Temporary Fruits of Ecumenical Reflection

From the Holy Father’s Address to the Participants of the Plenary Session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

Also the study documents produced by the various ecumenical dialogues have great relevance. Such texts cannot be ignored, because they are an important, though temporary, fruit of the common reflection matured throughout the years. Nevertheless, they are to be recognized in their adequate significance as contributions offered to the competent Authority of the Church, who alone is called to judge them in a definitive way. To ascribe to such texts a binding or almost conclusive weight for the ecclesial Authority would not, in a final analysis, help on the path to a full unity in the faith.

Note the passages I have italicized. They imply that neither the Balamand Declaration nor the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification has the force of the Church’s magisterium. Rather, these temporary fruits of common reflection are “offered to competent Authority of the Church” who alone has the power “to judge them in a definitive way.” (The claim itself is somewhat unecumenical — is it not? — that the Pope judges the extensive labors of professional Catholic and non-Catholic ecumenists.)

It is my opinion that the Balamand Declaration will one day be judged by that supreme Authority, the Holy Father, to run afoul of the Council of Florence, as the Joint Declaration will of Trent. Both have been sources of great confusion among the faithful.