Bishop Ashur B. Soro & Full Communion With Roman Catholic Church

2/4/2006 1:12:41 PM

Declaration of the Clergy of the Assyrian Church of the East

The following document is a declaration under oath made by the Assyrian Church of the East clergy currently studying in Rome, released on the 23rd January 2006. In this document it is clear to see that the clergy rejected the former Bishop Mar Bawai Soro’s action plan to “re-establish” full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

The following document is a declaration under oath made by the Assyrian Church of the East clergy currently studying in Rome, released on the 23rd January 2006. In this document it is clear to see that the clergy rejected the former Bishop Mar Bawai Soro’s action plan to “re-establish” full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

DECLARATION

We, the undersigned clergy of the Assyrian Church of the East, do declare under oath that the annexed document entitled Towards Full-Communion, and dated November 9, 2003 was given and sent to us via e-mail by Ashur Bawai Soro, formerly bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, Diocese of Western California.

This document was the outcome of week-long discussions which the former bishop and the Rev. George Toma, pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish of the Assyrian Church of the East (Greater Chicago parish) had with us in Rome during the first week of November 2003. The discussions concerned the possibilities of forming a coalition – termed Group or G in the annexed document, in which we would work together under two phases. The first phase (entitled Phase A) would last for 2 to 10 years which “…shall establish new guidelines as standards for priestly teaching, church administration, liturgical practice and moral conduct to be adopted by bishops and priests members in G and ultimately by all the Church of the East.”

In the course of these discussions it became apparent that the ultimate goal of this document and of Ashur Bawai Soro was to drive the Assyrian Church of the East towards ‘re-establishing’ full-communion with the Catholic Church “…so that the vision of full-communion with the Catholic Church and of ecclesial unity with the Chaldean Catholic Church is accepted by the faithful and ultimately realized by the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East.” In the event that the reform called for by this document did not transpire within the period of 2 to 10 years, then immediately phase B of the plan would commence, namely the “…reestablishment of full-communion with the Catholic Church, within the context of ecclesiastical unity with the Chaldean Catholic Church…” This would mean that the ‘Group,’ after having consulted other clergy and lay faithful would then “…officially declare their full communion with the Catholic Church. Such a declaration however shall also take place after consultation and collaboration with the Chaldean Patriarchate and agreement of the Catholic Church.” The afore-mentioned Phase B would also entail the unification of the “…cultural identity of its Assyrochaldean (Chalduassyrian) people.”

In fact, Ashur Bawai Soro has had discussions with us in regards establishing union with the Catholic Church in past years as well. Most notably, in December of 2001 and January of 2002 he held a conference call with Rev’s.

Patros Patros, William Toma, David Royel and Paul Benjamin concerning this issue. He mentioned that he had consulted two other priests in California with regard to this issue as well.

Although we agreed that there were certain facets of our Holy Church that needed reform for the sake of the faithful, we expressed our unwillingness to break with the Church and effect a schism. He felt and explicitly expressed the fact that he believed that the only way to ‘reform’ the Church was by leaving it. We have now come to realize and see more clearly that his ideas were also politically motivated.

The reason for not having come out earlier about this document and informing the hierarchy was because we felt that over a short period of time the former bishop had abandoned his ideas about leaving the Church and joining the Catholic Church after seeing that he was not able to muster up enough support from Assyrian clergyman. We did not want to create unnecessary arguments and strife in the Church since we believed that the former bishop would not go along with the plan. In such a scenario, if he had in fact abandoned his ideas, we would have created unnecessary division and arguments by publicizing the document. Furthermore, he had expressly asked us to keep the document a secret. This we did with a good will and the intention of not causing strife in the Church.

We further declare that all that is stated above is true and genuine.

Rome, 23 January 2006

Signatures:

  • Rev. Patros Y. Patros
  • Rev. William Toma
  • Rev. David Royel (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Rev. Semaan J. Daood
  • Re. Paul Benjamin

Former Bishop's Action Plan "Towards Full-Communion" with the Roman Catholic Church

The following is a copy of an email forwarded to the Assyrian Church of the East Priests studying in Rome by the former Bishop Mar Bawai Soro. It contains details of an action plan for a period of 2 to 10 years with the intention of full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

As this action plan was rejected by a majority of the Priests, it was requested by the former Bishop to keep this case secret. It was presumed by the Priests that the former Bishop would not pursue his plan.

Upon the former Bishops’ public denial of the above action plan, the aforementioned Priests decided to release under oath the document presented to them by the former Bishop in November of 2003 detailing his intentions.

TOWARDS FULL-COMMUNION

November 2003

  1. A small number of priests and one bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East met occasionally in recent months and have decided to form a group (Group or G) in order to initiate canonical and moral reforms in the Assyrian Church of the East - the ultimate objective of which is to reestablish full-communion with the Catholic Church, within the context of ecclesiastical unity with the Chaldean Catholic Church.
  2. G shall continue episcopal and priestly ministries in the Church of the East in accordance with the timeframe outlined in Phase A (see # 4a).
  3. During this timeframe, G shall systematize its plan and execution through two phases --Phase (A) and Phase (B) - in order to implement its reforms and achieve its objectives.
  4. G's Phase (A) shall entail the following:
    1. Phase (A) shall start as of the date of this document (November (9) 2003) and shall last for a period of time between two (2) to ten (l0) years.
    2. Also as part of Phase A, G shall establish new guidelines as standards for priestly teaching, church administration, liturgical practice and moral conduct to be adopted by bishops and priests members in G and ultimately by all the Church of the East.
    3. G shall also integrate into the components of its Phase A the message of the Gospel, the mandate of the Sunhadus, the sense of the Church's Liturgy and the teachings of the Church Fathers, so that a genuine Catholic and Apostolic Church of the East Tradition, which is ultimately oriented towards the Kingdom of God and solely faithful to the Divine Will of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, will rise from the ashes of moral corruption and religious ignorance that are continuing to isolate the Church of the East from the rest of the Body of Christ.
    4. Members of G shall Implement through concrete action their Phase A through the following personal action and media-based tools:
      1. Personal life witness
      2. Preaching
      3. Lecturing
      4. Reading Academic Papers
      5. v. Intervening in Conferences
      6. TV Programs
      7. Radio Programs
      8. CD/DVD Publications
      9. Publishing Books
      10. Authoring articles
    5. During the timeframe of Phase A, Members of G shall also do their best to rehabilitate the hierarchy and the clergy of the Church of the East and bring them into a path of church life that is consistent with the Gospel message and the Church Canons, and, at the same time, compatible with the spirit of the Liturgy and the Church Fathers of the Church of the East, so that the vision of full-communion with the Catholic Church and of ecclesial unity with the Chaldean Catholic Church is accepted by the faithful and ultimately realized by the Patriarch and the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East, within the time frame of Phase A.
    6. But, if such attempts shall all fail in that the main objective of this reform, which is the reestablishment of full-communion with the Catholic Church, within the context of ecclesiastical unity with the Chaldean Catholic Church, is not achieved properly and in due time, then a consideration for the beginning of Phase B shall immediately be commenced.
  5. G's Phase (B) shall entail the following:
    1. Bishops and priest who are members in G shall consult among themselves and also obtain the general opinion of their deacons and faithful supporters before they officially declare their full communion with the Catholic Church. Such a declaration however shall also take place after consultation and collaboration with the Chaldean Patriarchate and agreement of the Catholic Church.
    2. The model for this full-communion shall be for G to unite with the Chaldean Church, declaring the establishment of the Chalduassyrian or the Assyrochaldean Church of the East, in communion with Rome, but also benefiting from the negotiated results of promoting the rights and privileges of the Patriarchate of the Church of the East to new standards above of what is presently enjoyed by the various Eastern Catholic Patriarchates to an extend that will guarantee the survival of the Church of the East Tradition, theological expression, liturgy and cultural identity of its Assyrochaldean (Chalduassyrian) people.
  6. The method through which the decision of achieving full ecclesial union with the Chaldean Church and entering into full-communion with the Catholic Church shall be taken is by the consent of the majority of the Bishops and Priests of G. In either case, the minority members must adhere to the decision of the majority.
  7. In case a member or more of G is deprived from his stipend or salary due to his work in G (namely, as a result of his personal conviction and labor towards full-communion with the Catholic Church), then the bishop(s) in-charge of G shall immediately offer him full support at least in standards and measures similar to what he was enjoying until that time.

Related Links:

02/04/2006 >> Decleration (File Size 144 KB)

02/04/2006 >> Ashur B. Soro's plan (Towards Full-Communion) (File Size 158 KB)

02/02/2006 >> The Assyrian Church of the East vs. Bishop Bawai Soro

11/22/2005 >> The Assyrian Church of the East Maintains Its Continuity

11/16/2005 >> Bishop Soro's Removal Letter (File Size 398 KB)

11/16/2005 >> The Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East Confronts Bishop Mar Bawai Soro

11/07/2005 >> The Assyrian Church of the East Synod's Decree against Bishop Soro (File Size 1,041 KB)

11/07/2005 >> The Tenth Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East (File Size 1,288 KB)