Breathing With Two Lungs Again
By Nick Kovacs
When Pope John Paul II met the Catholic Bishops of Ukraine in the year 2001, he used the analogy of two lungs in the human body to represent the Western and Eastern elements of Christianity. Using Pope John Paul II's analogy, the left lung represents the Latin Rite, and the right lung represents the Eastern Churches. (Note to Viewers: The Eastern Churches include all of the Eastern Rites in union with Rome, and the separated Orthodox Churches.) Since the Great Schism of 1054, the separation of the Orthodox Churches from Rome has made the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church) breath with one lung for many centuries, instead of two.
Both Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, and
all the popes to come,
Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, to return to the days of unity before the
Great Schism of 1054. To achieve a return to the
unity before the Great Schism of 1054, Pope John Paul II encouraged during his pontificate, for Catholics throughout the entire Rites, to learn and
appreciate the rich traditions and devotions each Rite has. It is important to
stress that when Catholics of different Rites appreciate the rich traditions and
heritage of each Rite, they must never lose their Rite identity. For
example, Roman Rite Catholics must remain Roman when they are appreciating the
rich traditions and heritage of their Eastern Rite (e.g.,
Maronite Rite Catholics)
brothers and sisters, and vice versa. This appreciation of the unique beauty
within the different Rites of the Catholic Church, creates a unity in diversity
that enriches the entire Catholic faith.
Once Roman and Eastern Catholics are able to appreciate the unique beauty within the Rites, the Orthodox Churches will see the beautiful harmony between the Western and Eastern elements of Catholicism, desiring reunification. Just like how the human body works more perfectly when all of its parts are intact, so does the Catholic Church when all of its parts are intact. So through reunification with the Orthodox Churches, the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church) will once again breath with two lungs, and be able to more perfectly spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ like it did once before.