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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 2: The Petrine Ministry in Vatican I and Vatican II


Chapter 2:  The Petrine Ministry in Vatican I and Vatican II

Vatican I and Vatican II can be regarded as the most important Ecumenical Councils of the modern age. The revolutionary changes it brought about in the concept of the papacy have still their far-reaching consequences not only in the Catholic Church, but also in other Churches. If Vatican I had a judicially formulated and issued doctrine of the jurisdictional papal primacy to its credit, Vatican II complemented the doctrine of the Petrine ministry of the Catholic Church with the principle of the episcopate and opened the doors for a further modification of the Petrine ministry in the form of the papacy on the ecumenical line. The teaching of the primacy of the First and Second Vatican Councils is based on the sacramental nature of the Church714. The non-Catholic Churches responded positively to the invitation to a dialogue and it launched a new ecumenical movement with a new perspective of thinking together. In this chapter I would like to study the historical background, the ecclesial undercurrents, the discussions and the documents of both Councils highlighting the aspect of the Petrine ministry.

Vatican I is a highly significant milestone of the Roman papacy on its way to an official and judicial definition. The papacy has reached its climax of development in the First Vatican Council in the midst of conflicting ideas and debates. Tavard is of the opinion that Vatican I marked a new stage in the...

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