RCC Cardinal: We expect the Orthodox to recognize necessity of the First

RCC Cardinal Kurt Koch. Photo: catholicnewsagency.com

Intra-Orthodox tensions show that "the ministry of unity at the universal level of the Church" cannot be limited to honorary primacy, says Kurt Koch.

Roman Catholic Cardinal and head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity Kurt Koch expects that the Orthodox Church will sooner or later recognize the need for a form of primacy that will include legal elements. He wrote this in his essay published on the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Catholic News Agency reports.

The Vatican cardinal is convinced that in an ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox, "there must be a willingness to learn from both sides" about synodality and primacy.

Thus, in his view, "the most important contribution" the Catholic Church can make is "the strengthening of synodality", first and foremost, at the regional level being the most developed with the Orthodox.

On the part of the Orthodox Churches, however, believes Kurt Koch, "we can expect the recognition that primacy at the ecumenical level is not only possible and legitimate theologically, but also necessary" and that “a credible link between the hierarchical and the synodal-community principles would favor the advancement of ecumenical dialogue with Orthodoxy."

In his view, "the ministry of unity at the ecumenical level cannot be limited to mere honorary primacy, but must include legal elements," and this is what the "intra-Orthodox tension" that has manifested itself poignantly in recent years.

"We Catholics consider the primacy of the Bishop of Rome as a gift from the Lord to his Church and, therefore, also as an offering to all of Christianity on the path of rediscovering unity and life in unity," the head of the Pontifical Council wrote in particular.

To recall, Kurt Koch previously stated that Catholics and Orthodox should "exchange gifts”.

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