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A period of chill in the theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches of Byzantine tradition began in 1990, when the two sides clashed over so-called "uniatism," meaning the ways in which Catholic communities of the Eastern rites duplicate in everything the parallel Orthodox communities, differing only by their obedience to the Church of Rome.
Certainly, uniatism arose at a specific time and among a specific community of Christians, but as the history of uniatism itself witnesses, its application has never been restricted by the historical circumstances of its genesis.
Anglicans have not been alone in their concern that the provisions established by Anglicanorum coetibus constitute a new instance of uniatism, and Ghirlanda's assurances do not seem to me a sufficient response.
What is most striking about this new application of the methodology of uniatism is not simply that the Holy See has chosen to employ it after four decades of dialogue aimed at full communion between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, but that it has done so after having repudiated uniatism as ecumenically illegitimate.
Therefore, one cannot just dismiss the comparison with uniatism.
Some have spoken of uniatism, but that falls apart when one considers that in the 16 th century Rome was actively proselytizing in the East, while in this case it is Rome who has been approached for unity.
Archbishop Zoghby’s prophetic comments on uniatism show that the tensions between Eastern ecclesiology and the Vatican, especially as affecting the institution of the patriarchate, have yet to be resolved.
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