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North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation

From the 2013 Report of the department:

North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation: Dr. Robert M. Haddad

This semiannual Consultation met four times between October 2011 and June 2013. Each meeting usually runs for an afternoon, a full day and a morning, and is usually divided into seven sessions: one business; two informational; and four theological. The business session draws up plans for the next meeting—time, place and theological subjects to be examined. The informational has various members of the Consultation report briefly on recent developments in each Church. The theological sessions normally involve presentation of pre-assigned papers for discussion. Because the theological sessions comprise the heart of each meeting, this report focuses on them. The papers presented at the four meetings to which this report is devoted dealt mainly with the role of the laity in Church governance and the issues raised by a celibate clergy among Eastern Catholics.

Eighty-First Meeting, Oct. 27-29, 2011, held at St. Paul's College, Washington, DC, chaired by The Most Rev. Gregory Aymond, Roman Catholic Archbishop of New Orleans. The Orthodox co-chair, His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos, Greek Orthodox Bishop of Pittsburgh, was absent and has announced his retirement. His replacement will soon be appointed.

The first theological session, held on Oct. 28th, had Fr. Brian Daley read Sister Susan Wood's paper, "A Theology of the Parish" in her absence. Fr. Patrick Viscuso followed with his paper, "Canonical Reflections on the Orthodox Parish." The second theological session on the same day was taken up by a paper by Fr. Nicholas Apostola on "The Role of the Laity in the Church" and another by Chorbishop John Faris on "Synodal Governance in the Eastern Catholic Churches." The third theological session, also held on Oct. 28th was devoted to a discussion of the contributions Metropolitan Maximos has made to the Consultation over the years. A festschrift dedicated to Metropolitan Maximos is planned that would include contributions from members and former members of the Consultation. During the fourth and final fourth theological session, held on Oct. 29th, Fr. Brian Daley presented for discussion an article by Henrique Noronha Galvao, "The Mystery of the Church in the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger."

Eighty-Second Meeting, June 5-7, 2012, held at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA., chaired by His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, the newly appointed Orthodox co-chair. Archbishop Aymond, the Catholic co-chair, was absent.

The first theological session, convened on June 5, opened with Fr. Patrick Viscuso's paper, "Canonical Reflections on the Rights of the Laity in the Orthodox Church." His presentation was followed by another Orthodox contribution, "Further Reflections on the Laity from Ancient Syriac Sources," by Dr. Susan Harvey. The second theological session, held on June 6th, saw Sister Susan Wood present her paper, "The Lay-Clergy Distinction in Recent Roman Catholic Theology." She was followed by Chorbishop John Faris' presentation, "The Role of the Laity in the Code of Canons of the Eastern [Catholic] Churches." Fr. John Erikson of the OCA then delivered comments on that paper. The usual third and fourth theological sessions were eliminated in favor of an extensive information session devoted to various subjects of immediate interest.

Eighty-Third Meeting, Oct. 25-27, 2012, held at St. Paul's College, Washington, DC, co-chaired by Metropolitan Methodios and Archbishop Aymond.

The first theological session, convened on Oct. 26th, consisted of Fr. Theodore Pulcini's paper, "Lay Charism and Ecclesial Renewal: The Orthodox Youth Movement's Revitalization of the Antiochian Patriarchate." This was followed by John Allen Jr.'s "Expanding Lay Roles," presented by Fr. Brian Daley. The second theological session, held on the same day, opened with "Presbyteral Celibacy: Church Discipline or Divine Marriage" by Fr. David Petras. Fr. Patrick Viscuso followed with an Orthodox presentation, "Canonical Reflections on Clergy and Marriage." Dr. Vito Nicastro, a Catholic member, then discussed two books on this question by Basilio Petrà. The third theological session, also convened on Oct. 26th, was devoted to a draft statement on the meaning of Sunday by Metropolitan Methodios and Dr. Vito Nicastro. The fourth theological session, held on Oct. 27th, was devoted to further discussion on the Consultation's work.

Eighty-Fourth Meeting, June 4-6, 2013, St. Vladimir's Seminary, Crestwood, N.Y., Fr. Brian Daley and Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald substituted for the absent co-chairs.

The first theological session, convened on June 4th, consisted of Dr. Despina Prassas's paper, "Lay Reception of [Orthodox]Church Teaching," and a paper authored by Fr. Robert Stephanopoulos but, in his absence, read by Fr. Patrick Viscuso, "Lay Movements in the Church of Greece." The second theological session, held on June 5th, began with Msgr. Paul McPartlan's "Priesthood, Priestliness and Priests," and was followed by Bishop Alexander Golitzin's "The Priesthood of the Laity." The third theological session, held later on the same day, featured Fr. Peter Galadza's "Official Catholic Pronouncements Regarding Presbyteral Celibacy: Their Fate and the Implications for Catholic-Orthodox Relations" and Fr. David Petras's "Cum data fuerit (1929) and Historical Objectivity," an analysis of the separation of the Carpatho-Russian Ruthenian Church from Rome and its integration into the Orthodox Church. The fourth theological session consisted on Fr. James Dutko's "Manditory Celibacy among Eastern Catholics: A Church Dividing Issue."