Author Topic: What really consitutes Apostasy?  (Read 4764 times)

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Offline TonyS

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What really consitutes Apostasy?
« on: January 28, 2004, 09:59:30 PM »
Can a Christian participate in any non-Christian practices without that being considered apostasy?

There are people whose ethnic background or geographic location puts them in close contact with people who practice non-Christian religions or whose own local spirituality is highly influenced by non-Christian religions.

I offer as an example all of the African-based religions in the Caribbean basin and Atlantic South America.  Or what about the many "charms" or "amulets" that are so popular among so many ethnic groups...especially the ones to keep away Evil-Eye?  I've heard it said that some Greek priests will not give Communion to people who wear that blue eye.  Among Hispanics I have never heard anything like that but that may just be in my places of familiarity.  

An acquaintance of mine from Trinidad who is a practicing RC told me once to put a picture of Hanuman by the door to keep out all bad things from the house!  She grew up in Trinidad with Indians.  Is that apostasy?  Is wearing an "azabache" or blue eye a form of apostasy?

TonyS
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Offline TonyS

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Re:What really constitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2004, 10:00:56 PM »
Fixing spelling.
Tómame como al tequila, de un golpe y sin pensarlo. - Ricardo Arjona

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Offline Br. Max, OFC

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2004, 10:45:20 PM »
Apostasy
(apo, from, and stasis, station, standing, or position).

The word itself in its etymological sense, signifies the desertion of a post, the giving up of a state of life; he who voluntarily embraces a definite state of life cannot leave it, therefore, without becoming an apostate. Most authors, however, distinguish with Benedict XIV (De Synodo di-úcesan+ó, XIII, xi, 9), between three kinds of apostasy: apostasy a Fide or perfidi-ú, when a Christian gives up his faith; apostasy ab ordine, when a cleric abandons the ecclesiastical state; apostasy a religione, or monachatus, when a religious leaves the religious life. The Gloss on title 9 of the fifth book of the Decretals of Gregory IX mentions two other kinds of apostasy: apostasy inobedienti+ª, disobedience to a command given by lawful authority, and iteratio baptismatis, the repetition of baptism, "quoniam reiterantes baptismum videntur apostatare dum recedunt a priori baptismate". As all sin involves disobedience, the apostasy inobedienti+ª does not constitute a specific offense. In the case of iteratio baptismatis, the offence falls rather under the head of heresy and irregularity than of apostasy; if the latter name has sometimes been given to it, it is due to the fact that the Decretals of Gregory IX combine into one title, under the rubric "De apostatis et reiterantibus baptisma" (V, title 9) the two distinct titles of the Justinian Code: "Ne sanctum baptisma iteretur" and" De apostatis " (I, titles 6, 7), in Corpus juris civilis ed. Krueger, (Berlin, 1888); II 60-61. See M++nchen "Das kanonische Gerichtsverfahren und Strafrecht" (Cologne, 1874), II, 362, 363. Apostasy, in its strictest sense, means apostasy a Fide (St. Thomas, Summa theologica, II-II, Q. xii a. 1).

APOSTASY A FIDE, or PERFIDI+Ã¥

Perfidi+ª is the complete and voluntary abandonment of the Christian religion, whether the apostate embraces another religion such as Paganism, Judaism, Mohammedanism, etc., or merely makes profession of Naturalism, Rationalism, etc. The heretic differs from the apostate in that he only denies one or more of the doctrines of revealed religion, whereas the apostate denies the religion itself, a sin which has always been looked upon as one of the most grievous. The "Shepherd" of Hermas, a work written in Rome in the middle of the second century, states positively that there is no forgiveness for those who have wilfully denied the Lord. [Similit. ix. 26, 5; Funk, Opera Patrum apostolicorum (T++bingen, 1887), I, 547]. Apostasy belonged, therefore, to the class of sins for which the Church imposed perpetual penance and excommunication without hope of pardon, leaving the forgiveness of the sin to God alone. After the Decian persecution (249, 250), however, the great numbers of Lapsi and Libellatici, and the claims of the Martyres or Confessores, who assumed the right of remitting the sin of apostasy by giving the Lapsi a letter of communion, led to a relaxation of the rigour of ecclesiastical discipline. St. Cyprian and the Council of the African Church which met at Carthage in 251 admitted the principle of the Church's right to remit the sin of apostasy, even before the hour of death. Pope Cornelius and the council which he held at Rome confirmed the decisions of the Synod of Carthage, and the discipline of forgiveness was gradually introduced into all the Churches. [Epistol+ª S. Cypriani, 55 et 68; Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum (Vienna, 1871), III, ii, ed. Hartel, 624, 666; Eusebius, Church History, VI, xliii, 1, 2]. Nevertheless, the Council of Elvira, held in Spain about the year 300, still refused forgiveness to apostates. [Harduin, Acta Conciliorum (Paris, 1715), I, 250; Funk, Kirchen-geschichtliche Abhandlungen und Untersuchungen (Paderborn, 1897), I, 155-181; Batiffol, Etudes d'histoire et de th+¬ologie positive (Paris, 1902) 1st series, 111-144]. When the Roman Empire became Christian, apostates were punished by deprivation of all civil rights. They could not give evidence in a court of law, and could neither bequeath nor inherit property. To induce anyone to apostatize was an offence punishable with death [Theodosian Code, XVI, title 7, De apostatis; title 8, De Jud+ªis; "Corpus juris romani ante-Justinian+ªi" (Bonn, 1840), 1521 - 1607; Code of Justinian I, title 7, De apostatis l. c. 60, 61]. In the Middle Ages, both civil and canon law classed apostates with heretics; so much so that title 9 of the fifth book of the Decretals of Gregory IX, which treats of apostasy, contains only a secondary provision concerning apostasy a Fide [iv, Friedberg, Corpus juris canonici (Leipzig, 1879-81), II, 790-792]. Boniface VIII however, by a provision which was amended in the sixth book of the Decretals [V, title 2, De h-úreticis, 13 (Friedberg, II, 1075)], merely classes apostates with heretics in respect of the penalties which they incur. This decretal, which only mentions apostate Jews by name, was applied indifferently to all. The Inquisition could therefore proceed against them. The Spanish Inquisition was directed, at the end of the fifteenth century, chiefly against apostates, the Maranos, or new Christians, Jews converted by force rather than by conviction; while in 1609 it dealt severely with the Moriscos, or professedly-converted Moors of Spain.

Today the temporal penalties formerly inflicted on apostates and heretics cannot be enforced, and have fallen into abeyance. The spiritual penalties are the same as those which apply to heretics. In order, however, to incur these penalties, it is necessary, in accordance with the general principles of canon law, that the apostasy should be shown in some way. Apostates, with all who receive, protect, or befriend them, incur excommunication, reserved speciali modo to the Sovereign Pontiff (Constitution Apostolic+ª Sedis, n=B0. 1). They incur, moreover, the note of "infamy", at least when their apostasy is notorious, and are "irregular"; an infamy and an irregularity which extend to the son and the grandson of an apostate father, and to the son of an apostate mother, should the parents die without being reconciled to the Church [Decree of Gratian, Distinction L, xxxii; V, tit. 2, ii, xv of the sixth book of the Decretals (Friedberg, I, 191, II, 1069 and 1075)]. Most authors, however, are of opinion that the irregularity affects only the children of parents who have joined some particular sect, or who have been personally condemned by ecclesiastical authority [Gasparri, De sacr+ó ordinatione (Paris, 1893), II, 288 and 294; Lehmkuhl, Theologia moralis (Freiburg im Br., 1898), II, 725; Wernz, Jus decretalium (Rome, 1899), II, 200; Hollweck, Die kirchlichen Strafgesetze (Mainz, 1899), 162]. Apostates are debarred from ecclesiastical burial (Decretals of Gregory IX, Bk. V, title 7, viii, Friedberg, II, 779). Any writings of theirs, in which they uphold heresy and schism, or labour to undermine the foundations of faith, are on the Index, and those who read them incur the excommunication reserved, speciali modo to the Sovereign Pontiff [Constitution of Leo XIII, Officiorum et munerum, 25 January, 1897, i, v; Vermeersch, De prohibitione et censur+ó librorum (Rome, 1901), 3d ed., 57, 112]. Apostasy constitutes an impediment to marriage, and the apostasy of husband or wife is a sufficient reason for separation a thoro et cohabitatione, which, according to many authorities, the ecclesiastical tribunal may make perpetual [Decretals of Gregory IX, IV, title 19, vi; (Friedberg, II, p. 722) ]. Others, however, maintain that this separation cannot be perpetual unless the innocent party embraces the religious state [Decretals of Gregory IX, ibidem, vii (Friedberg, II 722). See Gasparri, "Tractatus canonicus de matrimonio" (Paris, 1891), II, 283; De Becker, "De matrimonio" (Louvain, 1903), 2d ed., 424]. In the case of clerics, apostasy involves the loss of all dignities, offices, and benefices, and even of all clerical privileges (Decretals of Gregory IX. V, title 7, ix, xiii. See Hollweck, 163, 164).

APOSTASY AB ORDINE

This, according to the present discipline of the Church, is the abandonment of the clerical dress and state by clerics who have received major orders. Such, at least, is the definition given of it by most authorities. The ancient discipline of the Church, though it did not forbid the marriage of clerics, did not allow them to abandon the ecclesiastical state of their own will, even if they had only received minor orders. The Council of Chalcedon threatens with excommunication all deserting clerics without distinction (Hardouin, II, 603). This discipline, often infringed indeed, endured throughout a great part of the Middle Ages. Pope Leo IX decreed, at the Council of Reims (1049): "Ne quis monachus vel clericus a suo gradu apostataret", all monks and clerks are forbidden to abandon their state (Hardouin, VI, 1007). The Decretals of Gregory IX, published in 1234, preserve traces of the older discipline under the title De apostatis, which forbids all clerks, without distinction, to abandon their state [V, title 9, i, iii (Friedberg, II, 790-791) ]. Innocent III had however, at an earlier date, given permission to clerks in minor orders to quit the ecclesiastical state of their own will (Decretals of Gregory IX, III, title 3, vii; see also x, Friedberg, II, 458-460). The Council of Trent did not restore the ancient discipline of the Church, but deemed it sufficient to command the bishops to exercise great prudence in bestowing the tonsure, and only laid the obligations involved in the clerical state on clerks who have received major orders and on those who enjoy an ecclesiastical benefice (Session XXIII, De Reformatione, iv, vi). Whence it follows that all other clerks can quit their state, but, by the very fact of doing so, lose all the privileges of the clergy. Even the clerk in minor orders who enjoys an ecclesiastical benefice, should he wish to be laicized, loses his benefice by the very fact of his laicization, a loss which is to be regarded not as the penalty, but as the consequence, of his having abandoned the ecclesiastical state. These considerations suffice, it would seem, to refute the opinion maintained by some writers [Hinschius, System des Katholischen Kirchenrechts (Berlin, 1895), V, 905], who think that a clerk in minor orders can, even at the present day, be an apostate ab ordine. This opinion is rejected, among others, by Scherer, [Handbuch des Kirchenrechtes (Gratz, 1886), I, 313; Wernz, II, 338, note 24; Hollweck, 299].

Today, after three ineffectual notices, the apostate clerk loses, ipso facto, the privileges of clergy [Decretals of Gregory IX, V, title 9, i; title 39, xxiii, xxv (Friedberg, II, 790 and 897)]. By the very fact of apostasy he incurs infamy, which, however is only an infamy of fact, not one of law imposed by canonical legislation. Infamy involves irregularity, and is an offense punishable by the loss of ecclesiastical benefices. Finally, should the apostate persist in his apostasy, the bishop may excommunicate him [Constit. of Benedict XIII, Apostolic+ª ecclesi+ª regimine, 2 May, 1725, in Bullarum amplissima collectio (Rome, 1736), XI, ii, 400].

APOSTASY A RELIGIONE, OR MONACHATUS

Monachatus is the culpable departure of a religious from his monastery with the intention of not returning to it and of withdrawing himself from the obligations of the religious life. A monk, therefore, who leaves his monastery with the intention of returning is not an apostate, but a runaway, and so is the one who leaves it intending to enter another religious order. The monks and hermits of the early Church made no vow always continuing to live the ascetic life upon which they had entered. The rule of St. Pachomius, the father of the c-únobitical life, allowed the religious to leave his monastery [Ladenze, Histoire du c+¬nobitisme pakhomien (Louvain, 1898), 285]. But from the fourth century onwards the religious state became perpetual, and in 385 Pope Siricius, in his letter to Himerius, expresses indignation against religious men or women who were unfaithful to their propositum sanctitatis (Hardouin, I, 848, 849). The Council of Chalcedon decreed that the religious who desired to return to the world should be excommunicated, and the Second Council of Arles called him an apostate (Hardouin, II, 602, 603, 775). Throughout the Middle Ages numerous councils and papal decretals insisted on this perpetuity of the religious life, of which Peter Damian was one of the great champions (Migne, P.L., CXLV, 674-678). Paul IV, at the time of the Council of Trent, instituted very strict legislation against apostates by his Bull Postquam., dated 20 July, 1558. These provisions were, however, recalled, two years later, by Pius IV, in the Constitution, Sedis apostolic+ª, of 3 April, 1560 (Bullarum amplissima collectio [Rome, 1745], IV, i, 343, and IV, ii, 10).

As the law stands today, the canonical penalties are inflected only upon apostates in the strict sense, that is, those professed with solemn vows, with whom Jesuit scholastics are classed by privilege. Religious belonging to congregations with only simple vows, therefore, and those with simple vows in orders which also take solemn vows, do not incur these penalties. 1. Apostasy is a grave sin, the absolution of which the superior may reserve to himself [Decree "Sanctissimus" of Clement VIII, 26 May, 1593, "Bullarum ampl. Collectio" (Rome, 1756), V, v, 254]. 2. The religious is suspended from the exercise of all orders which he may have received during the period of his apostasy, nor is this penalty removed by his return to his monastery [Decretals of Gregory IX, V, title 9, vi (Friedberg, II, 792)]. 3. He is bound by all the obligations laid on him by his vows and the constitutions of his order, but if he has laid aside the religious habit, and if a judicial sentence has pronounced his deposition, he loses all the privileges of his order, in particular that of exemption from the jurisdiction of the ordinary and the right of being supported at the expense of his community (Council of Trent, Session XXV, de regularibus, xix). 4. The fact of laving aside the religious habit involves the penalty of excommunication [III tit. 24, ii, of the sixth book of Decretals (Friedberg II, 1065)]. 5. In several religious orders apostates incur the penalty of excommunication, even when they have not laid aside the religious habit, in virtue of special privileges granted to the order. 6. The apostate is bound to return to his monastery as soon as possible, and the Council of Trent enjoins bishops to punish religious who shall have left their monasteries without the permission of their superiors, as deserters (Session XXV, de regularibus, iv). Moreover, the bishop is bound to take possession of the person of the apostate monk and to send him back to his superior [Decree of the Congregation of the Council, 21 September, 1624, in "Bullarum amplissima collectio" (Rome, 1756), V, v, 248]. In the case of an apostate nun who leaves a convent enjoying pontifical cloister, she incurs the excommunication reserved simpliciter to the Sovereign Pontiff [Constitution Apostolic+ª Sedis, n=B0, 6. See Vermeersch, "De religiosis institutis et personis" (Rome, 1902), I, 200; Hollweck, 299; Scherer, II, 838. See also HERESY, IRREGULARITY, CLERIC, RELIGIOUS ORDERS].

In addition to the works already referred to, the older canonists may be consulted, especially SCHMALZGR+£BER and REIFFENSTUEL, who in their commentaries follow the order of the Decretals, at Book V, title 9. As modern canonists no longer treat of apostasy under a special heading, they must be consulted where they refer to ordinations and irregularities, the duties of the clerical state, the obligations of religious offenses and penalties, and, chiefly, when they write concerning heresy. See also FERRARIS, Bibliotheca Canonica (Rome, 1889), s.v. Apostasia, BEUGNET, in Dict. de th+¬ol. cath (Paris, 1901), AMTHOR, De Apostasia Liber Singularis (Coburg, 1833), FEJ+ëR, Jus Ecclesi+ª Catholic+ª adversus Apostatas (Pesth, 1847); SCHMIDT, Der Austritt aus der Kirche (Leipzig, 1893); SCOTUS PLACENTINUS, De Obligatione Regularis extra regularem domum commorantis, de Apostatis et Fugitivis (Cologne, 1647); THOMASIUS, De Desertione Ordinis Ecclesiastici (Halle, 1707), SCHMID, Apostasia vom Ordenstande (Studien und Mittheilungen aus dem Benediktiner und dem Cistercienser Orden (1886, VII, 29-42).

A. VAN HOVE

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Offline TonyS

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2004, 11:13:17 PM »
Thanks Br. Max for your post.  Very little of what you have posted however deals with the questions posited in the body of my post.  The only part of your lengthy post that comes close is "Perfidi+ª is the complete and voluntary abandonment of the Christian religion, whether the apostate embraces another religion such as Paganism, Judaism, Mohammedanism, etc., or merely makes profession of Naturalism, Rationalism, etc. The heretic differs from the apostate in that he only denies one or more of the doctrines of revealed religion, whereas the apostate denies the religion itself, a sin which has always been looked upon as one of the most grievous."  Yet this still does not satisfy my question regarding amulets against vaskan+¡a, etc.  Nor does it address the issue of those who wish, let's say, to practive Voodoo or Santer+¡a side-by-side with RCism as is popular in some places.  None of the scenarios I have proposed constitute "the complete and voluntary abandonment of the Christian religion" and the one who keeps such practices would dispute that "he only denies one or more of the doctrines of revealed religion."
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Offline sdcheung

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2004, 11:28:08 PM »
i've stopped honoring Chinese New Year. except the obligatory New Year dinner with the Family. I don't think there is anything inherently religious about Chiense New Year BUT, One never knows. I might set myself up for Hell. :)


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Offline Br. Max, OFC

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2004, 01:05:06 AM »
Tony - you asked what was apostacy, I gave you a text book definition of apostacy in all its forms.
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Offline Linus7

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2004, 08:52:43 AM »
Tony -

I don't think the practices you described amount to apostasy.

They are certainly ignorant, superstitious, and un-Christian, however.
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Offline TonyS

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2004, 11:45:53 AM »
Tony - you asked what was apostacy, I gave you a text book definition of apostacy in all its forms.

Yes Br. Max, and I thanked you for that.  Even being an obviously Latin textbook definition, I thanked you.  You did indeed address the question in the "Subject" and "Definition" line but not in the "Message" itself.  I merely want to steer this toward the questions asked in the post itself, not the "Subject" line.
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2004, 11:59:36 AM »
Can a Christian participate in any non-Christian practices without that being considered apostasy?

... Or what about the many "charms" or "amulets" that are so popular among so many ethnic groups...especially the ones to keep away Evil-Eye?  I've heard it said that some Greek priests will not give Communion to people who wear that blue eye....  
TonyS
This is an interesting question TonyS. If I may add to this discussion some impressions I have acquired over the years and state I am more than willing to be corrected here.
MANY years ago, when I was an altarboy, I questioned my priest about the "Evil Eye" . The belief in the Evil Eye is something pre-Christian and apparently has existed in nearly every culture in some form historically. To my surprise, he replied, "Yes, the Orthodox Church does recognize the Evil-Eye as existing". We did not go into details about cultural talismans however. (We Greeks have a "filakto" - I still have mine made by my GREAT grandmother for me when I was an infant.)
If I were to hazard a guess, empowering a talisman would be frowned upon, there being better protections within our worship.

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Offline jbc1949

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2004, 12:53:34 PM »
If I were to hazard a guess, empowering a talisman would be frowned upon, there being better protections within our worship.

Demetri

That's right.  This is why I have protected my son by hanging a crucifix in his bedroom and an icon of Jesus Christ the Pantocrator.  I can think of no better "talismans" to protect my son's faith . . . along with teaching and example.  He also has an icon of St. James (the lesser), his namesake.

And my daughter has a crucifix and an icon of a weeping (Orthodox) Theotokos although I do not recall the title under which Our Lady is invoked.  It is a replica of an icon weeping holy myron.

My son and daughter each picked out his and her own icon.  I would say they exercized excellent judgement!

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Offline Br. Max, OFC

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2004, 01:48:19 PM »
The Israelites marked their doors with blood to keep out the spirit of death at passover.

When wondering in the wilderness there was the brazen serpent as a talisman against snake bites.

The early church used napkins blessed by the apostles as talismans of healing.

Don't orthodox Christians mark their doors with the initials of the magi in chalk at the feast of the adoration? - I know we do.

I would not consider it an act of apostasy - but I would question as to where they place their faith and where they believe the power resides.  When we ask the intercession of a saint and that prayer is answered, is it through the power of the saint, or through the power of Christ with the saint as a tool in the hand of God?

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Offline TonyS

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2004, 06:19:41 PM »
Don't orthodox Christians mark their doors with the initials of the magi in chalk at the feast of the adoration? - I know we do.

Br. Max,

To which "feast of the adoration" do you refer?  I have heard of the custom you mention among RCs on the Epiphany, January 6th.  However we Orthodox do not have the comemmoration of the visit of the Magi on January 6th as you likely do (as other westerners).  

TonyS
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Offline Br. Max, OFC

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2004, 08:02:47 PM »
Tony: when the celebration is held is not the point - or the question.  Do you or do you not mark your doors with with the names of the magi?
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Offline TonyS

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2004, 11:09:44 PM »
Tony: when the celebration is held is not the point - or the question.  Do you or do you not mark your doors with with the names of the magi?

Br. Max,

I not recall ever hearing of Orthodox or Greek Catholics marking the doors with the names or initials or symbols pertaining to the Magi.

TonyS
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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2004, 02:17:35 AM »
Tony:  Okay.  :) That answers the question.
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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2004, 05:28:19 AM »
Since I so often engage in un-christian attitudes and activities I can hardly stand in judgement of a sould who erroneously puts faith in talismans or finds it difficult to step aside from pagan practices.

I pray to God that I might not be considered an apostate after all the blessings I have received. I would hesitate to consider anyone else an apostate unless they had made a definite decision to reject the christian faith.

We all fall, we all have defective understandings of the faith in some aspect, we all make mistakes, thank God that He is merciful.

Why not purchase an icon for your friend and try to explain the difference between Christ and Hanuman? It cannot help their faith if they have such an image in their home but it suggests a faulty faith not apostasy.
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Offline TonyS

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2004, 12:27:50 AM »
Why not purchase an icon for your friend and try to explain the difference between Christ and Hanuman?

Peter,

Thank you for a thoughtful reply.  She has icons (and a few statues) in her home and is from a nominally Christian background and is a practicing RC (her son is an Orthodox Christian, I know her thru him).  She could tell me more about the difference between Hanuman and Christ than I could tell her!  

I remember also a friend's mother who was a convert from Hinduism (to RCism) in her youth yet still retains many Hindu customs.  She came to visit her son and I was talking to her and for some reason religion came up.  She mentioned Vishnu, for some reason she thought she needed to offer an explanation of who/what Vishnu is and said "you know, the Holy Spirit."  Syncretism, and she is a convert!

ISTM that part of the problem discussing this is that (and this is in no way a criticism but merely an observation) most on this board are from "north of the border" geographically and culturally (you are across the 'pond' I know).  The reality is that in the Caribbean Basin and throughout Latin America there is quite a strong trend of syncretism.  It is nothing new, it has been there from the beginning.  I would say that the Church never dealt with it appropriately but who am I to say that.  However, how else can one explain the perseverance of voodoo, Santer+¡a, Candombl+¬ and Obeah to name a few.  And those are only the African based religions; there are plenty of practices stemming from the native populations as well.  

I have started a thread in Spanish on this board, I think it will be easier to discuss with people who share this background.  This is especially important to me as it touches on my own family.  To dismiss such things as some have, while I am sure no harm is meant, is insufficient.  

I know that many of us experience the struggles of different "forms" of Christianity in our families, I too experience that on my mom's side.  However, let's say in Latin America, the Church may simply dismiss some practices as superstition but they are close to the heart of the people and form in many ways part of their identity.  The simply dismissal of them has not irradicated them either.

Tony
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Offline TonyS

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2004, 12:46:06 AM »
I should have developed this a bit more.  What begins as "ISTM that part of the problem discussing this...." should finish with the observation that most Anglo-Saxon Americans simply don't live this experience.  It is easy to understand how things are simply dismissed as they are.
Tómame como al tequila, de un golpe y sin pensarlo. - Ricardo Arjona

I'd be a fool to surrender when I know I can be a contender
and if everbody's a sinner then everybody can be a winner
...
I'll see you when yo

Offline Father Peter

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Re:What really consitutes Apostasy?
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2004, 04:58:02 AM »
I agree that you need to discuss this with those who experience it more than many if us Northerners. But thinking about it I would suggest that all of our societies face the danger of syncretistism to some extent or other. We are all living out our Christian lives in societies that are under other influences, perhaps here in the UK it is a draining atheistics materialism that is no less debilitating than a more overtly religious syncretism. I may not have a picture of a Hindu god in my house, God forbid, but I have several TV's and many of the programs are more deadly than a picture.

I'm not dismissing your question, it is a serious one that needs helpful answers, I'm just thinking about myself and how eay it might be to judge someone for having traces of another religion while I am happy stuffing my house full of the icons of the atheistic world I live in.

Mea culpa!
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