We come to the conclusion of Orientalium Ecclesiarum with this post. Relations between Eastern Catholics and Orthodox are not very conducive to jacking up one’s blog popularity. And in the West, particularly in many stretches of North America, Eastern Rite Catholics may seem as foreign and irrelevant as … as Britney Spears might seem to me.
When I was in grad school, I did a number of papers on Eastern Christianity. For me, it has been an unexpected joy to review Orientalium Ecclesiarum, even if it doesn’t generate the same cyber-heat as, say, Cardinal Mahony’s thurible. I probably share our last two popes’ sense of the importance of the East as we Westerners come to grips with our own challenges. By this I mean certain challenges beyond the simply ecumenical or pastoral scope of this decree.
The Sacred Council feels great joy in the fruitful zealous collaboration of the Eastern and the Western Catholic Churches and at the same time declares: All these directives of law are laid down in view of the present situation till such time as the Catholic Church and the separated Eastern Churches come together into complete unity.
This would be an example of the “Spirit of Vatican II,” a sense of calm and secure optimism that Christian unity is in our future. And that it is not a vain hope. Until then, Roman Catholics are given a daily duty certainly no less vital than, say, the restoration of chant to pride of place:
Meanwhile, however, all Christians, Eastern as well as Western, are earnestly asked to pray to God fervently and assiduously, nay, indeed daily, that, with the aid of the most holy Mother of God, all may become one. Let them pray also that the strength and the consolation of the Holy Spirit may descend copiously upon all those many Christians of whatsoever church they be who endure suffering and deprivations for their unwavering avowal of the name of Christ.
“Love one another with (mutual) charity, anticipating one another with honor”. (Rom.12,10.)
Each and all these matters which are set forth in this decree have been favorably voted on by the Fathers of the Council. And we, by the apostolic authority given us by Christ and in union with the Fathers, approve, decree and establish them in the Holy Spirit and command that they be promulgated for the glory of God.
Any last comments on Orientalium Ecclesiarum?