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« on: August 07, 2008, 04:36:23 PM »

I found this article by Fr Thomas Hopko, and I had not seen that it had been discussed in this forum.  Has anyone read it and care to comment?

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/HopkoPope.php

Here's the interesting part:

The question now stands before all Christians concerning what they should do about the Pope of Rome's de facto leadership of Christianity in our present world. Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI were moved to raise this question as an essential part of their papal ministry. Pope John Paul II explicitly did so many times, and with particular strength and urgency in his "apostolic letter" commending Christian ecumenism, Ut Unum Sint. And Pope Benedict XVI has already repeated the question several times on significant occasions.

I can hardly speak on behalf of the Eastern Orthodox churches about the exercise of the Roman papacy in our time. But I am encouraged to offer my opinions on the subject on the basis of the traditional Orthodox teaching testified to in the letter of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs in 1848 in response to Pope Pius IX's epistle "to the Easterners." This is the principle that for Orthodoxy "the protector of religion is the very body of the Church, even the people themselves" who desire to preserve the Church's faith and life free from unacceptable changes and novelties. I am also encouraged by Pope John Paul's request for forthright dialogue about the papacy in our time, and his admonition to all Christians not to be afraid. I will therefore proceed to list what I believe must happen if the Orthodox churches would consider recognizing the bishop of Rome as their world leader who exercises presidency among all the churches of Christ.

First of all, the Orthodox would insist that the bishop of Rome hold the orthodox faith of the catholic church, and teach and defend true Christian doctrine. This means that the pope would have to do several specific things, chief among which, I would think, are the following:

He would have to confirm the original text of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Symbol of Faith and defend its use in all the churches, beginning with his own. At the very least (should some churches for pastoral reasons be permitted to keep the filioque in their creed), he would insist on an explanation that would clearly teach that the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Son" only in relation to God's saving dispensation in the world. He would make certain that no Christian be tempted to believe that the Holy Spirit essentially proceeds from the Father and the Son together, and certainly not "from both as from one (ab utroque sicut ab uno.)
The pope would also teach that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons or hypostases, and not simply "subsistent relations" within the one God who is identified with the divine nature. And he would insist that the one true God of Christian faith is not the Holy Trinity understood as a quasi-uni-personal subject who reveals himself as Father, Son and Spirit, which is unacceptable "modalism." He would rather hold that the one God is Jesus' Father from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds who dwells in the Son, and in those who by faith and grace become sons of God through him.
The pope would also insist that human beings can have real communion with God through God's uncreated divine energies and actions toward creatures, from the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit.
He would also officially say that the immaculate conception of Christ's mother Mary from her parents, and Mary's total glorification in the risen Christ "at the right hand of the Father," are not properly explained in the papal bulls that originally accompanied the Roman church's "ex cathedra" dogmas on these two articles of faith. The pope would explain that Mary's conception by her parents was pure and holy without a need for God extraordinarily to apply "the merits of Christ" to Joachim and Anna's sexual act of conceiving her in order to free her from "the stain of original sin." And the pope would also have to make it clear that Mary really died, and was not assumed bodily into heaven before vanquishing death by faith in her Son Jesus.
The pope would also clearly state that though there may be a purification and cleansing from sin in the process of human dying, there is no state or condition of purgatory where sinners pay off the temporal punishment that they allegedly owe to God for their sins. The pope would also stop the practice of indulgences whereby, through certain pious activities, Christians can allegedly reduce the "days" of purgatorial suffering for themselves and others.
The pope would also make it clear that Christ's crucifixion was not a payment of the debt of punishment that humans allegedly owe to God for their sins. He would rather teach that Christ's self-offering to his Father was the saving, atoning and redeeming payment of the perfect love, trust, obedience, gratitude and glory that humans owe to God, which is all that God desires of them for their salvation.
The pope would also assure all Christians that the bishop of Rome will never do or teach anything on his own authority, "from himself and not from the consensus of the church (ex sese et non ex consensu ecclesiae)." He would promise to serve in his presidency solely as the spokesperson for all the bishops in apostolic succession who govern communities of believers who have chosen them to serve, and whose validity and legitimacy as bishops depend solely on their fidelity to the Gospel in communion with their predecessors in the episcopal office, and with each other.
On undecided doctrinal and moral issues the Pope of Rome would use his presidential authority to insure that everyone - clergyman or layperson - would be encouraged to freely present his or her arguments concerning Christian teaching and practice as witnessed in the Church's formal testimonies to Christian faith and life, i.e. the canonized scriptures, the traditional liturgies, the councils and canons, and the witness and writings of the canonized saints for the reasons that they are glorified.
The pope would also use his presidential authority to guarantee a spirit of freedom, openness, respect and love in and among all churches and Christians, and indeed all human beings, so that the Holy Spirit, Christ's sole "vicar on earth", may bring to remembrance what Christ has said, and guide people into all the truth. (Jn 14.25, 16.13) The pope would, in this way, truly be the Great Bridgebuilder (Pontifex Maximus)
In order for the Pope of Rome to exercise presidency among the churches and Christian leadership in the world, his church would also have to exemplify proper Christian worship. This, too, for Orthodox Christians, would mean some specific things.

The pope would have to insist that, except for extraordinary pastoral reasons, baptisms would be done by immersion in water in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. He would also insist that the newly-baptized be immediately chrismated with "the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit" and brought into communion with Christ by participation in the Holy Eucharist. This includes infants who enter the Church's sacramental life by virtue of the faith of the adults who care for them. The practice of a later episcopal laying-on-of hands confirming the faith of the baptized may be permitted in churches desiring to continue this practice.
Concerning participation in the Holy Eucharist, the pope would also insist that the faithful receive Holy Communion from the gifts, i.e. the bread and wine, actually offered at the eucharistic liturgy which they are celebrating. The faithful would not be given communion from "reserved gifts" which are kept exclusively for those unable to be attend liturgy for good reasons, usually sickness or infirmity.
The pope would also insure that the faithful always participate in the consecrated wine, the blood of Christ, at Holy Communion. How this is practically done may differ in different churches, but it must be done, without exception. As for the bread, unleavened wafers may be used for pastoral reasons in the churches with this practice, but the pope would affirm leavened bread as normative for the Christian Eucharist.
The pope would insist on the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, with psalmody, scripture readings and exegetical sermons according to local ecclesial practices, as normative corporate worship for Christians on the Lord's Day and on the Church's liturgical feasts. He would forbid private eucharistic celebrations for particular intentions, and for particular pietistic, political or ideological purposes. He would support the celebration of Vespers, Compline, Matins and the Hours in the churches. He would restore the practice of having the priestly celebrant in the Latin liturgy face the altar with the faithful during the prayers and eucharistic offerings. He would also consider enforcing the ancient ascetical and penitential practice of forbidding the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in Christian churches on weekdays of Great Lent.
And finally, structural and administrative changes must occur if the Pope of Rome will be accepted and recognized as the bishop who exercises presidency among the churches and serves as Christianity's world leader. These changes would include the following:

The bishop of Rome would be chosen by the church of Rome. His election, because of his church's unique position among the churches, and his position in the world, may have to be affirmed in some way by the patriarchs and the primates of autocephalous (i.e. self-governing) archbishoprics and metropolias throughout the world. But like the election of all Christian bishops, the pope's selection and installation would be the canonical action of the community that he oversees. A "college of cardinals" appointed by the pope and having nominal ministries in Rome would no longer exist.
The pope would not select and appoint bishops in any churches. He would, however, affirm them in their ministries, and may even do so in some formal manner, as every bishop is called to affirm his brothers with whom he holds the one episcopate in solidum. The pope would surely have the right and duty to question the choice of a candidate for the episcopacy, especially for a regional presidency, whom he considers unsuited or unworthy of the office. He may even have the opportunity to review candidates and offer his opinion before an election occurs, especially of a presiding bishop. But the pope would do this like any other bishop or primate of a regional church. He would have no right or power to interfere in the internal affairs of any church or diocese other than his own.
The pope would appoint commissions and departments composed of competent people from all the world's churches in communion with Rome to assist him in his service as Christianity's world leader and chief spokesperson. He would also organize regular gatherings of the primates of the world's churches to support him in his global mission. The pope would have a commission dealing with Christian doctrine and theological thought in the world's various churches, but no Roman office would exist with authority to take disciplinary action in doctrinal matters which, when required, would be handled by the local bishop. The churches' bishops, and not a team of theologians in Rome, appointed by the pope, acting on his authority and speaking in his name, would constitute the Church's magisterium.
Each bishop would oversee the members of his flock. He would be especially attentive to the intellectual, charismatic and activistic members of his church, and would exercise appropriate pastoral guidance, direction and discipline in their regard. The local bishop would forbid Holy Communion to a church member who denies Christian doctrines and/or practices that he and his brother bishops are ordained to proclaim and defend. Should a bishop be charged with teaching false doctrines or engaging in immoral behavior, or allowing those in his pastoral care to do so, he would be judged by the synod of bishops to which he belongs, even should he be its president. If found guilty of wrongdoing, his own synod would discipline or depose him. If he wishes to appeal his case, he may turn to the bishop exercising presidency among the churches of his region. And, as a last resort, he may appeal to the bishop of Rome as the Church's highest president. The pope would not have the power to make authoritative juridical decisions, but would exercise the ministry of intercession and reconciliation. The same right of appeal to regional presidencies, and ultimately to the pope of Rome, would, of course, be available to any church member charged with wrong teaching or doing.
The bishop of Rome would also cease being an official head of state. As Christianity's global leader, however, it is well that he would live in a place with minimal risks of governmental and political interference in his ministry. The place where the pope would live, where the interchurch commissions and departments would also be located, would be governed by a layperson assigned by the Roman church. Heads of state would relate to the pope solely as a Christian bishop and spiritual leader.
As leader of the world's Christians, the Pope of Rome would travel extensively. He would take full advantage of contemporary means of transportation and communication. He would master electronic media to serve his ministry in proclaiming Christ's Gospel, propagating Christian faith, promoting ethical behavior, protecting human rights, and securing justice and peace for all people. He would be the servant of unity among all human beings, first of all his fellow Christians, not as an episcopus episcoporum, but as a true servus servorum Dei.
Enormous goodwill, energy and time would be necessary to refashion the papacy so that the Pope of Rome might be Christianity's world leader as the bishop whose church "presides in love" among all the churches of orthodox faith and catholic tradition. And, as recent popes have insisted, radical repentance would be also be required, beginning with the Roman church itself whose calling, as first among Christian churches, is to show the way to all others.

The Orthodox churches would surely have to undergo many humbling changes in attitude, structure and behavior to be in sacramental communion with the Roman church and to recognize its presidency among the churches in the person of its pope. The Orthodox would certainly have to overcome their own inner struggles over ecclesiastical power and privilege. They would have to candidly admit their sinful contributions to Christian division and disunity, and to repent of them sincerely. They would also have to forego all desires or demands for other churches to repent publicly of their past errors and sins, being willing to allow God to consign everything of the past to oblivion for the sake of bringing about the reconciliation and reunion of Christians at the present time.

In a word, the Orthodox would have to sacrifice everything, excepting only the faith itself, for the sake of building a common future together with Christians who are willing and able to do so with them. Like Roman Catholics and Protestants, they would have to be willing to die with Christ to themselves and their personal, cultural and ecclesiastical interests for the sake of being in full unity with all who desire to be saved by the crucified Lord in the one holy church "which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all" (Eph 1.23), that is "the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth." (1Tim 315)

With God all things are possible. It is with this conviction that we can dare to imagine a global unity of Christians under the leadership of the bishop whose church of Rome was originally the first to "preside in love" among all of Christ's churches on earth.




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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2008, 05:14:23 PM »

I found this article by Fr Thomas Hopko, and I had not seen that it had been discussed in this forum.  Has anyone read it and care to comment?

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/HopkoPope.php

Here's the interesting part:

The question now stands before all Christians concerning what they should do about the Pope of Rome's de facto leadership of Christianity in our present world.


Well, I think Father Hopko disregarded the fact thet, according to most recent interpretation of canons in Phanar, Rome would actually have to return vast majority of its lands to its cannonical owner - Patriarchate of Constantinopolis.

See: https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0808A&L=ORTHODOX&T=0&F=&S=&P=15804

Quote
If and when His Divine All-Holiness achieves unity with the Church of Rome
will the American Catholics have to go under the Greek Archdiocese since
America is the canonical territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate?

I asked this question only recently in regard to canon 28y and people
laughed, but this recent development shows it is a serious question and one
which Rome needs to consider before uniting with the EP.

Fr Ambrose

So, I don't think I'm endangered by the Pope at the moment...Constantinopolis safeguards me, albait they might not have particularly that in mind. Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2008, 05:29:57 PM »

...
With God all things are possible. It is with this conviction that we can dare to imagine a global unity of Christians under the leadership of the bishop whose church of Rome was originally the first to "preside in love" among all of Christ's churches on earth.[/i]


Odd, I was never able to imagine Church leadership being placed in Rome.

I still can't.
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2008, 06:39:58 PM »

Quote
we can dare to imagine a global unity of Christians under the leadership of the bishop whose church of Rome was originally the first to "preside in love" among all of Christ's churches on earth.


So let’s boil this down: Rome wants unity at the expense of everyone being under the one POPE’s supreme jurisdiction.  And yet both Eastern and Oriental Orthodox want mutual unity between them solely for the sake of being the one undivided Church of the one Lord JESUS CHRIST
(http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11782.45.html)

pivotal factor of Rome: POPE
(as if Christ isn’t here and needs a “vicar”)

pivotal factor of Orthodoxy: CHRIST
(because we believe His promise to be with us always… where TWO or THREE [or more] are gathered together…,
i.e. collegial leadership, not a papal monarchy)
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2008, 12:00:55 AM »


So let’s boil this down: Rome wants unity at the expense of everyone being under the one POPE’s supreme jurisdiction.  And yet both Eastern and Oriental Orthodox want mutual unity between them solely for the sake of being the one undivided Church of the one Lord JESUS CHRIST
(http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11782.45.html)

pivotal factor of Rome: POPE
(as if Christ isn’t here and needs a “vicar”)

pivotal factor of Orthodoxy: CHRIST
(because we believe His promise to be with us always… where TWO or THREE [or more] are gathered together…,
i.e. collegial leadership, not a papal monarchy)


If the Church is truly 'collegial' then why 'any' Shepherds at all? Why is there a hierarchy? Baptist eccelesiology seems more congreant with 'where TWO or THREE are gathered together...' than anything I see among Catholics and Orthodox.

My favorite book on the subject is "You are Peter!"...
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2008, 01:19:38 AM »

In Reference to Original Post:

Quote from: Nemo
As leader of the world's Christians, the Pope of Rome would travel extensively. He would take full advantage of contemporary means of transportation and communication. He would master electronic media to serve his ministry in proclaiming Christ's Gospel, propagating Christian faith, promoting ethical behavior, protecting human rights, and securing justice and peace for all people. He would be the servant of unity among all human beings, first of all his fellow Christians, not as an episcopus episcoporum, but as a true servus servorum Dei.

Bolded statement can also describe the Anti-Christ - just replace Christ with Anti-Christ.
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2008, 01:27:07 AM »

If the Church is truly 'collegial' then why 'any' Shepherds at all? Why is there a hierarchy?

Jesus Christ was the Head of the 12 Disciples - who are considered the first Hierarchs.  They voted to replace Judas of Isacariot after his betrayal of Christ.  The Apostles also appointed 7 Elders (aka Priests/Deacons) to help with the food distribution to the poor.  There was a Council of Jerusalem which voted on the issue of whether circumscision was required to become a Christian (the answer was no).  Many of the Disciples established Sees in Antioch, Jerusalem, Rome, Cyprus, et al.

Baptist eccelesiology seems more congreant with 'where TWO or THREE are gathered together...' than anything I see among Catholics and Orthodox.

The Anabaptists claim of being in existence around 250 AD seems consistent with the above statement.  Christians were still being persecuted in 250 AD throughout the world.
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2008, 01:46:05 AM »

In Reference to Original Post:

Bolded statement can also describe the Anti-Christ - just replace Christ with Anti-Christ.

And yet I put Benedict XVI's above else who provided a BOLD initiative to confront secularism nominalism, Jewish-Christian dialogue, Muslim-Papal encounters via Turkish Mufti via Istanbul meets Constantinople,  abortion, homosexual and the Priest Scandal (in which sole responsibility was put on him and him alone) with the measures being taken to prevent it from never happening again. And for that my tip of the hat, raise my jug of beer and a standing Ovation for being what Orthodox should be doing right now.

Maybe SolEX01 the next Pope might make your wishes come true but the Rottweiler is not moving an inch.
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2008, 01:54:13 AM »

Maybe SolEX01 the next Pope might make your wishes come true but the Rottweiler is not moving an inch.

That may be true, but the description of his role, as laid down in the introductory article, fits SolEX01's impression perfectly, IMHO.

I need Church for Heavenly Kingdom.

Human rights, peace, etc., are affairs of Earthly Kingdom and I can't see what Church does have about them.
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2008, 01:58:10 PM »


So let’s boil this down: Rome wants unity at the expense of everyone being under the one POPE’s supreme jurisdiction.  And yet both Eastern and Oriental Orthodox want mutual unity between them solely for the sake of being the one undivided Church of the one Lord JESUS CHRIST
(http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,11782.45.html)

pivotal factor of Rome: POPE
(as if Christ isn’t here and needs a “vicar”)

pivotal factor of Orthodoxy: CHRIST
(because we believe His promise to be with us always… where TWO or THREE [or more] are gathered together…,
i.e. collegial leadership, not a papal monarchy)

Well, it all depends on the definition of "leadership", doesn't it?  If "leadership" does not include "jurisdiction", but more like "setting a good example", then would there be room for the Patriarch of Rome in the collegiality of bishops?
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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2008, 03:12:39 PM »

Maybe SolEX01 the next Pope might make your wishes come true but the Rottweiler is not moving an inch.

Friend, what do you think my wishes are for the next Pope if I haven't communicated them in this post or elsewhere?
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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2008, 04:29:51 PM »

If the Church is truly 'collegial' then why 'any' Shepherds at all? Why is there a hierarchy? Baptist eccelesiology seems more congreant with 'where TWO or THREE are gathered together...' than anything I see among Catholics and Orthodox.

Well, it all depends on the definition of "leadership", doesn't it?  If "leadership" does not include "jurisdiction", but more like "setting a good example", then would there be room for the Patriarch of Rome in the collegiality of bishops?


anarchy (Protestantism)? 
no.
papal monarchy (RC)? 
no.
collegial hierarchy?  yep, that's Orthodoxy!
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2008, 11:08:36 AM »


anarchy (Protestantism)? 
no.
papal monarchy (RC)? 
no.
collegial hierarchy?  yep, that's Orthodoxy!


You mean ecclesiastical rivalry and power struggle? Yep, that's Orthodoxy! No ecclesiology is perfect in practice when fallen human beings are in charge.
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2008, 11:16:40 AM »

You mean ecclesiastical rivalry and power struggle? Yep, that's Orthodoxy! No ecclesiology is perfect in practice when fallen human beings are in charge.

And the College of Cardinals always agree on first ballot...
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2008, 01:32:24 PM »

.
You mean ecclesiastical rivalry and power struggle? Yep, that's Orthodoxy! No ecclesiology is perfect in practice when fallen human beings are in charge.
.

Better that than sock-puppet Administrators in the guise of Catholic "Bishops."  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2008, 02:21:29 PM »

You mean ecclesiastical rivalry and power struggle? Yep, that's Orthodoxy! No ecclesiology is perfect in practice when fallen human beings are in charge.

I almost fell off my chair looking at the above quote.   Shocked

Redacted entire comments after realizing that I didn't have to make comments about tragic events to simply agree with Brother Lubeltri. 
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« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2008, 06:32:11 PM »

Better that than sock-puppet Administrators in the guise of Catholic "Bishops."  Roll Eyes

Heracleides, you totally made my point. I was not saying Catholic ecclesiology was better (of course I think it is---but why would I need to say it here?). My point is that triumphalism rings hollow since even you EO have plenty of problems---ecclesiastical power struggle among them.

You can say Orthodoxy is great without having to say everybody else sucks, you know. But you seem to have missed my point.
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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2008, 07:25:04 PM »

Heracleides, you totally made my point. I was not saying Catholic ecclesiology was better (of course I think it is---but why would I need to say it here?). My point is that triumphalism rings hollow since even you EO have plenty of problems---ecclesiastical power struggle among them.

You can say Orthodoxy is great without having to say everybody else sucks, you know. But you seem to have missed my point.

You would think so, but well...   Tongue
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« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2008, 02:55:47 PM »

Heraclitus, you totally made my point. I was not saying Catholic  was better (of course I think it isn't why would I need to say it here?). My point is that triumphalism rings hollow since even you EO have plenty of  power struggle among them.

You can say Orthodoxy is great without having to say everybody else sucks, you know. But you seem to have missed my point.

And my point being (and I think you did get it) is that the reason your heterodox church shares Nirvana betwixt it's bishops (as you clearly implied) is because they are simply sock-puppet administrators rather than true bishops with any real ecclesial power.  Obviously your hierarchs can't have power struggles if they've no power over which to struggle.  Roll Eyes

Of course you're going to deny and disregard this point, but the truth is that your heterodox bishops gave up their last vestigial authority and power at Vatican I and are now simply Vatican appointed administrators.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2008, 11:05:23 PM by Heracleides » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2008, 12:18:07 PM »

And my point being (and I think you did get it) is that the reason your heterodox church shares Nirvana betwixt it's bishops....

Now why you gotta bring Buddhism into this fight? Shocked
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« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2008, 02:15:46 PM »

...hierarchs can't have power struggles if they've no power over which to struggle...

...heterodox bishops gave up their last vestigial authority and power at Vatican I and are now simply Vatican appointed administrators.


Interesting, I never thought of it quite like that.
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