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Author Topic: Opus Dei: Controversial Inside and Outside the Catholic Church  (Read 11053 times) Average Rating: 0
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Pravoslavbob
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« on: November 25, 2008, 12:42:58 PM »

Since Lubeltri chose to remain silent in regards to my post concerning this "personal prelature" of the Roman Church, I have decided to create a new thread.  How is it that an organisation like Opus Dei can come to have such an influence in the Catholic Church?  It is clearly a controversial group both in and outside of the Roman communion.  What are the implications for relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church?

This is a website run by former members of Opus Dei who wish to call attention to alleged abuses perpetrated by the group.

http://www.odan.org/

This overview from Wikipedia seems to provide a rather balanced view of things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opus_Dei

Here is my original post from the Differences in Orthodox and Catholic Approaches to the Christian Life thread.

BTW, Pravoslav, before you go Dan Brown and make a crack at St. Josemaria and Opus Dei, I suggest you actually read The Way and actually meet Opus Dei members. Go on a weekend retreat with them (I just did this past weekend, in fact).

The fact is that Opus Dei is an extremely controversial group, both inside and outside of the Roman Catholic Church.  I think I have met members of Opus Dei.  The thing is, they never admitted to me being members of the organisation and were in many ways quite secretive.  IMHO, your enthusiasm for this group does nothing to bolster your cause for Catholicism.  It might make some think that you have a tendency towards sectarian extremism.  I may or may not be counted among these people.  I am not saying that the link below gives the whole story, but it does give one pause to consider some disturbing questions.  And it's not only here that one can see evidence of the controversy.  Just doing a google search would provide one with plenty of reasons to question the motivations of this group and perhaps even its founder.

http://www.odan.org/
« Last Edit: November 25, 2008, 12:44:48 PM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2008, 01:39:24 PM »

Opus Dei is protecting the deeply held Vatican Secret that Jesus was actually married to Mary Magdalene, who is really the Holy Grail.  Grin
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2008, 01:56:50 PM »

Opus Dei is protecting the deeply held Vatican Secret that Jesus was actually married to Mary Magdalene, who is really the Holy Grail.  Grin

Ugh.  I wish I had never spent the 30 minutes it took to read/predict that book.  Blech.
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2008, 02:12:27 PM »

Gnosticism simply found more powerful friends in Hollywood and the Internet.
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2008, 02:27:48 PM »

Opus Dei is protecting the deeply held Vatican Secret that Jesus was actually married to Mary Magdalene, who is really the Holy Grail.  Grin

I was always looking for independent confirmation of these facts from a true Roman Catholic!  Thank you for your courage in discussing this openly!  When the Opus Dei folks come to take you away to their secret prisons to torture you for divulging this information, we'll support you in prayer (and a sequel!).
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2008, 02:42:28 PM »

Many thanks.  Wink
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2008, 05:21:29 PM »

Opus Dei is protecting the deeply held Vatican Secret that Jesus was actually married to Mary Magdalene, who is really the Holy Grail.  Grin

Interesting that you should choose to trivialise the whole situation in this way.  This appears to be a technique employed by Opus Dei itself in order to give itself more credibility and to show that those who oppose it are a bunch of kooks.  But this is not about The Davinci Code.  The controversy surrounding Opus Dei is decades older than the publication date of this silly book. 

http://www.odan.org/davinci.htm
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2008, 05:22:30 PM »

Opus Dei is protecting the deeply held Vatican Secret that Jesus was actually married to Mary Magdalene, who is really the Holy Grail.  Grin

Interesting that you should choose to trivialise the whole situation in this way.  This appears to be a technique employed by Opus Dei itself in order to give itself more credibility and to show that those who oppose it are a bunch of kooks.  But this is not about The Davinci Code.  The controversy surrounding Opus Dei is decades older than the publication date of this silly book. 

http://www.odan.org/davinci.htm
Yes... Decades. Even centuries. It all Started when the Illuminati...
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2008, 05:35:42 PM »

I do not think that those articles were particularly helpful.  The only controversial thing that I could find is that they are "secretive" and it is alleged that their superiors dictate what members can read.  Leadership in the group is also accused of reading the personal correspondence of its members.

But those accusations are not backed up by any substantial sources.  The more important question is what the groups actually teaches.  I would like to read something controversial about their teachings rather than allegations against their leaders' methods of leading.
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2008, 05:37:57 PM »

Thanks for bringing this up Pravoslavbob. Opus Dei (or "The Oddies" as they are known here) have all the hallmarks of a cult. I actually stayed my first Uni year in the Opus Dei run residential college at the University of New South Wales. I about lasted six months before moving to the Anglican College. Since the OD college I stayed in is the only OD college in NSW, it must be the one which this 17 year survivor of the OD cult mentions: http://www.odan.org/tw_seventeen_years.htm
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2008, 01:28:40 AM »

Grace and Peace my Eastern Brothers and Sisters in Christ and to those Roman Brethren who find themselves in diaspora here on this Orthodox Christian Forum. I find it interesting to see our Eastern Brothers and Sisters show concern of Opus Dei and the Catholic Church Proper. To fuel criticism it is always wise to first look to those dissident elements to give meat to one's concerns. In the age of the internet we are only a few clicks away from volumes of whatever views meet with our acceptance to craft and crave our opinions. Reality and truth are of no more concern when reality is but the sum of our evidence to it's contrary. We choose want we want to believe.

I would simply ask those who are not Catholic and who are not members of Opus Dei to restrain themselves from conclusions derived from dissident elements especially when one is a member of a tradition which draws much of it's own identity from it's opposition to the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

I am not a member of Opus Dei but I am familiar with serveral works of it's founder Blessed Josemaria Escriva.
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2008, 01:40:38 AM »

... especially when one is a member of a tradition which draws much of it's own identity from it's opposition to the Holy Roman Catholic Church.


Please clarify specifically what you mean by this.

At first glance, it may appear that you are indicating that the Holy Orthodox Church draws much of its identity from being opposed to Rome.

Is this what you intend to state?
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« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2008, 02:10:19 AM »

... especially when one is a member of a tradition which draws much of it's own identity from it's opposition to the Holy Roman Catholic Church.


Please clarify specifically what you mean by this.

At first glance, it may appear that you are indicating that the Holy Orthodox Church draws much of its identity from being opposed to Rome.

Is this what you intend to state?

Grace and Peace to you Father,

I could not be honest with you, Father, if I didn't say clearly that a real crisis of identity exists between Eastern and Western Christianity, most specifically in the facts that both Eastern and Western Churches proclaim and profess themselves to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Modern Polemics clearly go to great lengths to extenuate our differences in the hopes that these differences will cause a crisis of identity to choose a side. I find it dubious that devout followers of Orthodoxy can study the Holy Roman Catholic Church with any objectivity. To be a devout follower of Orthodoxy is not only a distinction in practice but only of distinction in historical continuance of the Christian Church. Since before 1054 AD the East has been opposed to the West. This has largely not changed.
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« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2008, 06:52:26 AM »

I would simply ask those who are not Catholic and who are not members of Opus Dei to restrain themselves from conclusions derived from dissident elements especially when one is a member of a tradition which draws much of it's own identity from it's opposition to the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
In the post above this one I pointed out that my experience with Opus Dei was first hand.....And I still think they're a sick cult.
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« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2008, 10:20:58 AM »

Thanks for bringing this up Pravoslavbob. Opus Dei (or "The Oddies" as they are known here) have all the hallmarks of a cult. I actually stayed my first Uni year in the Opus Dei run residential college at the University of New South Wales. I about lasted six months before moving to the Anglican College. Since the OD college I stayed in is the only OD college in NSW, it must be the one which this 17 year survivor of the OD cult mentions: http://www.odan.org/tw_seventeen_years.htm

You`re welcome, Ozgeorge.  I remember reading a little bit about your experiences in another thread.

I've had first-hand experience with Opus Dei ("ODDIES" as we used to call them at Uni).
My first Semester at university was spent at an Opus Dei residential college at the Unviversity of NSW (Warrane College). It was not advertised as an Opus Dei college. After one semester, I couldn't stand it any more and took refuge in New College (an Anglican college). I kept getting into trouble at Warrane for ridiculous things like speaking to a female student in front of the college entrance (females are not permitted to enter Warrane), also, because I would not attend Mass in the college chapel or go to the weekly Chaplain's talk. I did attend Mass there once to appease one of my friends there, and it was strange. During the Eucharist, even though they used the Novos Ordo, a huge screen consisting of copper plates with religious symbols was drawn across the Communion rail to screen the altar- kind of like an Iconostasis without the Icons; and Communion was distributed to kneeling communicants on the tongue only, which was strange, since I had attended a few funeral Masses before and never saw any of this.
I remember, I spent a lot of my time at Warrane in the gym punching the punching bag.
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« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2008, 10:35:41 AM »

Grace and Peace my Eastern Brothers and Sisters in Christ and to those Roman Brethren who find themselves in diaspora here on this Orthodox Christian Forum. I find it interesting to see our Eastern Brothers and Sisters show concern of Opus Dei and the Catholic Church Proper. To fuel criticism it is always wise to first look to those dissident elements to give meat to one's concerns. In the age of the internet we are only a few clicks away from volumes of whatever views meet with our acceptance to craft and crave our opinions. Reality and truth are of no more concern when reality is but the sum of our evidence to it's contrary. We choose want we want to believe.

I would simply ask those who are not Catholic and who are not members of Opus Dei to restrain themselves from conclusions derived from dissident elements especially when one is a member of a tradition which draws much of it's own identity from it's opposition to the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

I am not a member of Opus Dei but I am familiar with serveral works of it's founder Blessed Josemaria Escriva.

Well, if Opus Dei represents a "dissident" element, it is a dissident element like no other.  Their founder was put on the fast track to sainthood by Pope John Paul II.  Pope Benedict XVI is apparently on record as having spoken very highly of the group when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger.  Pope John Paul made Opus Dei a so-called "Personal Prelature", the only such "prelature" in existence in the Roman communion.  They have loads of assets and cash, and have great influence in several Catholic seminaries and schools of higher learning, if not outright control of these institutions.  They have many influential supporters and many influential detractors in the Catholic Church.  So I find it very disingenuous, to say the least, to simply dismiss them as being of no consequence when it comes to relations between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. 
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« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2008, 11:28:47 AM »


I've had first-hand experience with Opus Dei ("ODDIES" as we used to call them at Uni).
My first Semester at university was spent at an Opus Dei residential college at the Unviversity of NSW (Warrane College). It was not advertised as an Opus Dei college. After one semester, I couldn't stand it any more and took refuge in New College (an Anglican college). I kept getting into trouble at Warrane for ridiculous things like speaking to a female student in front of the college entrance (females are not permitted to enter Warrane), also, because I would not attend Mass in the college chapel or go to the weekly Chaplain's talk. I did attend Mass there once to appease one of my friends there, and it was strange. During the Eucharist, even though they used the Novos Ordo, a huge screen consisting of copper plates with religious symbols was drawn across the Communion rail to screen the altar- kind of like an Iconostasis without the Icons; and Communion was distributed to kneeling communicants on the tongue only, which was strange, since I had attended a few funeral Masses before and never saw any of this.
I remember, I spent a lot of my time at Warrane in the gym punching the punching bag.

If these practices make George think they are a "sick cult," I shudder to think of what he considers Mount Athos. I am surprised to hear from Orthodox criticisms about Opus Dei separating the sexes (except for the majority supernumeraries, who are married!), being strict, observing ascetic practices. What on Earth is wrong with that? The wonderful thing about St. Josemaria Escriva is he told the world that the way of perfection is NOT limited to "elite" classes of priests and monks. The layman, living in the world, can and should do the same.

St. Josemaria was on the fast track to canonization because so many reported miracles poured in during the years following his death---literally hundreds. It did not take long to verify the necessary two.

George, every Opus Dei Mass I've been to uses the "Benedictine altar arrangement"* and has communicants receive on the tongue with a paten under their chin.

*

And what is so unusual about this? The Holy Father does it:


Receiving on the hand, standing, is an EXCEPTION (indult) to the rule.

-

I am blessed to have a relationship with a local Opus Dei house. The good men there are serious about their faith and serious about evangelization. It's downright uncharitable to smear them as "sick cultists."
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« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2008, 12:18:37 PM »

Well, if Opus Dei represents a "dissident" element, it is a dissident element like no other.  Their founder was put on the fast track to sainthood by Pope John Paul II.  Pope Benedict XVI is apparently on record as having spoken very highly of the group when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger.  Pope John Paul made Opus Dei a so-called "Personal Prelature", the only such "prelature" in existence in the Roman communion.  They have loads of assets and cash, and have great influence in several Catholic seminaries and schools of higher learning, if not outright control of these institutions.  They have many influential supporters and many influential detractors in the Catholic Church.  So I find it very disingenuous, to say the least, to simply dismiss them as being of no consequence when it comes to relations between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. 

Gracias et Pax,

No, you have misunderstood me. I am not saying that Opus Dei is a dissident element but that websites by dissident elements of Opus Dei members might not be 'objective'. From what works I have read by Blessed Josemaria have been sound. So I'm not dismissing them but I fail to see why they are a concern to Orthodoxy? I guess my question is why is this a concern of yours?
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« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2008, 12:39:20 PM »

I have one word for you and lubeltri: cilice.
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« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2008, 12:42:14 PM »

I have one word for you and lubeltri: cilice.

You can even buy them online to prove how much a devotee of Opus Dei and the teachings of the almost Marquis Jose Maria (original spelling) you really are: http://www.cilice.co.uk/
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« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2008, 12:50:57 PM »

Since Lubeltri chose to remain silent in regards to my post concerning this "personal prelature" of the Roman Church, I have decided to create a new thread.  How is it that an organisation like Opus Dei can come to have such an influence in the Catholic Church?  It is clearly a controversial group both in and outside of the Roman communion.  What are the implications for relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church?

This is a website run by former members of Opus Dei who wish to call attention to alleged abuses perpetrated by the group.

http://www.odan.org/

This overview from Wikipedia seems to provide a rather balanced view of things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opus_Dei

Here is my original post from the Differences in Orthodox and Catholic Approaches to the Christian Life thread.

BTW, Pravoslav, before you go Dan Brown and make a crack at St. Josemaria and Opus Dei, I suggest you actually read The Way and actually meet Opus Dei members. Go on a weekend retreat with them (I just did this past weekend, in fact).

The fact is that Opus Dei is an extremely controversial group, both inside and outside of the Roman Catholic Church.  I think I have met members of Opus Dei.  The thing is, they never admitted to me being members of the organisation and were in many ways quite secretive.  IMHO, your enthusiasm for this group does nothing to bolster your cause for Catholicism.  It might make some think that you have a tendency towards sectarian extremism.  I may or may not be counted among these people.  I am not saying that the link below gives the whole story, but it does give one pause to consider some disturbing questions.  And it's not only here that one can see evidence of the controversy.  Just doing a google search would provide one with plenty of reasons to question the motivations of this group and perhaps even its founder.

http://www.odan.org/


The report I saw on tv didn't move me. I don't see anything wrong with Opus Dei. I dated a few Roman Catholics in my life, and so I know that it all depends on if the Roman Catholic family is devout or not. There are alot of cultural Roman Catholics in the Rust belt....and yes alot of them may hate Opus Dei.

What I saw on TV was that a mother didn't like Opus Dei because of the rules they put on her daughter.

I'm like, so what! If your daughter is over the age of 18 then you have no rights over your daughter and what she does. Who cares if you can't see your daughter like you use to.

I think that's a good thing. To many Roman Catholics have been Americanized/Secularized!!!



I don't see anything wrong with Opus Dei, .....infact, I would rather see a Roman Catholic in Opus Dei than the free masons and Eastern Star.......and yes there are alot of cultural Roman Catholics (in the rust belt) who are Freemasons and Eastern Star.


People have to understand that some humans actually like Rules and regulations. If you can't handle it then groups like Opus Dei aren't for you.





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« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2008, 12:58:48 PM »

Thanks for bringing this up Pravoslavbob. Opus Dei (or "The Oddies" as they are known here) have all the hallmarks of a cult. I actually stayed my first Uni year in the Opus Dei run residential college at the University of New South Wales. I about lasted six months before moving to the Anglican College. Since the OD college I stayed in is the only OD college in NSW, it must be the one which this 17 year survivor of the OD cult mentions: http://www.odan.org/tw_seventeen_years.htm


What's wrong with Cults? Is the Royal Navy a cult? Is the United States Army a cult?

Why can't religious groups be just as strict as the armed forces?





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« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2008, 01:09:10 PM »

Gracias et Pax,

No, you have misunderstood me. I am not saying that Opus Dei is a dissident element but that websites by dissident elements of Opus Dei members might not be 'objective'. From what works I have read by Blessed Josemaria have been sound. So I'm not dismissing them but I fail to see why they are a concern to Orthodoxy? I guess my question is why is this a concern of yours?

Well, of course they are not objective.  They have a particular point of view.  Views supporting the group are not objective either.  The point is that Opus Dei is an extremely controversial group.  Criticism of it has come from a wide variety of sources, and this is no secret, even though members of the group appear to me to be disturbingly secretive.  Just do a google search and see for yourself.  As for your second question, I have already answered it.  This is a controversial group with allegedly sectarian and fanatical tendencies that has links that strike close to the heart of the Catholic Church.  So it should be of great concern to the Orthodox and anyone else who has the remotest kind of contact with the Church of Rome....ie just about everyone.
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« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2008, 01:16:16 PM »

What's wrong with Cults?

Right.  Who hasn`t felt the need to adhere to a large group of people and go with them to a remote area and drink grape juice laced with cyanide at one time or another in their life.  I know I have.   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2008, 01:25:30 PM »

What's wrong with Cults?

Right.  Who hasn`t felt the need to adhere to a large group of people and go with them to a remote area and drink grape juice laced with cyanide at one time or another in their life.  I know I have.  Wink


Just because the Jim Jones cult did that doesn't mean Opus Dei and other groups will do the same.

A Cult can be used for civil evil, but they can also be used for civil good.


The Ahmish cult is a prime example. They don't always have to be bad.


There is nothing wrong in being strict. Some humans love strictness.



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« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2008, 01:41:26 PM »

Jnorm,

You are right that criticisms of Opus Dei tend to come from so-called "progressive" Catholics or nominal Catholics. Laws, hierarchy and asceticism! The horrors!

My goodness, Blessed Mother Teresa wore a cilice, not to mention many other saints. Practices of mortification, BTW, must always be done under the guidance of a confessor/spiritual director. They must never be done out of pride or self-hatred. And cilices and hairshirts are by no means required of Opus Dei numeraries. They are done on a case-by-case basis. You can spot most numeraries simply by their modest and dignified dress, daily reception of sacraments, and exemplary discipline at work and elsewhere. They are neither scary nor cult-like.

I defy anyone to read St. Josemaria's The Way and not see it as a very profitable and orthodox work of spiritual reflections.
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« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2008, 01:41:27 PM »

The point is that Opus Dei is an extremely controversial group.  Criticism of it has come from a wide variety of sources, and this is no secret, even though members of the group appear to me to be disturbingly secretive.  Just do a google search and see for yourself.  As for your second question, I have already answered it.  This is a controversial group with allegedly sectarian and fanatical tendencies that has links that strike close to the heart of the Catholic Church.  

And so were the Jesuits. And boy do I wish they were still like that!
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« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2008, 01:46:46 PM »

My goodness, Blessed Mother Teresa wore a cilice, not to mention many other saints.
And the fact that post schism Catholic Saints wear cilices makes it a good practice because......?

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« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2008, 01:58:36 PM »

The point is that Opus Dei is an extremely controversial group.  Criticism of it has come from a wide variety of sources, and this is no secret, even though members of the group appear to me to be disturbingly secretive.  Just do a google search and see for yourself.  As for your second question, I have already answered it.  This is a controversial group with allegedly sectarian and fanatical tendencies that has links that strike close to the heart of the Catholic Church.  

And so were the Jesuits. And boy do I wish they were still like that!

Well, that`s very telling.  You wish that they were in every way as secretive and manipulative as they were in the past.  That they were as much involved in illicitly subverting Orthodox Churches and slowly bringing them into the Eastern Catholic fold, among many, many other underhanded and decitful practices.  Thank you for your honesty on this point, at least.  

But there is one other thing that I would like to ask you about, Lubeltri.  As a member of Opus Dei, do you not find it a little bit disturbing that you are not really permitted to talk about your membership here?  What does the prelature have to hide?
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« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2008, 02:33:28 PM »

I am not a member of Opus Dei nor do I intend to be.* But unlike you, I actually know members of Opus Dei on a personal basis. I spend time at their houses. I go on their retreats. I confess to their priests.

Considering the hysterical attitude many non-Catholics or nominal/progressive Catholics have towards the order, I can understand why they don't go about trumpeting themselves. They seek holiness in their daily lives in the world, to be lay beacons of light. That is the whole point---to blend in the outside world and not set themselves apart, to be good leaven.

Personally, I have no idea why Orthodox Christians would give Opus Dei a second thought. It is a Catholic order---it has nothing to do with you, and you need not have contact with it.

RE: the Jesuits---I was trying to say that they ALSO had a "controversial" reputation. Back when they were growing in numbers---which is the case today with Opus Dei.

I never agreed with you that they were "secretive and manipulative." In fact, I dispute that. Protestant legends---scary but with little basis in fact.

I'm not trying to be snarky here. I'm just very mystified at the non-Catholics' interest in and accusations against Opus Dei. These are people I know---I don't see what is so controversial about them or their order.

* I'm an aspirant to another religious order.


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« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2008, 02:35:59 PM »

My goodness, Blessed Mother Teresa wore a cilice, not to mention many other saints.
And the fact that post schism Catholic Saints wear cilices makes it a good practice because......?


How is this different from some of the personal mortification practices of some of our own monastic saints?  For instance, I remember reading of how St. Herman of Alaska wore a heavy chain upon his body for much of his life.
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« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2008, 02:36:49 PM »

My goodness, Blessed Mother Teresa wore a cilice, not to mention many other saints.
And the fact that post schism Catholic Saints wear cilices makes it a good practice because......?

I don't think there's anything wrong with the wearing of one if under the guidance of a spiritual director. They aren't gruesome like the one you see on the albino "monk" in The DaVinci Code. They aren't meant to draw blood---just cause discomfort or minor pain.

I don't wear one myself. I don't know how many numeraries wear cilices---when you do penances, you don't tell everyone about it lest the penance be done out of pride.
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« Reply #32 on: November 26, 2008, 02:47:40 PM »

FWIW, there are a lot of "traditionalist" Catholics that have issues with Opus Dei as well.

I'm just pointing out that criticism  of the group is not limited to progressive or nominal Catholics.
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« Reply #33 on: November 26, 2008, 03:00:03 PM »

FWIW, there are a lot of "traditionalist" Catholics that have issues with Opus Dei as well.

I'm just pointing out that criticism  of the group is not limited to progressive or nominal Catholics.

Are there somewhere voices of concern about them helping God? Any reaction about that?
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« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2008, 03:01:16 PM »

FWIW, there are a lot of "traditionalist" Catholics that have issues with Opus Dei as well.

I'm just pointing out that criticism  of the group is not limited to progressive or nominal Catholics.

That is true. They see Opus Dei as too wedded to the Novus Ordo (even if reverently celebrated). Opus Dei is seen to follow the Pope in everything---thus the enthusiastic adoption of the Novus Ordo and the enthusiastic adoption of the "Benedictine" altar arrangement which the Holy Father instituted at his Masses after he became Pontiff. Thus their embrace of John Paul II's promotion of the "universal call to holiness." Traditionalists generally distrust the lay movements that have boomed over the last 60 years---Opus Dei, Regnum Christi, Communion and Liberation, Focolare, etc.

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« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2008, 03:08:36 PM »

My goodness, Blessed Mother Teresa wore a cilice, not to mention many other saints.
And the fact that post schism Catholic Saints wear cilices makes it a good practice because......?


How is this different from some of the personal mortification practices of some of our own monastic saints?  For instance, I remember reading of how St. Herman of Alaska wore a heavy chain upon his body for much of his life.
Ahh yes. The heavier the chain the quicker the entrance into the kingdom. laugh



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« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2008, 03:24:03 PM »

How is this different from some of the personal mortification practices of some of our own monastic saints?  For instance, I remember reading of how St. Herman of Alaska wore a heavy chain upon his body for much of his life.
1) They don't have spikes.
2) This seems to be the practices of some Russian and Ukrainian monastic Saints, and the adoption of Roman Catholic practices in Russian Spirituality is well documented {eg. the "Seven Sorrows", "The Tale of the Five Prayers", the Absolution prayer of St. Peter Moghila (whose glorification is only recognised in the Polish, Ukrainian and Romanian Churches)}
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« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2008, 04:53:01 PM »

Quote
Personally, I have no idea why Orthodox Christians would give Opus Dei a second thought. It is a Catholic order---it has nothing to do with you, and you need not have contact with it.

But weren't you just asking about Orthodox old calendarists the other day (unless that was papist, I forget)? One could ask why you would give them a second thought. There's something to be said for curiosity in bringing a subject up and discussing it. Though I could see why you'd be reacting negatively in this particular thread, given how Opus Dei is being dealt with.
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« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2008, 05:07:49 PM »

FWIW, there are a lot of "traditionalist" Catholics that have issues with Opus Dei as well.

I'm just pointing out that criticism  of the group is not limited to progressive or nominal Catholics.

That is true. They see Opus Dei as too wedded to the Novus Ordo (even if reverently celebrated). Opus Dei is seen to follow the Pope in everything---thus the enthusiastic adoption of the Novus Ordo and the enthusiastic adoption of the "Benedictine" altar arrangement which the Holy Father instituted at his Masses after he became Pontiff. Thus their embrace of John Paul II's promotion of the "universal call to holiness." Traditionalists generally distrust the lay movements that have boomed over the last 60 years---Opus Dei, Regnum Christi, Communion and Liberation, Focolare, etc.




MY Godfather is a former member of "Regnum Christi". He didn't like it, and he has alot of bad things to say about the movement.

But to each his own.......one persons nightmare might be another persons dream.





JNORM888
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« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2008, 05:20:19 PM »

FWIW, there are a lot of "traditionalist" Catholics that have issues with Opus Dei as well.

I'm just pointing out that criticism  of the group is not limited to progressive or nominal Catholics.

That is true. They see Opus Dei as too wedded to the Novus Ordo (even if reverently celebrated). Opus Dei is seen to follow the Pope in everything---thus the enthusiastic adoption of the Novus Ordo and the enthusiastic adoption of the "Benedictine" altar arrangement which the Holy Father instituted at his Masses after he became Pontiff. Thus their embrace of John Paul II's promotion of the "universal call to holiness." Traditionalists generally distrust the lay movements that have boomed over the last 60 years---Opus Dei, Regnum Christi, Communion and Liberation, Focolare, etc.

Gracia et Pax lubeltri,

I am not a huge fan of the "Novus Ordo" and attend an Indult Parish but I don't have any real issues with Opus Dei. That said I don't know any Opus Dei members and haven't studied their material but I still don't see why this is a issue on an Orthodox Forum. To me this seems like Catholic bashing by those who already oppose the Catholic Church on a number of theological and dogmatic issues. Perhaps because of Opus Dei's zeal for their Faith they are seen by the larger populace as 'fanatics'. That seems to be what some are insinuating on this forum. I still don't know why Opus Dei is an issue with Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2008, 05:41:02 PM »

FWIW, there are a lot of "traditionalist" Catholics that have issues with Opus Dei as well.

I'm just pointing out that criticism  of the group is not limited to progressive or nominal Catholics.

That is true. They see Opus Dei as too wedded to the Novus Ordo (even if reverently celebrated). Opus Dei is seen to follow the Pope in everything---thus the enthusiastic adoption of the Novus Ordo and the enthusiastic adoption of the "Benedictine" altar arrangement which the Holy Father instituted at his Masses after he became Pontiff. Thus their embrace of John Paul II's promotion of the "universal call to holiness." Traditionalists generally distrust the lay movements that have boomed over the last 60 years---Opus Dei, Regnum Christi, Communion and Liberation, Focolare, etc.

Gracia et Pax lubeltri,

I am not a huge fan of the "Novus Ordo" and attend an Indult Parish but I don't have any real issues with Opus Dei. That said I don't know any Opus Dei members and haven't studied their material but I still don't see why this is a issue on an Orthodox Forum. To me this seems like Catholic bashing by those who already oppose the Catholic Church on a number of theological and dogmatic issues. Perhaps because of Opus Dei's zeal for their Faith they are seen by the larger populace as 'fanatics'. That seems to be what some are insinuating on this forum. I still don't know why Opus Dei is an issue with Orthodoxy?

 And why would they ask about it here?  Simply because this is the Orthodox-Catholic discussion forum here on oc.net.  Why does everyone always turn to the "you're victimizing me or my group" when they feel backed into a corner or they can't provide answers in a debate or conversation.  Maybe if those asking the questions would receive some answers instead of being told they can't ask because they aren't Roman Catholic or told they were anti Catholic a greater understanding of Opus Dei would be the result.
Maybe because we aren't members of the Roman Catholic Church we aren't privy to knowing the messages and teachings of Opus Dei and and the message and teachings they have to direct people to salvation.  Is that what you are saying?  Are you saying there are levels of belonging and the more you move up the more the message is given to you on how to obtain salvation and those who aren't a part of the group aren't allowed to know this information the group is teaching on how to obtain eternal salvation?  Is that why we shouldn't ask about Opus Dei?
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« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2008, 05:49:44 PM »

FWIW, there are a lot of "traditionalist" Catholics that have issues with Opus Dei as well.

I'm just pointing out that criticism  of the group is not limited to progressive or nominal Catholics.

That is true. They see Opus Dei as too wedded to the Novus Ordo (even if reverently celebrated). Opus Dei is seen to follow the Pope in everything---thus the enthusiastic adoption of the Novus Ordo and the enthusiastic adoption of the "Benedictine" altar arrangement which the Holy Father instituted at his Masses after he became Pontiff. Thus their embrace of John Paul II's promotion of the "universal call to holiness." Traditionalists generally distrust the lay movements that have boomed over the last 60 years---Opus Dei, Regnum Christi, Communion and Liberation, Focolare, etc.

Gracia et Pax lubeltri,

I am not a huge fan of the "Novus Ordo" and attend an Indult Parish but I don't have any real issues with Opus Dei. That said I don't know any Opus Dei members and haven't studied their material but I still don't see why this is a issue on an Orthodox Forum. To me this seems like Catholic bashing by those who already oppose the Catholic Church on a number of theological and dogmatic issues. Perhaps because of Opus Dei's zeal for their Faith they are seen by the larger populace as 'fanatics'. That seems to be what some are insinuating on this forum. I still don't know why Opus Dei is an issue with Orthodoxy?

You've just admitted you really don't know anything about Opus Dei yourself but you as soon as someone questions it that isn't Roman Catholic you play the "they're just anti-Catholic" card.  So it is perfectly fine to be complacent or increase your knowledge about the Opus Dei as long as you are Roman Catholic. but on the other hand those that Roman Catholic aren't worthy or deserving to ask and learn? 
People are allowed to inquire into Opus Dei.   And why would they ask about it here?  Simply because this is the Orthodox-Catholic discussion forum here on oc.net.  Why does everyone always turn to the "you're victimizing me or my group" when they feel backed into a corner or they can't provide answers in a debate or conversation.  Maybe if those asking the questions would receive some answers instead of being told they can't ask because they aren't Roman Catholic or told they were anti Catholic a greater understanding of Opus Dei would be the result.
Maybe because we aren't members of the Roman Catholic Church we aren't privy to knowing the messages and teachings of Opus Dei and and the message and teachings they have to direct people to salvation.  Is that what you are saying?  There are levels of belonging and the more you move up the more the message is given to you on how to obtain salvation and those who aren't a part of the group aren't allowed to know this information the group is teaching on how to obtain eternal salvation?

How is starting a thread on an Orthodox Forum titled "Opus Dei: Controversial Inside and Outside the Catholic Church" inquiring? That is a claim not an inquiry.

BTW, I like Chuck Norris too. I met him once, he was very nice.
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« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2008, 05:53:16 PM »

Go back and read the original post. It explains where it came from. Any insights into my post beforehand? Thoughts, comments?

Yes CHUCK can!!!  that's neat you met Mr. Norris.
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« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2008, 05:56:16 PM »

If these practices make George think they are a "sick cult," I shudder to think of what he considers Mount Athos. I am surprised to hear from Orthodox criticisms about Opus Dei separating the sexes (except for the majority supernumeraries, who are married!), being strict, observing ascetic practices. What on Earth is wrong with that?
The fact that you even have to ask the question "what is wrong with that" only shows how far the Oddies have brainwashed you. You have just compared a lay University college for freshmen with an Athonite monastery and see no problem that it should be run like one.
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« Reply #44 on: November 26, 2008, 06:14:37 PM »

Considering the hysterical attitude many non-Catholics or nominal/progressive Catholics have towards the order, I can understand why they don't go about trumpeting themselves.

"Trumpeting oneself" is not the same as being deliberately secretive.

Quote
Personally, I have no idea why Orthodox Christians would give Opus Dei a second thought. It is a Catholic order---it has nothing to do with you, and you need not have contact with it.

If you like, you can go ahead and read what I wrote about this again.  Or you can simply ignore the point and carry on.

Quote
RE: the Jesuits---I was trying to say that they ALSO had a "controversial" reputation. Back when they were growing in numbers---which is the case today with Opus Dei.

I never agreed with you that they were "secretive and manipulative." In fact, I dispute that. Protestant legends---scary but with little basis in fact.

No, it is confirmed historical fact.  But I don't intend to argue with you about them here.  You can start another thread about them if you like.

Quote
I'm not trying to be snarky here. I'm just very mystified at the non-Catholics' interest in and accusations against Opus Dei. These are people I know---I don't see what is so controversial about them or their order.

Then may I suggest that you have blinders on.  As I have mentioned numerous times on this thread, accusations against them are numerous and well documented.  I'm sure there are good people involved in the order too.  No one ever said that the situation is black and white.
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« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2008, 06:24:15 PM »

You are right that criticisms of Opus Dei tend to come from so-called "progressive" Catholics or nominal Catholics. Laws, hierarchy and asceticism! The horrors!

I defy anyone to read St. Josemaria's The Way and not see it as a very profitable and orthodox work of spiritual reflections.

You may well be right about much of the book, I don't know.  But I personally find this passage quite disturbing:


 "Blessed be suffering. Loved be suffering. Sanctified be suffering...Glorified be suffering!" (The Way, #208).

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« Reply #46 on: November 26, 2008, 10:09:19 PM »

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"Blessed be suffering. Loved be suffering. Sanctified be suffering...Glorified be suffering!"

Sort of reminds me of things I've read in Orthodoxy literature, albeit not as succinct. Wink
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« Reply #47 on: November 27, 2008, 09:57:57 AM »

^ Well, wherever one sees something like this, I think that if one goes looking for suffering outside of the suffering that one is going to get in life anyway, there may well be a problem.  If the suffering happens because of giving oneself for others, I think it is perfectly justified.
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« Reply #48 on: November 27, 2008, 08:59:35 PM »

^ Well, wherever one sees something like this, I think that if one goes looking for suffering outside of the suffering that one is going to get in life anyway, there may well be a problem.  If the suffering happens because of giving oneself for others, I think it is perfectly justified.

You have just lost ALL credibility in my eyes. Exactly where in that snippet of quote does it say that one should "go looking" for suffering?

You take a perfectly Orthodox statement and criticize it because it happens to come from from Opus Dei. Could it be anti-Catholic bias, perhaps?

 Huh This thread is beyond pointless. Clearly people are going to believe all sorts of things they like about others ("the other"?), and nothing anyone can say will ever change their minds. Da Vinci Code, anyone? This is more of the same, if less lurid.

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« Reply #49 on: November 27, 2008, 11:48:08 PM »

You have just lost ALL credibility in my eyes. Exactly where in that snippet of quote does it say that one should "go looking" for suffering?

You take a perfectly Orthodox statement and criticize it because it happens to come from from Opus Dei. Could it be anti-Catholic bias, perhaps?

No.  After all, Mel Gibson made a lot of money blessing, loving, glorifying, sanctifying and objectifying the Passion of the Christ.

Huh This thread is beyond pointless. Clearly people are going to believe all sorts of things they like about others ("the other"?), and nothing anyone can say will ever change their minds. Da Vinci Code, anyone? This is more of the same, if less lurid.

I thought the Passion of the Christ was pretty lurid enough not to EVER watch it.  As for the Orthodox who watched it and its sister film, The DaVinci Code, you can be happy for those Orthodox who switched over to Catholicism because Orthodoxy "didn't tell it like it was" and shared the "secrets" which the Orthodox Hierarchs have kept to themselves for 20 Centuries.   Wink

Less we not forget, should we bless, love, glorify and sanctify the suffering of those who have been savagely abused by Priests of any Denomination?   Cry
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« Reply #50 on: November 28, 2008, 12:01:11 AM »

*munches on popcorn*
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« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2008, 12:06:18 AM »

^ Yeah, I saw an opening....

* crawls back under rock *
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« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2008, 12:58:45 AM »

I have never had a negative experience with a member of Opus Dei, whether laity or clergy, nor do I have any real issues with them.  I have been to several of their workshops and seminars at their conference centre north of Toronto, on subjects that most Orthodox members would have little to no qualms about, let alone Roman Catholics members.  They have been doing great work in and around Toronto for over 2 decades now, and I pray they continue to help those who come to them.  I know some get turned off by 'corporal mortification', but I have never seen it as a huge issue.  I've used a cilice (under supervision of my confessor) and probably have it laying around somewhere still, and it isn't nearly as bad as people think Tongue.  The only point of conflict I would run into members with was surrounding the use of the Tridentine and Ambrosian masses over the Novus Ordo.
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« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2008, 01:28:29 AM »

^ Well, wherever one sees something like this, I think that if one goes looking for suffering outside of the suffering that one is going to get in life anyway, there may well be a problem.  If the suffering happens because of giving oneself for others, I think it is perfectly justified.

You have just lost ALL credibility in my eyes. Exactly where in that snippet of quote does it say that one should "go looking" for suffering?
How is the intentional infliction of suffering upon oneself NOT looking for suffering?

You take a perfectly Orthodox statement and criticize it because it happens to come from from Opus Dei. Could it be anti-Catholic bias, perhaps?
Where do you see the statement in our Orthodox literature?  If you can't prove from our own literature that the statement in question is indeed Orthodox, then you are misrepresenting our faith by calling the statement Orthodox.  Call it Catholic all you want, but don't call it Orthodox until you can prove that it is.

Quote
Huh This thread is beyond pointless. Clearly people are going to believe all sorts of things they like about others ("the other"?), and nothing anyone can say will ever change their minds. Da Vinci Code, anyone? This is more of the same, if less lurid.
Someone expresses his concern about the controversial nature of Opus Dei, which certainly cannot be denied, and you see this as a direct attack on the order? Roll Eyes  I don't know Opus Dei enough to know if the concerns expressed on this thread are justified, but I don't deny that they should at least be addressed and either vindicated or refuted for any talk of reunion between our churches to be legitimate.  What do you have to hide that you're so defensive of Opus Dei?
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« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2008, 03:27:45 AM »

the Absolution prayer of St. Peter Moghila (whose glorification is only recognised in the Polish, Ukrainian and Romanian Churches)}
Your point is?
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« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2008, 04:50:24 AM »

the Absolution prayer of St. Peter Moghila (whose glorification is only recognised in the Polish, Ukrainian and Romanian Churches)}
Your point is?
That you need to read and quote such stuff from other posters in context... Wink  For instance, the whole of the post you just quoted:

How is this different from some of the personal mortification practices of some of our own monastic saints?  For instance, I remember reading of how St. Herman of Alaska wore a heavy chain upon his body for much of his life.
1) They don't have spikes.
2) This seems to be the practices of some Russian and Ukrainian monastic Saints, and the adoption of Roman Catholic practices in Russian Spirituality is well documented {eg. the "Seven Sorrows", "The Tale of the Five Prayers", the Absolution prayer of St. Peter Moghila (whose glorification is only recognised in the Polish, Ukrainian and Romanian Churches)}
(emphasis mine in order to show you how the snippet you lifted out of context fits in with the rest of what ozgeorge said)

The above was addressed to me, and I understand very clearly the point ozgeorge wanted to make.
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« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2008, 09:46:47 AM »

the Absolution prayer of St. Peter Moghila (whose glorification is only recognised in the Polish, Ukrainian and Romanian Churches)}
Your point is?
That you need to read and quote such stuff from other posters in context... Wink  For instance, the whole of the post you just quoted:

How is this different from some of the personal mortification practices of some of our own monastic saints?  For instance, I remember reading of how St. Herman of Alaska wore a heavy chain upon his body for much of his life.
1) They don't have spikes.
2) This seems to be the practices of some Russian and Ukrainian monastic Saints, and the adoption of Roman Catholic practices in Russian Spirituality is well documented {eg. the "Seven Sorrows", "The Tale of the Five Prayers", the Absolution prayer of St. Peter Moghila (whose glorification is only recognised in the Polish, Ukrainian and Romanian Churches)}
(emphasis mine in order to show you how the snippet you lifted out of context fits in with the rest of what ozgeorge said)

The above was addressed to me, and I understand very clearly the point ozgeorge wanted to make.

With all due respect, I understand what he was trying to say. I just don't think that bringing arguments that might imply (maybe just to some sinning minds like mine) that St Peter is somewhat less a saint is a good practice. It was probably something unwanted by Mr George and could have easily been clarified by him.
Thus being said, sorry for intruding into things that are above my understanding, It won't happen again.
Forgive me.
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« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2008, 09:48:04 AM »

I have never had a negative experience with a member of Opus Dei, whether laity or clergy, nor do I have any real issues with them.  I have been to several of their workshops and seminars at their conference centre north of Toronto, on subjects that most Orthodox members would have little to no qualms about, let alone Roman Catholics members.  They have been doing great work in and around Toronto for over 2 decades now, and I pray they continue to help those who come to them.  I know some get turned off by 'corporal mortification', but I have never seen it as a huge issue.  I've used a cilice (under supervision of my confessor) and probably have it laying around somewhere still, and it isn't nearly as bad as people think Tongue.  The only point of conflict I would run into members with was surrounding the use of the Tridentine and Ambrosian masses over the Novus Ordo.

I haven't had any personal experience with them, but know many Orthodox who have.  Their main opinion of them is that Opus Dei memebers are "Catholic who look and act Catholic."  The only problem they had was not with Opus Dei per se, but their promoting of the Divine Mercy and Sr. Faustina, which is a little spooky to a lot of Orthodox.  The only problem I've heard was one Orthodox who teaches in a school controlled by them, when his turn to reading came on the commemoration of "St" Josaphat Kuntsevich.  He told them he would strike a deal: he'd agree that Kuntsevich should have been canonized if they would agree that Kuntsevich should have been killed.

Not quite sure I want to understand the cilice.  Life can be painful enough.
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« Reply #58 on: November 28, 2008, 09:51:01 AM »

^ Well, wherever one sees something like this, I think that if one goes looking for suffering outside of the suffering that one is going to get in life anyway, there may well be a problem.  If the suffering happens because of giving oneself for others, I think it is perfectly justified.

You have just lost ALL credibility in my eyes. Exactly where in that snippet of quote does it say that one should "go looking" for suffering?
How is the intentional infliction of suffering upon oneself NOT looking for suffering?

If mortification of the flesh is to be condemned, then you indict the New Testament, St. Paul, and Jesus Christ himself.

St. Josemaria clearly was referring to offering up one's sufferings a means of sanctification. If this is not consonant with Orthodoxy, then your Orthodoxy has strayed far from apostolic Christianity.

---

As for the ridiculous comments about about The Passion of the Christ, what on Earth does that film have ANYTHING to do with St. Josemaria or Opus Dei? Once again, more absurd and baseless attacks.

I remain mystified at all this sensationalist attention to a western Catholic religious order, and to some posters' willingness to throw out accusations without once considering the other side. Guilty until proven innocent seems to be the order here.

The real reason why Opus Dei is "controversial" is because it is conservative and Catholic and successful. I think the lay aspect of it is also disconcerting to people---laypeople are somehow supposed to be lax and not live under a hierarchical order and discipline. "After all, they aren't in the clerical class." That's the genius of St. Josemaria's idea---in the modern world but not of the modern world.

I would suggest more productive activities than bantering over gossip about a group whose members you do not know. Would you like people to judge Orthodoxy based on internet sites? I would hope not.
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« Reply #59 on: November 28, 2008, 11:12:00 AM »

^ Well, wherever one sees something like this, I think that if one goes looking for suffering outside of the suffering that one is going to get in life anyway, there may well be a problem.  If the suffering happens because of giving oneself for others, I think it is perfectly justified.

You have just lost ALL credibility in my eyes. Exactly where in that snippet of quote does it say that one should "go looking" for suffering?
How is the intentional infliction of suffering upon oneself NOT looking for suffering?

If mortification of the flesh is to be condemned, then you indict the New Testament, St. Paul, and Jesus Christ himself.

St. Josemaria clearly was referring to offering up one's sufferings a means of sanctification. If this is not consonant with Orthodoxy, then your Orthodoxy has strayed far from apostolic Christianity.

I am not condemning mortification of the flesh.  Rather, I have concerns about what I might see as being its overemphasis.  Your citing of Mother Theresa earlier in the thread as a way to shore up the idea that such possible overemphasis is perfectly normal is not convincing to me, since, as you are well aware, some disturbing allegations have come forward regarding her life and works.  (I am not convinced of the arguments of one side or the other in her case at this point.)  Your refusal to answer questions point-blank and instead offer vague counter-arguments about the New Testament, St. Paul and Jesus makes it difficult to debate these questions with you.


Quote
As for the ridiculous comments about about The Passion of the Christ, what on Earth does that film have ANYTHING to do with St. Josemaria or Opus Dei? Once again, more absurd and baseless attacks.

The poster in question is probably referring in an oblique way to Mel Gibson`s alleged affiliation to Opus Dei  But at this time I would personally see this idea as suspect for many reasons.

Quote
I remain mystified at all this sensationalist attention to a western Catholic religious order, and to some posters' willingness to throw out accusations without once considering the other side. Guilty until proven innocent seems to be the order here.

The real reason why Opus Dei is "controversial" is because it is conservative and Catholic and successful. I think the lay aspect of it is also disconcerting to people---laypeople are somehow supposed to be lax and not live under a hierarchical order and discipline. "After all, they aren't in the clerical class." That's the genius of St. Josemaria's idea---in the modern world but not of the modern world.

It is not "controversial" in quotation marks.  It is controversial.  Period.  One more time, since you don`t seem to understand the concept, I will explain why this is the case.  Wink There are large numbers of people who enthusiastically support the order, and, it would seem, just as many who are vehemently opposed to it.  Are all the criticisms of Opus Dei valid?  I am sure that this is not the case, and that some of it is from modernists out for blood, as you have asserted.  I am also not convinced, however, that everything about the group is great and wonderful.  IMHO, many criticisms  ring too true or are too well documented to be dismissed out of hand, the way you seem to be doing. 

Quote
I would suggest more productive activities than bantering over gossip about a group whose members you do not know. Would you like people to judge Orthodoxy based on internet sites? I would hope not.

I have never been to China.  But I have read plenty of criticims about Chinese domestic policy in the media.  By your way of thinking, I should not try to form my own opinions about China and how it is run, because, (also by your way of thinking) what goes on there has nothing to do with me.  No, the only way I can form an opinion about China is to go there myself and do my own investigative reporting, instead of relying on that of  others.   Roll Eyes

I am personally not convinced that everything about Opus Dei is bad, nor am I convinced that everything about it is good.  I have had limited personal interaction with the group, but the interaction which I have experienced has not been positive.  I do not discount the experiences that Ozgeorge brings up here, neither do I discount those of posters such as Nebelpfade.

Why are you being so defensive?  If you are so convinced about how great Opus Dei is, why should it matter to you what some of us may or may not think?

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« Reply #60 on: November 28, 2008, 12:02:53 PM »

^ Well, wherever one sees something like this, I think that if one goes looking for suffering outside of the suffering that one is going to get in life anyway, there may well be a problem.  If the suffering happens because of giving oneself for others, I think it is perfectly justified.

You have just lost ALL credibility in my eyes. Exactly where in that snippet of quote does it say that one should "go looking" for suffering?
How is the intentional infliction of suffering upon oneself NOT looking for suffering?

If mortification of the flesh is to be condemned, then you indict the New Testament, St. Paul, and Jesus Christ himself.

They were flagellated.  Not flagellanti.

Quote
St. Josemaria clearly was referring to offering up one's sufferings a means of sanctification. If this is not consonant with Orthodoxy, then your Orthodoxy has strayed far from apostolic Christianity.

Being martyred was praised by the Early Church.  Turning oneself in was condemned as a form of suicide.


Quote
As for the ridiculous comments about about The Passion of the Christ, what on Earth does that film have ANYTHING to do with St. Josemaria or Opus Dei? Once again, more absurd and baseless attacks.


Many thought Mel went overboard on the mortification scenes, which they attribute to the extreme ascetic practices and devotions (God's wounds and such) that the Vatican has either allowed or promoted over the centuries.

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« Reply #61 on: November 28, 2008, 12:05:21 PM »

Good points, Ialmisry.
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« Reply #62 on: November 28, 2008, 12:21:23 PM »

Gracia et Pax vobiscum,

I'm not sure we can honest be concern about the 'over emphasis' of Mortification since it has largely been abandoned by the West and East.

Here is an excerpt from St. Alphonsus Liguori's The 12 Steps To Holiness And Salvation...

He that hateth his life in this world keepeth it unto life eternal. -John 12:25

The virtue of mortification is twofold, exterior and interior. Exterior mortification consists in doing and suffering what is opposed to the exterior senses, and in depriving oneself of what is agreeable to them. In as far as it is necessary to avoid sin, every Christian is bound to practice mortification. With regard to those things which we may lawfully enjoy, mortification is not obligatory, but it is very useful and meritorious. For those, however, who are striving after perfection, mortification, even in things that are lawful, is absolutely necessary. As poor children of Adam, we must fight till our dying day; "For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, for these are contrary, one to another: so that you do not the things that you would." (Gal. 5:17).

It is proper to animals to gratify their senses; it is characteristic of angels to do the will of God. From this a learned author concludes that we become angelic when we strive to do God's will, but we become like animals when we seek to gratify our senses. Either the soul must subject the body or the body will make the soul its slave. Accordingly, we must treat our body as a rider treats a wild horse; he draws the reins tight, lest he should be thrown off. A physician at times prescribes medicines that are very distasteful to the patient, and he strictly forbids injurious foods and drinks, though the patient may desire them. He would be a cruel physician indeed who could be dissuaded from administering medicines because his patient objected on account of their being bitter, and who would allow the sick man to eat and drink what he pleases. How much greater is the cruelty of the sensual man who strives to avoid everything disagreeable or painful to his body in this life, and thereby puts both body and soul in the greatest danger of suffering incomparably for all eternity. "This false love," says St. Bernard, "destroys the true love we should have for our body."

Such misplaced sympathy is in reality only cruelty; for while we spare the body we kill the soul. The same saint, addressing those worldly-minded people who ridicule the servants of God for mortifying themselves, makes use of the following words: "Yes, we are cruel, if you will, towards our bodies when we afflict them with penance; but you are far more cruel towards yourselves when you gratify your sensual cravings, for by so doing you condemn both body and soul to an eternity of frightful torments." Our Lord once said to St. Francis of Assisi: "If you desire Me, take the bitter things of life as sweet and the sweet as bitter." It is useless to assert, as some do, that perfection does not consist in chastising the body, but in mortifying the will. To this Pinamonti replies: "If the vineyard does not bear fruit because it is surrounded by a hedge of thorns, at least the hedge helps to preserve the fruit, for Holy Scripture says: "Where there is no hedge, the possession shall be spoiled." (Ecclus. 36:27).

St. Aloysius Gonzaga had very poor health. Nevertheless, he was so intent on crucifying his body that he sought for nothing but mortification and works of penance. One day someone said to him that sanctity did not consist in these things, but in the renunciation of self-will. He meekly replied in the words of the Gospel: "These things you ought to have done, and not to leve those undone." (Matt. 23:23). By this he meant to say: also mortify the body to keep it in checkand subject to reason. One this account the Apostle said: "I chastise the body and bring it into subjection." (1 Cor. 9:27). If the body is not mortified, it is very difficult to make it obedient to the law of God.


The chapter continues further but I believe the point is made... many have moved far from the Faith of our Fathers.
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« Reply #63 on: November 28, 2008, 12:26:12 PM »

Quote
Being martyred was praised by the Early Church.  Turning oneself in was condemned as a form of suicide.

However, I've read hagiographies about new-martyrs in which a Christian would have a conversion experience, and then go into Muslim areas preaching the Gospel, knowing full well what would happen to them (ie. be put to death).
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« Reply #64 on: November 28, 2008, 01:47:19 PM »

Quote from: lubeltri
As for the ridiculous comments about about The Passion of the Christ, what on Earth does that film have ANYTHING to do with St. Josemaria or Opus Dei? Once again, more absurd and baseless attacks.

The poster in question is probably referring in an oblique way to Mel Gibson`s alleged affiliation to Opus Dei  But at this time I would personally see this idea as suspect for many reasons.

I'm not interested in Mel Gibson's affiliation with Opus Dei or any other similar Catholic sect.  I'm merely interested in how much money is being made from glorifying and objectifying suffering.
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« Reply #65 on: November 28, 2008, 02:24:52 PM »

Quote
Being martyred was praised by the Early Church.  Turning oneself in was condemned as a form of suicide.

However, I've read hagiographies about new-martyrs in which a Christian would have a conversion experience, and then go into Muslim areas preaching the Gospel, knowing full well what would happen to them (ie. be put to death).

Not exactly the same thing.  We are all called to evangelize, and even one doesn't have to flee, if that is your calling. But turning yourself in, there is little warrant for it.  If I recall correctly, the Martyrdom of Polycarp states it started  from someone who turned himself in, and then recanted, but without implicating many, including St. Polycarp.  "Wherefore, brethren, we do not commend those who give themselves up [to suffering], seeing the Gospel does not teach so to do. Matthew 10:23"
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« Reply #66 on: November 28, 2008, 02:26:13 PM »

Quote from: lubeltri
As for the ridiculous comments about about The Passion of the Christ, what on Earth does that film have ANYTHING to do with St. Josemaria or Opus Dei? Once again, more absurd and baseless attacks.

The poster in question is probably referring in an oblique way to Mel Gibson`s alleged affiliation to Opus Dei  But at this time I would personally see this idea as suspect for many reasons.

I'm not interested in Mel Gibson's affiliation with Opus Dei or any other similar Catholic sect.  I'm merely interested in how much money is being made from glorifying and objectifying suffering.

One has to be careful here.  Otherwise we start preaching the "gospel" of health and wealth, and the feel good church.
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« Reply #67 on: November 28, 2008, 02:52:15 PM »

Quote from: lubeltri
As for the ridiculous comments about about The Passion of the Christ, what on Earth does that film have ANYTHING to do with St. Josemaria or Opus Dei? Once again, more absurd and baseless attacks.

The poster in question is probably referring in an oblique way to Mel Gibson`s alleged affiliation to Opus Dei  But at this time I would personally see this idea as suspect for many reasons.

I'm not interested in Mel Gibson's affiliation with Opus Dei or any other similar Catholic sect.  I'm merely interested in how much money is being made from glorifying and objectifying suffering.

One has to be careful here.  Otherwise we start preaching the "gospel" of health and wealth, and the feel good church.

To the left of the Orthodox we have Health Wealth and Happiness "Christianity. On our right, we have examples of an excessive focus on Christ's suffering on the
Cross as "Payback" to an angry God. Between the two are the Orthodox who are at once sober in their piety and who see Christ's crucifixion and reserection from the dead as healing our broken nature by defeating death itself.

So on the one hand, we don't seek to put the squeeze on God for goods and services nor on the other hand do we try to  unite ourselves with the Lords suffering, especially via self flagellation and such the like.

Marc
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« Reply #68 on: November 28, 2008, 04:28:49 PM »

How is the intentional infliction of suffering upon oneself NOT looking for suffering?

If mortification of the flesh is to be condemned, then you indict the New Testament, St. Paul, and Jesus Christ himself.
But I'm talking about self-inflicted suffering.  I'm not talking about a more general concept of mortification of the flesh that also entails meek submission to suffering inflicted by someone else.  Nor am I equating self-inflicted suffering with the more general mortification of the flesh, carried out even through such Orthodox practices as fasting and abstinence.  Again, I'm talking only about self-inflicted suffering.

St. Josemaria clearly was referring to offering up one's sufferings a means of sanctification. If this is not consonant with Orthodoxy, then your Orthodoxy has strayed far from apostolic Christianity.
You've been saying that about us already, so what's new?

Again, we're not talking about "offering up one's sufferings a means of sanctification" if this also entails how we respond to suffering brought upon us by outside third parties or by our own Orthodox ascetic practices.  We're talking about inflicting pain and suffering upon oneself, possibly to excess, through such things as wearing of the cilice or self-flagellation or the wearing of heavy chains.  How are THESE PRACTICES on the same level of sanctified use as fasting or abstinence or martyrdom, such that a rejection of these masochistic practices is a rejection of the apostolic call to endure suffering willingly for the cause of the Gospel?
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« Reply #69 on: November 28, 2008, 07:09:05 PM »

Quote
Being martyred was praised by the Early Church.  Turning oneself in was condemned as a form of suicide.

However, I've read hagiographies about new-martyrs in which a Christian would have a conversion experience, and then go into Muslim areas preaching the Gospel, knowing full well what would happen to them (ie. be put to death).

Not exactly the same thing.  We are all called to evangelize, and even one doesn't have to flee, if that is your calling. But turning yourself in, there is little warrant for it.  If I recall correctly, the Martyrdom of Polycarp states it started  from someone who turned himself in, and then recanted, but without implicating many, including St. Polycarp.  "Wherefore, brethren, we do not commend those who give themselves up [to suffering], seeing the Gospel does not teach so to do. Matthew 10:23"

But isn't this neither here nor there? "Turning oneself in" is not the way of Opus Dei or Catholicism at all, despite the totally groundless accusation expressed earlier in this thread.

And mortifications must always be under the guidance of a spiritual director. Mortifications are not to be permitted to those to struggle with scrupulosity. The harsh mortifications you hear about were done by saints like St. Francis or St. Therese of Lisieux---being saints, they were able to do them not out of pride or self-hatred, but out of love. Most of the rest of us (me included) would not be able.

Honestly, I don't see the point of all this. No one has produced any evidence that Opus Dei members "overemphasize" suffering or inordinately seek it out. All talk of this is gossip until proven. So is the rumor about Mel Gibson being in Opus Dei (first time I heard of that!).

To be honest, they live quite comfortably in my experience, if I might say so myself. Visit one of their houses sometime. If any of them practice corporal mortifications, that is their and their spiritual director's business, not ours (I say "their"---most Opus Dei members are perfectly normal married couples with children).

I'm not being "defensive" about Opus Dei. I just don't understand all of this negative gossip. All orders, being made up of human beings, have problems---not exactly breaking news. What's so special about Opus Dei? Opus Dei members live in the world and go about their daily lives, trying to follow God's will at work and at home. So they are fiercely loyal to the Holy See---well, if only more Catholics were like that. If a few of them wear hairshirts or cilices, well, that is between them and their confessors. If you want to see REAL asceticism, check out the Carthusians.

I can't help but wonder if it comes down to outsider views of us Catholics as masochists obsessed with guilt.

How's this for masochism? The toughest penance I've ever had to do was pray a single Rosary. (Though I've added on some of my own---like following traditional pre-1960s fasts from time to time).

I hope I'm not being an annoyance. But I'm just mystified by all this. It would be like finding a multi-page thread on a Catholic forum discussing Internet rumors about the Athonites. Why should we care?*

You folks are, of course, free to believe what you'd like. I hope that I, as someone who actually knows people in Opus Dei, has at least added some balance to the picture. Thanks and God bless.

*Just for clarification, I like the Athonites a great deal.
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« Reply #70 on: November 28, 2008, 07:25:54 PM »

How is the intentional infliction of suffering upon oneself NOT looking for suffering?

If mortification of the flesh is to be condemned, then you indict the New Testament, St. Paul, and Jesus Christ himself.
But I'm talking about self-inflicted suffering.  I'm not talking about a more general concept of mortification of the flesh that also entails meek submission to suffering inflicted by someone else.  Nor am I equating self-inflicted suffering with the more general mortification of the flesh, carried out even through such Orthodox practices as fasting and abstinence.  Again, I'm talking only about self-inflicted suffering.

But Peter, Jesus himself fasted for FORTY days. Certainly that is a bit more extreme than wearing a cilice (which does NOT do what you see in the Da Vinci Code, BTW). He also approved of the practice of wearing sackcloth (see: hairshirt) and ashes.

St. Paul talks of "chastising" his flesh (1 Corinthians 9:27) in order to "bring it into subjection." That's the purpose of corporal mortification in Catholicism---to tame the passions and appetites and bring us closer to Christ, not to angrily punish ourselves. Christ was the one bruised for our iniquities---to what value is our bruising? No worthy spiritual director would approve of a person performing mortifications as a way of vengeance on the body. That's just spiritual pride---which makes doing the mortifications worse than not doing them at all.

So we agree with you that mortifications need to be done for the right reasons.
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« Reply #71 on: November 29, 2008, 01:47:38 PM »

Gracia et Pax,

The more I have reflected on this thread on Opus Dei the more I believe it to be one of suspicion of the motives of mortification by this group. At first, it looked like one of rejection of mortification by modern Orthodox her on this forum but as their views have been challenged they have moved to general acceptance of mortification but has raised suspicion on the motives of Opus Dei and in general the motives of the Roman Catholic Church with regards to the practice of mortification. This all seems to encircle a suspicion of Catholic Theology, at it root, which is why I fail to be surprised by the criticism coming from devout Orthodox on an Orthodox Forum. Using secular disliking of mortification as evidence that Opus Dei is Controversial didn't seem particular moving, for me, as I've long been aware that mortification of the body has been criticized even in the days of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. This disliking of mortification of the body has never been largely accepted by the worldly-masses, pagan, secular and now, in our day, even christian. If we are attempting to 'win' the acceptance of the worldly-masses by our criticism of mortification then I can understand this line of argument but we have a common tradition of mortification even if it has been separated for almost a thousand years. Using the suspicions of others who reject mortification and using such to rationalize questioning the motives of those in Opus Dei who practice mortification as grounds for judging them and casting a critical light on Catholic Theology and its understanding of mortification as a necessary step on the way of holiness is not surprising to me. Perhaps in this thread the criticism has been veiled behind an appeal to a general worldly dislike of the practice of mortification and for that matter the Roman Catholic Church but when we look past the generalities we come face to face with something which is not surprising to find on an Orthodox Forum; suspicion, distrust and dislike of the Roman Catholic Church and it's devout members.

If we are to move this discussion to something more profitable I would ask that the Orthodox offer excerpts from their own tradition of mortification and give examples of modern practitioners and let us compare traditions and practices but leave questioning 'motive' to God and Him alone.
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« Reply #72 on: November 29, 2008, 02:19:43 PM »

Gracia et Pax,

The more I have reflected on this thread on Opus Dei the more I believe it to be one of suspicion of the motives of mortification by this group. At first, it looked like one of rejection of mortification by modern Orthodox her on this forum but as their views have been challenged they have moved to general acceptance of mortification but has raised suspicion on the motives of Opus Dei and in general the motives of the Roman Catholic Church with regards to the practice of mortification. This all seems to encircle a suspicion of Catholic Theology, at it root, which is why I fail to be surprised by the criticism coming from devout Orthodox on an Orthodox Forum. Using secular disliking of mortification as evidence that Opus Dei is Controversial didn't seem particular moving, for me, as I've long been aware that mortification of the body has been criticized even in the days of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. This disliking of mortification of the body has never been largely accepted by the worldly-masses, pagan, secular and now, in our day, even christian. If we are attempting to 'win' the acceptance of the worldly-masses by our criticism of mortification then I can understand this line of argument but we have a common tradition of mortification even if it has been separated for almost a thousand years. Using the suspicions of others who reject mortification and using such to rationalize questioning the motives of those in Opus Dei who practice mortification as grounds for judging them and casting a critical light on Catholic Theology and its understanding of mortification as a necessary step on the way of holiness is not surprising to me. Perhaps in this thread the criticism has been veiled behind an appeal to a general worldly dislike of the practice of mortification and for that matter the Roman Catholic Church but when we look past the generalities we come face to face with something which is not surprising to find on an Orthodox Forum; suspicion, distrust and dislike of the Roman Catholic Church and it's devout members.

If we are to move this discussion to something more profitable I would ask that the Orthodox offer excerpts from their own tradition of mortification and give examples of modern practitioners and let us compare traditions and practices but leave questioning 'motive' to God and Him alone.

The Church has emphasized the resurrection of Christ and the eternal life  of the faithful since the first days. The Orthodox Church has never changed this focus. The Roman Church now emphasizes Christ's suffering on the cross. This has led to a practice of joining ones own suffering to Chris's passion. In extreme forms,self mortification is used.
That is a horse of a different color than a disregard for ones physical comfort as practiced by some Orthodox.
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« Reply #73 on: November 29, 2008, 02:33:29 PM »

I've never understood the Western Church's plethora of "societies' and "associations" and so forth. Isn't being a member of the Body of Christ good enough? Why the need to embellish?
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« Reply #74 on: November 29, 2008, 03:30:07 PM »

Quote
At first, it looked like one of rejection of mortification by modern Orthodox her on this forum

Fwiw, I was confused by this as well. Though I do have to disagree slightly with one bit...

Quote
This disliking of mortification of the body has never been largely accepted by the worldly-masses, pagan, secular and now, in our day, even christian

I think the majority of Christianity has always shied away from mortification, asceticism, or whatever you want to call it, I don't think it's a phenomenon particular to our day.
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« Reply #75 on: November 29, 2008, 05:21:36 PM »

How is the intentional infliction of suffering upon oneself NOT looking for suffering?

If mortification of the flesh is to be condemned, then you indict the New Testament, St. Paul, and Jesus Christ himself.
But I'm talking about self-inflicted suffering.  I'm not talking about a more general concept of mortification of the flesh that also entails meek submission to suffering inflicted by someone else.  Nor am I equating self-inflicted suffering with the more general mortification of the flesh, carried out even through such Orthodox practices as fasting and abstinence.  Again, I'm talking only about self-inflicted suffering.

But Peter, Jesus himself fasted for FORTY days. Certainly that is a bit more extreme than wearing a cilice (which does NOT do what you see in the Da Vinci Code, BTW). He also approved of the practice of wearing sackcloth (see: hairshirt) and ashes.

St. Paul talks of "chastising" his flesh (1 Corinthians 9:27) in order to "bring it into subjection." That's the purpose of corporal mortification in Catholicism---to tame the passions and appetites and bring us closer to Christ, not to angrily punish ourselves. Christ was the one bruised for our iniquities---to what value is our bruising? No worthy spiritual director would approve of a person performing mortifications as a way of vengeance on the body. That's just spiritual pride---which makes doing the mortifications worse than not doing them at all.

So we agree with you that mortifications need to be done for the right reasons.

Gracia et Pax,

The more I have reflected on this thread on Opus Dei the more I believe it to be one of suspicion of the motives of mortification by this group. At first, it looked like one of rejection of mortification by modern Orthodox her on this forum but as their views have been challenged they have moved to general acceptance of mortification but has raised suspicion on the motives of Opus Dei and in general the motives of the Roman Catholic Church with regards to the practice of mortification. This all seems to encircle a suspicion of Catholic Theology, at it root, which is why I fail to be surprised by the criticism coming from devout Orthodox on an Orthodox Forum. Using secular disliking of mortification as evidence that Opus Dei is Controversial didn't seem particular moving, for me, as I've long been aware that mortification of the body has been criticized even in the days of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. This disliking of mortification of the body has never been largely accepted by the worldly-masses, pagan, secular and now, in our day, even christian. If we are attempting to 'win' the acceptance of the worldly-masses by our criticism of mortification then I can understand this line of argument but we have a common tradition of mortification even if it has been separated for almost a thousand years. Using the suspicions of others who reject mortification and using such to rationalize questioning the motives of those in Opus Dei who practice mortification as grounds for judging them and casting a critical light on Catholic Theology and its understanding of mortification as a necessary step on the way of holiness is not surprising to me. Perhaps in this thread the criticism has been veiled behind an appeal to a general worldly dislike of the practice of mortification and for that matter the Roman Catholic Church but when we look past the generalities we come face to face with something which is not surprising to find on an Orthodox Forum; suspicion, distrust and dislike of the Roman Catholic Church and it's devout members.

If we are to move this discussion to something more profitable I would ask that the Orthodox offer excerpts from their own tradition of mortification and give examples of modern practitioners and let us compare traditions and practices but leave questioning 'motive' to God and Him alone.


To help give clarity to the statements I've made that appear to criticize mortification of the flesh as a general principle, I don't oppose Christian asceticism (e.g., fasting, abstinence, willing endurance of hardship, even some limited self-inflicted pain).  Even some of our greatest Orthodox saints have gone so far as to inflict some pain on themselves, so I can't say that self-inflicted pain is masochistic and unChristian per se.  For instance, there's the legend of how St. Benedict of Nursia rolled around naked in a briar patch to drive out lustful thoughts that threatened to take over his mind, and there's the story of St. Seraphim of Sarov kneeling on a rock for days on end while praying--I had already mentioned St. Herman of Alaska wearing the heavy chains.  Yes, most of us don't have the spiritual discipline to undertake such feats of mortification without falling into even greater sin, so such practices are certainly not to be recommended without the guidance of a spiritual elder.  But I can't say that self-inflicted suffering is necessarily unChristian.  The main concern I have been trying to express on this thread is my fear, based on the controversy surrounding Opus Dei specifically and on my more general distrust for many Roman Catholic forms of piety, that the self-inflicted mortification undertaken by some in Opus Dei may in fact be a bit excessive or unwise.
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« Reply #76 on: November 29, 2008, 06:46:12 PM »

Thanks for the response, Peter. I'm glad we have some common ground.

Regarding mortification practices of Opus Dei members, I'd say it's best to leave any concerns up to the members themselves and their confessors. Everybody errs from time to time, so I'm sure there are problems. I'd venture to guess that there are some on OC.net struggling with scrupulosity as we speak. But we don't know what individual Opus Dei members are doing (since penances cease to become penances once advertised), so it's best to leave aside any speculation, I think.*

At the Opus Dei retreat I went to, I DID hear about mortification from the numeraries offering me guidance. I was told it was good to deny oneself little things (in and of themselves not bad things) so as to keep mastery over your  body and to prepare yourself for the future in which you might have to give up bigger things. Two helpful things mentioned included taking cold showers (a BIG thing for me, lol) and what they call the "Heroic Minute," meaning not taking that extra minute when your alarm goes off in the morning, but getting up immediately. They did mention St. Benedict rolling around in the briar patch, St. Bernard of Clairvaux throwing himself into an icy pond, and St. Francis taking his body (which he called "Brother Ass") and rolling around in the snow. They mentioned these as ways these saints fled from extreme temptation (following Jesus's precept to pluck out your eye if it causes you to sin).

I will also divulge that I (in the confessional) told the Opus Dei priest I confess to from time to time, Fr. Dave, that I had been slothful and needed to practice more spiritual, physical and mental discipline. He firmly told me that all such things are only a MEANS to an end (deeper love and union with Christ), and if you are making them ends in themselves, it would be better if you didn't do them at all. He also told me that the greatest act of mortification I could do would be to get up early, though tired and groggy, and go to Mass every day. Receiving the Eucharist, he told me, was far and above any devotion or mortification.

Once again, Peter, thanks for your response!

*I think we should all have more discussions about sloth, a vice far more prevalent in our Churches.
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« Reply #77 on: November 29, 2008, 06:52:33 PM »

I will also divulge that I (in the confessional) told the Opus Dei priest I confess to from time to time, Fr. Dave, that I had been slothful and needed to practice more spiritual, physical and mental discipline. He firmly told me that all such things are only a MEANS to an end (deeper love and union with Christ), and if you are making them ends in themselves, it would be better if you didn't do them at all. He also told me that the greatest act of mortification I could do would be to get up early, though tired and groggy, and go to Mass every day. Receiving the Eucharist, he told me, was far and above any devotion or mortification.
Please be careful.  I'm not sure what rules your church has in place to protect the secrecy of the confessional, but Orthodox practice considers the specific counsel received by the penitent to be just as sealed as the confession heard by the priest.  Your divulgence above treads this line too closely for my comfort.
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« Reply #78 on: November 29, 2008, 07:38:06 PM »

Please be careful.  I'm not sure what rules your church has in place to protect the secrecy of the confessional, but Orthodox practice considers the specific counsel received by the penitent to be just as sealed as the confession heard by the priest.  Your divulgence above treads this line too closely for my comfort.

The seal of the confessional is absolute. A priest cannot for any reason divulge what is said in confession. If he does so, he is excommunicated latae sententiae, an excommunication that can only be lifted by the Holy See. The only time it can be divulged is with the expressed permission of the penitent.

The penitent himself is not bound by the seal.
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« Reply #79 on: November 30, 2008, 02:28:27 PM »

To help give clarity to the statements I've made that appear to criticize mortification of the flesh as a general principle, I don't oppose Christian asceticism (e.g., fasting, abstinence, willing endurance of hardship, even some limited self-inflicted pain).  Even some of our greatest Orthodox saints have gone so far as to inflict some pain on themselves, so I can't say that self-inflicted pain is masochistic and unChristian per se.  For instance, there's the legend of how St. Benedict of Nursia rolled around naked in a briar patch to drive out lustful thoughts that threatened to take over his mind, and there's the story of St. Seraphim of Sarov kneeling on a rock for days on end while praying--I had already mentioned St. Herman of Alaska wearing the heavy chains.  Yes, most of us don't have the spiritual discipline to undertake such feats of mortification without falling into even greater sin, so such practices are certainly not to be recommended without the guidance of a spiritual elder.  But I can't say that self-inflicted suffering is necessarily unChristian.  The main concern I have been trying to express on this thread is my fear, based on the controversy surrounding Opus Dei specifically and on my more general distrust for many Roman Catholic forms of piety, that the self-inflicted mortification undertaken by some in Opus Dei may in fact be a bit excessive or unwise.

Gracia et pax,

It is true," says St. Gregory, "that some saints have been guided directly by God"; but, he continues, "such examples are rather to be admired than imitated, for, thinking ourselves above the guidance of holy men, we might easily be led into error." Virtue is found in the golden mean; as idleness in the spiritual life is a fault, so too is intemperate zeal. It is the duty of the spiritual director to war against the former and to moderate the latter but we here are not their spiritual directors and cast judgment on them with very little knowledge of their state in the Spiritual Journey to Perfection. I continue to caution each of us in passing judgment on practices of Opus Dei and it's members.

Since this thread has started we are have moved from questioning mortification to a suspicion of intemperance in the practice of mortification among some of the members of Opus Dei. Truly 'intemperate zeal' is just as much a vice as idleness in the spiritual life but I dare agree with Lubeltri that we are far more weighted down by our sloth than the intemperance of our zeal in the West.

May our Faith be nurtured and burn with a cleansing zeal. Amen.
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« Reply #80 on: November 30, 2008, 02:41:25 PM »

FWIW, there are a lot of "traditionalist" Catholics that have issues with Opus Dei as well.

I'm just pointing out that criticism  of the group is not limited to progressive or nominal Catholics.

That is true. They see Opus Dei as too wedded to the Novus Ordo (even if reverently celebrated). Opus Dei is seen to follow the Pope in everything---thus the enthusiastic adoption of the Novus Ordo and the enthusiastic adoption of the "Benedictine" altar arrangement which the Holy Father instituted at his Masses after he became Pontiff. Thus their embrace of John Paul II's promotion of the "universal call to holiness." Traditionalists generally distrust the lay movements that have boomed over the last 60 years---Opus Dei, Regnum Christi, Communion and Liberation, Focolare, etc.

Gracia et Pax lubeltri,

I am not a huge fan of the "Novus Ordo" and attend an Indult Parish but I don't have any real issues with Opus Dei. That said I don't know any Opus Dei members and haven't studied their material but I still don't see why this is a issue on an Orthodox Forum. To me this seems like Catholic bashing by those who already oppose the Catholic Church on a number of theological and dogmatic issues. Perhaps because of Opus Dei's zeal for their Faith they are seen by the larger populace as 'fanatics'. That seems to be what some are insinuating on this forum. I still don't know why Opus Dei is an issue with Orthodoxy?

 And why would they ask about it here?  Simply because this is the Orthodox-Catholic discussion forum here on oc.net.  Why does everyone always turn to the "you're victimizing me or my group" when they feel backed into a corner or they can't provide answers in a debate or conversation.  Maybe if those asking the questions would receive some answers instead of being told they can't ask because they aren't Roman Catholic or told they were anti Catholic a greater understanding of Opus Dei would be the result.
Maybe because we aren't members of the Roman Catholic Church we aren't privy to knowing the messages and teachings of Opus Dei and and the message and teachings they have to direct people to salvation.  Is that what you are saying?  Are you saying there are levels of belonging and the more you move up the more the message is given to you on how to obtain salvation and those who aren't a part of the group aren't allowed to know this information the group is teaching on how to obtain eternal salvation?  Is that why we shouldn't ask about Opus Dei?

still no commentary on what I said, Francis-Christopher?
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« Reply #81 on: November 30, 2008, 03:16:22 PM »

And why would they ask about it here?  Simply because this is the Orthodox-Catholic discussion forum here on oc.net.  Why does everyone always turn to the "you're victimizing me or my group" when they feel backed into a corner or they can't provide answers in a debate or conversation.  Maybe if those asking the questions would receive some answers instead of being told they can't ask because they aren't Roman Catholic or told they were anti Catholic a greater understanding of Opus Dei would be the result.
Maybe because we aren't members of the Roman Catholic Church we aren't privy to knowing the messages and teachings of Opus Dei and and the message and teachings they have to direct people to salvation.  Is that what you are saying?  Are you saying there are levels of belonging and the more you move up the more the message is given to you on how to obtain salvation and those who aren't a part of the group aren't allowed to know this information the group is teaching on how to obtain eternal salvation?  Is that why we shouldn't ask about Opus Dei?

still no commentary on what I said, Francis-Christopher?

Gracia et Pax,

Frankly anyone who is knowledgeable of the Lives of the Saints will know something about mortification and it's practice. It is certainly true that the world and the devil are great enemies to our salvation; but the greatest enemy of all is our own body because it is always with us. "The enemy that dwells with us in the same house," says St. Bernard, "injures us most." A fort has no more dangerous enemies than those within, for it is harder to protect oneself from these than from the enemy without. While worldly-minded people are intent solely on gratifying their bodies by the pleasures of sense, souls that love God think only of mortifying themselves as much as they are able. St. Peter of Alcantara thus addressed his body: "Be assured of the fact that in this life I will give you no rest; afflictions are your lot; when we are in Heaven we shall enjoy a rest without end." In the same spirit St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi acted, and shortly before her death she could say she did nit remember ever having found pleasure in anything except God

These are the words of St. Alphonsus Liguori and that of the work "Spiritual Combat" by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli as well as St. Francis de Sales. These are not 'new' teachings but a continuity of our Faith. As far as I am aware I see noting 'wrong' with the practices of Opus Dei as long as they are done under the watchful guidance of a Spiritual Director.
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« Reply #82 on: November 30, 2008, 04:36:16 PM »

And why would they ask about it here?  Simply because this is the Orthodox-Catholic discussion forum here on oc.net.  Why does everyone always turn to the "you're victimizing me or my group" when they feel backed into a corner or they can't provide answers in a debate or conversation.  Maybe if those asking the questions would receive some answers instead of being told they can't ask because they aren't Roman Catholic or told they were anti Catholic a greater understanding of Opus Dei would be the result.
Maybe because we aren't members of the Roman Catholic Church we aren't privy to knowing the messages and teachings of Opus Dei and and the message and teachings they have to direct people to salvation.  Is that what you are saying?  Are you saying there are levels of belonging and the more you move up the more the message is given to you on how to obtain salvation and those who aren't a part of the group aren't allowed to know this information the group is teaching on how to obtain eternal salvation?  Is that why we shouldn't ask about Opus Dei?

still no commentary on what I said, Francis-Christopher?

Gracia et Pax,

Frankly anyone who is knowledgeable of the Lives of the Saints will know something about mortification and it's practice. It is certainly true that the world and the devil are great enemies to our salvation; but the greatest enemy of all is our own body because it is always with us. "The enemy that dwells with us in the same house," says St. Bernard, "injures us most." A fort has no more dangerous enemies than those within, for it is harder to protect oneself from these than from the enemy without. While worldly-minded people are intent solely on gratifying their bodies by the pleasures of sense, souls that love God think only of mortifying themselves as much as they are able. St. Peter of Alcantara thus addressed his body: "Be assured of the fact that in this life I will give you no rest; afflictions are your lot; when we are in Heaven we shall enjoy a rest without end." In the same spirit St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi acted, and shortly before her death she could say she did nit remember ever having found pleasure in anything except God

These are the words of St. Alphonsus Liguori and that of the work "Spiritual Combat" by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli as well as St. Francis de Sales. These are not 'new' teachings but a continuity of our Faith. As far as I am aware I see noting 'wrong' with the practices of Opus Dei as long as they are done under the watchful guidance of a Spiritual Director.

I Didn't type a word about mortification processes..... so what was the point?
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« Reply #83 on: November 30, 2008, 09:57:15 PM »

I Didn't type a word about mortification processes..... so what was the point?

Gracia et Pax,

My point is to offer to you the continuity of the Catholic Faith with regard to the practice of mortification which you and others seem opposed to acknowledging as normative in the Christian pursuit of perfection. If that is your view, I find it very unchristian to be frank. As far as 'messages and teachings of Opus Dei' I would only suggest to you and any others that they should be in continuity with what Holy Tradition and the Lives of the Saints. I, myself, am not a member of Opus Dei but I have no concern with the practice of mortification as long as it is under the guidance of a Spiritual Director.

With regard to 'levels of belonging' I guess in a certain way the pursuit of perfection can and has been spoken of in the the sense of progression. Clearly we can and do grow closer or farther from the Presence of God and if you wish to describe this by 'levels or degrees or progression' you will not find argument from me. In Western Spirituality 'technique' is simply a matter of 'means' not 'end'. We have not 'dogmatized' a particular spiritual practice but we can and do 'know them by their fruit'. Opus Dei appears to practice a remarkably rigorous spirituality which can seem out of place to our modern worldly sensibilities. I can only suggest that this rigorous spirituality is not particularly unique from that which we find practiced by the Saints. I can no more condemn them than condemn than I can the Lives of the Saints.

Just one note I have been quoting from St. Alphonsus Liguori's The 12 Steps To Holiness and Salvation. Perhaps you have assumed that this is from Opus Dei? It predates Opus Dei by 200 years just as Dom Dom Lorenzo Scupoli and St. Francis de Sales predate Opus Dei by more. When I look at Opus Dei I see a devout group of zealous followers of the Faith. If they fall into vice by intemperate practice it is their fault before God on Judgment Day. It is not mine to condemn.
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« Reply #84 on: November 30, 2008, 10:41:58 PM »

I Didn't type a word about mortification processes..... so what was the point?


My point is to offer to you the continuity of the Catholic Faith with regard to the practice of mortification which you and others seem opposed to acknowledging as normative in the Christian pursuit of perfection.If that is your view, I find it very unchristian to be frank. As far as 'messages and teachings of Opus Dei' I would only suggest to you and any others that they should be in continuity with what Holy Tradition and the Lives of the Saints. I, myself, am not a member of Opus Dei but I have no concern with the practice of mortification as long as it is under the guidance of a Spiritual Director.


I never said anything about mortification and now you are judging me, I put it into bold where you did that.  I have no clue why you would say that and an apology would be acceptable. 

There are plenty of other lay-groups within the Roman Catholic Church.  3rd Order Franciscans, Benedictine Lay Oblates... that a Roman Catholic can join to gain spiritual guidance in the spirit of the order they are attached to.

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« Reply #85 on: December 01, 2008, 01:43:23 AM »

It's late and I haven't read this entire thread (made it through 2/3 of first page), but I wanted to chime in here.

I have 3 friends who are members of Opus Dei. All are married with families and attend meetings of recollection once per week in the evening. They may attend a weekend retreat during the year, I don't know.

They are all normal guys and devout Christians, good husbands and fathers and serious Catholics.

Dr. Scott Hahn has written a book about his participation in Opus Dei. He is a conservative, mainstream Catholic.
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« Reply #86 on: December 01, 2008, 01:53:42 AM »

I don't know anything about celibate single OD members who live in the communities full time.

When it has to do with seriously religious college students and young twenty-somethings, I think abuses, wierdness and excess may be endimic to any faith's practitioners when the group gets isolated age-wise. This age of human tends to be zealous, idealistic, strident, and sometimes over the top. Especially when highly religious and age-segregated.

This is true for Orthodox Jews, Evangelicals, Charasmatics, Calvinists, Roman Catholics and we Orthodox as well. I have seen it in all of these groups in action  (although not Orthodoxy because I had no contacts with Orthodox people while in college/ young twenties).

I think St. Paul's guidelines for deacons and priests and bishops implied an age requirement of having lived through and beyond that stage of life (in their shorter life spans, maybe it was a shorter period in the late teens). 
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« Reply #87 on: December 01, 2008, 03:56:04 AM »

When it has to do with seriously religious college students and young twenty-somethings, I think abuses, wierdness and excess may be endimic to any faith's practitioners when the group gets isolated age-wise. This age of human tends to be zealous, idealistic, strident, and sometimes over the top. Especially when highly religious and age-segregated.
TELL ME ABOUT IT! Cool  I was that way in college.
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« Reply #88 on: December 12, 2008, 05:28:49 PM »

I Didn't type a word about mortification processes..... so what was the point?

My point is to offer to you the continuity of the Catholic Faith with regard to the practice of mortification which you and others seem opposed to acknowledging as normative in the Christian pursuit of perfection.If that is your view, I find it very unchristian to be frank. As far as 'messages and teachings of Opus Dei' I would only suggest to you and any others that they should be in continuity with what Holy Tradition and the Lives of the Saints. I, myself, am not a member of Opus Dei but I have no concern with the practice of mortification as long as it is under the guidance of a Spiritual Director.


I never said anything about mortification and now you are judging me, I put it into bold where you did that.  I have no clue why you would say that and an apology would be acceptable.

Gracia et Pax Vobiscum,

How am I judging you? I'm making an allusion with conditions nothing more and noting less. Please don't attempt to take my allusions personal. 

Quote
There are plenty of other lay-groups within the Roman Catholic Church.  3rd Order Franciscans, Benedictine Lay Oblates... that a Roman Catholic can join to gain spiritual guidance in the spirit of the order they are attached to.

Yes there is but no of these attempt to offer 'alternatives' to the Churches acetic traditions. They are no opposed to Opus Dei and so they are not in opposition to the spirituality of this group.
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Francisce-Christophorus

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