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Author Topic: western vs eastern theology  (Read 13398 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 02, 2007, 02:56:12 AM »

I know this might sound weird but even if i wanted to convert to catholicism i feel the eastern theology  makes more sense then the attempted logicalally gained positions of the west. Does anyone else feel this way?
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2007, 03:03:48 AM »

I know this might sound weird but even if i wanted to convert to catholicism i feel the eastern theology  makes more sense then the attempted logicalally gained positions of the west. Does anyone else feel this way?

I'm sure the Eastern Catholics do.
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2007, 03:09:03 AM »

I know this might sound weird but even if i wanted to convert to catholicism i feel the eastern theology  makes more sense then the attempted logicalally gained positions of the west. Does anyone else feel this way?

I can sympathize, the philosophies and related theological methodologies in the east are fundamentally different from those in the west; I would argue it comes from a difference of emphasis, Aristotle in the west and Plato in the east. Also, the east offers a degree of liberty in matters of theology that is denied in the west, we don't have the absolutes, we don't dogmatize unnecessarily, we allow for differing theologumena to exist; but perhaps this is because there has always been suspicion in the east of the absolutist approach which became all too common in the west.
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2007, 10:55:04 AM »

Hello,

I would argue it comes from a difference of emphasis, Aristotle in the west and Plato in the east.

If this is the case, then why do so many Orthodox take issue with Saint Augustine, who was a platonist?


Also, the east offers a degree of liberty in matters of theology that is denied in the west, we don't have the absolutes, we don't dogmatize unnecessarily, we allow for differing theologumena to exist;

It always appears to me that the Eastern Orthodox are much less tolerant (right word?) of differing theological perspectives than Latin Catholicism. Also it seems to me that while not officially dogmatizing everything (the Catholic Church doesn't do this unnecessarily either), that there is an unofficial dogmatizing of everything from the doctrine that should be dogmatized (i.e., Incarnation) to the most miniscule discipline and rubric.


but perhaps this is because there has always been suspicion in the east of the absolutist approach which became all too common in the west.

What do you see as the absolutist approach and how does it apply to the Catholic Church?



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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2007, 01:58:38 PM »

Hello,

If this is the case, then why do so many Orthodox take issue with Saint Augustine, who was a platonist?

Augustine early on was a platonist, but his work became more and more infuenced by aristotelian philosophy; most of what Augustine wrote was quite good, but there are just a small handful of theories that we tend to take issue with.

Quote
It always appears to me that the Eastern Orthodox are much less tolerant (right word?) of differing theological perspectives than Latin Catholicism. Also it seems to me that while not officially dogmatizing everything (the Catholic Church doesn't do this unnecessarily either), that there is an unofficial dogmatizing of everything from the doctrine that should be dogmatized (i.e., Incarnation) to the most miniscule discipline and rubric.

I think you may have your opinion skewed by 'internet-orthodoxy', the most miniscule discipline and rubric isn't even known by the overwhelming majority of Orthodox I have come in contact with, and they certainly haven't dogmatized these points.

Quote
What do you see as the absolutist approach and how does it apply to the Catholic Church?

It's been less of an issue since Vatican II and far less of an issue in Catholicism in America since Vatican II. But the history and stigma remains. In the Orthodox world, to disagree with your patriarch is rather commonplace and perfectly acceptable, provided you don't take it to the level of schism; however, in the West there tends to be some great stigma attached disagreeing with Rome and saying, 'you know, the Pope's just wrong on this issue, he doesn't really know what he's talking about here.'
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2007, 02:52:00 PM »

however, in the West there tends to be some great stigma attached disagreeing with Rome

Too true, friend, too true.   Sad
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2007, 05:59:35 PM »

Hello,

Augustine early on was a platonist, but his work became more and more infuenced by aristotelian philosophy; most of what Augustine wrote was quite good, but there are just a small handful of theories that we tend to take issue with.

I think the big problem with Saint Augustine, in my opinion, is like Saint Paul he is at times overly ambiguous. Hence, some Protestants think Saint Augustine is actual a support for their views. Of course, they think the same of Saint Paul.


I think you may have your opinion skewed by 'internet-orthodoxy', the most miniscule discipline and rubric isn't even known by the overwhelming majority of Orthodox I have come in contact with, and they certainly haven't dogmatized these points.

I see argumentation between New Calendar vs. Old Calendar, three fingers for the Sign of the Cross vs. two fingers, etc., etc. - the Orthodox I talk with and observe (both via internet, news and personal contact) place so much emphases on these issues as to raise them to the point of dogma.


It's been less of an issue since Vatican II and far less of an issue in Catholicism in America since Vatican II. But the history and stigma remains. In the Orthodox world, to disagree with your patriarch is rather commonplace and perfectly acceptable, provided you don't take it to the level of schism; however, in the West there tends to be some great stigma attached disagreeing with Rome and saying, 'you know, the Pope's just wrong on this issue, he doesn't really know what he's talking about here.'

Disagree how? The Pope says we should eat Wheaties for breakfast, but the man doesn't know what he's talking about because Cheerios is obviously the way to go. No problem.

The Pope says that the Church has no authority to ordain women as Priests, but I think that women should be allowed to be Priests. Problem.

As Saint Augustine said - In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. Wink
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2007, 06:45:32 PM »

Disagree how? The Pope says we should eat Wheaties for breakfast, but the man doesn't know what he's talking about because Cheerios is obviously the way to go. No problem.

The Pope says that the Church has no authority to ordain women as Priests, but I think that women should be allowed to be Priests. Problem.

As Saint Augustine said - In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. Wink

I've read things from Catholics like:
Quote

If the pope said one must eat peanuts to be saved, then I'm going to the store to buy up peanuts.

[...rest of the post...]

But to be honest with you, I was very serious on the peanuts comment. It all boils down to the authority that Jesus gave the Church to "bind and loose".

This was on a forum. Obviously this person is in the minority, but I've heard similar comments in real life.

Problem or no problem?
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2007, 08:30:35 PM »



I see argumentation between New Calendar vs. Old Calendar, three fingers for the Sign of the Cross vs. two fingers, etc., etc. - the Orthodox I talk with and observe (both via internet, news and personal contact) place so much emphases on these issues as to raise them to the point of dogma.

As Saint Augustine said - In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. Wink

As an Orthodox Catholic I too find it rediculous arguing old vs new calendar although being on the old calendar would make life simpler and exclusive, but nevertheless Im living with new calendar stuff.  Three vs two fingers, much ado over really nothing but people tend to place a lot of weight on things which deserve no weight at all.   These seem silly at first but there are some die hards and they do treat these things as if they were dogma.

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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2007, 09:15:18 PM »

Hello,

I've read things from Catholics like:
This was on a forum. Obviously this person is in the minority, but I've heard similar comments in real life.

Problem or no problem?

Well I don't know. It seems like a silly question that would never happen in real life - as in something the Pope would never say. So it is hard to answer honestly. But, if the Pope made an ex cathedra statement to such an effect, then I would submit myself to his authority and the authority of the Magisterium.

Of course, there is a difference between being obedient and agreeing. One can obey without agreeing or understanding. In fact, obedience is usually more meritorious when one doesn't agree and/or understand their superiors. For instance I submit myself out of obedience to the Pope's and my Bishop's authority in all manners of Liturgy - even those I disagree with.
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2007, 09:18:13 PM »

This was on a forum. Obviously this person is in the minority, but I've heard similar comments in real life.

Problem or no problem?
I think that it is true that Catholics have an obligation to obey the disciplines of the Church with regard to fasting and abstinence. For example, in many areas,  it is a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays during Lent. A Catholic could go to hell for breaking that rule.
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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2007, 09:35:13 PM »

Hello,

I think that it is true that Catholics have an obligation to obey the disciplines of the Church with regard to fasting and abstinence. For example, in many areas,  it is a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays during Lent. A Catholic could go to hell for breaking that rule.
Yes, that is correct. The fifth precept of the Catholic Church states:

The fifth precept (“You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts; they help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart. (CCC, 2043)

The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent. (CIC, 1250)

The time of Lent preserves its penitential character. The days of penitence to be observed under obligation throughout the Church are all Fridays and Ash Wednesday, that is to say the first days of "Grande Quaresima" (Great Lent), according to the diversity of the rites. Their substantial observance binds gravely. (Paenitemini, 2, II)

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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2007, 09:43:29 PM »

I think that it is true that Catholics have an obligation to obey the disciplines of the Church with regard to fasting and abstinence. For example, in many areas,  it is a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays during Lent. A Catholic could go to hell for breaking that rule.
So you go to hell if you eat meat on a friday? Wow. Shocked
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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2007, 09:50:53 PM »

So you go to hell if you eat meat on a friday? Wow. Shocked

I think he's being facetious.
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2007, 09:56:37 PM »

Hello,

So you go to hell if you eat meat on a friday? Wow. Shocked

The fault is in the intentional transgression of the law of the Church. This wanton disregard for authority and our obligation to obey the Church is a grave offense.
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2007, 09:59:40 PM »

Hello,

By the way, in the United States at least, there is no longer a requirement to abstain from meat on Fridays outside of Lent. The Bishops have decided to allow the person to choose their own penitential act to perform on Fridays. Most Catholics are either ignorant or disregard this second part. Fridays are still a day of penance, but the individual can decide what they will do for penance.
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2007, 10:54:14 PM »

Fridays are still a day of penance, but the individual can decide what they will do for penance.
What if one does no penance?
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2007, 10:59:23 PM »

Hello,

What if one does no penance?
If they do so intentionally, it is a grave offense. See quotes from official sources above.
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2007, 03:27:47 AM »

I think the big problem with Saint Augustine, in my opinion, is like Saint Paul he is at times overly ambiguous. Hence, some Protestants think Saint Augustine is actual a support for their views. Of course, they think the same of Saint Paul.

And both St. Augustine and St. Paul have the problem that sometimes they're just plain wrong. They're probably right more often than they're wrong, but neither are infallible and should not be treated as such. (But as an Orthodox Christian, I don't believe in infallibility, so I guess this is just a tautology Wink)

Quote
I see argumentation between New Calendar vs. Old Calendar, three fingers for the Sign of the Cross vs. two fingers, etc., etc. - the Orthodox I talk with and observe (both via internet, news and personal contact) place so much emphases on these issues as to raise them to the point of dogma.

I'm wondering where you found these people, half the Orthodox I've spoken with outside the Clergy and seminary students don't even know about the Old Calendar vs. New Calendar thing and they most certainly have never heard about the Old Believer controversies, and if they had they wouldn't think of supporting the Old Believers; this group of people you're talking about, if you indeed found them offline, seems quite strange. Out of curiosity, where did you find them?

Quote
Disagree how? The Pope says we should eat Wheaties for breakfast, but the man doesn't know what he's talking about because Cheerios is obviously the way to go. No problem.

The Pope says that the Church has no authority to ordain women as Priests, but I think that women should be allowed to be Priests. Problem.

Well I don't know. It seems like a silly question that would never happen in real life - as in something the Pope would never say. So it is hard to answer honestly. But, if the Pope made an ex cathedra statement to such an effect, then I would submit myself to his authority and the authority of the Magisterium.

I rest my case.
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« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2007, 10:46:20 AM »

Hello,

Well I don't know. It seems like a silly question that would never happen in real life - as in something the Pope would never say. So it is hard to answer honestly. But, if the Pope made an ex cathedra statement to such an effect, then I would submit myself to his authority and the authority of the Magisterium.

The question I'd like to ask you, then, is what would be your basis for concluding that it was an ex cathedra statement? In particular, if the pope made such a peanut-statement, and then added that the statement he had just made was ex cathedra, would that prove to you that it was, in fact, ex cathedra?

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« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2007, 02:01:01 PM »

Well I don't know. It seems like a silly question that would never happen in real life - as in something the Pope would never say. So it is hard to answer honestly. But, if the Pope made an ex cathedra statement to such an effect, then I would submit myself to his authority and the authority of the Magisterium.

I believe it is along the same lines as hypothetical questions put to the Orthodox such as "If bishop A teaches one thing and bishop B teaches the opposite thing and each says the other is the heretic, how do Orthodox Christians know who's right?" —the assumption being that, because Orthodoxy has no pope to authoritatively decide, no one knows who's right.
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« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2007, 03:30:05 PM »

I believe it is along the same lines as hypothetical questions put to the Orthodox such as "If bishop A teaches one thing and bishop B teaches the opposite thing and each says the other is the heretic, how do Orthodox Christians know who's right?" —the assumption being that, because Orthodoxy has no pope to authoritatively decide, no one knows who's right.

Then we generally reduce the matter to private theological opinion and each person is entitles to believe as they wish, unless an authorative Synod decides on the matter.
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« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2007, 04:56:06 PM »

I believe it is along the same lines as hypothetical questions put to the Orthodox such as "If bishop A teaches one thing and bishop B teaches the opposite thing and each says the other is the heretic, how do Orthodox Christians know who's right?" —the assumption being that, because Orthodoxy has no pope to authoritatively decide, no one knows who's right.

Thats what Episcopal Synods are for.  We have minor synods on a regular basis but if a major heresy developed one can be assured, as an Orthodox Christian, that any heresy would be taken care of via Major Synod of bishops.  We are consiliar and this is the way we take care of serious problems.

However, this doesnt not preclude the investigations of the heresy and the possibility of this heresy being elliminated at the lowest counsel levels.

 


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« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2007, 11:48:36 PM »

Hello,

And both St. Augustine and St. Paul have the problem that sometimes they're just plain wrong. They're probably right more often than they're wrong, but neither are infallible and should not be treated as such. (But as an Orthodox Christian, I don't believe in infallibility, so I guess this is just a tautology Wink)
Shocked So you don't think Saint Paul is infallible? Is it just you or do all Orthodox think that Saint Paul - and as a result - all Scriptures are fallible? What about Tradition and the Magisterium - that's fallible too? What then do you build your faith on if God's revelation is not built on the rock of infallibility but on the sand of fallibility.


I'm wondering where you found these people, half the Orthodox I've spoken with outside the Clergy and seminary students don't even know about the Old Calendar vs. New Calendar thing and they most certainly have never heard about the Old Believer controversies, and if they had they wouldn't think of supporting the Old Believers; this group of people you're talking about, if you indeed found them offline, seems quite strange. Out of curiosity, where did you find them?
There are many on the internet. But where I am located at there is a large population of Orthodox, so it is not a search to find them. Not all take things so extreme, to be sure, but many I talk to tend to place much emphasis on the nonessentials.


I rest my case.
That Catholics have a divine duty to obey the shepherds God has placed over His flock and that we will have to answer to Him if we break his commandments - yes, case closed.  Wink

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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2007, 04:19:57 AM »

Hello,
 Shocked So you don't think Saint Paul is infallible? Is it just you or do all Orthodox think that Saint Paul - and as a result - all Scriptures are fallible? What about Tradition and the Magisterium - that's fallible too? What then do you build your faith on if God's revelation is not built on the rock of infallibility but on the sand of fallibility.

That St. Paul and scripture are not infallible, that's a pretty wide spread and probably majority (though not universal) Orthodox view. As for actually criticizing Paul and the Scripture and taking the jump from 'not-infallible' to 'plain-wrong', well that's a GIC thing with only minimal support elsewhere in Orthodoxy. The Church claims no responsibility for my personal actions and opinions. Wink

The general view of the Orthodox in relation to scripture and synods is that they are 'sufficient' or 'authoritative', but not infallible. Infallibility is a divine attribute derived from omniscience that can't even be shared by the Church (right up there with omnipotence...when the Synods, Saints, or Pope can start creating worlds out of nothing, they can start claiming infallibility).

Quote
There are many on the internet. But where I am located at there is a large population of Orthodox, so it is not a search to find them. Not all take things so extreme, to be sure, but many I talk to tend to place much emphasis on the nonessentials.

Perhaps it's just the small minority, who are willing to discuss such matters at length, that hold those views?

Quote
That Catholics have a divine duty to obey the shepherds God has placed over His flock and that we will have to answer to Him if we break his commandments - yes, case closed.  Wink

And if they break his commandments, you are culpable in following them (I'm starting to sound like an Old Calendarist now, yikes). I guess, in the end, we're each responsible for our own beliefs and actions, you can't point fingers on the day of judgement (assuming such a literal thing and an eternal hell exist, which is an entirely different matter for one of the several threads where we've already discussed this Wink).
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2007, 12:28:10 PM »

Hello,

That St. Paul and scripture are not infallible, that's a pretty wide spread and probably majority (though not universal) Orthodox view. As for actually criticizing Paul and the Scripture and taking the jump from 'not-infallible' to 'plain-wrong', well that's a GIC thing with only minimal support elsewhere in Orthodoxy. The Church claims no responsibility for my personal actions and opinions. Wink

The general view of the Orthodox in relation to scripture and synods is that they are 'sufficient' or 'authoritative', but not infallible. Infallibility is a divine attribute derived from omniscience that can't even be shared by the Church (right up there with omnipotence...when the Synods, Saints, or Pope can start creating worlds out of nothing, they can start claiming infallibility).
Sounds like one of those infomercial - the following is a paid announcement and do not necessarily reflect the views of this station (SO DON"T SUE US!)  laugh

But to claim that Scriptures are not infallible (whether you view them as plain wrong or not) seems wrought with troubles. As Dei Verbum asserts:


11. Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.(cf. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chap. 2 "On Revelation:" Denzinger 1787 (3006); Biblical Commission, Decree of June 18,1915: Denzinger 2180 (3629): EB 420; Holy Office, Epistle of Dec. 22, 1923: EB 499.) In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (cf. Pius XII, encyclical "Divino Afflante Spiritu," Sept. 30, 1943: A.A.S. 35 (1943) p. 314; Enchiridion Bible. (EB) 556.) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, ("In" and "for" man: cf. Heb. 1, and 4, 7; ("in"): 2 Sm. 23,2; Matt.1:22 and various places; ("for"): First Vatican Council, Schema on Catholic Doctrine, note 9: Coll. Lac. VII, 522.) they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. (Leo XIII, encyclical "Providentissimus Deus," Nov. 18, 1893: Denzinger 1952 (3293); EB 125.)

Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (cf. St. Augustine, "Gen. ad Litt." 2, 9, 20:PL 34, 270-271; Epistle 82, 3: PL 33, 277: CSEL 34, 2, p. 354. St. Thomas, "On Truth," Q. 12, A. 2, C.Council of Trent, session IV, Scriptural Canons: Denzinger 783 (1501). Leo XIII, encyclical "Providentissimus Deus:" EB 121, 124, 126-127. Pius XII, encyclical "Divino Afflante Spiritu:" EB 539.) for the sake of salvation. Therefore "all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind" (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).


Perhaps it's just the small minority, who are willing to discuss such matters at length, that hold those views?

Could be.


And if they break his commandments, you are culpable in following them (I'm starting to sound like an Old Calendarist now, yikes). I guess, in the end, we're each responsible for our own beliefs and actions, you can't point fingers on the day of judgement (assuming such a literal thing and an eternal hell exist, which is an entirely different matter for one of the several threads where we've already discussed this Wink).
I think that the topic of obedience also deserves it own thread.
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2007, 04:52:34 PM »

Hello,
If they do so intentionally, it is a grave offense. See quotes from official sources above.
I am not sure if the penance required of Western Catholics on Fridays is voluntary or not. I have heard conflicting arguments.
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« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2007, 04:56:55 PM »

Hello,

I am not sure if the penance required of Western Catholics on Fridays is voluntary or not. I have heard conflicting arguments.

What do you mean? Voluntary how?
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« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2007, 05:19:59 PM »

Hello,

What do you mean? Voluntary how?
In the sense that it is not a sin if you omit it.
I have heard conflicting reports on the question of required penance on Fridays outside of Lent. But it is not clear to me, even with the documents that you have provided. Some people do insist strongly that a serious penance is required. Others will say it is minimal or voluntary.
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« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2007, 05:25:30 PM »

Hello,

In the sense that it is not a sin if you omit it.
I have heard conflicting reports on the question of required penance on Fridays outside of Lent. But it is not clear to me, even with the documents that you have provided. Some people do insist strongly that a serious penance is required. Others will say it is minimal or voluntary.

It is definitely NOT voluntary. But, you're right, in that it can be a minimalist effort. Of course, most Catholics who take that attitude probably could care less about even observing a day of penance (or going to Mass, for that matter). I would hope that Catholics would take it seriously and use that penitential day wisely.

For instance, I will often change from refraining from meat to doing some prayers (i.e., Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, etc.). Why? For me, it is because God knows me, and I'd bet he'd agree that I need much more work in my prayer life as a boost to my spiritual life than in additional dietary restrictions.
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« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2007, 05:32:24 PM »

Hello,

It is definitely NOT voluntary.
OK. Thanks. I might have been wrong on that point.
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« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2007, 05:38:07 PM »

Hello,

OK. Thanks. I might have been wrong on that point.

And some might wonder, what does the USCCB have to say about this? Well, here it is:

Penitential Practices for Today's Catholics
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« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2007, 02:57:30 PM »

Hello,

The fault is in the intentional transgression of the law of the Church. This wanton disregard for authority and our obligation to obey the Church is a grave offense.
This, I think, is a poor approach.

This approach takes ascetic practice and turns it into something else, I would almost say that applying the threat of damnation for not complying with the institutions rules either negates or compromises the purpose of an ascetic practice.

The Law does not save. It makes sinners.

If people in 2008 are Ok doing something that people in 1800 were damned for and people in 200AD knew nothing of, there is an inconsistancy that cannot be explained away. Basically, the crime here is disobediance to the institutional church's rules, for which we pay must the ultimate price.

Taking up ascetic practices...exercises... should be a positive decision for a Christian, part of their growth. Salvation is not merely a process , it is a growth process and for each person that can be different.

Look what has happened. The western system makes these demands on people but has no working concept of economia. Everything is a pass-fail proposition. Later, the rules are relaxed for everyone the same way, it does not address the persons needs but is minimalist for everyone.

Orthodox typically fast Wednesdays and Fridays, this was true in the west once as well. But mention that to a Roman Catholic today and it would normally register shock. How many Roman Catholics were damned once for eating meat on Wednesday?

Michael
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« Reply #33 on: December 18, 2007, 06:03:47 PM »

This, I think, is a poor approach.

This approach takes ascetic practice and turns it into something else, I would almost say that applying the threat of damnation for not complying with the institutions rules either negates or compromises the purpose of an ascetic practice.

The Law does not save. It makes sinners.

If people in 2008 are Ok doing something that people in 1800 were damned for and people in 200AD knew nothing of, there is an inconsistancy that cannot be explained away. Basically, the crime here is disobediance to the institutional church's rules, for which we pay must the ultimate price.

Taking up ascetic practices...exercises... should be a positive decision for a Christian, part of their growth. Salvation is not merely a process , it is a growth process and for each person that can be different.

Look what has happened. The western system makes these demands on people but has no working concept of economia. Everything is a pass-fail proposition. Later, the rules are relaxed for everyone the same way, it does not address the persons needs but is minimalist for everyone.

Orthodox typically fast Wednesdays and Fridays, this was true in the west once as well. But mention that to a Roman Catholic today and it would normally register shock. How many Roman Catholics were damned once for eating meat on Wednesday?

Michael

Something puzzles me a bit concerning the Eastern theology. Perhaps you could help a western Catholic to understand it. In RC, if you violate the fast or abstinence, it is a sin, either mortal or venial, depending. And there are times when the bishop has declared the fasting to be voluntary, so in those cases, it would not be a sin. However, in the Eastern Churches, am I right to say that it would not be a sin if you violate the Lenten fast, but at the same time, you are expected to try your best to obey it. The Eastern Lenten fast is pretty severe.
In western Catholic theology, if you die with one mortal sin on your soul, then you go to hell. If you die with lesser sins, or if some of the larger sins have been forgiven, but there still might remain some stain, due to the fact that your repentance was imperfect, then in that case, you go to Purgatory and are purified there, but in that case, eventually, you will go to heaven. So, basically, for a western Catholic, you are safe as long as you do not have an unrepented mortal sin on your soul when you die.
Now how would that work for an Eastern Orthodox. For example, there are no mortal or venial sins in the Orthodox Church, is that correct? And at the same time, you do believe in hell? So how then will it be determined who will be saved and who will not. What does an Eastern Orthodox have to do, in order to attain eternal salvation? For example, if he does not try to keep the Lenten fast at all, and he attends the Liturgy, once a month. Will that person be OK ?
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« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2007, 09:36:59 PM »

So you go to hell if you eat meat on a friday? Wow. Shocked

It reminds me of the old George Carlin line about it being allowable to eat meat on Friday in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council but "you know there's still some poor guy in hell on a meat rap!" (Obviously for dying before 1965...)

Even in my Catholic school days (Post V2) with the ancient Sisters of Mercy I would have laughed out loud if someone suggested that the price of a Lenten hot dog was eternal damnation.

That takes legalism to new heights and totally disregards the mercy of God.
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« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2007, 11:49:48 PM »

It reminds me of the old George Carlin line about it being allowable to eat meat on Friday in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council but "you know there's still some poor guy in hell on a meat rap!" (Obviously for dying before 1965...)

Even in my Catholic school days (Post V2) with the ancient Sisters of Mercy I would have laughed out loud if someone suggested that the price of a Lenten hot dog was eternal damnation.

That takes legalism to new heights and totally disregards the mercy of God.
I'm trying to see if I can get an understanding of the Eastern perspective on this. As you have pointed out, the fasting and abstinence rules in the Western RCC can bind under pain of sin, under certain circumstances.
It is true, isn't it, that a strict observance of the  Lenten fasting discipline does not bind under pain of sin in the Eastern Orthodox Church? But you are still required to make a good faith effort to observe the Lenten fast? And would the rules be more severe for the Old Calendar Church? What about the other fasting disciplines, for example, before receiving the Sacred and Holy Mysteries. Would that fasting discipline bind under pain of sin?
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« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2007, 11:57:20 PM »

It reminds me of the old George Carlin line about it being allowable to eat meat on Friday in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council but "you know there's still some poor guy in hell on a meat rap!" (Obviously for dying before 1965...)

Even in my Catholic school days (Post V2) with the ancient Sisters of Mercy I would have laughed out loud if someone suggested that the price of a Lenten hot dog was eternal damnation.

That takes legalism to new heights and totally disregards the mercy of God.

Of course it does, and it does not make sense. It is not the eating of meat on Fridays itself that would be the mortal sin, just like missing Mass on Sundays would not itself be the mortal sin. The mortal sin would be the deliberate denial of the Church's authority that it would entail. I ate meat a couple Fridays ago---I was careless, and I forgot. You see, I usually fast on Fridays and don't think about avoiding meat or not (since I'm not eating). Well, I was invited out to dinner, and of course I ordered something with meat in it. Of course, I should have stuck with my fast, but I was hungry, and my flesh was weak. I felt bad about it afterward, but I didn't commit a mortal sin. If I refused to avoid meat on Fridays because "the Church ain't tellin' me what to do!" then that might be a different story.

Always keep in mind the conditions that make a sin mortal. It's not legalistically black or white.
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« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2007, 11:59:58 PM »

But you are still required to make a good faith effort to observe the Lenten fast?

Exactly. The same goes for us: a good faith effort, as opposed to a bad faith effort.
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« Reply #38 on: December 19, 2007, 12:33:01 AM »

there are no mortal or venial sins in the Orthodox Church, is that correct?
We don't refer to them as such. All sin is weighted equally when determining our guilt or innocence at the Judgment, but some sin affects us in this life more than other sin does. Where we differ from the RC, if I am correct in my understanding of their doctrine, is that the RC categorize sin irrespective of circumstances whereas the Orthodox leave the determination of the severity of the sin, and therefore of the penance, to the priest.

Quote
And at the same time, you do believe in hell?
Yes, of course. Christ himself spoke of it on several occasions.

Quote
So how then will it be determined who will be saved and who will not.
God will judge this, at the Last Judgment. That's about all we say about it.

Quote
What does an Eastern Orthodox have to do, in order to attain eternal salvation?
I'll answer with a story.

Quote from: Acts 16:25-34
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened.

When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!"

And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.

And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

Quote from: stanley123
For example, if he does not try to keep the Lenten fast at all, and he attends the Liturgy, once a month. Will that person be OK ?
Er...I don't know. I have no idea who this person is or what's going on in his life, so I couldn't tell you. The Orthodox don't presume to know anything about the state of one's soul. None of us will escape judgment, so it's up to the Judge, the Lord Jesus Christ, to judge each one's heart. All we can do is pray, repent, and try to live as holy as we possibly can. The rest is up to God.

Hope that helps.
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« Reply #39 on: December 19, 2007, 12:38:51 AM »

Look what has happened. The western system makes these demands on people but has no working concept of economia. Everything is a pass-fail proposition. Later, the rules are relaxed for everyone the same way, it does not address the persons needs but is minimalist for everyone.

I think that there are some important insights here.
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« Reply #40 on: December 19, 2007, 12:51:39 AM »

Hope that helps.
Thanks. I guess that it shows that there might be a bit more flexibility in the East.
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« Reply #41 on: December 19, 2007, 12:53:34 AM »

I think the whole East vs. West theology issue is one giant canard.
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« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2007, 01:03:36 AM »

Welkodox?  Is it really you?  Shocked  Where have you been hiding, man?

Would you care to expand on your statement?
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« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2007, 01:04:37 AM »

I think the whole East vs. West theology issue is one giant canard.
Canard is the French word for duck, but it is sometimes used in English to refer to something misleading.
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« Reply #44 on: December 19, 2007, 01:17:21 AM »

Welkodox?  Is it really you?  Shocked  Where have you been hiding, man?

Oh, under a rock.  Grin

Quote
Would you care to expand on your statement?

It's late, so I'll be brief.  I think the whole East/West thing tends to be used as a convenient axe grinding implement.  There were certainly differences that existed in the Western and Eastern ends of the Roman Empire (which is what we mean by "East" and "West"), but "East" and "West" were one for over 1,000 years and share the same theological heritage for the most part and are both based on the same foundation of sacred scripture.  The differences in my estimation are largely liturgical and pastoral.  Those are real differences, but should be kept in perspective.  Western theology is not scholasticism, and one can find in western theology profound explorations of Christian mysticism.

The basic elements separating Orthodoxy and Catholicism today are the Papacy (and its underlying theology) and the status of the disputed, rejected or non attended councils; probably starting with Constantinople IV.

When you come in to contact with lay people who belong to "Western" or "Eastern" apostolic churches, one will no doubt notice their attitudes, dispostion, outlook and beliefs are usually basically the same.
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« Reply #45 on: December 19, 2007, 01:25:20 AM »

Something puzzles me a bit concerning the Eastern theology. Perhaps you could help a western Catholic to understand it. In RC, if you violate the fast or abstinence, it is a sin, either mortal or venial, depending. And there are times when the bishop has declared the fasting to be voluntary, so in those cases, it would not be a sin. However, in the Eastern Churches, am I right to say that it would not be a sin if you violate the Lenten fast, but at the same time, you are expected to try your best to obey it. The Eastern Lenten fast is pretty severe.
In western Catholic theology, if you die with one mortal sin on your soul, then you go to hell. If you die with lesser sins, or if some of the larger sins have been forgiven, but there still might remain some stain, due to the fact that your repentance was imperfect, then in that case, you go to Purgatory and are purified there, but in that case, eventually, you will go to heaven. So, basically, for a western Catholic, you are safe as long as you do not have an unrepented mortal sin on your soul when you die.
Now how would that work for an Eastern Orthodox. For example, there are no mortal or venial sins in the Orthodox Church, is that correct? And at the same time, you do believe in hell? So how then will it be determined who will be saved and who will not. What does an Eastern Orthodox have to do, in order to attain eternal salvation? For example, if he does not try to keep the Lenten fast at all, and he attends the Liturgy, once a month. Will that person be OK ?
I don't want to oversimplify my answer, I must be brief but I can't just let a thought hand out there. I am also not the best person to address this, being relatively new to Holy Orthodoxy myself.

The concept of sin is very real in Orthodoxy, make no mistake about that. But in my understanding (subject to correction here) there is no hard and fast distinction between categories of sins. 'Mortal' and Venial' seeming to be like buckets we can toss examples of each sin into, Orthodoxy doesn't really think much about these buckets.

We might focus on the tendency to sin more so than each event (or incident), trends maybe. And it is helpful to understand the basic idea of salvation by Theosis (Divinization), becoming Godlike (in the sense of growth by imitation or emulation). It is a very old concept but not well received in the west anymore.

We can look at Theosis as ongoing development with each phase of our lives and church cycle as growth experiences, ascetic practices as real "exercises". If the doctor (one's Spiritual Director) prescribes a certain regimen, and we follow it, hopefully we shall see some improvement in the patient (the Christian). Strength, stamina, alertness and a positive outlook might be the benefit. Ascetic practices should strengthen one's resolve, help the spirit master the body, make it possible to resist sin. These are all positive benefits.

Neglecting these will mean the Christian will not reap the benefits, there will be lack of progress. That in a way is it's own punishment.

If we make these "penances" to be a lot more like arbitrary rules to follow, with unrelentingly stiff penalties attached (like damnation?) they can very well be counterproductive, and people may perform them for the wrong reasons or only for a while, perhaps not out of love for God but out of fear. Faced with such a high bar and negative reinforcement, some people (especially new Christians, and the young) elect to "opt out", the religion loses credibility with them.

I don't know anywhere else in human society where such an approach works well with people. "If you don't do your piano lessons I will burn your fingers!" rarely forms great pianists, "If you don't do your exercises, I will beat you to a pulp!" will not make good gymnasts. Why should "if you don't complete your fast, I will burn you in hell!" work any better?

The desire for success at these endeavors should rise from inside the person, they should love the music and wish to make great music, love the sport and want to break records, love God and seek Him. People can and will endure many trials to achieve those lofty goals, positively.

We have all read "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." and understand just what that can mean to us. The purpose of ascetic practice is to train the will and tame the flesh. That is a real growth prospect for us, to put on Christ. It is a very positive thing.

But one needs to be a real Christian first, these things will not make us Christians. Attempting to follow the "rules" of penance under threat of damnation can be dangerous to weak faith, it is a poor foundation for growth. That is why I recall St Paul stating "I want to learn only this from you: did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard?" The monks of the desert did not arise in a vacuum, they came out of Christian communities elsewhere and determined to work hard for their salvation. Not everyone can do that, not everyone is at the same level.

Once we believe, and desire Him, we will bear the burdens, we will take up our crosses to gain Him for ourselves, we embrace the rules (the "Law" if you will). Until we have reached that point a little understanding is in order. I think that is probably why the church has this high bar set before us, and all of that patience and compassion for us along with it.

Michael
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« Reply #46 on: December 19, 2007, 02:37:19 AM »

I think the whole East vs. West theology issue is one giant canard.

Indeed. Y's answer above is very much what we Catholics would say.
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« Reply #47 on: December 19, 2007, 03:48:34 AM »

This, I think, is a poor approach.

This approach takes ascetic practice and turns it into something else, I would almost say that applying the threat of damnation for not complying with the institutions rules either negates or compromises the purpose of an ascetic practice.

The Law does not save. It makes sinners.

If people in 2008 are Ok doing something that people in 1800 were damned for and people in 200AD knew nothing of, there is an inconsistancy that cannot be explained away. Basically, the crime here is disobediance to the institutional church's rules, for which we pay must the ultimate price.

Taking up ascetic practices...exercises... should be a positive decision for a Christian, part of their growth. Salvation is not merely a process , it is a growth process and for each person that can be different.

Look what has happened. The western system makes these demands on people but has no working concept of economia. Everything is a pass-fail proposition. Later, the rules are relaxed for everyone the same way, it does not address the persons needs but is minimalist for everyone.

Orthodox typically fast Wednesdays and Fridays, this was true in the west once as well. But mention that to a Roman Catholic today and it would normally register shock. How many Roman Catholics were damned once for eating meat on Wednesday?

Michael


Fantastic post. 
I'll add only this quote:

If I adore You out of fear of Hell, burn me in Hell!
If I adore you out of desire for Paradise,
Lock me out of Paradise.
But if I adore you for Yourself alone,
Do not deny to me Your eternal beauty.
-Rabi'a
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« Reply #48 on: December 19, 2007, 09:44:16 AM »

Quote
But one needs to be a real Christian first, these things will not make us Christians. Attempting to follow the "rules" of penance under threat of damnation can be dangerous to weak faith, it is a poor foundation for growth.

Threats of "Hellfire and Damnation" seem to be present in many of the things I've run across in Eastern Christendom.
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« Reply #49 on: December 19, 2007, 08:23:36 PM »

Hello,

Look what has happened. The western system makes these demands on people but has no working concept of economia. Everything is a pass-fail proposition. Later, the rules are relaxed for everyone the same way, it does not address the persons needs but is minimalist for everyone.

Of course there is - only we don't call it that. We actually don't have a formal name for it (if you can believe that Tongue). But one is directed to consult with their Spiritual Father/Confessor for all sorts of things that fall under the umbrella of economia - inability to attend a Sunday Mass, needed relaxing of fasting requirements, discretion on increased ascetical practices, etc., etc.
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« Reply #50 on: December 19, 2007, 08:25:56 PM »

Hello,

Of course it does, and it does not make sense. It is not the eating of meat on Fridays itself that would be the mortal sin, just like missing Mass on Sundays would not itself be the mortal sin. The mortal sin would be the deliberate denial of the Church's authority that it would entail. I ate meat a couple Fridays ago---I was careless, and I forgot. You see, I usually fast on Fridays and don't think about avoiding meat or not (since I'm not eating). Well, I was invited out to dinner, and of course I ordered something with meat in it. Of course, I should have stuck with my fast, but I was hungry, and my flesh was weak. I felt bad about it afterward, but I didn't commit a mortal sin. If I refused to avoid meat on Fridays because "the Church ain't tellin' me what to do!" then that might be a different story.

Always keep in mind the conditions that make a sin mortal. It's not legalistically black or white.

Exactly - it is not the lack of fasting or attending Mass that is the sin in itself - but the willful disobedience toward the Church's authority. Disobedience is the sin!
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« Reply #51 on: December 19, 2007, 08:36:10 PM »

Hello,

We don't refer to them as such. All sin is weighted equally when determining our guilt or innocence at the Judgment, but some sin affects us in this life more than other sin does. Where we differ from the RC, if I am correct in my understanding of their doctrine, is that the RC categorize sin irrespective of circumstances whereas the Orthodox leave the determination of the severity of the sin, and therefore of the penance, to the priest.
Yes, of course. Christ himself spoke of it on several occasions.
God will judge this, at the Last Judgment. That's about all we say about it.
I'll answer with a story.
Er...I don't know. I have no idea who this person is or what's going on in his life, so I couldn't tell you. The Orthodox don't presume to know anything about the state of one's soul. None of us will escape judgment, so it's up to the Judge, the Lord Jesus Christ, to judge each one's heart. All we can do is pray, repent, and try to live as holy as we possibly can. The rest is up to God.

Hope that helps.

The Catholic Church absolutely looks upon the circumstances for the judgement of the severity of the sin. And no person can know the state of a person's soul. There are three conditions that are required for a sin to be mortal:

1. Grave Matter (the sin in itself is grave - e.g., murder)
2. Knowledge (you know that it is a grave offense to commit the sin)
3. Full consent of the will in light of that knowledge

The first condition is objective. Either a sin is grave or it isn't. We know that murder is a grave offense, that is object.

Does a person have knowledge - as Father Corapi says, "if they don't know any better, they will when I get through with them". This is semi-subjective, and we can't always know if a person knows. But as Father Corapi wisely observes, as Christians, if there is any doubt as to whether the person knows or not, our evangelical duty is to inform them. "Hey did you know that having an abortion is gravely offensive to God."

Did the person fully consent to the sin in light of this knowledge. Only God fully knows this. The sinner should know (but they don't always). The sinner's Guardian Angel should also know their state of soul and whether their was full consent. And the confessor should have a good idea after the sinner confesses to him. Outside of these four people, no one knows. And this is why we can't judge or condemn others (other than a confessor whose job it is to judge the soul in the confessional and offer the forgiveness of God or retain the sins).


Does this make sense? Did I leave anything out?
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« Reply #52 on: December 19, 2007, 08:50:46 PM »

With respect, you guys have to look beyond, say, Pope John XXII in formulating your reasonable responses. And I do believe that they're reasonable but the RCC disagrees.

Hello,
Exactly - it is not the lack of fasting or attending Mass that is the sin in itself - but the willful disobedience toward the Church's authority. Disobedience is the sin!

Here's the (old) Catholic Encyclopedia:

Quote
Finally Alexander VII (24 Sept., 1665) condemned a proposition formulated in the following terms: Whoso violates the ecclesiastical law of fasting to which he is bound does not sin mortally unless he acts through contempt or disobedience (Denzinger, op. cit., no. 1123).

So it's not just a matter of disobedience to the Church's authority, etc. It's violating the legal requirements of the Fast.
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« Reply #53 on: December 19, 2007, 09:03:20 PM »

Hello,

With respect, you guys have to look beyond, say, Pope John XXII in formulating your reasonable responses. And I do believe that they're reasonable but the RCC disagrees.

Here's the (old) Catholic Encyclopedia:

So it's not just a matter of disobedience to the Church's authority, etc. It's violating the legal requirements of the Fast.

I don't see it. That says exactly what we're saying.

Quote
Finally Alexander VII (24 Sept., 1665) condemned a proposition formulated in the following terms: Whoso violates the ecclesiastical law of fasting to which he is bound does not sin mortally unless he acts through contempt or disobedience (Denzinger, op. cit., no. 1123).

It's not a mortal sin unless it is through disobedience - in other words, the real sin is disobedience.


Where do you see a difference?  Huh
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« Reply #54 on: December 19, 2007, 09:04:45 PM »

No, no, no!!!!!!! The Pope could not declare peanuts necessary for salvation! Why? Because it fails at least one of the four criteria necessary to declare dogma: "It must be interpretive, not originative..." I would love to see where in Scripture it says peanuts are necessary for salvation, or how many Church Fathers interpreted Scripture as saying so...Roll Eyes
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« Reply #55 on: December 19, 2007, 09:09:36 PM »

Hello,

No, no, no!!!!!!! The Pope could not declare peanuts necessary for salvation! Why? Because it fails at least one of the four criteria necessary to declare dogma: "It must be interpretive, not originative..." I would love to see where in Scripture it says peanuts are necessary for salvation, or how many Church Fathers interpreted Scripture as saying so...Roll Eyes

And Christ rebuked the Pharisees and said it is not by salted pretzels alone that man lives, but by the best honey roasted peanuts in town - or beer nuts at Cheers!  laugh
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« Reply #56 on: December 19, 2007, 09:15:50 PM »

Hello,

I don't see it. That says exactly what we're saying.

It's not a mortal sin unless it is through disobedience - in other words, the real sin is disobedience.


Where do you see a difference?  Huh


Athanasios, read it carefully (it is somewhat misleading).

Pope Alexander CONDEMNED a proposition formulated in the following terms: Whoso violates the ecclesiastical law of fasting to which he is bound does not sin mortally unless he acts through contempt or disobedience (Denzinger, op. cit., no. 1123).
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« Reply #57 on: December 19, 2007, 09:17:36 PM »

And thanks, Athanasios, that last post elevated me from the shame of "Newbie" to the glory of "Jr Member"

Ahhh, the sin of pride...
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« Reply #58 on: December 19, 2007, 09:24:26 PM »

Hello,

Athanasios, read it carefully (it is somewhat misleading).

Pope Alexander CONDEMNED a proposition formulated in the following terms: Whoso violates the ecclesiastical law of fasting to which he is bound does not sin mortally unless he acts through contempt or disobedience (Denzinger, op. cit., no. 1123).

Ah, didn't see that. Do you have an online link for this - or context of the condemnation?

I'll look for the article I had a while back that gave an excellent explanation of this sort of thing (much better than I could probable do).
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« Reply #59 on: December 19, 2007, 09:24:55 PM »

Hello,

And thanks, Athanasios, that last post elevated me from the shame of "Newbie" to the glory of "Jr Member"

Ahhh, the sin of pride...

Enjoy the climb to the top!  laugh
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« Reply #60 on: December 19, 2007, 10:47:25 PM »

With respect, you guys have to look beyond, say, Pope John XXII in formulating your reasonable responses. And I do believe that they're reasonable but the RCC disagrees.

Here's the (old) Catholic Encyclopedia:

So it's not just a matter of disobedience to the Church's authority, etc. It's violating the legal requirements of the Fast.

Ah, happy days! A non-Catholic proof-texting to tell us Catholics what he thinks the Catholic Church believes!  Roll Eyes laugh
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« Reply #61 on: December 19, 2007, 10:49:04 PM »

Hello,

Enjoy the climb to the top!  laugh

But once you get there it's kinda boring, we need levels beyond archon. Wink
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« Reply #62 on: December 19, 2007, 10:49:51 PM »

Hello,

But once you get there it's kinda boring, we need levels beyond archon. Wink

I'd vote for that!

We could have a poll for new name suggestions.
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« Reply #63 on: December 20, 2007, 09:52:10 AM »

Ah, happy days! A non-Catholic proof-texting to tell us Catholics what he thinks the Catholic Church believes!  Roll Eyes laugh

Swing and a miss!

Here's where you're wrong.  1) Not quite "non-Catholic" yet  2) It's hardly proof texting to quote the pope to disprove your erroneous argument and 3) It's not what I think the RCC believes - it's what the pope says it believes.

But I was wrong too.  I'd have bet anything that your response to the papal teaching would be: "Alexander wasn't speaking infallibly!"

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« Reply #64 on: December 20, 2007, 09:53:21 AM »

But once you get there it's kinda boring, we need levels beyond archon. Wink

Yeah, but then we'd be treading in First Commandment territory  Smiley
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« Reply #65 on: December 20, 2007, 10:33:15 AM »

But once you get there it's kinda boring, we need levels beyond archon. Wink

You said it, bub.
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« Reply #66 on: December 20, 2007, 12:09:36 PM »

Swing and a miss!

Here's where you're wrong.  1) Not quite "non-Catholic" yet  2) It's hardly proof texting to quote the pope to disprove your erroneous argument and 3) It's not what I think the RCC believes - it's what the pope says it believes.

But I was wrong too.  I'd have bet anything that your response to the papal teaching would be: "Alexander wasn't speaking infallibly!"

You think your single second-hand quote ripped out of context is enough? That's proof-texting if I ever saw it.

The only good thing I can say about you leaving the Catholic Church is that your culpability may be reduced by the lack of understanding of Catholic teaching you've clearly displayed here and on other threads.

-

[Added] In fact, there isn't even a quote! You quoted a hundred-year-old article paraphrasing a 19th century German author's understanding of the Pope's reaction to a proposition. And that is your evidence for Catholic teaching?

You also seemed to fail to read the surrounding paragraphs in the article, which explain (in extreme detail) all the exceptions to the law. And immediately following your quote is something you conveniently left out: Though this obligation is generally serious, not every infraction of the law is mortally sinful. Whenever transgressions of the law fail to do substantial violence to the law, venial sins are committed.

At the end of the article is this: No student of ecclesiatical discipline can fail to perceive that the obligation of fasting is rarely observed in its integrity nowadays. Conscious of the conditions of our age, the Church is ever shaping the requirements of this obligation to meet the best interests of her children. At the same time no measure of leniency in this respect can eliminate the natural and divine positive law imposing mortification and penance on man on account of sin and its consequences. (Council of Trent, Sess. VI. can. xx)

Added to all this are the conditions required for EVERY mortal sin.

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« Reply #67 on: December 20, 2007, 12:14:35 PM »

You think your single second-hand quote ripped out of context is enough? That's proof-texting if I ever saw it.

The only good thing I can say about you leaving the Catholic Church is that your culpability may be reduced by the lack of understanding of Catholic teaching you've clearly displayed here and on other threads.

It's hardly ripped out of context, your argument is a specifically condemned proposition.

So ad hominems aside, how is your view of Catholic teaching reconciled with that of the Magisterium?
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« Reply #68 on: December 20, 2007, 12:29:31 PM »

So ad hominems aside, how is your view of Catholic teaching reconciled with that of the Magisterium?

You seem to have little understanding of what the Magisterium is if you think a single third-hand non-quote infallibly describes Church teaching.
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« Reply #69 on: December 20, 2007, 12:39:46 PM »

You seem to have little understanding of what the Magisterium is if you think a single third-hand non-quote infallibly describes Church teaching.

Still evading the question and falling back on the ad hominems.  The Scholastics are rolling over in their graves...

And relative to the Magisterium, when a proposition (usually presented in the form of a dubia) is specifically condemned by the pope it becomes (at the very least) part of the Ordinary Magisterium of the RCC and as such it REQUIRES your assent as a good Catholic.

A specific condemnation is neither third hand nor is it a non-quote. Now you may not be able to reconcile it with your rationally thought out position (and I mean that sincerely, YOUR position makes more sense!) but you can't dismiss it.
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« Reply #70 on: December 20, 2007, 03:22:31 PM »

 Roll Eyes

Pope Navigator I,

If you want me to respond any further, get me that phantom quote in context and not third-hand out of that hundred-year-old encyclopedia. And EVEN IF it is entirely as you characterize it, Popes are sometimes wrong.

Otherwise I am wasting my time here. You have a history of facile proof-texting (i.e. the thread on Unam Sanctam and the improper use of a quote from St. Catherine of Siena to suggest that we see the Pope as God). I suggest you get on with your studies of EO theology and spirituality and stop justifying your break with Rome by telling Catholics what you erroneously think we must believe.

Too much scrupulosity is a serious form of legalism (often resulting from pride, it can be sinful) and is strongly discouraged by the Catholic Church. Thinking you've committed a mortal sin by non-deliberately forgetting about Friday penance or the Eucharistic fast (especially without first speaking with your spiritual father) is an example of excess scrupulosity.

Knowing and deliberate disobedience is an entirely different story.

I honestly have no idea why something this obvious won't sink in to you. All mortal sins by nature are committed knowingly and deliberately. The fasting and abstinence obligations are no different.

 
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« Reply #71 on: December 20, 2007, 03:26:42 PM »

Roll Eyes

Pope Navigator I,

If you want me to respond any further, get me that phantom quote in context and not third-hand out of that hundred-year-old encyclopedia. And EVEN IF it is entirely as you characterize it, Popes are sometimes wrong.

Otherwise I am wasting my time here. You have a history of facile proof-texting (i.e. the thread on Unam Sanctam and the improper use of a quote from St. Catherine of Siena to suggest that we see the Pope as God). I suggest you get on with your studies of EO theology and spirituality and stop justifying your break with Rome by telling Catholics what you erroneously think we must believe.

Too much scrupulosity is a serious form of legalism (often resulting from pride, it can be sinful) and is strongly discouraged by the Catholic Church. Thinking you've committed a mortal sin by non-deliberately forgetting about Friday penance or the Eucharistic fast (especially without first speaking with your spiritual father) is an example of excess scrupulosity.

Knowing and deliberate disobedience is an entirely different story.

I honestly have no idea why something this obvious won't sink in to you. All mortal sins by nature are committed knowingly and deliberately. The fasting and abstinence obligations are no different.

 

hear, hear... You get the 'reasonable' Roman Catholic award for the day.  Cheesy
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« Reply #72 on: December 20, 2007, 03:48:04 PM »

I have to agree with lubeltri here.  

When I attended RC parishes, I went to very conservative parishes persided over by either SSPX or FSSP priests, and never once when I confessed to missing a fast unintentionally, or if I asked about being invited to a get-together on a fast day, if I was allowed to eat, was I racked over the coals.  I remember reading on one site, and it was extremely true, that "true charity trumps all law and law exists to serve true charity".  There were sometimes that I caught myself eating something I shouldn't on a fast day, so I put it down and stopped.  I didn't whip myself over it.  Did I confess to my Priest?  Yes.  But since I was actively going out of my way to disobey and disregard the fast.  Or, one time, I went to a friend's grandparents anniversary dinner.  Unfortunately, it fell on a fast day.  Did I eat?  Yes, I ate some, not be full, but to be polite and a gracious guest, since the meal clearly took a long time to prepare.  Again, I confessed it, and my Priest said, like many Orthodox Priest's say, it is better to avoid the sin of pride some experience during a fast when others don't, than proclaiming my fasting when asked.  The people I was with had, out of charity, invited me to their celebration and fed me.  In a perfect world, everyone would have been fasting too and I would not have been faced with that, but things happen.  Yes, the RCC has a degree of legalism that rub people the wrong way, but come on, that is ridiculous.  If we weren't of a fallen nature than sure, I could understand such legalism, since it wouldn't be an issue.  

Also, I was often in contact with my Bishop, I was accepted to RC seminary, though I did not attend.  So I would discuss things with him as well.  And I would get the same answer and he is part of the episcopate.
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« Reply #73 on: December 20, 2007, 03:49:28 PM »

Roll Eyes
Pope Navigator I,

If you want me to respond any further, get me that phantom quote in context and not third-hand out of that hundred-year-old encyclopedia.



Let's try it one last time...

The quote was sourced. It included the Denzingers reference. Look it up in your personal copy of Denzingers which, I'm sure, that you as a good student of Catholic dogmatics have handy on your bookshelf.

Roll Eyes
And EVEN IF it is entirely as you characterize it, Popes are sometimes wrong.


Saying that a pope is wrong in the exercise of the Ordinary Magisterium is a very dangerous thing, Your Eminence Smiley  Criticizing his exercise of prudential judgment is one thing but questioning the Vicar of Christ in a matter like this....oh my... How long have you been Catholic?


Roll Eyes
Otherwise I am wasting my time here. You have a history of facile proof-texting (i.e. the thread on Unam Sanctam and the improper use of a quote from St. Catherine of Siena to suggest that we see the Pope as God).

Speaking of facile. I not only cited Unam Sanctam I presented ten other references to back up the argument.  You provided...um...none. Just, as usual, your opinion.

And I never used St Catherine's quote to suggest that Catholics believe the pope is God. Quite the contrary I highlighted "sweet Christ on Earth" as opposed to the "God on Earth" reference of a previous poster.  It was a defense of Catholicism; not a detraction.

Roll Eyes
 I suggest you get on with your studies of EO theology and spirituality and stop justifying your break with Rome by telling Catholics what you erroneously think we must believe.

I've never told you what you must believe. I've pointed out what POPES have told you that you must believe.  As I study Orthodoxy maybe you should take a crack at Catholicism say, pre-Mother Angelica.

Too much scrupulosity is a serious form of legalism (often resulting from pride, it can be sinful) and is strongly discouraged by the Catholic Church. Thinking you've committed a mortal sin by non-deliberately forgetting about Friday penance or the Eucharistic fast (especially without first speaking with your spiritual father) is an example of excess scrupulosity.

My gosh, I don't actually believe that stuff. If I did I wouldn't be on my way out the door.  The problem is that you're misrepresenting the beliefs of the RCC if not, the faith of modern Catholics.  I don't believe for a minute that one is guilty of sin by neglecting the fast (as opposed to the rejecting the authority that imposed it)

Unfortunately for you, the pope does...


I honestly have no idea why something this obvious won't sink in to you.
 

You read my mind.

All this aside, a sincere Merry Christmas to you.  I think we live in the same part of the world so we can probably agree, as brothers, that God has truly blessed the Red Sox and the Patriots Smiley
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« Reply #74 on: December 20, 2007, 04:04:48 PM »

You have no idea what you are talking about. [throw up hands]

I'm a Yankees fan.





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Merry Christmas as well.
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« Reply #75 on: December 20, 2007, 04:46:43 PM »

You have no idea what you are talking about. [throw up hands]


You're clueless [bangs head against the wall]

I'm a Yankees fan.

That would explain the "invincible ignorance"!!  Grin
-
Merry Christmas as well.

All the best in '08

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« Reply #76 on: December 20, 2007, 05:49:57 PM »

Navigator,

Are you trying to be offensive?
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« Reply #77 on: December 20, 2007, 05:54:45 PM »

Navigator,

Are you trying to be offensive?

Do you mean the last post? NOOO I was joking. (That's why I included the emoticons)

Stephen
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« Reply #78 on: December 20, 2007, 05:59:59 PM »

I've never told you what you must believe. I've pointed out what POPES have told you that you must believe.

Permit me to return the favor:
  • The Catholic Church does not require anyone to believe that there have been 21 ecumenical councils.
  • The Catholic Church does not require anyone to believe that there have been such-and-such number of ex cathedra statements. (I say "such-and-such number" because even the ultramontists don't agree among themselves about how many there have been!)
  • The Catholic Church does not require anyone to believe that everyone who isn't in full communion with the pope is going to hell.

All this aside, a sincere Merry Christmas to you.  I think we live in the same part of the world so we can probably agree, as brothers, that God has truly blessed the Red Sox and the Patriots Smiley

I'm pretty much always pleased to hear someone say they are a fan of the Red Sox and the Patriots, but in your case I have to make an exception.

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #79 on: December 20, 2007, 06:02:52 PM »

Navigator,

Are you trying to be offensive?

Do you mean the last post?

No.
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« Reply #80 on: December 20, 2007, 06:05:19 PM »

Do you mean the last post?

No.

I was following the lead of my opposite in this discussion.

If I was offensive, I apologize.
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« Reply #81 on: December 20, 2007, 06:15:22 PM »

I was following the lead of my opposite in this discussion.

If I was offensive, I apologize.

Did your attorney craft that for you?  Wink
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« Reply #82 on: December 20, 2007, 06:32:45 PM »

Did your attorney craft that for you?  Wink

Just can't escape that legalism, can you Smiley

I know we can't discuss this here but I'm dying to know how you became a fan of those "graceless heretics" in pinstripes... It's not natural.
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« Reply #83 on: December 20, 2007, 06:34:33 PM »

Just can't escape that legalism, can you Smiley

I know we can't discuss this here but I'm dying to know how you became a fan of those "graceless heretics" in pinstripes... It's not natural.


I was born and grew up in New York. I don't change religions and I don't change sports teams. Period.
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« Reply #84 on: December 20, 2007, 07:08:47 PM »

My question ("Are you trying to be offensive?") was not in reference to just one particular post; but I think the following is a good example:

Roll Eyes
And EVEN IF it is entirely as you characterize it, Popes are sometimes wrong. 

Saying that a pope is wrong in the exercise of the Ordinary Magisterium is a very dangerous thing, Your Eminence Smiley  Criticizing his exercise of prudential judgment is one thing but questioning the Vicar of Christ in a matter like this....oh my... How long have you been Catholic?
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« Reply #85 on: December 20, 2007, 07:39:02 PM »

My question ("Are you trying to be offensive?") was not in reference to just one particular post; but I think the following is a good example:

Saying that a pope is wrong in the exercise of the Ordinary Magisterium is a very dangerous thing, Your Eminence Smiley  Criticizing his exercise of prudential judgment is one thing but questioning the Vicar of Christ in a matter like this....oh my... How long have you been Catholic?

That was in response to this:



Roll Eyes

Pope Navigator I,

If you want me to respond any further, get me that phantom quote in context and not third-hand out of that hundred-year-old encyclopedia. And EVEN IF it is entirely as you characterize it, Popes are sometimes wrong.
[...]
I honestly have no idea why something this obvious won't sink in to you.

You'll note the honorific lubeltri was kind enough to bestow upon me. Not to mention the unfortunate reference to my ability to comprehend. I thought, under the circumstances, that I should return the compliment.

Unfortunately, it seems that we both checked our Christianity at the door and I regret that. That's why I said earlier that I was sorry if what I wrote was offensive. I meant it.

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« Reply #86 on: December 20, 2007, 07:54:38 PM »

Hello  Peter,

  • The Catholic Church does not require anyone to believe that there have been 21 ecumenical councils.
  • The Catholic Church does not require anyone to believe that there have been such-and-such number of ex cathedra statements. (I say "such-and-such number" because even the ultramontists don't agree among themselves about how many there have been!)
  • The Catholic Church does not require anyone to believe that everyone who isn't in full communion with the pope is going to hell.
I find this interesting.

Is this an area where people are permitted to believe these ideas on these subjects or not?

I was wondering if there may be a possible point in time when the church might state that "it was not official dogma" about such an such and repudiate some of these things, like the list of Councils, for instance.

Thanks,
Michael
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« Reply #87 on: December 20, 2007, 09:13:40 PM »

Hello  Peter,  I find this interesting.

Is this an area where people are permitted to believe these ideas on these subjects or not?

Oh, absolutely, Catholics are permitted to believe that there have been 21 ecumenical councils, and most Catholics do (in the Latin Church especially). But we are also permitted to believe that there have been only 7 or only 3.

I was wondering if there may be a possible point in time when the church might state that "it was not official dogma" about such an such and repudiate some of these things, like the list of Councils, for instance.

Thanks,
Michael

Here you have me quite confused. I just don't know what you're asking. Could the Orthodox Church come out and say "It was never an official dogma that all non-Orthodox are going to hell." or "It was never an official dogma that there have been exactly 7 (or 3) ecumenical councils."?

I guess I just don't understand why they would do that. To me it would be like coming out with the statement "Free-market capitalism was never an official dogma".

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #88 on: December 20, 2007, 10:00:17 PM »

Hello  Peter,  I find this interesting.

Is this an area where people are permitted to believe these ideas on these subjects or not?

I was wondering if there may be a possible point in time when the church might state that "it was not official dogma" about such an such and repudiate some of these things, like the list of Councils, for instance.

Thanks,
Michael
I think that there are some teachings which must be held, but it is not absolutely certain that they have been defined infallibly.  For example, the teaching on artificial birth control, although it is pretty close to being an infallible teaching.
It seems confusing, but there are different levels of teaching or different hierarchy of truths in Catholicism. Basically, as I know it to be, there are three or four levels of teaching in the RCC:
1. Level 1: Solemn definition.
2. Level 2: Day to day teaching of the Church around the world, which has the concurrence of the world's bishops.
3. Level 3: Teaching in the official papal encyclicals.
For another example, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the Mother of God. This is an official teaching of the RCC, but I am not sure that it is a level 1 teaching, since a Catholic theologian has said that the RCC could accept a convert to RCC without asking the person if he believed in the teaching of the Church on the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God.
http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/articles/4levels.htm

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« Reply #89 on: December 20, 2007, 10:05:23 PM »

Oh, absolutely, Catholics are permitted to believe that there have been 21 ecumenical councils, and most Catholics do (in the Latin Church especially). But we are also permitted to believe that there have been only 7 or only 3.

Peter,

Would it be possible if you could provide me a source for this assertion? I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

Peace and God Bless.
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« Reply #90 on: December 20, 2007, 11:21:24 PM »

Peter,

Would it be possible if you could provide me a source for this assertion? I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

Peace and God Bless.

Hi yeshua. No, I don't think the Catholic Church has ever come out with an official statement "Catholics aren't required to believe that there have been 21 ecumenical councils." It's rather that they haven't said "You are required to believe that there have been 21 ecumenical councils."

The Catholic Church isn't shy about saying explicitly what Catholics are required to believe. For example, Catholics are required to believe that Anglican orders are "null and void" and that the priesthood is restricted to men only, although neither of those have been dogmatically defined. (You might look at Ad Tuendam Fidem or the CDF's commentary on it.) 

And ... from the website of Melkite Catholic Church in the USA:

Quote
8 How many Ecumenical Councils were held?
          a. Seven Ecumenical Councils

9 Was the Vatican council an ecumenical council? Why?, why not?
          a. The Vatican council was not an ecumenical council – no participation from the Orthodox

I realize that's not definitive proof, but I think it strong evidence that someone can believe that there were only 7 ecumenical councils and still be a Catholic. (And, in much the same way, there's no requirement to believe that there have been such-and-such number of ex cathedra statements.)

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #91 on: December 20, 2007, 11:31:21 PM »

And ... from the website of Melkite Catholic Church in the USA:

I realize that's not definitive proof, but I think it strong evidence that someone can believe that there were only 7 ecumenical councils and still be a Catholic. (And, in much the same way, there's no requirement to believe that there have been such-and-such number of ex cathedra statements.)

God bless,
Peter.

I used to hear that since synods/councils tend to fall under one of seven classifications, due to schisms and lack of reception by foreign bishops, one can argue which councils are truly ecumenical, which are "General synods/councils of the East/West", and which are Patriarchal synods/councils.  So one could say all councils/synods from Lateran I to Vatican II are general synods of the west or patriarchal synods under Rome and not ecumenical.
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« Reply #92 on: December 20, 2007, 11:40:11 PM »


It seems confusing, but there are different levels of teaching or different hierarchy of truths in Catholicism. Basically, as I know it to be, there are three or four levels of teaching in the RCC:
1. Level 1: Solemn definition.
2. Level 2: Day to day teaching of the Church around the world, which has the concurrence of the world's bishops.
3. Level 3: Teaching in the official papal encyclicals.
Now I am confused.

I understand the concept of a hierarchy of Truths. But I don't see the difference on a practical level. Can a level #3 Truth be more easily refuted or denied  than a level #2? If they all "must be held" or are undeniable in some way, does that not make them all in reality #1's?

Michael
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« Reply #93 on: December 20, 2007, 11:52:14 PM »

Hello,

I looked at that quote be Pope Alexander. It appears that it was written to combat some lax ideas of morality by certain clerics and confessors (especially those of the European Monarchs and Aristocrats) who were trying to make Catholicism as "easy" as possible. The particular one quoted appears to be in reply to an effort to eliminate fasting altogether from the spiritual life of those who didn't want to. The confessor could then say - as long as there is no malice or disobedience then go ahead and not fast. This of course is a poor attitude and one rightly condemned. But this is not the attitude I have been describing in earlier posts.


Even if we were to say that to miss a fast is a mortal sin, not every act is mortally sinful. Let me explain. Let us go through the three conditions of a mortal sin:

The act in itself is sinful. For this exercise, I'll agree that the act of missing a fast for whatever reason is grave matter.

The person knows it is sinful. Well, let's assume that they do know it is gravely sinful (though this may not be the case in real life - especially in today's world Cry).

The person gives full consent of the will in light of that knowledge. If I haphazardly grab a ham sandwich and start eating and midway through realize it is a day of abstinence and stop eating - I haven't given full consent of my will. Indeed, I didn't even have the requisite knowledge of sin (condition #2 - didn't realize it was a fast day). If I am ill and eat on a fast day - it is not full consent of the will. The illness creates what could be termed a state of duress.


Did I miss anything?
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« Reply #94 on: December 21, 2007, 12:08:13 AM »

Now I am confused.

I understand the concept of a hierarchy of Truths. But I don't see the difference on a practical level. Can a level #3 Truth be more easily refuted or denied  than a level #2? If they all "must be held" or are undeniable in some way, does that not make them all in reality #1's?

Michael


I don't blame you, it can get mighty confusing.

The first level are the formal definition.  They are usually very formal and specifically outlines a certain aspect of the faith in its most basic and forward of terms.  Councils address these or the Pope himself.

The second level is the day to day teachings.  This is how the faith is taught around the world.  Since all the bishops are unitied with each other through their office and in communion with the Pope, they are seen as teaching the faith of Christ.  Where the Church is united, there is Truth.

The third level is the Pope's encyclicals.  Usually these are used to clarify a position, expand upon it, or comment on it based on society's current ways.  For example, Benedict XVI just came out with 'Spe Salvi' which discussed the relationship between hope and redemption, using many examples and references.

The forth level is submitting to the Magisterium of the Roman Church.  You view the clergy as speaking the Truth, so in turn, you submit to them.  If you ask a question about a problem, and you are told the best way to solve it, you should follow it.

Sorry if that just confused you more.  No one level is "better" than the other or anything.  They all teach what Roman Catholics view as the Faith and the Truth.  Usually as you descend a level (bad wording, but I couldn't think of a better example), it becomes more intimate.  It is all the Truth, yet it is more relatible, understandable, and "closer" to you.  If you ever read Church Canon, you know how confusing it can be, and how easily people can get the wrong idea from it.  But you learn from it by how it is taught by the Bishops, how it is more thoroughly explained and written with examples, and finally how it is perscribed in your daily lives by the clergy.

Hope that helped somewhat.  As always, I will be corrected if I am off.  I'm hardly infallible (har har har)  laugh Tongue.
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« Reply #95 on: December 21, 2007, 12:19:19 AM »

Hello,

And I don't mean to confuse you more - but in the third level (I agree that is a bad term, but I too can't think of a better one at the moment) of the encyclicals - it not just one. There are numerous levels of authority in the Pope's official writings (i.e., those not as a private theologian, like the Pope's book Jesus of Nazareth).

From this website:


Vatican documents include, in descending order of formal authority: apostolic constitutions, encyclical letters, encyclical epistles, apostolic exhortations, apostolic letters, letters and messages.

Apostolic Constitutions: Document of the highest authority, issued by the Pope, or by a Church Council with the Pope’s approval. Apostolic constitutions today have the authority of the ancient apostolic constitutions, a collection of laws from the late fourth century, which included 85 canons attributed to the Apostles dealing with ordinations, official responsibilities, and the moral behavior of bishops and priests. They eventually became the basis for canon law in the West.

When used to proclaim a Church dogma, called a Dogmatic Constitution. When used for pastoral teaching, called a Pastoral Constitution.

Encyclical Letters: A pastoral letter written by the Pope to the entire Church, generally concerning matters of doctrine, morals or discipline, or significant commemorations. Its formal title is the first few words of its official text, usually in Latin.

From the Latin encyclicus and the Greek enkyklios, circular.

Encyclicals are not divinely inspired and do not contain new revelation, but they are authoritative teaching instruments from the Vicar of Christ. In descending order of formal authority, the papal documents are: apostolic constitutions, encyclical letters, encyclical epistles, apostolic exhortations, apostolic letters, letters, and messages. An encyclical letter is written for the whole Church, while an encyclical epistle is directed toward part of the Church, e.g., bishops or laity in a particular country, leaders of religious orders, priests, etc.

The original Apostles, particularly St. Paul, used letters to keep in touch with far distant church communities. Twenty-one of these letters were included as part of the New Testament. After the Apostles passed into eternity, bishops often sent letters to one another, and sometimes to the faithful, to promote consistency in faith and discipline, especially about doctrines, feast-day celebrations, and liturgical calendars. The Bishop of Rome wrote epistles to bishops all over the world. He also received a great many letters from bishops all over the world and circulated them to other bishops.

The practice of circular letters fell into disuse during the Middle Ages, when the collegial bonds among bishops began to fray. The Holy See began to write letters to one bishop at a time concerning the affairs of his local diocese, and each diocesan bishop would in turn write only to the Holy See.

Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758), helped by widespread use of the printing press, revived the ancient tradition of the Pope writing a common letter to all the bishops of the world; modern collections of papal letters usually begin with his papacy. Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) called these letters encyclicals, from the Latin encyclicus, circular, because they were intended for wide circulation. However, for papal letters published between 1740 and 1870, there was no agreement among scholars as to which were encyclicals. After Vatican I (1870) encyclical letters were clearly marked as such.

Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) restored an important characteristic of the early Christian circular letters. Encyclicals since 1740 had been primarily admonitions and exhortations regarding traditional issues; Pope Leo XIII addressed new substantive issues, such as Catholic social teaching. He wrote some seventy-five encyclicals, including such classics as Humanum Genus (1884) on Freemasonry, Rerum Novarum (1891) on Catholic social teaching, and Providentissimus Deus (1893) on Holy Scripture, and Annum Sacrum (1899) on consecration to the Sacred Heart.

During the twentieth century, Pope Pius X (1903-1914) wrote sixteen encyclicals, Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922) wrote twelve, Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) wrote thirty, Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) wrote forty-one, Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) wrote eight, Pope Paul VI (1963-1978) wrote seven, and Pope John Paul II has so far written thirteen.

Since 1740 the Popes have produced nearly three hundred encyclicals, most of no continuing pastoral or theological interest. Pope Benedict XIV’s Quod Provinciale (1754) to the Bishops of Albania on the use of Islamic names by Christians, and Pope Leo XIII’s In Amplissimo (1902) thanking the American bishops for their good wishes on his anniversary, address no pressing needs for the Church Militant of our day. Indeed, among the encyclicals written before Pope John Paul II, perhaps ten percent are currently studied by faithful theologians.

Pope John Paul II’s encyclical letters have had a powerful impact on Church and also on non-Catholics via the public media, such as Laborem Exercens (1981) and Centesimus Annus (1991) on Catholic social teaching, Veritatis Splendor (1993) on the splendor of the truth, Evangelium Vitae (1995) on the value of human life, Ut Unum Sint (1995) on ecumenism, and Fides et Ratio (1998) on the unity of faith and reason.

Encyclical Epistles: A letter written by the Pope to part of the Church, e.g., bishops or laity in a particular country, leaders of religious orders, priests, etc.. From the Latin encyclicus and the Greek enkyklios, circular.

Because encyclical epistles are directed to a particular audience within the Church, they receive a great deal of attention from those who whom they are directed. Naturally, however, they receive little attention from those outside the audience to which they are directed.

A recent example would be Pope John Paul II’s encyclical epistle, Slavorum Apostoli on evangelization of the Slavic peoples by Saints Cyril and Methodius. It is addressed “to the bishops, priests, and religious families and to all the Christian faithful,” but certainly of more interest to the Slavic peoples than to the generality of Catholics.

Apostolic Exhortations: A letter written by the Pope to the Church encouraging its people to take some particular action.

Because apostolic exhortations do not define the development of doctrine, they are lower in formal authority than encyclical letters, which are directed to the whole Church and which may define development of doctrine.

A recent example would be Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation, Ecclesia in America, January 22, 1999, encouraging the faithful to seek the living Christ and find conversion, communion and solidarity within the context of the Great Jubilee and the new evangelization.

Apostolic Letters: Document issued by the Pope or by a Vatican dicastery, usually for lesser appointments, erecting or dividing mission territory, designating basilicas, approving religious congregations, and other uses at a comparable level of importance.

Letters: A letter written by the Pope, the head of a dicastery, or other Vatican office to a Vatican official, the head of a religious order or other dignitary. The contents are of interest primarily to those to whom they are addressed. Pope John Paul’s letters of the year 2001 or even St. Paul’s letter to Philemon are examples.

Vatican offices also use letters to address points of doctrine or discipline that are not significant enough to require the Holy Father’s personal attention, or points that have already been addressed by the Holy Father but require clarification. These letters are often useful to active Catholics. A letter from the Pontifical Biblical Commission to Cardinal Suhard of January 16, 1948, Time of Pentateuch and Literary Form of First Eleven Chapters of Genesis, would be an example.

Messages: A letter written by the Pope or the head of a dicastery.

The contents are generally of transitory rather than permanent interest. Pope John Paul II’s messages are an example.

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« Reply #96 on: December 21, 2007, 12:23:53 AM »

Hello,

I looked at that quote be Pope Alexander. It appears that it was written to combat some lax ideas of morality by certain clerics and confessors (especially those of the European Monarchs and Aristocrats) who were trying to make Catholicism as "easy" as possible. The particular one quoted appears to be in reply to an effort to eliminate fasting altogether from the spiritual life of those who didn't want to. The confessor could then say - as long as there is no malice or disobedience then go ahead and not fast. This of course is a poor attitude and one rightly condemned. But this is not the attitude I have been describing in earlier posts.


Even if we were to say that to miss a fast is a mortal sin, not every act is mortally sinful. Let me explain. Let us go through the three conditions of a mortal sin:

The act in itself is sinful. For this exercise, I'll agree that the act of missing a fast for whatever reason is grave matter.

The person knows it is sinful. Well, let's assume that they do know it is gravely sinful (though this may not be the case in real life - especially in today's world Cry).

The person gives full consent of the will in light of that knowledge. If I haphazardly grab a ham sandwich and start eating and midway through realize it is a day of abstinence and stop eating - I haven't given full consent of my will. Indeed, I didn't even have the requisite knowledge of sin (condition #2 - didn't realize it was a fast day). If I am ill and eat on a fast day - it is not full consent of the will. The illness creates what could be termed a state of duress.


Did I miss anything?

I believe the quote is to do with Pascal's Lettres provinciales and comments that outlined the extremely lax fasting and abstinence practices the Jesuits were performing pased on their own reasonings and not Church teaching (amongst other things that the time).  Alexander VII condemned the letters and also "cracked down".

Athanasios, I think you pretty much got it all.  Obviously, after the fact, it is good to discuss it with your Priest, something I would have done as a RC and I will do as Orthodox, but to believe you are damned over a lapse in temporary thinking, or to accept charity and avoid unnecissary pride, is ludicrous.
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« Reply #97 on: December 21, 2007, 12:26:57 AM »

Hello,

I believe the quote is to do with Pascal's Lettres provinciales and comments that outlined the extremely lax fasting and abstinence practices the Jesuits were performing pased on their own reasonings and not Church teaching (amongst other things that the time).  Alexander VII condemned the letters and also "cracked down".
Well, I didn't really want to name names.  Grin


Athanasios, I think you pretty much got it all.  Obviously, after the fact, it is good to discuss it with your Priest, something I would have done as a RC and I will do as Orthodox, but to believe you are damned over a lapse in temporary thinking, or to accept charity and avoid unnecissary pride, is ludicrous.

Yup, scrupulosity is a sin, too. Wink
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« Reply #98 on: December 21, 2007, 02:26:01 PM »

Hello,

It should also be noted (I think I did already, but just to be sure) - that the current discipline in the Catholic Church in the United States (USCCB) is that abstaining from meat is still the de facto penance for Fridays outside of Lent, but it can be substituted for another penance of the person's choosing. For example, today is Friday - I'll be eating minestrone (I'm starting to get a cold and I want to ward it off) which has little meatballs in it. So, instead of abstaining from meat I'll be saying some extra prayers - I'll either do a Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet. And this will still fulfill the penitential requirements as currently laid out in Canon Law and by my Bishop and Bishop's Conference.
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« Reply #99 on: December 21, 2007, 02:50:02 PM »

Hello,

It should also be noted (I think I did already, but just to be sure) - that the current discipline in the Catholic Church in the United States (USCCB) is that abstaining from meat is still the de facto penance for Fridays outside of Lent, but it can be substituted for another penance of the person's choosing. For example, today is Friday - I'll be eating minestrone (I'm starting to get a cold and I want to ward it off) which has little meatballs in it. So, instead of abstaining from meat I'll be saying some extra prayers - I'll either do a Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet. And this will still fulfill the penitential requirements as currently laid out in Canon Law and by my Bishop and Bishop's Conference.
Would it be a sin if a Catholic did not say the penitential prayers as a substitute for the Friday penance? Mortal or venial?
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« Reply #100 on: December 21, 2007, 03:05:22 PM »

Hello,

Would it be a sin if a Catholic did not say the penitential prayers as a substitute for the Friday penance? Mortal or venial?

If a Catholic did nothing penitential on Friday (which is still a day of penitence), then it would be sinful. Would it be mortal or venial - I don't know, it depends on the conditions (did they know, give full consent?). When you would confess this to your confessor, he would be able to make that judgment.
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« Reply #101 on: December 21, 2007, 03:10:39 PM »

It really depends on your Bishop and your own personal standards to the fast.  Some Bishops do not bind their members to even abstain, some allow substitutions (personally, I don't agree with this, but many Bishops allow[ed] this), others require abstaining.  When I was a practicing RC, I followed a much stricter fast than what was required post-1983 Code and by my Bishop, but it was approved by my Priest.  Sure, I wouldn't be breaking the general fast of the Church sometimes, but I would be sinning by breaking my own fast if I did so intentionally.  The fast was spiritually good for me, so even if breaking it might not have been a mortal sin, it was still damaging.

If you are actively disobeying the fast/abstinence or its perscribed substitute, yes, it would be a sin.  Would it be mortal or venial?  Really depends on your frame of mind when you are committing it.  You see if enough times on this site about Orthodox questions, but it is the same with RCs, ask your Priest.  No harm in being educated in it.
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« Reply #102 on: December 21, 2007, 03:17:03 PM »

Hello,

Some Bishops do not bind their members to even abstain, some allow substitutions (personally, I don't agree with this, but many Bishops allow[ed] this), others require abstaining.

I don't know how it is in the Italian Church, but in the United States, the USCCB has said that a substitution of penance is allowed - though the default is abstaining from meat. Current Canon Law does allow the Bishop's Conference to decide this.

The question of whether this is prudent on the part of the Bishops is a whole different ball of wax. Wink

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« Reply #103 on: December 21, 2007, 03:24:14 PM »

Hello,

I don't know how it is in the Italian Church, but in the United States, the USCCB has said that a substitution of penance is allowed - though the default is abstaining from meat. Current Canon Law does allow the Bishop's Conference to decide this.

The question of whether this is prudent on the part of the Bishops is a whole different ball of wax. Wink



It is a fairly common practice from what I have heard all over the Western Europe and North America.  I am not quite sure where/when it started though.
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« Reply #104 on: December 21, 2007, 03:26:33 PM »

Hello,

It is a fairly common practice from what I have heard all over the Western Europe and North America.  I am not quite sure where/when it started though.


I don't know, but I would venture a guess that it has something to do with the fact that meat is no longer the expensive and rare commodity in the Western culture that it once was.
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« Reply #105 on: December 21, 2007, 03:49:39 PM »

Hello,
 

I don't know, but I would venture a guess that it has something to do with the fact that meat is no longer the expensive and rare commodity in the Western culture that it once was.

That is true, and I think it is all the more reason to give it up on Fridays.

Sigh...I slipped today. I had a bagel this morning. One half has onion and chive cream cheese, and I put bacon and scallion cream cheese on the other half. I forgot there was bacon in it. What do I do? Another penance.

Probably better anyway. I feel quite weak and ill today. I'm going to leave work early.
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« Reply #106 on: December 21, 2007, 06:31:42 PM »

I understand the concept of a hierarchy of Truths. But I don't see the difference on a practical level.

I tend to agree. If the Catholic Church says that Catholics must believe X, then practically speaking it makes little difference whether X is a dogma or not.
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« Reply #107 on: December 21, 2007, 06:34:07 PM »

I was thinking a little more about Melkite Catholics saying 7 ecumenical councils vs. Latin Catholics saying 21 ecumenical councils, and I think it will make a lot more sense if you compare to the situation in Orthodoxy.

That is to say, some Orthodox (the "Oriental" Orthodox) say 3 ecumenical councils whereas others (the "Eastern" Orthodox) say 7. But if there are only 3, does that mean that those who say 7 are not "real" Orthodox? Or if there are 7, does that mean that those who say 3 are not "real" Orthodox?

The answer to both questions is no. In the same way, we can't say that the Melkites are not "real" Catholics for saying "7 ecumenical councils" just like we can't that the Latins are not "real" Catholics for saying "21 ecumenical councils".

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