Identity and Dialogue

A Catholic Perspective on Missions and Parishes in the Diaspora

  • Astrid Kaptijn University of Fribourg


The topic of our symposium focuses especially on unity and identity situating Romanian orthodoxy in a geographical perspective between East and West. The question of identity and dialogue with the Western world made me think especially of the situation of faithful living in diaspora. I think that in this sense, the Orthodox and the Catholic Church are both confronted with similar problems and challenges. Since I have been focusing my research on the situation of Catholics from the Eastern Catholic Churches living in diaspora, the so called Uniates, even if this notion seems not to appropriate anymore since the Declaration of Balamand in 1993, I could not ignore the phenomenon of migration.

In what follows, I want to present the view of the Catholic Church on migrants in general before focusing more precisely on Church structures, then as a canon lawyer the institutional aspects are of particular interest for me. The characteristics of the Catholic view are, at least for some of them, the result of theological foundations. However, we will present them only briefly, not entering into details, since the limits imposed to this paper do not allow it. When we speak of missions and parishes, we use these notions in the sense of Church structures. The Catholic Church designates the local structures that are not yet parishes with the word ‘missions’. So, it differs from the sense that Orthodoxy often attributes to this word. In the Catholic view, it has a specific significance, but we also will see that a missionary perspective is not completely absent from this Catholic view.

Keywords: Romanian Orthodoxy, identity, unity, Catholic Church, migration, missiology


How to Cite
KAPTIJN, Astrid. Identity and Dialogue. Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Theologia Orthodoxa, [S.l.], v. 63, n. 2, p. 91-103, dec. 2018. ISSN 2065-9474. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 02 apr. 2020. doi:
Practical Theology