. He does not allow himself to get distracted with the fact that these structures may themselves (to whatever extent) depart from the authentic or presumably apostolic structures of the first millennium. Still, he remedies that dearth by his study proposals in the "Afterword."
(5.) His positive proposals are hardly definitive (which seems to be ok with him). He is starting a conversation, which must take place and lead to action. Stagnation on both sides of the fence has led to absolutely nothing happening. The Pope and newly appointed reform commission of Cardinals would do well to read this book.
(6.) Deville does have in the background (correctly) the real structures leading to the modern Patriarchates and Papacy. He correctly argues for a restoration of classic structures. This effectively destroys the need for bureaucracy and restores bishops as the governing principles of the Church (and its unity). Lay participation is hardly neglected, I would only add that I would have appreciated a detailed discussion of the re-introduction of the lay cardinalate suppressed under St. Pius X. Lay structures too have their historical place in the Latin West and Deville does confront this. Incidentally, until the Council of Florence (e.g., St. John Capistran, OFM, John Torquemada, OP, etc.) were aware of the competing theory of joint ecclesial responsibility of the Cardinalate for the welfare of Church governance, along with the Pope. Even Orthodox, like the anti-Latin Joseph Bryennios (d. c. 1431), were appreciative of its structural advantages and proposed Orthodox equivalents to deal with East-West relations.
(7.) Deville does cite the currently negative Orthodox attitude toward the "pentarchy." Though he seems inclined to favor this (recognizing all the while that it is little understood), I would argue it need not be so. In surveying the literature, the pentarchy's ulterior development in the East (i.e. St. Nicephorus, St. Photios, St. Mark of Ephesus) is sorely neglected. I have yet to encounter a full study that acknowledges these important loci (i.e. Fathers), who made a distinction between "apostolic thrones" and "patriarchs" and "metropolitans, bishops, etc." The role of an apostolic see was considered by these great Fathers and saints as (in Mark's words) something that merited for them the title "Father of all Orthodox Christians", among others. This institution sanctioned by the first millennium for nearly six hundred years (as Deville later suggests) must be explored to the benefit of both Churches. Also, in support of Deville, the transition -during St. Nicephorous- of tacitly and cautiously allowing Constantinople to be "included" in the "apostolic sees" (when they are mentioned in the plural) is important. It provides an historico-theological basis for the development of non-apostolic patriarchies to the importance and status that Deville argues for in his proposed structures.
(8.) Deville does not confront, but does acknowledge, the necessity of "papal prerogatives" or claims thereof. He wisely proposes necessary study. My own view is that a study of Florence is greatly needed. Pope Eugene IV limited himself in his final "horos" or decree to respect all the lawful canonical traditions and rights of the East because of Orthodox protest. Mark of Ephesus was the only prelate too, at Florence, who showed a correct understanding of the 880 Photian synod. These two points have been ignored. The former is only studied in context of Vatican I, as if we can read Florence anachronistically via Vatican I. Benedict's "hermeneutic of continuity" demands that we must understand Florence's concessions to the East as the means BY WHICH we read Vatican I as Catholics.
(9.) In the end, Deville's encouragement (through citations of other authors) of a papal kenosis, his correct distinction between administration and governance vs. papal spiritual and other prerogatives, and the need to give up an administration style that violates the Catholic principle (in my words) of subsidiarity, are all contained in Deville's skillful use of mainly Orthodox (and not a few Catholic) authors to firmly base and provide the trajectory for his project of reform. His proposals are not a "what if", they are based upon the leading theologians and figures of Catholicism and Orthodoxy in intellectual and ecclesiastical circles.
We would do well to give Deville's book a read, then do quite a bit of "study" ourselves, and only then react to what he says.
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.
In fact, DeVille admits in the book's Introduction that the Vatican's 2006 Annuario Pontificio officially deleted the title of "Patriarch of the West" from papal titular honors.
Yet the title and accrued entitlements of the official Roman papacy after the Great Schism bear inferior if not also an inverse relationship to the western Patriarchal institution. As the Patriarchal title declined in ecclesial importance for Rome, the Papal title became inflated and exaggerated, resulting in a principal excuse to widen the rift of schism.
DeVille's response to the 2006 deletion of "Patriarch of the West" appears in Chapter 3 by way of a defense--a defense of the title based upon a line of reasoning that none other than Josef Cardinal Ratzinger [PP Benedict XVI] had advanced several decades prior to his election to the papal See. In fact, readers should consider DeVille's "apologia" for "Patriarch of the West" a linchpin to understanding and critiquing overall aims in this book. Without a "renewed Roman Patriarchate" [47-77], the project would fold not only according to the two identified groups of "radicals," but also moderate critics.
To wit, "Rome cannot demand from the East regarding the primacy issue more than what has been expressed and applied during the first millennium" , according to Ratzinger in a 1968/70 article. DeVille also quotes Yves Congar as having observed, "the notion of patriarch has been neither understood nor honored by Rome" .
Nevertheless, despite incisive and authoritative Roman Catholic authors as Ratzinger and Congar, it is Michael Magee's 2006 "monumental work" , The Patriarchal Institution in the Church: Ecclesiological Perspectives in the Light of the Second Vatican Council [Rome: Herder] that provides a convincing argument for reinstating the title "Patriarch of the West." DeVille acknowledges Magee's historical contribution to salvaging the title, but doubts that it is sufficient to deal with the fact that the title is seldom encountered and virtually unknown in the West. Titles as crucial to East-West relations and ecclesiology do not disappear out of disuse.
If Magee is correct in his historical analysis of the title, then DeVille is right that Rome's 2006 omission of the Partriarchal title cannot be attributed to obsolescence as a rationale. Therefore, the remainder of Chapter 3 [69-77] presents observations about the Vatican's 1990 revision of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches [CCEO is the Latin acronym], in which a Vatican-acknowledged temporary understanding of how the Pope and Eastern [uniate] Patriarchs, metropolitans and bishops ought to "honor," "obey" and "love one another."
Definitions for honor, obedience and Christian charity among bishops might be temporary in the 1990 CCEO, but these definitions favor a "subordinate relationship to the Roman Pontiff" . Thus the rationale for deletion of the title "Patriarch of the West" might be temporary, just as relationships of Eastern [uniate] Patriarchs to the Roman Pontiff in the CCEO has been acknowledged to be temporary. However, it is the very same period of time in which the title disappeared in 2006 and the Eastern Orthodox-Roman Catholic Dialogue commission convened the following year, 2007 [Ravenna], to discuss papal primacy.
This review has been long on the linchpin issue of the book and short on the sterling recommendations that DeVille makes. If DeVille, Magee, Ratzinger and Congar--among others--succeed in reviving an ancient collegiality among bishops, East and West, then DeVille's suggestions will prove reasonable options. For example his ideas about creating six continental patriarchates in the Latin Church along with a permanent synod of these patriarchates and a full ecumenical synod "under papal presidency" [150-55] might be achievable.