Clarification on Title "Patriarch of the West"

And why it isn’t being used anymore. From the Vatican Information Service:

“From a historical perspective,” the communique reads, “the ancient Patriarchates of the East, defined by the Councils of Constantinople (381) and of Chalcedon (451), covered a fairly clearly demarcated territory. At the same time, the territory of the see of the Bishop of Rome remained somewhat vague. In the East, under the ecclesiastical imperial system of Justinian (527-565), alongside the four Eastern Patriarchates (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem), the Pope was included as the Patriarch of the West. Rome, on the other hand, favored the idea of the three Petrine episcopal sees: Rome, Alexandria and Antioch. Without using the title ‘Patriarch of the West,’ the Fourth Council of Constantinople (869-870), the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) and the Council of Florence (1439), listed the Pope as the first of the then five Patriarchs.

“The title ‘Patriarch of the West’ was adopted in the year 642 by Pope Theodore. Thereafter it appeared only occasionally and did not have a clear meaning. It flourished in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in the context of a general increase in the Pope’s titles, and appeared for the first time in the ‘Annuario Pontificio’ in 1863.”

The term ‘West’ currently refers to a cultural context not limited only to Western Europe but including North America, Australia and New Zealand, thus differentiating itself from other cultural contexts, says the communique. “If we wished to give the term ‘West’ a meaning applicable to ecclesiastical juridical language, it could be understood only in reference to the Latin Church.” In this way, the title “Patriarch of the West,” would describe the Bishop of Rome’s special relationship with the Latin Church, and his special jurisdiction over her.

“The title ‘Patriarch of the West,’ never very clear, over history has become obsolete and practically unusable. It seems pointless, then, to insist on maintaining it. Even more so now that the Catholic Church, with Vatican Council II, has found, in the form of episcopal conferences and their international meetings, the canonical structure best suited to the needs of the Latin Church today.”

The communique concludes: “Abandoning the title of ‘Patriarch of the West’ clearly does not alter in any way the recognition of the ancient patriarchal Churches, so solemnly declared by Vatican Council II. … The renouncement of this title aims to express a historical and theological reality, and at the same time, … could prove useful to ecumenical dialogue.”

Islam and Freedom of Religion?

Not to mention, didn’t we overthrow the “extreme” version?

In Afghanistan, from CNN:

In the days of the Taliban, those promoting Christianity in Afghanistan could be arrested and those converting from Islam could be tortured and publicly executed.

That was supposed to change after U.S.-led forces ousted the oppressive, fundamentalist regime, but the case of 41-year-old Abdul Rahman has many Western nations wondering if Afghanistan is regressing.

Rahman, a father of two, was arrested last week and is now awaiting trial for rejecting Islam. He told local police, whom he approached on an unrelated matter, that he had converted to Christianity. Reports say he was carrying a Bible at the time.

Monk’s Suicide Linked to DaVinci Code?

From The Telegraph:

A monk may have leapt to his death from a monastery after reading The Da Vinci Code, it emerged yesterday.

Abbot Alan Rees, 64, a revered figure in the Benedictine community, fell 30ft from a second-storey balcony at Belmont Abbey in Herefordshire last October.

The Swansea-born monk had suffered from depression for the past 12 years.

Pope’ Wednesday Audience (Today)

Pope Benedict XVI:

In our catechesis on Christ and the Church, we have seen how the Church is built “on the foundation of the Apostles”. The Gospels show how Jesus, at the beginning of his public ministry, chose the Twelve to become “fishers of men”. Saint John in particular presents the calling of the Apostles as the fruit of a life-changing, personal encounter with the Lord. More than just the proclamation of a message, the preaching of the Gospel is seen as a witness to the person of Jesus Christ and an invitation to enter into communion with him. Jesus sent his Apostles first to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”. This prophetic act should be understood in the light of Israel’s messianic expectation, according to which God, through his Chosen One, would gather his people like a shepherd his flock. This “gathering” is the sign of the coming of God’s Kingdom and the extension of his saving power to every nation and people. After the Resurrection, the universality of the mission entrusted to the Apostles would become explicit. The Risen Lord would send them forth to make disciples of every nation, even “to the ends of the earth”!

Daily Audio Lenten Post

this is an audio post - click to play

From the book of Lenten meditations written by me:

The Power of the Cross: Applying the Passion of Christ to Your Life

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