Are the Orthodox schismatics?

Aren’t Orthodox Christians schismatics since they refuse to submit to the Pope?

I concur with the judgement of Colin Donovan, EWTN’s Vice President for Theology, who addressed this issue in his FAQ on Heresy and Schism:

“It was thus common in the past to speak of the schismatic Orthodox Churches who broke with Rome in 1054. As with heresy, we no longer assume the moral culpability of those who belong to Churches in schism from Rome, and thus no long refer to them as schismatics.”

Moreover, as the Orthodox and Catholic Churches move towards reconciliation, I don’t see how it is particularly helpful to label them as “schismatic.”

I believe that it is best to follow the current teaching of the Magisterium and the example set for us by our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. He has spent a considerable amount of energy working towards reconciliation with the Orthodox Churches, and never once has he denounced them as “schismatics” or “heretics.” For us to begin hurling such derogatory names would be counterproductive, and on a large scale would sabatoge his efforts.

If we are indeed faithul to the Holy Father, we must honor his wishes and address our Orthodox brothers and sisters with love and respect.

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