Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue Issues Joint Statement On The Importance Of Sunday In The Lives Of Christians

WASHINGTON—The North AmericanOrthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation issued an agreed statement on theimportance of Sunday in the lives of Christians at its October 25-27 meeting atSt. Paul's College in Washington.

WASHINGTON—The North AmericanOrthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation issued an agreed statement on theimportance of Sunday in the lives of Christians at its October 25-27 meeting atSt. Paul's College in Washington. Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleansand Metropolitan Methodios of Boston jointly chaired the meeting.

The pastoral statement on theimportance of Sunday calls for Orthodox and Catholic Christians to recover thetheological significance of a day that for many "has become less a day ofworship and family and more like an ordinary work day." It ends with a call toclergy and laity "to work cooperatively within their communities to stress theimportance of Sunday for worship and family." The full text of the statement isavailable online: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/dialogue-with-others/ecumenical/orthodox/the-importance-of-sunday.cfm

Members also continued their discussionof the role of the laity in the Church. Father Theodore Pulcini, associateprofessor of religion at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania (AntiochianOrthodox), presented a paper, "Lay Charism and Ecclesial Renewal: The OrthodoxYouth Movement's Revitalization of the Antiochian Patriarchate," and JesuitFather Brian Daley (co-secretary), Catherine F. Huisking professor of theologyat Notre Dame University, summarized the chapter "Expanding Lay Roles" in JohnL. Allen, Jr.'s The Future Church: HowTen Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church.

The consultation also examined theplace of marriage and celibacy in the lives of the clergy of the two churches. FatherDavid Petras, spiritual director and professor of liturgy at the ByzantineCatholic Seminary of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, gave a paper entitled,"Presbyteral Celibacy: Church Discipline or Divine Revelation?" Father PatrickViscuso of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America presented a study,"Canonical Reflections on Clergy and Marriage." Vito Nicastro, Ph.D., associatedirector of the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Archdioceseof Boston, shared his summary of two Italian-language books on this issue byBasilio Petrà.

Another session discussed major eventsin the lives of the two churches. The members also congratulated Father BrianDaley on his receiving the Ratzinger Prize for Theology from Pope Benedict XVIa few days earlier. The next meeting of the consultation is scheduled to takeplace from June 4-6, 2013, at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary in Crestwood,New York.

Additional Orthodox members of theConsultation include Father Thomas FitzGerald, Th.D. (co-secretary), dean ofthe Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts;Bishop Alexander Golitzin of the Bulgarian Diocese of the Orthodox Church inAmerica, Toledo, Ohio; Father Nicholas Apostola of the Romanian OrthodoxArchdiocese in the Americas; Father John Erickson, former dean and professor ofcanon law and church history at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary inCrestwood, New York; Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Ph.D., of Brown University; FatherJames Dutko, pastor of St. Michael's Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church inBinghamton, New York; Paul Meyendorff, Ph.D., Alexander Schmemann professor ofliturgical theology and editor of St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly,Crestwood, New York; Despina D. Prassas, Ph.D., of Providence College inProvidence, Rhode Island; Robert Haddad, Ph.D., Sophia Smith professor emeritusof history at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts; and Father RobertStephanopoulos, pastor emeritus of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral ofthe Holy Trinity, New York.

Additional Catholic members areThomas Bird, Ph.D., of Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing,New York; Sylvain Destrempes, Ph.D., faculty of the Grand Seminaire inMontreal; Chorbishop John D. Faris, pastor of St. Louis Gonzaga Maronite Churchin Utica, New York; Father Peter Galadza, Kule Family professor of liturgy atthe Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies,Ottawa; Father John Galvin, professor of Systematic Theology, The CatholicUniversity of America (CUA); Father Sidney Griffith, professor in theDepartment of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures, CUA; FatherJoseph Komonchak, professor emeritus of religious studies, CUA; Msgr. PaulMcPartlan, Carl J. Peter professor of systematic theology and ecumenism, CUA; Sisterof Charity of Leavenworth Susan K. Wood of Marquette University; and PaulistFather Ronald Roberson, Ph.D., associate director of the U.S. Conference ofCatholic Bishops' (USCCB) Secretariat for Ecumenical and InterreligiousAffairs, staff.

The North American Orthodox-CatholicTheological Consultation is sponsored by the Committee for Ecumenical Relationsof the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, theUSCCB Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and the CanadianConference of Catholic Bishops. Its statements are available on at www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/dialogue-with-others/ecumenical/orthodox/orthodox-dialogue-documents.cfmand www.scoba.us/resources/orthodox-catholic.html.


Keywords: North American Orthodox-Catholic TheologicalConsultation, Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, Metropolitan Methodios, dialogue,Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Secretariat of Ecumenical and InterreligiousAffairs, SEIA, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Sunday

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