His Broken Body: Understanding and healing the schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches

For many years I’d been looking for a book that simply laid out both Catholic and Orthodox positions on the papacy. There are many books out there from Orthodox and Catholic authors. While the books serve as the best explanation one can have for their existing faith (Catholic or Orthodox), none have been as balanced as “His Broken Body.”

His Broken Body is written by an Orthodox priest that offers a favorable position to the Orthodox Church. However, he doesn’t shy away from including the strongest arguments made by many known Catholic apologists circulating the bookstores today.

I have always loved the Orthodox Church which is why I’m entering it, finally after 13 years. I’ve listened to all the arguments and I think most of them draw a stalemate. Some discussions show favor to the Catholic or Orthodox side only because the people present show more knowledge than the other. Regardless of the outcome, I’ve always felt that because of the stalemates present in these intellectual debates, ones final decision as to where to go all boils down to a leap of faith.

Fr.Laurent is a French Orthodox priest who lectures at the Ukrainian Catholic university of St.Tikhon. He’s a valued member of both Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. He undoubtedly has been touched by his encounter with both Catholics and Orthodox to have written this book.

Orthodoxy means a lot to him but so do his Catholic brethren. It remains obvious for all the reasons why he wrote this book. The title of the book communicates to me something that separates him from other Orthodox clergy. It tells me that he is a man who has been affected by the brokenness of the Churches over the centuries.

Unlike other Orthodox clergy it is clear from the title of his book that he views Catholics as part of the body of Orthodoxy that has drifted far from what the Original Church looked like. He’s willing to put his big boy pants on and admit the Church is not “One” as Christ envisaged it to be. It is broken. For we are all connected to one another by our common Baptism in the Lord. This makes us brothers.

The book makes the attempt to bring everyone back to a common faith where we all shared the same cup around one table. We all celebrated Easter on the same days and there was one Church. I do believe that if we had more priests like Fr.Laurent who acknowledges the wound and seeks to apply a remedy for it we’d be in a much better place.

Many Catholic and Orthodox apologists write from the perspective that they’ve seen the wound and simply want to make it even bigger by beating it with a stick. The self-righteous manner in which these theologians write seems to indicate a lack of pastoral care for those distant from the Church. It perpetuates the concept that we are not brothers, the church is not broken and that division is what it is and who cares? Let’s just get you back to the “true Church”.

One other great thing about the book is that from an Orthodox perspective it exposes Catholic apologists who do not quote the fathers appropriately. It was the first time I’d got to see both sides of the argument and I must say it’s a must read for anyone struggling with understanding the schism and who have questions about either Orthodoxy or Catholicism.

God bless.

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