Joseph VI Audo - Patriarch (1848–78) - First Vatican Council

First Vatican Council

The Vatican seems to have decided thereafter to seek every opportunity to remind Audo of his position. In 1867 Gregory Peter di Natale, metropolitan of Amid, died at Rome. The Propaganda invoked the papacy's old privilege in such cases of directly appointing his successor, and asked the patriarch to submit three suitable names after discussion with his bishops. Shortly afterwards the diocese of Mardin also fell vacant with the death of Ignatius Dashto in 1868, and the Propaganda insisted on appointing his successor too. Audo duly submitted a list of seven names, and was directed to consecrate Peter Timothy ʿAttar metropolitan of Amid and Gabriel Farso metropolitan of Mardin. He was also informed that the provisions of the ecclesiastical constitution Reversurus promulgated on 12 July 1867 for the Armenian Catholic Church would in due course be applied to all the Eastern Catholic Churches, and on 31 August 1869 its rules for the election of bishops were applied to the Chaldean Church in the bull Cum ecclesiastica disciplina.

This was too much for Audo, and he refused to consecrate the bishops-designate of Amid and Mardin. He was summoned to Rome and in January 1870 forced to consecrate them. He complained that Rome was infringing the rights of the Eastern patriarchs, and was particularly aggrieved that the Syriac, Maronite and Melkite patriarchs had not yet agreed to accept the provisions of the 1867 constitution. As a result, in the 1870 First Vatican Council he was warmly welcomed as a member of the Church party opposed to the doctrine of papal infallibility, and joined in the opposition to the controversial constitution Pastor aeternus, absenting himself from the session at which it was promulgated. He then refused to adhere to it, giving the excuse that he could only take such a solemn step back home, among his own flock. He met the Sultan in Constantinople on 16 September 1870, and denounced the constitution as infringing the traditional customs of the church and damaging the interests of the Ottoman empire. He declared that he had not accepted its provisions and never would. At the same time he celebrated mass with the Armenian priests who had separated themselves from the patriarch Hassoun, and refused to reply to letters from the Propaganda. The Vatican, alarmed, used every means at its disposal to recall him to obedience and head off a threatened schism. Finally, on 29 July 1872, last of all the eastern patriarchs, Audo wrote a letter accepting the decisions of the council. The Vatican decided to teach him a lesson. In Quae in patriarchatu, a stinging encyclical of 16 November 1872 addressed to the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Chaldean Church, Pope Pius IX rehearsed the many examples of Audo's intransigence, deplored his disobedience and welcomed his eventual submission. Audo's flock was left in little doubt as to who, in the Vatican's eyes, had been in the wrong.

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