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« on: December 27, 2007, 04:39:50 PM »

This is somewhat related to purgatory, but not enough so that I want to derail the discussion by posting the question.

I understand that you have a belief in purgatory. That a person sort of "works off" (bad analogy, but I can't think of a better phrase) their sin so that they can go onto heaven.

My question is this; if we are cleansed of sin thru Christ, why would we need anything beyond that? Why would we need to even go to purgatory?

My good Catholic friend has always explained purgatory as a kind of waiting area that nearly everyone goes to. Whether you are a Christian or not you can go to purgatory and "work off" your sin and go to heaven. So to her mind, we can't judge anyone because they may just make it to heaven by "working off" their sin in purgatory.

I can't wrap my head around this concept.

And then the concept of "grave" "mortal" and "venial" sins seems quite odd to me.

I really would love to hear about the above more.
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2007, 05:09:57 PM »

Hello,

I do want to address all your questions and concerns, but I'll just start with this one here.

My question is this; if we are cleansed of sin thru Christ, why would we need anything beyond that? Why would we need to even go to purgatory?

This is so similar to the Protestant question - If we are forgiven our sins by the Cross, why do we need to go to Confession?

Of course, it's not just a simple legal arrangement where Christ dies for us and all is peaches and cream - no matter what we do. No, we must use the means which God gave us to obtain forgiveness of our sins - Confession.

Similarly, while we are washed of the guilt of our sins by the Blood of the Cross, we still aren't purified by it in an immediate manner. If we were, as soon as you were Baptized or when Christ died on the Cross, or when you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour (or however you look at it) - we'd be Saints. We'd be walking around with perfect virtue and we'd stave off all temptation, etc. But, we're not pure yet - we're a grouping of seriously spiritually messed up people. We must work hard to obtain and grow in virtue and to purify ourselves - and that isn't easy. God certainly gives us the grace, but we must do our part. Note: this is why we are still here on earth - I haven't really addressed Purgatory yet.


Does that make sense? I tell you, I keep feeling like I'm forgetting things - all the time now. Sad
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2007, 05:36:38 PM »

I completely understand the concept of confession.

A protestant would just ask why you need to do it to your priest Wink And while I am not completely orthodox yet, I am not protestant either. I actually look forward to confession is a weird way.
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2007, 06:28:33 PM »

Hello,

I completely understand the concept of confession.

A protestant would just ask why you need to do it to your priest Wink And while I am not completely orthodox yet, I am not protestant either. I actually look forward to confession is a weird way.

Like I said, I saw the two questions similar (though not identical). And it would depend on the Protestant - they have more diverse opinions than Americans do on politics. Tongue
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2007, 08:16:04 PM »

My question is this; if we are cleansed of sin thru Christ, why would we need anything beyond that? Why would we need to even go to purgatory?

This is so similar to the Protestant question - If we are forgiven our sins by the Cross, why do we need to go to Confession?

I wonder what's the longest we've gone without someone making a guilt-by-association argument. Roll Eyes

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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2007, 08:25:21 PM »

This is so similar to the Protestant question - If we are forgiven our sins by the Cross, why do we need to go to Confession?


I wonder what's the longest we've gone without someone making a guilt-by-association argument. Roll Eyes

-Peter.

 Cheesy

It's a guilt by belief argument. If someone holds to the position that is described (why go to Confession ...) then they are guilty of an erroneous belief (and I have yet to talk with a Protestant that doesn't hold to that belief).

And again, I merely saw a similarity between the two questions.  Wink
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2007, 08:54:01 PM »

Hello,

And then the concept of "grave" "mortal" and "venial" sins seems quite odd to me.

This would be great to discuss in the thread I started about the Nature of Sin which has garnered little attention.


There are two degrees of sins - mortal and venial. The difference is in how much you turn against God, partially or completely. Grave refers to the magnitude of the offense - for instance, murder is grave matter; lying about your wife's meatloaf (O honey, it was great!!) is not grave matter.

For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must be met:

1) The sin in itself must involve grave matter
2) The sinner must know that it is sinful and gravely sinful
3) The sinner must give full consent of their will in light of that knowledge


What is the effect of mortal sin - it cuts off the life of grace within you. Basically, you tell God to take a hike and get out of your soul! You create a hostile environment within your soul and show God the door.

The only ordinary means for the forgiveness of mortal sin after Baptism is through the Sacrament of Confession.

If you die with any unrepented mortal sins, you go to hell. Why, because you have chosen something else over God. You have chosen to not be with God and so you choose to go where God is not - hell.

Venial sins, while they still damage the soul, don't completely kill the life of grace within you. But, one of the damages venial sins cause is that it makes it easier for you to willingly commit a mortal sin.

These sins can be forgiven outside of Confession (i.e., Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick - and I think maybe Confirmation, but I'm not sure on that one).

Having venial sins on your soul will not send you to hell.


Does this make sense?
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2007, 09:23:03 PM »

Back to purgatory, so then, does everyone go to Purgatory?

Unless you know you are dying and go to confession right before, wouldn't everyone die with venial sins? And how often would that actually occur? What "window" in which would you have to confess? I know that I will likely fight all manner of sin up until the moment of death.
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2007, 09:30:28 PM »

My Catholic friend sees the concept of purgatory and confession as a way to sort of get around things here on earth. So you can look at porn, and it is just fine since you can confess it and since it isn't a mortal sin, it isn't going to do anything other than put you in purgatory.
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2007, 10:25:50 PM »

Back to purgatory, so then, does everyone go to Purgatory?

Unless you know you are dying and go to confession right before, wouldn't everyone die with venial sins? And how often would that actually occur? What "window" in which would you have to confess? I know that I will likely fight all manner of sin up until the moment of death.

Those with perfectly purified souls are believed to enter heaven directly (Theotokos, Saints, etc), while people with "imperfectly purified" souls are said to "undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven."  CCC 1030

Oh, and to address your friend.  All I can say is Lord have mercy.  From a RC standpoint, he/she is looking for loopholes, which can never be good for one's soul.  As well, about the porn reference...  Lust is seen as a grave sin, and if one understands that it is a sin (knows they must go to confession for it, etc.) and they perform it deliberately, it is likely views as a mortal sin within the RCC.
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2007, 11:29:35 PM »

I would have to look up the precise quote, but C. S. Lewis wrote of this somewhat and the idea of being greeted after death with something along the line of being told to come into Glory even though ones clothing is stained and worn and oneself is dirty and the idea of "Please, may I be washed."  The "anteroom" of Heaven is not for paying for sins or to 'get around' things, but to be, as it were, cleaned up after a long trip.

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« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2007, 11:48:43 PM »

I understand that you have a belief in purgatory. That a person sort of "works off" (bad analogy, but I can't think of a better phrase) their sin so that they can go onto heaven.

On the east2west website, Anthony Dragani has a pretty good
description of Latin and Eastern Catholics views of purgatory, and how different they are.

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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2007, 11:25:56 AM »

I would have to look up the precise quote, but C. S. Lewis wrote of this somewhat and the idea of being greeted after death with something along the line of being told to come into Glory even though ones clothing is stained and worn and oneself is dirty and the idea of "Please, may I be washed."  The "anteroom" of Heaven is not for paying for sins or to 'get around' things, but to be, as it were, cleaned up after a long trip.

I believe this is the quote you want:

Quote
The right view returns magnificently in Newman's DREAM. There, if I remember it rightly, the saved soul, at the very foot of the throne, begs to be taken away and cleansed. It cannot bear for a moment longer 'With its darkness to affront that light'. Religion has claimed Purgatory.

Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you know' - 'Even so, sir.'

C.S. Lewis, Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, pp. 108-109
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2007, 02:16:21 PM »

On the east2west website, Anthony Dragani has a pretty good
description of Latin and Eastern Catholics views of purgatory, and how different they are.

He refers to a "final theosis." Is this correct? I was under the impression that theosis never ends.
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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2007, 02:31:08 PM »

Hello,

My Catholic friend sees the concept of purgatory and confession as a way to sort of get around things here on earth. So you can look at porn, and it is just fine since you can confess it and since it isn't a mortal sin, it isn't going to do anything other than put you in purgatory.

It should be noted that presumption is a terrible sin against hope! (CCC 2091,2092)
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« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2007, 02:35:46 PM »

Hello,

Back to purgatory, so then, does everyone go to Purgatory?

Unless you know you are dying and go to confession right before, wouldn't everyone die with venial sins? And how often would that actually occur? What "window" in which would you have to confess? I know that I will likely fight all manner of sin up until the moment of death.

No, there are some who have achieved a state of perfection where they are no longer sinning and have purged all stain of sin from their soul. I have no statistics, but I would imagine that the number of people in this category to be exceedingly small!


What "window" in which would you have to confess?
Huh I'm not certain what you are asking here.
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« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2007, 02:39:28 PM »

Hello,

On the east2west website, Anthony Dragani has a pretty good
description of Latin and Eastern Catholics views of purgatory, and how different they are.

-Peter.

"In the Catholic understanding, only two points are necessary dogma concerning "purgatory": 1) There is a place of transition/transformation for those en-route to Heaven, and 2) prayer is efficacious for the dead who are in this state."

Sounds about right, though I would modify it to place/state. All the rest of the teachings on Purgatory is theologoumenon (i.e., an actual fire, linear flow of time, etc.).
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2007, 03:10:44 PM »


 Huh I'm not certain what you are asking here.


Lets say a person belives themselves to be dying, so they set up a confession, either by going to confession or having their confessor come to them. But they don't die until a month later. It is a sudden death a month after their confession. Or shorten it to a week, to a day... Does that time inbetween to potentially sin make the confession useless to avoid purgatory?

Or what about those that die suddenly in a car accident? Or some other trajedy?

I understand the need for confession. But I don't understand how God would send 99.999% of people to purgatory because they haven't been very recently to confession.
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2007, 03:11:22 PM »

And if you need to confess so often, then why don't all Catholics go to confession daily?
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2007, 03:20:56 PM »

Hello,

Lets say a person belives themselves to be dying, so they set up a confession, either by going to confession or having their confessor come to them. But they don't die until a month later. It is a sudden death a month after their confession. Or shorten it to a week, to a day... Does that time inbetween to potentially sin make the confession useless to avoid purgatory?

Or what about those that die suddenly in a car accident? Or some other trajedy?

I understand the need for confession. But I don't understand how God would send 99.999% of people to purgatory because they haven't been very recently to confession.

Confession doesn't remove the temporal punishment due to sin - it removes the eternal guilt associated with sin. A person could die one second after receiving absolution and still go to Purgatory. Why, because the absolution doesn't remove all the temporal punishment due to sin.
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« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2007, 03:22:36 PM »

Hello,

And if you need to confess so often, then why don't all Catholics go to confession daily?

Some have. But that is not common. Normally, what is meant by frequent Confession is once a week.

Also note, Confession is not absolutely mandatory unless you commit a mortal sin.
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« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2007, 03:24:40 PM »

Why wouldn't confession and forgiveness of sins be enough? Isn't the work of Christ on the cross enough? If we have to work it off by our own effort, doesn't that mean that Christ wasn't fully God?

So you only confess a mortal sin, but any sins could make you go to purgatory? That doens't compute for me.

Why would anyone want to go to purgatory? Why not live in the confession area? Grin Is purgatory a more inviting place than I am imagining?
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« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2007, 03:25:24 PM »

Lets say a person belives themselves to be dying, so they set up a confession, either by going to confession or having their confessor come to them. But they don't die until a month later. It is a sudden death a month after their confession. Or shorten it to a week, to a day... Does that time inbetween to potentially sin make the confession useless to avoid purgatory?

Or what about those that die suddenly in a car accident? Or some other trajedy?

I understand the need for confession. But I don't understand how God would send 99.999% of people to purgatory because they haven't been very recently to confession.

One thing you have to take into account is the RC mindset.  RCs see purgatory as a display of God's mercy.  Sending 99.999% of people to purgatory would not be seen as a negative to a RC.  It means they have died, within the grace and favour of God, and in turn are heading to paradise, but require perfect purifiction first.  If God did not show this mercy (purgatory to RCs), that 99.999% would go to Hell since their souls were not perfect.  Purgatory is accepted as a natural step towards heaven for those blessed enough to be seen as worthy of eternal paradise.
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« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2007, 03:26:28 PM »

Whether we are forgiven or not we face the consequences here on earth. So I understand that not all the ramifications of sin are abolished thru confession and forgiveness. But why would we have to continue to pay them out after death?
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« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2007, 03:27:12 PM »

Confession doesn't remove the temporal punishment due to sin - it removes the eternal guilt associated with sin. A person could die one second after receiving absolution and still go to Purgatory. Why, because the absolution doesn't remove all the temporal punishment due to sin.

So, to put it bluntly, God can't be bothered to forgive us completely?
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« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2007, 03:32:24 PM »

He refers to a "final theosis." Is this correct? I was under the impression that theosis never ends.

Dragani doesn't specifically say one way or the other, but I imagine that when he says "final theosis", he means a theosis that never ends.

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« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2007, 03:36:49 PM »

Whether we are forgiven or not we face the consequences here on earth. So I understand that not all the ramifications of sin are abolished thru confession and forgiveness. But why would we have to continue to pay them out after death?

I came from a very traditional RC background, but while I was studying for seminary, purgatory and temporal punishment were "there to satisfy the justice of God and be perfectly purified".  CSPX 118

Though, the penitent could satisfy this punishment on Earth as well, or in puragtory, when it was satisfied was/is a mystery.
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« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2007, 03:48:31 PM »

So is that where mortification (i.e cropping yourself) comes into play when you confess?
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« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2007, 03:50:53 PM »

Whether we are forgiven or not we face the consequences here on earth. So I understand that not all the ramifications of sin are abolished thru confession and forgiveness. But why would we have to continue to pay them out after death?
Purgatory is about cleansing our souls rather than about being forgiven. We are forgiven when we ask God (through prayer and through the rite of reconciliation) to forgive. Our character, nature, soul or whatever word you feel most comfortable using is affected by our sins and purgatory is about God's graces working in us so that we are purified from all the marks that sin left on our character.
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« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2007, 03:50:58 PM »

Hello,

Why wouldn't confession and forgiveness of sins be enough? Isn't the work of Christ on the cross enough? If we have to work it off by our own effort, doesn't that mean that Christ wasn't fully God?

So you only confess a mortal sin, but any sins could make you go to purgatory? That doens't compute for me.

Why would anyone want to go to purgatory? Why not live in the confession area? Grin Is purgatory a more inviting place than I am imagining?

Sin has two principle effects - 1) it creates an offense against God and 2) it wounds the sinner.

Confession takes care of #1, but #2 remains.

To use the analogy of illness that some Orthodox have used (and it is a very good analogy in my mind) - think of Confession as a medicine that will immediately remove all the germs from the sinner (absolution and the forgiveness of the sin - e.g., no more eternal guilt), but what remains - the sinner still has the symptoms of illness, they still have fever, achy, pussy, etc. The body has to heal itself from that attack of the germs - and this takes time and effort. Similarly, after the guilt is removed, we still suffer the temporal consequences of our sins. We may still be addicted to something or have a strong inclination to commit a sin again. We may have ruined relationships that need healed and a lack in our virtues or prayer life.


Does this make sense to you?
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« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2007, 03:54:50 PM »

Hello,

One thing you have to take into account is the RC mindset.  RCs see purgatory as a display of God's mercy.  Sending 99.999% of people to purgatory would not be seen as a negative to a RC.  It means they have died, within the grace and favour of God, and in turn are heading to paradise, but require perfect purifiction first.  If God did not show this mercy (purgatory to RCs), that 99.999% would go to Hell since their souls were not perfect.  Purgatory is accepted as a natural step towards heaven for those blessed enough to be seen as worthy of eternal paradise.

Again with the Father Corapi quote (he is a good preacher!!) - the Bible says that we must be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, and if we have to be that way already before we die then 99.999999999% of us are in serious trouble! Nothing unclean can enter Heaven - and if we are unclean when we die (i.e., we're not a holy Saint at the moment of death) then we can't enter Heaven - and if their is no Purgatory for us to purify our vices and faults, then there is only one other possiblity. Purgatory is the mercy of God.
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« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2007, 03:59:45 PM »

Hello,

So, to put it bluntly, God can't be bothered to forgive us completely?
Forgiveness implies taking away the eternal guilt associated with sin. To do what you are thinking means we'd be walking out of the confessional like Saint Francis of Assisi (or Saint Seraphim if you will).

After Confession, do you have all the virtues there are? Are all your vices conquered? Do you have no inclination towards sin anymore?

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« Reply #32 on: December 28, 2007, 04:00:39 PM »

We live out the repercussions of our sins daily. If I scream at my husband out of anger/impatience/pride then I need to repent and ask forgiveness from him as well as from God. But the damage to my relationship with my husband remains, I have to work at getting that relationship back to where it was. The repercussions are lived out here and now. Forgiveness doesn't remove the consequences for our actions here on earth. I can ask forgiveness for murdering a person, but I still would have to serve jail time, or even be put to death if that is what the punishment metted out by the courts is.
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« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2007, 04:01:25 PM »

Hello,

So is that where mortification (i.e cropping yourself) comes into play when you confess?
Huh I'm not sure what you are asking here.
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« Reply #34 on: December 28, 2007, 04:02:56 PM »

So, to put it bluntly, God can't be bothered to forgive us completely?
That is an odd turn of phrase for an Orthodox Christian. We are completely forgiven but we are not perfectly holy when we walk out of the confessional. Don't you have any kind of penance when you confess?
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« Reply #35 on: December 28, 2007, 04:03:09 PM »

I came from a very traditional RC background, but while I was studying for seminary, purgatory and temporal punishment were "there to satisfy the justice of God and be perfectly purified".  CSPX 118

Though, the penitent could satisfy this punishment on Earth as well, or in puragtory, when it was satisfied was/is a mystery.

This is what I was referring to in when I mentioned mortification.
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« Reply #36 on: December 28, 2007, 04:04:19 PM »

Some of the first missionaries to the indians were Jesuits, and their practice of mortification was..well....mortifying to the indians.
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« Reply #37 on: December 28, 2007, 04:06:36 PM »

Hello,

Some of the first missionaries to the indians were Jesuits, and their practice of mortification was..well....mortifying to the indians.

And the Orthodox (especially the monastics) don't practice any sort of bodily mortification?  laugh
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« Reply #38 on: December 28, 2007, 04:08:59 PM »

Oh, I didn't say that. I am just mentioning what my forbearers experienced with Catholic missionaries. I don't have any ancestors that met any Orthodox missionaries.
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« Reply #39 on: December 28, 2007, 04:09:45 PM »

Hello,

Oh, I didn't say that. I am just mentioning what my forbearers experienced with Catholic missionaries. I don't have any ancestors that met any Orthodox missionaries.

Off-topic, but what tribe?
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« Reply #40 on: December 28, 2007, 04:10:18 PM »

My ancestors were heavily "witnessed" (bad phrase, but I can't think of another) to by Catholics and later...Mormons. Undecided
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« Reply #41 on: December 28, 2007, 04:16:51 PM »

Myself; Nez Perce, Quinault, Chinook and Yakima.

My husband; Iroquoi, Cherokee (really, not just a caucasion family that "likes" the culture Grin) and another tribe I can't recall at the moment.

Back to your regularly scheduled topic Cheesy
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« Reply #42 on: December 28, 2007, 04:40:32 PM »

That is an odd turn of phrase for an Orthodox Christian. We are completely forgiven but we are not perfectly holy when we walk out of the confessional. Don't you have any kind of penance when you confess?

Penance is not normally administered after confession. Our sins that we confessed are forgiven.  What will penance do beyond the absolution of the priest?  If any penance is given it would have to be for a very very grave sin such a excommunication or the like.

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« Reply #43 on: December 28, 2007, 07:26:01 PM »

Don't you have any kind of penance when you confess?

No.  Everything I've learned from multiple priests indicate that a penance would only be given in order to assist in struggling against a particular sin one is having problems with, more along the lines of medicine than punishment.
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« Reply #44 on: December 28, 2007, 08:14:38 PM »

No.  Everything I've learned from multiple priests indicate that a penance would only be given in order to assist in struggling against a particular sin one is having problems with, more along the lines of medicine than punishment.
Penance is given among Catholics for that very reason, to help one overcome the habits of mind and body that lead you into particular types of sin. And penances are typically prayers or meditations that will assist in overcoming the areas of difficulty that you've confessed.
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« Reply #45 on: December 28, 2007, 10:28:46 PM »

Hello,

No.  Everything I've learned from multiple priests indicate that a penance would only be given in order to assist in struggling against a particular sin one is having problems with, more along the lines of medicine than punishment.

Yup, that's what penance (even in Purgatory) does. It is more for correction than punishment. The Scriptures in several places uses the analogy of a loving father. What loving father would chastise his son to correct him, even after he forgives his son. While there is an element of punishment, the punishment is meant to make the son a better person and not just to punish for punishment's sake.
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« Reply #46 on: December 28, 2007, 11:00:20 PM »

I believe this is the quote you want:

C.S. Lewis, Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, pp. 108-109


Thank you, Veniamin. That was indeed what I had in mind.  Smiley

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« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2007, 12:22:20 AM »

I completely understand the concept of confession.

A protestant would just ask why you need to do it to your priest Wink And while I am not completely orthodox yet, I am not protestant either. I actually look forward to confession is a weird way.

As to why we must confess to a priest (or bishop), I'm not sure if this is theologically correct (according to Orthodoxy), but it is my understanding that we are to confess to our Spiritual Father, typically our parish priest, because we are called to be working toward growth in our spiritual quest to become Christ-like.  Our Spiritual Father must know of our progress and failures, as he guides us in our spiritual quest, recommending courses of action, in addition to the authority he has been granted to ask for the absolution of our sins.  Only a clergyman has the insight to understand our behavior and recommend what we need to do to remediate our transgressions, due to his education and the Grace bestowed upon him.
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« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2007, 02:47:35 AM »

This is somewhat related to purgatory, but not enough so that I want to derail the discussion by posting the question.

I understand that you have a belief in purgatory. ...
Purgatory makes sense to me. And from what I have read from from The Soul After Death, by Fr. Seraphim Rose, App. I, pp. 196-213, as quoted from another thread on Indulgences: "In the Orthodox doctrine, on the other hand, which St. Mark teaches, the faithful who have died with small sins unconfessed, or who have not brought forth fruits of repentance for sins they have confessed, are cleansed of these sins either in the trial of death itself with its fear, or after death, when they are confined (but not permanently) in hell, by the prayers and Liturgies of the Church and good deeds performed for them by the faithful. Even sinners destined for eternal torment can be given a certain relief from their torment in hell by these means also. .."
The concept of being cleansed of small sins or imperfect repentance for confessed larger sins, by being confined temporarily in hell, sounds pretty much  like Purgatory. And being cleansed while there by the prayers and Liturgies of the Church and good deeds performed for them by the faithful sounds pretty much almost the same as the Catholic teaching on the value of prayer and good works for the poor souls in Purgatory.

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« Reply #49 on: December 29, 2007, 02:56:46 AM »

I'm just plain confused by this whole thread and the OP.
If the OP wants answers from Roman Catholics, why would they ask their question on an Orthodox Forum and not a Roman Catholic one?  Huh
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« Reply #50 on: December 29, 2007, 03:01:53 AM »

I'm just plain confused by this whole thread and the OP.
If the OP wants answers from Roman Catholics, why would they ask their question on an Orthodox Forum and not a Roman Catholic one?  Huh

It could be that she doesn't belong to a Roman Catholic board, and in any event feels more comfortable posting here.  We have enough Roman Catholic friends here that I can see how she thought she would get a good answer from them.
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« Reply #51 on: December 29, 2007, 03:39:40 AM »

I'm just plain confused by this whole thread and the OP.
If the OP wants answers from Roman Catholics, why would they ask their question on an Orthodox Forum and not a Roman Catholic one?  Huh

RC forums are scary.   Lips Sealed  Even when I was a RC, I rarely ventured on them.   Tongue
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« Reply #52 on: December 29, 2007, 03:40:57 AM »

As to why we must confess to a priest (or bishop), I'm not sure if this is theologically correct (according to Orthodoxy), but it is my understanding that we are to confess to our Spiritual Father, typically our parish priest, because we are called to be working toward growth in our spiritual quest to become Christ-like.  Our Spiritual Father must know of our progress and failures, as he guides us in our spiritual quest, recommending courses of action, in addition to the authority he has been granted to ask for the absolution of our sins.  Only a clergyman has the insight to understand our behavior and recommend what we need to do to remediate our transgressions, due to his education and the Grace bestowed upon him.

I'll try to offer my two cents worth on this....
Originally, penitents confessed their sins to the entire community of Christian believers  (ie their local church).  Later, after Christianity became the favoured faith of the empire, so many joined the Church that intimacy in parish situations was lost and it was seen as inappropriate and impractical to confess your sins to numerous total strangers.  The bishop or priest then began to represent the church community in confession.  Confession also began to acquire its "spiritual advice" role as people sought out holy ascetics and confessed to them.  When we confess our sins, we confess to our entire church community, all members of the Church, the entire universe, and God, of course.  The priest is acting as a witness for all of these.  He also restores the penitent to his/her original baptismal state through administering absolution.  

It's not actually true that "only clergymen have the insight" to hear confessions, though only they can give absolution.  In Orthodoxy, there is a longstanding tradition of lay monks and nuns who are considered called to do so offering spiritual counsel.  Sometimes, even lay people who are not monastics may hear confessions, though I don't know how prevalent this is.  
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« Reply #53 on: December 29, 2007, 04:00:46 AM »

I'm just plain confused by this whole thread and the OP.
If the OP wants answers from Roman Catholics, why would they ask their question on an Orthodox Forum and not a Roman Catholic one?  Huh

I was kicked off of a Catholic board; Catholic Answers to be exact. And since this is the "orthodox-catholic discussion" area I thought it was the place to ask. Am I incorrect to do so? Huh
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« Reply #54 on: December 29, 2007, 04:10:06 AM »

My priest was going thru what the Orthodox view of sin and hell are. As part of the class he mentioned various Catholic, as well as protestant views of sin and hell. We are well aquanited with the various protestant views on the issues, but my husband I had questions about the Catholic view after the class was over. I figured we could either ask my Orthodox priest, or I could ask some Catholics to clarify. My good Catholic friend doesn't seem to be the best wellspring of information on these types of theological issues (and she has 4 kids and no desire to shoot the breeeze theologically) And since it is more a question of curiosity than anything else, I decided to ask here.

Is it incorrect to ask questions about Catholic beliefs here?
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« Reply #55 on: December 29, 2007, 05:47:29 AM »

We have enough Roman Catholic friends here
I beg to differ.
I wouldn't call our Roman Catholic friends here "enough" of anything. They hardly qualify as much of a cross section of Roman Catholicism. I personally know two RC nuns and three RC priests who cringe at some of the things our RC friends say on this forum....

Is it incorrect to ask questions about Catholic beliefs here?
I don't mean to suggest you've broken any rules, I'm sorry if I gave you that impression. And I'm not speaking here as a moderator.
What I am saying is that your sample size is way too small to get a decent answer to any question about RC belief. If you really want to know what RC's think about an issue, you need to ask it on an RC forum- or better yet, study up on it yourself.
I know you got kicked off of CAF, but CAF is not the only RC forum (nor even, in my opinion, is it the best one).
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« Reply #56 on: December 29, 2007, 05:51:11 AM »

My priest was going thru what the Orthodox view of sin and hell are. As part of the class he mentioned various Catholic, as well as protestant views of sin and hell. We are well aquanited with the various protestant views on the issues, but my husband I had questions about the Catholic view after the class was over. I figured we could either ask my Orthodox priest, or I could ask some Catholics to clarify. My good Catholic friend doesn't seem to be the best wellspring of information on these types of theological issues (and she has 4 kids and no desire to shoot the breeeze theologically) And since it is more a question of curiosity than anything else, I decided to ask here.

Is it incorrect to ask questions about Catholic beliefs here?
You can find many excellent and free sources of Catholic theological information on the web. As an example you can use the Catechism of the Catholic Church on line at http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/index.htm

There are also many Catholic sites that offer explanations of Catholic beliefs from an apologetics stance, for example http://www.catholic.com/default.asp
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« Reply #57 on: December 29, 2007, 05:56:13 AM »

I beg to differ.
I wouldn't call our Roman Catholic friends here "enough" of anything. They hardly qualify as much of a cross section of Roman Catholicism. I personally know two RC nuns and three RC priests who cringe at some of the things our RC friends say on this forum....
You are tarring the Catholics here with a very wide brush aren't you? Even if some Catholics offer strange opinions that is not a good reason to splash tar on all of the Catholics here.
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« Reply #58 on: December 29, 2007, 06:08:59 AM »

You are tarring the Catholics here with a very wide brush aren't you?
Actually, a very narrow one.
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« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2007, 06:25:16 AM »

You are tarring the Catholics here with a very wide brush aren't you? Even if some Catholics offer strange opinions that is not a good reason to splash tar on all of the Catholics here.

I don't think George was tarring y'all, just stating that because there aren't that many RC's on the site, one is not able to find the requisite variety in view that exists within the very large RC Church.  OTOH, there are so many Orthodox that if one asks a similar question seeking the Orthodox POV, one would find quite a bit of variety if not in essence then at least in delivery, since many "groups" or POV's are represented (Oriental, Oriental "traditionalist," EO, EO "traditionalist," EO OC and EO NC, etc.).  So I think it's more a function of sample size - there isn't much counterbalance to the opinions of the few, which makes them appear as the opinions of the many, which in some cases (as George alluded to) they're not.
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« Reply #60 on: December 29, 2007, 06:32:46 AM »

(as George alluded to)

Does "alluded to" mean the same as "spelled it out" in US English? Cheesy
What I am saying is that your sample size is way too small to get a decent answer to any question about RC belief.
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« Reply #61 on: December 29, 2007, 06:48:18 AM »

I don't think George was tarring y'all, just stating that because there aren't that many RC's on the site, one is not able to find the requisite variety in view that exists within the very large RC Church.  OTOH, there are so many Orthodox that if one asks a similar question seeking the Orthodox POV, one would find quite a bit of variety if not in essence then at least in delivery, since many "groups" or POV's are represented (Oriental, Oriental "traditionalist," EO, EO "traditionalist," EO OC and EO NC, etc.).  So I think it's more a function of sample size - there isn't much counterbalance to the opinions of the few, which makes them appear as the opinions of the many, which in some cases (as George alluded to) they're not.
Does that mean that 2 nuns and 3 priests, or 3 nuns and 2 priests is more Catholics than are here on this forum?
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« Reply #62 on: December 29, 2007, 07:10:34 AM »

Does that mean that 2 nuns and 3 priests, or 3 nuns and 2 priests is more Catholics than are here on this forum?
.....and the required tarring brush width just keeps getting narrower as the predictable, stock standard responses based on misinterpretation just keep coming from our select little RC population sample here on OCnet.....
 Roll Eyes

Now do you see what I mean Quinalt? Try asking your questions of a wider, more balanced and mature group of Roman Catholics. It's not fair to Roman Catholicism to ask your questions here.
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« Reply #63 on: December 29, 2007, 10:04:33 AM »

Does that mean that 2 nuns and 3 priests, or 3 nuns and 2 priests is more Catholics than are here on this forum?

No, of course not - but the opinions of those 5 carry so much weight because there aren't many on here to counterbalance.  If there are 20 active RC users, that's fine, but then the 5 opinions that George spelled out represent a significant demographic - 20% of the RC opinions he has been exposed to.  Now, if there were 150 active RC users, that's also fine, and then the 5 opinions would only represent 3.2% of the RC opinions he has been exposed to.
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« Reply #64 on: December 29, 2007, 10:07:32 AM »

I beg to differ.
I wouldn't call our Roman Catholic friends here "enough" of anything. They hardly qualify as much of a cross section of Roman Catholicism. I personally know two RC nuns and three RC priests who cringe at some of the things our RC friends say on this forum....

I don't find that surprising -- I myself occasionally cringe at something said by a Catholic here.

You are tarring the Catholics here with a very wide brush aren't you? Even if some Catholics offer strange opinions that is not a good reason to splash tar on all of the Catholics here.

I don't think George is tarring us with a wide brush.

The bigger problem is that Catholics often tar ourselves with a wide brush -- like "you're not a real Catholic unless you subscribe to the western concept of purgatory" or "you're not a real Catholic unless you subscribe to the western ideas of how many ecumenical councils and ex cathedra statements there have been". (There are many other examples I could give, but I wanted to stick with ones that have been discussed recently rather than opening up a new can(s) of worms.)

There are many requirements for being Catholic, but "westernness" isn't one of them.

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #65 on: December 29, 2007, 05:03:08 PM »

Hello,

Now do you see what I mean Quinalt? Try asking your questions of a wider, more balanced and mature group of Roman Catholics. It's not fair to Roman Catholicism to ask your questions here.
I don't think that that is a fair assessment. The majority of what I post is the orthodox Catholic position - especially when I quote and cite from sources such as the Catechism or other Magiesterial documents. True that the majority of my posts reflect Latin theology, but that shouldn't be be unacceptable to Eastern Catholics anymore than the Eastern theology from their Churches should be unacceptable to Latin Catholics. Both must submit their theology to the Universal Church (which is neither exclusively Latin nor Greek nor Syriac nor any other region) for acceptance and the fact that the Universal Church accepts them makes it binding on all Catholics to accept those expressions of faith (both East and West).

Did I forget anything?
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« Reply #66 on: December 29, 2007, 10:58:22 PM »

True that the majority of my posts reflect Latin theology, but that shouldn't be be unacceptable to Eastern Catholics anymore than the Eastern theology from their Churches should be unacceptable to Latin Catholics.

Quite right, it goes both ways. (To say "someone can't be Catholic if he/she believes in 21 ecumenical councils" would make no more sense than to say "someone can't be Catholic if he/she believes in only 7 ecumenical councils".)

I don't think George was tarring y'all, just stating that because there aren't that many RC's on the site, one is not able to find the requisite variety in view that exists within the very large RC Church.  OTOH, there are so many Orthodox that if one asks a similar question seeking the Orthodox POV, one would find quite a bit of variety if not in essence then at least in delivery, since many "groups" or POV's are represented (Oriental, Oriental "traditionalist," EO, EO "traditionalist," EO OC and EO NC, etc.). 

You forgot the WRO! But you make a good point. Within Catholicism we have the Maronite Church, the Chaldean and Syro-Malabar Churches, the various Byzantine-rite Churches, the Oriental Churches, and the Latin Church (which could be further broken down into the various non-Roman Rites and the Roman Rite (which could be further broken down into the Novus Ordo usage, the Tridentine usage, and the Anglican Usage)).

But to be fair, while this forum definitively has an imperfect representation of the various kinds of Catholics, it's nice that we at least have some posts from Latin Catholics and some posts from Eastern Catholics -- whereas a lot of Catholic internet forums only have the Latin p.o.v. represented.

RC forums are scary.   Lips Sealed  Even when I was a RC, I rarely ventured on them.   Tongue

It's good to know that I'm not the first RC to feel that way. (Actually, there is one Catholic web-forum that I've spend I good bit of time on, but it's really more Byzantine than Roman.)

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #67 on: December 30, 2007, 12:56:50 AM »

Which councils one calls Oecumenical and which one calls Local or Regional or even Western is not a matter of huge importance as long as one remembers that the decisions of councils such as Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II are the basis for some of the dogmatic decrees of the Catholic Church and those dogmatic decrees are binding on all Catholics.

So you can say that there are 21 Oecumenical councils, or you can say that there are 7 ... it doesn't really matter a whole lot, but you can't say that you're being a consistent Catholic if you think that some dogmas of the faith are optional.
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« Reply #68 on: December 30, 2007, 09:00:30 AM »

Which councils one calls Oecumenical and which one calls Local or Regional or even Western is not a matter of huge importance as long as one remembers that the decisions of councils such as Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II are the basis for some of the dogmatic decrees of the Catholic Church and those dogmatic decrees are binding on all Catholics.

So you can say that there are 21 Oecumenical councils, or you can say that there are 7 ... it doesn't really matter a whole lot, but you can't say that you're being a consistent Catholic if you think that some dogmas of the faith are optional.

Well said, Credo. And (if I might "piggy-back" on your post) in much the same way a Catholic is free to believe that Munificentissimus Deus (1950) was or was not an ex cathedra statement; but regardless of whether it was or wasn't, all Catholics are required to agree with the dogma it defined, i.e. the Assumption of Mary.

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« Reply #69 on: December 30, 2007, 09:07:42 AM »

Alright that makes sense you dont have to agree it was an infallible statement but if you have to agree with the dogma.(sarcasm) isn't that the same thing though like damned if you do damned if you don't?
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« Reply #70 on: December 30, 2007, 09:14:13 AM »

Alright that makes sense you dont have to agree it was an infallible statement but if you have to agree with the dogma.(sarcasm) isn't that the same thing though like damned if you do damned if you don't?
The Dogma is defined thus:
that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

The Apostolic Constitution is available at http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P12MUNIF.HTM

Anybody who clicks the URL will see that the apostolic constitution is much longer than the dogmatic definition. I think that may well be the point that PJ was making.
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« Reply #71 on: December 30, 2007, 09:30:35 AM »

So Catholics have to accept that summarized statement as dogma but do not have to believe the rest of the document if infallible?
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« Reply #72 on: December 30, 2007, 09:38:21 AM »

Anybody who clicks the URL will see that the apostolic constitution is much longer than the dogmatic definition. I think that may well be the point that PJ was making.

No.
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« Reply #73 on: December 30, 2007, 09:55:09 AM »

Alright that makes sense you dont have to agree it was an infallible statement but if you have to agree with the dogma.(sarcasm) isn't that the same thing though like damned if you do damned if you don't?

The way I look at it, it's very similar to the situation in Orthodoxy: you all acknowledge each other as Orthodox because you have doctrinal unity, even though some of you (the Eastern Orthodox -- including EO "traditionalist," EO OC and EO NC) say that there have been seven ecumenical councils, while others say that there have been only three ecumenical councils (the Oriental Orthodox -- including Oriental "traditionalist").

With us it is really no different: we are all Catholic because we have doctrinal unity, even if we don't agree about how many ecumenical councils there have been, or about how many ex cathedra statements (if any) there have been.

Hope that helps,
Peter.
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« Reply #74 on: December 30, 2007, 10:03:18 AM »

No.
My apologies PJ, I was not sure what you meant ...
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« Reply #75 on: December 30, 2007, 10:07:34 AM »

isn't that the same thing though like damned if you do damned if you don't?

Perhaps so, but again I don't see how it's really different from Orthodoxy. E.g., imagine that I'm a Protestant who wants to convert to Orthodoxy, but I don't accept the teaching about icons. Well, regardless of whether I believe that the Second Council of Nicea was ecumenical or not, I couldn't become Orthodox unless I accept the teaching on icons. Right? (Or I am misunderstanding what you mean by "damned if you do damned if you don't"?)
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« Reply #76 on: December 30, 2007, 11:50:32 AM »

The way I look at it, it's very similar to the situation in Orthodoxy: you all acknowledge each other as Orthodox because you have doctrinal unity, even though some of you (the Eastern Orthodox -- including EO "traditionalist," EO OC and EO NC) say that there have been seven ecumenical councils, while others say that there have been only three ecumenical councils (the Oriental Orthodox -- including Oriental "traditionalist").

With us it is really no different: we are all Catholic because we have doctrinal unity, even if we don't agree about how many ecumenical councils there have been, or about how many ex cathedra statements (if any) there have been.

I don't think the EO-OO is a good example to prove your point.  We're acknowledging each other as Orthodox informally, because formally we haven't changed our statements that we're not in doctrinal unity (which would involve restoration of full communion).  So, at the moment, being Orthodox does involve acknowledgment of a number of Ecumenical councils (for the EO, it's at least 7, if not more; for the OO, it's at least 3).  The process of reunification may lead to a situation where the "Ecumenicity" of some councils may come into question, or other councils may be acknowledged as "Ecumenical" that are not currently so, but this is not the case yet.

A better example would be the debate within the EO as to whether certain councils that are not commonly called "Ecumenical" are indeed so (such as Photian and other post-Nicea II Synods).
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« Reply #77 on: December 30, 2007, 10:46:20 PM »

I don't think the EO-OO is a good example to prove your point.  We're acknowledging each other as Orthodox informally, because formally we haven't changed our statements that we're not in doctrinal unity (which would involve restoration of full communion).

Ah ... I wasn't aware of that. (I mean the part about the acknowledgements being informal. I was aware of the lack of full communion.)

Perhaps that explains some of the reactions I've been hearing from Orthodox when they first learn that Catholics don't all agree on a list of ecumenical councils (or ex cathedra statements).

So, at the moment, being Orthodox does involve acknowledgment of a number of Ecumenical councils (for the EO, it's at least 7, if not more; for the OO, it's at least 3).  The process of reunification may lead to a situation where the "Ecumenicity" of some councils may come into question, or other councils may be acknowledged as "Ecumenical" that are not currently so, but this is not the case yet.

A better example would be the debate within the EO as to whether certain councils that are not commonly called "Ecumenical" are indeed so (such as Photian and other post-Nicea II Synods).

Yes, that is a good example.

Thanks and God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #78 on: January 01, 2008, 06:33:16 PM »

My Catholic friend sees the concept of purgatory and confession as a way to sort of get around things here on earth. So you can look at porn, and it is just fine since you can confess it and since it isn't a mortal sin, it isn't going to do anything other than put you in purgatory.

 Shocked Yikes! I fear for your Catholic friend if he/she thinks of it that way. If you go to Confession with that attitude, you will blaspheme the sacrament. It goes without saying that the sacrament will not be efficacious.

Purgatory isn't about "getting out" of anything. It's about God completing the work of theosis so that we who have been saved enter heaven unclean. If you damn yourself, you are not going to Purgatory.
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« Reply #79 on: January 01, 2008, 06:45:13 PM »

Oh, and to address your friend.  All I can say is Lord have mercy.  From a RC standpoint, he/she is looking for loopholes, which can never be good for one's soul.  As well, about the porn reference...  Lust is seen as a grave sin, and if one understands that it is a sin (knows they must go to confession for it, etc.) and they perform it deliberately, it is likely views as a mortal sin within the RCC.

Indeed. Let us keep in mind what Jesus said about lusting in your heart. What else are we doing when we view porn, especially when we are masturbating to it? When I struggled with pornography, I knew I had to confess it in the sacrament. If you are spending time thinking about what sins you should confess with the priest and which you should "leave out" because of embarrassment or some other motivation, you are in trouble. When you go to Confession, you should just pour out your sins in contrition and do not analyze mortal/venial or anything else.

(BTW, when I was in London a couple days ago, I went to Confession at the famous Brompton Oratory. It was a glorious experience. The priest was a wonderful help, and he had his eyes closed in prayer the entire time. I received my absolution in Latin! I couldn't wait to perform my penance, which was one I had never been given before.)
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« Reply #80 on: January 01, 2008, 07:07:16 PM »

I understand the need for confession. But I don't understand how God would send 99.999% of people to purgatory because they haven't been very recently to confession.

There are only two ways to avoid Purgatory:

1) Damn yourself to Hell. Obviously not a good choice.

2) Be so far along in theosis by the end of your life that you are no longer attached to even minor sin. The divine light emitted by you is brilliant, and the purification effected by Purgatory has already been completed. Look at the root word of Purgatory: purge. It's the purgation or removal of any remaining attachments that inhibit your communion with God. Unclean things cannot enter Heaven, as St. John writes in the book of Revelation.
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« Reply #81 on: January 01, 2008, 07:11:50 PM »

So, to put it bluntly, God can't be bothered to forgive us completely?

He has forgiven those in Purgatory, but in his love and mercy he wants to make sure they are purified of remaining attachments so they don't get themselves thrown out after they enter Heaven. I know I'd get myself kicked out real soon if I died right now and went straight to Heaven as-is.
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« Reply #82 on: January 01, 2008, 07:24:45 PM »

I beg to differ.
I wouldn't call our Roman Catholic friends here "enough" of anything. They hardly qualify as much of a cross section of Roman Catholicism. I personally know two RC nuns and three RC priests who cringe at some of the things our RC friends say on this forum....

Do they cringe at what some of what we've said, or do they cringe at your interpretation of it?  Wink

About getting the Catholic understanding of things, Quinault is welcome to ask us here, of course, though you are right that he/she should also consult the official (and actual) rather than popular understanding found in the Catechism and magisterial documents. Just because many Catholics believe something doesn't mean it is true. I'm sure you say the same for poorly catechized Orthodox.

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