52 Jurist 369 (1992)
One Bishop per City: Tensions around the Expression of the Catholicity of the Local Church since Vatican II

handle is hein.journals/juristcu52 and id is 375 raw text is: THE JURIST 52 (1992) 369-400

The very title of our colloquium, The Catholicity of Local
Churches, would have astonished the Fathers of the Church because,
by itself, such a label suggests that at least at the heart of the Catholic
Church this perception would not be taken for granted, or at least that
it would not go without debate or without having to meet certain chal-
To say things more directly, at least up until Vatican II, our Orthodox
brothers, even with the best intention in our regard, spontaneously
expressed doubts on the subject of the true catholicity of our local
churches. The only proof would be the following statement by John
Meyendorff in a 1961 text, it is true. There he wrote that:
In the Roman Church there can be neither theological nor prac-
tical objection to maintaining in a single place several ecclesi-
astical jurisdictions, separated by rite, language, or nationality,
because the criterion of their unity and the center of their
ecclesiastical life is always to be found in Rome, outside their
own limits. On the contrary, Orthodox ecclesiology, in affirm-
ing the catholic fullness of every local church, is bound to
manifest catholic unity everywhere on the local level. The pres-
ence of Christ in the Church is guaranteed by the very gath-
ering in His name, in the unity of the true faith, and in con-
formity with true tradition-and not by an allegiance to some
universal center.'
Since this date, Vatican II renewed the theology of catholicity. It
clearly affirmed, first, that the catholicity of the entire Church is hour-
* Professor of Theology, Institut Catholique, Paris, France.
1 John Meyendorff, One Bishop in One City, in Orthodoxy and Christianity
(New York: Sheed & Ward, 1966) 115-116. First published in St. Vladimir's Seminary
Quarterly 5 (1961) 54-62.

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