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Getting Re-Oriented

Earlier this week, Pope Benedict met with Mar Dinkha IV, patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. The Assyrians, separated from Catholic unity since the time of Nestorius, are heirs to the East Syrian Christian traditions. During the pontificate of John Paul II, the Assyrians and Catholics signed a common christological declaration, agreed to share Communion under certain circumstances, and permitted free use of one another’s liturgies. (I discussed the matter briefly here and also in my new book The Resilient Church: The Glory, the Shame, and the Hope for Tomorrow.) This ecumenical progress is urgent at least partly because the Assyrians are suffering mightily alongside Chaldean Catholics in war-torn Iraq. These developments permit a greater latitude for pastoral care.

The full text of Pope Benedict’s address to Mar Dinkha is here.