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Author Topic: Is Ecumenical Dialogue Really About Conversion?  (Read 10792 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 17, 2007, 10:53:15 AM »

Something has just occurred to me, and I'm not sure why it has never occurred to me before.
If a two particular Churches have in their respective Ecclesiologies the belief that:
"The visible boundary of this particular Church is the visible boundary of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"
then isn't the only way to reunion for one of them to admit they were wrong and be received into the other?
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2007, 11:01:56 AM »

B-I-N-G-O!

Unless some washed out definition of 'both-are-right' is employed. That seems to be false ecumenism outright.
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2007, 11:34:01 AM »

Unless some washed out definition of 'both-are-right' is employed.
What possible formula for such a compromise could be used?
If they each hold that "The visible boundary of this particular Church is the visible boundary of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church", the only possible terms in which they can speak are the invisible boundaries, but that's not what the statement is about, it's talking about the visible boundaries.
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2007, 12:07:30 PM »

We all remember that Pope Benedict XIV issued a Statement in July this year in which he said that the Orthodox Church, although a "true" Church, suffers from defects.  Moscow praised this document for its honesty and how could it do otherwise since we ourselves hold the same view of Roman Catholicism, namely that it is defective.  So I think that for us the ecumenical dialogue means "speaking the truth in love" so that a process of healing may begin in the Western Churches.

Here a a few words from the recently glorified Saint Philaret of Moscow:

'You expect now that I should give judgement concerning the other half of present Christianity,' the Metropolitan said in the concluding conversation, 'but I just simply look upon them; in part I see how the Head and Lord of the Church heals the many deep wounds of the old serpent in all the parts and limbs of his Body, applying now gentle, now strong, remedies, even fire and iron, in order to soften hardness, to draw out poison, to clean wounds, to separate out malignant growths, to restore spirit and life in the numbed and half-dead members. In this way I attest my faith that, in the end, the power of God will triumph openly over human weakness, good over evil, unity over division, life over death' (ibid., p.135).

These statements of Metropolitan Philaret are a beginning only. Not everything in them is clearly and fully expressed. But the question is truly put. There are many bonds, still not broken, whereby the schisms are held together in a certain unity with the Church. The whole of our attention and our will must be concentrated and directed towards removing the stubbornness of dissension. 'We seek not conquest,' says St Gregory of Nazianzen, 'but the return of our brethren, whose separation from us is tearing us apart.'
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2007, 12:17:26 PM »

'We seek not conquest,' says St Gregory of Nazianzen, 'but the return of our brethren, whose separation from us is tearing us apart.'
And this is the crux of what I'm getting at.
Shouldn't honesty be the basis of any dialogue? Yes, we "speak the truth in love", but is the only way to "speak the truth in love" is that either side not mention the fact that they hold that "The visible boundary of this particular Church is the visible boundary of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"?
I'm reminded of the famous Fawlty Towers episode with the Germans where Basil keeps insisting "Don't mention the war!"
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2007, 12:48:00 PM »

And this is the crux of what I'm getting at.
Shouldn't honesty be the basis of any dialogue? Yes, we "speak the truth in love", but is the only way to "speak the truth in love" is that either side not mention the fact that they hold that "The visible boundary of this particular Church is the visible boundary of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"?
I'm reminded of the famous Fawlty Towers episode with the Germans where Basil keeps insisting "Don't mention the war!"
I think that the Orthodox do mention it, at least frequently enough to remind those with whom we dialogue that we view ourselves as the Una Sancta.

Just to take a few examples which show the consistency of the Orthodox viewpoint throughout the years of ecumenism...

1. 1957. The Statement of the Representatives of the Greek Orthodox Church in the USA at the North American Faith and Order Study Conference, Oberlin, Ohio, September 1957.  This is quite unequivocal about the uniqueness of Orthodoxy as the Church.

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/gocamerica_faith_order_sept_1957.htm


2. 1980s. The contretemps in the 1980s at the International Roman Catholic-Orthodox Theological Dialogue which saw a walk-out of the Catholic participants when the Orthodox delegates declared that they were unable to accept Catholic baptism per se.  These were not fringy palaeohiemerologhites but the most ecumenically minded bishops and theologians of the canonical Orthodox Churches.  This question has never been revisted in the international dialogue but one day it will need to be faced head on.


3.  1997.  Even the most ecumenical Patriarch of Micklegarth His Divine All-Holiness Bartholomew scandalised the Catholics with his presentation at the Jesuit University of Georgetown in 1997 when he declared:

"The manner in which we exist has become ontologically different. Unless our ontological transfiguration and transformation toward one common model of life is achieved, not only in form but also in substance, unity and its accompanying realization become impossible."

Full text at
http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/bartholomew_phos.html

The Jesuits declared morosely that Patr. Bartholomew had set the dialogue back 10 years.


4. 2000.  The important Statement on Orthodoxy and its ecumenical relationships with non-Orthodox Churches issued by the 2000 Millennial Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.  It basically repeats what the Greeks said at Oberlin Ohio in 1957 and even more emphatically - the boundaries of the Church are the Orthodox Church.

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ecumenical/roc_other_christian_confessions.htm
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2007, 01:11:15 PM »

And who could forget the Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar (WCC) Conference, Chambesy, 1986:

"The Orthodox Church, however, faithful to her ecclesiology, to the identity of her internal structure and to the teaching of the undivided Church, while participating in the WCC, does not accept the idea of the “equality of confessions” and cannot consider Church unity as an inter-confessional adjustment. In this spirit, the unity which is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of theological agreements alone. God calls every Christian to the unity of faith which is lived in the sacraments and the tradition, as experienced in the Orthodox Church."

Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar Conference, Chambesy, 1986
Section III, Paragraph 6
http://www.incommunion.org/articles/ecumenical-movement/chambesy-1986


So yes, I'd say our position is pretty clear. Its a wonder anyone still wants to talk to us!
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2007, 01:44:51 PM »

Ecumenical Dialogue is really about coming to a consensus and helping the other person save face. Generally this is done by saying everything that we supported is right, but we may have got a bit zealous with our condemnations. Enough time has passed that we can kinda start dismissing some of our anathemas and condemnations of the other Church, and they do the same for us, then you start prooftexting and say, 'gee, we actually agreed with each other.' This can then become the basis of unity: a mutual respect of different traditions and a condemnation of one's own exclusive language used in the past.

Sure, if we wanted to be completely honest on an academic level we'd still find disagreement (though in the grand scheme of things, relatively minor disagreement), but after a thousand years, this can just be glossed over or, better yet, reinterpreted to insist that these people were really saying the opposite of what they actually said.

I think this is why many object to ecumenism, it requires a looseness with facts and a willingness to compromise that rigerous academics would not allow. But the end, if you will, justifies the means; it's real people's lives we're dealing with and this is more important than what such and such really ment some thousand years ago. Ecumenism is a worthy goal that requires placating the pride of both bodies involved than anything else.
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2007, 09:20:03 PM »

The unambiguous statement of the joint Catholic-Orthodox International Theological Meeting in Ravenna last month...  The Church has NOT changed her self-understanding.

Note [1] Orthodox participants felt it important to emphasize that the use of the terms "the Church", "the universal Church", "the indivisible Church" and "the Body of Christ" in this document and in similar documents produced by the Joint Commission in no way undermines the self-understanding of the Orthodox Church as the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, of which the Nicene Creed speaks.

http://www.orthodoxeurope.org/page/14/130.aspx#2

Same text on Zenit
http://www.zenit.org/article-21012?l=english
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2007, 09:38:01 PM »

^^That strategy will work here too!

(says Fr Chris giving him another post!)  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2007, 10:14:35 PM »

Ecumenical Dialogue is really about coming to a consensus and helping the other person save face.
Yes and no.  Since 1921 when the Ecumenical Patriarchate helped to get the ecumenical movement underway the Orthodox have always stressed that they regard it as a means to explain the Orthodox faith to those who have no knowledge of it or have only an incorrect knowledge.  It works both ways and the Orthodox can learn about other Christians through ecumenical dialogue.  The Orthodox saw it as theological dialogue and a search for mutual correct theological understanding.

This understanding was soon swamped in the WCC which quickly moved into a "one invisible Church" mode of thinking and then took up various political programmes for the liberation of subjugated peoples in South America etc.  This kind of ecumenism prevailed through the 1950s to 1980s and it produced the typical Orthodox unease with their own participation.

Now we have come back to more of a theological dialogue but there are some new dangers raising their heads and you mention one of them - the new Roman Catholic approach of attempting to see all past theological differences as misunderstandings caused by bad semantics.  With the new way of thinking, getting the semantics right will help restore unity.  To my mind it is more than just questions of semantics and the Orthodox will decline to look upon it in this superficial way.

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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2007, 11:48:42 PM »

The idea of trying to help the other side save face seems less than helpful, because it throws away shame and its repentance, which are needed...  Look - IF the Orthodox, in the matter of the Great Schism, were and are and are continuing to be WRONG, then the Orthodox need to be shown their error, and need then to confess it, and then to repent from it, and seek forgiveness from Rome...

And the reverse is also true...

The problem with the "saving face" idea is that it thereby reduces ecumenical dialogue to a process of negotiation of understandings...  And produces a feel-good compromise of the Truth...  And thereby turns the whole process into one of ignoring Truth and negotiating words...  And indeed, this is what the Roman Catholics are trying to do - At least they were on the CAF Forum...  They are looking for something they can give that will get the Orthodox to budge...  And they really, really do not like to be told that confession and repentance are the only currency that will buy anything...  And this is because they think that they are the Church, and their Church is as infallible in Her Tradition as the Pope is in his ex-Cathedra pronouncements...

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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2007, 02:25:51 AM »

Yes and no.  Since 1921 when the Ecumenical Patriarchate helped to get the ecumenical movement underway the Orthodox have always stressed that they regard it as a means to explain the Orthodox faith to those who have no knowledge of it or have only an incorrect knowledge.  It works both ways and the Orthodox can learn about other Christians through ecumenical dialogue.  The Orthodox saw it as theological dialogue and a search for mutual correct theological understanding.

This understanding was soon swamped in the WCC which quickly moved into a "one invisible Church" mode of thinking and then took up various political programmes for the liberation of subjugated peoples in South America etc.  This kind of ecumenism prevailed through the 1950s to 1980s and it produced the typical Orthodox unease with their own participation.

I don't believe we've ever had any unease with ecumenical movements, perhaps a few fringe groups have, but I have yet to sense any coming out of Constantinople.

Quote
Now we have come back to more of a theological dialogue but there are some new dangers raising their heads and you mention one of them - the new Roman Catholic approach of attempting to see all past theological differences as misunderstandings caused by bad semantics.  With the new way of thinking, getting the semantics right will help restore unity.  To my mind it is more than just questions of semantics and the Orthodox will decline to look upon it in this superficial way.

Well, yes, there is the essence of the matter. However, for better or worse, neither side is yet willing to admit the fact that Christian theology is little more than a sub-topic of Roman Politics and Foreign Affairs. It's probably easier to get everyone to admit that we had semantic differences than embrace the cold hard truth: we made up most these theologies because of was politically expedient at the time...so now even though the political motivation is long gone, we're stuck with the repercussions.
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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2007, 02:40:31 AM »

I have always seen dialogues as two groups explaining/clarifying their beliefs and then a compare/contrast of both beliefs.  No consensus or agreement is necessary, but the most important thing about a dialogue is proper understanding with no polemical strings attached.

This is good for a few things.  For one thing, perhaps two groups that condemned one another do believe in similar or the same things.  For another thing, this can pinpoint exactly where the disagreement is or what the cause of disagreement may be if there is any disagreement.  This latter part in my opinion is very useful for evangelistic means that have nothing to do with converting those in the dialogue, but on a grassroots level, while the former part can be used to reveal points where unity may occur if possible.

God bless.
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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2007, 02:47:30 AM »

For one thing, perhaps two groups that condemned one another do believe in similar or the same things.
But like I ask in the OP, if the two groups hold the same belief that:
"The visible boundary of this particular Church is the visible boundary of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"
then where do you go from there?
Do we just not mention it?
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« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2007, 02:50:01 AM »

But like I ask in the OP, of the two groups hold the same belief that:
"The visible boundary of this particular Church is the visible boundary of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"
then where do you go from there?
Do we just not mention it?

I think it's implied and need not mentioned.  The idea of a dialogue is not to reach an agreement but most importantly to understand one another's beliefs.  That should be it.  What WCC did was in my opinion a misunderstanding of what Orthodox want to get out of the dialogues.
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« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2007, 02:55:01 AM »

I think it's implied and need not mentioned.  The idea of a dialogue is not to reach an agreement but most importantly to understand one another's beliefs.  That should be it.  What WCC did was in my opinion a misunderstanding of what Orthodox want to get out of the dialogues.
I get you now. Thanks! And I think that's a good approach.
But it still leaves me wondering why we call such dialogues "Ecumenical Dialogues".
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« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2007, 03:01:21 AM »

I get you now. Thanks! And I think that's a good approach.
But it still leaves me wondering why we call such dialogues "Ecumenical Dialogues".

I remember a girl who invited me to a Bible Study at her apartment, and I told her that I am not very comfortable at these meetings given my "close-minded background."  She said that this group was "merely Christian" and "ecumenical," not concentrating on any certain denomination but on basic Christian principles.  I think pretty much, to the Western world, "ecumenical" means without boundaries, kinda affirms the name "World" Council of Churches. (of course, as I expected, their understanding of certain Biblical passages were different from mine, affirming that they're really not "ecumenical" as they'd like to be).

God bless.
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« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2007, 03:43:59 AM »

I think pretty much, to the Western world, "ecumenical" means without boundaries, kinda affirms the name "World" Council of Churches.
I think that might be part of the problem. We Orthodox use the word "Ecumenical" to refer to the "Ecumene" of the Church. But then, the WCC also uses this concept: it's symbol is a stylized boat, representing the "Ark of the Church":



So, really, we probably are talking about the same thing with different understandings of it.
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« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2007, 07:14:04 AM »

Something has just occurred to me, and I'm not sure why it has never occurred to me before.
If a two particular Churches have in their respective Ecclesiologies the belief that:
"The visible boundary of this particular Church is the visible boundary of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"
then isn't the only way to reunion for one of them to admit they were wrong and be received into the other?

Yes, of course this is correct.

In fact, it is this very principle that caused the heat and tension over at CAF.

Without this principle, no dialogue can take place. Dialogue which is Ecumenical is that which seeks to join divided Christians where unity once existed. It does, however, recognise the need for understanding and empathy.

Otherwise it descends into 'I'm right' 'No, I'm right' etc... ad infinitum.

In essence, it is that dialogue which is grounded in the Holy Spirit. Its raison d'etre is the same as that which inspired St Paul and his words to the crowds. Unity in faith.

Peace and God Bless!

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« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2007, 07:21:00 AM »

I think it's implied and need not mentioned.  The idea of a dialogue is not to reach an agreement but most importantly to understand one another's beliefs.  That should be it. 

I have to disagree with this.

Dialogue opens the reasons behind faith. If agreement is not the goal, then the dialogue has no purpose.

Example: If you think a fridge is blue, and I think it is green, but I only believe it is green because I am colour blind, then while it being fine that you understand my logic and reasoning, the end result should be clarification from you to me that one of my assumptions (namely, that my vision is fine) is wrong. Ultimately, we should then have unity in faith.

Apply this principle to the various areas of contention (pope, contraception, original sin etc...) and we can begin to not only understand why our views differ, but come together in discarding those assumptions which are incorrect.

Peace and God Bless!
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« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2007, 07:30:56 AM »

First of all Magic silence I praise you (not condescendingly) for this is true about finding truth. But the fundamental flaw in bringing this analogy to ultimate reality do you think the Orthodox or the Catholics will say one is color blind. Unlike the position of the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox which I personally think is only difference in semantics and besides that are the One church together the Catholic and Orthodox are diametrically opposed on points in the papacy one says equal authority the other doesn't so its not really a point in color blindness more like actual blindness. Protestants (minus the Episcopal or Church of England) should realize that major branches (e.g Presbyterians and Congregationalists) are the same and should unite like in Australia we have the Uniting church which is like that situation described and then the fundamentalists personally don't worry about ecumenism to caught up in "feeling" the moment.
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« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2007, 07:48:58 AM »

First of all Magic silence I praise you (not condescendingly) for this is true about finding truth. But the fundamental flaw in bringing this analogy to ultimate reality do you think the Orthodox or the Catholics will say one is color blind.

Dear prodromas,

Any two people seeking truth, and unity in faith, will also have the humility to accept that they were wrong, or had an incorrect assumption regarding some aspects of the faith. I would be more than happy to admit that I was 'colour blind' if it could be so proved. I see no purpose in remaining Maronite Catholic if someone could show me how the basis of doctrine and belief within my Catholic faith are underpinned only by faulty assumptions.

If however, it is asserted that neither Church will ever admit wrongdoing, then I ask you only to look at the various posters (on CAF, and perhaps here) who have converted, as an indication that this Christian ideal is not unattainable.

Quote
Unlike the position of the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox which I personally think is only difference in semantics and besides that are the One church together the Catholic and Orthodox are diametrically opposed on points in the papacy one says equal authority the other doesn't so its not really a point in color blindness more like actual blindness.

This is true. The extent to which views can be opposing varies from subject to subject. Indeed, with regard to the papacy, I would regard the Orthodox as being (at least) partially blind for ignoring all the pre-schism evidence for the Petrine ministry.

Quote
Protestants (minus the Episcopal or Church of England) should realize that major branches (e.g Presbyterians and Congregationalists) are the same and should unite like in Australia we have the Uniting church which is like that situation described and then the fundamentalists personally don't worry about ecumenism to caught up in "feeling" the moment.

I tend to ignore Ecumenical discussion between Churches that do not involve the Catholic Church, as I do not think unity in (what is essentially) falsehood can bring much benefit to this world.

Peace and God Bless!
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« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2007, 07:58:16 AM »

I have to disagree with this.

Dialogue opens the reasons behind faith. If agreement is not the goal, then the dialogue has no purpose.

Example: If you think a fridge is blue, and I think it is green, but I only believe it is green because I am colour blind, then while it being fine that you understand my logic and reasoning, the end result should be clarification from you to me that one of my assumptions (namely, that my vision is fine) is wrong. Ultimately, we should then have unity in faith.

Apply this principle to the various areas of contention (pope, contraception, original sin etc...) and we can begin to not only understand why our views differ, but come together in discarding those assumptions which are incorrect.

Peace and God Bless!

While in principle "dialogue" should include agreement, saying that it "has no purpose" without agreement is a bit overboard.  There is value, using your analogy, in coming to the realization that you are color blind and not just a contrarian or using different meanings for the same words.  I cannot begin to convince you of the blueness of the refrigerator until I know exactly why you think it is green and the history behind your green fridge position.

Now maybe you don't want me to talk to you about the fact that the fridge is a different color in the context of our ecumenical dialogues.  Fine.  It doesn't mean that I'll say that the fridge is green, and it certainly doesn't mean that I'll "back off" trying to convince you in other arenas.

Of course, it would be nice if we could at least combine efforts to convince the people that think that the blue fridge is a red oven that they're way off.
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« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2007, 09:55:02 AM »

While in principle "dialogue" should include agreement, saying that it "has no purpose" without agreement is a bit overboard.
I concur. I think agreement is certainly a goal for dialogue, but not the only one. If agreement was the only goal, it would certainly make OCnet pretty boring!
Human beings are social, cognizant animals- we need to dialogue with one another in order to socialize, to understand, to express our view etc. As Christians, I think this is even more of an imperative to do this due to the Gospel Commands: "Love thy neighbour" and "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." How can we love somebody without understanding them? Every human being has a basic need to be heard and understood....I know I do...therefore we have a duty to listen to the other, our neighbour, whom Christ clearly says is not necessarily of the same Faith as I by using the example of a Samaritan being a neighbour to a Jew.
Our language both shapes and reflects our Weltanschauung, and language is the only means of dialogue. Whenever there is dialogue between two or more disparate groups, they often are speaking different languages and consequently have different world views. One of the "goals" therefore in dialogue is find a "common language" to work out exactly where the line in the sand lies for each group, and where the common ground lies between them. We are not commanded to agree with our neighbour, but I think the Golden Rule demands that we give them a hearing and try to understand them.
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« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2007, 10:53:34 AM »

How can one bring others to the Orthodox Church, if one is unwilling to talk with them?

Just a thought

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« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2007, 01:08:06 AM »

How can one bring others to the Orthodox Church, if one is unwilling to talk with them?

Good question!

For that matter, how many can one bring if one IS willing...Huh

For Paul of Tarsus, the spread of the Church to the Ethnoi, resulting in their acquisition of the Holy Spirit, was to make Jealous Israel and the Jews...  That they should turn from their ways and toward Christ...  Yet it did not happen...  And I do not see a way for Rome to return home to the East...  That conversion is in God's hands through all our prayers...

And it is not as if Rome does not believe we are the Body of Christ, for they recognize our Mysteries...  It really is that they believe in a physical boss of the whole Church, the Pope...  Yet WE do not recognize THEIR Sacraments...  And indeed, from the Orthodox perspective, their conversion is a matter of their salvation, whereas the reverse is not true...

So back to the OP, for the EOC, ecumenical discussions ARE indeed about conversion, whereas for the RCC, they are merely about reunification under Rome and the Pope...

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« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2007, 02:00:18 AM »

Yet WE do not recognize THEIR Sacraments...

Let's not be overzealous here, if one is dying and unable to reach an Orthodox Cleric, they are allowed to take the Sacraments from a Latin Priest; and there are even other situations I know of where Orthodox Bishops have allowed the faithful to commune with Anglican or Latin Priests if there is no Orthodox Priest around, so there is obviously some understanding within the Church of the 'validity' (I hate that Latinizing term) of their Mysteries.

Quote
And indeed, from the Orthodox perspective, their conversion is a matter of their salvation, whereas the reverse is not true...

I don't know about that either, my Metropolitan and my Patriarch have certainly has never taught that the Latins are somehow condemned to hell for their faith.
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« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2007, 02:35:44 AM »

Let's not be overzealous here, if one is dying and unable to reach an Orthodox Cleric, they are allowed to take the Sacraments from a Latin Priest; and there are even other situations I know of where Orthodox Bishops have allowed the faithful to commune with Anglican or Latin Priests if there is no Orthodox Priest around, so there is obviously some understanding within the Church of the 'validity' (I hate that Latinizing term) of their Mysteries.
Maybe "validity by economy"?

There was, in the UK and at the beginning of last century, an extraordinary use of economy by the Greek Orthodox Church - extraordinary in all senses of the word.

The Greek bishops permitted the isolated Orthodox to receive Communuion in Anglican churches - their rationale was that the Anglican Communion received by the Orthodox was indeed, by ekonomia, the Body and Blood of Christ for Orthodox communicants but that for the Anglican vicar and his people it was only bread and wine.

It was a kind of reverse economy and the thinking which permitted it factors into the situations you describe above!

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« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2007, 03:24:44 AM »

Maybe "validity by economy"?

Perhaps, but it's still a validity. However, his is the problem with trying to use such words in the context of our theological tradition, it's not well define for us and thus has to be redefined in our linguistic context to be of any use.

Quote
There was, in the UK and at the beginning of last century, an extraordinary use of economy by the Greek Orthodox Church - extraordinary in all senses of the word.

The Greek bishops permitted the isolated Orthodox to receive Communuion in Anglican churches - their rationale was that the Anglican Communion received by the Orthodox was indeed, by ekonomia, the Body and Blood of Christ for Orthodox communicants but that for the Anglican vicar and his people it was only bread and wine.

It was a kind of reverse economy and the thinking which permitted it factors into the situations you describe above!

That is an interesting reasoning and it seems a bit pretentious for even a Bishop to go around telling God whether or not he was allowed to be present in the Anglican Eucharist, much less in which which pieces of bread he was allowed to appear. Out of curiosity was this the opinion of the Bishop or of someone else commenting on the situation? You wouldn't happen to have a source would you? If not, I understand, I know that certain stories like this are difficult to document, if they are documented at all.

But, in the end, the 'validity' of the Eucharist still depends on the actions of the Anglican Priest, it was never suggested that the faithful could consecrate their own Eucharist independent of said Priest. And, they were specifically instructed to attend an Anglican parish and not one of the free churches. This implies a validity of the Anglican Priesthood and hence of the sacrament of Ordination (in other sources, the validity of their Priesthood has been explicitly stated by official sources, one notable case is in the Pan-Orthodox Synod under Patriarch Meletios of Blessed Memory (the exact reference and documentation is somewhere on this forum, as I was asked for it before, but I can't seem to find with just a quick search).

There has long been an unease with accepting the sacraments of those not in communion with us, and for good reason, but there has also been a long tradition of accepting them, be they from the Latins or the Anglicans or the Oriental Orthodox; and this is a well enough established tradition that it would be irresponsible for us to dismiss them as 'invalid' out of hand, whatever that word means to us.
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« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2007, 10:50:29 AM »

I can't get the Antiochian website to bring it up yet, but in the November  WORD magazine is the  Biannual Report of the Archdiocese.  They have reports on  "Ecumenical Discussions" presented  that discuss these very issues  in relationship to the Lutherans and the Roman Catholics.  It is obvious what the Orthdox are doing is presenting the Orthodox view in order to convert but the others are in it for redconciliation and inter communion. If you have access  read it as it is pretty clear what the differences are between how the two view the purpose of these dialogues.

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« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2007, 01:45:44 PM »

If it was really about converting, then thus far we have failed.  I think the goal of "converting" is an unrealistic one, especially when you're talking with other theologians who also made up their mind on what is correct thinking.

I think the problem with these dialogues today is the emotional sadness it brought in the thought that "we have been divided for too long."  It is why many seek "quick reconciliations" as if to devalue important aspects of differences.  Right now, we shouldn't worry about "how Christianity is divided," or else like the WCC, we'll quickly ask for open communion without carefully presenting the issues at hand.

Pretty much, the goal of dialogue needs to change.  Neither should it be about converting nor about reconciliation.  We should not expect anything but understanding (otherwise, we'll quickly become depressed in realizing we'll never meet these goals).  Then the next step if there may be something "interesting" that pops up is a certain consultation with a goal in mind to discuss these matters.  This should be treated no differently than a Christian/non-Christian dialogue.

God bless.
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« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2007, 03:31:09 PM »

Perhaps, but it's still a validity. However, his is the problem with trying to use such words in the context of our theological tradition, it's not well define for us and thus has to be redefined in our linguistic context to be of any use.

That is an interesting reasoning and it seems a bit pretentious for even a Bishop to go around telling God whether or not he was allowed to be present in the Anglican Eucharist, much less in which which pieces of bread he was allowed to appear. Out of curiosity was this the opinion of the Bishop or of someone else commenting on the situation? You wouldn't happen to have a source would you? If not, I understand, I know that certain stories like this are difficult to document, if they are documented at all.

But, in the end, the 'validity' of the Eucharist still depends on the actions of the Anglican Priest, it was never suggested that the faithful could consecrate their own Eucharist independent of said Priest. And, they were specifically instructed to attend an Anglican parish and not one of the free churches. This implies a validity of the Anglican Priesthood and hence of the sacrament of Ordination (in other sources, the validity of their Priesthood has been explicitly stated by official sources, one notable case is in the Pan-Orthodox Synod under Patriarch Meletios of Blessed Memory (the exact reference and documentation is somewhere on this forum, as I was asked for it before, but I can't seem to find with just a quick search).

There has long been an unease with accepting the sacraments of those not in communion with us, and for good reason, but there has also been a long tradition of accepting them, be they from the Latins or the Anglicans or the Oriental Orthodox; and this is a well enough established tradition that it would be irresponsible for us to dismiss them as 'invalid' out of hand, whatever that word means to us.

Very good points, GiC.

I think that kind of reasoning veers too close (for my comfort, anyway) to a subjective kind of Real Presence.

In all my speaking with EO and reading of EO, I've never been able to come to a clear and widely accepted position on the matter of the Blessed Sacrament in Catholic or other non-EO bodies. It's a muddle of different opinions.
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« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2007, 03:45:52 PM »

This thread could not be more timely. The renowned and eminent (both in age--89--and stature) Jesuit theologian Avery Cardinal Dulles has an article in the December issue of First Things about this very topic.

It's well worth reading!

Saving Ecumenism from Itself
http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=6081

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« Reply #34 on: November 19, 2007, 04:10:45 PM »

Very good points, GiC.

I think that kind of reasoning veers too close (for my comfort, anyway) to a subjective kind of Real Presence.
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« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2007, 04:18:44 PM »

Fr. Ambrose, what is your belief about sacraments outside of the Eastern Orthodox Church?
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« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2007, 04:58:18 PM »

Fr. Ambrose, what is your belief about sacraments outside of the Eastern Orthodox Church?
*
I believe that the episcopate -the College of the Apostles- cannot exist outside the Church.  Without the episcopate there can be no Sacraments.  Do you know the writings of Fr Justin Popovich? - I tend to be a follower of his.

Now, I know that this is a harsh saying for a Roman Catholic to hear (about as harsh as when the Anglicans are told much the same about the invalidity of their Orders by Catholics.) 

On the other hand, you will find Orthodox who accept the "validity" of the Roman Catholic episcopate and the Sacraments which flow from it.   Saint Philaret Metropolitan of Moscow is of this opinion.  Here are his words http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13419.msg185558.html#msg185558

And again on the other hand we found in the 1980s at one of ther Meetings of the Catholic-Orthodox International Theological Dialogue that the Orthodox bishops and theologians there refused to recognise Catholic baptism and that entails a fundamental rejection of all Catholic Sacraments.




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« Reply #37 on: November 19, 2007, 05:23:52 PM »

*
I believe that the episcopate -the College of the Apostles- cannot exist outside the Church.  Without the episcopate there can be no Sacraments.  Do you know the writings of Fr Justin Popovich? - I tend to be a follower of his.

Now, I know that this is a harsh saying for a Roman Catholic to hear (about as harsh as when the Anglicans are told much the same about the invalidity of own Orders by Catholics.) 

On the other hand, you will find Orthodox who accept the "validity" of the Roman Catholic episcopate and the Sacraments which flow from it.   Saint Philaret Metropolitan of Moscow is of this opinion.  Here are his words http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13419.msg185558.html#msg185558

And again on the other hand we found in the 1980s at one of ther Meetings of the Catholic-Orthodox International Theological Dialogue that the Orthodox bishops and theologians there refused to recognise Catholic baptism and that entails a fundamental rejection of all Catholic Sacraments.





This is not hard to hear at all. I am never offended by some one's honesty about what they believe. I am curious, since you do not believe Catholics have valid baptism and it is by baptism that we are born again as sons of God, do you believe that Catholics are Christians, children of God?
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« Reply #38 on: November 19, 2007, 05:25:36 PM »

do you believe that Catholics are Christians, children of God?
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And there is a quote from St Gregory of Nazianzen which I think applies especially to our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters.

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whose separation from us is tearing us apart."
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« Reply #39 on: November 24, 2007, 08:22:06 PM »

And who could forget the Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar (WCC) Conference, Chambesy, 1986:

"The Orthodox Church, however, faithful to her ecclesiology, to the identity of her internal structure and to the teaching of the undivided Church, while participating in the WCC, does not accept the idea of the “equality of confessions” and cannot consider Church unity as an inter-confessional adjustment. In this spirit, the unity which is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of theological agreements alone. God calls every Christian to the unity of faith which is lived in the sacraments and the tradition, as experienced in the Orthodox Church."

Report of the Third Panorthodox Preconciliar Conference, Chambesy, 1986
Section III, Paragraph 6
http://www.incommunion.org/articles/ecumenical-movement/chambesy-1986


So yes, I'd say our position is pretty clear. Its a wonder anyone still wants to talk to us!

To whom shall they go?  We have the Words of Eternal Life.
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« Reply #40 on: November 24, 2007, 08:28:53 PM »

I don't believe we've ever had any unease with ecumenical movements, perhaps a few fringe groups have, but I have yet to sense any coming out of Constantinople.

Well, yes, there is the essence of the matter. However, for better or worse, neither side is yet willing to admit the fact that Christian theology is little more than a sub-topic of Roman Politics and Foreign Affairs. It's probably easier to get everyone to admit that we had semantic differences than embrace the cold hard truth: we made up most these theologies because of was politically expedient at the time...so now even though the political motivation is long gone, we're stuck with the repercussions.

The problem is that over and over, the theologies were NOT expedient, and those which where didn't survive. Case in point: Monotheletism was supposed to unite all the then Chrisitans into one Church, making the Chalcedonians, non-Chalcedonians and Nestorians happy with the compromise.  Didn't work, and didn't last.
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« Reply #41 on: November 24, 2007, 08:37:16 PM »

Good question!

For that matter, how many can one bring if one IS willing...Huh

For Paul of Tarsus, the spread of the Church to the Ethnoi, resulting in their acquisition of the Holy Spirit, was to make Jealous Israel and the Jews...  That they should turn from their ways and toward Christ...  Yet it did not happen...  And I do not see a way for Rome to return home to the East...  That conversion is in God's hands through all our prayers...

And it is not as if Rome does not believe we are the Body of Christ, for they recognize our Mysteries...  It really is that they believe in a physical boss of the whole Church, the Pope...  Yet WE do not recognize THEIR Sacraments...  And indeed, from the Orthodox perspective, their conversion is a matter of their salvation, whereas the reverse is not true...

So back to the OP, for the EOC, ecumenical discussions ARE indeed about conversion, whereas for the RCC, they are merely about reunification under Rome and the Pope...

Arsenios

The analogy with the Jews is interesting: it has been argued on the available data the the majority of Hebrews DID convert. We have many  accounts (eg.. St. Romanos).  And the entire Ethiopian Church claims Hebrew roots.

And, as Fr. Ambrose has been posting, Hebrew Orthodox are the fastest growing religion in the Holy Land.

So maybe Rome ain't so lost after all.
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« Reply #42 on: November 24, 2007, 08:50:07 PM »

This thread could not be more timely. The renowned and eminent (both in age--89--and stature) Jesuit theologian Avery Cardinal Dulles has an article in the December issue of First Things about this very topic.

It's well worth reading!

Saving Ecumenism from Itself
http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=6081



I particularly like the line:

Catholics would want to hear from the churches of the Reformation the reasons they have for speaking as they do of Christ alone, Scripture alone, grace alone, and faith alone, while Catholics tend to speak of Christ and the Church, Scripture and tradition, grace and cooperation, faith and works.

I say this as a former Protestant.
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« Reply #43 on: November 25, 2007, 10:35:54 PM »

The analogy with the Jews is interesting: it has been argued on the available data the the majority of Hebrews DID convert. We have many  accounts (eg.. St. Romanos).  And the entire Ethiopian Church claims Hebrew roots.

I had not heard that - I was simply going by Paul's reports of the ultimate failure of his efforts...  And perhaps he was speaking of the STATE of Israel, not the population...  That would resolve the apparent confliction of claims...

Quote
And, as Fr. Ambrose has been posting, Hebrew Orthodox are the fastest growing religion in the Holy Land.

Yes, by Russian immigration...  Because the reports from, say, Darlyimple in the '90s, were not encouraging, as Israel was pretty much engaging in a cover-up of the 2000 year history of the Holy Lands and Christianity, in their zeal to make of it a Jewish land again...  And now, with the Russian Jewish Christians, this may get a reprieve, I pray to God...

I mean, it seems like both the Jews and the Turks are engaged in a clean-up of the very history of the regions they control, where only the evidences of their particular ethnicities are allowed to remain in evidence, and the rest is buried...  I do understand that Israeli archaeological teams are now, finally, at least doing what they can in a professional manner, yet parking garages are being built atop important Christian sites, and obscure Jewish remnants are becoming converted into glorified shrines...  While the Turks are simply obliterating all traces of the Christian presence in that country for two thousand years...

Quote
So maybe Rome ain't so lost after all.

I sure hope not - The great schism gave Satan a clean shot to the jaw of Christianity, and that, coupled with the persecutions in the Middle East of rule under Islamic Law, has landed all of the Christian ethnic refugees into the West...  We live in interesting times...  As a Greek friend of mine says, the problem is not with the Roman Catholics, but with their leadership...  The faithful are more saved than their ruling clergy...  And as my hieromonk ROCOR God-Father likes to point out, the road to hell is paved with the skulls of priests - [So that for him each day is a struggle to keep his skull out of that road!]

Yet in all this, it is God's hand that is guiding creation unto salvation...

I was just given a bunch of sheet music so I can learn the Arabic Trisagion and a bunch of other Arabic ecclesiastical songs, Isa...  Any special instructions in singing them?  Are they sung loud and clear?  Soft and slurred?  At a tempo or slow?  Does it all just vary, like the English Kazan?

Arsenios
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« Reply #44 on: November 26, 2007, 12:56:43 PM »

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I believe that the episcopate -the College of the Apostles- cannot exist outside the Church.  Without the episcopate there can be no Sacraments.  Do you know the writings of Fr Justin Popovich? - I tend to be a follower of his.

Undoubtedly, we are only saved as living and organic members of the theanthropic body of the Savior, namely of the Church, of a holy Church, apostolic Church, catholic Church because the Church is nothing but the whole theanthropic life of Christ, extended to all the centuries and to the whole eternity.
Fr Justin Popovich, The Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ
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« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2007, 05:24:19 PM »

Something has just occurred to me, and I'm not sure why it has never occurred to me before.
If a two particular Churches have in their respective Ecclesiologies the belief that:
"The visible boundary of this particular Church is the visible boundary of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"
then isn't the only way to reunion for one of them to admit they were wrong and be received into the other?

I don't think so. I have come to this opinion due to much dealing with Protestants.

As the community of believers, the Church is the assembly (ekklesia) of all who believe in Jesus Christ; or the fellowship (koinonia) of all who are bound together by their common love for the Savior. As the kingdom (basileia), it is the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies about the reign of the Messiah. And as the Mystical Body it is the communion of all those made holy by the grace of Christ. He is their invisible head and they are his visible members. These include the faithful on earth and the saints in heaven.
....
At the Second Vatican Council this concept of the Church was recognized as the objective reality that identifies the fullness of the Roman Catholic Church. But it was qualified subjectively so as to somehow include all who are baptized and profess their faith in Jesus Christ. They are the People of God, whom he has chosen to be his own and on whom he bestows the special graces of his providence. (Etym. Greek kkyriakon, church; from kyriakos, belonging to the Lord.)

Of course you see this doesn't mean anyones theology is correct or not but all sincere believers in a certain way are still members of the Church.

Is it only on what we agree that we find unity? I think if we look hard enough we can find unity in any fellow believer regardless of their indoctrination and this is where the Faith must begin. Once that Christian ideal is established then we can enter works like those that are currently going on in Ravena. We help the poor gentiles and pagans because its the Christain thing to do right? We don't require them to repent and be asimilated into us to be worthy of the dignity they deserve as a human being and child of God. I see no reason we shouldn't have the same Christian attitude toward each other.

Pax.
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« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2007, 06:27:21 PM »

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

John 10:16
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« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2007, 01:45:53 PM »

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

John 10:16

That's funny, most Mormons I know use that same verse to justify their entire religion!!!
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« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2007, 01:46:50 PM »

I had not heard that - I was simply going by Paul's reports of the ultimate failure of his efforts...  And perhaps he was speaking of the STATE of Israel, not the population...  That would resolve the apparent confliction of claims...

Yes, by Russian immigration...  Because the reports from, say, Darlyimple in the '90s, were not encouraging, as Israel was pretty much engaging in a cover-up of the 2000 year history of the Holy Lands and Christianity, in their zeal to make of it a Jewish land again...  And now, with the Russian Jewish Christians, this may get a reprieve, I pray to God...

I mean, it seems like both the Jews and the Turks are engaged in a clean-up of the very history of the regions they control, where only the evidences of their particular ethnicities are allowed to remain in evidence, and the rest is buried...  I do understand that Israeli archaeological teams are now, finally, at least doing what they can in a professional manner, yet parking garages are being built atop important Christian sites, and obscure Jewish remnants are becoming converted into glorified shrines...  While the Turks are simply obliterating all traces of the Christian presence in that country for two thousand years...

I sure hope not - The great schism gave Satan a clean shot to the jaw of Christianity, and that, coupled with the persecutions in the Middle East of rule under Islamic Law, has landed all of the Christian ethnic refugees into the West...  We live in interesting times...  As a Greek friend of mine says, the problem is not with the Roman Catholics, but with their leadership...  The faithful are more saved than their ruling clergy...  And as my hieromonk ROCOR God-Father likes to point out, the road to hell is paved with the skulls of priests - [So that for him each day is a struggle to keep his skull out of that road!]

Yet in all this, it is God's hand that is guiding creation unto salvation...

I was just given a bunch of sheet music so I can learn the Arabic Trisagion and a bunch of other Arabic ecclesiastical songs, Isa...  Any special instructions in singing them?  Are they sung loud and clear?  Soft and slurred?  At a tempo or slow?  Does it all just vary, like the English Kazan?

Arsenios


I've heard all of the above.  My personal favorite in Arabic is the chant like the Greek Chant.  There is a tendency to sing them with operetic precision in pronunciation, to emphasize the standard Arabic.

What are you doing with Arabic sheet music?
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« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2007, 03:19:58 PM »

That's funny, most Mormons I know use that same verse to justify their entire religion!!!

You consider Mormonism to be a religion?  Huh
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« Reply #50 on: November 28, 2007, 03:25:12 PM »

Um, why wouldn't Mormonism be a religion?  It's a false one, to be sure, but it's no less a religion than, say, Islam (ie the Mormonism of the East).

Is your objection referring to its possible status as a cult?
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« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2007, 03:31:51 PM »

That's funny, most Mormons I know use that same verse to justify their entire religion!!!

Ah, but they are the sheep of Joseph Smith. Different shepherds.
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« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2007, 05:20:30 PM »

Um, why wouldn't Mormonism be a religion?  It's a false one, to be sure, but it's no less a religion than, say, Islam (ie the Mormonism of the East).

Is your objection referring to its possible status as a cult?

I don't object to it being called a religion per se' but object to the example being made which seems to diminish the truth in the scripture -"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

To answer your last question:

Yes its status as a cult and especially the reasons why its considered a cult and Judaism or Islam is not. The difference there between Cult and Religion isn't always clear on the surface just as its not always clear between other terminology such as Schism and Heresy, Latin or Orthodox, pagan or gentile etc etc.

All such types of rational terminology on their surface if used divisively may actually be contradictory to the above Holy Scripture in the essence of its meaning.

How can any Christian argue with Holy Scripture? Sure, without the Church we cannot know its true fullness but isn't it in its literal hermeneutic translation where its truth begins?

I think we have to look at that Scripture historically as Jesus meant it. To me it says; He will bring many to Him that are not of our apostolic fold who if left to our own human devices we would not, so perhaps we need to try and see what He saw.

Peace.
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« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2007, 05:22:22 PM »

Ah, but they are the sheep of Joseph Smith. Different shepherds.

Different shepherds?  Different universe!  I prefer to believe the Eddie Izzard theory on Mormons... "The Mormons ARE from Mars.  We checked."   Grin
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« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2007, 05:23:15 PM »

Ah, but they are the sheep of Joseph Smith. Different shepherds.

Different pastures.

Don't you mean wolves?
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« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2007, 05:25:14 PM »

Different shepherds?  Different universe!  I prefer to believe the Eddie Izzard theory on Mormons... "The Mormons ARE from Mars.  We checked."   Grin

Actually, JS Jr. claimed that a race of men (looking like quakers) lived on the moon, and something else about parts of the earth being broken off and flung into space.  I can't remember if the moon people got there this way per the prophet.  His wife (one of the them) wrote hymns on the issue.
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« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2007, 05:27:28 PM »

Actually, JS Jr. claimed that a race of men (looking like quakers) lived on the moon, and something else about parts of the earth being broken off and flung into space.  I can't remember if the moon people got there this way per the prophet.  His wife (one of the them) wrote hymns on the issue.

Thats why they call PA the Keystone state.  Grin
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« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2007, 05:39:14 PM »

I don't object to it being called a religion per se' but object to the example being made which seems to diminish the truth in the scripture -"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

To answer your last question:

Yes its status as a cult and especially the reasons why its considered a cult and Judaism or Islam is not. The difference there between Cult and Religion isn't always clear on the surface just as its not always clear between other terminology such as Schism and Heresy, Latin or Orthodox, pagan or gentile etc etc.

All such types of rational terminology on their surface if used divisively may actually be contradictory to the above Holy Scripture in the essence of its meaning.

How can any Christian argue with Holy Scripture? Sure, without the Church we cannot know its true fullness but isn't it in its literal hermeneutic translation where its truth begins?

I think we have to look at that Scripture historically as Jesus meant it. To me it says; He will bring many to Him that are not of our apostolic fold who if left to our own human devices we would not, so perhaps we need to try and see what He saw.

Peace.

Wow.  My intent was certainly not to diminish the truth of scripture, and frankly, I think reading that into my little elbow-jab of a post is just a little extreme.  I didn't give a second thought to the use of "cult" vs. "religion" in my post because that wasn't my point!  My point was a wink-nudge jab at Lub because I think that the use of that verse in this particular sense is a cop out, because frankly, everyone uses that verse, but we are NOT united. 


Is it only on what we agree that we find unity? I think if we look hard enough we can find unity in any fellow believer regardless of their indoctrination and this is where the Faith must begin. Once that Christian ideal is established then we can enter works like those that are currently going on in Ravena. We help the poor gentiles and pagans because its the Christain thing to do right? We don't require them to repent and be asimilated into us to be worthy of the dignity they deserve as a human being and child of God. I see no reason we shouldn't have the same Christian attitude toward each other.


This is not the type of unity that the EO church objects to, obviously, since the church participates in all kinds of Ecumenical movements.  The unity that is at issue is unity in the Eucharist, the acceptance of dogma that will bring the churches back into communion, such that we as EO and you as Catholics can commune in the same church, which we currently can not.

Now you might tell me, "but you can commune in the Catholic church."  My response to that would be no, I cannot.  The Catholic church allows those of "like faith" to commune, but the EO church does not.  Others may not commune in the EO church, and we EO may not commune in other churches.  Why?  Because in our theology, the chalice is not a TOOL for unity, as the Catholic church uses it.  The chalice CONTAINS our unity.  Our churches are mystically united IN the chalice.  Receiving from the chalice either sanctifies or burns.  If one does not believe in the fullness of the truth, if one is not in good standing with the church sacramentally, then they are burned.  This is what we believe, this is why those of other faiths do not commune in the EOC.  If there is no unity in dogma and confession, there is no unity in the chalice.  Period.  End of story.
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« Reply #58 on: November 28, 2007, 05:55:38 PM »

I like the way you cook, GreekChef.
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« Reply #59 on: November 28, 2007, 06:20:39 PM »

I like the way you cook, GreekChef.

Thanks, Αριστοκλής!!
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« Reply #60 on: November 28, 2007, 06:28:44 PM »

I like the way you cook, GreekChef.

You have no idea.  She's a fantastic chef (I miss visiting their apartment at Seminary for the occasional meal).
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« Reply #61 on: November 28, 2007, 06:46:13 PM »

Wow.  My intent was certainly not to diminish the truth of scripture, and frankly, I think reading that into my little elbow-jab of a post is just a little extreme.  I didn't give a second thought to the use of "cult" vs. "religion" in my post because that wasn't my point!  My point was a wink-nudge jab at Lub because I think that the use of that verse in this particular sense is a cop out, because frankly, everyone uses that verse, but we are NOT united.
 

Ah I see. I don't think you had that intent either. My point was on the Scripture and how the word of God cannot be diminished even inadvertently. Nothing personal intended there. I hope I am not thinking of the verse as a cop-out but with the mind of Christs Mercy. Wordisms often pop out at me only because I want truth. Also nothing personal inferred my brother.

Quote
This is not the type of unity that the EO church objects to, obviously, since the church participates in all kinds of Ecumenical movements.  The unity that is at issue is unity in the Eucharist, the acceptance of dogma that will bring the churches back into communion, such that we as EO and you as Catholics can commune in the same church, which we currently can not.

Agreed. Yet Jesus implies He will bring others to Him who are not of our apostolic fold. To me that speaks volumes while we bicker over laws and divide over theologies that express the same thing in different ways. This seems to be the mind of the Church in Ravena. Maybe yours is not of the same accord as theirs I don't know.

Quote
Now you might tell me, "but you can commune in the Catholic church."  My response to that would be no, I cannot.  The Catholic church allows those of "like faith" to commune, but the EO church does not.  Others may not commune in the EO church, and we EO may not commune in other churches.  Why?  Because in our theology, the chalice is not a TOOL for unity, as the Catholic church uses it.  The chalice CONTAINS our unity.  Our churches are mystically united IN the chalice.  Receiving from the chalice either sanctifies or burns.  If one does not believe in the fullness of the truth, if one is not in good standing with the church sacramentally, then they are burned.  This is what we believe, this is why those of other faiths do not commune in the EOC.  If there is no unity in dogma and confession, there is no unity in the chalice.  Period.  End of story.

I wouldn't have said that. We do not use the Chalice as a tool. Though I know this is not your intent either I find that statement a bit sacrilegious and evident of disdain toward my praxis. We extend communion to you in recognition of valid orders and sacraments, nothing more. I can commune at a divine liturgy if I so choose in any rite without being burned if I know I do so in good conscience. 
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« Reply #62 on: November 28, 2007, 06:47:11 PM »

You have no idea.  She's a fantastic chef (I miss visiting their apartment at Seminary for the occasional meal).

Thanks, George!  We miss that as well!  
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« Reply #63 on: November 28, 2007, 06:49:12 PM »

You have no idea.  She's a fantastic chef (I miss visiting their apartment at Seminary for the occasional meal).

What are some good Greek dishes one could try?
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« Reply #64 on: November 28, 2007, 07:04:20 PM »


Agreed. Yet Jesus implies He will bring others to Him who are not of our apostolic fold. To me that speaks volumes while we bicker over laws and divide over theologies that express the same thing in different ways. This seems to be the mind of the Church in Ravena. Maybe yours is not of the same accord as theirs I don't know.


First off, let me say that I mean no offense in anything I say.  But I will say that this is part of the reason that unity has not been realized... You view it as bickering over laws and dividing over theologies that express the same thing in different ways.  We do not view it this way (of course I can't speak for EVERYONE, this is a generality).  Those theologies are the essence of what we believe.  Just as an example (I know it's a tired one, but humor me for a minute), I will never confess the filioque.  It completely changes the nature of the Holy Trinity, there's no scriptural basis for it, and I won't do it.  That's just one of MANY issues that keep the churches divided.  


I wouldn't have said that. We do not use the Chalice as a tool. Though I know this is not your intent either I find that statement a bit sacrilegious and evident of disdain toward my praxis. We extend communion to you in recognition of valid orders and sacraments, nothing more. I can commune at a divine liturgy if I so choose in any rite without being burned if I know I do so in good conscience. 

You are correct, that is not my intent.  My mother is a former Catholic, I was baptized Catholic.  I have NO disdain whatsoever for the Catholic Church.  I have been to my share of masses, and I do have a great love for Pope Benedict.  My mother taught me to love the Catholic Church.  She has also said to me many times that the Catholic Church is the "same faith, different practice."  And she used to express sadness and confusion over why the EO church would not accept communion and reunify with the RCC.  After I started classes at our seminary and began a diologue with her about it, her view changed.  She understands why now.  I'm not saying this to mean that the churches shouldn't reunify, or that it's because Catholics are wrong, or mistaken, or don't understand.  I'm just saying that there are SOOOOOO many issues to overcome that seem to many like "little issues."  But they are all symptoms of a larger illness.  A pain in the neck is nothing by itself, but when combined with other symptoms, it becomes meningitis.  Am I making sense?  It's not any one little thing.  It's all of them that, when combined, make the churches two ENTIRELY different belief systems, two ENTIRELY different churches, not little laws or theologies that are essentially the same thing.  They are not the same thing.  And as soon as EVERYONE involved in the Ecumenical discussions recognizes that, we'll get a lot further.
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« Reply #65 on: November 28, 2007, 07:04:58 PM »

What are some good Greek dishes one could try?

I love to make Spanakopita.  And I love to eat my mother-in-law's dolmades!!!  Smiley
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« Reply #66 on: November 28, 2007, 09:03:42 PM »

First off, let me say that I mean no offense in anything I say.  But I will say that this is part of the reason that unity has not been realized... You view it as bickering over laws and dividing over theologies that express the same thing in different ways.  We do not view it this way (of course I can't speak for EVERYONE, this is a generality).  Those theologies are the essence of what we believe.  Just as an example (I know it's a tired one, but humor me for a minute), I will never confess the filioque.  It completely changes the nature of the Holy Trinity, there's no scriptural basis for it, and I won't do it.  That's just one of MANY issues that keep the churches divided. 

Yea, bickering was a poor choice of words on my part. I understand your concerns. For me the filoque clause does not change the nature of the Trinity for me and in fact re-enforces the gift of the Holy Spirit from Jesus as described in Holy Scripture. Matter of perspective I guess. You see, we in the West are brought up viewing the Trinity in its unity instead of in its separate persons. This is why I don't see the Eastern perspective as wrong at all, just out of a different perspective but still completely viable. This is also how I can understand one not wanting to ascend to it though I often feel the same consideration is rarely given to me for doing so, especially if anathemas as slung.

Quote
You are correct, that is not my intent.  My mother is a former Catholic, I was baptized Catholic.  I have NO disdain whatsoever for the Catholic Church.  I have been to my share of masses, and I do have a great love for Pope Benedict.  My mother taught me to love the Catholic Church.  She has also said to me many times that the Catholic Church is the "same faith, different practice."  And she used to express sadness and confusion over why the EO church would not accept communion and reunify with the RCC.  After I started classes at our seminary and began a diologue with her about it, her view changed.  She understands why now.  I'm not saying this to mean that the churches shouldn't reunify, or that it's because Catholics are wrong, or mistaken, or don't understand.  I'm just saying that there are SOOOOOO many issues to overcome that seem to many like "little issues."  But they are all symptoms of a larger illness.  A pain in the neck is nothing by itself, but when combined with other symptoms, it becomes meningitis.  Am I making sense?  It's not any one little thing.  It's all of them that, when combined, make the churches two ENTIRELY different belief systems, two ENTIRELY different churches, not little laws or theologies that are essentially the same thing.  They are not the same thing.  And as soon as EVERYONE involved in the Ecumenical discussions recognizes that, we'll get a lot further.

You make complete sense though I think the emphasis on "entirely different" is the extreme. Surely what’s most important is similar. Isn't what’s going on in Ravenna noteworthy? Do you think Rome’s statements denouncing Latinizations is evident of this understanding you mention? With a substantial intellectual effort I can reconcile most Eastern theology with Catholic dogma in all good conscience.

Peace.
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« Reply #67 on: November 28, 2007, 09:05:31 PM »

I love to make Spanakopita.  And I love to eat my mother-in-law's dolmades!!!  Smiley

Interesting culture. I don't know what they are though.  laugh

Would they be considered an aquired taste to an American?

Peace.
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« Reply #68 on: May 30, 2008, 10:28:21 PM »

Something has just occurred to me, and I'm not sure why it has never occurred to me before.
If a two particular Churches have in their respective Ecclesiologies the belief that:
"The visible boundary of this particular Church is the visible boundary of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"
then isn't the only way to reunion for one of them to admit they were wrong and be received into the other?
It just so happens there are faults on both sides and we all must be humble and admit it. We also cannot do this alone. We need the help of the Holy Spirit.
The split didn't just happen for theological reasons. There was a lot of politics both governmental politics and church politics involved. Plus especially in the 1054 incident there was a lot of hotheaded personalities involved on both sides. There is a lot of language and cultural difficulties and misunderstandings. There is much distrust of ecumenism.  I think the approach of Alexy and Benedict can bear fruit. Work together on mutual problems. This will promote trust. Unity will not be overnight. 
More than anything we must invoke the help of the Holy Spirit and desire unity as a necessity not as a whim.
PS I believe the only defect of the Orthodox mentioned was unity with the bishop of Rome.
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