Vatican City, 22 November 2013 (VIS) – The Congregation for the Oriental Churches today concluded its plenary session, held from 19 to 22 November, which focused on the balance of conciliar ideas regarding the Catholic East fifty years after Vatican Council II.
The harmonious climate in which work was carried out was unanimously appreciated, according to a communique issued by the dicastery. The synodal experience, profoundly rooted in the oriental tradition, was demonstrated to be a fruitful working method. Appreciation was expressed for the beauty of conciliar ecclesiology and the value of diversity in unity, also underlining that the recognition of the apostolic origin is a theological and juridical affirmation. A further theme was the migratory phenomenon, which represents a challenge as it poses serious problems for the situation of Christians in the Middle East, harshly penalised by the effects of the war in Iraq and by the current conflict in Syria, without forgetting the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian question and Egypt's troubled rebirth as a pluralist nation.
A further problem is that the full dignity of the heads of the patriarchal and the major archiepiscopal Churches, also known as 'Fathers', requires that they are considered as such wherever their 'sons' may be, nowadays well beyond the borders considered to be their own, and with their own respective traditions and discipline. Alongside the significant representation of the Latin archbishops who are are also ordinaries for the Oriental faithful without their own hierarchy, specific ecclesial administrative structures must be considered and progressively developed. The ecumenical dimension must always be maintained, assuming a fruitful attitude of authentic brotherhood and patient reconciliation, without however penalising those who by their existence bear daily witness that one may be in communion with the Bishop of Rome, recognising his primacy, without renouncing one's one method of governance and of living the mystery of the liturgy.Finally, the plenary reiterated that the Catholic East is committed to ensuring that interreligious dialogue is lived as a daily experience in the countries of the Middle East.