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Intervention of Mons. Vartan Waldir BOGHOSSIAN, Apostolic Exarch for the faithful of the Armenian Rite living in Latin America and Mexico


The great movement of humanity with its numerous causes has shifted large numbers of the faithful outside the patriarchal territory. The numerous communities of the Diaspora are not always accompanied from a pastoral point of view. Still today this concern “ad gentes” is necessary: there are Churches who find today that the majority of their faithful are part of the Diaspora. There is no shortage of difficulties in making this attention concrete: the difficulties stem, especially in the past, from the difficulty on the part of the Latin Church (“sui iuris”) of accepting in its territory the full jurisdiction of an Eastern Ordinary.
I refer to the concept of territory, established as a limit for the activities of the Eastern Catholic Churches that is present in all the Canonical Codes of the Eastern Churches.
It is difficult to understand why the activities of the Patriarchs, the Bishops and the Synods of the Eastern Churches should be limited to their territory. Of the 23 Churches that today in their own right make up the Catholic Church, only one, the Latin Church, is not subject to this limitation. The 22 Eastern Churches struggle to maintain their identity and growth, especially in the West, even if Vatican Council II expresses the wish that the Eastern Churches should “flourish and fulfil with new apostolic strength the task entrusted to them”. The Canonical Code of the Eastern Churches affirms that the Patriarchs are fathers and leaders of their Churches (Can 55). This paternity and jurisdiction must not be limited to a territory. Limiting it to its faithful is perfectly logical, but not limiting them to a territory, especially if there are no longer members of the Church in that territory!
From an ecumenical point of view as well, full jurisdiction over its own faithful in all the continents would be, for the separated Brothers, a concrete anticipation of a state of full communion.
Finally, the Patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches, because of their identity as Fathers and Leaders of “sui iuris” Churches that go to make up the Catholicism of the Catholic Church, should be ipso facto members of the college that elects the Pontiff without the need for the Latin title of cardinal. For the same reason, they should also take precedence over them.

[00048-02.02] [INO26] [Original text: Italian]



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