DECRETUM DE OECUMENISMO

UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO

§16 Praeterea a primis iam temporibus Ecclesiae Orientis disciplinas proprias a Sanctis Patribus atque Synodis, etiam Oecumenicis, sancitas sequebantur. Cum autem unitati Ecclesiae minime obstet, immo decorem eius augeat et ad missionem eius implendam non parum conferat quaedam morum consuetudinumque diversitas, uti supra memoratur, Sacra Synodus, ad omne dubium tollendum, declarat Ecclesias Orientis, memores necessariae unitatis totius Ecclesiae, facultatem habere se secundum proprias disciplinas regendi, utpote indoli suorum fidelium magis congruas atque bono animorum consulendo aptiores. Perfecta huius traditionalis principii observantia, non semper quidem servata, ad ea pertinet quae ad unionem restaurandam tamquam praevia condicio omnino requiruntur.

§16. Already from the earliest times the Eastern Churches followed their own forms of ecclesiastical law and custom, which were sanctioned by the approval of the Fathers of the Church, of synods, and even of ecumenical councils. Far from being an obstacle to the Church’s unity, a certain diversity of customs and observances only adds to her splendor, and is of great help in carrying out her mission, as has already been stated. To remove, then, all shadow of doubt, this holy Council solemnly declares that the Churches of the East, while remembering the necessary unity of the whole Church, have the power to govern themselves according to the disciplines proper to them, since these are better suited to the character of their faithful, and more for the good of their souls. The perfect observance of this traditional principle not always indeed carried out in practice, is one of the essential prerequisites for any restoration of unity.

EPISTULA APOSTOLICA

EUNTES IN MUNDUM

§10 … Ex hoc Decreto eruitur dilucide autonomiam, qua quoad disciplinam Ecclesiae Orientales fruuntur, non manare e privilegiis ab Ecclesia Romana concessis, sed a lege ipsa, quam huiusmodi Ecclesiae a temporibus apostolicis tenent.

§10 ….From the Decree there clearly emerges the characteristic disciplinary autonomy, which the Eastern Churches enjoy; this is not the result of privileges granted by the Church of Rome, but of the law itself which those Churches have possessed since Apostolic times.

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