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« on: February 03, 2009, 05:08:36 PM »

On a certain Roman Catholic forum, I am being told by a handful of posters that repentance and/or penance is possible AFTER the repose of the soul. Those who are claiming this seem to want to tie it into purgatory. But others are saying that it is not possible. I now will pose the question to the Catholics on this forum (Orthodox are also urged to participate).

I begin with this quote: (which by the way is also used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

“There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."
St John Damascene
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2009, 05:31:36 PM »

For the sake of discussion (and context):

'He who from among these angelic powers was set over the earthly realm, and into whose hands God committed the guardianship of the earth, was not made wicked in nature but was good, and made for good ends, and received from his Creator no trace whatever of evil in himself. But he did not sustain the brightness and the honour which the Creator had bestowed on him, and of his free choice was changed from what was in harmony to what was at variance with his nature, and became roused against God Who created him, and determined to rise in rebellion against Him: and he was the first to depart from good and become evil. For evil is nothing else than absence of goodness, just as darkness also is absence of light. For goodness is the light of the mind, and, similarly, evil is the darkness of the mind. Light, therefore, being the work of the Creator and being made good (for God saw all that He made, and behold they were exceeding good) produced darkness at His free-will. But along with him an innumerable host of angels subject to him were torn away and followed him and shared in his fall. Wherefore, being of the same nature as the angels, they became wicked, turning away at their own free choice from good to evil.
 
Hence they have no power or strength against any one except what God in His dispensation hath conceded to them, as for instance, against Job and those swine that are mentioned in the Gospels. But when God has made the concession they do prevail, and are changed and transformed into any form whatever in which they wish to appear.

Of the future both the angels of God and the demons are alike ignorant: yet they make predictions. God reveals the future to the angels and commands them to prophesy, and so what they say comes to pass. But the demons also make predictions, sometimes because they see what is happening at a distance, and sometimes merely making guesses: hence much that they say is false and they should not be believed, even although they do often, in the way we have said, tell what is true. Besides they know the Scriptures.

All wickedness, then, and all impure passions are the work of their mind. But while the liberty to attack man has been granted to them, they have not the strength to over master any one: for we have it in our power to receive or not to receive the attack. Wherefore there has been prepared for the devil and his demons, and those who follow him, fire unquenchable and everlasting punishment.

Note, further, that what in the case of man is death is a fall in the case of angels. For after the fall there is no possibility of repentance for them, just as after death there is for men no repentance.'

Source:  Saint John Damascus, De Fide Orthodoxa (Book II, Chapter IV).

---

'II. THE FALL OF THE ANGELS

391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy.266 Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil".267 The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."268

392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels.269 This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God."270 The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies".271

393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."272

394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father.273 "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil."274 In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.

395 The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him."275 '

Source:  Catechism of the Catholic Church (Part I, Section II, Chapter I, Article I, Paragraph VII)
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2009, 08:36:35 AM »

Well, I would say that repentance is not possible after death, but penance is. Of course, these terms can be slippery. I will try to distinguish them more clearly.

Repentance puts one in a state of grace---salvation.  Refusing God's mercy by remaining unrepentant will cause you to face the abyss at your death. I think Scripture and Tradition testifies that this is final (outliers like Origen notwithstanding). You've made the same decision as the fallen angels---you've definitively rejected God and the divine life offered by Jesus Christ. The 20th-century great Catholic theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar proposed that though we are required to believe in hell's existence, we are not bound to believe anyone is there. He argued that we can hope that all will be saved. This remains a controversial thesis in Catholic circles, while the traditional view that hell is not empty but contains many souls generally holds sway.

Some theologians and mystics (like St. Faustina) have speculated on the possibility that God offers everyone a special outpouring of grace at the moment of their death to spur them to repentance, and that this might drastically reduce the population of hell. Of course, these are just opinions, and such an outpouring of grace can still be rejected.


Penance is sort of more the practice of repentance. It is performed to mitigate the lingering effects of sin (beyond guilt, which is freely remitted), as well as to reduce one's attachment to sin. Penance allows us to more fully partake in the divine nature. What we call Purgatory is sometimes called the "final sanctification"---it is itself a penance which completes the process of theosis left unfinished at death. So, yes, people perform penance after death in Purgatory.

"Purgatory is not, as Tertullian thought, some kind of supra-worldly concentration camp where man is forced to undergo punishment in a more or less arbitrary fashion. Rather it is the inwardly necessary process of transformation in which a person becomes capable of Christ, capable of God and thus capable of unity with the whole communion of saints. Simply to look at people with any degree of realism at all is to grasp the necessity of such a process. It does not replace grace by works, but allows the former to achieve its full victory precisely as grace. What actually saves is the full assent of faith. But in most of us, that basic option is buried under a great deal of wood, hay and straw. Only with difficulty can it peer out from behind the latticework of an egoism we are powerless to pull down with our own hands. Man is the recipient of the divine mercy, yet this does not exonerate him from the need to be transformed. Encounter with the Lord is this transformation. It is the fire that burns away our dross and re-forms us to be vessels of eternal joy."

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life.



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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2009, 10:17:09 AM »

Penance is sort of more the practice of repentance. It is performed to mitigate the lingering effects of sin (beyond guilt, which is freely remitted), as well as to reduce one's attachment to sin. Penance allows us to more fully partake in the divine nature. What we call Purgatory is sometimes called the "final sanctification"---it is itself a penance which completes the process of theosis left unfinished at death. So, yes, people perform penance after death in Purgatory.
Do you have a reference that equates "purgatory" with penance?
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2009, 11:34:05 AM »

I'm not sure what you mean by reference? Its kind of a logical deduction.
1. The acceptance of suffering to detach ourselves from sin and its effects is, by definition, Penance.
2. Purgatory is the cooperation in suffering (after death) in order to be detached from all sin and its effect.
3. Therefore, Purgatory is a kind of penance.
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2009, 05:39:38 PM »

On a certain Roman Catholic forum, I am being told by a handful of posters that repentance and/or penance is possible AFTER the repose of the soul. Those who are claiming this seem to want to tie it into purgatory. But others are saying that it is not possible. I now will pose the question to the Catholics on this forum (Orthodox are also urged to participate).

I begin with this quote: (which by the way is also used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

“There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."
St John Damascene

Why do we pray for them?
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2009, 09:47:57 AM »

Why do we pray for them?
The following is from the troparia of the burial service for laymen.

We sing to the deceased:

Show compassion on your creature, O Master, and purify [him] by your mercy.
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2009, 09:50:53 AM »

I'm not sure what you mean by reference? Its kind of a logical deduction.
1. The acceptance of suffering to detach ourselves from sin and its effects is, by definition, Penance.
2. Purgatory is the cooperation in suffering (after death) in order to be detached from all sin and its effect.
3. Therefore, Purgatory is a kind of penance.

We are purified by God's mercy---not by punishment.

Can you show a reference from the Latin Church which claims that the doctrine of "purgatory" is synoymous with doing penance?
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2009, 05:41:02 PM »

^ I'm not sure what you mean about punishment? The epistles speak about how God punishes us as a Father punishes his children for the sake of correction.
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2009, 12:36:44 PM »

Why do we pray for them?
The following is from the troparia of the burial service for laymen.

We sing to the deceased:

Show compassion on your creature, O Master, and purify [him] by your mercy.


I really like that Mickey. As you well know in the West there exists a 'rationale' for why we pray for the Dead (May they rest in peace).
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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2009, 12:58:44 PM »

I'm not sure what you mean about punishment?
It has to do with the scholasticly defined doctrine of purgatory with all its fire and punishment.  Undecided
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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2009, 01:01:45 PM »

I'm not sure what you mean by reference? Its kind of a logical deduction.
1. The acceptance of suffering to detach ourselves from sin and its effects is, by definition, Penance.
2. Purgatory is the cooperation in suffering (after death) in order to be detached from all sin and its effect.
3. Therefore, Purgatory is a kind of penance.

We are purified by God's mercy---not by punishment.

Can you show a reference from the Latin Church which claims that the doctrine of "purgatory" is synoymous with doing penance?

Grace and Peace Mickey,

I know that Latin Fathers have always looked to this verse or passage to gain a glimpse into the process of our perfection in the afterlife.

If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. (I Corinthians 3:15)

In the fourth "century in the West, Ambrose insists in his commentary on St. Paul (I Cor., iii) on the existence of purgatory, and in his masterly funeral oration (De obitu Theodosii), thus prays for the soul of the departed emperor: "Give, O Lord, rest to Thy servant Theodosius, that rest Thou hast prepared for Thy saints.... I loved him, therefore will I follow him to the land of the living; I will not leave him till by my prayers and lamentations he shall be admitted unto the holy mount of the Lord, to which his deserts call him" (P.L., XVI, col. 1397).

St. Augustine is clearer even than his master. He describes two conditions of men; "some there are who have departed this life, not so bad as to be deemed unworthy of mercy, nor so good as to be entitled to immediate happiness" etc., and in the resurrection he says there will be some who "have gone through these pains, to which the spirits of the dead are liable" (De Civ. Dei, XXI, 24).

Blessed Pope Gregory the Great speaks of those who after this life "will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames", and he adds "that the pain will be more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life" (Ps. 3 paenit., n. 1). Following in the footsteps of Gregory, St. Thomas teaches (IV, dist. xxi, q. i, a. 1) that besides the separation of the soul from the sight of God, there is the other punishment from fire. "Una paena damni, in quantum scilicet retardantur a divina visione; alia sensus secundum quod ab igne punientur", and St. Bonaventure not only agrees with St. Thomas but adds (IV, dist. xx, p. 1, a. 1, q. ii) that this punishment by fire is more severe than any punishment which comes to men in this life; "Gravior est omni temporali paena, quam modo sustinet anima carni conjuncta". How this fire affects the souls of the departed the Doctors do not know, and in such matters it is well to heed the warning of the Council of Trent when it commands the bishops "to exclude from their preaching difficult and subtle questions which tend not to edification, and from the discussion of which there is no increase either of piety or of devotion" (Seas. XXV, "De Purgatorio").

This is taken from the Original Catholic Encyclopedia: http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Purgatory


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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2009, 01:03:26 PM »

I'm not sure what you mean about punishment?
It has to do with the scholasticly defined doctrine of purgatory with all its fire and punishment.  Undecided

Blessed Gregory the Great spoke in such terms which predate Scholasticism. Orthodox dislike of these ideas seem odd to me.
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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2009, 01:04:00 PM »

I'm not sure what you mean about punishment?
It has to do with the scholasticly defined doctrine of purgatory with all its fire and punishment.  Undecided
My point is that even the scriptures say that God punishes us as his children so that he can correct us. Are you against such punishment?
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2009, 01:22:55 PM »

My point is that even the scriptures say that God punishes us as his children so that he can correct us. Are you against such punishment?
God's Judgement

Judgement of the soul according to its faith and deeds on earth is an unquestioned teaching of the Gospel. It is also a self-evident demand of human nature and reasoning. The Christian Church places this judgment at the very moment of the death of the individual for two reasons:
1.   Any moral progress of the soul is excluded after its separation from the body; and
2.   there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.
The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There.is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.
The Orthodox Church does not believe in purgatory (a place of purging), that is, the inter-mediate state after death in which the souls of the saved (those who have not received temporal punishment for their sins) are purified of all taint preparatory to entering into Heaven, where every soul is perfect and fit to see God. Also, the Orthodox Church does not believe in indulgences as remissions from purgatoral punishment. Both purgatory and indulgences are inter-corrolated theories, unwitnessed in the Bible or in the Ancient Church, and when they were enforced and applied they brought about evil practices at the expense of the prevailing Truths of the Church. If Almighty God in His merciful loving-kindness changes the dreadful situation of the sinner, it is unknown to the Church of Christ. The Church lived for fifteen hundred years without such a theory.
http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7076


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« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2009, 01:27:19 PM »

Blessed Pope Gregory the Great speaks of those who after this life "will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames", and he adds "that the pain will be more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life" (Ps. 3 paenit., n. 1).
I am aware that there have been a handful of Fathers that the West likes to quote so that they can retro-actively justify the 13th century definition of the doctrine of purgatory--a doctrine that the great councils did not talk about--a doctrine that did not exist in the undivided Church.

I would be interested to read the entire St Gregory quote in context if you have a reference. Thanks.

I did not intend to for this thread become a debate over the existence of purgatory itself.
 
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« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2009, 01:30:08 PM »

My point is that even the scriptures say that God punishes us as his children so that he can correct us. Are you against such punishment?
God's Judgement

Judgement of the soul according to its faith and deeds on earth is an unquestioned teaching of the Gospel. It is also a self-evident demand of human nature and reasoning. The Christian Church places this judgment at the very moment of the death of the individual for two reasons:
1.   Any moral progress of the soul is excluded after its separation from the body; and
2.   there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.
The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There.is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.
The Orthodox Church does not believe in purgatory (a place of purging), that is, the inter-mediate state after death in which the souls of the saved (those who have not received temporal punishment for their sins) are purified of all taint preparatory to entering into Heaven, where every soul is perfect and fit to see God. Also, the Orthodox Church does not believe in indulgences as remissions from purgatoral punishment. Both purgatory and indulgences are inter-corrolated theories, unwitnessed in the Bible or in the Ancient Church, and when they were enforced and applied they brought about evil practices at the expense of the prevailing Truths of the Church. If Almighty God in His merciful loving-kindness changes the dreadful situation of the sinner, it is unknown to the Church of Christ. The Church lived for fifteen hundred years without such a theory.
http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7076

This proclamation seems to be contradictory to it's the Saints... and the 'hope' of apokatastasis; Lat., restitutio in pristinum statum. It seems to be too broad a claim if it crushes any hope of restoration.
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« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2009, 01:32:44 PM »

This proclamation seems to be contradictory to it's the Saints... and the 'hope' of apokatastasis;
How do you figure?
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« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2009, 01:33:14 PM »

Blessed Pope Gregory the Great speaks of those who after this life "will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames", and he adds "that the pain will be more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life" (Ps. 3 paenit., n. 1).
I am aware that there have been a handful of Fathers that the West likes to quote so that they can retro-actively justify the 13th century definition of the doctrine of purgatory--a doctrine that the great councils did not talk about--a doctrine that did not exist in the undivided Church.

I would be interested to read the entire St Gregory quote in context if you have a reference. Thanks.

I believe in an inter-mediate state and I believe you have over reached your argument against Purgatory. I'm not sure I'd wish to launch into a full defense of the Catholic dogma but I believe in your zeal to denounce the teaching you are over reaching.
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« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2009, 01:33:21 PM »

Blessed Pope Gregory the Great speaks of those who after this life "will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames", and he adds "that the pain will be more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life" (Ps. 3 paenit., n. 1).
I am aware that there have been a handful of Fathers that the West likes to quote so that they can retro-actively justify the 13th century definition of the doctrine of purgatory--a doctrine that the great councils did not talk about--a doctrine that did not exist in the undivided Church.

I would be interested to read the entire St Gregory quote in context if you have a reference. Thanks.
What's wrong with recognizing that the teaching existed even if the word purgatory was not used? The doctrine of the Trinity existed before the word was used.
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« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2009, 01:35:22 PM »

This proclamation seems to be contradictory to it's the Saints... and the 'hope' of apokatastasis;
How do you figure?

Are you really so eager to prompt me to defend Rome?  Undecided
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« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2009, 01:46:40 PM »

What's wrong with recognizing that the teaching existed even if the word purgatory was not used? The doctrine of the Trinity existed before the word was used.
Oh boy, here we go again--the Trinity analogy. The doctrine of purgatory is not in the Sacred Scriptures...not even in concept.
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« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2009, 01:47:38 PM »

Are you really so eager to prompt me to defend Rome?  Undecided
Go for it. I'm anxious to see how you understand apokatastasis.  Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2009, 01:50:26 PM »

I believe in an inter-mediate state and I believe you have over reached your argument against Purgatory.
That is fine. You are entitled to your opinion.
I believe in your zeal to denounce the teaching you are over reaching.
There is nothing to denounce since I do not believe in the exsistence of such a doctrine.  Undecided
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« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2009, 02:12:31 PM »

Grace and Peace to all,

Knowing the fragility of my present state as one of 'two minds' on many subjects pertaining to these topics which seem to be hotly debated between Orthodox and Catholic apologists and polemicists I don't know if it is wise for me to delve to deeply in the polemics of such a debate.

In my present state I don't recognize the Catholic Dogma of Purgatory as antithetical to Orthodoxy. I know Orthodox apologists hotly debate all Doctrines and Dogmas of the Roman Church which have been clarified after the Schism between the East and the West. I can't say that I agree with the idea that these proclaimed Doctrines/Dogmas are in error but I understand the motive to do so.

As I stated in an earlier post, I do affirm an intermediate state in which prayer is efficacious to the souls who are in repose. I understand how the Roman Church has suggested a rationale for this aware of the passages in the Sacred Texts which affirm a Judgment upon death. I also understand the differing interpretations of these passages by Orthodox apologists. What I can say is that I'm not sure I agree with them. Far too often I see an effort by Orthodox apologists to obstruct Catholic teachings even if there exists evidence in their own Tradition that might lend weight to the Catholic argument. This makes me question the real motive between such disagreements. As apologists, either Orthodox or Catholic, I don't honestly see any real objectivity in these discussions but only an attempt to discredit, at times by any means necessary, the opponents position. I'm not clear how constructive such activities ultimately are. Perhaps for those who are already convinced in the error of the other party there exists some sense of gratification in the effort but I really don't see any real convincing evidence to agree one way or the other. Personally, I chaff over what I see as an unbalanced presentation of the Christian Faith by some on either side but I don't know exactly what to do about that but continue to reflect deeply on the topic. I don't see any real effort in aiding those who honestly don't see a preponderance of evidence to change their opinion on the matter like myself. It seems to be that each side brandish their 'team-shirts' and simply abuse those who aren't on 'their team'. Perhaps I am being overly judgmental, perhaps my own confusion and doubt has frustrated me to the point that I am angry with the Orthodox for not presenting arguments that would convince me. I ultimately don't know but I do know following these threads over and over again don't seem to offer up any new food for thought. I lament that.
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« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2009, 02:33:19 PM »

I am angry with the Orthodox for not presenting arguments that would convince me. I ultimately don't know but I do know following these threads over and over again don't seem to offer up any new food for thought. I lament that.
My dear brother in Christ. Do not look for others to convince you. Pray for discernment. Let your mind rest in your heart. Let God convince you where you need to be. I offer you my deepest prayers on your continuing journey.

I am going to post an edited response from Fr Anastasios (forum Administrator) from one of the many other threads on purgatory. This is my last word on this doctrine because I am absolutely sick of debating it. Fr Anastasios eloquently states pretty much how I feel about the subject.


Re Purgatory vs. Orthodox teaching.

 Purgatory deals with paying off the results of sin.  But eastern teaching is that sin is sickness, not guilt; penances help purify the nous (the eye of the soul; St. Paul uses the term and it is translated "Mind" in the New Testament) and have nothing to do with "making up" for sin.  The intermediate state in Orthodoxy is not a place where a purification takes place, and upon completion one waits for heaven; rather, everyone waits for the Resurrection and Final Judgment and is purified then, and puirfied in heaven infinitely [theosis].

Pray for mercy.


In Christ,

anastasios
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« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2009, 02:43:27 PM »

Are you really so eager to prompt me to defend Rome?  Undecided
Go for it. I'm anxious to see how you understand apokatastasis.  Smiley

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a king, who would take an account of his servants... Then his lord called him; and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me: Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee? And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt.

I see apokatastasis as reflected in this parable of the Kingdom of heaven... to a lesser or greater extent.

As a Latin, I would also see within the operation of the King in this parable an expectation of satisfaction. We will be delivered to torment until we have made satisfaction for our debts. This is also where this notion of satisfaction in Latin Theology stems from.

When the Councils condemned Origen the West doesn't seem to look at it as only a condemnation of the 'certainty' of apokatastiasis but even the 'hope' of such a thing and thus never looked to an end to Gehenna. That being said the Latin Fathers understood the practice of prayers for the dead just as the Greek Fathers but made a distinction between those who are doomed to eternal damnation with the fallen angels and those who would see entrance within the gates of heaven 'after' the had paid their debt to the tormentor as separate even though I know that they recognized the 'fire' of both Gehenna and Purgatory were the same fire. It is in this knowledge that I recognize Purgatory as an expression of apokatastiasis in the West.

I welcome our more devout Roman Catholics on the forum to correct and illuminate us further into Latin Theology for I know I am not a scholar of such theology and am very possibly in error in some of my presumptions.
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« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2009, 02:45:50 PM »

I am angry with the Orthodox for not presenting arguments that would convince me. I ultimately don't know but I do know following these threads over and over again don't seem to offer up any new food for thought. I lament that.
My dear brother in Christ. Do not look for others to convince you. Pray for discernment. Let your mind rest in your heart. Let God convince you where you need to be. I offer you my deepest prayers on your continuing journey.

I am going to post an edited response from Fr Anastasios (forum Administrator) from one of the many other threads on purgatory. This is my last word on this doctrine because I am absolutely sick of debating it. Fr Anastasios eloquently states pretty much how I feel about the subject.


Re Purgatory vs. Orthodox teaching.

 Purgatory deals with paying off the results of sin.  But eastern teaching is that sin is sickness, not guilt; penances help purify the nous (the eye of the soul; St. Paul uses the term and it is translated "Mind" in the New Testament) and have nothing to do with "making up" for sin.  The intermediate state in Orthodoxy is not a place where a purification takes place, and upon completion one waits for heaven; rather, everyone waits for the Resurrection and Final Judgment and is purified then, and puirfied in heaven infinitely [theosis].

Pray for mercy.


In Christ,

anastasios

Thank you Mickey. I welcome your prayers and all the kindness you can muster in discussing these topics with me. All I ask for is sympathy, kindness and patience.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2009, 02:57:02 PM »

Thank you Mickey. I welcome your prayers and all the kindness you can muster in discussing these topics with me. All I ask for is sympathy, kindness and patience.
Indeed. And you have my deepest apologies if I have offended you in any way. Please forgive me. I am often guilty of getting carried away by the passions when discussing East/West differences. Please look past my frailties.

The worst of sinners,
Mickey
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« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2009, 04:27:04 PM »

Indeed. And you have my deepest apologies if I have offended you in any way. Please forgive me. I am often guilty of getting carried away by the passions when discussing East/West differences. Please look past my frailties.

No need to apologize since there has been no offense. I do understand the zeal one might have for their arguments on these topics.

I once read a book entitled The Order of Things by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. and I remember saying to myself if only Orthodox Apologists would read this they might just grasp where Roman Catholics are coming from and they wouldn't be so smug in their condemnations. There is a real challenge for me in accepting Orthodox arguments against suffering, mortification, satisfaction, and the like. I understand that these views are largely unpopular in our modern day but our early Fathers and our Sacred Texts seem to use these terms and analogies far too often for me to comfortably deny them so outright as Orthodox are so often quick to do.
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« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2009, 05:02:40 PM »

I once read a book entitled The Order of Things by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. and I remember saying to myself if only Orthodox Apologists would read this they might just grasp where Roman Catholics are coming from and they wouldn't be so smug in their condemnations. There is a real challenge for me in accepting Orthodox arguments against suffering, mortification, satisfaction, and the like. I understand that these views are largely unpopular in our modern day but our early Fathers and our Sacred Texts seem to use these terms and analogies far too often for me to comfortably deny them so outright as Orthodox are so often quick to do.
My understanding, (and I have not been Orthodox long so I could be mistaken), is that the Orthodox Church grasps very well the concepts of suffering, mortification, and satisfaction--------in this life. But when it comes to suffering in the next life (aside from hell), we look more in terms of mercy.  The Orthodox are very traditional and they do not adhere to the way certain doctrines developed in post schism Rome.
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« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2009, 05:21:06 PM »


My understanding, (and I have not been Orthodox long so I could be mistaken), is that the Orthodox Church grasps very well the concepts of suffering, mortification, and satisfaction--------in this life. But when it comes to suffering in the next life (aside from hell), we look more in terms of mercy.  The Orthodox are very traditional and they do not adhere to the way certain doctrines developed in post schism Rome.

Sometimes pain is a mercy. Sometimes we suffer for our own good. When seen it such context both suffering and pain is a mercy. I don't attempt to put justice at the expense of mercy nor mercy at the expense of justice. In God's Wisdom and Providence we find that the two are one and the same. My concern with how Orthodoxy has been positioned in modern apologetics is that one is at the expense of the other and the great efforts are taken to 'apologize' for the Sacred Text and the way in which it uses analogies to express the mysteries of the Christian Faith. largely I feel this may be attempted to make Christianity more appealing to modern sensibilities as some of the early Church Fathers did with the Greek sensibilities. At other times, I get the impression that there is no awareness of this softening of the presentation of the Faith and it is taken to be the truth of the Faith itself. Embedding this 'apology' for the crudeness of St. Paul's use of forensic terminology, for example, allows philosophy to take precedence over the normative interpretation of the Sacred Texts. That is, at the very least, a concern of mine.

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« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2009, 05:28:14 PM »

My concern with how Orthodoxy has been positioned in modern apologetics is that one is at the expense of the other and the great efforts are taken to 'apologize' for the Sacred Text and the way in which it uses analogies to express the mysteries of the Christian Faith.
Sorry my brother but I believe you are mistaken. Orthodoxy does not attempt to define things--especially God's mercy. Rome became very proficient at apologetics and definitions defending themselves against the reformers.

Orthodoxy leaves it to a mystery---and if we try to define the mystery---it does not quite work.




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« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2009, 05:58:38 PM »

Sorry my brother but I believe you are mistaken. Orthodoxy does not attempt to define things--especially God's mercy. Rome became very proficient at apologetics and definitions defending themselves against the reformers.

Orthodoxy leaves it to a mystery---and if we try to define the mystery---it does not quite work.

Honestly Mickey I wouldn't know this listening to all the theories given around here for why this is this and that is that. It is true that the Western mind is far more critical than that of the Eastern mind. Where in the West the Church asks that one submit their intellect to the teachings of the Church the East asks that one submit their intellect to "mystery". I'm not sure the Catholic Church doesn't also recognize the "mystery" of the Faith but the West does and has asked critical questions to which the Western Church has attempted to give sound answers through trust in the reasonableness of the Faith and the guidance of the Holy Spirit into 'all Truth'. I guess this is where 'development of Doctrine' begins to rear it's head. There is a sense in the West that revelation is progressive and ever blossoming into greater beauty and clarity. It is not a static deposit. Of course we could be looking at this from opposite directions. From the human perspective, the Faith is something that is ever revealing itself yet from the Divine perspective, this Truth is a complete Deposit ever extended to the Church as a gift from God. I have difficultly seeing either as antithetical to one or the other though.
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« Reply #34 on: February 09, 2009, 09:34:35 AM »

Where in the West the Church asks that one submit their intellect to the teachings of the Church the East asks that one submit their intellect to "mystery".
We must remember that the sacraments are "mysteries".

I'm not sure the Catholic Church doesn't also recognize the "mystery" of the Faith but the West does and has asked critical questions to which the Western Church has attempted to give sound answers through trust in the reasonableness of the Faith and the guidance of the Holy Spirit into 'all Truth'.
To not explain something, is not a "cop out". I truly believe that there are many mysteries that cannot be defined. I think attempting to define a mystery only causes more confusion.

There is a sense in the West that revelation is progressive and ever blossoming into greater beauty and clarity.
Yes. The post schism "development" in the West is another point of contention.


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« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2009, 10:44:42 AM »

Where in the West the Church asks that one submit their intellect to the teachings of the Church the East asks that one submit their intellect to "mystery".
We must remember that the sacraments are "mysteries".

And yet you explain to finite detail the mystery of mysteries, the interior nature of the Godhead. This is what I don't honestly understand. The thing 'most' distant is explained in the most finite terms and yet we run from these others. I really don't understand that.

Quote
To not explain something, is not a "cop out". I truly believe that there are many mysteries that cannot be defined. I think attempting to define a mystery only causes more confusion.

See my above response.

Quote
Yes. The post schism "development" in the West is another point of contention.

We see the development of the Liturgy, the Sacraments, why not our knowledge of Dogma?
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« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2009, 11:21:44 AM »

And yet you explain to finite detail the mystery of mysteries, the interior nature of the Godhead.

As you know, the Holy Orthodox Church accepts what was revealed in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition which includes the Great Councils of the Church. Scripture and Tradition revealed everything from a more detailed understanding of the Holy Trinity (although it still remains veiled in mystery) to the doctrines, to the Liturgy and the Sacraments.
Doctrines such as purgatory, Immaculate Conception, and Papal Infallibility were not doctrines of the undivided Church. I believe the West brought the concept of "development" a bit too far after the great schism.
We see the development of the Liturgy, the Sacraments, why not our knowledge of Dogma?

See above response.
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« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2009, 04:58:57 PM »

And yet you explain to finite detail the mystery of mysteries, the interior nature of the Godhead.

As you know, the Holy Orthodox Church accepts what was revealed in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition which includes the Great Councils of the Church. Scripture and Tradition revealed everything from a more detailed understanding of the Holy Trinity (although it still remains veiled in mystery) to the doctrines, to the Liturgy and the Sacraments.
Doctrines such as purgatory, Immaculate Conception, and Papal Infallibility were not doctrines of the undivided Church. I believe the West brought the concept of "development" a bit too far after the great schism.
We see the development of the Liturgy, the Sacraments, why not our knowledge of Dogma?

See above response.
I think that ignatius has demonstrated that the doctrine of purgatory existed in the west before the schism.
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