Unitatis Redintegratio 16

We continue our 5-section examination of Eastern Christians, and the world’s Catholic bishops are quite direct in what they see as proper governance in the East:

Already from the earliest times the Eastern Churches followed their own forms of ecclesiastical law and custom, which were sanctioned by the approval of the Fathers of the Church, of synods, and even of ecumenical councils. Far from being an obstacle to the Church’s unity, a certain diversity of customs and observances only adds to her splendor, and is of great help in carrying out her mission, as has already been stated. To remove, then, all shadow of doubt, this holy Council solemnly declares that the Churches of the East, while remembering the necessary unity of the whole Church, have the power to govern themselves according to the disciplines proper to them, since these are better suited to the character of their faithful, and more for the good of their souls. The perfect observance of this traditional principle not always indeed carried out in practice, is one of the essential prerequisites for any restoration of unity.

Diversity adds to splendor: a good bit to remember. The primacy placed on the “character” of the Eastern faithful, and what is “more for the good of their souls” is telling. It may well be that the fusion of cultures in the Americas may well merit such a consideration–not to mention the Christians of the Far East. Naturally, organic development, as took place in the Eastern Mediterranean, is important.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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