Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Yet More From the East

In yet another iteration of the revised formula used by the Holy See last Thursday, the Vatican press office has simply announced (as opposed to granting explicit papal assent to) the transfer of another bishop of an Eastern church.

Earlier today, the daily Bollettino of the Holy See Press Office announced that Cardinal Stephanos II Ghattas, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, has transferred one of his auxiliaries, Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina, to the eparchy of Guizeh. Yet again, the release cited canon 85 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

As mentioned here on Thursday, the relevant legislation states that "the provisions of Canon 85, paragraph 2 of the Code for the Eastern Churches stipulate that the option of notification alone to the Holy See in the case of a metropolitan or diocesan eparch be undertaken solely 'for a grave reason.'"

Whereas, in contrast to the fluid and volatile situation pitting the Ukrainian Catholics against the Russian and native Orthodox (orthodox and Catholic being two very different qualities), no grave reasons which would necessitate such a unilateral move seem to persist in the case of the Copts. This confirms our initial thesis that Benedict XVI is allowing for a highly relaxed interpretation of canon 85, paragraph 2, a change is best viewed as a renewed commitment on the part of the new Pope to the degree of autonomy granted those Eastern churches in communion with Rome.

Of course, this respect for Eastern traditions is but a continuation forth from the landmark accord of 2001, when John Paul II, alongside Ratzinger and the rest of the curia, approved the arrangements which permitted intercommunion between Catholics and Assyrians, recognizing the validity of the latter's Eucharist despite the lack of an institution narrative from the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, the Assyrian eucharistic prayer.

More to come.