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Author Topic: western vs eastern theology  (Read 12618 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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