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Author Topic: Consequences of leaving the RCC for Orthodoxy and visa versa  (Read 8307 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 07, 2007, 10:32:44 AM »

Thread split from "catholic answers forum bars orthodox dicussion"
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13287.900.html

-- Friul


Hi all. I don't want to jump into the middle of the discussion (although I'm Catholic, I'm probably one of the least knowledgeable people here on the subject of CAF); but I feel it necessary to mention that I found this statement highly offensive:

... people's conversion away from the Catholic Church and to the EO churches. From a Catholic perspective, these people were committing mortal sin
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2007, 11:01:11 AM »

Hi all. I don't want to jump into the middle of the discussion (although I'm Catholic, I'm probably one of the least knowledgeable people here on the subject of CAF); but I feel it necessary to mention that I found this statement highly offensive:

Papist: "... people's conversion away from the Catholic Church and to the EO churches. From a Catholic perspective, these people were committing mortal sin
*
There can be mitigating circumstances but in the ordinary run of events it *is* a mortal sin from the Catholic perspective.

Conversely any Orthodox who abandons Orthodoxy for another religion or Church is in significant spiritual danger.   But again, there will be a number of factors to take into account which will diminish the personal responsibility and incline God to mercy.

"Among all God's actions there is none that is not entirely a matter of mercy, love and compassion: this constitutes the beginning and end of His dealings with us. ...God's mercifulness is far more extensive than we can conceive."
~St Isaac the Syrian
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2007, 11:36:27 AM »

Dear Irish Hermit,

With regard to what you said about the Orthodox perspective, I'm willing to take your word for it. ("Conversely any Orthodox who abandons Orthodoxy for another religion or Church is in significant spiritual danger.   But again, there will be a number of factors to take into account which will diminish the personal responsibility and incline God to mercy.")

But with regard to:

There can be mitigating circumstances but in the ordinary run of events it *is* a mortal sin from the Catholic perspective.

I must say that, even with the qualifiers you used, that is still an awfully bold statement to make without offering some kind of quote from a Catholic document to back it up.

-Peter.
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2007, 12:08:45 PM »

Dear Irish Hermit,

With regard to what you said about the Orthodox perspective, I'm willing to take your word for it. ("Conversely any Orthodox who abandons Orthodoxy for another religion or Church is in significant spiritual danger.   But again, there will be a number of factors to take into account which will diminish the personal responsibility and incline God to mercy.")

But with regard to:

I must say that, even with the qualifiers you used, that is still an awfully bold statement to make without offering some kind of quote from a Catholic document to back it up.

-Peter.

Peter, schism incurs a latae sententiae excommunication according to canon 1364. It's pretty clear.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P52.HTM

For a definition of schism: ". . .schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a1.htm#2089

Of course, like Father wrote, there are mitigating factors that would come into play, as they do for any mortal sin. It must be committed with full knowledge and deliberate and complete consent.
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2007, 12:11:18 PM »

Dear Irish Hermit,

With regard to what you said about the Orthodox perspective, I'm willing to take your word for it. ("Conversely any Orthodox who abandons Orthodoxy for another religion or Church is in significant spiritual danger.   But again, there will be a number of factors to take into account which will diminish the personal responsibility and incline God to mercy.")

But with regard to:

I must say that, even with the qualifiers you used, that is still an awfully bold statement to make without offering some kind of quote from a Catholic document to back it up.

-Peter.

Not to take the thread too far off topic---but I think they would be formal schism (from the RC viewpoint) Formal schism is a sin against faith and "mortal". The CCC or any other catechism will tell you the same. Even a moral theology manual or Canon law.

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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2007, 01:03:52 PM »

Peter, schism incurs a latae sententiae excommunication according to canon 1364. It's pretty clear.

Well I agree with you, lubeltri, that a Catholic who joins the Orthodox Church is thereby excommunicated from the Catholic Church. But I don't see anything in canon 1364 about it being a grave matter.

Of course, like Father wrote, there are mitigating factors that would come into play, as they do for any mortal sin. It must be committed with full knowledge and deliberate and complete consent.

I'm glad, but not really surprised, to see that you know the distinction between grave matter and mortal sin.

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2007, 04:03:54 PM »

Not to take the thread too far off topic---but I think they would be formal schism (from the RC viewpoint) Formal schism is a sin against faith and "mortal". The CCC or any other catechism will tell you the same. Even a moral theology manual or Canon law.

Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, but there's nothing in the CCC that categorizes schism as grave matter.
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2007, 05:17:01 PM »

Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, but there's nothing in the CCC that categorizes schism as grave matter.

I was taught early on in parochial School that if one knows that in his heart that his belief is not of the true faith then he is obligated to forsake his former faith and join that faith which he truly feels is the one holy catholic and apostolic church.  The way I see it, there would have been consequences had I not made the move to Orthodoxy and remained in a faith I had little faith in. I think the good nuns of St. Joseph were most likely referring to Protestants and other non-Catholics coming to the Catholic faith. 



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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2007, 07:59:15 PM »

I was taught early on in parochial School that if one knows that in his heart that his belief is not of the true faith then he is obligated to forsake his former faith and join that faith which he truly feels is the one holy catholic and apostolic church.  The way I see it, there would have been consequences had I not made the move to Orthodoxy and remained in a faith I had little faith in. I think the good nuns of St. Joseph were most likely referring to Protestants and other non-Catholics coming to the Catholic faith. 

I believe there's a short discussion in the CCC, something about following one's "conscience" (an "informed" conscience, to be sure, but conscience nonetheless). Grin
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2007, 08:00:04 PM »

Got Conscience?
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2007, 08:35:08 PM »

Maybe I'm not looking hard enough, but there's nothing in the CCC that categorizes schism as grave matter.

Is it not obvious that an excommunicable offense is of grave matter? Masturbation and deliberately missing Sunday Mass are of grave matter---why would forsaking the Church of Christ not be?

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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2007, 08:58:27 PM »

The answers given for both sides are correct.

In traditional Western Catholic moral theology there are three criteria for mortal sin, grave matter, sufficient reflection and full consent of the will; that is, it's very bad and you have to know what you're doing and freely do it.
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2007, 08:59:54 PM »

Is it not obvious that an excommunicable offense is of grave matter? Masturbation and deliberately missing Sunday Mass are of grave matter---why would forsaking the Church of Christ not be?

I don't know, I thought it would be in there. My previous statement was one of confusion.
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2007, 09:21:23 PM »

Dear Irish Hermit and Lubeltri,

It occurs to me that the point I'm arguing might not be that important, seeing as all three of us agree that a Catholic converting to Orthodoxy is not necessarily committing a mortal sin (from the Catholic p.o.v.).

Is it not obvious that an excommunicable offense is of grave matter?

Not 100% obvious.
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2007, 09:26:38 PM »

Dear Irish Hermit and Lubeltri,

It occurs to me that the point I'm arguing might not be that important, seeing as all three of us agree that a Catholic converting to Orthodoxy is not necessarily committing a mortal sin (from the Catholic p.o.v.).

Agreed. But I would say that it is of grave matter. Culpability is another matter.
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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2007, 09:58:15 PM »

Conversely any Orthodox who abandons Orthodoxy for another religion or Church is in significant spiritual danger.

Just to clarify, would I be right in thinking that this wouldn't apply if it were a move between two Orthodox Churches not in full communion with each other?

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2007, 10:21:32 PM »

Well here are a few relevant quotes from Pope Boniface VIII's (in)famous bull UNAM SANCTAM (11/18/1302) [Emphasis mine throughout]

Quote
Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles [Sgs 6:8] proclaims: 'One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her,' and she represents one sole mystical body whose Head is Christ and the head of Christ is God [1 Cor 11:3].

and...

Quote
Therefore, of the one and only Church there is one body and one head, not two heads like a monster; that is, Christ and the Vicar of Christ, Peter and the successor of Peter, since the Lord speaking to Peter Himself said: 'Feed my sheep' [Jn 21:17], meaning, my sheep in general, not these, nor those in particular, whence we understand that He entrusted all to him [Peter].

and here's the money line...

Quote
Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

I don't have my  Ott and/or Denzigers handy but I'd bet my collection of Red Sox ticket stubs that the above meets the requirements for an infallible pronouncement.

Actually, if I'm not mistaken, some opponents of the definition of Papal Infallibility at Vatican I used this bull as an argument against defining the dogma. Let's face it, any Catholic born after say 1400 wants to lock Boniface's opus magnus away in the Vatican secret archives and forget that it was written...
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2007, 10:52:43 PM »

Navigator,

It is up to the Church to interpret that papal statement, not to you or me.

It is also up to the Church to interpret these statements, for example:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." John 3:5

". . .for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2007, 11:23:27 PM »

I don't have my  Ott and/or Denzigers handy but I'd bet my collection of Red Sox ticket stubs that the above meets the requirements for an infallible pronouncement.

Actually, if I'm not mistaken, some opponents of the definition of Papal Infallibility at Vatican I used this bull as an argument against defining the dogma. Let's face it, any Catholic born after say 1400 wants to lock Boniface's opus magnus away in the Vatican secret archives and forget that it was written...

Welcome Navigator,

I think that Unam Sanctam is highly relevant to any discussion of papal infallibility, but for a reason that may not be obvious: namely, because both dogmas are if-then statements that are, I believe, framed in a way that leads to frequent misunderstanding.

Papal infallibility is basically "If the pope makes an ex cathedra statement, then it is infallible."

Unam Sanctum ("Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.") basically says "If someone is not subject to the pope, then he/she is going to hell."

In both cases, people tend to focus on the "then" part (the "infallible" or "going to hell" portion of the statement) to the point of neglecting the "if" part (the "ex cathedra" or "not subject to the pope" portion of the statement).

I suggest that you can understand Unam Sanctum better this way: if someone is going to heaven, then he/she is subject to the pope. (Please note that there's no logical difference between that statement and "If someone is not subject to the pope, he/she is going to hell.") Which is basically just another way of saying that the pope's jurisdiction is universal.

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2007, 11:46:54 PM »

Navigator,

It is up to the Church to interpret that papal statement, not to you or me.

It is also up to the Church to interpret these statements, for example:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." John 3:5

". . .for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23


lubeltri, the original poster asked for sources. I provided a source.

Here are a few more:

Solemn Decree of an Ecumenical Council (Roman Catholic)

Quote
Eugene IV - Council of Florence – 1441
“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes, and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ unless before death they are joined to Her…” Denz. #714 [<--- de fide]

XIXth Century:

Quote
Pope Leo XII (A.D. 1823 - 1829): "We profess that there is no salvation outside the Church. ...For the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. With reference to those words Augustine says: `If any man be outside the Church he will be excluded from the number of sons, and will not have God for Father since he has not the Church for mother.'" (Encyclical, Ubi Primum)

Quote
Pope Gregory XVI (A.D. 1831 - 1846): "It is not possible to worship God truly except in Her; all who are outside Her will not be saved." (Encyclical, Summo Jugiter)

Quote
Pope Pius IX (A.D. 1846 - 1878): "It must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood." (Denzinger 1647)

Quote
Pope Leo XIII (A.D. 1878 - 1903): "This is our last lesson to you; receive it, engrave it in your minds, all of you: by God's commandment salvation is to be found nowhere but in the Church." (Encyclical, Annum Ingressi Sumus)

"He scatters and gathers not who gathers not with the Church and with Jesus Christ, and all who fight not jointly with Him and with the Church are in very truth contending against God." (Encyclical, Sapientiae Christianae)

XXth Century

Quote
Pope Saint Pius X (A.D. 1903 - 1914): "It is our duty to recall to everyone great and small, as the Holy Pontiff Gregory did in ages past, the absolute necessity which is ours, to have recourse to this Church to effect our eternal salvation." (Encyclical, Jucunda Sane)

Quote
Pope Benedict XV (A.D. 1914 - 1922): "Such is the nature of the Catholic faith that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole, or as a whole rejected: This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved." (Encyclical, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum)

Quote
Pope Pius XI (A.D. 1922 - 1939): "The Catholic Church alone is keeping the true worship. This is the font of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God; if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation....Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ, no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors." (Encyclical, Mortalium Animos)

You can submit them for interpretation but even a modicum of intellectual honesty will force the majority of people with their critical faculties intact to accept the plain, direct, authoritative statements. (e.g. "they [those not subject to the Roman Pontiff] will go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ unless before death they are joined to Her")

If you have something that shows that Eugene and the Council of Florence didn't mean what they said then I'd like to see it.
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« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2007, 11:48:36 PM »

Could someone please summarise?

Are there no spiritual consequencwes for a Catholic to convert to Orthodoxy?

Do the Catholic authorities look upon it as someone who has to follow the genuine promptings of their heart and so it is not cupable?  Would this mean that God approves such an action?

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« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2007, 11:54:05 PM »

In light of the papal teaching posted by Navigator and which is clearly consistent through the centuries  I can see that it indeed a matter of mortal sin and a fiery end for anyone leaving the Catholic Church.
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« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2007, 12:38:29 AM »

You can submit them for interpretation but even a modicum of intellectual honesty will force the majority of people with their critical faculties intact to accept the plain, direct, authoritative statements. (e.g. "they [those not subject to the Roman Pontiff] will go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ unless before death they are joined to Her")

Dear Navigator,

I never denied, nor did lubeltri, that "those not subject to the Roman Pontiff will go into the eternal fire". I think you should read my last post a little more carefully.

As for the quotations in your last post, I'm not opposed to discussing them, but first I'd like to ask whether you have anything more to say about Unam Sanctum?

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2007, 12:43:43 AM »

In light of the papal teaching posted by Navigator and which is clearly consistent through the centuries  I can see that it indeed a matter of mortal sin and a fiery end for anyone leaving the Catholic Church.

Unless there are mitigating factors, Father Ambrose.

We are not branch theorists, and neither is your church.
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« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2007, 12:09:16 PM »

Well I'm not sure whether we're done with Unam Sanctum yet or not, so let me deal with it and that Florence statement together.

Both statements are of the form "If someone <blank>, then he/she goes to hell." The statement don't give a list of names of people going to hell; they don't even say that there is at least one person in hell. (Again, you can compare this to Vatican I's statement about papal infallibility: it tells us that "A papal statement is infallible if <blank>"; it does not tell how many such statements there have been, or even whether there have been any.)

For example, what does Unam Sanctum tell me about Mark of Ephesus? Well, since I believe that Mark of Ephesus was subject to the pope, Unam Sanctum tells me nothing about his salvation.
Note: Someone will no doubt object that Mark of Ephesus did not consider himself to be subject to the pope. But Unam Sactum does not say "it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature say 'I am subject to the Roman Pontiff'.")

In the statement from the Florence, the "if" part is stated in two different ways: "outside the Catholic Church" and "unless before death they are joined to Her". It seems to me, Navigator, that what you want to do here is replace "outside the Catholic Church" with "not in full communion with the Catholic Church" -- and, in fact, I suspect that some of the popes you quoted would have seen eye-to-eye with you (keep in mind that popes can make mistakes, just like anyone else). But reads Lumen Gentium #14 (emphasis added):

Quote
This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

In case you aren't aware, the Catholic Church recognizes Orthodox baptism and even Protestant baptism (or rather, most Protestant baptisms) as valid.

I could go on to speak about "baptism of desire" and the possibility of salvation for even a person who is (through no fault of his/her own) not Christian. But I think it's best to just leave it there.

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2007, 01:50:09 PM »

As for the quotations in your last post, I'm not opposed to discussing them, but first I'd like to ask whether you have anything more to say about Unam Sanctum?

PJ, I'm sorry, your reply posted as I was writing the long list of citations so I didn't see it until this morning. (And thank you for the welcome! It's great to be here)

I don't disagree with your comments but the "flip side" of the flip side (inverting the if-then) is still the absolute necessity (dogmatically decreed by popes AND councils) of communion with Rome for the salvation of every man and woman.

You and I were raised in the same tradition, neither of us (I would assume) has ever met a Catholic priest who would say such a thing.  (That type of rhetoric was basically toned down by Pius XII and after the Council it was entirely thrown down the memory hole)

But the infallible statements of yesteryear are still on the books and one has to jump through intellectual hoops to reconcile them with the new ecclesiology.

For instance:

Unless there are mitigating factors, Father Ambrose.

We are not branch theorists, and neither is your church.

If infallibility were subject to "mitigating factors" then the statement, de facto, would not be infallible.  Infallible teaching must, of necessity, be clear and definitive.
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« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2007, 02:41:01 PM »

If infallibility were subject to "mitigating factors" then the statement, de facto, would not be infallible.  Infallible teaching must, of necessity, be clear and definitive.

OK, that's what you think. Do you have an infallible statement that states that infallible statements cannot have mitigating factors? And do you have an infallible definition of "mitigating factors"? Shocked
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« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2007, 03:15:59 PM »

Navigator,

Do you think mitigating factors apply to this infallible statement in John 3:5? "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."

-

Every Christian IS subject to the Roman Pontiff, though he may not know it. For they are subject to the Church, whose "Head is Christ Himself, Whose viceregent in the Church is the Sovereign Pontiff" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Secunda Secundae Partis, Q.39). Vatican II developed this by saying that all those baptized are in a certain communion, though imperfect, with the one Catholic Church.

The lack of full communion with the Catholic Church is a defect that only our merciful God can sort out. The Church does not say who is condemned to hell---it has only been able to definitely state who has gone to heaven (canonized saints).

Mitigating factors apply to those who commit schism and break communion with Rome. The general rule is no salvation outside the Church. That God in his mercy and love sorts out culpability and is not bound by the rule Himself does not make the rule false.

Your brother in Christ,

James
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« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2007, 03:39:34 PM »

Every Christian IS subject to the Roman Pontiff, though he may not know it.

So what was the point of the bull making that statement?
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« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2007, 03:45:27 PM »

So what was the point of the bull making that statement?

The bull must be read in context. It was issued in the midst of Boniface VIII's struggles with King Philip IV and his enroachments on the Church in France. There's plenty of info online about this.
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« Reply #30 on: December 08, 2007, 03:55:24 PM »

OK, that's what you think. Do you have an infallible statement that states that infallible statements cannot have mitigating factors? And do you have an infallible definition of "mitigating factors"? Shocked

It's the difference between dogma (e.g. the Assumption of the BVM) and theological speculation (e.g. limbo).   Dogmatic (infallible) decrees (whether conciliar or papal) are, by their very essence, "definitions" (We declare, define, etc"). The theological speculation ends.

When Pius XII ruled dogmatically on the Assumption in 1950 didn't didn't say "Mary was bodily assumed into heaven unless, of course, the following mitigating factors came into play." Dogma cannot be "mitigated"


Every Christian IS subject to the Roman Pontiff, though he may not know it. For they are subject to the Church, whose "Head is Christ Himself, Whose viceregent in the Church is the Sovereign Pontiff" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Secunda Secundae Partis, Q.39). Vatican II developed this by saying that all those baptized are in a certain communion, though imperfect, with the one Catholic Church.

The lack of full communion with the Catholic Church is a defect that only our merciful God can sort out. The Church does not say who is condemned to hell---it has only been able to definitely state who has gone to heaven (canonized saints).

Mitigating factors apply to those who commit schism and break communion with Rome. The general rule is no salvation outside the Church. That God in his mercy and love sorts out culpability and is not bound by the rule Himself does not make the rule false.

James, while I certainly don't agree I'll ask you to take your argument a step further. If I were to stipulate that all Christians were subject to the Roman Pontiff, what would you say about Muslims and Jews and Zoroastrians, etc.? Are they somehow mystically subject to the Roman Pontiff or was the Council of Florence correct in decreeing:

none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ unless before death they are joined to Her

Are Hindus subject to the Roman Pontiff or are they just going straight to 'the eternal fire which was prepared for them'?

BTW Please don't take any of this personally. I have great respect for your position and your argument. I just like a good debate Smiley

Stephen

 
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« Reply #31 on: December 08, 2007, 05:54:42 PM »

 
PJ, I'm sorry, your reply posted as I was writing the long list of citations so I didn't see it until this morning. (And thank you for the welcome! It's great to be here)

No problem, and good to have you here!

But the infallible statements of yesteryear are still on the books and one has to jump through intellectual hoops to reconcile them with the new ecclesiology.

Stephen, I don't think you are jumping through intellectual hoops so much as flat-out changing what's on the books. You say:

I don't disagree with your comments but the "flip side" of the flip side (inverting the if-then) is still the absolute necessity (dogmatically decreed by popes AND councils) of communion with Rome for the salvation of every man and woman.

and yet neither the quote from Unam Sanctum or the one from the Council of Florence say "communion with Rome".

God bless,
Peter.

P.S. I take it that you consider Unam Sanctum to be an ex cathedra statement, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you told me that you have a pretty definite opinion in general about which papal statements have been ex cathedra. You're perfectly entitled to that, of course, and I don't really want to get into a big discussion about it. But I'd just like to point out that Vatican I only said that a papal statement is infallible if it is ex cathedra, it doesn't tell us how many ex cathedra statements (if any) there have been. My point is, you shouldn't be surprised if some of your fellow Catholics don't agree with your list of ex cathedra statements.
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« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2007, 07:53:45 PM »

P.S. I take it that you consider Unam Sanctum to be an ex cathedra statement, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you told me that you have a pretty definite opinion in general about which papal statements have been ex cathedra. You're perfectly entitled to that, of course, and I don't really want to get into a big discussion about it. But I'd just like to point out that Vatican I only said that a papal statement is infallible if it is ex cathedra, it doesn't tell us how many ex cathedra statements (if any) there have been. My point is, you shouldn't be surprised if some of your fellow Catholics don't agree with your list of ex cathedra statements.
Why don't Catholics know what are ex cathedra statements from the Pope and what are not?   What is the purpose and benefit of claiming an infallible person at the head of your Church if people disagree about when he has spoken infallibly?  Doesn't that just create confusion?   

We are seeing this confusion in action right now over this issue of the necessity of being subject to the Pope and being a member of the "Apostolic Roman Church" for salvation.

In the end WHO decides what papal statements are infallible?   Obviously not the Popes since they have not issued any list of such statements to remove the confusion among theologians and the faithful..
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« Reply #33 on: December 08, 2007, 10:21:32 PM »

Why don't Catholics know what are ex cathedra statements from the Pope and what are not?

Why would we need to all agree on a list of ex cathedra statements?

As you pointed out on another thread, we Catholics don't even all agree on how many ecumenical councils there have been:

You can find an outright denial of the ecumenicity of all the Roman Catholic Councils on the official website of the Melkites in the States!
http://www.melkite.org/Challenge2005B.htm#GRADES%207-12



What is the purpose and benefit of claiming an infallible person at the head of your Church ...

You mean Jesus? Wink

In the end WHO decides what papal statements are infallible?   Obviously not the Popes since they have not issued any list of such statements to remove the confusion among theologians and the faithful..

I believe that the pope could issue such a list and say that all Catholics have to agree with it. But that doesn't mean that he should do so. On the contrary, I think it would have been better if Vatican I hadn't even defined Papal Infallibility -- and (as I posted on that other thread) even Cardinal Newman would agree with me.

God bless,
Peter.

P.S. Let me put it to you this way: suppose you were the pope and a Catholic said to you "I believe that what Pope Boniface said in Unam Sanctum is true (when properly understood), but I don't believe that he was 'exercising of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians', so I don't regard Unam Sanctum as an ex cathedra statement."

Would you, as pope, then respond "Sorry you can't be Catholic anymore"
?
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« Reply #34 on: December 08, 2007, 10:30:19 PM »

Why would we need to all agree on a list of ex cathedra statements?
*
I suppose that because you have the enormous advantage of having at the centre of your Church a bishop who is infallible we would expect people to know when he has spoken infallibly.  That seems one of the major benefits of having such a supernaturally protected person at the helm.

Instead the infallibility thing seems to be a point which causes contention.  For example, it is imposible to get theologians to agree whether Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae is infallible, and in fact Paul VI said himself that it could be changed later!
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« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2007, 10:37:33 PM »

....and in fact Paul VI said himself that it could be changed later!


I don't think Paul VI was speaking infallibly when he said that. Shocked
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« Reply #36 on: December 08, 2007, 10:40:43 PM »


No problem, and good to have you here!

Stephen, I don't think you are jumping through intellectual hoops so much as flat-out changing what's on the books. You say:

and yet neither the quote from Unam Sanctum or the one from the Council of Florence say "communion with Rome".

God bless,
Peter.

P.S. I take it that you consider Unam Sanctum to be an ex cathedra statement, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you told me that you have a pretty definite opinion in general about which papal statements have been ex cathedra. You're perfectly entitled to that, of course, and I don't really want to get into a big discussion about it. But I'd just like to point out that Vatican I only said that a papal statement is infallible if it is ex cathedra, it doesn't tell us how many ex cathedra statements (if any) there have been. My point is, you shouldn't be surprised if some of your fellow Catholics don't agree with your list of ex cathedra statements.

Peter,

I wasn't the one jumping through intellectual hoops Wink I was referring to those who have to reconcile the new ecclesiology with what's gone before.

Yes, I shouldn't have used the term "communion" I should have said "subject to the Roman Pontiff". My mistake and I sit corrected.

And of course VI didn't list every (claimed) infallible pronouncement but I think you'd be hard pressed to dispute the "infallibility" of a conciliar (Florence) decree solemnly promulgated with the assent of the pope on a matter of faith or morals. Textbook.

Stephen
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« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2007, 03:26:00 AM »

Why would we need to all agree on a list of ex cathedra statements?

This was one of the big issue that drove me out of the Catholic Church.  Nobody seems to know for sure whether documents like Ordinatio Sacerdotalis are infallible or not.  From the priests I asked I got four different answers: 1. Yes it is an ex cathedra statement 2. It wasn't ex cathedra but is a doctrine 3. It wasn't ex cathedra and is only a discipline 4. I don't care what the magistrum teaches, women should be priests.

While this sort of confusion comes up on certain important topics in the Orthodox world, Vatican I and Papal infallibility is the doctrine that really defines one as Catholic rather than Anglo-Catholic or Orthodox.  So if that is so central and yet so ambiguous it leaves one to wonder. 
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« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2007, 09:32:41 AM »

I don't think Paul VI was speaking infallibly when he said that. Shocked
*
Unaccustomed as I am to engaging a Bapto-Buddhist on the topic of contraception....  laugh


The context is an address by Pope Paul VI to the College of Cardinals on June 23, 1964.


Changing the teaching of Humanae Vitae

The below was written by Apotheoun, I think. Archives back to mid-April lost in the Great CAF Crash.

"I’m aware of the safeguarding of contraception on the basis of an intrinsic relation to the concept of “natural law”, but please explain this: Prior to the release of his encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI indirectly admitted in his address to the College of Cardinals on June 23, 1964 that the teaching on birth control may be changed - the Pope asserted the validity of the traditional RC teaching on birth control “at least as long as we do not feel obliged in conscience to alter it” (Osservatore Romano, June 24, 1964).

"The RCC places the sinfulness of contraception on a par with adultery, fornication, murder etc. as a mortal sin falling under natural law which cannot be altered. Is the Pope’s frank admission above indicative of a teaching which is unalterable by Rome’s criteria? What would your reaction be were a Pope to state that the teaching on adultery remains the same “as long as we do not feel obliged in conscience to alter it”??
 
 
I believe that we are seeing, on the Roman Catholic side, the beginnings of a re-formulation of this matter. Proabably by discerning more deeply the principle of double effect, contraception will find greater acceptance among the papal theologians, and the overly rigorous teaching of Humanae Vitae will be deepened and clarified.

To be frank, I am of the opinion that this will take place, not because of any imperative of the ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox but because a failure to do so will see a deepening crisis of authority within the Roman Catholic Church itself. I do not think that the clergy and the laity will find themselves able to go on living with the strain of the present double speak and pretense which requires them to say one thing while actually doing another.

So, I am optimistic on this matter.
The original Italian of Paul VI's address...

È allo studio, diciamo, che speriamo presto concludere con la collaborazione di molti ed insigni studiosi. Ne daremo pertanto presto le conclusioni nella forma che sarà ritenuta più adeguata all’oggetto trattato e allo scopo da conseguire. Ma diciamo intanto francamente che non abbiamo finora motivo sufficiente per ritenere superate e perciò non obbliganti le norme date da Papa Pio XII a tale riguardo; esse devono perciò ritenersi valide, almeno finché non Ci sentiamo in coscienza obbligati a modificarle. In tema di tanta gravità sembra bene che i Cattolici vogliano seguire un’unica legge, quale la Chiesa autorevolmente propone; e sembra pertanto opportuno raccomandare che nessuno per ora si arroghi di pronunciarsi in termini difformi dalla norma, vigente.
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« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2007, 11:49:38 AM »

Yes, I shouldn't have used the term "communion" I should have said "subject to the Roman Pontiff".

I rest my case.
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« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2007, 11:53:44 AM »

This was one of the big issue that drove me out of the Catholic Church.  Nobody seems to know for sure whether documents like Ordinatio Sacerdotalis are infallible or not. 

Νεκτάριος, I guess to would put to you the same question I asked Father Ambrose:

P.S. Let me put it to you this way: suppose you were the pope and a Catholic said to you "I believe that what Pope Boniface said in Unam Sanctum is true (when properly understood), but I don't believe that he was 'exercising his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians' [cf. Vatican I], so I don't regard Unam Sanctum as an ex cathedra statement."

Would you, as pope, then respond "Sorry you can't be Catholic anymore"
?

... Vatican I and Papal infallibility is the doctrine that really defines one as Catholic rather than Anglo-Catholic or Orthodox. 

Well that's a scary thought!

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #41 on: December 09, 2007, 12:11:19 PM »

I rest my case.

Awwww, come on Peter, you're declaring victory?
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« Reply #42 on: December 09, 2007, 12:15:40 PM »

For example, it is imposible to get theologians to agree whether Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae is infallible, and in fact Paul VI said himself that it could be changed later!

Well, the 1960s-1970s were the time to change it, and it didn't happen. (As a Catholic I know why, because the consistent teaching of the Church for almost two millennia on that moral issue is true.)

The teaching is infallible because it agrees with the constant teaching of the Church. So in that sense, the Pope says a lot of infallible things---confirming what has already been established.

Basically, the doctrine of papal infallibility says that the Holy Spirit will prevent the Pope from ever injecting heresy into official Catholic dogma and forcing the faithful to believe it. In other words, the gates of Hell shall not prevail.

As for Paul VI's remarks, what could you expect from Montini, whom Blessed John XXIII called "our Hamlet"? Those remarks were made in 1964. Yet, in revolutionary 1968, in the middle of the "Summer of Love," the Holy Spirit spoke through Paul VI, whatever his own weaknesses and doubts, in Humanae Vitae.
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« Reply #43 on: December 09, 2007, 12:42:37 PM »

This was one of the big issue that drove me out of the Catholic Church.  Nobody seems to know for sure whether documents like Ordinatio Sacerdotalis are infallible or not.

But just think if you had lived during the first, the second, the third, or even the fourth century. I mean, the list of books in the New Testament weren't agreed upon until the 390's.

While this sort of confusion comes up on certain important topics in the Orthodox world, Vatican I and Papal infallibility is the doctrine that really defines one as Catholic rather than Anglo-Catholic or Orthodox.  So if that is so central and yet so ambiguous it leaves one to wonder. 

Sounds like you're basically saying that you once thought that the grass was greener on the Catholic side of the fence (i.e. "the pope is infallible and so we're never in any doubt about anything") but then it turned out that post-Vatican-I Catholicism is a lot like pre-Vatican-I Catholicism. Eh?

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #44 on: December 09, 2007, 02:54:04 PM »

Νεκτάριος, I guess to would put to you the same question I asked Father Ambrose:

It is an impossible question to answer since I don't view the Papacy in a manner that you do.  You might as well ask and atheist whether he would be a trinity or not if he were God. 

Quote
Well that's a scary thought!

Scary though it may be, it is basically true - especially regarding relations with Anglo-Catholics. 

But just think if you had lived during the first, the second, the third, or even the fourth century. I mean, the list of books in the New Testament weren't agreed upon until the 390's.

There was no codified New Testament precisely because there was no modern office of the Papacy.  Even by the time of Sts. Leo and Gregory there is nothing even approaching the modern understanding of the Papacy.  So all that means to me is that if, the Church did not have such an institution then why create it today (and retain it) when it has been so divisive (and ultimately failed to clarify doctrine)?   

Quote
Sounds like you're basically saying that you once thought that the grass was greener on the Catholic side of the fence (i.e. "the pope is infallible and so we're never in any doubt about anything") but then it turned out that post-Vatican-I Catholicism is a lot like pre-Vatican-I Catholicism. Eh?

Not a chance.  I'm questioning whether the development of the modern office has even served its intended pastoral role. 
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« Reply #45 on: December 09, 2007, 06:32:31 PM »

Well, things develop. Seeds become mature trees.

The current EO ecclesiastical structure developed in the early modern period.
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« Reply #46 on: December 09, 2007, 07:14:20 PM »

Well, things develop. Seeds become mature trees.

The current EO ecclesiastical structure developed in the early modern period.

They yet to fully develop as the Macedonian, Estonian and diaspora situations demonstrate.  Regardless, I can be a perfectly faithful communicant of an Orthodox parish and disagree with the exact development of the modern autocephalous synods.  And other than Ukraine and Macedonian there haven't been long term suspensions of communion over these matters.  Whereas, if I were reject Vatican I, I could not in fact be a faithful Roman Catholic.   
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« Reply #47 on: December 09, 2007, 08:21:24 PM »

Νεκτάριος, I guess to would put to you the same question I asked Father Ambrose:
Quote
P.S. Let me put it to you this way: suppose you were the pope and a Catholic said to you "I believe that what Pope Boniface said in Unam Sanctum is true (when properly understood), but I don't believe that he was 'exercising of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians', so I don't regard Unam Sanctum as an ex cathedra statement."

Would you, as pope, then respond "Sorry you can't be Catholic anymore"?
*
My answer would be, Yes.  If words mean anything then the answer would have to be Yes.  But the modern answer is obviously not Yes.  Roman Catholics have become adroit at reinterpreting the parts of older teachings which do not chime with post Vatican II teachings.

For example, every one of the papal statements quoted by Navigator has been stood on its head and, basically, reduced to meaninglessness.
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« Reply #48 on: December 09, 2007, 08:34:45 PM »

Well, the 1960s-1970s were the time to change it, and it didn't happen. (As a Catholic I know why, because the consistent teaching of the Church for almost two millennia on that moral issue is true.)
*
Actually the opposite is true.  Pope Paul VI went against the teaching of the Church for the previous two millennia.  From the amount of evidence we have from the teachings of the early Church and the Church Fathers we know that they considered as sinful any sexual act in marriage where the couple do not have the intention of conceiving a child.

It was because the patristic witness contradicted him that this, one of the major Encylicals. has not a single patristic quote.  Instead Paul VI's mode of presentation is forced to bypass Tradition and the Church Fathers and rely on human reason and the argument from Natural Law.   Bringing in the Tradition and the Church Fathers would have shown that he was at odds with Tradtion and opened a whole can of worms for him.

Papa Gregorio did a masterful job on CAF of presenting the patristic evidence.  He covered it in 4-5 posts.  This would take this thread too far off track.  I could, if you are interested, open a new thread and reproduce his posts.
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« Reply #49 on: December 09, 2007, 08:37:59 PM »

*
My answer would be, Yes.  If words mean anything then the answer would have to be Yes.  But the modern answer is obviously not Yes>  Roman Catholics have become adroit at reinterpreting the parts of older teachings which do not chime with post Vatican II teachings.

Exactly, which is why I referred (several times) to the difficulty of reconciling the new ecclesiology with all that has gone before.

For example, every one of the papal statements quoted by Navigator have been stood on its head and, basically, reduced to meaninglessness.

Because to avoid the unpleasantness of the prior decrees they fall back on "prove to me that it's infallible" which, ultimately comes down to setting up a straw man.  I maintain that (according to Roman Catholic lights) Florence was a dogmatic, infallible statement but for the sake of argument I'll stipulate that it was not.

In which case, the teaching still has to be adhered to because of the operation of the Ordinary Magisterium - which even the post Vatican II catechism defines as:

2034 The Roman Pontiff and the bishops are "authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people entrusted to them, the faith to be believed and put into practice." The ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him teach the faithful the truth to believe, the charity to practice, the beatitude to hope for.

So even if every single citation I listed was fallible, no Roman Catholic could deny that decrees of an ecumenical council (in union with the pope) lack the weight of the ORDINARY Magisterium (at the very least...)
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« Reply #50 on: December 09, 2007, 08:47:00 PM »

Basically, the doctrine of papal infallibility says that the Holy Spirit will prevent the Pope from ever injecting heresy into official Catholic dogma and forcing the faithful to believe it. In other words, the gates of Hell shall not prevail.
*
Lubeltri,

There are a couple of mistakes there.

1.  Papal infallibility is not a doctrine.  It is a dogma.

2.  Although modern Catholics like to present it a little apologetically (as you have here) as some sort of negative protection this is contrary to the Definition which presents it as something positive.

Here is the Definition which is in itself infallible:

"We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.
"So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema."

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« Reply #51 on: December 09, 2007, 10:17:47 PM »

It's the difference between dogma (e.g. the Assumption of the BVM) and theological speculation (e.g. limbo).   Dogmatic (infallible) decrees (whether conciliar or papal) are, by their very essence, "definitions" (We declare, define, etc"). The theological speculation ends.

When Pius XII ruled dogmatically on the Assumption in 1950 didn't didn't say "Mary was bodily assumed into heaven unless, of course, the following mitigating factors came into play." Dogma cannot be "mitigated"

none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ unless before death they are joined to Her

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I guess I can forget about packing my winter clothes then.   Grin Cheesy Grin Cheesy Grin
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« Reply #52 on: December 09, 2007, 10:52:47 PM »

Father Ambrose,

I read your posts, and I'll try and write a response soon.

Νεκτάριος,

It is an impossible question to answer since I don't view the Papacy in a manner that you do. 

Fair enough. Maybe that's more of a question to ask my fellow Catholics.

Let me ask you this instead (you too, Father Ambrose). Suppose that a Catholic approaches you about converting to Orthodoxy. Suppose further that he/she still believes that the pope speaks infallibly whenever he makes an ex cathedra statement ("that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church" cf. Vatican I), but he/she does not believe that there have ever been any ex cathedra statements (outside of 1 Peter and 2 Peter). Would you say that such a person could become Orthodox anyways?

Or better yet, suppose someone wanting to convert to Orthodoxy believes that the statement Vatican I made about infallibility is true of every bishop, not just the pope. That is, that any bishop speaks infallibly if/when in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church. Would that be an obstacle to conversion to Orthodoxy (keeping in mind Act 15:28)?

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #53 on: December 09, 2007, 11:35:55 PM »

Because to avoid the unpleasantness of the prior decrees they fall back on "prove to me that it's infallible" which, ultimately comes down to setting up a straw man. 

Navigator,

I think I owe you an apology, because I brought up Papal Infallibility in a way which seems to have confused you.

I certainly never meant to suggest that the question of whether or not Unam Sanctum is an ex cathedra statement has any bearing on the original question. (In fact, I think I've made it pretty clear that I agree with Unam Sanctum.)

Rather, I brought up Papal Infallibility because there are interesting similarities:

I think that Unam Sanctam is highly relevant to any discussion of papal infallibility, but for a reason that may not be obvious: namely, because both dogmas are if-then statements that are, I believe, framed in a way that leads to frequent misunderstanding. ... In both cases, people tend to focus on the "then" part (the "infallible" or "going to hell" portion of the statement) to the point of neglecting the "if" part (the "ex cathedra" or "not subject to the pope" portion of the statement).

I hope that clears that up. God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #54 on: December 09, 2007, 11:47:27 PM »

Let me ask you this instead (you too, Father Ambrose). Suppose that Catholic approaches you about converting to Orthodoxy. Suppose further that he/she still believes that the pope speaks infallibly whenever he makes an ex cathedra statement ("that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church" cf. Vatican I), but he/she does not believe that there have ever been any ex cathedra statements (outside of 1 Peter and 2 Peter). Would you say that such a person could become Orthodox anyways?
*
No.  If a person believes in principle that the power of making infallible statements has been given by God to a person who resides on the Hill of Sorcerors (Mons Vaticanus) then obviously that person cannot be Orthodox since the Church denies such a notion.

A person converting to Orthodoxy is asked to make a set of formal renunciations and one of them is a renunciation of belief in the infallibility of the Pope.
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« Reply #55 on: December 09, 2007, 11:54:55 PM »

Or better yet, suppose someone wanting to convert to Orthodoxy believes that the statement Vatican I made about infallibility is true of every bishop, not just the pope. That is, that any bishop speaks infallibly if/when in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church. Would that be an obstacle to conversion to Orthodoxy (keeping in mind Act 15:28)?
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Peter,

The scenario is unworkable.  The Church does not expect that any single bishop would ever define doctrine for the whole Church.
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« Reply #56 on: December 09, 2007, 11:55:15 PM »

Suppose that a Catholic approaches you about converting to Orthodoxy.
Suppose further that he/she still believes that the pope speaks infallibly whenever he makes an ex cathedra statement
but he/she does not believe that there have ever been any ex cathedra statements
Would you say that such a person could become Orthodox anyways?

No problem - All such a person needs do is repent from holding any individual or office as infallible...

Quote
Suppose someone wanting to convert to Orthodoxy believes that the statement Vatican I made about infallibility is true of every bishop, not just the pope....Would that be an obstacle to conversion to Orthodoxy (keeping in mind Act 15:28)?

No obstacle at all - They simply need to repent of this error, and there is no obstacle...

And the easy way to illuminate the error as innovative wishful thinking is to simply ask the person to show ANY doctrine of infallibility in the undivided Church of the first thousand years of the Christian Faith...  Christ is infallible, and man is fallible - Every man except Christ, Who is also God, is fallible...

Look - The early Church Fathers were SO concerned about human fallibility that even the Ecumenical Council rulings were not regarded as infallible, but had to be re-affirmed at each new Council...  And this when there was unanimous consent...  And this because even unanimous consent is HUMAN unanimous consent...  Of a LOT of Bishops and Saints...

So you will simply be unable to find a doctrine of the Councils of the Church of the first thousand years that endorses ANY human infallibility AT ALL...

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« Reply #57 on: December 10, 2007, 12:26:27 AM »

Let me ask you this instead (you too, Father Ambrose). Suppose that a Catholic approaches you about converting to Orthodoxy. Suppose further that he/she still believes that the pope speaks infallibly whenever he makes an ex cathedra statement ("that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church" cf. Vatican I), but he/she does not believe that there have ever been any ex cathedra statements (outside of 1 Peter and 2 Peter). Would you say that such a person could become Orthodox anyways?

Or better yet, suppose someone wanting to convert to Orthodoxy believes that the statement Vatican I made about infallibility is true of every bishop, not just the pope. That is, that any bishop speaks infallibly if/when in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church. Would that be an obstacle to conversion to Orthodoxy (keeping in mind Act 15:28)?

Such a question makes no sense to an Orthodox person.  That is simply not we see the Church operating. 

I think a major reason there is such a disconnect is that matters of church organization and government are largely not matters of faith in Orthodoxy.  As I mentioned earlier to lubeltri, the Orthodox Church has still not entirely resolved how to administer itself at the breakup of the old empires, the Ottoman and the Russian / Soviet.  Whereas the the Papal claims ipso facto make such administrative concerns de fide.  It is not so neat of a matter that Orthodoxy and Catholicism can simply use the same equation with different variables, rather they use two entirely different systems of mathematics. 
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« Reply #58 on: December 10, 2007, 12:55:08 AM »

Navigator,

I think I owe you an apology, because I brought up Papal Infallibility in a way which seems to have confused you.

I certainly never meant to suggest that the question of whether or not Unam Sanctum is an ex cathedra statement has any bearing on the original question. (In fact, I think I've made it pretty clear that I agree with Unam Sanctum.)

Peter, thanks for your concern, it's very much appreciated.

Unfortunately, I think you may be confused by the turn in the thread.  The responses to the numerous citations I posted tended to question the "infallibility" of the papal and conciliar decrees.

It was with that in mind that I addressed the issue.

But thanks again!

Stephen
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« Reply #59 on: December 10, 2007, 03:19:47 PM »

A person converting to Orthodoxy is asked to make a set of formal renunciations and one of them is a renunciation of belief in the infallibility of the Pope.

I don't find that surprising or shocking. (Actually, if you had said that converts were allowed to believe whatever they wanted concerning infallibility, I would have been tempted to reply with "What are you, Anglicans or something? Wink") I just wasn't sure how far that renunciation extended, or what form it took (which you've largely cleared up by saying, "The Church does not expect that any single bishop would ever define doctrine for the whole Church.")

On the other hand, if converts to Orthodoxy were required to say that no person can ever exercise infallibility, I would find that rather shocking. Why? Because I believe that St. Paul exercised infallibility when he wrote Romans, Galatians, etc., as did St. Peter when he wrote 1 Peter and 2 Peter, as did St. James etc. (I note that GIC posted recently that most Orthodox believe that the bible isn't infallible; but there's a world of difference between "most Orthodox believe" and "all Orthodox are required to believe".)

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #60 on: December 10, 2007, 04:39:15 PM »

but there's a world of difference between "most Orthodox believe" and "all Orthodox are required to believe".)
I have to admit that that does not compute for me.

I cannot think of any doctrines which "most Orthodox believe" and others don't believe.

Admittedly we can use that sort of language about the tollhouse notion which most Orthodox do not believe, but I am not aware of any Orthodox doctrines which are optional.  Orthodoxy is very much maximalist in its faith.

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« Reply #61 on: December 10, 2007, 05:08:38 PM »

I have to admit that that does not compute for me.

I cannot think of any doctrines which "most Orthodox believe" and others don't believe.

A sinless Mary seems to be one of those, judging from recent discussions.
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« Reply #62 on: December 10, 2007, 05:14:37 PM »

A sinless Mary seems to be one of those, judging from recent discussions.

Eh, not exactly - not everyone believes it because of our language concerning Christ's sinlessness, but Father was alluding to the implication that many Orthodox don't believe in something they must - we seemingly have a lower number of dogmas than others, but our people generally believe them.
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« Reply #63 on: December 10, 2007, 05:36:48 PM »

Cleveland and Father Ambrose,

So ... do you agree with GiC's assertion that "most Orthodox believe that the bible isn't infallible", or not?
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« Reply #64 on: December 10, 2007, 05:45:52 PM »

A sinless Mary seems to be one of those, judging from recent discussions.
*
Dear Lubeltri,

A really small minority (one or two) of the early Fathers (who are also your own Doctors of the Church) wrote that the Mother of God committed personal sin.  The only example I can actually think of is Saint John Chrysostom saying that she sinned at Canna by presuming her Son would work the miracle she requested.

However this is not the consensus of the Church Fathers and it has not been transmitted to us in the Church Tradition.  It is merely an interesting footnote in patristic history.  Very few Orthodox would even be aware of it - apart from us clever clogs who write in Internet Forums.  Grin

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« Reply #65 on: December 10, 2007, 05:52:26 PM »

Cleveland and Father Ambrose,

So ... do you agree with GiC's assertion that "most Orthodox believe that the bible isn't infallible", or not?
*
As I always pointed out on CAF the word "infallible" is unknown in Greek patristics and in Eastern theology.  The closest the Russians come is "nepogreshimost" which since it derives from grekh - sin helps explain the confusion between the Pope's infallibility and his sinlessness. Smiley

So, I suppose the first thing is to define what you mean by "infallibility."  Otherwise we would probably offer an answer which is not true to ourselves and which gives the wrong impression to you.
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« Reply #66 on: December 10, 2007, 06:15:14 PM »

Cleveland and Father Ambrose,

So ... do you agree with GiC's assertion that "most Orthodox believe that the bible isn't infallible", or not?

Well, we'd have to start with a fairly complete definition of "infallible" - exactly how you mean it, with no room for guesswork.  Once we've got that, then it will be possible to investigate our patristic writings for a similar concept.  I'm going to echo Father on this one: I've never seen the word "infallible" used by Orthodox writing about Orthodoxy except when trying to address Catholicism.  It seems to be completely absent from Patristic writing of the pre-modern era.
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« Reply #67 on: December 10, 2007, 06:51:21 PM »

Well, we'd have to start with a fairly complete definition of "infallible" - exactly how you mean it, with no room for guesswork.

I think even that is missing the point.  When was the last time you heard a cradle or long-time convert use the word "infallible" to describe anything in the Orthodox world?  I get the sense that many Catholic apologists have never tried to see the world from an Orthodox worldview, have never read our great writers, theologians, ascetics, haven't learned our languages etc.  So while it may be technically correct to say that the Orthodox Church views council X and scriptures Y as infallible, I simply never hear that on a day to day basis. 
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« Reply #68 on: December 10, 2007, 07:33:20 PM »

I think even that is missing the point.  When was the last time you heard a cradle or long-time convert use the word "infallible" to describe anything in the Orthodox world?  I get the sense that many Catholic apologists have never tried to see the world from an Orthodox worldview, have never read our great writers, theologians, ascetics, haven't learned our languages etc.  So while it may be technically correct to say that the Orthodox Church views council X and scriptures Y as infallible, I simply never hear that on a day to day basis. 

True.  Of course, if there is some obscure word in Greek or Slavonic that means essentially the same thing, then it would be nice to find out what word that is, that way we can see if it's ever used theologically or not.

This is an academic exercise to its fullest - I see no place for it outside the realm of the theoretical (a point on which we seem to agree on here).
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« Reply #69 on: December 10, 2007, 08:56:54 PM »

*
As I always pointed out on CAF the word "infallible" is unknown in Greek patristics and in Eastern theology. 

Good point. (I guess I never realized what I was missing by not being a CAF participant. Smiley)

Perhaps one of these days we should have a thread about the idea of the bible being infallible, and about the origins of the concept of infallibility.

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #70 on: December 11, 2007, 12:01:15 AM »

Good point. (I guess I never realized what I was missing by not being a CAF participant. Smiley)

Perhaps one of these days we should have a thread about the idea of the bible being infallible, and about the origins of the concept of infallibility.
Do you mean infallible in the same way the Pope is said to be - when the authors of the sacred books wrote on matters of faith and morals the Bible is infallible? 

It's clearly not infallible when it comes to biology - bats is the frequently given example.  The Bible wrongly call them birds.  And there are other examples when the Bible is in error about some things.
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« Reply #71 on: December 11, 2007, 01:13:32 AM »

Father Bless ; Bring up were some of the popes claimed they were God on earth ,,,,like in place of Christ ..it's so creepy to read ,,i need a refresher course if you bring up the documents that is .. stashko.....<a href="http://plugin.smileycentral.com/http%253A%252F%252Fwww.smileycentral.com%252F%253Fpartner%253DZSzeb008%255FZS%2526i%253D10%252F10%255F1%255F133%2526feat%253Dprof/page.html" target="_blank">SmileyCentral.com" border="0<img border="0" src="http://plugin.smileycentral.com/http%253A%252F%252Fimgfarm%252Ecom%252Fimages%252Fnocache%252Ftr%252Ffw%252Fsmiley%252Fsocial%252Egif%253Fi%253D10%252F10_1_133/image.gif">[/url]
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« Reply #72 on: December 11, 2007, 10:34:07 AM »

Do you mean infallible in the same way the Pope is said to be - when the authors of the sacred books wrote on matters of faith and morals the Bible is infallible? 

The pope is fallible, not infallible. But to answer your question, yes I would certainly say the infallibility of the bible is limited to matters of faith and morals.
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« Reply #73 on: December 11, 2007, 11:38:05 AM »

The pope is fallible, not infallible....

Here we go again.... Roll Eyes
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« Reply #74 on: December 11, 2007, 12:58:46 PM »

The pope is fallible, not infallible.
Here we go again.... Roll Eyes

Yes.  I mentioned in a previous post "keep in mind that popes can make mistakes, just like anyone else", but apparently it needed repeating.
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