For the past forty-five years they (Catholic and Orthodox Priests/Theologians/Laity) have been sifting through the pastoral and doctrinal issues that historically have prevented our churches from sharing a single life of faith, sacraments and witness before the world. But in this document, as indicated by its title, they are getting down to brass tacks: “Steps Towards A Reunited Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future.”
Their listing of what we share is substantive and long. In short: We believe our life as churches to be centered on the Divine Liturgy, the Word of God, and the sacraments from baptism to marriage.
Both churches recognize each other’s bishops as legitimately ordained into the apostolic succession. Both venerate Mary, the Mother of God, and a whole range of holy men and women from every age, many of them common to both our traditions. Both our churches cherish ancient practices that help the faithful grow in holiness, such as reverencing sacred images, fasting, the monastic life, and various forms of contemplative prayer.
All of which pushes the commission members to state:
It is urgent that Orthodox and Catholic Christians find an effective way to realize our common tradition of faith together, and to present the world with a unified testimony to the Lordship of Jesus. To be what we are called to be, we need each other…. To become what we are…we cannot stop short of re-establishing full Eucharistic communion among ourselves.
+anaphora – laetare
BTW For the first time since the Schism in 1054 the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch will attend the first Papal mass of the newly elected Pope. Unity in doctrine begins with humility in action; outward love leads to inward theological change.