- No, we should not let every murder, act of depravity or inhuman conduct perpetrated against the innocent crush us into despair.
- Yes, we should read, pray and act by casting a wide net to enlist others in the plight of the faithful to defend life and the dignity of every human person from conception to natural death, to defend truth, justice and inalienable freedoms which come from God.
The Eastern Church split off from Rome and the Catholic Church on at least six occasions before 1054:The Arian schisms (343-98)
The controversy over St. John Chrysostom (404-415)
The Acacian schism (484-519)
Concerning Monothelitism (640-681)
Concerning Iconoclasm (726-87 and 815-43)
This adds up to 231 out of 500 years in schism (46% of the time)! In every case, Rome was on the right side of the debate in terms of what was later considered "orthodox" by both sides. Thus, the East clearly needed the West and the papacy and Rome in order to be ushered back to orthodoxy.
Final Court of AppealThe Roman See, with its bishop, the pope, was the supreme arbiter of orthodoxy in the Church universal in the early centuries. There is abundant historical evidence for this, but suffice it to say that even many of the East's most revered Church Fathers and Patriarchs sought refuge in Rome (theologically and/or geographically), for example: St. Athanasius (339 to 342), St. Basil the Great (371), St. John Chrysostom (404), St. Cyril of Alexandria (430), and St. Flavian of Constantinople (449). The East all too frequently treated its greatest figures much like the ancient Jews did their prophets, often expelling and exiling them, while Rome welcomed them unambiguously, and restored them to office by the authority of papal or conciliar decree.
Many of these venerable saints (particularly St. John Chysostom), and other Eastern saints such as (most notably) St. Ephraim, St. Maximus the Confessor, and St. Theodore of Studios, also explicitly affirmed papal supremacy. The popes functioned as the "supreme court" of the Church, and they presided over (personally or through papal legates) and ratified the Ecumenical Councils of the Church. One may argue that this was mere custom or a particularly "pragmatic," "governmental" aspect of the primacy of honor, but whatever view one takes, the historical facts of the papacy as "final court of appeal" are undeniable. [source]
When Pope Silverius refused (Empress) Theodora's demand that he remove the anathema of Pope Agapetus I from Patriarch Anthimus, she sent Belisarius instructions to find a pretext to remove Silverius. When this was accomplished, Pope Vigilius was appointed in his stead. [source]
Empress Theodora sought to win (Vigilius) (a papal representative or apocrisiary at Constantinople) as a confederate to revenge the deposition of the Monophysite Patriarch Anthimus I of Constantinople by Pope Agapetus and also to gain aid for her efforts (on) behalf of the Monophysites. Vigilius is said to have agreed to the plans of the intriguing empress who promised him the Papal See and a large sum of money (700 pounds of gold).
Empress Theodora soon learned that she had been deceived. After Vigilius had attained the object of his ambition and been made pope, he maintained the same position as his predecessor against the Monophysites and the deposed Anthimus. [source]
When the Pope (1) intends to teach (2) by virtue of his supreme authority (3) on a matter of faith and morals (4) to the whole Church, he is protected by the Holy Spirit from error. His teaching act is therefore called "infallible" and the teaching which he articulates is termed "irreformable" which means it can never be changed because it is certainly true.—Jeffrey A. Mirus, Ph.D.