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Author Topic: One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church  (Read 1899 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jack
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« on: April 16, 2004, 02:24:32 PM »

I am a Catholic of the Latin RIte.  I have posted under some other strings wherein I have put forward the following proposition for discussion: there is no real division between the eastern and western catholic and apostolic churches; we just believe there to be such a division and act as such.  I base my position on the following points:

(1) In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed this: "Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one." (John 17:11)  This prayer was heard by the Father, because as Jesus said when he raised Lazarus from the dead, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you hear me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that you sent me." (John 11:41-42)

(2) It is not reasonable to suppose that any of the apostolic churches could really and ultimately be out of communion, since the wall of the heavenly Jerusalem has "twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Revelation 21:14)

(3) There has been no definite act whereby one side has excommunicated the other in total.

(4) Any attempt on the part of any individual bishop to do such a thing would be beyond the scope of his authority, since Jesus laid it down that the excommunication of a bishop requires an ecumenical council. (Matthew 18:15-18)

(5) Regardless of the historical disputes between us, any assertion that those disputes should separate us now would, contrary to scripture, make true the proverb, "'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.'" (Ezekiel 18:2)

(5) Because we are all the one Body of Christ, the fact that we don't communicate with one another is a wound in the Body, and a body that is wounded cannot accomplish its mission.

I would be glad to read all responses to these and related points.    

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JoeZollars
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2004, 03:39:53 PM »

The Church is and will always be One.  Already the West and East are in communion, in that the fledgling WRO and EO bodies are in communion.  

There is no need to curse and condemn a foot lost due to a landmine.  Just the same, there is no need to excommunicated those who have seperated themselves from the Church.

Joe Zollars
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Jack
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2004, 04:30:07 PM »

The Church is and will always be One.  Already the West and East are in communion, in that the fledgling WRO and EO bodies are in communion.  

There is no need to curse and condemn a foot lost due to a landmine.  Just the same, there is no need to excommunicated those who have seperated themselves from the Church.

Joe Zollars

Logical, clever, but not necessarily true.  I don't know who the WRO is, but I am assuming it is the Orthodox church of the Latin rite that I have heard of (what is called a Uniate church when the rolls are reversed).

It is true that if an individual leaves the Church of his own accord, there is no need for a hearing.  But by what warrant do the eastern churches take this to be true of the whole body of western churches, and all their members (except for the WRO, of course)?  (I know that the western churches have the same attitude, but I am addressing your point directly.)

You would maintain I am separated from you, though I partake of valid sacraments.  You and I both partake of the same Body and Blood.  This makes us both members of Christ, does it not?  But if we are both members of Christ, how are we separated?

So please explain how all of us separated from all of you?  For that matter, how did I (inadvertently, apparently) separate myself from you?
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2004, 04:33:24 PM »

"You would maintain I am separated from you, though I partake of valid sacraments.  You and I both partake of the same Body and Blood.  This makes us both members of Christ, does it not?  But if we are both members of Christ, how are we separated?"

Remember, although Catholicism acknowledges that Orthodox sacraments are "valid", Orthodoxy takes an agnostic position vis-a-vis the grace of sacraments performed outside the visible bounds of the Orthodox Church.  Individual Orthodox have different opinions, therefore, about the nature of non-Orthodox sacraments.

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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2004, 04:40:12 PM »

"You would maintain I am separated from you, though I partake of valid sacraments.  You and I both partake of the same Body and Blood.  This makes us both members of Christ, does it not?  But if we are both members of Christ, how are we separated?"

Remember, although Catholicism acknowledges that Orthodox sacraments are "valid", Orthodoxy takes an agnostic position vis-a-vis the grace of sacraments performed outside the visible bounds of the Orthodox Church.  Individual Orthodox have different opinions, therefore, about the nature of non-Orthodox sacraments.

Brendan

Thank you.  It is my understanding that Catholic Priests converting to the Orthodox Church are not re-ordained.  This has indicated to me that the Orthodox Church, in practice if not by proclamation, recognizes Catholic sacraments.  But I will stand corrected, and not assume that position on the part of Orthodox posters.
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2004, 04:52:38 PM »

actually that is a thorny issue.  Some who convert are indeed not re-ordained in that they remain laymen.  Others are not re-ordained in that the Church "fills in" the grace that was lacking in the original 'ordination.' this pracice is known as Economy. Others are not re-ordained simply because the original 'ordinations' are not true and grace filled and thus when they are Ordained as Orthodox Clerics it is not a re-ordination.

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2004, 04:55:47 PM »

Okay, then, I stand corrected on that point.  But the question remains: how did we separate ourselves from you?
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JoeZollars
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2004, 04:57:48 PM »

you believed false doctrines and were Anathamatized by the Oecumenical Patriarch.  YOu have been Anathamatized my numerous subsequent councils and pan-orthodox synonds.

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2004, 05:00:18 PM »

You and I both partake of the same Body and Blood.  

Oh no we don't.  It is not the same Mysteries, it is not hte same services, it is not the same faith.  Even if one could objectivly say that Romes 'sacraments' were true, it would not matter for the chief mystery is the Church.  The other Mysteries flow from it and not the other way around.

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2004, 05:18:52 PM »

you believed false doctrines and were Anathamatized by the Oecumenical Patriarch.  YOu have been Anathamatized my numerous subsequent councils and pan-orthodox synonds.

Joe Zollars

What false doctrines di I believe in?  When did the Ecumenical Patriarch anathematize me?
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« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2004, 07:36:34 PM »

I meant you as in reference to Rome, not a personal you.

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2004, 08:01:24 PM »

I meant you as in reference to Rome, not a personal you.

Joe Zollars

But here is my point.  You can't just excommunicate whole populations, now and for the future.  If the bishops have a problem with each other, then they should resolve it in a council.  Why this means that you and I are out of communion with each other is beyond me.

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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2004, 08:50:14 PM »

Dear Jack,

I would appreciate it if you would explain a little more what you would consider a "definite act whereby one side has excommunicated the other in total".  I suppose if you are thinking of this in terms of the Orthodox saying "All Roman Catholics now living and their generations yet to come are cut off from the bosom of the Church", or vice versa, you may not find such a definite declaration towards one or the other group.  However, Vatican I's anathema against those who deny its papal dogmas, various Orthodox anathemas against Roman Catholic teachings, and other such things, while perhaps not explicitly naming groups in question, clearly intend to exclude them, I would think.  If you could elabourate on this, I think it would be helpful.

I thought your point 2 was interesting, but there is a problem with it, I think.  Judas by his actions left the apostolic college.  Matthias, by the choice of the Holy Spirit and the apostles, replaced him.  So I can see, to an extent, the point you are trying to make by citing Revelation.  But I don't think that prevents an apostolic church (for this conversation's sake, I trust we are referring to those churches which can legitimately claim foundation by one of the Twelve) from "leaving" that communion, and others from "entering" that communion through the will of God and the action of the successors of the apostles.

The passage from Ezekiel which you cite in point 5, as I understand it, refers primarily to personal sin.  While schism and heresy are certainly sins, they are sins with effects outside the sphere of the actual persons involved.  The sins of heretics and schismatics affect those who unwittingly come after them, "born into" those heresies and schisms, as well as affecting those who never left, having preserved the true faith.  Those who have come after cannot be held accountable for those who came before; nevertheless, they are affected by their actions.  

Regarding your second point 5 (which I will call 6 Wink ), it assumes that everyone who calls himself a Christian is part of the Body of Christ.  Is this really the case?  If so, then there really are no differences between us, and the current situation we find ourselves in is silly.  If, however, it is possible that not everyone calling himself Christian is part of the Body of Christ, then what is the criterion for determining who is and who is not "in"?
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2004, 07:55:30 PM »

Dear Jack,

I would appreciate it if you would explain a little more what you would consider a "definite act whereby one side has excommunicated the other in total".  I suppose if you are thinking of this in terms of the Orthodox saying "All Roman Catholics now living and their generations yet to come are cut off from the bosom of the Church", or vice versa, you may not find such a definite declaration towards one or the other group.  However, Vatican I's anathema against those who deny its papal dogmas, various Orthodox anathemas against Roman Catholic teachings, and other such things, while perhaps not explicitly naming groups in question, clearly intend to exclude them, I would think.  If you could elabourate on this, I think it would be helpful.

I thought your point 2 was interesting, but there is a problem with it, I think.  Judas by his actions left the apostolic college.  Matthias, by the choice of the Holy Spirit and the apostles, replaced him.  So I can see, to an extent, the point you are trying to make by citing Revelation.  But I don't think that prevents an apostolic church (for this conversation's sake, I trust we are referring to those churches which can legitimately claim foundation by one of the Twelve) from "leaving" that communion, and others from "entering" that communion through the will of God and the action of the successors of the apostles.

The passage from Ezekiel which you cite in point 5, as I understand it, refers primarily to personal sin.  While schism and heresy are certainly sins, they are sins with effects outside the sphere of the actual persons involved.  The sins of heretics and schismatics affect those who unwittingly come after them, "born into" those heresies and schisms, as well as affecting those who never left, having preserved the true faith.  Those who have come after cannot be held accountable for those who came before; nevertheless, they are affected by their actions.  

Regarding your second point 5 (which I will call 6 Wink ), it assumes that everyone who calls himself a Christian is part of the Body of Christ.  Is this really the case?  If so, then there really are no differences between us, and the current situation we find ourselves in is silly.  If, however, it is possible that not everyone calling himself Christian is part of the Body of Christ, then what is the criterion for determining who is and who is not "in"?    

I would agree that there has been no definitive act by either side excommunicating the other.  That's part of my point.  Vatican I, notwithstanding the strong language, excommunicated no one.  General anathemas don't equal excommunication.  A lot of Catholics criticize Vatican I, and don't get excommunicated.  I hold myself to be bound by Vatican I, but, for reasons I will be happy to elaborate if you are interested, think it is compatible with the Orthodox position.  Because we act as if we are divided, we deprive ourselves of each other's insights.  We're like the blind men feeling the elephant.  I think it's like a snake, and you think it's like a tree trunk.  We're both right, in a way, but dead wrong in saying that the other one isn't really feeling anything.

I'm not limiting the apostolic churches to those which are founded by one of the twelve.  All bishops are ultimately descended from one of the twelve.  I'm not saying that a bishop can't turn heretic or schismatic.  But that judgment has to be made by all the rest of the bishops.  And, if they're going to make that pronouncement, they have to provide for a replacement, as in the case of Matthias.  One group can't excommunicate another group, and thereby isolate half a continent of believers.

You can't catch a sin like a cold.  You can't even catch your own bishop's heresy.  You have to be a heretic yourself.  And the matter should be carefully examined before any individual Christian is judged a heretic.  It should never be assumed.  Remember the parable of the wheat and the weeds.

Who is "in"?  I would say those who are in communion with a bishop in apostolic succession.

I'm sorry it took me so long to respond.  Please let me know to what extent I have not responded adequately.
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Jack
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2004, 07:56:58 PM »

Oh no we don't.  It is not the same Mysteries, it is not hte same services, it is not the same faith.  Even if one could objectivly say that Romes 'sacraments' were true, it would not matter for the chief mystery is the Church.  The other Mysteries flow from it and not the other way around.

Joe Zollars

Oh yes we do.  We're in the Church too.
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