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Author Topic: Met. Kallistos Ware's Lambeth Conference Interview  (Read 7512 times) Average Rating: 0
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Heracleides
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« on: August 19, 2008, 02:34:25 AM »

Having never been a groupie/fan of Frs. Meyendorff or Schmemann (yes, I know - heresy!), increasingly I have come to feel the same about Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.  The following excerpt from a recent interview he granted whilst attending the Anglican Lambeth Conference as an "observer" illustrates why I have growing reservations about this prelate:

". . . the questions that you are considering are also questions that are of concern to us. And if they are not particularly on our immediate agenda now, yet they are questions that we will need to consider increasingly in the future. . . . also as questions that are posed to us Orthodox. For example, the question of women priests and bishops. Most Orthodox would say, we should not ordain women. But if you ask them why not, they will say that it has never been done; they will appeal to tradition. But you press them a little farther, and say that there must be a reason why women have never been ordained as priests. The argument from tradition merely tells you that they have never been ordained as priests, but it does not tell you why. Surely there must be some theological reason. On the one hand, the Orthodox are certain and clear in their answer. Most of us would say, no, we could not ever ordain women. Yet others would say, it is for us essentially an open question. We are not proposing to do so in the near future, but we need to reflect more deeply on it. If all we say is, “impossible, never,” we perhaps should ask ourselves, what are the implications for our understanding of human nature , of the difference between male and female, for our understanding of the priesthood and the relationship of the priest to Christ. That is an example of how your questions are perhaps to some extent also our questions.

Then again the issue that is coming up very much here at Lambeth: the possibility of blessing homosexual relationships. The Orthodox Church would answer, no, this cannot be done – that sexuality is a gift from God, to be used within marriage, and by marriage we mean the union of one man and one woman. But it’s quite clear in the modern world – and the Orthodox also belong to the modern world – that the whole issue of the meaning of human sexuality is going to be more and more explored. And if we are to interpret this traditional teaching to our people, we need to reflect deeply on the basic principles. "


Sorry Met. Kallistos, but the questions of female and/or homosexual ordination/marriage are not "our questions" to any extent.  If they ever do become "our questions" open to 'exploration' with 'deep reflection,' then I'll simply have to be moving on.  Hopefully with much prayer, such a day will never arrive.

Source: http://www.prayerbookatlambeth.org/interviews/2008/7/28/an-interview-with-the-most-revd-kallistos-ware-archbishop-of.html
« Last Edit: August 19, 2008, 02:38:54 AM by Heracleides » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2008, 02:41:49 AM »

Having never been a groupie/fan of Frs. Meyendorff or Schmemann (yes, I know - heresy!), increasingly I have come to feel the same about Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.  The following excerpt from a recent interview he granted whilst attending the Anglican Lambeth Conference as an "observer" illustrates why I have growing reservations about this prelate:

". . . the questions that you are considering are also questions that are of concern to us. And if they are not particularly on our immediate agenda now, yet they are questions that we will need to consider increasingly in the future. . . . also as questions that are posed to us Orthodox. For example, the question of women priests and bishops. Most Orthodox would say, we should not ordain women. But if you ask them why not, they will say that it has never been done; they will appeal to tradition. But you press them a little farther, and say that there must be a reason why women have never been ordained as priests. The argument from tradition merely tells you that they have never been ordained as priests, but it does not tell you why. Surely there must be some theological reason. On the one hand, the Orthodox are certain and clear in their answer. Most of us would say, no, we could not ever ordain women. Yet others would say, it is for us essentially an open question. We are not proposing to do so in the near future, but we need to reflect more deeply on it. If all we say is, “impossible, never,” we perhaps should ask ourselves, what are the implications for our understanding of human nature , of the difference between male and female, for our understanding of the priesthood and the relationship of the priest to Christ. That is an example of how your questions are perhaps to some extent also our questions.

Then again the issue that is coming up very much here at Lambeth: the possibility of blessing homosexual relationships. The Orthodox Church would answer, no, this cannot be done – that sexuality is a gift from God, to be used within marriage, and by marriage we mean the union of one man and one woman. But it’s quite clear in the modern world – and the Orthodox also belong to the modern world – that the whole issue of the meaning of human sexuality is going to be more and more explored. And if we are to interpret this traditional teaching to our people, we need to reflect deeply on the basic principles. "


Sorry Met. Kallistos, but the questions of female and/or homosexual ordination/marriage are not "our questions" to any extent.  If they ever do become "our questions" open to 'exploration' with 'deep reflection,' then I'll simply have to be moving on.

Source: http://www.prayerbookatlambeth.org/interviews/2008/7/28/an-interview-with-the-most-revd-kallistos-ware-archbishop-of.html

*sigh* brother I sort of understand where your coming from and I believe that Metropolitan Kallistos Ware is a little more liberal then his other counterparts. But I believe he is stating that it is a question we should ask ourselves and just saying it is a tradition is not an answer because a tradition can be wrong. For example us Orthodox love to trumpet the failings of the Catholic church is regard to selling indulgences but this was also an isolated practice in the early church and the documents giving indulgences in the Eastern church (post schism) were done so because it was a "tradition".
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2008, 08:05:43 AM »

Heracleides, perhaps Met. Kallistos was intimating that EO need to reflect on these questions and seek to understand why, theologically, the tradition is right? In the modern world, perhaps, just saying "it's never been done" is sometimes not enough. As time passes, traditional EO teaching will increasingly need to be defended against the attacks of modernism and secularism. Perhaps he is calling for discussion of these questions so arguments can be made for the traditional position?
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2008, 08:13:02 AM »

As time passes, traditional EO teaching will increasingly need to be defended against the attacks of modernism and secularism.

This presumes that:
1) "Modernism" and "secularism" are definable.
2) That they are "attacking" the teachings of the Church, and
3) That they are heresies.
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2008, 11:46:48 AM »


This Hierach is a perfect example of the results of ecumenism in the Orthodox Church.  Our former priest refers to him as 'the Orthodox Episcopalian'.  It is comments like this one, along with his views on the Immaculate Conception & the Filioque, along with his rewrite on the implementation of he Unia,  that has caused me to no longer recommend his book 'The Orthodox Church' unless it is a first or second edition.  With each edition he gets more and more liberal.  One wonders why the EP doesn't step in unless he's too busy interfering in the administrative functions of other patriarchates to care!

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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2008, 12:17:39 PM »

Heracleides, perhaps Met. Kallistos was intimating that EO need to reflect on these questions and seek to understand why, theologically, the tradition is right? In the modern world, perhaps, just saying "it's never been done" is sometimes not enough. As time passes, traditional EO teaching will increasingly need to be defended against the attacks of modernism and secularism. Perhaps he is calling for discussion of these questions so arguments can be made for the traditional position?

What you say very well could be the Metropolitan's intent as the quoted excerpt is rather ambiguous (as is the majority of the interview).  But it is that very ambiguity that I find troubling.  Orthodoxy has, can, and should speak with a clarion call.  Who are those today that are commemorated as Orthodox Saints arising out of Florence?  Is it Mark of Ephesus who boldly proclaimed the ancient faith, or those now largely forgotten eastern bishops who allowed themselves to be cowed by the emperor and heterodox bishop of Rome?  One defended 'tradition' without couching it in the  'modern' & politically correct (and considering the dire circumstances in the east, expedient) language of the day.  He staunchly defended the faith by simply holding the line in proclaiming, in relation to papal supremacy, "it's never been done."  We face the same situation today in regards to Anglican female and homosexual ordination/marriage.  In both St. Mark of Ephesus' day and in our own, the response "it's never been done" can and should suffice.  Such modern and secular sin needs no special parsing of words - the truth of the ancient faith as preserved in our equally ancient traditions remains the same - no matter the age or era.  Metropolitan Kallistos' comment below (from the same interview previously referenced) is the exact opposite of what I have been speaking too:

"It could be argued that perhaps the Anglican Communion was guided by the Holy Spirit to lead other Christians into new paths. Now I can see that as a valid argument and I want to balance that against the point that we need to act with catholic consensus. How can we do both these things together – preserve catholic consensus, and yet allow grace for freedom in the Holy Spirit? Christ did not tell us that nothing should never be done for the first time. The whole witness of the early Church points in a different direction. So how do you balance these two things – the need for consensus with the need for freedom in the Spirit, the need for loyalty to holy tradition, with the need to be open to new initiatives? "

Bearing in mind that the entire quote above is in reference to female and homosexual ordination/marriage, I cannot help but feel that Met. Ware, no matter his intended audience, should be deeply ashamed of himself.
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2008, 12:28:50 PM »

This presumes that:
1) "Modernism" and "secularism" are definable.
2) That they are "attacking" the teachings of the Church, and
3) That they are heresies.

The generally understood definition of Modernism was laid out by Pope St. Pius X in his encyclicals Lamentabili Sane (1907)* and Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907)**. He described Modernism as not only heretical but the "synthesis of all heresies." It's sort of a catch-all term. I know the term comes from a Catholic source, but I think it is a reasonable presumption that the principles and ideas underlying Modernism (which are the basis for the rejection of the traditional moral and sacramental theology of the Undivided Church) are considered heretical by the Orthodox Church.

*http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius10/p10lamen.htm
**http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius10/p10pasce.htm
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2008, 01:03:14 PM »

The generally understood definition of Modernism was laid out by Pope St. Pius X in his encyclicals Lamentabili Sane (1907)* and Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907)**. He described Modernism as not only heretical but the "synthesis of all heresies." It's sort of a catch-all term. I know the term comes from a Catholic source, but I think it is a reasonable presumption that the principles and ideas underlying Modernism (which are the basis for the rejection of the traditional moral and sacramental theology of the Undivided Church) are considered heretical by the Orthodox Church.

Could you define modernism in a few sentences?
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2008, 01:32:39 PM »

Could you define modernism in a few sentences?

Well, the links I provided would summarize it much better and more thoroughly than me, but basically Modernism involves several things:

A belief that "human experience" is as authoritative or more authoritative than Scripture or Church tradition. Church teachings, as well as the Church itself as an institution, are human constructs rather than divinely ordained and involving objective truths.

Thus the Church is what people make of it, and truth is what people make of it, at the current time. Thus the Church and her teachings should be changed to fit the current understanding. The Church should be shaped by modern society rather than conform modern society to itself.

Modernism is skeptical of objective truth, branding it "dogmatism." Modernists usually utilize ideas coming from secularism and rationalism. Modernism is thoroughly committed to the Enlightenment project and is focused on Earth rather than Heaven.

GiC, back when he still considered himself Christian, was a very good example of a Modernist (and he'd be proud to call himself one).
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2008, 02:12:16 PM »

Having never been a groupie/fan of Frs. Meyendorff or Schmemann (yes, I know - heresy!), increasingly I have come to feel the same about Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.  The following excerpt from a recent interview he granted whilst attending the Anglican Lambeth Conference as an "observer" illustrates why I have growing reservations about this prelate:

...

What have we to fear, though, from genuine, discerning investigation of our Tradition?  What have we to lose from asking questions?  If what we Orthodox proclaim is Truth, don't you think it should be able to stand up to intellectual scrutiny?  When the Church was threatened by the great heresies of the past, what did she do?  Did she refuse to confront the heresies for fear of losing her identity, or did she develop a theological language for articulating what she had always believed and practiced?  I would venture to say she did the latter.

So why must we retreat from asking questions about why we don't ordain women or homosexuals?  Why must we always hide behind the statement, "We've never done this before."?  In the end, we'll probably end up formulating detailed, thoroughly conceived reasons for rejecting women's/homosexual ordination, but at least this will give us a much clearer understanding why, a reasoning that will be much more convincing to those we hope to make disciples.
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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2008, 04:21:24 PM »

In the end, we'll probably end up formulating detailed, thoroughly conceived reasons for rejecting women's/homosexual ordination, but at least this will give us a much clearer understanding why, a reasoning that will be much more convincing to those we hope to make disciples.

Right. You'll need to at some point, when the cultural tidal wave hits with full force (and it's not a question of if but when). We had to. 
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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2008, 05:26:07 PM »

What have we to fear, though, from genuine, discerning investigation of our Tradition?  What have we to lose from asking questions?  If what we Orthodox proclaim is Truth, don't you think it should be able to stand up to intellectual scrutiny?  When the Church was threatened by the great heresies of the past, what did she do?  Did she refuse to confront the heresies for fear of losing her identity, or did she develop a theological language for articulating what she had always believed and practiced?  I would venture to say she did the latter.

So why must we retreat from asking questions about why we don't ordain women or homosexuals?  Why must we always hide behind the statement, "We've never done this before."?  In the end, we'll probably end up formulating detailed, thoroughly conceived reasons for rejecting women's/homosexual ordination, but at least this will give us a much clearer understanding why, a reasoning that will be much more convincing to those we hope to make disciples.

Well said.
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« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2008, 06:35:17 PM »

Metropolitan Kallistos has made several statements along these lines regarding ordination of women.  My concern is not so much that it will influence the Church (it won't), but that it will confuse non-Orthodox as to the Orthodox position. 

That aside, am I alone in finding the first paragraph in that interview to be far more surprising and troubling?
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« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2008, 08:11:23 PM »

That aside, am I alone in finding the first paragraph in that interview to be far more surprising and troubling?

The first paragraph ought not to be troubling.  A great deal of our lives ought to be spent "investigating ... our Tradition," both to prevent current whims from obscuring the truth and to prevent ancient whims from obscuring the truth.  The church truly did "develop a theological language for articulating what she had always believed and practiced."  By itself, his supposition that the church chose to confront heresies by developing (no direct object) is innocent, if the same supposition is covered by the implied direct object ("a theological language etc."). 

The trouble starts in the second paragraph, in which "articulating what [the church] had always believed" is depicted as a "retreat," though oddly enough not from what he sees as heresies.  This man is running full tilt against Scripture and universal tradition in doctrinally broad daylight.  The sight is astounding.

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« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2008, 11:26:40 PM »

The trouble starts in the second paragraph, in which "articulating what [the church] had always believed" is depicted as a "retreat," though oddly enough not from what he sees as heresies.  This man is running full tilt against Scripture and universal tradition in doctrinally broad daylight.  The sight is astounding.
What is truly astounding is how much you read between the lines of the second paragraph of Heracleides's citation of His Eminence.  "And if we are to interpret this traditional teaching to our people, we need to reflect deeply on the basic principles."  One of the principles His Eminence described in the immediately preceding statement as needing further exploration is our understanding of human sexuality.  This doesn't mean automatically kowtowing to the ways of the modern world, nor does the Metropolitan even say this in his statements immediately preceding and following, which imply quite the opposite:  faithfulness to our traditional practice.
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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2008, 04:49:20 AM »

What is truly astounding is how much you read between the lines of the second paragraph of Heracleides's citation of His Eminence.  "And if we are to interpret this traditional teaching to our people, we need to reflect deeply on the basic principles."  One of the principles His Eminence described in the immediately preceding statement as needing further exploration is our understanding of human sexuality.  This doesn't mean automatically kowtowing to the ways of the modern world, nor does the Metropolitan even say this in his statements immediately preceding and following, which imply quite the opposite:  faithfulness to our traditional practice.
True, but explicit statements need less later explanation as opposed to this type of implied approach. In a world where certain innovative agendas are touted by activists it is for certain that such interviews will 'get press' and be seen as IMPLIED agreement with the innovators. (It happens all the time to the EP.)
Whether the intent of Met Kallistos or not, with the above as an example, I too no longer recommend his book(s) to inquirers.
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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2008, 11:07:13 AM »

What is truly astounding is how much you read between the lines of the second paragraph of Heracleides's citation of His Eminence.

I recognized in the Met.'s words the same kind of allusiveness that I have read or met with in various situations when the leadership--priest, CEO, principal, office-holder--of some organization is driving a policy contrary to the wishes or expectations of the organization membership--parishioner, worker, teacher, voter.  Since I have been familiar with reports that the Met. favors women's ordination for decades, I did not think it took much cleverness to read between the lines. 
The very best thing the Met. could have said was that the ordination of women and of homosexuals was a closed issue in the Orthodox church owing to stringent Scriptural and canonical restrictions.  The response of Fr. Igor Vyzhanov, head of the secretariat for Inter-Christian Relations of the MP Department for External Church Relations, that "the present decision of the Anglican Communion manifests 'the tendency of secular European thought to follow everything through to its logical conclusion'" seems so much more straightforward(http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2008/07/08/mp-concerned-by-the-anglican-decision-to-ordain-women-to-the-episcopate/).  I also like the way Fr. Igor said that "church life . . . 'is not the place to apply the rational logic of secular society'" (ibid.).  While the Met. admits that after exploring homosexuality and women's ordination "we'll probably end up formulating detailed," it baffles me that we need "thoroughly conceived reasons for rejecting women's/homosexual ordination" and "a much clearer understanding why."  This is like insisting that schools provide "thoroughly conceived reasons for rejecting" the applications of notorious (or secret) drug-abusers to teaching positions.  It seems as if the Met. could not find any intuitively obvious or morally unambiguous approach to dealing homosexual ordination.  His whole approach seems more appropriate to the debate over whether people should be cloned or whether Mars needs women--i.e., problems which are directly addressed explicitly by neither Scripture nor canon. 
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2008, 03:47:59 PM »

Since I have been familiar with reports that the Met. favors women's ordination for decades, I did not think it took much cleverness to read between the lines.
What reports have you read/heard?  Rumor doesn't count.

Quote
The very best thing the Met. could have said was that the ordination of women and of homosexuals was a closed issue in the Orthodox church owing to stringent Scriptural and canonical restrictions.
I understand the Scriptural and canonical proscriptions against ordaining practicing homosexuals (obvious moral reasons for which excommunication is the prescribed discipline).  As regards the ordination of women, however, one of this forum's longest threads (outside of Random Postings) discusses this issue, yet I've not seen anyone on that thread present a clear statement from Scripture or the canons that explicitly forbids the ordination of women.  The only argument I've seen advanced here is "we've never done it before," as if this is a dogmatic statement in itself.

Quote
I also like the way Fr. Igor said that "church life . . . 'is not the place to apply the rational logic of secular society'" (ibid.).
Why do you agree with this?

Quote
While the Met. admits that after exploring homosexuality and women's ordination "we'll probably end up formulating detailed," it baffles me that we need "thoroughly conceived reasons for rejecting women's/homosexual ordination" and "a much clearer understanding why."  This is like insisting that schools provide "thoroughly conceived reasons for rejecting" the applications of notorious (or secret) drug-abusers to teaching positions.
Women priests compared to drug abusers?  Don't you see the difference here?  We're talking about rejecting women from the priesthood merely because of their gender, but your analogy makes it look as if you see a woman's gender as a great abuse of her humanity.
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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2008, 08:18:29 PM »

What reports have you read/heard?
I have heard this from two reliable sources whose integrity has never come into question.

I've not seen anyone on that thread present a clear statement from Scripture or the canons that explicitly forbids the ordination of women. 
I do not doubt that I would fail to convince you and so I decline to enter the lists. 

I [DanM] also like the way Fr. Igor said that "church life . . . 'is not the place to apply the rational logic of secular society'" (ibid.).
Why do you [DanM] agree with this?
Logic per se is an inestimably valuable adjunct to thought.  However, there is a modern tendency to submit all matters of moment to a kind of logical straitjacket or to make them the creatures of politics.  A symptom of this is Carnap's rejection of metaphysics. 
For my part, I believe that there is a great deal in men (male and female), in the church and in the Bible that transcends logic or politics.  Some arguments for ordaining women seem to me to bring men, the church and the Bible quite under the aegis of logic or politics.  While I believe in the importance of logic in thought and discussion, I also believe that there is something called The Real Order which is more expansive than logic.  I would rather maintain a hypothetically unfair ban on women's ordination than let politics or runaway logicians lay smack on the church.

Women priests compared to drug abusers?  Don't you see the difference here? 
You may want to reread what I wrote to make sure you understand the point of comparison.

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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2008, 08:58:49 PM »

The very best thing the Met. could have said was that the ordination of women and of homosexuals was a closed issue in the Orthodox church owing to stringent Scriptural and canonical restrictions.

Since he has already admited that the arguments, both scriptural and especially canonical (which are non-existant) against women's ordination are inadequate, what you suggest is academically dishonest.

I find it most interesting that your preference is that His Excellency lie.

IF there is merit to your position (not that I believe there is), surely it would only be strengthened by open and objective debate. But the reality is that while closing the issue as much as possible, your side is still loosing ground on both the issues of women's equality and gay rights. I'm sorry, but in the end, members of a civilized society will simply not tolerate institutionalized bigotry and discrimination.

And I'm not even saying that the church should change it's position; heck, it may be better for everyone if the church digs its heels in and fights the loosing battle.
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« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2008, 11:28:38 PM »

IF there is merit to your position (not that I believe there is), surely it would only be strengthened by open and objective debate.

Although I make no secret of opposing the ordination of women, my concern in this cubicle is with potential problems posed by the Met.'s comments at the Conf.  In particular, I was pointing out what I perceived to be an inconsistency in his premises and arguments (you may wish to reread my post above).  Naturally, I assume that the ordination of women and homosexuals is trouble.  The fact that you do not means that you and I have nothing to debate regarding the comments.  If I were so minded, I would continue this discussion where it belongs--in the ordination topic.
For future discussion--it is very difficult for most of us to avoid logical lapses of one sort or another in a discussion of this nature, but surely we can give bdelygmia and ad hominem a miss.
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« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2008, 12:15:58 AM »

Although I make no secret of opposing the ordination of women, my concern in this cubicle is with potential problems posed by the Met.'s comments at the Conf.  In particular, I was pointing out what I perceived to be an inconsistency in his premises and arguments (you may wish to reread my post above).

In one breath you state 'church life...is not the place to apply the rational logic of secular society', yet in the next you upbraid His Excellency for being, get this, 'inconsistent'. My dear friend, once you dismiss the precepts of logic you can no longer expect one to be consistent. For to be consistent is to be logical, and to be logical is to be consistent, by your implications if he were to be consistent in his views he'd no better than a heretic.

Of course, having read several academic papers from His Excellency, as well as his books, I disagree with your accusation of inconsistency. While his views may have matured several decades ago, I fear if you read his works you will find that his views have changed very little and have remained quite consistent ever since he came under Thyatira.

Quote
Naturally, I assume that the ordination of women and homosexuals is trouble.  The fact that you do not means that you and I have nothing to debate regarding the comments.  If I were so minded, I would continue this discussion where it belongs--in the ordination topic.

I thought the discussion was about His Excellency, consistency, and academic honesty. While I personally view the ordination of gays and women as human rights issues, I also support the right of private organizations to discriminate, though I don't think that respectable people should affiliate themselves with such organizations. So, ultimately, you folks can do as you want here (or, more accurately, your bishops can do as they want, you really don't have a say). But while I have no intention of telling you what you can and cannot do, I do happen to know that His Excellency is a good and honest person, and a good person, even if he's a religious person, shouldn't have his character assassinated with half-truths and outright libel. Perhaps you should be familiar with someone's works before you choose to tear them apart.

Quote
For future discussion--it is very difficult for most of us to avoid logical lapses of one sort or another in a discussion of this nature, but surely we can give bdelygmia and ad hominem a miss.
DanM

Now, now...how can one versed in the writings of the Greek Fathers not appreciate rhetorical extravagancies?
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« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2008, 11:33:40 AM »

In one breath you state 'church life...is not the place to apply the rational logic of secular society.'

Distinguo.  Logic per se is a matter of verifying the relations of conclusions to premises.  The "rational logic of secular society" of Fr. Igor is short-hand for applying worldly standards to the church.  This often shows up as a kind of soul-devouring reductio ad absurdam, which bubbles forth such propositions as animals and plants having human rights. 

Once you dismiss the precepts of logic you can no longer expect one to be consistent.
Nego.  Many madmen are consistent.

For to be consistent is to be logical
Nego.  Ut supra.

to be logical is to be consistent
Affirmo.

having read several academic papers from His Excellency, as well as his books, I disagree with your accusation of inconsistency.
The inconsistency was alleged of his comments, not of his opinions across time.  I should emphasize that it was a sneaky inconsistency.  He was not speaking (it seem) from prepared notes, he might have been having a Jerry Ford Poland experience.

I thought the discussion was about His Excellency, consistency, and academic honesty.
Omit "His Excellency" and "academic honesty."  The only thing that matters to me is the analysis of his opinion.

While I personally view the ordination of gays and women as human rights issues,
This is precisely what I detected and generally oppose in his comments.  Human rights are necessary in the context of any civil authority.  E.g., I suppose that I have a right to not be deprived of an education, but I do not have a right to an education provided for by a civil authority.  The recent multiplication of human and animal rights is due to the hypothesis that human rights are primarily positive, i.e., that anyone has a right to the provision of a positive good by a civil authority. 
Au contraire, there is no right to ordination by anyone, male, female or homosexual, since no civil authority can legitimately take it upon himself to furnish citizens indifferently with ordination.  The premise entertained by the Met. is that one may work out a reasonable defense of existing practice in case women and homosexuals are not ordained; my premise is that human rights do not generally apply to church canons to the extent that they do not harm people.  (On this score, it is interesting that the church eschews self-flagellation, although this exercise of piety surfaces now and again, most recently at Athos.)  To apply human rights to a church is like applying canon law to a baseball game. 

I also support the right of private organizations to discriminate, though I don't think that respectable people should affiliate themselves with such organizations.
I have perhaps errantly devoted my whole life to an unending battle against respectability.  Please do not use that word.

more accurately, your bishops can do as they want, you really don't have a say.
In fact, I am told canon law authorizes little old ladies to tell off bishops.  In the church, as in the army, mere rank means nothing if people do not recognize the moral force of the rank-bearing man.  I should have thought that a little church history would prevent making such a claim.  In fact, your comment makes me think that you see episcopal authority as tantamount to political authority.

I do happen to know that His Excellency is a good and honest person, and a good person, even if he's a religious person, shouldn't have his character assassinated with half-truths and outright libel. Perhaps you should be familiar with someone's works before you choose to tear them apart. 
Once again, bdelygmia and ad hominem!  Did you look these words up?  For that matter, character assassination and libel have pretty specific definitions in English.  Do you know what they mean?  If so, why are you using them to describe a disagreement of principles?
DanM

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« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2008, 02:11:32 PM »

Met Kallistos is a prime example of the English compromise.  I've heard this stuff all my life - especially from Anglicans.  His Eminence seems to be afraid of stating what we believe by hiding behind 'what is done' as if the rest of us ignorant paeons.  Of course i can't blame him for being 'diplomatic' but really he needs to come out of the don's staffroom and call a spade a spade.  Is he becoming another Don Cupit?
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« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2008, 03:03:38 PM »

Having never been a groupie/fan of Frs. Meyendorff or Schmemann (yes, I know - heresy!), increasingly I have come to feel the same about Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.  The following excerpt from a recent interview he granted whilst attending the Anglican Lambeth Conference as an "observer" illustrates why I have growing reservations about this prelate:

". . . the questions that you are considering are also questions that are of concern to us. And if they are not particularly on our immediate agenda now, yet they are questions that we will need to consider increasingly in the future. . . . also as questions that are posed to us Orthodox. For example, the question of women priests and bishops. Most Orthodox would say, we should not ordain women. But if you ask them why not, they will say that it has never been done; they will appeal to tradition. But you press them a little farther, and say that there must be a reason why women have never been ordained as priests. The argument from tradition merely tells you that they have never been ordained as priests, but it does not tell you why. Surely there must be some theological reason. On the one hand, the Orthodox are certain and clear in their answer. Most of us would say, no, we could not ever ordain women. Yet others would say, it is for us essentially an open question. We are not proposing to do so in the near future, but we need to reflect more deeply on it. If all we say is, “impossible, never,” we perhaps should ask ourselves, what are the implications for our understanding of human nature , of the difference between male and female, for our understanding of the priesthood and the relationship of the priest to Christ. That is an example of how your questions are perhaps to some extent also our questions.

Then again the issue that is coming up very much here at Lambeth: the possibility of blessing homosexual relationships. The Orthodox Church would answer, no, this cannot be done – that sexuality is a gift from God, to be used within marriage, and by marriage we mean the union of one man and one woman. But it’s quite clear in the modern world – and the Orthodox also belong to the modern world – that the whole issue of the meaning of human sexuality is going to be more and more explored. And if we are to interpret this traditional teaching to our people, we need to reflect deeply on the basic principles. "


Sorry Met. Kallistos, but the questions of female and/or homosexual ordination/marriage are not "our questions" to any extent.  If they ever do become "our questions" open to 'exploration' with 'deep reflection,' then I'll simply have to be moving on.  Hopefully with much prayer, such a day will never arrive.

Source: http://www.prayerbookatlambeth.org/interviews/2008/7/28/an-interview-with-the-most-revd-kallistos-ware-archbishop-of.html

Yes, I've come to the same conclusions.  I don't even recommned his latest editions of "the Orthodox Church."
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« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2008, 03:14:02 PM »

Since he has already admited that the arguments, both scriptural and especially canonical (which are non-existant) against women's ordination are inadequate, what you suggest is academically dishonest.

I find it most interesting that your preference is that His Excellency lie.

IF there is merit to your position (not that I believe there is), surely it would only be strengthened by open and objective debate. But the reality is that while closing the issue as much as possible, your side is still loosing ground on both the issues of women's equality and gay rights. I'm sorry, but in the end, members of a civilized society will simply not tolerate institutionalized bigotry and discrimination.

And I'm not even saying that the church should change it's position; heck, it may be better for everyone if the church digs its heels in and fights the loosing battle.

Yes, the "enlightened" have awaited the Church's demise since Voltaire.

Don't hold your breath.
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« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2008, 11:42:07 PM »

I like Metropolitan KALLISTOS. I have his book The Orthodox Way and The Orthodox Church. I like "The Way" better. I also liked his interview on Ancient Faith Radio with Fr. Steve.

But I don't agree with everything he says.

The argument from tradition merely tells you that they have never been ordained as priests, but it does not tell you why.

Here's a pretty good essay on why:

http://www.antiochian.org/midwest/Articles/The_Orthodox_Priest_An_Ikon_Of_Christ.htm
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« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2008, 10:45:34 AM »

The tangent involving determining the logic of God's actions has been moved to Free-for-All Religious Topics:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,17616.0.html
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« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2008, 05:23:46 PM »

I wish I'd found this thread a few months ago.

Metropolitan Kallistos visited our parish recently and I would very much have liked to have introduced these concerns (in a polite and reasonable way!) during the Questions and Answers which followed the Divine Liturgy on that occasion.

I have to credit Metropolitan Kallistos as his book "The Orthodox Church" was my first introduction to the very existance of Orthodoxy, as I was (and technically still am) an Anglican who was struggling with issues about the origins of the Anglican church and my deep reservations about Protestant theology (let alone gay marriage and women priests). Were it not for his book (second edition), I dare sare I may have considered Roman Catholicism.

One thing I must say is that in person Metropolitan Kallistos is one of the kindest and humblest people I have ever met. However, I'm rather concerned by what I've read in this interview and hope that it is perhaps selective quotation, but I fear not.
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« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2008, 05:52:25 PM »

Fwiw, I'm reading a book right now that asserts that there were women priests and even bishops in the early Church. Whether that's true or not, apparently that type of claim is out there, and there are also people pushing for female priests in many Christian groups. There are also people claiming that a male-only clergy is sexist, that the "Jesus movement" was corrupted by the early Church, and so forth. There is the claim out there that homosexuality is natural, and thus is not something bad or sinful. I think that part of what Met. Kallistos is saying is that we need to refrain from ignoring these claims being made, and that we need to deal with what other people are saying, just as the early Christians did not ignore what their pagan and gnostic neighbors believed. I don't think that's all that he was saying, but I think that is part of it.
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« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2008, 07:13:43 PM »

I found that Metropolitan Kallistos' words about Lambeth were rather wishy-washy.  Mind you, he has to run shoulders with Anglicans every day and probably needs to be inoffensive.

A much better and more trenchant analysis was given by Cardinal Kasper who also attended Lambeth.

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/206069?eng=y
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