Return to Theological Thoughts
Return to Ecumenism
One In Christ
Because I am going to write a profoundly critical document,
I think it is important to make my credentials
clear. I was brought up a Protestant, more specifically: a Methodist. I
became a Catholic for intellectual reasons, while an undergraduate at Cambridge
University. Through my whole time at Cambridge, I was involved with the
"Ecumenical Fellowship Groups" movement: something started by the Methodist
Student Society, but supported by Christians of many denominational allegiances
(though treated with a certain disdain by undergraduates of classical Evangelical
or Calvinist leanings, and with only a smattering of Catholic involvement.)
Through my involvement with EFGs, I went on three missions to ecumenically
co-operating groups of churches. In one of these, the local Catholic parish
was involved. Since that time, I founded and helped run (for at least three
years) an ecumenical fellowship and discussion group at my place of work.
Most of my close Christian friends are protestants: mainly Anglicans (of
various types) and Methodists. I also have a continuing personal interest
in Eastern Christianity: Catholic; Byzantine and Coptic. As a gay man,
I have been involved with protestant Christians through the LGCM.
As a convert to Catholicism, I am in a strong position
to pass judgement on the situation: I have seen it "from both sides of
the fence", and still do so. I understand what is important to all parties
concerned and what the dynamics of the situation are.
Because of my background and connections, I feel the pain
of Christian disunity with a particular keenness. It is something that
has and continues to affect my life personally. I can still remember the
anguish of looking at a piece of "Mother's Pride loaf" offered to me by
a Methodist minister, wondering if it was really the Body of Christ, then
rushing off to rescue the leftovers that would otherwise be fed to the
birds. Ecumenism is not an issue which is an "add on" to my notion of Catholicism,
but at its very heart. It is because of this that I am dismayed by the
manner in which ecumenical matters are being pursued.
The Liberal Agenda
In my experience, most people actively involved in ecumenical
matters have a liberal agenda. In effect they are co-religionists who happen
to belong to different jurisdictions. They largely share the same doctrinal
outlook. They largely relate to each other in the same way as do "evangelicals"
who happen to belong to differing denominations. The presumption of this
liberal elite is (roughly) that if some doctrine is in dispute, then that
doctrine cannot be important: simply because it is in dispute! What
is held in common is important, what is not held in common can be ignored
or down-played. Now in some abstract world, this might be true: in the
real world, it simply is not the case. This can easily be seen in the following
way. If you take enough versions of Christianity, and work out what they
all have in common, you will finish up with very little other than a theological
creed along the lines "Jesus was an important man" and a moral code amounting
to "be a nice person". Of course, if you exclude Unitarians and Jehovah's
Witnesses, you'll do a bit better; if you exclude the Quakers, Baptists
and Salvation Army, better still: but why should these groups be
excluded? By choosing to do so, you are simply expressing your own prejudice
as to which doctrines are important. You are selecting the data to fit
The liberal agenda is biased.
The ecumenical-liberals select the basis of the discussion,
and who is allowed to engage in it, in accordance with their own views
as to what Christianity should be. They are not really interested in engaging
in dialogue with those who disagree with them. Instead they tend to dismiss
such people as ignorant or reactionary. As a Traditionalist Catholic, I
believe that some of the most distinctively Catholic-Orthodox or "un-Protetstant"
doctrines are of paramount
importance. This belief does not limit my willingness to engage in
respectful dialogue with people of very different views, however. Neither
does it incline me to treat (even the most extreme) Protestants or their
belief systems with derision. I do not look to validate my theology by
obtaining agreement with others. For me, the test of truth is the Living
Tradition, Contemporary Experience and the Dynamic
Magisterium of the Church.
The liberal agenda is dishonest.
The liberal-ecumenical agenda is essentially dishonest. It
is directed towards subverting the prevailing theologies of the various
sociological groupings involved and replacing them by a single set of anodyne
beliefs intended to serve as a basis for common action: though to what
end, apart from general works of charity (which are not the exclusive preserve
of Christians) it is not clear. Moreover, it involves the use of equivocation
and dissimulation. For years the "Anglican Roman Catholic International
Commission" went about its task of producing studiously ambiguous documents
without challenge. The Anglicans let it be thought that they were able
to speak with one voice on doctrinal matters: whereas in fact their Evangelical,
Liberal and Catholic wings hardly talk to each other, let alone have any
common doctrinal ground! The Catholics let it be thought that certain matters
of defined doctrine were up for debate: not interpretation or explanation,
but outright rejection. In particular, they let it be thought that "The
Catholic Church" was willing to give up its peculiar claim to unique legitimacy
and become "The Roman Catholic Denomination", one church
among many. Pope John Paul II personally contributed to this expectation
by the character of his visit to Canterbury Cathedral (which forms part
of an indifferentist and syncretist pattern of behaviour, along with
the Assisi conferences of World Religions, and his visits to Synagogues
and Mosques.) The programme has been taken further by the misleading "Catholic
Lutheran Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification".
The liberal agenda is uncharitable.
Unsurprisingly to those informed in these matters the Catholic
Church isn't about to repudiate its claim to uniqueness, as was made crystal
clear in the recent document from Rome "Domine Jesus". The feelings of
betrayal and dismay expressed by those Protestants attempting to engage
in ecumenical dialogue with Catholics when this document was issued were
entirely understandable. To have allowed them to think that Rome would
essentially compromise its position was uncharitable. This is not to say
that all of the work of the
ARCIC was in vain. It did come up with
some valid insights, though in my view, the more valid the insights were,
the less acceptable they were to the governing bodies of one or both jurisdictions.
A good deal can be done to foster cordial relations and engender
mutual respect at the local level. I know this from personal experience
when I was a young man in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent: where Methodists and
Anglo-Catholics were on very good terms and did quite a lot of things together.
Unfortunately, very little is done in this way of things. Typically, the
only ecumenical activity in a parish is something along the lines of inter-church
Lent groups: an essentially introverted and sterile endeavour. The principal
should be that Christians should do together as much as they possibly
can do, without compromise. This could easily mean merging their social
outreach programmes (e.g. St Vincent de Paul and similar activities) regular
Bible study groups (sorry, Catholics don't have such!) non Eucharistic
worship (sorry again, Catholics don't have any!) even some evangelistic
work (sorry one last time, but Catholics don't do this either!) I
shall not further labour the point that there is much that could
be done, even if little is in fact done. Practical Ecumenism should
be more about doing ordinary (and so important) things together,
not doing specifically ecumenical things which easily become introverted
and a distraction from the real business of Christians: proclaiming and
implementing the Kingdom
of God's Friends!
The blind leading the blind.
I know from first-hand experience that much of what is proposed
as grass-roots ecumenism (as in exploring each other's beliefs) is nothing
of the kind. This because the people involved often do not have an adequate
grasp of what the issues are. They tend to identify their ecclesial affiliations
in terms of style and not substance. They are Methodists because they like
singing hymns, they are Catholics because they are ethnically Irish and
admire the Pope. They are Anglicans because they are attached to choral
evensong and propriety. Please excuse my parody.
One can only learn from someone who has something to teach.
Too often local ecumenical activity amounts to the blind leading the blind
and results in nothing more momentous than the acknowledgement that "them
across the road are Christians too, and generally OK people." This level
of response to the private tragedy and public scandal of Christian disunity
can only be described as pathetic. In Western Christendom, only evangelical
Protestants and conservative Catholics understand their churchmanship primarily
in terms of doctrine, and neither group is generally inclined to engage
in ecumenical activity: precisely because they see it as a threat to the
purity of their doctrinal stance. The recent publication of the Catholc-Lutheran
on the Doctrine of Justification was a cause of some hope that this sterility
might be overcome.
The other danger inherent in local ecumenical activity is
indifferentism. Because most Catholics are woefully ill-formed in the Faith,
they are open to influence from others who have clearer views and definite
principles to hand. Typically, the local Catholic hierarchy actively encourages
them to believe that there isn't much difference between Protestantism
and Catholicism. Generally, this is exactly what the laity now does believe.
Why shouldn't they: it's what "Father
says" after all. Moreover, contemporary Catholic
liturgy is nowadays not very different in form from a Protestant
service, and often inferior in style. The only remedy for these problems
is better formation and education of the Catholic laity. However there
is no sign of this ever happening. It would be contrary
to the interests of the hierarchy to encourage or allow it.
Truth in Charity
I believe that the only way to make progress at the theological
level is to accept from the start that there are important differences
of view. The reasons for these differences should be identified by discussion
and debate. The basis of such a debate can only be mutual
respect. Even when one's opponents are entirely mistaken, they may
be in good faith and deserve respect for that reason if no other. Moreover,
the fact they are wrong, doesn't mean that they have nothing of value to
teach. The very reason that they are wrong may be enlightening. Perhaps
the only reason that you don't agree with them is that in your blinkered
view of the world, you haven't even begun to consider some important issue
that they have at least tried to address! They, in their error, may have
much to teach you who haven't faced the problem.
"Why?" not "What?"
The most important question is not :"How do we differ?",
but rather "Why do we differ?" This in historical terms, but also and primarily
in philosophical and psychological terms: "What continues to motivate
this difference? What is perceived as valuable in each viewpoint by its
proponents? What is perceived as dangerous or harmful or wrong in each
viewpoint by its opponents?" When these questions are answered, it may
become clear that the disagreement is more a misunderstanding, and a common
view synthetically arise from the dialogue. This is the approach that the
"Joint Declaration" attempted to adopt. It
is also possible that one side may suddenly realize, in humility that it
is simply mistaken! Certainly, Catholicism has had to come to this realization
on a good number of occasions: though it has tended to do so quietly, without
any great publicity!
Ecumenism within Catholicism.
I believe that it is also important to acknowledge that these
differences do not respect denominational, jurisdictional or confessional
boundaries. Within contemporary Catholicism there are very many laity and
clergy whose theology and spirituality is indistinguishable from liberal-protestantism.
As the late Cardinal Hulme once said to me in private: "The
Catholic Church is split
from top to bottom on important theological issues." This fact simply
has to be recognized, though not approved, by the Catholic hierarchy. The
late Cardinal Bernardin attempted to address this matter in what, I believe,
was more or less exactly the right way in his "Common
Ground Initiative", however this largely went to the grave along with
him: while other voices in the Church expressed the opinion that the only
common ground" that was needed was the Papal diktat.
The present state of the Catholic Church.
It is my view that the contemporary Catholic Church is in
a state of near collapse. Its laity is ignorant,
lukewarm and diffident. They are like sheep scattering without a shepherd.
They do not know what to believe or do, because
they are given no direction and are discouraged from thinking or acting
for themselves. Conformity is the spirit of the age, yet what is to be
conformed to is indeterminate. Whereas the authentic spirit of Catholicism
is directed towards the creation of community
and fellowship (as indeed happens somewhat in "Basic Communities" in
South America) in Western Europe practical Catholicism is "family value"
oriented, with the result that the parish is segregated into family based
cliques. Because there are typically no formal "fellowship" or "study"
or "lay apostolate" groups (and this often justified on the basis that
people with families have no time to spare for such activities) these cliques
are never broken down. Everywhere I look within Catholicism, I see death
and decay - or isolated groups struggling against the odds to combat death
and decay. Why be a Catholic? The Catholic hierarchy
has no grounds for feelings of "triumphalist" superiority in its dealings
with Protestant or Orthodox christians!
Pressing Need for Humility
If the Catholic Church comes to any dialogue with other Christians
carrying the chip on Her shoulder that She is the True Church and that
they are "just frauds", how can any meaningful and respectful interchange
take place and how can any progress towards reconciliation be made? This
question can be answered in two ways. On the one hand, the Catholic Church
has no choice but to gently insist that She has something unique
and precious to offer: namely juridical, sociological and historical continuity
with the Apostolic Church. To fail to do so would be dishonest. For others
expect Her to deny Her understanding of Herself is unfair. If
She gives this up, She has nothing. On the other hand, the Catholic Church
has no choice either but to admit that:
In other words, humility is called for on behalf of the Catholic
hierarchy. They should stop blowing hot and cold: first betraying the Tradition
by calling every Catholic doctrine into question in ecumenical dialogue;
and then claiming that their jurisdiction is identical with the
"Perfect Society of the One True Catholic, Evangelical and Apostolic Church
of the Body of Christ". Instead, they should proclaim the Tradition,
but gently: and offer the juridical authenticity (and the magisterial
office that comes with it) as a gift to be shared. The problem is
that within the Church, authority is too often conceived of in totalitarian
terms, rather than as a charism to be used in the service of all.
She is in practice an imperfect realization of the Perfect
Society that She is called to be.
She has been guilty of many and serious misjudgements
in the past.
It is only to be expected that She is currently labouring
under other such misjudgements.
She has regularly imposed uniformity out of fear in an attempt
to defend orthodoxy.
In fact She should welcome
diversity, within the bounds of orthodoxy.
Narrowness of vision and over regulation has impoverished
Her own Catholicity.
In Platonic terms: this has
marred Her participation in the form of the Church of Christ.
She has much to learn from non-Catholic Christians in the
fellowship and community
preaching and catechesis
subsidiarity and equitable Church governance
What God cares about is interior good will, not exterior
Although other Christians may have lost "formal legitimacy"
they may be closer to the Kingdom in practical terms than the typical Catholic.
All Christians in good faith are already invisibly
united in the One Body of Christ, of which The Roman Church believes
Herself to be the uniquely authentic visible expression.
In Platonic terms: all ecclesial communities participate,
degrees of authenticity, in the form
of the One Church of Christ.
The Orthodox Churches
and "Nestorian"] are hardly
lacking in Apostolic Legitimacy: only a small set of minor issues and misunderstandings
remaining to be resolved.
In Platonic terms, their participation in the form
of the Church of Christ is no less significant (though different
in character) than that of the Roman Church's own.
The loss of Apostolic Succession in the typical protestant
jurisdiction, while grave, may not be as clear-cut as Pope Leo XIIIth,
of blessed memory, thought. The ARCIC had some interesting
insights in this field.
Equally, other Christians must open themselves to the
possibility that they have lost something of Catholicity in their histories.
It is not just a matter of legitimate differences and different
perspectives (though both are important) but also that "All
have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God". Only when all
Christians are willing to countenance that:
will a basis for full reconciliation be created. Speaking
of the Catholic Church, but with a clear ecumenical application, Gaudiem
et Spes says that we should seek for:
significant mistakes have been made by their leaders in the
that we still labour under the ill effects of some of these
that these mistakes must be identified and disowned (i.e.
"mutual esteem, reverence
and harmony, and acknowledge all legitimate diversity; in this way all
who constitute the one people of God will be able to engage in ever more
fruitful dialogue. For the ties which unite... are stronger than those
which separate: let there be unity in what is necessary, freedom in
what is doubtful, and charity in everything."
In September 2005, Cardinal Kasper laid down five challenges
for the Roman and Byzantine Jurisdictions:
On October 18, 2008, the Oecumencal Patriach of Constantinople
delivered an address to the synod of bishops of the Catholic Church in
communion with Bishop of Rome. In it he said:
purification of historical memory: admitting sins and
overcoming mutual ignorance, prejudices and lack of understanding;
the mutual exchange of gifts (such as synodality);
strengthening cooperation in order to speak with a single
voice to secularised Europe;
recognising that the path to full communion is a spiritual
"This gracious invitation
of Your Holiness to our Modesty is a gesture full of meaning and significance
– we dare say an historic event in itself. For it is the first time in
history that an Oecumenical Patriarch is offered the opportunity to address
a Synod of the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, and thus be part of
the life of this sister Church at such a high level. We regard this
as a manifestation of the work of the Holy Spirit leading our Churches
to a closer and deeper relationship with each other, an important step
towards the restoration of our full communion. It is well known that
the Orthodox Church attaches to the Synodical system fundamental ecclesiogical
importance. Together with primacy synodality constitutes the backbone of
the Church’s government and organisation. As our Joint International Commission
on the Theological Dialogue between our Churches expressed it in the Ravenna
document, this interdependence between synodality and primacy runs through
all the levels of the Church’s life: local, regional and universal. Therefore,
in having today the privilege to address Your Synod our hopes are raised
that the day will come when our two Churches will fully converge on the
role of primacy and synodality in the Church’s life, to which our common
Theological Commission is devoting its study at the present time."
[Bartholomew I (18/10/2008)]
What would the final settlement
The following is a set of notes outlining possible solutions
to the main doctrinal and jurisdictional problems that have to be resolved
by any Reuniting Churches. The central problem is that of papal authority.
I write about this at great length elsewhere.
From a Catholic perspective the sticking points are an unequivocal acceptance
that the pope of Rome has, of Divine Right and not by human settlement:
These points are mitigated and balanced
by the following considerations
a pre-eminence and authority that is
subject to no other person or office
immediate and ordinary jurisdiction
throughout the Universal Church
the power to define doctrine in a similar
manner to an Oecumenical Council
Papal authority should always be used
to build communion and fellowship, not destroy it.
It should therefore be constrained
On rare occasions, it may be appropriate
for papal authority to be exercised in a coercive or condemnatory manner.
Generally, however, papal authority
should be exercised in a consensual and persuasive manner, and not be directive,
coercive or condemnatory.
In an emergency, the pope of Rome has
the right to suspend such canons and act without legal constraint.
These would recognise that although
an Oecumenical Council does not have the authority to judge or depose the
pope of Rome, it does have the authority (of Divine Right) to declare that
someone who had been pope was no longer so, due to an act of either heresy
(departure from faith) or schism (departure from justice or charity).
These would require papal definitions
of doctrine to normally be expressions of the consensus of the Epsicopate,
and so not normally be made unilaterally.
The terms of these canons not to be
varied by papal authority, but only with the unanimous consent of the other
However, in doing so he lays himself
open to the public admonition of any and all Catholics.
It would then always be possible to
argue that the pope of Rome was then acting "ultra vires".
Because this case could not be tried
(there being no competent court) the pope could not be constrained in his
action; but neither could his action be enforced.
Hence, such action would always invite
an Oecumenical Council to declare that the pope had gone into schism and
was therefore no longer pope,
“Against this background we
can now weigh the possibilities that are open to Christian ecumenism. The
maximum demands on which the search for unity must certainly founder are
While the first three maximum demands
are today rather unanimously rejected by Christian consciousness, the fourth
exercises a kind of fascination for it – as it were, a certain conclusiveness
that makes it appear to be the real solution to the problem. This is all
the more true since there is joined to it the expectation that a Parliament
of Churches, a ‘truly ecumenical council’, could then harmonize this pluralism
and promote a Christian unity of action.
On the part of the West, the maximum
demand would be that the East recognize the primacy of the bishop of Rome
in the full scope of the definition of 1870 and in so doing submit in
practice, to a primacy such as has been accepted by the Uniate churches.
On the part of the East, the maximum
demand would be that the West declare the 1870 doctrine of primacy erroneous
and in so doing submit, in practice, to a primacy such as has been accepted
[sic] with the removal of the Filioque from the Creed and including the
Marian dogmas of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
As regards Protestantism, the maximum
demand of the Catholic Church would be that the Protestant ecclesiological
ministers be regarded as totally invalid and that Protestants be converted
the maximum demand of Protestants,
on the other hand, would be that the Catholic Church accept, along with
the unconditional acknowledgement of all Protestant ministries, the Protestant
concept of ministry and their understanding of the Church and thus, in
practice, renounce the apostolic and sacramental structure of the Church,
which would mean, in practice, the conversion of Catholics to Protestantism
and their acceptance of a multiplicity of distinct community structures
as the historical form of the Church.
That no real union would result
from this, but that its very impossibility would become a single common
dogma, should convince anyone who examines the suggestion closely that
such a way would not bring Church unity but only a final renunciation of
As a result, none of the maximum solutions
offers any real hope of unity.”
[Cardinal Ratzinger: "Principles
of Catholic Theology" (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1982) pp 197-198]
Regarding the Union of the Roman
Jurisdiction with those of Moscow, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria:
Christology and Trinitarianism
The Interpretation of the teachings
of Oecumenical Councils
The decision of the Second
Council of Lyons regarding the Filioque be unequivocally accepted by
all. While there should be no change in any liturgical version of the Nicene
Creed, in all theological discussions and in all catechesis, the original
text - without the filioque - should be used.
All jurisdictions - including the Abyssinians
and Armenians - are to have unimpeded access to the Holy Sites in Palestine.
The status of various
anathemas are irreformable in expression, though their exact application
is subject to review.
and Symbolic statements are to be accepted with profound reverence, however
they may admit of textual variation or improvement.
Other positive teaching is to be presumed
to be definitively authentic, but is subject to change as a result of subsequent
development and the teaching of the Magisterium.
Anathemas directed at individuals can
never be taken to be "dogmatic" but only "disciplinary". Any of these may
in fact be misguided and may be annulled, even if at some time they were
generally accepted as valid.
Nicea I is to be acknowledged as always
having been recognized to be Oecumenical, and the development of its creed
at the local council "Constantinople I" to be acknowledged as authentic.
Ephasus, Chalcedon, Nicea II, Constantinople
II, III, IV, V, Lyons II and Florence are all to be declared to have been
Oecumenical by: "Universal Convocation", "Adequate Attendance", "Ecclesial
Acknowledgement" and "Papal Ratification".
The teaching of the Synods of Trent,
Jerusalem II and Vatican
I is to be reviewed and recognized as orthodox and definitively authentic.
These Councils are to be ratified and so gain Oecumenical status. The anathemas
of Trent and Vatican I to be acknowledged as infallible definitions.
Dogmatic pronouncements made by other
Councils are to be treated with respect but any anathemas issued be denied
infallible status, for lack of Oecumenicity.
I have covered these in great detail
Open Theological Questions
I have covered these in great detail
Regarding the Union of Evangelical and Reformed Jurisdictions
with the Catholic and Orthodox Church:
All the above are to be affirmed and accepted. In addition:
Regarding the loss of Apostolic
Regarding theological disputes: An Oecumenical Council
is to be convened at which the following Constitutions will be drawn up
and ratified by all wishing to enter this Union.
The pastoral value of the ministries of the Lutheran and
associated jurisdictions in God's providence is affirmed.
The lack of Apostolicity of these ministries (except in the
case of the Swedish Lutheran Church) is acknowledged.
The acceptance of Apostolic Orders as mandatory for all further
pastoral ministry is affirmed.
The question of the "validity" of orders is postponed for
joint historical and theological elucidation.
Regarding jurisdictional arrangements within the Patriarchate
A Dogmatic Constitution on the nature of the Apostolic Tradition,
developing the teaching of "Dei Verbum". To include:
an acceptance of the books of the deutero-canon as inspired
a statement that the New Testament is the prime and
most authoritative witness to Apostolic Tradition and that the Magisterium
is subject to its clear meaning, notwithstanding the fact that all
Scripture is subject to authoritative interpretation by the Magisterium.
an evaluation of modern Scriptural Scholarship and Criticism.
an appreciation of the importance of the testimony of the
an account of the process of the
development and definition of Doctrine.
A Dogmatic Constitution on Justification, based on a clarification
of the Joint Lutheran-Catholic declaration
such that it is brought into alignment with the teaching of the Council
This should develop the teaching on Hell
It should be made clear that an indulgence has no moral,
healing or sanctifying effect on the recipient.
It should be made clear that a person dying in a state of
grace, with no outstanding "temporal debt" may still have to pass through
Purgatory in order for their sanctification to be completed.
A Dogmatic Constitution on human free-will
and God's grace, in conformance with the teaching of the Councils
of Jerusalem and Trent.
A Dogmatic Constitution on the Sacraments, in conformance
with the teaching of the Councils of Jerusalem and Trent.
A Dogmatic Constitution on the Most
Holy Eucharist, in conformance with the teaching of the Councils of
Jerusalem and Trent.
A Dogmatic Constitution on the Saints and most especially
the Blessed Mother of God.
A Dogmatic Constitution on the Magisterium
of the Church, in conformance with the teaching of the Oecumenical Council
of the Vatican and developing the teaching of "Lumen Gentium".
A joint declaration on the
status of the Jewish faith.
A joint declaration on Usury.
A joint declaration on Slavery.
A joint declaration on the relationship
Natural Science, Ontology
and Theological Science.
All Evangelical and Reformed jurisdictions returning to Catholic
Unity shall be incorporated within the Patriarchate of Rome, unless any
specifically wishes incorporation within another Patriarchate.
Any group with a clear identity that wishes to preserve
its distinctive spirituality and liturgy
shall be encouraged to do so.
Such groups should be erected as Ordinariates, Personal Prelatures
or Provinces, as appropriate.
All members of the Roman Patriarchate will be subject to
the same code of canon law; save that Orders, Personal Prelatures and Provinces
may seek leave of the bishop of Rome to have this specifically varied so
as to accord with their own immemorial traditions.
All liturgical books and canons shall be subject to approval
by the bishop of Rome. The only grounds for disapproval shall be heresy.
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