Monday, July 30, 2007

Assyrian Church of the East against row over Pope’s remark

Earlier in June, Pope Benedict reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document that says Orthodox churches were “defective” and that other Christian denominations were not “true churches.”

Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church.

According to a story in The Hindu newspaper, the Metropolitan said that the Pope’s statement “under the prevailing circumstances” was unwarranted, and had had led to some misunderstanding in other Churches. He added that it could not be glossed over that the Pope expressed his views in an Apostolic Letter to the Catholic Bishops for “enrichment of spiritual activities and faith in Christ,” Mar Aprem said.

At the same time, the fact that the Pontiff had expressed his willingness to continue dialogue with all Churches outside the Catholic fold for the unity of Christians the world over could not be ignored, he said.

“The heads of every Church claim that theirs is the superior Church and the Pope also did the same,” he said.

Mar Aprem, however, said the Vatican should relax its insistence on bringing all the denominations under its control and adopt a new ecumenical policy of communion with other Churches.

Note : The Assyrian Church of the East in India is known as the Chaldean Syrian Church. Outside of India the name Chaldean Church refers to that branch of the Church of the East which has a separate existence from 1553 AD when the Pope consecrated a monk named Sulaqa as the Patriarch of the Chaldeans of Babel.

The head of Chaldean Church is Patriarch Raphael Bidawid who resides in Bagdad.

The Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East is His Holiness Khanania Mar Dinkha IV who resides in Chicago where a lot of Assyrians from Iran and Iraq have migrated during the 20th Century.

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