A joint theological commission of Roman Catholic and Orthodox clerics and theologians has concluded 10 days of meetings in the United States, but was unable to resolve a controversy that has been brewing between the two churches since the end of the Cold War.The meeting of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, held at Mount St Mary's College and Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland from July 9 to 19, centered on the controversy over the Eastern Catholic churches that are linked to the Pope, but practice Eastern liturgy, similar to Orthodox rites.The Orthodox Church views these churches as a threat to its existence, while for centuries the Roman Catholic Church viewed the Eastern Catholic churches as a possible "bridge" between Orthodoxy and the Latin church. However in recent years Rome has begun to modify its views.A statement issued on July 19 said that agreement could not be reached on "the basic concept of uniatism," prohibiting a joint declaration on the issue. (The Orthodox Church commonly refers to the Eastern Catholic churches as "Uniates," but the use of the word is vigorously rejected by the churches themselves.)According to the statement, the theme discussed during the plenary was the "Ecclesiological and Canonical Implications of Uniatism."The statement added that documents touching upon "theological aspects and practical guidelines were met with some reserve and even outright opposition, sometimes from each side."As a result, the statement said, "it was felt necessary to continue the reflection by the Joint Commission in order to find common understanding on this extremely thorny question."Calling the discussions "far-reaching, ...1
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