Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Rejecting Roman Imperialism

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Rejecting Roman Imperialism

Article excerpt

ROME * Several leaders of the six Eastern churches of the Middle East registered strong protests at the Oct. 10-24 Synod of Bishops against what they seemed to regard as a sort of Roman imperialism inside Catholicism, meaning a lack of respect from the church's dominant Latin majority.

At various points, prelates from the Armenian, Chaldean, Coptic, Maronite, Melkite and Syrian churches floated ideas to restore balance between East and West:

* Eastern churches in Europe, North America and elsewhere should be allowed to ordain married priests, not just in the historical territories of those churches;

* Patriarchs and other heads of Eastern churches should have authority over their communities all around the world, not just those in their traditional homelands;

* Eastern patriarchs should cast votes in papal elections, and should take precedence over cardinals;

* The process of papal approval of the election of bishops by the synods of Eastern churches should be simplified and sped up.

As NCR went to press it wasn't clear how many of those ideas would survive in the formal propositions presented to the pope, but collectively they suggest a fairly widespread frustration with what Eastern churches sometimes perceive as second-class citizenship.

The proposal for married priests came from Archbishop Antonios Aziz Mina, a Coptic prelate from Egypt.

"Since the 1930s there has been a ban on the ordination of and the practice of the ministry by married priests outside the territories of the patriarchy and the 'historically Eastern regions,'" Mina said. …

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