TORONTO – The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation met at St. Augustine’s Seminary of Toronto. The 101st meeting was hosted by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The twelve members present prayed together daily and enjoyed meals and fellowship, including vespers followed by a special dinner hosted by His Eminence Archbishop Sotirios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada.
In addition to those who came together in person, six members joined virtually. In the course of the meeting, the Consultation completed a joint statement on the theology and practice of marriage in both churches, including its nature as a sacrament of Christian faith, its permanent, indissoluble character, and its form in the present canon law of both our Churches. The Consultation resolved its discussions on the topic of ‘Orthodox-Catholic Marriages’ and completed the document for ultimate publication.
His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Tobin, NJ, Catholic co-chair of the Consultation stated, “this meeting was important in many ways and marks a turning point in the Consultation’s future. I am convinced that this new document on marriage offers a compassionate and specific pastoral recommendations for the care and spiritual growth of Catholic-Orthodox families.”
Additionally, the Consultation, building on the success of the past fifty-eight years, finalized a restructuring proposal that allows for more effective study on timely issues as well as greater engagement with the Orthodox and Catholic communities. The structure will provide new opportunities for the Consultation to build on its successful work well into the future.
About the restructuring of the Consultation, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, Orthodox co-chair commented that, “the new form envisioned for the future work of the Consultation will offer more flexibility and a renewed commitment to reconciliation between Orthodox and Catholics.” He continued, “it is our hope that the upcoming work of the Consultation will bring more visibility to this unique and historic endeavor between our two Churches.”
Both the document, titled ‘The Pastoral Care of Mixed Marriages: Neither Yours nor Mine-but Ours’, and the Restructuring Proposal were approved and sent to the USCCB/CCCB and the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America for review and publication.