The Difficult Path to Unity

Despite some hopes last week that the three Assyrian churches may be on the path to unity following an open letter from Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael offering to resign his patriarchal title, it seems there is still a long way to go. Byzantine Texas has posted the Assyrian Church of the East’s detailed, firm, but charitable response. Anyone with any interest in East/West relations or, more accurately, Catholic/Oriental (or Catholic/Orthodox) relations should pay It a careful read.

I make mention of it here not to ignite pointless bickering but because I believe the letter does a splendid job articulating the real barriers that lie in the way of full ecclesial communion between the See of Rome and the separated Eastern churches. Too often these discussions (at least online) devolve into nitpicking over trivial matters with no deep-rooted doctrinal significance. Far too many Orthodox, and not a few traditional Catholics, relish this. Why? What is to be gained? No, the truth should never be compromised — a point the Assyrian Church repeats several times in the aforementioned letter. However, the pursuit of truth could stand to come packaged with a lot more humility from all sides.

I sincerely hope and pray for the day when the Assyrian churches will find unity just as I hope and pray for the day when Catholics and Orthodox lay down their arms, repent of past sins, and restore full ecclesiastical communion. With God, all things are possible.