As I have noted in the past: We are not ready to speak with one voice on moral issues in Europe or anywhere else....and I am talking about formal teaching, not the sinfulness of members...eh?
Your dismal outlook is depressing. Despite differences over issues such as contraception and divorce, there is much more around which we can unite and speak of to Western Europe.
You speak about "formal teaching" and "not the sinfulness of members"? When 90% of the members are engaging in the sinfulness, what it is that you imagine the Muslims and the non-believers take notice of? The reality of how Christianity is lived by its faithful, something the non-believers see and experience almost every day? Or the unheeded publications from the Vatican? Please, let's touch reality for a moment! I often think that the reality of Orthodoxy's teaching on contraception is appreciated by outsiders. Our teaching and the lives of our faithful coincide. Whereas the Catholic teaching does not coincide and the reality is seen as amounting to great hypocrisy.
I have a realistic outlook on our "shared" moral teachings. They are not shared...at the moment. Some may share them but many do not.
I say an occasional rosary with a group of Muslim women in the area. They are an interesting mix of beliefs and attitudes. Some of them will go with me to the monthly NFP meetings that are held in the area. There are several sets of couples per parish who have started cells of couples who are using NFP to either space children or to assist them to conceive. They are also pretty traditional in the rest of their Catholic practice as well. There's a very positive response from the Muslim women.
I think you need to get out more and meet more faithful Catholics. Perhaps you don't meet many because you simply don't have time and don't really believe they exist.
At any rate, one cannot separate moral teaching from doctrinal teaching either so if you think we are heretics then I expect that you'd be honest enough to realize we have no grace in our sacraments, we have no real spiritual lives as a corollary...and so we really have no moral grounds to stand on either.
Apparently you are content with nominalism.
I tend not to be.
Such throw-away remarks tend to inflate the ego but they do not correspond with reality. Is Pope Benedict guilty of being "content with nominalism" when he is keen for our two Churches to work together in Western Europe?
It was not intended as a toss-off at all.
In fact, some months ago you were a twitchit over the fact that Pope Benedict noted that he was pleased to see that second marriages in Orthodoxy were penitential unions and not fully sacramental.
He's a smart fellow so I don't think he was playing games with that remark. I think he was sending a very pointed message.[/size
I wasn't atwitchet (like the word though) because when we get down to it I don't care very much about the Pope of Rome spreading disinformation on Orthodoxy. Either he is ignorant of the nature of Orthodox second marriages or he was being disingenuous and playing to his Catholic audience, perhaps attempting to gloss over the differences.
As for a "pointed message" the message received by the Orthodox was, as I have said, Benedict is ignorant of our matrimonial theology or he does know and, for purposes of his own, was being dishonest.
BTW: Twitchet is feminine. Twitchit is masculine. One soft, the other sharp...heh!
The point is that some Orthodox are more in line with Rome's moral precepts and some are not. So there is, at the moment, no way to devise a formal and shared teaching.
At one time I remember to getting pretty shrill over the fact that I noted that there are still times, and places where the crowns are withheld in second marriages in Orthodoxy, or some penance is imposed....all these things depending on pastoral determinations. There are SOME Orthodox shepherds who will willingly admit that second marriages are penitential in nature, ascetic in character depending upon the behaviors of one or both of the couples.
But as long as there is no clear statement or willingness to make a clear statement that second marriages are not the same as first marriages, then there's no grounds for presenting a unified face to the world.
Was it in Cyprus this year that the Church said that they will not recognize civil divorce? That the couple must also take their case through a Church tribunal of some sort?
It is that sort of thing that will make it much more clear that divorce should never be the norm, nor taken for granted.
There's a wonderful ecumenical group of pastors here where I am who have organized themselves and dedicated a portion of their time in ministry to saving marriages that are on the rocks...very proactive. I am deeply impressed by them and their blessed project. That is also the sort of thing one would expect to see and hear coming from some agreed statement about the sanctity of marriage.
Over the years I've worked with about 20 couples on the rocks who are still struggling, still married in the face of some personal distresses that are severe but not threatening to life and limb, and they are together on principle and in faith, still love one another though there are times when they loathe the presence of the other. And as they age, and as they mature, some very good things are happening, in their lives personally and in the communities in which they live and worship on account of their faithfulness.
I NEVER hear you talk about those kinds of things. All you do is mock the Catholic Church's practices of annulment, and talk about how happy you are to facilitate second marriages. So what am I to conclude. You can get pretty shrill now and then.
But you are right about one thing, when it comes to morality and its expression, and how we present to the world....Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church are often divided by a fairly deep chasm, at least in the terms in which you present things.