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Church, Papacy, and Schism

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The union of the Churches is one of the crucial issues of our time. Yet it is often forgotten that any discussion about it must begin with an understanding of what the Church itself is. Before one can talk of healing the schism, one must know what lies at its root. This book focuses on such central questions. It is a unique and unprecedented contribution to the understanding of the different developments of the two major sections of the Christian Church, the Catholic and the Orthodox. Opening with a succinct, penetrating exposition of the essential reality and meaning of the Church and of the episcopate's function within it, Philip Sherrard goes on to trace the emergence in the East and West of differing ecclesiologies, each in its turn determining a different form of Church government. In particular, he shows how the theory and practice of the papacy are the product of a conception of the Church which became, and still is, dominant in the West. Yet this conception, and the corresponding conception in the Orthodox world, are themselves both rooted in deeper theological differences, Christological and trinitarian. The book concludes with a brilliantly illuminating analysis of these differences which, because they lie behind the disunion of the Churches, must consequently constitute the main focus of any fruitful ecumenical dialogue. This third edition of Church, Papacy, and Schism has a new Preface by Vincent Rossi which assesses Sherrard's contribution to the question of the schism and its healing in the light of present ecumenical dialogue.
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