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The Role of the Petrine Ministry in the Ecumenical Relationship between the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Catholic Church

Pater Biju Mathew

This work deals with the role of the Petrine ministry in the ecumenical relationship between the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Catholic Church. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church traces her origin to the Church of St Thomas Christians, founded by St Thomas, the Apostle who reached the south Indian state of Kerala in 52 AD. The book explores the Ecclesiologies of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the St Thomas Christians of India and the Catholic Church from a dogmatic-juridical-historical perspective. The author tries to mediate between the two Churches in order to support them in the reviewing process of their history and Ecclesiology and re-establishing the unity for which Jesus Christ prayed: «Holy father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one» (Jn 17, 11). The author in his role as mediator makes a few suggestions for solving the problems related to the concept of the Petrine ministry on a universal level in the light of the Communion Ecclesiology of Vatican II, the studies of the various unofficial ecumenical dialogue commissions and the analysis of the experience of the Syro Malabar Church, one of the 22 sui iuris Churches in the Catholic Church.
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Chapter 1: The Arguments of the Catholic Church in Answer to the Objections of the MOSC against the Papal Primacy


Chapter 1:  The Arguments of the Catholic Church in answer to the Objections of the MOSC against the Papal Primacy

The Petrine ministry is a contentious theme that caused endless discussions and controversies in the Christendom. It is one of the major hindrances to the unity of the Churches even in the present century. Different Churches and ecclesial communities hold extremely different positions on the theme “Petrine ministry”. The Petrine ministry is of great importance for the Catholic Church because it is the pivotal notion of her Ecclesiology. But the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Church of the East, the Protestant Churches and the various ecclesial communities or Christian sects do not accept the Petrine ministry as defined and practised by the Catholic Church. They all differ in the degree of accepting the Petrine ministry of the Catholic Church which in its current form is known as the “Jurisdictional Papal Primacy”.

My intention is to find out the arguments with which the Catholic Church defends her concept of the jurisdictional papal primacy. The MOSC puts forward her arguments in objecting the jurisdictional primacy of the Pope of Rome as described in the 4th chapter of part I. It is important to see whether the theologians of the Catholic Church have valid arguments to refute the position of the MOSC and defend the Catholic position on the jurisdictional papal primacy. The following points are the main objections of the MOSC against the Catholic position:...

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