The Eastern Churches and St. Thomas Aquinas
(02-11-2012, 03:31 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote:
(02-11-2012, 03:26 PM)TrentCath Wrote:
(02-11-2012, 03:08 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(02-11-2012, 02:22 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: It makes sense to me.  Obviously the papal system of direct appointment of bishops has led to horrific appointments in many places.  Especially for the East, but in general everywhere, I'd be fine with the bishops being chosen locally, provided the right of the pope to directly intervene when the bishop is seriously problematic is preserved.  By problematic I suppose I mean heretic, or morally reprobate.

Exactly, and that's why the Pope needs to have that authority.  Synodal agreements are all well and good, but as history shows with previous heresies, occasionally a synod will be at an impasse, and in that sitaution, an executive decision is required.

Or the Holy Father may just refuse to approve the decision and choose his own candiate, and it is not for me or you for that matter to say that they will automatically be imprudent, indeed it may often be the right thing to do.

It's not that the Holy Father's decision would be automatically imprudent.

It's just imprudent (IMHO) to continue the system whereby the Holy Father directly appoints every diocesan bishop.  It's even more imprudent for HH to do this with Eastern Churches ... especially if we want reunion.  An orthodox church should never have to think that, barring cases of heretics or other really bad candidates, they would have to submit to such papal control in order to come back to the Catholic Church.

The eastern catholic churches don't work under this system as it is but the words of Pope Pius IX in 'Quartus Supra (On the Church in Armenia) are relevant '24. We commanded that a synod composed exclusively of bishops elect the patriarch. However, We forbade the man elected to be enthroned until he received a letter of confirmation from the Apostolic See. We ordered bishops to be elected in the following way: all the bishops of the province were to gather in a synod and recommend three suitable churchmen to the Apostolic See. If it were not possible for all the bishops to come to the synod, the recommendation could be made by a synod of at least three diocesan bishops together with the patriarch, if those absent indicated their triple recommendation in writing. When this is done, the Roman pontiff will choose one of those recommended and put him in charge of the vacant see. We declared that We were certain that the bishops would recommend worthy and suitable men so that We would never have to select someone different from those recommended to be in charge of the vacant see.

25. If you consider these measures with a mind free from the passions of faction, you will find them all sanctioned by the universal sense of the canons. Concerning the exclusion of the laity from the election of bishops, a clear distinction must be made, lest a doctrine at variance with the Catholic faith result. This distinction is between the right to elect bishops and the ability to give testimony as to their life and morals. The former claim must be credited to the wrong notions of Luther and Calvin, who even asserted that it was a matter of divine law that the bishops should be elected by the people; as everybody realizes, such false teaching has been and is still rejected by the Catholic Church. For no power of electing bishops or other ministers of religion has ever been given to the people by either divine or ecclesiastical law.

26. Testimony of the people concerning the life and morals of those who are to be raised to the episcopate became important "when the Arians, to whom the emperor Constantius was partial, began to eject Catholic prelates from their sees and replace them with adherents of Arianism, as St. Athanasius laments (History of the Arians, ch. 4). The people felt that if they were present and if their testimony were heard at the election of bishops, then they would be more likely to support and help them."[41] That custom indeed lasted for some time in the Church, but when recurrent discord, disturbance, and other abuses resulted from it, it was necessary to remove the people from the process. For as St. Jerome observes, "sometimes the judgment of the ordinary people is wrong and in approving of priests each man is partial to his own ways and seeks a superior who resembles himself rather than one who is good."[42]

27. Nevertheless, in imposing a procedure of election, We left the synod of bishops freedom to examine the talents of the men to be elected in whatever way they preferred, even to the extent of summoning the testimony of the people if they so chose. And in fact, since the publication of Our Constitution, such an examination was conducted three years ago by the Armenian prelates when a bishop was elected for the districts of Sebaste and Tokat. The proceedings sent to this Holy See testify to this. However We did not nor do We think it fitting to impose a similar procedure in the election of the patriarch for several reasons. In the first place, his rank is so high; secondly, he is in charge of all the bishops in his district; and lastly, it is clear to Us that only bishops have taken part in the election of the patriarch in each of the Eastern rites, except on particular and extraordinary occasions when circumstances demanded a different procedure. For instance, when the Catholics were protecting themselves against the strong power of the schismatics to whom they were subjected, they asked for a different patriarch for themselves. By this fact they ensured their separation from these schismatics and their true and sincere "conversion" to the Catholic faith as indeed happened when Abraham Peter I was elected.

28. However, some resent and bemoan both Our declaration that this Apostolic See has the right and power to elect a bishop either from the three names recommended or apart from them and Our prohibition against the enthronement of an elected Patriarch without Our prior confirmation. They call Our attention to the customs and canons of their churches as if We had abandoned the provisions of the sacred canons. We might respond to these men in the same way Our predecessor St. Gelasius did when the Acacian schismatics brought the same false accusation against him: "They cite the canons against Us without knowing what they are saying since they show that they are themselves in opposition to the canons by the very fact that they deny obedience to the first See although its advice is sound and correct."[43] For these are the very canons which recognize the full, divine authority of blessed Peter over the whole Church. Indeed, they proclaim that he lives and exercises judgment in his successors to the present time and forever, as the Council of Ephesus affirmed.[44] Rightly then did Stephan, Bishop of Larissa, give this firm answer to those who considered that the privileges of the churches of Constantinople were somewhat diminished by the intervention of the Roman Pontiff: "the authority of the Apostolic See which was given by God and our Savior to the chief of the Apostles exceeds the privileges of all the holy churches. In acknowledging this, all the churches of the world should cease their opposition."[45]

29. Certainly, if you recall the history of your districts, you will find examples of Roman Pontiffs who used this power when they judged it necessary for the safety of the Eastern Churches. This was why the Roman Pontiff Agapetus used his authority to eject Anthimus from the See of Constantinople and replace him with Mennas without calling a synod. Our predecessor Martin I entrusted his power for the East to John, Bishop of Philadelphia, in regard to the regions of the East. He instructed him "by the Apostolic authority given to Us by the Lord through the most holy Peter, prince of the Apostles,"[46] to appoint bishops, priests and deacons in every city subject to the sees of Jerusalem and Antioch. In more recent times, you will recall that the bishop of Mardin of the Armenians was elected and consecrated by the authority of this Apostolic See even though Our predecessors granted the care of this see to the patriarchs of Cilicia. This was granted when the administration of the district of Mesopotamia was assigned to them by the Holy See. All these actions agree with the supreme power of the Roman See; the church of the Armenians has always recognized, proclaimed, and respected this except during unhappy times of schism. This is not surprising since even among your people still separated from the Catholic faith, the ancient tradition remains strong that the great bishop and martyr whom you regard as the Enlightener of your race, received his power from the Apostolic See. He came to the See in person, undeterred by the length and great hardship of the journey. This was Gregory whom Chrysostom described as a sun rising in the eastern regions whose shining rays reached as far as the Greek people.[47]

30. We decided on this arrangement by Ourselves after carefully studying both on ancient and recent events. Everyone knows that the eternal and at times the temporal happiness of people depends on the proper election of bishops; the circumstances of time and place must be considered referring all the authority for selecting the bishops to the Apostolic See. Still We decided to moderate the exercise of this power by allowing the synod of bishops to elect the patriarch and by having this synod recommend three suitable men to Us for vacant sees as was sanctioned in Our Constitution.

31. But on this matter too, to rouse the torpid and increasingly inspire those who are running well, We said that We hoped truly suitable men worthy of so important an office would be recommended to avoid the necessity of Our ever having to appoint to a vacant See someone apart from those recommended. This was provided for also in the procedure We established in 1853[48] for exactly the same purpose. We have heard that some have interpreted these otherwise mild words to mean that We would disregard and even deride the recommendations of the synod. Others have gone even further and developed a theory that a proposal to entrust the care of the Armenians to Latin bishops is veiled in these words. Such foolish accusations indeed deserve no answer: for only fearful and foolish men could utter such statements. But We considered that We should not keep silence on Our right to elect a bishop apart from the three recommended candidates, in case the Apostolic See should be compelled to exercise this right in the future. But even if We had remained silent, this right and duty of the See of blessed Peter would have remained unimpaired. For the rights and privileges given to the See by Christ Himself, while they may be attacked, cannot be destroyed; no man has the power to renounce a divine right which he might at some time be compelled to exercise by the will of God Himself.

32. Although it is now nineteen years since these pronouncements were made to the Armenians, and although bishops have been elected many times, We have never used that power, not even when recently, after the publication of the Constitution Reversurus, We received a triple recommendation from which We could not elect a bishop. In this case We told the synod of bishops to recommence the process of recommendation in accordance with the laws We prescribed rather than Our electing a bishop apart from their recommendations. This has been hindered so far by the new schism which has begun to tear apart the church of the Armenians. We are confident, furthermore, that such distressful times will never befall the Catholic churches of Armenia as to compel the Roman Pontiffs to impose bishops on them who have not been recommended by the synod of bishops.

33. We will add some remarks on Our prohibition of the enthronement of Patriarchs before Holy See. The writings of the ancients testify that the election of Patriarchs had never been considered definite and valid without the agreement and confirmation of the Roman Pontiff. Accordingly, it is learned, those elected to patriarchal sees always sought such confirmation, with the support of the emperors. Thus, to pass over other names in a well known affair, Anatolius Bishop of Constantinople (a man who certainly did not serve the Apostolic See very well), and even Photius himself (the first cause of the Greek schism), requested the Roman Pontiff to confirm their elections by his consent. To this end they employed the intervention of the emperors Theodosius, Michael and Basil. For this reason the Fathers of Chalcedon, even though they declared all the acts of the robber synod of Ephesus invalid, willed that Maximus Bishops of Antioch remain in the see. He had replaced Domnus by authority of that synod since "the holy and blessed Pope who confirmed the holy and venerable Maximus as bishop of the church of Antioch appeared to have approved his merit in a just judgment."[49]

34. But if you consider the patriarchs of those churches which in more recent times have renounced schism and returned to Catholic unity, you will find that all of them asked for confirmation from the Roman Pontiff; the Roman Pontiffs confirmed them all by letter in such a way that at the same time the Pontiffs appointed them and placed them over their churches. The Apostolic See has at times tolerated elected patriarchs using their power before being confirmed by the See. It has done so because their districts were so distant or because the journey was dangerous or because of the reverses threatening more and more frequently from the predominance of schismatics of the same rite. This dispensation has been granted even in the west to those who are very far away because of the needs and benefits of the churches.[50] But it is fair to remind you that such reasons are no longer valid since travel is much easier and since the Catholics have been delivered from the civil power of the schismatics by the kindness of the supreme Ottoman emperor. By following this procedure, safe provision is made for the preservation of the Catholic faith which could be disturbed at will by one who is unworthy of such high office occupying the patriarchal see before the Apostolic confirmation which might arise when an elected Patriarch is rejected by the holy Apostolic See and has to relinquish his place will be forestalled.

35. Everything which is sanctioned in Our Constitution contributes to the preservation and development of the Catholic faith. It contributes as well to the protection of the real liberty of the Church and the authority of the bishops, whose rights and privileges find strength and repose in the stability of the Apostolic See. The Roman Pontiffs have always strongly defended these rights and privileges from heretics and ambitious men at the request of bishops of every rank, nation and rite.

The Pope would at least have to approve the candidate and/or pick the most worthy among those presented by the synod.

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Re: The Eastern Churches and St. Thomas Aquinas - by TrentCath - 02-11-2012, 03:47 PM

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