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coolmk20x
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« on: May 14, 2003, 10:19:35 AM »

hey im new here. I am a Roman Catholic and have some questions.  

First, how is the Pope viewed by the orthodox churches?

Second, why are the othodox churches divided and not united like the Catholic Church?

Third, whats the difference between orthodox seperation from the Catholic Church and Protestant seperation?

Fourth, is unity between the Roman Catholic Church and the orthodox Churches possible?  (I know unity with the protestants is not)

thanks
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2003, 10:51:54 AM »

Dear coolmk20x,

Christ is risen!  Welcome to OrthodoxChristianity.net!

First, how is the Pope viewed by the orthodox churches?

It depends on what you mean by that, I guess.  I would say (and others can correct me on any of these, because I'll probably botch something, I just woke up Tongue ) that in a situation where Catholics and Orthodox were united, the Pope of Rome would be first among equals, and probably would have the right to hear appeals from other patriarchates and Churches (although not on his own initiative).  In other words, it would be something along the lines of what the situation was before the schism.  

If you ask what the Orthodox Church thinks of the Pope today, we'd say that the current view of the Papacy held by Rome, especially as promulgated by Vatican I, is wrong and is a stumbling block.  

If you ask what we think of the current Pope, I guess opinions differ as persons differ.  I personally like him, I think he is a holy man.    

Second, why are the othodox churches divided and not united like the Catholic Church?

There are different autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox Churches in the world today.  I cannot give you a good answer why this is so (I'm drawing a blank).  What I will tell you, though, is that at the same time, there is only "One" Orthodox Catholic Church.  As a Roman Catholic, this concept should not be new to you; there are 21 or so Eastern Catholic *Churches* in communion with the Roman Catholic Church.  There is a plurality of Churches there, and yet, one can also speak of the one Church.  

Third, whats the difference between orthodox seperation from the Catholic Church and Protestant seperation?

Well, the first difference is in perspective: who left whom?  Your position obviously is that the Orthodox left the Catholic Church.  We would say we never left the "Catholic Church", that we are still the "Catholic Church" (although not in communion with the Pope of Rome) and I think it is historically demonstrable that we never did.  

The differences between Catholics and Orthodox *basically* boil down to the Papacy, in my opinion.  There are others (they'll probably post) who will cite other matters.  The differences between Catholics and Protestants, however, are great, at least theologically.  

Fourth, is unity between the Roman Catholic Church and the orthodox Churches possible?  (I know unity with the protestants is not)

It certainly is possible, I'd say, because anything is possible with God.  Will it happen soon?  I doubt it.  A LOT more needs to be done for that to happen.  

I know my answers haven't been very adequate, but I hope they answer some of your questions, help spark more conversation, and inspire in you more questions.  God bless, and welcome again!
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2003, 10:58:56 AM »

<Ricardo Montalb+ín voice> Welcome! (Smiles, everyone, smiles!) </voice>

Good questions.

A resource I recommend is my page on Catholic and Orthodox differences.

Quote
First, how is the Pope viewed by the orthodox churches?

Have to split this answer into two parts: before the medieval estrangement of the two sides and after. Before that split, as Bishop Kallistos (published as Timothy Ware) writes, a special place of honor went to the Pope. To this day, Pope saints are on the Orthodox calendar as 'Pope of Rome'.

After the estrangement, which happened really because of rivalry between two empires (the German 'Holy Roman' one and the Greek Byzantine one) that no longer exist, Eastern Orthodox see him as outside the visible Church and so have no dogmatic view of him. Opinions, however, range from seeing him as a real bishop but in schism to nothing at all, no different from a Protestant or a non-Christian.

Quote
Second, why are the othodox churches divided and not united like the Catholic Church?

This sounds like a misconception you have of Eastern Orthodoxy. Administratively it is a group of independent Churches, not one administration under a Pope like the Catholic Church, but they are amazingly united, sharing not only the Byzantine Rite liturgically but the same 11th-century Greek theology and sacramental communion with each other (meaning they concelebrate and receive Communion at each other's churches, no problem).

Quote
Third, whats the difference between orthodox seperation from the Catholic Church and Protestant seperation?

The difference is that Catholics and Orthodox have the same views on the ministry of bishops and on the sacraments. Because of this, Catholics recognize Orthodox bishops, Communion and other sacraments as real. Protestants, on the other hand, rejected the Catholic beliefs on these things.

Quote
Fourth, is unity between the Roman Catholic Church and the orthodox Churches possible?

Yes, but it won't be easy because the two sides don't trust each other and the Orthodox fear the current Catholic setup with the Pope directly running everything is unfair to churches that aren't Roman Rite.
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2003, 11:40:22 AM »

Quote
You call the SSPX, Old Catholics, Eastern Catholics, Latin Catholics, et al. "united"?

The SSPX are in a canonical grey area like the Orthodox jurisdictional mess in America but still believe everything the rest of the Catholic Church does. Eastern Catholics and Latin Catholics likewise believe all the same things and are in communion with each other, both parts of the Catholic Church. 'Old Catholics' are, like Protestants, not in the Catholic Church.

Quote
The Catholics seperated from the Orthodox because of humanism, the Protestants then seperated from the Catholics because they took that humanism to it's logical end.

There is something to this - after all, the errors, including Protestantism, of today's Western culture are bastards (not inevitable results?) of Western Christendom - but I don't think the two sides separated consciously over that issue.

Quote
There are different autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox Churches in the world today.  I cannot give you a good answer why this is so (I'm drawing a blank).
 

I think there are two reasons, one ancient, one modern. In the ancient world in which the Christian Church began, communication and travel were difficult, plus the early Church saw the main unit of itself as centered on the local city's bishop. Local independent Churches were a natural result.

This is the same reason there are different rites, such as the Roman Rite and the Byzantine Rite. Not because of real differences in belief but because different countries, different cultures, didn't talk to each other and so developed very differently.

Still, by the Middle Ages there were basically two parts, Western Europe directly under the Pope as its patriarch and increasingly under the German empire, and Eastern Europe under the Byzantine emperor and the patriarch of Constantinople. (Incidentally, before the estrangement the Western side already was known as Catholic and the Eastern one as Orthodox.)

The second reason has to do with the modern notion of the nation-state. The Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks in 1453 and as the Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe broke away from the Turks' rule in the 1800s, they also broke away from the patriarch of Constantinople, seeing a national church as important to being a separate, independent country. (The Russian Empire wasn't under the Byzantines or the Turks and its church had become independent of the Byzantine patriarch by about the 1600s.)

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The differences between Catholics and Orthodox *basically* boil down to the Papacy, in my opinion.

Me too. That's the only real difference: can the post-separation Catholic teachings about the Pope square with Eastern Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2003, 11:52:21 AM »

Second, why are the othodox churches divided and not united like the Catholic Church?

Just to be clear, the Churches in communion with Rome (the "Catholic" Churches) are "divided" along similar lines.  In many larger cities of the USA you have Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic parishes, Ukrainian, Melkite, Romanian, Maronite, Chaldean and Syro-Malabar.  There may be others now that I can't recall.  Most RCs don't even know these exist yet each one has its own bishop(s) here, its own liturgy and liturgical practice, its own law and may or may not be subect to an overseas superior in addition to Rome.  The Roman-affiliated churches are not the picture-perfect example of administrative unity.  And we have not even touched on the churches that call themselves "Catholic" yet are not considered so by Rome.   Yet all these Churches claim to be united in faith.

Such is the case with the Orthodox Churches although it is my opinion that they are sometimes more friendly with each other than their Catholic counterparts.

Tony
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2003, 11:56:11 AM »

what i meant was is that is Catholic Church considered valid or authentic by the orthodox churhes?  Is the Pope consider an authentic Bishop?  I know that Catholic church recognizes the authenticity of orthodox priests and bishops, but those of protestant churhes, like the archbishop of canterbary (sp?).

How is protestantism viewed by the orthodox churches?

also here some theological questions:

1) Do orthodox venerate Mary and Saints?
2) Is Mary considered the "Mother of God"?
3) Do you believe she remained a virgin? (protestants think Jesus had brothers)
4) Why do you believe the Holy Spirit can not come from the Son and only the Father? This seems to lack logic.  I mean even the scriptures say that Jesus had the Holy Spirit.
5) Do you believe that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome? Protestants dont.
6)Are you "sola scriptura" like protestants? Do you follow trandition?

I personally thing that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches can unite and the current Pope has the ability to do it.  If there were a union, this would shake protestantism alot, possibly even dismantle it.  I pray for all this to happen.  For Christ wanted his sheep to be united.
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2003, 12:01:13 PM »

Quote
what i meant was is that is Catholic Church considered valid or authentic by the orthodox churhes?

Dogmatically, the Orthodox answer to this is 'we don't know'.

Quote
Is the Pope consider an authentic Bishop?

See my earlier reply to you.

Quote
How is protestantism viewed by the orthodox churches?

As outside the Church but farther away from them than Catholicism is.

Quote
1) Do orthodox venerate Mary and Saints?

Yes.

Quote
2) Is Mary considered the "Mother of God"?

Yes.

Quote
3) Do you believe she remained a virgin? (protestants think Jesus had brothers)

Yes.

Quote
4) Why do you believe the Holy Spirit can not come from the Son and only the Father? This seems to lack logic.  I mean even the scriptures say that Jesus had the Holy Spirit.

See the link on my first reply to you. I cover that issue on my page.

Quote
5) Do you believe that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome? Protestants dont.

I don't know but assume yes.

Quote
6)Are you "sola scriptura" like protestants?

No.

Quote
Do you follow tradition?


Yes.

Quote
I personally thing that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches can unite and the current Pope has the ability to do it.  If there were a union, this would shake protestantism alot, possibly even dismantle it.  I pray for all this to happen.  For Christ wanted his sheep to be united.

Perhaps wishful thinking but good luck!
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2003, 12:01:25 PM »

"hey im new here. I am a Roman Catholic and have some questions. "

Greetings.

"First, how is the Pope viewed by the orthodox churches?"

We have no dogmatic view, but he is viewed as being outside the visible boundaries of the Church at the moment.  Orthodoxy doesn't dogmatize about those who are outside of its visible boundaries.  Therefore, Orthodox opinions on him range from "he is the leader of the Church of the West" to "he is the Arch-Heretic", with quite a lot of views in between.

"Second, why are the othodox churches divided and not united like the Catholic Church?"

The local churches of the Orthodox Church are united by the double bond of faith and sacrament.  The local churches were never united under one administrative head, even during the period prior to the time that Rome separated itself from Orthodoxy.  Orthodoxy considers this "universal jurisdiction" aspect of Roman Catholic ecclesiology to be a novelty, at best, and an ecclesiological heresy, at worst.  We are administratively divided (we have always been), but we are much more closely united together in faith than Roman Catholics are, in practice (never mind what it says on paper, I'm talking about what the folks in the pews and the folks with the collars really believe, regardless of what the CCC says).

"Third, whats the difference between orthodox seperation from the Catholic Church and Protestant seperation?"

Orthodoxy considers that Rome left the Orthodox Church at the time of the separation -- so we view things differently than Rome does.  :-).  The separation between Rome and Orthodoxy had to do principally with the authority of the Pope (and the desire of Rome to expand that), but also had to do with a growing tide of doctrinal differences, most notably the issue of the unilateral addition to the Creed of the filioque clause.

The separation between Protestantism and Rome appears to many Orthodox to be the logical conclusion of the separation of Rome from Orthodoxy.  That is, the consensus-driven model for hammering out doctrine and scriptural interpretation followed in the church of the ecumenical councils was replaced, by Rome, with a centralist, unilateralist model based on one local church's interpretation of a particular scripture passage.  Protestantism is simply the reduction of this from the level of the Papacy to that of the individual believer -- every Protestant believer is like a Pope in miniature, armed with his Bible and his own interpretation of it.  To Orthodox eyes, this is an outgrowth of the very problem that led to the separation with Rome to begin with (as well as the points regarding humanism, raised above, and the fact that the seemingly never-ending quest of the Roman Church to expand its power had to have its eventual backlash, even in the West).

"Fourth, is unity between the Roman Catholic Church and the orthodox Churches possible?  (I know unity with the protestants is not)"

It's possible.  Anything is possible with God, as the scripture tells us.  There are substantial obstacles, however, because we presently lack a unity of faith in several areas, and the Catholics have made their administrative structures a matter of faith at Vatican I, as affirmed by Vatican II.  

What I can tell you, as someone who grew up RC, went to RC school for 12 years, and who used to teach CCD ... is that the Orthodox Church looks more similar to Catholic eyes than it really is.  A Catholic will often look at us and say "Gee, they are similar to us" or "They seem like Catholics without the Pope" because we share the things with them that Protestantism often does not (hierarechical orders, sacramental life, eucharistic belief, importance of liturgy, etc.).  For Roman Catholics, many of the defining elements of the faith have been defined in recent centuries in contradistinction to Protestantism ... Protestantism is the "identified other" for Roman Catholicism, so when Roman Catholics look to Orthodoxy they often see us as being the same in precisely those areas in which Catholics view themselves as different from Protestants .. which makes many Catholics think "Gee, they are like us".  But what I can tell you is that although things look similar on the outside, on the inside things are rather different.  Most of these things are viewed differently by Orthodoxy than they are by Catholicism.  Orthodox have often remarked that Protestantism and Catholicism seem, to an Orthodox, like two sides of the same coin because they are both Western and they both approach the faith from a Western perspective. One Orthodox Bishop has written that while Protestants and Catholics have different answers on issues they consider critical, they both ask the same questions --- whereas we Orthodox don't even ask the same questions, never mind having the same answers!  It is hard, if not impossible, to grasp this when first looking at Orthodoxy, but I would encourage you to dig deeper if you wish to develop an understanding of what Orthodoxy truly is.

Brendan
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2003, 12:17:32 PM »

Hello again.

"what i meant was is that is Catholic Church considered valid or authentic by the orthodox churhes?"

As such, no.  Validity is a Catholic concept -- you have bishops in "apostolic succession", then you have "valid" orders and "valid" sacraments.  To Orthodoxy, the question is where are you in relation to the Church -- specifically, are you in communion with it?  If not in visible communion, Orthodoxy doesn't know whether or not grace exists there -- we don't know about things, one way or the other, that take place outside the visible boundaries of the Church.  Individual Orthodox have opinions, therefore, that range from "Rome is a graceless non-Church" to "Rome is simply a Church that is separate from Orthodoxy, with grace-filled sacraments".

"Is the Pope consider an authentic Bishop?"

Same answer as above.

"How is protestantism viewed by the orthodox churches?"

Again, Orthodoxy doesn't draw any dogmatic distinction here because both are outside the visible boundaries of the Church (to Orthodox eyes).  As a practical matter, most individual Orthodox feel that Cathlolicism is closer to Orthodoxy than most Protestantism (but Protestantism is diverse, so there are exceptions to that for some "high" Protestants).

"1) Do orthodox venerate Mary and Saints?"

Yes. In practice, probably more than most Catholics do today (in practice, I mean, not in theory).

"2) Is Mary considered the "Mother of God"?"

Yes, we most often call her by her Greek epithet "Theotokos" ("birth-giver of God") as well as another epithet "Panagia" ("All-Holy").

"3) Do you believe she remained a virgin? (protestants think Jesus had brothers)"

Yes, she is ever-virgin.  The "brothers" mentioned in the Gospel were most likely From Joseph's prior marriage, or perhaps were cousins.

"4) Why do you believe the Holy Spirit can not come from the Son and only the Father? This seems to lack logic.  I mean even the scriptures say that Jesus had the Holy Spirit."

Actually, Jesus says in the scripture that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.  He says that I will send you the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father.   Most Catholic bibles footnote this passage to say "not intended to refer to eternal procession", but Orthodox see this as self-serving footnoting.  More importantly, the matter of the procession of the Holy Spirit was settled at an ecumenical council, and the wording of the Creed was agreed upon by the entire church.  Rome has no authority to change that Creed without the approval of the entire church that adopted it.  Do you know, there was a pre-schism Roman Pope who affixed silver plates to the walls of the Lateran Cathedral in Rome captioned "For the Defense of the Orthodox Faith" and containing the Creed in Latin and Greek WITHOUT the filioque??  There were Orthodox Popes before the separation, praise be to God, but this seems to have been lost in latter years.  What realy happened was that when the Franks (who really believed in the Filioque) took over the Papacy, the filioque became entrenched in Rome itself, and this led to all of the problems.  The Vatican recently released a "clarification" of the meaning of teh Filioque that seems acceptable to at least some Orthodox .... but the issue of the wording of the Creed remains.

"5) Do you believe that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome? Protestants dont."

Don't have a dogmatic view on this.

"6)Are you "sola scriptura" like protestants? Do you follow trandition?"

Actually, we view scripture as a part of Tradition, not as separate from it.  It grew up in, and reflects that, Tradition of which it is a part.  We reject sola scriptura (but we also do see the roots of it in the Pope's use of 'sola scriptura' to justify his own attempts to extend his temporal power in spite of the weight of Tradition of the first 1000 years of Christian history regarding what the contours of that power really are ... so some of us kind of see the roots of sola scriptura really lying in the Roman Church itself).

"If there were a union, this would shake protestantism alot, possibly even dismantle it."

I'm not so sure that would happen ... Protestants have their issues with both Rome and Orthodoxy.

Brendan
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2003, 12:20:53 PM »

Christ is Risen! Welcome!

3) Do you believe she remained a virgin? (protestants think Jesus had brothers)
4) Why do you believe the Holy Spirit can not come from the Son and only the Father? This seems to lack logic.  I mean even the scriptures say that Jesus had the Holy Spirit.

3. Yes, but we believe he had brothers too. He had foster-brothers, the sons of Joseph from his first marriage.

4. In the Bible itself, Christ said that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. He says nothing about the Holy Spirit proceeding from Himself, which one might think he would explain if it was so. Many Eastern Catholics do not say the filioque or believe in it either.
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2003, 12:36:14 PM »

Serge and others,

Thanks for expounding on the matter of local Churches in Orthodoxy; now I don't have an excuse for drawing a blank.
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2003, 12:56:35 PM »

whats filioque (excuse my ignorance)? So are catholics heratics to orthodoxy??  Also, i thought the Greek Orthodox Church was an autonomous Church and that the Russian Orthodox Church was another autonomous Churchs, etc.. They are not??
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2003, 01:05:30 PM »

Quote
whats filioque (excuse my ignorance)?

You wrote earlier:

4) Why do you believe the Holy Spirit can not come from the Son and only the Father? This seems to lack logic.  I mean even the scriptures say that Jesus had the Holy Spirit.

That's what the filioque is about. The page linked in my first reply to you (and again now) explains.

Quote
So are catholics heratics to orthodoxy??


Again, please read the page. Dogmatically, the Orthodox answer is 'we don't know'.

Quote
Also, i thought the Greek Orthodox Church was an autonomous Church and that the Russian Orthodox Church was another autonomous Churchs, etc.. They are not??

They are.
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2003, 01:22:10 PM »

whats filioque (excuse my ignorance)? So are catholics heratics to orthodoxy??  Also, i thought the Greek Orthodox Church was an autonomous Church and that the Russian Orthodox Church was another autonomous Churchs, etc.. They are not??

The Greek Orthodox Church is an authonomous Church, and the Russian Orthodox Church is another autonomous Church, but they are in full Communion with each other, ie they are one Church.  It's just like the Russian Catholic Church and the Ukranian Catholic Church and the Latin Catholic Church are all autonomous Churches, but they are in Communion with each other, ie they are one Church.

The big issue with filoque is that the Creed was formulated at councils.  When it was done the councile decreed that if anyone changed, added to, or took away from the Creed which expresses the faith of the Church, they should be cut off.  Over 1/2 millenium later the Roman Church added the words "and the Son" to the creed, which the councils had set to be an offence that demands an anathama.  As the Catholics currently understand filoque, it's probably ok.  That is, in the 1990's the Vatican came out with a document saying that the Father is the sole source of the Trinity, and that the Holy Spirit proceeds through the Son, and it is in that sense that the Spirit proceeds through the Father and the Son.  Prior to that clarificaion, it sounded like Catholics made for two sources in the Trinity, two Fathers.  Regardless of the fact that the theology has now been clarified, the Creed must stand in it's original form, the Catholic Church had no authority to alter it.  The Catholic Church is moving this way, Pope John Paul II has implored all Eastern Catholics, who are equally Catholic to Roman Catholics, in full Communion, to recite the Creed without Filoque.  In fact, when Pope John Paul concelebrates a Divine Liturgy with an Eastern Church, he says it without "and the Son".
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2003, 01:22:24 PM »

Hello again.

"whats filioque (excuse my ignorance)?"

"Filioque" is Latin for "and the Son".  The phrase is absent from the Creed adopted by the Second Ecumenical Council, and followed by the Orthodox Church.

"So are catholics heratics to orthodoxy??"

Orthodoxy does not take a view, one way or the other.  Some Orthodox do consider Catholics to be heretics, others do not.  Many Orthodox consider some Catholic teachings to be heretical.

 "lso, i thought the Greek Orthodox Church was an autonomous Church and that the Russian Orthodox Church was another autonomous Churchs, etc.. They are not?? "

Aunonomous meaning self-governing, yes.  They are two churches who are in communion with each other because they share a common faith and common sacraments.  They do not interfere in the internal governance of each other.  At the same time, if a local church were to fall away from Orthodoxy in its faith, it would no longer be in communion with the other Orthodox local churches, and therefore would no longer be a part of the Orthodox Church.  It's best to consider the Orthodox Church as a communion of local churches -- we do not mirror the Catholic "everyone in the world under one Bishop" approach, and for us the real issue is whether one is "in communion".

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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2003, 01:26:19 PM »

"It's just like the Russian Catholic Church and the Ukranian Catholic Church and the Latin Catholic Church are all autonomous Churches, but they are in Communion with each other, ie they are one Church."

Actually, to me, it's quite different.  The Bishop of Rome is the head of every Catholic Church -- they are all under one head.  It *looks* like the Melkites are headed by a Patriarch, but in fact the Bishop of Rome is canonically the head of every Catholic Church and has joint (and superior) jurisdiction in every diocese.  So all of the Catholic churches are administratively linked, and really aren't autonomous at all.  After all, Rome has the "Congregation for the Eastern Churches" to administratively supervise the Eastern Catholic Churches -- most of the members of which are members of the Latin  Shocked Church!

The situation with the Orthodox Churches is different in that they actually are self-governing and don't interfere in the internal governance of each other.  Not the case for the Eastern Catholic Churches, who are subject to Roman/Vatican jurisdiction.

Brendan
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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2003, 02:23:14 PM »

Do you venerate Catholic Saints, or your own saints?

Are your priests allowed to marry after entering the clergy?

I read in that link that you dont have statues like us.  Do you accuse of idol worship like protestants do??

ok the reason i have all these questions is that i am very familiar with the protestant reformation and our differences with them, but I know little of our relationship and break with the orthodox churches.  I heard that we alot in common, but some few, significant differences.  thanks for all your answers.
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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2003, 02:31:15 PM »

Quote
Do you venerate Catholic Saints, or your own saints?

Orthodox venerate the same saints who lived before about 1100 as the Catholic Church. After that, they officially venerate only their own.

Quote
Are your priests allowed to marry after entering the clergy?

No. They're allowed to marry before they are ordained deacons.

Quote
I read in that link that you dont have statues like us.  Do you accuse of idol worship like protestants do??

No.
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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2003, 03:01:59 PM »

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Protestantism is viewed as the final destination arrived at when you take the road that Catholicism took.

I'd say if using this argument that Protestantism is a point along the way, but today's secular humanism is the destination.
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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2003, 03:08:33 PM »

"It's just like the Russian Catholic Church and the Ukranian Catholic Church and the Latin Catholic Church are all autonomous Churches, but they are in Communion with each other, ie they are one Church."

Actually, to me, it's quite different.  The Bishop of Rome is the head of every Catholic Church -- they are all under one head.  It *looks* like the Melkites are headed by a Patriarch, but in fact the Bishop of Rome is canonically the head of every Catholic Church and has joint (and superior) jurisdiction in every diocese.  So all of the Catholic churches are administratively linked, and really aren't autonomous at all.  After all, Rome has the "Congregation for the Eastern Churches" to administratively supervise the Eastern Catholic Churches -- most of the members of which are members of the Latin  Shocked Church!

The situation with the Orthodox Churches is different in that they actually are self-governing and don't interfere in the internal governance of each other.  Not the case for the Eastern Catholic Churches, who are subject to Roman/Vatican jurisdiction.

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Very true, but that's how they do work, not how they claim they work.  They claim to be self governing exactly like us, except that they feel the Pope of Rome is authoritative for final disputes on doctrine.  That's what Roman Catholics are starting to claim to so that they can call our 'concerns' over 'Roman primacy' silly.  So our way of doing things can't be called wrong from the Catholic point of view since they claim to do the same thing.  The fact that their autonomy is only on paper is another issue...
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« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2003, 03:42:23 PM »

ok, first it seems to me that dogma doesnt exist in orthodoxy.  second, can anybody provide sriptural or historical support for the Orthodox Church, not the Catholic Church, being the true Church established by Christ?  thanks
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« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2003, 05:26:55 PM »

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ok, first it seems to me that dogma doesnt exist in orthodoxy.
 

It does. Examples include the Trinity, that Jesus is true God and true man, that Mary is the Mother of God (as I and others have told you on this thread) and that God's becoming man means we can use icons of Him and of the saints.

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second, can anybody provide sriptural or historical support for the Orthodox Church, not the Catholic Church, being the true Church established by Christ?  thanks

My opinion is that both sides have a good claim on it all through the early medieval period - remember, the split happened because of rivalry between two empires representing different cultures and living in different circumstances, not anything insurmountable or lasting. The spanner in the works now is that after the drifting apart the Catholic side defined some of its ways of doing things as dogmatic, which the Orthodox never have dogmatized on but don't trust, since they've never done things that way.
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« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2003, 07:23:06 PM »

Do you believe that Mary was born free of sin?

What does it mean when you say that the Orthodox Churhes are autonomous, yet in communion with each other?
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« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2003, 07:36:39 PM »

Do you believe that Mary was born free of sin?

What does it mean when you say that the Orthodox Churhes are autonomous, yet in communion with each other?

Yes, but not in the way you are thinking.  Cool

Orthodox don't believe that there is such a thing as a stain of original sin.  The Orthodox Church does teach that one is born into the condition and result of sin--which is death--but that other than that, one is not born "guilty" as Augustine charged.  So everyone is born "free from sin."

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« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2003, 07:44:50 PM »

What does it mean when you say that the Orthodox Churhes are autonomous, yet in communion with each other?

In the Orthodox concept, each bishop is the Church in its fulness.  In other words, if every diocese where destroyed save the Orthodox diocese of Canada, then the Church would still exist in its fulness.  Fulness to the Orthodox is not a measure of anything external to the diocese, as in Catholicism where communion with the Pope makes a local Church truly Catholic.  For the Orthodox, a local Church is truly catholic if it holds the orthodox faith, and has received that faith from orthodox bishops before it.

Now the question becomes, there are hundreds of Orthodox dioceses around.  Each one is the Church in its fulness, so how are they linked? They are linked in the celebration of the Eucharist.  Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ is present in each local Church.  So by being "in communion" with the other local Churches, a Church manifests its catholicity and its orthodoxy.  If a Church goes into heresy (say the Orthodox diocese of the Western USA), then the other Orthodox bishops can break off communion with that bishop to show him his error (eventually he can be deposed by higher Church authority--the Holy Synod of the local province [grouping of local dioceses]).

So each diocese is the Church in its fulness, as is each "province" (sometimes called a Metropolia, sometimes an Archdiocese, sometimes a patriarchate, depending on the status of its chief bishop), as is the entire communion of Churches.  Think of it as different levels, with each level being fully the Church, because each level is joined in the Eucharist.  Each local "province"
is self-governing yet maintains the Eucharist with the other local Churches, and the combined act of holding onto the Orthodox faith and being in communion with the other Orthodox local Churches makes catholicity manifest.

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« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2003, 07:45:42 PM »

So the orthodox Church doesnt believe in the concept of orginal sin??  Im confused.  Jesus came to free us from the reign of sin.  The reign exists because of the sin of Adam.  

I thought you believed in all catholic saints prior to 1100.  if so why are you disagreeing with St. Augustine??
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« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2003, 07:59:45 PM »

So the orthodox Church doesnt believe in the concept of orginal sin??  Im confused.  Jesus came to free us from the reign of sin.  The reign exists because of the sin of Adam.  

I thought you believed in all catholic saints prior to 1100.  if so why are you disagreeing with St. Augustine??

There are three types of sin:

primordial
generational
personal

Primordial is Adam's sin.
Generational is the passing down of the consequence of Adam's sin which is death
Personal is the sin we commit.

The Orthodox Church believes that Adam sinned and that Christ came to repair that situation, but not that sin is a stain that is passed down (in other words, the Orthodox believe in an original sin by Adam) but rather something that affects all--namely, death.

In other words, Adam's original sin doesn't make us all born guilty, it merely makes us born mortal and with the disordered human nature.

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« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2003, 08:02:24 PM »

I am going to scan in a few pages from an Orthodox book to better explain Orthodox view on original sin.

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« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2003, 08:23:20 PM »

From Meyendorff, John. Byzantine Theology. New York: Fordam Univerity Press, 1983. pp 143-146.
------------------------------------------------------------------
3. ORIGINAL SIN

In order to understand many major theological problems which arose between East and West, both before and after the schism, the extraordinary impact upon Western thought of Augustine's polemics against Pelagius and Julian of Eclanum must be fully taken into account. In the Byzantine world, where Augustinian thought exercised practically no influence, the significance of the sin of Adam and of its consequences for mankind was understood along quite different lines.

We have seen that in the East man's relationship with God was understood as a communion of the human person with that which is above nature. "Nature," therefore, designates that which is, in virtue of creation, distinct from God. But nature can and must be transcended; this is the privilege and the function of the free mind, made "according to God's image."

Now, in Greek patristic thought, only this free, personal mind can commit sin and incur the concomitant "guilt"—a point made particularly clear by Maximus the Confessor in his distinction between "natural will" and "gnomic will." Human nature, as God's creature, always exercises its dynamic properties (which together constitute the "natural will"—a created dynamism) in accordance with the divine will which created it. But when the human person, or hypostasis, by rebelling against both God and nature misuses its freedom, it can distort the "natural will" and thus corrupt nature itself. It is able to do so because it possesses freedom, or "gnomic will," which is capable of orienting man toward the good and of "imitating God" ("God alone is good by nature," writes Maximus, "and only God's imitator is good by his gnome");17 it is also capable of sin, because "our salvation depends on our will." 18 But sin is always a personal act, never an act of nature.19 Patriarch Photius even goes so far as to say, referring to Western doctrines, that the belief in a "sin of nature" is a heresy.2o

From these basic ideas about the personal character of sin, it is evident that the rebellion of Adam and Eve against God could be conceived only as their personal sin; there would be no place, then, in such an anthropology for the concept of inherited guilt, or for a "sin of nature," although it admits that human nature incurs the consequences of Adam's sin.

The Greek patristic understanding of man never denies the unity of mankind or replaces it with a radical individualism. The Pauline doctrine of the two Adams ("As in Adam all men die, so also in Christ shall all be brought to life" [1 Co 15:22]), as well as the Platonic concept of the ideal man, leads Gregory of Nyssa to understand Genesis 1 :27—"God created man in His own image"—to refer to the creation of mankind as a whole.21 It is obvious, therefore, that the sin of Adam must also be related to all men, just as salvation brought by Christ is salvation for all mankind; but neither original sin nor salvation can be realized in an individual's life without involving his personal and free responsibility.

The scriptural text which played a decisive role in the polemics between Augustine and the Pelagians is found in Romans 5:12, where Paul, speaking of Adam, writes: "As sin came into the world through one man, and through sin, death, so death spread to all men because all men have sinned [eph ho pantes hemarton ]." In this passage there is a major issue of translation. The last four Greek words were translated in Latin as in quo omnes peccatlerunt ("in whom [i.e., in Adam] all men have sinned"), and this translation was used in the West to justify the doctrine of guilt inherited from Adam and spread to his descendants. But such a meaning cannot be drawn from the original Greek—the text read, of course, by the Byzantines. The form eph ho-a contraction of epi with the relative pronoun ho can be translated as "because," a meaning accepted by most modern scholars of all confessional backgrounds.22 Such a translation renders Paul's thought to mean that death, which was "the wages of sin" (Rm 6:23) for Adam, is also the punishment applied to those who, like him, sin. It presupposes a cosmic significance of the sin of Adam, but does not say that his descendants are "guilty" as he was, unless they also sin as he sinned.

A number of Byzantine authors, including Photius, understood the eph ho to mean "because" and saw nothing in the Pauline text beyond a moral similarity between Adam and other sinners, death being the normal retribution for sin. But there is also the consensus of the majority of Eastern Fathers, who interpret Romans 5:12 in close connection with 1 Corinthians 15:22—between Adam and his descendants there is a solidarity in death just as there is a solidarity in life between the risen Lord and the baptized. This interpretation comes, obviously, from the literal, grammatical meaning of Romans 5:12. Eph ho, if it means "because," is a neuter pronoun; but it can also be masculine, referring to the immediately preceding substantive thanatos ("death"). The sentence then may have a meaning which seems improbable to a reader trained in Augustine, but which is indeed the meaning which most Greek Fathers accepted: "As sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, so death spread to all men; and because of death, all men have sinned. . . ."

Mortality, or "corruption," or simply death (understood in a personalized sense), has indeed been viewed, since Christian antiquity, as a cosmic disease which holds humanity under its sway, both spiritually and physically, and is controlled by the one who is "the murderer from the beginning" (Jn 8:44). It is this death which makes sin inevitable, and in this sense "corrupts" nature.

For Cyril of Alexandria, humanity, after the sin of Adam, "fell sick of corruption." 23 Cyril's opponents, the theologians of the School of Antioch, agreed with him on the consequence of Adam's sin. For Theodore of Mopsuestia, "by becoming mortal, we acquired greater urge to sin." The necessity of satisfying the needs of the body-food, drink, and other bodily needs—are absent in immortal beings, but among mortals they lead to "passions," for they present unavoidable means of temporary surviva1.24 Theodoret of Cyrus repeats almost literally the arguments of Theodore in his own commentary on Romans; elsewhere, he argues against the sinfulness of marriage by affirming that transmission of mortal life is not sinful in itself, in spite of Psalm 51:7 ("my mother conceived me in sin"). This verse, according to Theodoret, refers not to the sexual act but to the general sinful condition of mortal humanity: "Having become mortal, [Adam and Eve] conceived mortal children, and mortal beings are necessarily subject to passions and fears, to pleasures and sorrows, to anger and hatred." 25

There is indeed a consensus in Greek patristic and Byzantine traditions in identifying the inheritance of the Fall as an inheritance essentially of mortality rather than of sinfulness, sinfulness being merely a consequence of mortality. The idea appears in Chrysostom, who specifically denies the imputation of sin to the descendants of Adam;26 in the eleventh-century commentator Theophylact of Ohrida;27 and in later Byzantine authors, particularly Gregory Palamas.28 The always-more-sophisticated Maximus the Confessor, when he speaks of the consequences of the sin of Adam, identifies them mainly with the mind's submission to the flesh and finds in sexual procreation the most obvious expression of man's acquiescence in animal instincts; but as we have seen, sin remains, for Maximus, a personal act, and inherited guilt is impossible.29 For him, as for the others, "the wrong choice made by Adam brought in passion, corruption, and mortality," 30 but not inherited guilt.

The contrast with Western tradition on this point is brought into sharp focus when Eastern authors discuss the meaning of baptism. Augustine's arguments in favor of infant baptism were taken from the text of the creeds (baptism for "the remission of sins") and from his understanding of Romans 5:12. Children are born sinful, not because they have sinned personally, but because they have sinned "in Adam"; their baptism is therefore also a baptism "for the remission of sins." At the same time, an Eastern contemporary of Augustine's, Theodoret of Cyrus, flatly denies that the creedal formula "for the remission of sins" is applicable to infant baptism. For Theodoret, in fact, the "remission of sins" is only a side effect of baptism, fully real in cases of adult baptism, which was the norm, of course, in the early Church and which indeed "remits sins." But the principal meaning of baptism is wider and more positive= "If the cnlymeaning of baptism were the remission of sins," writes Theodoret, "why would we baptize the newborn children who have not yet tasted of sin? But the mystery [of baptism] is not limited to this; it is a promise of greater and more perfect gifts. In it are the promises of future delights;. it is a type of the future resurrection, a communion with the master's passion, a participation in His resurrection, a mantle of salvation, a tunic of gladness, a garment of light, or, rather, it is light itself." 31

Thus, the Church baptizes children, not to "remit" their yet non-existent sins, but in order to give them a new and immortal life, which their mortal parents are unable to communicate to them. The opposition between the two Adams is seen in terms not of guilt and forgiveness but of death and life. "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven; as was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven" (1 Co 15:47-48). Baptism is the paschal mystery, the "passage." All its ancient forms, and especially the Byzantine, include a renunciation of Satan, a triple immersion as type of death and resurrection, and the positive gift of new life through anointing and Eucharistic communion.

In this perspective, death and mortality are viewed, not so much as retribution for sin (although they are also a just retribution for personal sins), as means through which the fundamentally unjust "tyranny" of the devil is exercised over mankind after Adam's sin. From this, baptism is a liberation, because it gives access to the new immortal life brought into the world by Christ's Resurrection. The Resurrection delivers men from the fear of death, and, therefore, also from the necessity of struggling for existence. Only in the light of the risen Lord does the Sermon on the Mount acquire its full realism: "Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (Mt 6:25).

Communion in the risen body of Christ; participation in divine life; sanctification through the energy of God, which penetrates true humanity and restores it to its "natural" state; rather than justification, or remission of inherited guilt—these are at the center of Byzantine understanding of the Christian Gospel.
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« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2003, 03:14:17 AM »

Like the late great Fr.Seraphim (Rose), I cannot help but find myself defending "the underdog" whenever the subject of St.Augustine comes up amongst modern Orthodox.

Disregarding later excesses, St.Augustine's concept of original sin is not that bad - it simply views the subject through a legal prism, where as Orthodoxy has become accustomed to looking at the subject from a p.o.v. that is primarily ontological.

In Orthodoxy, Adam is said to have fallen from grace.  He went under the dominion of sin and death.  His children (you and I) are born into similar circumstances.  According to the book of Genesis (and clearly stated in the book of Wisdom), this was the devil's doing, a result of his envy.  Death was never "intended" for man.

However, just try looking at the subject from another vantage point.  Even though we have the devil to "thank" for tempting our first parents and for introducing doubt into their hearts, when it comes down to it God allowed for this to happen...nothing happens that He does not at least allow.  While none of us can be personally charged with Adam's sin, the fact remains that each of us is suffering it's consequences - something God does not have to allow, but He does allow this to be so.  Obviously, our lot is being corporately considered as being part of Adam's - at least in that respect, we are tainted with Adam's sin.

In Holy Baptism, we are truly being removed from the dominion of satan (and by default, death) into the condition of those being saved (by being assimilated to the likeness of God).  This is true.  However, it is also true that we are also being removed from the party of Adam, and from the fate which would have awaited us had we not been saved and brought into the Church.  Thus, from a legal p.o.v., we are being let off the hook (forgiven?) of something, even if our baptism occurs while in our infancy.

I feel particularly moved to come to St.Augustine's defense in this regard, since I find that the more "rabid" criticisms of St.Augustine tend to come from a very inbalanced (and incredibly ignorant) assessment of the Church Fathers as a whole, who in general speak in a manner that would be judged "legalistic" by the standards of many "neo-patristic" scholars.  Fortunatly, since most of these Fathers are "eastern", they pass under the radar of these unbalanced teachers.

My annoyance on this subject (St.Augustine and how he is dealt with by some parts of modern Orthodox academia) is connected with a larger "occidental phobia" which has negatively effected other areas (and resulted in equally un-patristic conclusions), such as the "legal" dimension of Christ's Passion (His Holy Sacrifice repairing for sins, His bearing of our sins upon the Cross just as the Prophet Isaiah foretold.)  In the name of purging Orthodoxy of bad "latin influences" (which if pursued correctly would be a worthwhile task), I've found that what has in fact happened (in many cases) is that basic, Orthodox ideas have been gutted or made to seem to be "un-Orthodox."  This creates all sorts of absurdities, which are an outright scandal for many potential converts to Orthodoxy (and rightly so, since they are not ideas you'll find in either the Fathers or Orthodox Saints).  One recent example I can think of came on another Orthodox forum, where an Orthodox Christian told an inquirer that all mentions of God's "wrath" in the Bible are purely anthropomorphisms.  It's one thing to say that God's wrath is not like human wrath (often unjust and excessive, not to mention passionate and devoid of charity) - but to say it's simply an "anthropomorphism" makes a great part of the Bible (and the warnings of a whole assortment of Saints) completely incomprehensible.

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« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2003, 05:47:31 AM »

Christos Anesti!  Christ is Risen!

I thought you believed in all catholic saints prior to 1100.  if so why are you disagreeing with St. Augustine??

Perhaps because some of Blessed Augustine's writings are in disagreement with saints prior to him?

John.
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« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2003, 04:49:35 PM »

If the split was because of imperial reasons, why are we still divided, when the empires are long gone??? So what if there are some few doctrinal differences.  The Vatican can work with the Orthodox Churhces to come up with a dogmatic doctrine common to Catholics and Orthodox.  I think it can definelty be done.  And only then will Protestants realize the true Christian Church and convert.  Protestantism would end (I pray so) and Christianity would be solidly united!!! And who knows, maybe there would some day be an Pope from the east!  I pray that we may all be one.
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« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2003, 05:03:58 PM »

If the split was because of imperial reasons, why are we still divided, when the empires are long gone??? So what if there are some few doctrinal differences.  The Vatican can work with the Orthodox Churhces to come up with a dogmatic doctrine common to Catholics and Orthodox.  I think it can definelty be done.  And only then will Protestants realize the true Christian Church and convert.  Protestantism would end (I pray so) and Christianity would be solidly united!!! And who knows, maybe there would some day be an Pope from the east!  I pray that we may all be one.

Whoa there!  Cool

You are jumping around...you raised about 10 different topics in that post.  I'd suggest you simply keep posting here and asking questions for awhile before making any conclusions.  There is not just a difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy in external manifestations such as liturgical practice or dogma, but in mindset, too--how the problem is approached in the first place.

I personally hope for unity between the two but unity has to be based on truth and not false compromises.  There might be compromises that don't compromise, but not too many of those have been suggested yet.  Roll Eyes

In Christ,

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« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2003, 05:17:34 PM »

If the split was because of imperial reasons, why are we still divided, when the empires are long gone??? So what if there are some few doctrinal differences.  The Vatican can work with the Orthodox Churhces to come up with a dogmatic doctrine common to Catholics and Orthodox.  I think it can definelty be done.  And only then will Protestants realize the true Christian Church and convert.  Protestantism would end (I pray so) and Christianity would be solidly united!!! And who knows, maybe there would some day be an Pope from the east!  I pray that we may all be one.

The main difference is doctrinal progression.  Catholics believe doctrine progresses over time, that we come to understand mysteries that we didn't previously understand.  Eg. now believing the Pope to be infallible when that was not previously 'realized'.  In Orthodox we believe we must hold to the faith God gave us through Christ to the Apostles, passed down from generation to generation.  We can't figure out mysteries beyond what God's revealed to us.  Catholics will continue define new doctrines, eventally defining St. Mary to be a co-saviour, etc.  Maybe further refining their specific beliefs about the Eucharist.  With each doctrine they add which was not found in the early Church, they move further from us who maintain the faith of the early Church.  The only way we can have unity is not to pretend that we don't have differences, but either for us to admit we're wrong, that the Holy Spirit does guide the Church through an infallible Pope as doctrine progresses and to accept Catholic doctrines, or for Catholics to admit that the are wrong, that doctrine does not progress, to renounce their innovations, and return to the Apostolic faith.  I don't see how any meeting in the middle would be possible.  Of course, if the Catholics did renounce thier innovations, they could keep the big chair and fancy titles, and get bowed to by the other Patriarchs if that makes them happy, as long as they accept to Orthodox faith, they'll be fine with us.
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« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2003, 09:35:39 AM »

Dear Jonathan,

coolmk20x posted your response on a Roman Catholic web forum and they said that you misrepresented Catholic beliefs.  Perhaps you would like to take a look at what they said and see if anything you wrote conflicts with their understanding of Catholicism, or if you believe they are misrepresenting what you said:

http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=2840&sid=19306d0a8c26529b2f7d7b188ad1aaaa

I think it is very important to critique Catholicism fairly, and not post things that are misrepresentative.  I am not saying you did this, only make a general comment.

One thing I'd like to point out is that Palamism is obviously a development of Byzantine theology. Please see this thread to answer a question I have raised, if you wish.  I'd like your input:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/index.php?board=2;action=display;threadid=1200;start=0#lastPost

Sincerely in Christ,

anastasios
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« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2003, 10:34:34 AM »

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If the split was because of imperial reasons, why are we still divided, when the empires are long gone???


Good question. The Catholics see no real reason - when they see the Orthodox they don't see a different religion or a mutation of themselves like the Protestants are, but themselves in 11th-century Greek form, theologically. The Orthodox, on the other hand, don't trust the Catholic Church because it defined as dogma some of its post-separation ways of doing and describing things - to this day some Catholics think the Eastern ways and explanations 'aren't good enough' even though they're often older. One result of this, specifically the dogma about the Pope, is that the Orthodox see the current Catholic system as automatically unfair to non-Roman Rite churches.

I personally have no problem with a super-patriarch. Makes sense if there is only one church to have one first hierarch over everything. (Some here may call me Western for that but whateverrr.) And as far as I know the Pope tells the truth, per the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to this day about the Trinity, the divinity and two natures of Christ united in His Person, Mary as the Mother of God, the communion of saints and the veneration thereof, the legitimate use of images in worship and the truth that the Eucharist is the Sacrifice of Christ and the elements are wholly changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

But...

Witness the 500 years' history of the Byzantine Catholics. Look what happened to them - being reduced from holding the Orthodox tradition in full to being pale imitations of it, ritual appendages to the Roman Catholic Church often run by people who don't really want to be Eastern. Orthodox monasticism died out, for example. They're under a Vatican office of the Roman Church for the Eastern Churches, like a kind of colonial office to run them. Before the 1800s they were under the Roman department of missionary work. And even today, I understand Eastern Catholics, Byzantine and non, only make up about 2% of all Catholics - so guess who's in charge? Nobody here on either side of the fence wants this to happen to the Greek, Russian and other Orthodox Churches!

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So what if there are some few doctrinal differences.


To which the Orthodox will say, 'We don't want false unity, as if the only thing that matters is being under the Pope.' In all fairness, 'just being under the Pope is all you need to believe' isn't what Catholicism teaches. The Orthodox' worst fears can be seen by looking at the Episcopal Church as an example, where doctrinally anything goes as long as it's under one system of government.

Seriously, again the issue is that the Byzantine and other Eastern ways of thinking and doing things are not only just as good as Western Catholicism but often older and closer to the early Church - but they get the short end of the stick in the current Catholic system.

And maybe, just maybe, if the West had the beneficial influence of the Orthodox in its history, the domino-ing errors of Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment and today's secular humanism never would have happened and medieval Christendom would be a reality in Europe and America.

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The Vatican can work with the Orthodox Churhces to come up with a dogmatic doctrine common to Catholics and Orthodox.
 

As I wrote, the Vatican doesn't see a dogmatic difference but lots of Orthodox do.

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I think it can definelty be done.


Probably but it'll be a herculean task.

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And only then will Protestants realize the true Christian Church and convert. Protestantism would end (I pray so) and Christianity would be solidly united!!!
 

A united front with an deliberalized West would attract some high-church Protestants, namely conservative Lutherans and conservative Anglicans, and maybe even a few Evangelicals. You may be right but a lot of damage has been done to Western society over 500 years and it will take a lot of time to undo.

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And who knows, maybe there would some day be an Pope from the east!  I pray that we may all be one.

I've suggested that too as a show of goodwill and credibility - have an Eastern Pope or three who stay Eastern and don't turn Roman.

But the problem remains that having one bishop run everything throughout the Church isn't the ancient or Eastern way of doing things so the Orthodox today still say no.

I understand Catholics have to fall back on an idea called the 'development of doctrine' to explain the current teachings about the Pope's office. (The man is fallible, the office infallible and only in certain situations, Catholicism says.) That's because the early Church, pre-separation, didn't think that way, though there are several quotations from the Church Fathers that are very, very flattering to the Popes of the day.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2003, 10:41:25 AM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2003, 11:01:52 AM »

My fellow Catholics have made an interesting point.  THe concept of the Holy Spirit's divinity, the Trinity and Christ's dual nature are all developed doctrines.  I mean, please dont be like protestants and say that everybody knew it from the beginning.  Thats historically incorrect.  Protestans fail to see that the Apostalic Catholic Church (today known as the Roman Catholic Church, I know this will anger people, but its true) developed the doctrine of Trinity and it was officially made dogma at the Counsel of Nice.  Interestingly enought, nontrinitians and Muslims accuse that at this counsel the concept of trinity was invented out of clear blue.  Not true.  The Bible , most notably the NT, is full of signs of the Trinity.  In the OT, the Books of Genesis and Prophet Isaiah contain much trinitian signs.  Nevertheless, an understanding of the Trinity's nature was developing and was officially made dogmatic at the Nicean Counsel.  As an aside, its funny how many non-catholics (not orthodox) say that Constantine founded the Catholic Church.  This just illustrates their total ignorance of history.  

So if the Trinity doctrine was developing, why cant other doctrines develop?
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« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2003, 11:18:46 AM »

I remember at Christ Church, Oxford a long time ago hearing Dr Maurice Wiles lecture on this topic, the 'development' of the understanding of the Trinity, and being 'freaked out' by it - 'Is he a Modernist?' The Names of the Persons are in scripture, of course, but that the understanding of what they mean 'developed' isn't Modernist. Once defined by the Church, the dogma doesn't change - suggesting it can would be Modernist.

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the Apostolic Catholic Church (today known as the Roman Catholic Church... )

Do you believe non-Roman rites and non-Roman theologies of the ancient Churches, such as the Orthodox (Byzantine), Orientals (Copts, Ethiopians, Armenians, Syrians and Malankaras) and Assyrians, are not Catholic or 'less Catholic' than the Roman?
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« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2003, 11:24:45 AM »

"So if the Trinity doctrine was developing, why cant other doctrines develop?"

We very much don't believe that the doctrine of the Trinity was a "development" but that the Apostles -- who were instructed by Christ to baptize in the name of the Trinity -- believed fully in the Trinity.

The *formulation* of that, however, did develop in order to combat specific heresies that had arisen in the way people were talking about the Trinity during the first few centuries of Christianity.  The need to combat the heresies of Arianism, for example, led directly to the formulations arrived at in the first 2 ecumenical councils.  The *content* of the belief in the Trinity was not new, while the formulation was tailored to the specific heresy of the age, so that the Trinitarian belief could be expressed in a way that excluded this particular heresy.  Future ages saw further formulations to combat further heresies that developed later on, and so on.  We don't view this as development of doctrine as such, but rather as the development of the way a doctrine is formulated.  Put another way, the core doctrine concerning the Trinity is that the Father, Son and Spirit are all God in three Persons, and that the Father is the source of origin in the Trinity -- the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed formulation of this doctrine was designed to combat the heresies of the day that went to the core of the Trinitarian belief.  Most of the "Christological heresies" that resulted in concilliar formulations during this period were also, more or less, attacks on the basic core of the Trinitarian belief -- so the formulations used followed the contours of the specific heresy involved, but the core belief didn't develop.  We don't believe that Nicea formulated "new doctrine" but that it simply adopted a new formulation of existing doctrine.

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« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2003, 11:27:58 AM »

no they are catholic too.  They follow the apostalic tradition and this qualifies them as catholic.  But since they are not under the authority of the Rome, they are considered to be outside the THE Catholic Church.  Protestants are not catholic, maybe except that more traditional ones like Anglicans, who kind of follow an apostalic tradition.  Baptists, methodists, etc.. are not considered to be catholic because they completely deny the apostalic tradition.
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« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2003, 11:30:23 AM »

Dear Serge,

As I sometimes do, I am sort of responding to your post, and sort of thinking out loud some of the aspects of this issue that have bothered me (this being the last issue left that worried me about becoming Orthodox).

You are right that logically speaking, even Orthodox have sometimes noticed that when you view the Church's dioceses as parts of the whole Church, you see that then there should be a head over all (this is in the Primacy of Peter Meyendorff, ed.  of course, the authors then go and try to debate that proposition). Yet the early Church's ecclesiology was fundamentally local, and there never was a need for a supreme "patriarch over everything."  Dioceses are not "parts" of the Church, each local Church is the Church.  Metropolitans and Patriarchs only have authority because they are a council of brothers, in theory.  Later developments even in Byzantium betray this, I believe, and we need to go back.  The OCA is doing things the right way, I believe.

Communion ecclesiology does not allow there to be a superpatriarch.  Even the idea of a patriarch with jurisdiction is troublesome.  A bishop is IT.  But that hasn't been the practice for at least 1000 years, so are we talking theory or practice??? I don't know the answer.  What I do know is that it seems utterly strange to me that we would "need" or even find it beneficial to have a Pope...each bishop is Christ's representative on earth because each bishop celebrates the Eucharist.  Of course you know that Serge, yet you express your opinion above, so perhaps you could delve into your position deeper?

I don't think Serge that you understand the full definitions of Vatican I, though, when you make that statement.  Of course, you put several disclaimers on it and that's fine, I note them, and appreciate them.  Yet Vatican I didn't say that the Pope is the boss of all via bishops, it literally said that the Pope has jurisdiction as bishop of every diocese FIRST, the local bishop being his deputy.  Some Catholics in the 1950's even thought they should abolish dioceses altogether and have the Pope assign bishops like bishops assigned priests--to areas all under his immediate control.   They said "with better communication we don't need dioceses."  Yet communication was good in the Roman empire, so what is their point?  My point of this paragraph is that real, true Roman Catholicism is even further from the Orthodox then after Trent when Orthodox were first seen as "something that needed to be converted" piece by piece.  See the Vatican Dogma on our articles page to read more about the developments of Vatican I.

I think in a theoretically reunited Church the Pope would have appellete jurisdiction, maybe the right to call an ecumenical council (makes sense since there is no emperor, except maybe Marziano II that vagante emperor in the other thread  Wink).

Well I have rambled on enough.  Do you or anyone else have any other thoughts?

anastasios
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« Reply #41 on: May 16, 2003, 11:32:34 AM »

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The *formulation* of that, however, did develop in order to combat specific heresies that had arisen in the way people were talking about the Trinity during the first few centuries of Christianity.

That's what I was trying to say. Thanks. Good point - historically, dogmas only were defined whenever part of the faith was challenged/rejected.

Suggesting that the debates over the Trinity or the hypostatic union be 'reopened' has been a sneaky way for Modernist theologians in the West to spread unbelief in the divinity of Christ - Arius resurrectus. One hears 'Catholic' theologians describe Jesus as merely 'man and more than man', like He was Hercules or something. Makes me wish St Nicholas would materialize and punch them in the mouth. (Western Christianity historically has been dogged by Arianism, as the Germanic tribes who overthrew the Roman Empire were Arians.)

A Russian Catholic friend once commented to me negatively about ecumenical moves in the Christian East, accusing the Eastern Orthodox of trying to do away with the Council of Chalcedon in their rapprochement with the Oriental Churches. 'What next?' he asked. 'Will Muslims be called "pre-Nicene Orthodox"?'

Of course, if the Orientals aren't really Monophysites after all, as the experts now, that, this rapprochement isn't a problem.

But is Monophysitism a perennial intellectual temptation of Eastern Christians like Arianism is for Western ones?
« Last Edit: May 16, 2003, 02:51:14 PM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: May 16, 2003, 12:15:11 PM »

Anastasios --

Interesting post.  Thanks for posting the Bulgakov article.  It is very interesting (I had not previously read it) coming from someone like him.

"My point of this paragraph is that real, true Roman Catholicism is even further from the Orthodox then after Trent when Orthodox were first seen as "something that needed to be converted" piece by piece.  See the Vatican Dogma on our articles page to read more about the developments of Vatican I."

I think that this is a core issue.  To me, it's about "what does 'Church' really mean"?  Orthodox really don't dogmatize about ecclesiology beyond the formulation found in the Creed, but as you rightly point out the de facto Orthodox belief in this regard is that the local church is the Church in its fullness and the broader church is created by virtue of, end evidenced by, communion.   Communion is the Church.  Communion makes the Church.  By virtue of communion, the Church becomes and reveals what she is.  Beyond that, all else is administrative efficacy which can change over time, and which has changed over time.  This is a fundamentally trinitarian view in the sense that the three persons of the Trinity are fundamentally equal in dignity, and particularly that the Son and Spirit are fundamentally equal in dignity, in their Person-ness, depending only on the Father for their existence.  Each local church is, in a sense, akin to a divine Person -- in a very real sense as the incarnational Body of Christ -- and they are all equal in dignity (in fact, by virtue of the Eucharist, they are all mirror-images of each other).

A Roman Catholic might counter that the Pope is like the Trinitarian Father, but I don't think this bears scrutiny under Catholic ecclesiological expression.  "Dominus Iesus", a recent Vatican document germane to these kinds of issues, speaks of the "Catholic Church" as the mother to all of the particular churches in which she subsists -- meaning that if there is a comparison to the Trinity in terms of ecclesiology the role of the "Father" would be this inchoate "Catholic Church" that incarnates itself in those particular churches in which it subsists, while the local particular churches are like the Son and Spirit of the Trinity.  And, in any case, the Pope's role has always been linked to that of Christ -- as is the case for *any* bishop per Orthodox theology -- note the terms "Vicar of Christ" and "Christ's representative on Earth" (not really Catholic teaching, but used by numerous Catholics over the years).  So I think that a critique of the Orthodox view of "Church" can't realy be sustained on the basis that it negates the role of the Father -- it simply realizes that the Church is about the eknomia of the Trinity, it is incarnational and active in the world as the Son and the Spirit are, and so it is more akin to the Son and Spirit, and through them, leads people *to* the Father.  

It was along these lines that Vladimir Lossky made his much-maligned comment in his difficult  but brilliant "Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church" that he thought that the Filioque (at least as popularly understood by most Catholics over the ages -- and perhaps as officially understood during much of that period as well) had a pronounced impact on the developments relating to the Papacy because the Filioque (popular interpretation, not current Catholic teaching) in a sense elevates the Son over the Spirit such that the Spirit proceeds from both Father and Son, while the Son proceeds from the Father alone, meaning that the Spirit is the one member of the Trinity who depends on both of the others for His origin.  Now, if you apply this to a trinitarian model of ecclesiology, you can see where the problems emerge, because if the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, it can be said that the office of the Papacy represents the Son, while the remaining churches are the Spirit, who are dependent on the Son for their existence as well as the Father.  Most people thought Lossky was off the wall when he wrote this and was simply being a visceral anti-Catholic and a hawk on the Filioque.  But I'm not so sure that this didn't have an impact -- subtle or nay -- on the general trend of Catholic ecclesiological thinking over the centuries.

Of course, that's not what the Catholic Church teaches presently about the filioque, but it may still be helpful in understanding what may have encouraged the markedly different view of the Church developed by the Catholics over the centuries.  Today Catholics are talking about "eucharistic ecclesiology" (which is how they often describe the Orthodox view on communion expressed above) being complimentary to "universal ecclesiology" and that both are necessary in order for the Church to function in a healthy manner.  But is this really true?  Is there a need for a "universal ecclesiology" beyond the notion expressed in eucharistic ecclesiology that all local churches are the same?  What is the Trinitarian basis for a "universal ecclesiology"?  If you read defenses of this idea (like the one contained in Ratzinger's book "Called to Communion"), you see a lot of common-sense arguments and scriptural arguments, but you don't see a whole lot in terms of the Trinity, and that leaves me feeling quite unconvinced that "universal ecclesiology" is really a part of ecclesiology.  It may sound sensible, but that doesn't mean that it's right.  

Brendan
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« Reply #43 on: May 16, 2003, 03:47:08 PM »

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Communion ecclesiology does not allow there to be a superpatriarch.  Even the idea of a patriarch with jurisdiction is troublesome.  A bishop is IT.  But that hasn't been the practice for at least 1000 years, so are we talking theory or practice??? I don't know the answer.  What I do know is that it seems utterly strange to me that we would "need" or even find it beneficial to have a Pope...each bishop is Christ's representative on earth because each bishop celebrates the Eucharist.  Of course you know that Serge, yet you express your opinion above, so perhaps you could delve into your position deeper?

I didn't see a contradiction because the EOs also have relative ranks of bishops for the bene esse of the Church. In terms of the esse, bishop is the top rank sacramentally, but of course each Orthodox church has a hierarchy with a patriarch/first hierarch at the top with metropolitans, archbishops, eparchial bishops et al. under him and each other.

ISTM it's only natural for someone who's been at least partly formed by the Orthodox tradition to see the Pope that way. Sort of like the way Western journalists keep annoyingly referring to the patriarch of Constantinople in Pope-like terms as 'the spiritual leader of the world's Eastern Orthodox Christians' when he is nothing of the kind, either theologically or practically. (He is the bishop of a dying see in the Levant and first hierarch of a flock of mostly immigrant Greeks and their second-generation descendents around the world. That's it.)

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I don't think Serge that you understand the full definitions of Vatican I, though, when you make that statement.

Maybe not.

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Vatican I didn't say that the Pope is the boss of all via bishops, it literally said that the Pope has jurisdiction as bishop of every diocese FIRST, the local bishop being his deputy.


I'd never heard a Catholic actually say that, let alone say it is dogma.

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Some Catholics in the 1950's even thought they should abolish dioceses altogether and have the Pope assign bishops like bishops assigned priests--to areas all under his immediate control.  They said "with better communication we don't need dioceses."


Sounds like a parody of Catholic ecclesiology I've thought of myself, on my own. It seems to be a logical conclusion of what you describe, and something that the more ignorant conservative Novus Ordo, cult-of-the-Pope types would buy today. (Learned traditionalists wouldn't.)

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My point of this paragraph is that real, true Roman Catholicism is even further from the Orthodox then after Trent when Orthodox were first seen as "something that needed to be converted" piece by piece.  See the Vatican Dogma on our articles page to read more about the developments of Vatican I.

But these developments happened long after the separation so they're not the real reason for it. The rivalry between the Western and Eastern empires was.

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Do you or anyone else have any other thoughts?

I used to use the term Catholic, big C and all, much like Anglo-Catholics historically do. I now usually say apostolic instead because it's less confusing to people. And now I realize that meaning can be quite different in practice from the one commonly understood and used by most of the world, including many Catholics themselves.

In the sense I instinctively use(d) it and respond(ed) to it, it's the basic beliefs I've had for the past 20 years, right to this moment - Trinity; hypostatic union; virgin birth, resurrection; Mother of God; communion of saints; apostolic ministry of male bishops and their ordained deputies, priests and deacons, likewise all-male; the Church as the mystical body of Christ, His continuation on earth; the Eucharist as the re-presented Sacrifice of Christ and the complete change of the elements into His Body and Blood, hence appropriate traditional ritual and ceremonial; liturgical prayer as corporate/communal, objective and Godward, and as the heartbeat of the Church; the rest of the sacramental system, including sacramental Confession; the use of images in worship, etc. The whole warp and woof of my religious life.

Certainly by those criteria I am a 'Catholic' as is every believing Eastern Orthodox. And why Anglo-Catholics included EOxy as one of their three 'branches' of the Catholic Church, along with the Pope's Church and the Anglican Communion (the last being wishful thinking on their part, IMO).

Not what the man on the street would say, and perhaps especially if he is an RC!

'Are youse under da Pope?' is what common-meaning Catholic is to him, whether one worships with the Fraternity of St Peter or belongs to Call to Action.

Of course, historically common-knowledge Catholic always implied all the other stuff. But in practice, not anymore, since the royal f**k-up of Vatican II, after which things that outprotestant Low and Broad Churchmanship in Anglicanism are passed off as Catholic (certainly the mode in America and I fear most of the Western world) and anything else, anything smacking of the ancien r+¬gime and smack in the middle of the historic 'Catholic' mainstream, is called 'not Catholic'!

Just trying to think about that, which was my firsthand experience for a long time (since not too long after you were born), makes my head hurt! Seems Orwellian. Freedom is slavery.

Maybe similar misunderstandings are behind this discussion of what papal primacy is, or the stalemate between Orthodox and Catholics today.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2003, 09:14:26 PM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: May 16, 2003, 05:44:05 PM »

Dear Jonathan,

coolmk20x posted your response on a Roman Catholic web forum and they said that you misrepresented Catholic beliefs.  Perhaps you would like to take a look at what they said and see if anything you wrote conflicts with their understanding of Catholicism, or if you believe they are misrepresenting what you said:

http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=2840&sid=19306d0a8c26529b2f7d7b188ad1aaaa

I think it is very important to critique Catholicism fairly, and not post things that are misrepresentative.  I am not saying you did this, only make a general comment.

One thing I'd like to point out is that Palamism is obviously a development of Byzantine theology. Please see this thread to answer a question I have raised, if you wish.  I'd like your input:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/index.php?board=2;action=display;threadid=1200;start=0#lastPost

Sincerely in Christ,

anastasios

They claim that an doctrine can only be infallibly defined if it's been believed in all places in all times.  But who believed in the Immaculate Conception before the visions that started that movement?  There are serious inconsistencies there.  I did screw up, I mean co-redemptrix and for some reason typed out co-saviour, although I don't really see the big difference.  I realize that they just mean that she cooperated in our salvation, but it's an example of something that's been pushed for for a long time and will probably be defined.   I appologize for the mistake.  Palamism came long after the OO & EO were separate, so I can't comment on that since I don't know anything, sorry.  But as for the Trinity, the Lirugy, the Eucharist, the Nature of Christ, while their expression developed and became more precise over time, I firmly believe that these doctrines were taught by Christ in the 40 day period between the Ressurection and the Ascention when He taught the faith to the Apostles before thier ministery started at Pentecost.  We still pray the Liturgy of St. Mark, and there doesn't seem to be any deficite of theology compared to the Liturgies that came after the councils.  The precise statement of doctrines progressed, but never were new doctrines developed as the Catholics claim.
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« Reply #45 on: May 16, 2003, 06:10:15 PM »

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They claim that an doctrine can only be infallibly defined if it's been believed in all places in all times.

The Vincentian canon, the teaching of St Vincent of L+¬rins, the watchword for 'sound' orthodox catholic types - semper et ubique et ab omnibus. Always and everywhere and by all.

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But who believed in the Immaculate Conception before the visions that started that movement?

The Byzantine Rite calls her immaculate, but the origins of the IC go way back to the Middle Ages, long before the 'visions'. Theologians Paschasis Radbertus and John Duns Scotus came up with it, inferring it from the tradition about Mary's purity and also from particularly Western Catholic theology about original sin from St Augustine.

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But as for the Trinity, the Liturgy, the Eucharist, the Nature of Christ, while their expression developed and became more precise over time, I firmly believe that these doctrines were taught by Christ in the 40 day period between the Ressurection and the Ascention when He taught the faith to the Apostles before thier ministery started at Pentecost.  We still pray the Liturgy of St. Mark, and there doesn't seem to be any deficite of theology compared to the Liturgies that came after the councils.  The precise statement of doctrines progressed, but never were new doctrines developed as the Catholics claim.

Well, I don't think they knew it in exactly the form enunciated by the Church at the councils much later, but of course that doesn't mean those things aren't true - the fact that all the 'Catholic' (ancient, apostolic) churches believe in these things says something.
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« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2003, 10:12:48 PM »

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But who believed in the Immaculate Conception before the visions that started that movement?

The Byzantine Rite calls her immaculate, but the origins of the IC go way back to the Middle Ages, long before the 'visions'. Theologians Paschasis Radbertus and John Duns Scotus came up with it, inferring it from the tradition about Mary's purity and also from particularly Western Catholic theology about original sin from St Augustine.

Ok, if it goes back further than the visions, to the middle ages, that's still not nearly back far enough.  If we want a better example how about Papal Infalliblity.  I don't see how it can be argued that that was believed at all times in all places.
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