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Author Topic: Are these acts heretical?  (Read 1631 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 09, 2008, 09:54:20 AM »

I am hoping this topic can be discussed without it being locked up!

I just read about the EP's visit to Rome and participating in a prayer service with the Roman Catholics.  Here is a picture of the EP and the Pope standing before the alter each holding up the Gospel.

See: http://www.goarch.org/en/news/observer/pdf/2008/2008-08-AUG.pdf

Everybody is aware of the EP's relationship with Rome but I have not yet read an honest, logical discussion on both sides of the issue in context of "if" this relationship places the EP outside of the Church. 

Most Old Calendarists say the EP is outside of the Church for praying with alleged Latin heretics, changing the calendar and engaging in the "pan-heresy of ecumenism".  They also claim that a pan-Orthodox council is not needed to judge the matter because the "crimes" have been addressed already - as if "world Orthodoxy" would rule themselves in violation anyway.  The Synod in Resistance OC'ists say the EP is in serious violation of the canons but not yet outside of the Church simply because the canons also say that a pan-Orthodox must be held to decide the matter.  Until such a council is held the Resistors claim they have precedent in the fathers who have broken communion and "walled themselves off" from the canon-breakers.  On the obverse side Conservative New Calendarists and Russian Orthodox claim, while not agreeing with the path the EP is on, they are not outside of the Church because they are only 'breaking canons' not preaching heresy "bareheaded in the Church".   Then there are some who claim the EP is not outside of the Church at all by praying with the Latins before working out the "doctrinal issues", but rather doing the work of God.

Unfortunately I am cursed with seeing merit in both positions - and not wanting to be double-minded - I would like to see this topic debated in such a way that we can actually get the issues discussed before the subject downward spirals.  It seems everytime the topic really starts getting somewhere it gets sabotaged!

So my questions are,

1. Does the EP praying with the Latins before working out the doctrinal and theological issues that separate the East
    and the West place them outside of  the Church (and why)?

2. Is the EP already outside of the Church for alleged past violations (and why)?


Thanks for any comments and for discussing the topic without flaming emotions!
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2008, 10:24:55 AM »

Patriarch Bartholomew is not wearing liturgical vestments, only his mantia. Therefore he cannot be said to be "co-serving" with the Pope. I am unsure of the significance of them both holding up Gospel books, not being familiar enough with Roman Catholic praxis at vespers. There are two chairs set up in front of the altar, but the angle at which the photograph was taken does not give a sense of perspective as to how close these chairs are to the altar. I suspect they may be some distance away.
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2008, 10:40:08 AM »

Thanks for opening this very interesting topic! Then, let's begin the discussion. Here's my opinion.

The situation of Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy reminds me of the same divisions of st Peter, st Paul and st James. For this reason I hold the position of Paul, who did never cease to openly show his disapproval for the attitude of his fellow apostles, but at the same time never said they were heretics. Substantially both Peter and James were in error, and Paul hoped in a reconciliation. Did he ever celebrate the Eucharist with them once they doubted of the soundness of his doctrine? No, he didn't, but he always hoped for unity, and offered dialogue as an answer. Praying altogether for unity, in this case, is the first step to reconciliation.
I think the attitude of the Ecumenical Patriarch (God bless him thrice!) is a strange position, but he's not out of the boundaries of Orthodoxy, yet. I think that the blessed and all-lodable apostles Paul and Peter could easily have prayed together, kissed the Holy Bible and the Aramaic Gospel of Matthew with no violation of anything. Prayer is the first step for peace between the brethren in Christ...  Even Jesus never refused to dialogue with the woman in Samaria, didn't he? But this is of course due to the EP's position, as he sees the RCC not as "heretic", but just as a "heterodox" Church which departed from tradition. Just a personal view, of course.
At the same time, I think the more "rigid" position of Patriarch Alexy II is more authentically Orthodox. His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow (God bless him thrice!) is just doubting of the distinction between "heresy" and "heterodoxy". While I ordinarily think that before Vatican I the RCC was "heterodox", I consider post-Vatican II RCC as heretical too. The question of the Papal Infallibility is not just an error, it's a christological heresy as this recognizes the Pope the same condition as a second Christ.

That's why I appreciate the position of His Holiness Alexy II and at the same time can't condemn the very "positive" hope for unity expressed by His Holiness Bartholomew I (I hope he'll never go beyond these limits, though, introducing favorable positions on Papal Infallibility or the Filioque clause...)

God bless!
In Christ,   Alex

PS: John Paul II did even more terrible things kissing the Quran (an heretical work!) or denying any reference to the Promised Messiah to be truly present in the prophecies of the OT! What a terrible thing!

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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2008, 12:36:01 PM »

Substantially both Peter and James were in error.

Thanks for the response Alex.  Could you elaborate on this in more detail - and how you tie this into how it relates to the EP and the RCC?

Thanks again.
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2008, 02:29:53 PM »

Of course I can!
I think the main error is a mistaken interpretation of the words. As the Roman Catholics, for example, misunderstand the word "procession" relating to the Holy Spirit, at the same time Peter and James mistook the word "works" in "justification by faith and not by works". In the first case Roman Catholics follow a "Latin" interpretation of procession as "being sent" while it means "having origin from"; in the second one Peter and James understood "works" in a way that they thought Paul was entirely rejecting the Law of Moses, while the Apostle of the Gentiles was just saying that there's a difference between the ethical code and the liturgical and national practices of the Old Testament...
I think that all divisions up to now are more or less a consequence of the "Babel phenomenon": often language barriers are the main cause of schisms. But when two churches are still so similar that they can discuss a topic and find a common understanding, that means no "substantial" division ever happened: that is true for the Oriental Orthodox Churches, for example, as it was for the Roman Catholic Church until Vatican I. At that time the error became so evident that it destroyed any possibility to restore unity on the base of what is common or not.
Another point of contact between the two examples is on the question of "divine right" limited to only one part of the People of God. As Peter and James asked the converts from paganism to be circumcised because of the necessity of being Jews to become
Christians, saying that those who received the OT had been somehow elected to this role, a similar situation is found in the Roman Church, when the Popes claim the Church of Rome to be superior by divine right to what they call "sister churches": only accepting to be "Roman Catholic" you could truly be a Christian!

I hope the matter is well explained, here.

God bless!
In Christ,   Alex


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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2008, 03:41:14 PM »

Of course I can!
I think the main error is a mistaken interpretation of the words. As the Roman Catholics, for example, misunderstand the word "procession" relating to the Holy Spirit, at the same time Peter and James mistook the word "works" in "justification by faith and not by works". In the first case Roman Catholics follow a "Latin" interpretation of procession as "being sent" while it means "having origin from"; in the second one Peter and James understood "works" in a way that they thought Paul was entirely rejecting the Law of Moses, while the Apostle of the Gentiles was just saying that there's a difference between the ethical code and the liturgical and national practices of the Old Testament...  As Peter and James asked the converts from paganism to be circumcised because of the necessity of being Jews to become Christians, saying that those who received the OT had been somehow elected to this role, a similar situation is found in the Roman Church, when the Popes claim the Church of Rome to be superior by divine right to what they call "sister churches": only accepting to be "Roman Catholic" you could truly be a Christian!

I hope the matter is well explained, here.

God bless!
In Christ,   Alex

Thanks for answering.  I know this is drifting off point but - concerning St. Paul and the law; wouldn't the more obvious answer be that his Gentile audience was simply not obligated to the law as it was never given to them?  In basic contract law the arrangements made between two parties are binding only between those two parties.  The Gentiles were never obligated to the Sinai laws but the Jews were.  In that context, one can see why St. Paul would be speaking completely against the Law IF his audience was Gentiles.  Moses did not bring the law to the Gentiles, only Israelites.  IMO, this is where the problem lies.  St. Paul seems to have been misrepresented by the Jewish Christians who must have heard his message to the Gentiles.

Sorry for taking this topic off point!
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2008, 08:17:54 PM »

I find great comfort in the fact that both the Pope and HAH Bartholomew recited the Creed without the Filioque. Baby steps.
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« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2008, 09:30:42 AM »

I find great comfort in the fact that both the Pope and HAH Bartholomew recited the Creed without the Filioque. Baby steps.

I think it shows that there is a possibility that other doctrinal issues could be worked out.   Also - concerning the Latins being viewed as "heretical" - I have read Russian assertions stating that this status has not been ruled on by a pan-Orthodox council.

Is this true?
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2008, 09:58:40 AM »

Grace and Peace,

Before I stopped attending Mass in the Roman Catholic Church I was in the RCIA Sponsor Program at my RCC Parish. It was painful at the time to see how far they had moved from Classic Roman Catholic Theology. Gone was the argument that it was on the 'person' of Peter that they Church would be built. Gone was the Primacy of a Juridical view of Salvation. Gone was the Son's appeasement  of the Wrath of God toward Sin. It was all gone. Although I was largely being taught a kind of watered down Orthodox Theology I knew, in my heart of hearts, that there existed a kind of hypocrisy in the Roman Catholic Church since Vatican II. Ultimately I found that Pre-Vatican II Theology was 'not' that of the Early Church Fathers and I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to either deepen the Theology taught in the Parish (RCIA) or leave. Ultimately I left but before I did I had lunch with my Roman Catholic Parish Priest. We talked at length and he agreed that I would be better served in Orthodoxy. He didn't outright say 'we're frauds and we're trying to move the Church closer to the truth' but there was a certain recognize in his eyes and manner when I spoken to him about the early Church teachings on Salvation. I don't believe that I am particularly intelligent and I'm sure there are far more intelligent people in the Roman Church other than I. I am certain that they 'know' Rome has strayed. I just really feel like they honestly don't know what to do about it. So much of their identity and personality is tied up in being Catholic.

I have great sympathy for those who know but don't have the strength to do something about it.
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2008, 11:09:28 AM »

I think it shows that there is a possibility that other doctrinal issues could be worked out.   Also - concerning the Latins being viewed as "heretical" - I have read Russian assertions stating that this status has not been ruled on by a pan-Orthodox council.

Is this true?
Why does it matter?  Is a teaching not a heresy until a pan-Orthodox or ecumenical council proclaims it a heresy?  Or does such a council merely recognize that a teaching has always been a self-evident heresy?
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« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2008, 01:34:25 PM »

I think it shows that there is a possibility that other doctrinal issues could be worked out.   Also - concerning the Latins being viewed as "heretical" - I have read Russian assertions stating that this status has not been ruled on by a pan-Orthodox council.

Is this true?
Why does it matter?  Is a teaching not a heresy until a pan-Orthodox or ecumenical council proclaims it a heresy?  Or does such a council merely recognize that a teaching has always been a self-evident heresy?

Well the argument - as far as I understand it - is that a pan-Orthodox council's final decision is important on how Orthodoxy would formally relate to the RCC.

Maybe it does not matter but I think I remember seeing a canon which stated that such a council is required. 
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Tags: ecumenism Old Calendarists Ecumenical Patriarchate prayer with heterodox 
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