Issues Addressed and Issues Neglected: Official Orthodox-Catholic Relations

by Thomas Bremer

On September 21st, at the end of its plenary session in Chieti, Italy, the “Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church” adopted a joint document titled “Synodality and Primacy During the First Millennium: Towards a Common Understanding in Service to the Unity of the Church.“ This might seem to mark progress in the relations between both Churches. However, there are more important issues in the background of these relations which are not addressed at all, or at least neglected. One could argue that the Commission’s work is instead encumbered much more by inner-Orthodox tensions, and by a misperception of the stumbling blocks between both Churches, than by the theological differences themselves. Therefore, since it misses important issues, it cannot easily achieve progress in inter-church relations. Continue Reading…

The First Test for Orthodox Unity after the Holy and Great Council: The Chieti Document

by Rev. Dr. Nicolas Kazarian

September 2016, Chieti, Italy. The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, established in 1979, gathered once again. But this meeting was crucial in many ways, and not only for Orthodox-Catholic relations. It was also the first test at a global level for inter-Orthodox unity on a topic that is far from consensual among the Orthodox Churches, namely ecumenism. Continue Reading…

Why “Nones” Are Leaving the Church

by Michael Peppard

This essay originally appeared on dotCommonweal on September 23, 2016. 


The most significant demographic trend in American religion today is the rapidly growing numbers of “unaffiliated” or “nones.” The data has spoken clearly for years, with a rise from about 5% in 1972 to about 25% in 2016. More importantly, almost 40% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 are religiously unaffiliated. This is no mere life-cycle effect, as has been so common in the past. If you find yourself gazing at empty pews this weekend and thinking, They’ll come back when they have kids of their own, you’re in denial. Continue Reading…