“Breathing with Two Lungs” at Catholic University

For the first time, The Catholic University of America has appointed an Eastern Catholic to head its School of Theology.

Last month, the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. made history when it named for the first time an Eastern Catholic to head its School of Theology.

From the school’s press release:

John Garvey, President of The Catholic University of America, has appointed Very Rev. Mark Morozowich, associate professor, as dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies, effective July 1, 2012.

“It gives me great pleasure to appoint Father Mark Morozowich as dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies,” said President Garvey. “Father Morozowich has the skills and the experience to lead our University’s oldest school, and to address the challenge of leadership in the Church’s intellectual life. Father Morozowich is the first Eastern Catholic to head the school. Symbolically, this demonstrates The Catholic University of America’s commitment to Blessed John Paul II’s vision of the Church ‘breathing with two lungs’ — both Eastern and Western rites.”

Just today, the National Catholic Register published an extensive interview with Father Morozowich:

Q:Catholic University is touting the fact that you are the first Eastern Catholic to lead the School of Theology and Religious Studies. Tell me about that. What is the significance?

A: When we begin to think about the Catholic Church, it’s really an amalgamation of Churches. … So, we have various different Eastern Churches with their own liturgical, canonical, theological, spiritual traditions. It’s hard, so many times, because the Latin Church is just so large, especially in this country, that when we look at the Eastern Churches, we don’t always understand that they are just as Catholic as the Latin ritual tradition is.

So, when we think, then, about the theological world, we are taken back to the time of Constantine, when there was one Church, both East and West. And this lasted, as we all know, through the centuries, with various schisms, certainly, but until 1054, when there was the great divide between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Rome.

However, the theological inheritance, the idea that Nicaea happened in the East, the Councils of Constantinople were considered as ecumenical councils. So the theological basis for many of these discussions, some might say, is just purely Eastern; but certainly the Catholic Church holds to the ecumenical councils as being representative of the true teaching of the Church. So when we try to expand the understanding of the word “Catholic,” we see that it’s universal, so this is sort of a further development, a sort of realization of that, to say that it’s not just a medieval, theological tradition, but that when we look at the whole tradition of the Church, we understand that as being the whole 2,000-year lived tradition of the Church. And as it also said in the press release, following Pope John Paul II, the Church breathing with two lungs, both Eastern and Western.

Q: So you would certainly bring that perspective to the theological field and the School of Theology.

A: Yes, so when we look at the theological tradition, the tradition of the Church is the whole 2,000-year tradition; and that when we try to understand, we certainly need to base ourselves in what we have said throughout the centuries. We can even look at liturgical developments:

The Sanctus in the liturgy was a Syriac hymn that was interpolated later into the liturgy. Even in the Latin Church today, we still have the Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, which is clearly Greek terminology that came into the Latin liturgy as well.

So I think this is really helping to accentuate that sense of an interdependency of the Church and all of its various manifestations and traditions.

There’s much more about him, and more of his interview, at the National Catholic Register link.

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