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Author Topic: What I believe  (Read 15341 times) Average Rating: 0
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The young fogey
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« on: April 28, 2003, 10:55:29 AM »

XB!

From another forum, answering someone's question. Nothing new for people who really know me and/or have been reading me on boards for years. I know it's 'not Orthodox enough' for some people but I don't care - I know it's not beyond the pale, like, for example, a malefactor on some boards who promotes homosexual activism and claims to be Eastern Orthodox in good standing at the same time. (And, to their credit, the moderators on one board have rebuked this person for playing this game and for misrepresenting Eastern Orthodoxy.) AFAIK nowhere here do I misrepresent Eastern Orthodox dogma, even though a lot of EO people may not agree with my opinions.

I have been a member for nearly seven years of a traditional Russian Orthodox church.

Here goes:

Re: what is your take on Catholic orders?

My personal take on Catholic orders or Eastern Orthodoxy's take on them? I see them as real. Eastern Orthodoxy has no dogmatic view on the matter. It teaches that Eastern Orthodoxy has grace and everything else is a big unknown - the extreme view that the Pope is no different from a witch doctor is an allowable Orthodox opinion.

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How do EOs view Catholicism, traditional or progressive?

There is no dogmatic position, just a range of opinions. The only dogmatic position is that 'we know EOxy is the Church'. Some hardliners see all Catholicism, traditional or liberal, as heretical, others are like me and see the trads as closer to EOxy than the liberals who are more like Protestants. (Much like some, including here, see the Non-Chalcedonians as orthodox and somehow in the Church, and others don't.) I think most EOs would say the postschism papal claims and the simple fact that the Catholic Church is not in the present Orthodox communion put it beyond the pale, making it a big question mark, and one Eastern Orthodoxy isn't really interested in trying to answer.

Personally, I think that born Orthodox/ethnics see the similarities between the churches and see them as a good thing. Views among them range from a kind of benign indifference at worst - they don't care about somebody else's church and don't see any need to care - to 'oh, that's beautiful - you're so close to us'.

Really rabid, uncharitable anti-Catholic views and statements tend to come from converts - a microscopic number of ex-Catholics but more often ex-Evangelical Protestants who've brought their no-popery prejudices with them, a stand Catholics see as contradictory and hurtful. As Archimandrite Serge (Keleher), himself a Russian Catholic steeped in Russian Orthodox traditions, puts it, 'that ancient and large tradition is entirely Catholic' - pretty much summing up the positive view Catholicism has of Eastern Orthodoxy.

Let me elaborate on that a little more - all the doctrinal positives of Eastern Orthodoxy (for example,the teachings of the seven church councils and the contents of the liturgy) are true in the Catholic POV. All of them. In other words, in Catholic eyes, Eastern Orthodoxy IS Catholicism in 11th-century Greek theological language.

The differences are matters of postschism Catholic polity (the Pope issue) and western Catholic theological language (the Immaculate Conception, for example) that postschism Catholicism has made dogma but 'the jury's still out' on in Orthodoxy.

Personally, I think the only real issue is the Pope thing because the way it has worked it's been unfair to non-Roman groups - witness the history of the Eastern Catholic churches, who've been compromised and latinized nearly to death.

Page with more on these questions
« Last Edit: April 30, 2003, 10:50:21 AM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2003, 12:15:27 PM »

I tend to agree with you, Serge.

I have difficulty knowing what to think of the Roman Catholic Church and of Roman Catholics.

How are we to view them?

We have so much in common, yet there are important differences.

Quote
From Serge: Really rabid, uncharitable anti-Catholic views and statements tend to come from converts - a microscopic number of ex-Catholics but more often ex-Evangelical Protestants who've brought their no-popery prejudices with them, a stand Catholics see as contradictory and hurtful.

I think that statement is generally true. Although I am an ex-Evangelical Protestant, I do not have an anti-Roman Catholic animus, in part because my grandmother and my aunts (Father's side) were all Roman Catholics, and I have many RC friends. I must confess that conversion to Roman Catholicism was an option I seriously considered and more than once.

It will be interesting to see the responses to this topic, as I would like to see some other well-reasoned answers on this issue.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2003, 12:18:27 PM by Linus7 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2003, 12:23:01 PM »

I've said what I'm going to say on this subject here. I get the feeling that posting anything more here would only get me the label "anti-Catholic," so I'll let what I've said elsewhere stand as my only response. Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2003, 12:38:46 PM »

I've said what I'm going to say on this subject here. I get the feeling that posting anything more here would only get me the label "anti-Catholic," so I'll let what I've said elsewhere stand as my only response. Smiley

Paradosis -

I would seriously like to see you expand on what you said in your other post. I don't have a problem with what you wrote, but I would like to see more specifics.

Don't worry about being labelled "anti-Catholic." That should not be an issue in a forum like this where our purpose is to learn from one another.

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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2003, 12:51:09 PM »

Serge,

I agree with most of what you say, Serge, but wonder why, when you reference the views of others, you say "some view non-Chalcedonians as orthodox..."

Why not say "some view non-Chalcedonians as Orthodox..." because I think most people view non-Chalcedonians as either 1) Orthodox or 2) not, and you are purporting to report what some say.  I've only seen you express the view that non-Chalcedonians are small-o orthodox, which seems to be your way of expressing a middle-of-the-road position.  I'm not saying you're wrong or that you don't have a right to express your view your way, but merely suggesting that if you are going to report what "others" think, you should report that others think the non-Chalcedonians are "O"rthodox.

To all,

For what it is worth, from the administrators' point of view (for what it is worth), Bobby, Mor Ephrem  and I view non-Chalcedonians as big-O Orthodox and think that reunion is coming.  I do not know the opinions of David and Nicholas, so they will have to answer for themselves if they wish.

That being said, positions such as Justin's (who has said that Non-Chalcedonians are heretics) are acceptable on this board as long as they are expressed politely, as anyone's posts should be.

anastasios
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2003, 01:01:19 PM »

anastasios,

Because, like capital-C Catholic means the church with the Pope in Rome, Orthodox with a big O means the Eastern Orthodox communion, and as the Non-Chalcedonians are neither Byzantine Rite nor merged with the Eastern Orthodox communion, I use a small o when describing the present understanding of them.
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2003, 01:03:21 PM »

anastasios,

Because, like capital-C Catholic means the church with the Pope in Rome, Orthodox with a big O means the Eastern Orthodox communion, and as the Non-Chalcedonians are neither Byzantine Rite nor merged with the Eastern Orthodox communion, I use a small o when describing the present understanding of them.

No, Serge, for many of us, big-O Orthodox means Non-Chalcedonians as well as Eastern Orthodox, and you can't really argue that in common parlance Non-Chalcedonians are not considered Orthodox since the average Joe on the street would view Non-Chalcedonian Churches as Orthodox Churches, and since they are referred as such in a majority of religious publications such as "Bulletin of American Churches", etc.

You are thereby incorrectly describing our beliefs when you write that "others view Non-chalcedonians as orthodox."  Like I said, if you wish to refer to them as orthodox, that is fine, but you can't refer to others' beliefs that way if they do not believe that way.

Another point is that we should refer to others as they refer to themselves.  The Coptic Orthodox Church refers to herself as such so we should refer to her as that.

Also, at St. Vladimir's Seminary Oriental Orthodox are referred to as such, not "Non-Chalcedonian orthodox."  Again, that doesn't have to impact your personal view but you cannot say that calling Oriental Orthodox small-o orthodox is *the* Orthodox position.
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2003, 01:06:41 PM »

Christ is Risen!

It is indeed a difficult question to answer, the Eastern Orthodox position on Roman Catholicism.  At the point when (from our point of view) the west severed its ties to the Orthodox Church, it has gone beyond our authority to comment on past the point that for all of the Christ-bearing holy men and women within it, it is not the Church, which is one.  

I think that most Eastern Orthodox including most converts view Rome as the prodigal son and look forward to the West's return from the aberrances that have plagued it for the past thousand years.  In many ways Roman Catholicism has broken down, not only the Protestant Reformation but while under constant attacks of matters of orthodox belief they have gone past the boundries of elucidation and have changed the focus of some dogmas, mostly in dogmaticizing that which Eastern Orthodoxy would not.  While contrasting Eastern Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy certainly has had its low points in history through the fallibility of its very human membership, Orthodoxy did not produce the Crusades, the Inquisition, and does not suffer from the current molestation scandal  

Within this "hard saying" however, there is an incredible amount of love and hope by many Orthodox for reconciliation and respect for the many laudable things in the post-schism west.  I am currently reading a Thomas Merton book, and though I cannot say assuredly that he shares in the same communion with I, I do believe that God is fully at work in the hearts of such people and I personally do not doubt their personal life in Christ.  

As far as the questions raised on Non-Chalcedonians, I personally hold that they are Orthodox.  I do not know enough about that schism to have a fully developed intelligent opinion, but I make that personal decision by looking at the fruits they have borne throughout history.  While there are still important differences that restrict global communion, I am happy to see permission on both sides to exercise local ekonomia for the communion of faithful Eastern and Oriental(redundant term I know, but is less insulting and more brief than Non-Chalcedonian) and I hope I will see official communion reestablished within my lifetime.  Unfortunately, I do not have the same reasonable hope for the reconciliation of Catholicism and Orthodoxy within my lifetime, but I pray that by the grace of God that I be proven wrong.  

I hope I have caused no offense to any on these positions.  If they are in conflict with what my bishop decrees then I must officially revise those opinions, but I will still have all of the love and hope of reconciliation that I now do.  I think the Prodigal Son is a good analogy of the position we Orthodox find ourselves in regarding Roman Catholicism, and I hope that our Catholic members do not take it as an insult, for that was never my intent.  Let us remember that as Christians our one enemy is that which would keep us from communion with God.  Whenever a person or an organization prevents this, it is not our task to punish the offender but to pray for reconciliation and the forgiveness of all, ourselves first.  I hope everyone is having a blessed Bright Week.
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2003, 01:12:00 PM »

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No, Serge, for many of us, big-O Orthodox means Non-Chalcedonians as well as Eastern Orthodox, and you can't really argue that in common parlance Non-Chalcedonians are not considered Orthodox since the average Joe on the street would view Non-Chalcedonian Churches as Orthodox Churches, and since they are referred as such in a majority of religious publications such as "Bulletin of American Churches", etc.

You're using Orthodox to mean 'in the Church'. I understand that. I'm using it to mean both the patrimony and the communion of Eastern Orthodoxy.

I actually was trying to be fair and courteous to the Non-Chalcedonians, acknowledging that their rites and traditions are different to Eastern Orthodoxy's.

Such bulletins (I can't say anything about the one you named) sometimes list vagantes as Orthodox too and they're wrong there too.

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since the average Joe on the street would view Non-Chalcedonian Churches as Orthodox Churches

The average Joe on the street, if he's heard of Eastern Rite churches (not likely), probably thinks the ROCOR church and the Ukrainian Catholic church in town are the same thing.

He also probably thinks, as Fr Serge Keleher, a Russian Catholic, found on an Irish radio program in which he was identified as a Maronite, that all 'Oriental Grease Balls' (Fr Serge's joke - no slur intended!) are alike, be they Coptic or Russian.

I simply was trying to disabuse people of such notions by making this distinction - no slur against Non-Chalcedonians was intended at all.
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« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2003, 01:16:46 PM »

Serge,

I know that you would not ever slur against Non-Chalcedonians and I know that you personally hold their traditions highly.  Perhaps I am being nitpicky, but it;s just that I know the distinctions of small-o and big-o Orthodox, and found it strange that non-Chalcedonians would be lumped in a category you have previously used to describe high-Church Anglicans, classical Trinitarian Protestants, etc.  Perhaps I am drawing conclusions you would not--but I still needed to address that personally.  Your last post explains your position well and that's fine with me.

Sorry if I got ruffled for no reason!

anastasios
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2003, 01:23:22 PM »

No problem, anastasios.

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At the point when (from our point of view) the west severed its ties to the Orthodox Church

But it was a gradual estrangement, not a known date. No one really agrees when it happened, 1054 being a red herring.

Well written, David.

Quote
I think that most Eastern Orthodox including most converts view Rome as the prodigal son and look forward to the West's return from the aberrances that have plagued it for the past thousand years.

I and just about everybody here knows what you mean, but I think an outsider, vaguely aware that Catholics outsize the Orthodox in numbers and geographically, might find such a belief and statement absurd, like Taiwan trying to order Red China around.
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2003, 03:19:59 PM »

Dear Friends:

From a Catholic POV, Serge's analogy could be considered an appropriate reflection of the current Orthodox/Catholic "mating" dance:

Quote
I and just about everybody here knows what you mean, but I think an outsider, vaguely aware that Catholics outsize the Orthodox in numbers and geographically, might find such a belief and statement absurd, like Taiwan trying to order Red China around.
[/b]

Thus, with "Ut Unum Sint" as a backdrop, Catholicism refrains, rightly, from applying the "Prodigal Son" analogy and advances the "mutual estrangement" theory between "sister Churches," or the "Two-lung" theory as it is also known.

AmdG
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2003, 03:27:47 PM »

What I'd like to know is, who here supports the 1993 Balamand Agreement? The Pope of Rome and Patriarch of Constantinople, among others, accepted it. On the other hand, some Orthodox Churches (Serbia, Jerusalem, Bulgaria, Georgia, etc.) did not sign, and a number of prominent documents (like the one from Athos) came out against Balamand. I know both conservative Orthodox and Catholics who view the document/agreement as worthless. Is this (ie. agreements like Balamand) the path to unity, or must we take another path?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2003, 03:28:57 PM by Paradosis » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2003, 04:03:42 PM »

What I'd like to know is, who here supports the 1993 Balamand Agreement? The Pope of Rome and Patriarch of Constantinople, among others, accepted it.

XB!

Dear Paradosis,

I have tried to research this and have come to a dead end.  Who says the Pope of Rome accepted it?  I have questioned pro-Rome in-communion-with-Rome Catholic clergy and was told that the Balamand document has no official position in the Roman Catholic Church.  

I think that several good points were clearly enunciated in that document.  It does not however seem to have any binding force in any jurisdiction Catholic or Orthodox.  

Tony
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2003, 04:15:05 PM »

Balamand may have no dogmatic standing on either side (I think that's the case) but I see it as a gentleman's agreement on the part of the Catholic Church to live up to its positive view of the Eastern Orthodox and concentrate instead on corporate reunion with it as a whole, rather than poach people and churches in Orthodox countries. (Similar Orthodox activity in Catholic countries is negligible and, we can admit, not really a threat to the CC, while past Catholic proselytism did hurt local Orthodox churches. Again, the Taiwan vs. Red China analogy.)
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« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2003, 04:33:43 PM »

Christ is risen!

It is true that the document has not domatic/authoritative standing in either Church, but I do remember reading somewhere (perhaps on Orthodoxinfo.com) that both the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople had given their approval of the document and signed it. I didn't mean to say that this made it an official or authoritative document for either side, but just that obviously people from both sides had agreed with the principles within it.

Perhaps a better way to go about things would have been simply to have asked whether people agreed with the principles articulated at Balamand, or whether they disagreed (rather than bringing names and Churches into it).

Indeed He is risen!
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« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2003, 04:39:56 PM »

First, the text in its entirety, from http://www.cin.org/east/balamand.html

INTRODUCTION

1. At the request of the Orthodox Churches, the normal progression of the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church has been set aside so that immediate attention might be given the question which is called "uniatism."

2. With regard to the method which has been called "uniatism," it was stated at Freising (June 1990) that "we reject it as a method for the search for unity because it is opposed to the common tradition of our Churches."

3. Concerning the Oriental Catholic Churches, it is clear that they, as part of the Catholic Communion, have the right to exist and to act in answer to the spiritual needs of their faithful.

4. The document prepared at Ariccia by the joint coordinating committee (June 1991) and finished at Balamand (June 1993) states what is our method in the present search for full communion, thus giving the reason for excluding "uniatism" as a method.

5. This document is composed of two parts:

                   - Ecclesiological principles and

                   - Practical rules.

ECCLESIOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES

6. The division between the Churches of the East and of the West has never quelled the desire for unity wished by Christ. Rather this situation, which is contrary to the nature of the Church, has often been for many the occasion to become more deeply conscious of the need to achieve this unity, so as to be faithful to the Lord's commandment.

7. In the course of the centuries various attempts were made to re-establish unity. They sought to achieve this end through different ways, at times conciliar, according to the political, historical, theological and spiritual situation of each period. Unfortunately, none of these efforts succeeded in re-establishing full communion between the Church of the West and the Church of the East, and at times even made oppositions more acute.

8. In the course of the last four centuries, in various parts of the East, initiatives were taken within certain Churches and impelled by outside elements, to restore communion between the Church of the East and the Church of the West. These initiatives led to the union of certain communities with the See of Rome and brought with them, as a consequence, the breaking of communion with their Mother Churches of the East. This took place not without the interference of extra-ecclesial interests. In this way Oriental Catholic Churches came into being. And so a situation was created which has become a source of conflicts and of suffering, in the first instance for the Orthodox but also for Catholics.

9. Whatever may have been the intention and the authenticity of the desire to be faithful to the commandment of Christ : "that all may be one" expressed in these partial unions with the See of Rome, it must be recognized that the reestablishment of unity between the Church of the East and the Church of the West was not achieved and that the division remains, embittered by these attempts.

10. The situation thus created resulted in fact in tensions and oppositions. Progressively, in the decades which followed these unions, missionary activity tended to include among its priorities the effort to convert other Christians, individually or in groups, so as "to bring them back" to one's own Church. In order to legitimize this tendency, a source of proselytism, the Catholic Church developed the theological vision according to which she presented herself as the only one to whom salvation was entrusted. As a reaction, the Orthodox Church, in turn, came to accept the same vision according to which only in her could salvation be found. To assure the salvation of "the separated brethren" it even happened that Christians were re-baptized and that certain requirements of the religious freedom of persons and of their act of faith were forgotten. This perspective was one to which that period showed little sensitivity.

11. On the other hand, certain civil authorities made attempts to bring back Oriental Catholics to the Church of their Fathers. To achieve this end they did not hesitate, when the occasion was given, to use unacceptable means.

12. Because of the way in which Catholics and Orthodox once again consider each other in their relationship to the mystery of the Church and discover each other once again as sister Churches, this form of "missionary apostolate" described above, and which has been called "uniatism," can no longer be accepted either as a method to be followed nor as a model of the unity our Churches are seeking.

13. In fact, especially since the pan-Orthodox conferences (*b) and the Second Vatican Council, the rediscovery and the giving again of proper value to the Church as communion, both on the part of Orthodox and of Catholics, has radically altered perspectives and thus attitudes. On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to his Church--profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacrament, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops--cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches.

14. It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavor of the sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, 27).

15. While the inviolable freedom of persons and their obligation to follow the requirements of their conscience remain secure, in the search for re-establishing unit there is no question of conversion of people from one Church to the other in order to ensure their salvation. There is a question of achieving together the will of Christ for his own and the design of God for his Church by means of a common quest by the Churches for a full accord on the content of the faith and its implications. This effort is being carried on in the current theological dialogue. The present document is a necessary stage in this dialogue.

16. The Oriental Catholic Churches who have desired to re-establish full communion with the See of Rome and have remained faithful to it, have the rights and obligations which are connected with this communion. The principles determining their attitude towards Orthodox Churches are those which have been put into practice by the Popes who have clarified the practical consequences flowing from these principles in various documents published since then. These Churches, then, should be inserted, on both local and universal levels, into the dialogue of love, in mutual respect and reciprocal trust found once again, and enter into the theological dialogue, with all its practical implications.

17. In this atmosphere, the considerations already presented and the practical guidelines which follow, insofar as they will be effectively received and faithfully observed, are such as to lead to a just and definitive solution to the difficulties which these Oriental Catholic Churches present to the Orthodox Church.

18. Towards this end, Pope Paul VI affirmed in his address at the Phanar In July 1967: "It is on the heads of the Churches, of their hierarchy, that the obligation rests to guide the Churches along the way that leads to finding full communion again. They ought to do this by recognizing and respecting each other as pastors of that part of the flock of Christ entrusted to them, by taking care for the cohesion and growth of the people of God, and avoiding everything that could scatter it or cause confusion in its ranks" (Tomos Agapis, 172).

In this spirit, Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I together stated clearly: "We reject every form of proselytism, every attitude which would be or could be perceived to be a lack of respect" (7 Dec 1987) (ec).

PRACTICAL RULES

19. Mutual respect between the Churches which find themselves in difficult situations will increase appreciably in the measure that they will observe the following practical rules.

20. These rules will not resolve the problems which are worrying us unless each of the parties concerned has a will to pardon, based on the Gospel and, within the context of a constant effort for renewal, accompanied by the unceasing desire to seek the full communion which existed for more than a thousand years between our Churches. It is here that the dialogue of love must be present with a continually renewed intensity and perseverance which alone can overcome reciprocal lack of understanding and which is the necessary climate for deepening the theological dialogue that will permit arriving at full communion.

21. The first step to take is to put an end to everything that can foment division, contempt and hatred between the Churches. For this the authorities of the Catholic Church will assist the Oriental Catholic Churches and their communities so that they themselves may prepare full communion between Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The authorities of the Orthodox Church will act in a similar manner towards their faithful. In this way it will be possible to take care of the extremely complex situation that has been created in Eastern Europe, at the same time in charity and in justice, both as regards Catholics and Orthodox.

22. Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Oriental, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox. It aims at answering the spiritual needs of its own faithful and it has no desire for expansion at the expense of the Orthodox Church. Within these perspectives, so that there will be no longer place for mistrust and suspicion, it is necessary that there be reciprocal exchanges of information about various pastoral projects and that thus cooperation between bishops and all those with responsibilities in our Churches, can be set in motion and develop

23. The history of the relations between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Catholic Churches has been marked by persecutions and sufferings. Whatever may have been these sufferings and their causes, they do not justify any triumphalism; no one can glorify in them or draw an argument from them to accuse or disparage the other Church, God alone knows his own witnesses. Whatever may have been the past, it must be left to the mercy of God, and all the energies of the Churches should be directed towards obtaining that the present and the future conform better to the will of Christ for his own.

24. It will also be necessary--and this on the part of both Churches--that the bishops and all those with pastoral responsibilities in them scrupulously respect the religious liberty of the faithful. These, in turn, must be able to express freely their opinion by being consulted and by organizing themselves to this end.

In fact, religious liberty requires that, particularly in situations of conflict, the faithful are able to express their opinion and to decide without pressure from outside if they wish to be in communion either with the Orthodox Church or with the Catholic Church. Religious freedom would be violated when, under the cover of financial assistance, the faithful of one Church would be attracted to the other, by promises, for example, of education and material benefits that may be lacking in their own Church. In this context, it will be necessary that social assistance, as well as every form of philanthropic activity, be organized with common agreement so as to avoid creating new suspicions.

25. Furthermore, the necessary respect for Christian freedom - one of the most precious gifts received from Christ - should not become an occasion for undertaking a pastoral project which way also involve the faithful of other Churches, without previous consultation with the pastors of these Churches. Not only should every form of pressure, of any kind whatsoever, be excluded, but respect for consciences, motivated by an authentic exigency of faith, is one of the principles guiding the pastoral concern of those responsible in the two Churches and should be the object of their common reflection (cf. Gal 5:13).

26. That is why it is necessary to seek and to engage in an open dialogue, which in the first place should be between those who have responsibilities for the Churches. Those in charge of the communities concerned should create joint local commissions or make effective those which already exist, for finding solutions to concrete problems and seeing that these solutions are applied in truth and love, in justice and peace. If agreement cannot be reached on the local level, the question should be brought to mixed commissions established by higher authorities.

27. Suspicion would disappear more easily if the two parties were to condemn violence wherever communities of one Church use it against communities of a sister Church. As requested by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in his letter of 31 May 1991 (*d), it is necessary that all violence and every kind of pressure be absolutely avoided in order that freedom of conscience be respected. It is the task of those in charge of communities to assist their faithful to deepen their loyalty towards its traditions and to teach them to avoid not only violence, be that physical or verbal, but also all that could lead to contempt for other Christians and to counter-witness, completely ignoring the work of salvation which is reconciliation in Christ.

28. Faith in sacramental reality implies a respect for the liturgical celebrations of the other Church. The use of violence to occupy a place of worship contradicts this conviction, On the contrary, this conviction sometimes requires that the celebration of other Churches should be made easier by putting at their disposal, by common agreement, one's own church for alternate celebration at different times in the same building. Still more, the evangelical ethos requires that statements or manifestations which are likely to perpetuate a state of conflict and hinder the dialogue be avoided. Does not Saint Paul exhort us to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us, for the glory of God  (Rom 15:7)?

29. Bishops and priests have the duty before God to respect the authority which the Holy Spirit has given to the bishops and priests of the other Church and for that reason to avoid interfering in the spiritual life of the faithful of that Church. When cooperation becomes necessary for the good of the faithful, it is then required that those responsible to an agreement among themselves, establish for this mutual assistance clear principles which are known to all, and act subsequently with frankness, clarity, and with respect for the sacramental discipline of the other Church.

In this context, to avoid all misunderstanding and to develop confidence between the two Churches, it is necessary that Catholic and Orthodox bishops of the same territory consult with each other before establishing pastoral Catholic projects which imply the creation of new structures in regions which traditionally form part of the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church, in view to avoid parallel pastoral activities which would risk rapidly degenerating into rivalry and even conflicts.

30. To pave the way for future relations between the two Churches, passing beyond the out-dated ecclesiology of return to the Catholic Church connected with the problem which is the object of this document, special attention will be given to the preparation of future priests and of all those who, in any way, are involved in an apostolic activity carried on in a place where the other Church traditionally has its roots. Their education should be objectively positive with respect of the other Church.

First of all, everyone should be informed of the apostolic succession of the other Church and the authenticity of its sacramental life. One should also offer all correct and comprehensive knowledge of history aiming at a historiography of the two Churches which is in agreement and even may be in common. In this way, the dissipation of prejudices will be helped, and the use of history in a polemical manner will be avoided. This presentation will lead to an awareness that faults leading to separation belong to both sides, leaving deep wounds on each side.

31. The admonition of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians (I Cor 6:1-7) will be recalled. It recommends that Christians resolve their differences through fraternal dialogue, thus avoiding recourse to the intervention of the civil authorities for a practical solution to the problems which arise between Churches or local communities. This applies particularly to the possession or return of ecclesiastical property. These solutions should not be based only on past situations or rely solely on general juridical principles, but they must also take into account the complexity of present realities and local circumstances.

32. It is in this spirit that it will be possible to meet in common the task of re-evangelization of our secularized world. Efforts will also be made to give objective news to the mass media, especially to the religious press, in order to avoid tendentious and misleading information.

33. It is necessary that the Churches come together in order to express gratitude and respect towards all, known and unknown - bishops, priests or faithful, Orthodox, Catholic whether Oriental or Latin - who suffered, confessed their faith, witnessed their fidelity to the Church, and, in general, towards all Christians, without discrimination, who underwent persecution. Their sufferings call us to unity and, on our part, to give common witness in response to the prayer of Christ "that all may be one, so that the world may believe" (Jn 17:21).

34. The International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, at the plenary meeting in Balamand, strongly recommends that these practical rules be put into practice by our Churches, including the Oriental Catholic Churches who are called to take part in this dialogue which should be carried on in the serene atmosphere necessary for its progress, towards the re-establishment of full communion.

35. By excluding for the future all proselytism and all desire for expansion by Catholics at the expense of the Orthodox Church, the commission hopes that it has overcome the obstacles which impelled certain autocephalous Churches to suspend their participation in the theological dialogue and that the Orthodox Church will be able to find itself altogether again for continuing the theological work already happily begun.

June 24, 1993

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« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2003, 04:52:58 PM »

Quote
2. With regard to the method which has been called "uniatism," it was stated at Freising (June 1990) that "we reject it as a method for the search for unity because it is opposed to the common tradition of our Churches."

Good.

Quote
3. Concerning the Oriental Catholic Churches, it is clear that they, as part of the Catholic Communion, have the right to exist and to act in answer to the spiritual needs of their faithful.

A fact, whether one likes it or not.  The minority of Orthodox who claim otherwise are not respecting human rights.  Of course the hope is that the Eastern Catholics will return to Orthodoxy.

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8. In the course of the last four centuries, in various parts of the East, initiatives were taken within certain Churches and impelled by outside elements, to restore communion between the Church of the East and the Church of the West. These initiatives led to the union of certain communities with the See of Rome and brought with them, as a consequence, the breaking of communion with their Mother Churches of the East. This took place not without the interference of extra-ecclesial interests. In this way Oriental Catholic Churches came into being. And so a situation was created which has become a source of conflicts and of suffering, in the first instance for the Orthodox but also for Catholics.

Bold part is a big understatement--no Polish control of Ukraine? No Unia in 1596 and 1646.

Quote
9. Whatever may have been the intention and the authenticity of the desire to be faithful to the commandment of Christ : "that all may be one" expressed in these partial unions with the See of Rome, it must be recognized that the reestablishment of unity between the Church of the East and the Church of the West was not achieved and that the division remains, embittered by these attempts.

A fair acknowledgment by Rome that it goofed.

Quote
11. On the other hand, certain civil authorities made attempts to bring back Oriental Catholics to the Church of their Fathers. To achieve this end they did not hesitate, when the occasion was given, to use unacceptable means.

Such as the evil Stalin's forced, murderous, illegal liquidation of the Greek Catholic Church in 1946.

Quote
12. Because of the way in which Catholics and Orthodox once again consider each other in their relationship to the mystery of the Church and discover each other once again as sister Churches, this form of "missionary apostolate" described above, and which has been called "uniatism," can no longer be accepted either as a method to be followed nor as a model of the unity our Churches are seeking.

Practically speaking, makes sense: both Churches are real (which does not say they are the same or both true, or in union, but rather acknowledges the ontological existence of both and their closeness).

Quote
13. In fact, especially since the pan-Orthodox conferences (*b) and the Second Vatican Council, the rediscovery and the giving again of proper value to the Church as communion, both on the part of Orthodox and of Catholics, has radically altered perspectives and thus attitudes. On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to his Church--profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacrament, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops--cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches.


An Orthodox can accept this without necessarily becoming indifferent--for instance, he could say that Rome has apostolic sucession but still call for its reintegration with Orthodoxy by renouncing false accretions.

Quote
15. While the inviolable freedom of persons and their obligation to follow the requirements of their conscience remain secure, in the search for re-establishing unit there is no question of conversion of people from one Church to the other in order to ensure their salvation. There is a question of achieving together the will of Christ for his own and the design of God for his Church by means of a common quest by the Churches for a full accord on the content of the faith and its implications. This effort is being carried on in the current theological dialogue. The present document is a necessary stage in this dialogue.


Could be problematic but then again Orthodoxy believes in God's grace acting in all, and the evidence from the Fathers and lives of saints indicates that non-Orthodox have the chance at heaven.  Of course, that does not negate Orthodoxy's possessing the fullness of the truth.

Quote
16. The Oriental Catholic Churches who have desired to re-establish full communion with the See of Rome and have remained faithful to it, have the rights and obligations which are connected with this communion. The principles determining their attitude towards Orthodox Churches are those which have been put into practice by the Popes who have clarified the practical consequences flowing from these principles in various documents published since then. These Churches, then, should be inserted, on both local and universal levels, into the dialogue of love, in mutual respect and reciprocal trust found once again, and enter into the theological dialogue, with all its practical implications.


Which means that Eastern Catholic hiearchs need to get it together and stop pretending the Orthodox don't exist.

Quote
22. Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Oriental, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox. It aims at answering the spiritual needs of its own faithful and it has no desire for expansion at the expense of the Orthodox Church. Within these perspectives, so that there will be no longer place for mistrust and suspicion, it is necessary that there be reciprocal exchanges of information about various pastoral projects and that thus cooperation between bishops and all those with responsibilities in our Churches, can be set in motion and develop.


So we (Catholics) are not going to try and steal Orthodox or make Eastern Catholics into Latins and we will try and tell you guys what we're up to concerning our own priests.  Ooops, forgot to mention we were setting up dioceses in Russia (I personally was not opposed to that since there are several hundred thousand born-RC's in Russia, but they could have talked about it first!)

More later!

anastasios



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« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2003, 05:08:30 PM »

The present Eastern Catholics' right to exist as such doesn't faze me - it makes perfect sense from the Catholic POV that says although it sees itself in toto (in 11th-century Greek form) in the Orthodox Church (a tip of the hat to the good faith of born Orthodox, who aren't personally blamed for being out of communion with Rome), the teaching that there is only one true church precludes the CC from pushing out the ECs since the ECs aren't heretical in the Catholic POV, thus in this POV there is no reason to push them out.
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« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2003, 11:03:43 PM »

I remember nearly falling off my chair when I found out Serge was a member of ROCOR.  He has always seemed more friendly than most of the rest of his jurisdiction.

As regards Balamand, it's just the opinion of some academians.  It really has no more standing than wishful thinking.
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« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2003, 12:27:46 AM »

Serge is a member of ROCOR? He does not seem like the type based on the comments he posts on the board.
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« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2003, 05:34:00 AM »

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« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2003, 05:57:03 AM »

If I'm not mistaken, Serge hails from the ROC, not ROCOR.

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« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2003, 06:10:58 AM »

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« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2003, 09:27:54 AM »

It seems Serge has made it clear in the past that he wishes not to release that kind of information about himself.  I personally don't understand why, but I respect his choice, and cannot understand why Serge's jurisdiction seems to be a burning question among some.  

As far as ROCOR goes, it's interesting...all of my impressions about it have come from my experiences online with some of its members, and so ROCOR frightened me somewhat.  It was only when I actually got to know some of the people and started visiting a local parish that I realised it was not the strange beast it seemed like judging from some of the online folks, but instead was a relatively normal Church.  I'm growing fond of it; it reminds me of my own Church in some ways.
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« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2003, 10:18:26 AM »

I thought this might happen but took a chance and posted explaining my beliefs anyway. Thanks, Mor Ephrem.

Joe, with all due respect you look foolish posing as an expert on ROCA/ROCOR, and as some kind of inquisitor on behalf of that church, as you are not a member and, AFAIK before this weekend, have never even been to any kind of Eastern church, let alone a ROCOR one.

As for being a reader, etc., I never wanted to publicly disclose any info on that. A troublemaker on another board took news from an e-mail (contents of e-mail may not be posted w/o permission, according to netiquette) and blasted it on the Web - only God and he know why. I never, never claim to speak on the Web or e-mail fora as a clerical representative of any jurisdiction, only as myself. As for the BCP, Joe - and again, your pretence of being a ROCOR authority after at most one extended visit to a church strikes me as offensive, as well as ridiculous - I read the psalms and Gospel canticles, practices as 19th-century Russian as a brass samovar, in my native language; you make it sound like I'm furtively celebrating the Tudor communion service!

Quote
I personally don't understand why

Here's why, Mor Ephrem: to make it clear I never, never claim to speak on the Web or e-mail fora as a clerical representative of any jurisdiction, only as myself. Considering I am not making outrageous statements and innuendo like a malefactor on another forum who wrongly claims the gay lifestyle is acceptable to Eastern Orthodoxy, I think I am within bounds.

Quote
I could have sworn, no offense intended y'all, that you were OCA given that you mention the local OCA several times in the description of your Icon Corner and that you seem to have, well, the outlook of an OCA person regarding Ecumenism, etc.

I do like the OCA. Like ROCOR, it is a real Orthodox church and worthy of all respect as such.

Quote
But he does like Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina.
 

I'm not in any kind of guru following of the man but yes, he had a lot of good things to say.

Quote
And there are several ROCA affiliated links on his site (of course this doesn't mean anything since there's a lot of EC, TradLat, OO, etc links on his site too).

It means ROCOR has my respect as an (but not THE ONLY) Orthodox church.

Quote
So the question is Serge, what juris are you?

With all due courtesy, young Joe, none of your business. You are being rude.

Quote
As far as ROCOR goes, it's interesting...all of my impressions about it have come from my experiences online with some of its members, and so ROCOR frightened me somewhat.  It was only when I actually got to know some of the people and started visiting a local parish that I realised it was not the strange beast it seemed like judging from some of the online folks, but instead was a relatively normal Church.  I'm growing fond of it; it reminds me of my own Church in some ways.

Exactly my experience. Hateful convert types dominate online; real-life ROCOR is mainly Russians. Very different.

Certain opinions may be commoner there than others, but AFAIK ROCOR holds no dogmatic positions other than those held by Eastern Orthodoxy, and I believe I have fairly described those here.

Let's get back to anastasios' discussion of Balamand.
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« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2003, 11:58:14 AM »

Friends,

Here is the moderatorial pov.

1) Serge is right that posting email information about a person on a board is rude and bad netiquette.  Serge never wished anyone to know of his status so that he could continue to function as "one of the guys" and not take on some sort of aire of clerical loftiness, not because he has something to "hide".

2) It is technically not germaine to bring facts from other forums over to another--for instance, if Billy Bob posts that his wife smacked him with a hot iron on maritaldisputes.com/board or something, and then Billy Bob comes to oc.net, it wouldn't be okay for Billy Bob's archnemesis Guillermo to post, "oh yeah, well BB's wife beats him so don't take his posts seriously!!"  However, that being said, our board is a bit unique as many of us used to post semi-personal things on another board but left that board and came here, so this board is in a way a "continuation" of our conversations there--and so it is to be expected among the "old timers" that we might mention off the top of our head stuff we know, like, "wow Serge, it always amazes me you are ROCOR" which of course was meant as a compliment to Serge's openess, friendliness, and ecumenical views.  No one accused the original poster of any malice.

3) Another participant jumped on the bandwagon with some,
in my opinion as a fellow poster inappropriate remarks that could be translated, "Does your bishop know about you? Watch out--someone might tell him!" which is absurd.  Serge's bishop knew enough about him to want to tonsure him a reader so leave it alone.

4) That being said, no more discussion of Serge's status or anyone else's status unless it really is germaine to the conversation. Example: Jim Smith posts: "I know for a fact that the OCA does x, y, and z in its closed door meetings."  Someone would have the right to ask, "how, were you there as a priest or deacon observer?", etc.

Let us now, as Serge suggested, return to discussing Balamand.

Sincerely,

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« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2003, 12:02:06 PM »

Thank you for posting the contents of the agreement, Anastasios, will have to go read it over!
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« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2003, 12:41:29 PM »

I'd like to make some comments on the Balamand Agreement (as found above), but will keep my comments to the non-practical paragraphs (ie. the first half of the document). These first theological ones are the ones I'm most interested in since I believe that it is theological differences that seperate us (it's not a matter of coming to an agreement on the practical "how" regarding various issues).

Quote
10. ...the Catholic Church developed the theological vision according to which she presented herself as the only one to whom salvation was entrusted. As a reaction, the Orthodox Church, in turn, came to accept the same vision according to which only in her could salvation be found.

This is untrue. The Church has always seen herself in the exact same way: she has always spoke of salvation for those outside of the Church and within paradoxically. The Church has always been "the only ark of salvation," and simultaneously, the Church has never said that it is impossible for God to grant salvation to those outside the Church. That Salvation comes through the Orthodox Church (as Salvation came only through Israel) is certainly not a new theological belief thought up in reaction to the fairly recent problem in question!

Quote
To assure the salvation of "the separated brethren" it even happened that Christians were re-baptized and that certain requirements of the religious freedom of persons and of their act of faith were forgotten. This perspective was one to which that period showed little sensitivity.

Whether something like "re-baptism" is insensitive depends on one's perspective. If you hold to the view that Rome had fallen deeply into numerous heresies by the time in question, "re-baptism" is not only not insensitive, but it a false accusation. If Rome had fallen into terrible error, there could not have been a legit baptism to begin with. Anything that the Orthodox would do (whether baptize or chrismate) would not "make up for what the Roman baptism lacked" (as some say today), but would have "filled in what had not previously been there before (ie. grace)".

Quote
13. ...On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to his Church--profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacrament, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops--cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches.

Again, if the Roman Church is viewed as having fallen into grave error, and been in heresy for near a thousand years--if we admit that our differences amount to more than political and historical factos--then the Catholic Church most certainly does not have valid apostolic succession, sacraments, etc. Grace is not the "exclusive property" of one Church, it is the exclusive gift to the body of Christ, and if one leaves the body of Christ, then they leave the sacraments, apostolic succession, etc.

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14. It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as sister Churches,

The Orthodox Church does not recognize the Catholic Church as a sister Church, nor does she recognize her sacraments. Some would question whether the Catholic church should be called a pseudo-church, but I'll leave that discussion for those better able to discuss it even-handedly (as you all know, I tend to put my foot in my mouth).

Quote
...responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavor of the sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, 27).

In other words, the Catholics are saying "we won't repent," which is the only method for unity. Those who are in error must repent of their error and rejoin the body of Christ. Surely dialogue and prayer play major parts along the way, but in the end, at the last moment, there is no other method for reunion than repentance and humility.

This document is a good example of why some Orthodox are so afraid of ecumenical dialogue. If this type of "agreement" is where we are headed, then I cannot see how anyone could question that ecumenism is destructive and is harming people. That an Orthodox Christian could sign this document is difficult to comprehend.

An interesting document to read is the Letter from the monks of Mount Athos to the Ecumenical Patriarch. Other than this, I'm not sure what to say. I'll probably regret saying anything, but time will tell I suppose.
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« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2003, 01:39:07 PM »

I'll say one thing for the Balamand document: it works well in the Middle East, acting more as a confirmation of already existing attitudes.  It does not work well with the people of Eastern Europe (always the viewpoint from which the document is analyzed; the Balkans context strongly monopolizes the subjects of uniatism and E.C./Orthodox relations, and the MidEast tends to provide a sharp contrast to that) and where the E.C.'s and Orthodox "hate each other's guts", and where the former are small and weak (Ukranians excepted) compared to the patriarchal Melkite Church.

Nationalist rivalries and historical political alliances are also involved in the history of those two sides, dwelling on which tending to dominate the discussions.  There are no "Poles" in the Melkite/Orthodox theatre, and heavy intermarriage brings the two sides close in a way unworkable and unimaginable in Europe.

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« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2003, 02:18:22 PM »

Dear Paradosis:

Assuming that you have not gone into it, a very useful complement to your study of the proceedings of the International Commission, which produced the "Balamand Agreement," would be a review of the sessions of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, which is more active in these ecumenical talks.

The 62nd meeting of the group was held at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology last June 3-5, 2002, for their spring session, the topic of which was, you guessed it, a continuation of their respective theological study on the "filioque!"

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« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2003, 03:08:45 PM »

Christ is risen!

Greetings Amadeus,

Do you know where I could find more in-depth coverage of what is going on at these meetings? I've read about them before (I think on Orthodox News), but I'm unsure where to find more info at.
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« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2003, 03:46:01 PM »

Dear Paradosis:

I get tidbits of the proceedings of the Consultation Group via the USCCB website, but this might be "anathema" to you. Grin

However, I am quite sure anastasios, Mor Ephrem, or Serge might be able to direct you to an Orthodox website for the details.  OrthodoxInfo.com readily comes to mind.

AmdG
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« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2003, 05:06:42 PM »

Paradosis,  avoid the USCCB like the black death.  These are the same people who forbid evangelizing the Jews and are having serious talks with episcopaleans (I mean the ultraliberal bradchurch variety) about reunion.  

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #34 on: April 29, 2003, 05:18:03 PM »

Joe Zollars:

Are you really this RUDE?


AmdG
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« Reply #35 on: April 29, 2003, 05:21:05 PM »

Christianity is a balance between zeal in upholding what's right and true, and being loving and humble. We all sometimes say things in a way that comes off wrong, I think Smiley Wink
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« Reply #36 on: April 29, 2003, 05:39:25 PM »

AmdG, the USCCB has said several blatantly heretical statements (at least in the eyes of the RCC) such as RC's shouldn't evangelize Jews and let us not forget their blatant ignoring of Liturgicam Authenticam, The Need for Latin Still Remains by Paul VI, not to mention Mortalium Animos by Pius X (and don't forget Dominie Gregis by the same or the Sylabus of Errors by Pius IX), and the laundry list really could go on and on.  

To add to this, the USCCB is little more than a gentleman's coffee club where all the patrons just happen to be Catholic Bishops.  The individual Bishop can decide whether or not to abide by the USCCB's decisions (like the Arch-Hersiarch Mahoney-Balony does) or to file them away in file 13 like Bishop Bruskowitz does.  The individual Bishop has the authority, not the USCCB.

And don't forget they force EC Bishops to concelebrate the NO (Nervous [dis-] Order) "Mass" and if a personal prelature for tradlats was set up in America you can bet your bottom dollar they'd force him to concelebrate the New "Mass" as well.  This is evidenced by the fact that Bishop Rifan down in Campos doesn't attend their confrence because of the simple reason he cannot say the New "Liturgy", its written into the bylaws of the SSJV.  

When I was tradlat there were several of us who would gather in the Church during the meetings praying God to hold them back from completely destroying the Catholic Faith, but Vatican II did this 35 years ago.  

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #37 on: April 29, 2003, 06:01:12 PM »

JoeZZZ:

Your unending tirades against the Catholic Church will carry you no further than an iota of doubt of your commitment.

Ingratiating yourself to all Orthodox and sundry transforms your otherwise noble intentions into chicanery. Rely on the strength of your conviction to become an Orthodox and not on the perceived weaknesses or failings of the Catholic Church, which nurtured your faith for a least 2 years, you now intend to abandon in haste.

Heed the advice of Paradosis and, if you care, mine.

AmdG
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« Reply #38 on: April 29, 2003, 07:26:25 PM »

Well put, Amadeus - though of course it's nice that it seems Joe really enjoyed his experience of Russian Orthodox worship this Easter weekend. (However, of course it would resonate with small-o orthodox Catholics, including traditionalists, not just with someone interested in changing churches.)

Which leads back to something I wrote a while back: if you're really into Eastern Orthodoxy, 'accentuate the positive': write about the good things in it that 'grab' you more than/instead of running down some other church (such as your present or former church).
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« Reply #39 on: April 29, 2003, 08:04:55 PM »

In reading Balamand, I noticed that the underlying premise of that document seems to be the notion that the Orthodox and Roman Catholic communions are "sister churches" (they are even referred to as such in the document itself).

Now, anyone who has read my posts here knows that I am very open to and friendly with Roman Catholics.

Just the same, is there not but one, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church?

How is it possible for there to be more than one?

The Church cannot be divided (1 Cor. 1:13), just as Christ Himself cannot be divided.

I am not trying to be polemical here; I am trying to understand.

How can there be such a thing as "sister churches" not in communion with one another and holding different, mutually exclusive doctrines?

No one would like to see the reunion of the churches that are of apostolic foundation more than I. But I would like to see a real reunion in the Spirit of Christ, and not a mere proclamation of unity where it does not exist.
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« Reply #40 on: April 29, 2003, 11:28:02 PM »

Linus7<<How can there be such a thing as "sister churches" not in communion with one another and holding different, mutually exclusive doctrines?>>

There can't, Linus.  It's totally illogical.  Each Orthodox Church is in communion with other Orthodox Churches, not with the Roman Church.  IOW, all the ORTHODOX Churches together are "sister Churches."  Balamand is not held as dogma by any Orthodox (except by some *professional* ecumenists who would like to elevate its statements as such).  To me, and these are my thoughts, even though some may find them offensive, Balamand is a betrayal of Orthodoxy.

I find myself in Paradosis-Justin's camp on this one.

Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2003, 06:10:02 AM »

AmdG, I have not once said anything contradictory to the Catholic Church or Catholic Faith, at least in the two posts in question.  The NO never once fed my faith.  How can Masonry and Protestantism feed faith?  Of course, at least in my opinion, the NO is about as far from Catholicism, if not further, than the Dalai Lamma.  What fed my faith? the Latin Mass, traditional Catholic prayers and devotions and it is because of what is good in these that I feel that I need to fill in the missing spots, to supplant the bad by the ultimate good.  

I choose not to discuss my experiences at Pascha openly on this or any other board.   I just don't see the point in opening up yet another useless can of worms.  But Serge, it was much more than just a nice experience and much more than just aesthetically pleasing.  

Now, AmdG, you will never hear me criticize the Traditional (that is Gregorian--an entirely preschism Liturgy) Latin Mass as I feel it is what it is, a stepping stone for many to the true faith.

"Eternal Father, you alone are God" (Eucharistic Prayer 4).  Hmm sounds like rank heresy to me.  AmdG, I was never a NO "Catholic" for one reason, I can't stand the thought of being a Protestant and a Heretic. I sent my tithes most often  to the FSSP, but sometimes to the SSPX and even at one point tried to organize a group here to get an SSPX Mission.  Such never bore fruit as every one here is more concerned about their little social club than about the Truth (boy isn't that just a picture of Mainstream Protestantism).  I have from nearly day 1 entertained strong doupts, on a theological level, as to whether or not the "Missal" of Paul VI was a Mass.  In my opinion Transubstantiation, from a trad RC POV, does not take place at a NO "mass" using ICEL translations.  The Council of Florence absolutely requires the words For Many (Pro Multis) in the Consecration of the Chalice whereas ICEL has For All (Pro Omnes).  The theological implications of this are immense.  Of course one cannot fail to remember that Pope Pius V anathamatized ANYONE, who being a LR cleric, used ANY Missal other than the Missal of St. Gregory, excepting those which had been in existance for at least 2 centuries with the approval of Rome.  And there is a long list of Popes who have issued anathamas against various elemements openly embraced by the NO communion Service (I dare not call it Mass--or even capatalize communion).  From the RC canonical point of view, the Church excommunicated itself at Vatican II.

However, I doupt very highly that in the eyes of God I was EVER a Roman Catholic.  I was never Babtized when I joined the RCC.  I never made a confession (old Priest never asked for a symbol of Contrition.  therefore he had no hope of forming the right intention), which I couldn't do since I was never babtized anyway (IMO my prot babtism was unquestionably invalid).  The Priest said the NO formula of confirmation when he gave me confirmation.  And y'all already know my opinions on NO Communions.

Anyway the jist is, I have not attacked my former Church, just the charlatan pretending to be my former Church.  And sometimes, a wolf in sheeps clothing has to be pointed out.   Almost all my friends are Roman Catholics and I even have some Novus Ordites for Friends (my dad is a EM at the local NO Parish), but truth is truth and it is for the sake of truth that all should be Orthodox.  It is the only logical conclusion one can arrive at when examining theology and or history.

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2003, 09:15:13 AM »


"Eternal Father, you alone are God" (Eucharistic Prayer 4).  Hmm sounds like rank heresy to me.  AmdG, I was never a NO "Catholic" for one reason, I can't stand the thought of being a Protestant and a Heretic.

Joe, what's heretical about that?  Only God the Father is addressed as "o theos" in Greek. Jesus is always addressed as simply "theos" (with one exception where Thomas calls Jesus "o theos" in the Gospel of John). The difference is that "o" is a definitive article that makes the noun "GOD" as opposed to "divinity."

Reading the Church Fathers, you realize that God the Father is the only being of the Trinity that can *intrinsically* be called God because He is unoriginate. The Son and the Holy Spirit are divine and God in a secondary sense through the Father.  Why do you think that in the letters of Paul he says things like "Glory to God THROUGH Jesus Christ", "God AND Jesus", etc?

For a good summary of the above from an Orthodox perspective, read, the Spirit of God by Fr. Tom Hopko.


Quote
In my opinion Transubstantiation, from a trad RC POV, does not take place at a NO "mass" using ICEL translations.  The Council of Florence absolutely requires the words For Many (Pro Multis) in the Consecration of the Chalice whereas ICEL has For All (Pro Omnes).  The theological implications of this are immense.

Too bad in the original Greek they mean the same thing!

Quote
Of course one cannot fail to remember that Pope Pius V anathamatized ANYONE, who being a LR cleric, used ANY Missal other than the Missal of St. Gregory, excepting those which had been in existance for at least 2 centuries with the approval of Rome.

Of course a Pope cannot bind his successors to anything disciplanary--basic Papal Theory 101.

Another problem is this theory of valid, invalid, etc., right words, right intent, right formulas, etc...I would suggest you read: Introduction to Liturgical Theology by Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann and Beyond East and West: Problems in Liturgical Understanding by Archimandrite Robert Taft (recognized by Orthodox and Catholics as the premier scholar of the Byzantine Rite).

Sincerely,

anastasios
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« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2003, 10:53:29 AM »

Joe Zollars <<Anyway the jist is, I have not attacked my former Church, just the charlatan pretending to be my former Church.>>

Huh Why are you becoming Orthodox?

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« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2003, 11:35:44 AM »

The sister-churches notion is uniquely Catholic, dogmatically - as an opinion it's not unknown to EOs but dogmatically it is. And it's not hypocritical. As I said, Catholicism sees itself in toto in EOxy, not some erroneous mutation, which is what Protestantism is. But, one might object, EOs aren't under the Pope. So how does one square that with teaching on being the one true Church? 'Sister churches', where EO Churches are seen as sacramentally the same ('valid' in RCspeak) as the Roman Rite Church or (another meaning of 'Church') the RC Diocese of Wherever. But the Church as a whole of course has no sisters. As for the EOs having less than full Churchness because they're not under the Pope, as I said, Catholicism doesn't blame born or never-Catholic EOs personally for not so being and so can say such are fully the Church. (Kind of condescending from the EO POV but whatever.) So Balamand, dogmatically, for Catholics isn't hypocritical.

Some EOs' opinion mirrors Catholic dogma here, but dogmatically the only sister churches to EOs are other Orthodox churches - fellow members of the EO communion.
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