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Roman Rights and Wrongs | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views
What needs to change for East-West unity to happen?
Rome, however, has in some ways been better able (though not perfectly so) to avoid these problems and to keep Catholics of all traditions—Eastern and Western—united in certain (imperfect) regional structures. For example, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) includes Latin and Eastern bishops on full and equal terms and they regularly meet together in organized fashion twice a year, with Eastern Catholics also serving in the other committees of the USCCB. Though the USCCB (and comparable conferences around the world) are not the synods, they could and should be, as I have argued elsewhere, and they are at the very least a commendable start down that road.
2) Local election of bishops and patriarchs: Similarly, the right of local churches to elect their own bishops, and especially their patriarchs, must be preserved. The idea that Rome, either by history or custom—or, more absurdly, “divine law”—can and must appoint all the world’s bishops is an innovation so new (emerging juridically only in 1917 with the Pio-Benedictine code of canon law) that the Cambridge historian Eamon Duffy has rightly called it a coup d’Église, unjustified by Vatican I and Vatican II. Not even Gregory VII or Pius IX in their most ultramontane moments would have dared arrogate such power unto themselves.