His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism Between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches : an Orthodox Perspective

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Euclid University Press, 2007 - Religion - 448 pages
2 Reviews
A comprehensive, objective, scholarly and yet easy-to-read presentation of the differences, both historical, theological and liturgical between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. The ideal complement (or even antidote) to such books as Upon this Rock; Jesus, Peter and the Keys; Two Paths; The Primacy of Peter; etc. Discusses Peter's Primacy and Succession, Ecclesiology, Infallibility, the Filioque, Celibacy, etc.
 

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This book has two commendations from people who obviously know the subject well: one from the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I and the second from Roman Catholic Cardinal Walter Kasper, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Cleenewerck presents an analysis of the schism between Orthodoxy and Catholicism from an Orthodox point of view but does so without resorting to polemics. In the process, he should gain the respect of readers on both sides of the debate as the above commendations demonstrate. For example, he is not afraid to present the strongest Catholic arguments for papal universal jurisdiction and papal infallibility, which then serves as a basis for a convincing theological analysis of these issues from the Orthodox point of view (pp. 241-315). The author points out how popular apologetic texts, both Orthodox and Catholic, either misrepresent or over-simplify the evidence or fail to tell the full story. Besides the issues related to the papacy, he also discusses other areas of divergence: the Filioque, Purgatory and Indulgences, Celibacy, Birth Control, Divorce, etc. However, Cleenewerck, an Orthodox priest, is refreshing to read for while he persuasively argues for his position he still holds out hope for an eventual healing of the schism between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, though admitting the wounds are profound and he remains pessimistic of an immediate reunion of the two Churches. Still, Cleenewerck is in no rush to a false unity that ignores the very real divide between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. He argues that both sides need to face the doctrinal differences honestly and fairly. His concluding section: “A Vision for Unity,” presents some bold ideas that won’t please everyone, especially as he also points out that both sides need to make changes so that unity might eventually occur. If one is considering the competing claims of Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy – this is the book to read to understand the Orthodox position.  

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This book presents itself as an objective un biased overview of the state of Catholic-Orthodox relations, and the historical basis of them. The book unfortunatly has a very polemic nature to it that seems to take pot shots at the Catholic Church whenever possible, The author goes out of his way to ridicule the Catholic Church with zingers at every step of the way all the while pretending to want to be respectful and unbiased. As someone who believes in Eucharistic Ecclesiology and who is Catholic I find what could have been a very kind and charitable work that Catholics could pick up to read about the Schism falls severely short and in its present state seems little more than an author with an axe to grind. As a Priest and a supposed scholar M. Cleenewerke should have the charity of heart to write in love and the scholarly ability to do so. It would appear as though he has done neither. The same can be said with not only his interpretation of history, but of his very one sided portrayal of it. It would have been far more charitable to have not described the book as objective and unbiased, so as not to deceive. 

Contents

VIII
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IX
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XI
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XIII
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XIV
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XV
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CV
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CVI
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CVIII
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CIX
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CX
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CXI
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CXII
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CL
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CXCVI
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CXCVII
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CXCVIII
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CXCIX
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