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Author Topic: Can Views on Infallibility Be Merged?  (Read 15201 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 28, 2010, 12:28:56 AM »

Speaking to people in other threads on here got me investigating the doctrine of Papal infallibility in the western Church more closely. I must admit that I misunderstood it very much myself, even having known that it was quite misunderstood before.

The view presented by First Vatican Council is that the Pope, in his capacity as Dean of the College of Bishops, has the authority to dogmatically define what the teaching of the magisterium is on a given issue. In this view, the Pope may not introduce a dogma which is new. He may only define a dogma which the magisterium already holds. In these instances, the definition is infallible, not because of anything inhering in the Pope, but because the magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church) is infallible.
 
The Orthodox view on infallibility has tended to be that a view is gradually recognized as infallible when it is accepted by the whole Church. As a westerner, a problem with that seems to me to be that the Orthodox have no problem recognizing Ephesus and Chalcedon as infallible and ecumenical over the objections of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. If the issue is simply "gradual acceptance" I can't think of any reason why the OOC and ACE's objections shouldn't count, except that the EOC is bigger than them. But if this is all there is to it, it would of course run in to the problem that the RCC dwarfs the EOC.

Can the views on infallibility be dovetailed together, were the churches to reunite? If it was made more clear that the Pope has no authority to create dogma, but only to define dogma which is already held, could the Orthodox accept that?
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2010, 12:36:10 AM »

The infallibility of the pope was a teaching that was not held by the magisterium of your church at the time when it was dogmatized.  The infallibility of the pope is proof that a Pope can and does create new dogma, regardless of what the majority of the church has believed and taught.  The Orthodox will never accept the belief that a man can be infallible.  We aren't fans of blasphemy.   
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2010, 12:42:56 AM »

The Pope's authority to make dogmatic definitions was defined by the First Council of the Vatican, not any Pope.

The Catholic Church does not and never has taught that any man is infallible. Arguing that it does is like saying that the Supreme Court is part of the legislative branch.
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2010, 12:52:46 AM »

I strongly encourage you to read this:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=39:the-vatican-dogma&catid=14:articles&Itemid=2

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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2010, 12:59:21 AM »

Speaking to people in other threads on here got me investigating the doctrine of Papal infallibility in the western Church more closely. I must admit that I misunderstood it very much myself, even having known that it was quite misunderstood before.

The view presented by First Vatican Council is that the Pope, in his capacity as Dean of the College of Bishops, has the authority to dogmatically define what the teaching of the magisterium is on a given issue. In this view, the Pope may not introduce a dogma which is new. He may only define a dogma which the magisterium already holds. In these instances, the definition is infallible, not because of anything inhering in the Pope, but because the magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church) is infallible.
 
The Orthodox view on infallibility has tended to be that a view is gradually recognized as infallible when it is accepted by the whole Church. As a westerner, a problem with that seems to me to be that the Orthodox have no problem recognizing Ephesus and Chalcedon as infallible and ecumenical over the objections of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. If the issue is simply "gradual acceptance" I can't think of any reason why the OOC and ACE's objections shouldn't count, except that the EOC is bigger than them. But if this is all there is to it, it would of course run in to the problem that the RCC dwarfs the EOC.

Can the views on infallibility be dovetailed together, were the churches to reunite? If it was made more clear that the Pope has no authority to create dogma, but only to define dogma which is already held, could the Orthodox accept that?


Two things.....

1) You misunderstand the Orthodox position on the infallibility of the Church. It has nothing to do with size or majorities.

2) If the infallibility of the pope is only an expression of the teachings of the Magisterium, why go to the pains to point of that definitions by the pope are, "of themselves, and not by consent of the church, irreformable."?
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2010, 01:09:06 AM »

Quote
Two things.....

1) You misunderstand the Orthodox position on the infallibility of the Church. It has nothing to do with size or majorities.

2) If the infallibility of the pope is only an expression of the teachings of the Magisterium, why go to the pains to point of that definitions by the pope are, "of themselves, and not by consent of the church, irreformable."?

On 1.) It isn't really clear how the Orthodox feel the infallibility of the Church plays out. I was merely examining some ways it might play out in the actual world.

On 2.) The Pope's authority is one to end disputes. He can offer a final dogmatic definition of what a magisterial doctrine states. But he cannot innovate a new doctrine. The Orthodox tend to fear that the Popes will use this to rule by decree, but I don't think there is much by way of evidence for this since Vatican I.
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2010, 01:21:38 AM »

The Pope's authority to make dogmatic definitions was defined by the First Council of the Vatican, not any Pope.

The Catholic Church does not and never has taught that any man is infallible. Arguing that it does is like saying that the Supreme Court is part of the legislative branch.

I think what the Orthodox would have problems with is the Pope changing the meaning of certain dogmas into a heretical view of what the EO already have and then saying that it is infallible even if it were to contradict what x+ years of T(t)radition says.
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2010, 01:24:17 AM »

The Popes have issued two dogmatic definitions: Ineffabilis Deus and Munificentissimus Deus. The first defines the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The easterners might have a bit of nitpicking to do on "Immaculate Conception", because of the different emphases on Original Sin in west and east, but in substance what it means is the same: Mary lived her whole life without sin. The second defined the assumption of Mary.

I can't see why the Orthodox would feel either of these are heretical.
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2010, 01:27:54 AM »

The Popes have issued two dogmatic definitions: Ineffabilis Deus and Munificentissimus Deus. The first defines the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The easterners might have a bit of nitpicking to do on "Immaculate Conception", because of the different emphases on Original Sin in west and east, but in substance what it means is the same: Mary lived her whole life without sin. The second defined the assumption of Mary.

I can't see why the Orthodox would feel either of these are heretical.

I think it is along the lines of stopping it before it starts. In other words, the Orthodox are afraid that the Pope would change the meanings of certain dogmas so much that they would not fit into the traditions of the Church and thus do not even want to venture into that realm of probable possibility.

But I am by no means an Orthodox apologist, so I could be wrong here.
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2010, 01:34:39 AM »

Oh, I misunderstood what tense you were using there. Yes, I agree that is what the Orthodox tend to think.
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2010, 01:38:57 AM »

Oh, I misunderstood what tense you were using there. Yes, I agree that is what the Orthodox tend to think.

Oh, look we agree on something... could this be the first step to reuniting?

Although at times I wish the EO would just have a Bishop of Rome and lose the baggage (in other words, let bygones be bygones, cut our losses, etc.) I do truly wish to see the two reunited, but given the current attitudes of many EO I do not see that happening in my lifetime.
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2010, 02:54:36 AM »

The Popes have issued two dogmatic definitions: Ineffabilis Deus and Munificentissimus Deus. The first defines the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The easterners might have a bit of nitpicking to do on "Immaculate Conception", because of the different emphases on Original Sin in west and east, but in substance what it means is the same: Mary lived her whole life without sin. The second defined the assumption of Mary.

I can't see why the Orthodox would feel either of these are heretical.

That's not really the point though, is it. 
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2010, 03:15:22 AM »

Yea, I misunderstood what he was saying at the time.

If the Orthodox fear what the Pope might do in the future there isn't much to be said. On that issue I don't think it really has anything to do with the infallibility of dogmatic definition - the Orthodox were freaked out about union long before Vatican I. It's just general fear and mistrust of the west (given the behavior of the latins at times, not wholly unjustified)
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2010, 12:21:53 PM »

There is, of course, no single theory of ecclesial infallibility in the Catholic Church.  This was true at Vatican I and is equally true today.  While generalizations are always dangerous, I think it is accurate to say that most Catholic theologians today teach what might be called a minimalist position:  when by either conciliar or papal action, the Church solemnly defines dogma, God will protect the Church from imposing serious error.  There is no guarantee that the dogmatic definition is the best definition possible; hence the Church remains free to re-formulate its dogmas in order to render them more adequate to the truth to which they witness.  I refer to Avery Cardinal Dulles's article "Moderate Infallibilism," A Church to Believe In, pp. 133-148. 

The Catholic position on papal infallibility is often presented as asserting the total independence of the Pope from the Church, and certainly the Vatican I formulation on papal infallbiility, which sought to exclude the error of Gallicanism, can be reasonably interpreted in this way.  But this does not mean that "reception" has no place in the Catholic Church's understanding of dogma.  While it is true that Catholic theologians have emphasized formal criteria when determining the magisterial authority of conciliar and papal dogmas, it is not true that only formal and canonical criteria matter. Speaking of papal dogmatic definitions, Lumen gentium (25) states: "To these definitions the assent of the Church can never be wanting, on account of the activity of that same Holy Spirit, by which the whole flock of Christ is preserved and progresses in unity of faith."

What happens if the assent is indeed found wanting? What happens if a dogmatic definition is not received by the whole Church as faithfully speaking the truth of Christ? Avery Cardinal Dulles has suggested that were the Church to refuse her assent, then this can only mean that the Pope had failed to meet all necessary conditions for an authentic ex cathedra pronouncement:

Quote
It would not be proper to regard the pope as a mere mouthpiece for voicing what had previously been explicitly agreed to by the whole Church. As supreme pastor and teacher he has a special responsibility and charism for doctrine. But … it seems evident that definitions, if they authentically correspond to the charism of the papal office, will find an echo in the faith of the Church and will therefore evoke assent, at least eventually. If in a given instance the assent of the Church were evidently not forthcoming, this could be interpreted as a signal that the pope had perhaps exceeded his competence and that some necessary condition for an infallible act had not been fulfilled. (A Church to Believe In, p. 139)

Bishop B. C. Butler agrees: "It follows, of course, though Vatican II does not say so, that if a definition failed in the end to enjoy such a `reception' on the part of the Church, this would prove that the definition had not in fact met the stringent requirements for an ex cathedra pronouncement."

Catholic theology, in other words, does in fact acknowledge the necessity of "reception" in confirming the authenticity of dogmatic definitions. This element is rarely mentioned in apologetic and internet debates, for obvious reasons. Though the cited passage from Lumen gentium is speaking of papal definitions, it is clearly relevant, I believe, to the question of conciliar ecumenicity and conciliar dogmatic definitions.  This is why the Catholic participants in the Catholic/Orthodox dialogue could agree with the following paragraphs in the Ravenna Statement: 

Quote
37. The ecumenicity of the decisions of a Council is recognized through a process of reception of either long or short duration, according to which the people of God as a whole - by means of reflection, discernment, discussion and prayer - acknowledge in these decisions the one apostolic faith of the local Churches, which has always been the same and of which the bishops are the teachers (didaskaloi) and the guardians. This process of reception is differently interpreted in East and West according to their respective canonical traditions.

38. Conciliarity or synodality involves, therefore, much more than the assembled bishops. It involves also their Churches. The former are bearers of and give voice to the faith of the latter. The bishops' decisions have to be received in the life of the Churches, especially in their liturgical life. Each Ecumenical Council received as such, in the full and proper sense, is, accordingly, a manifestation of and service to the communion of the whole Church.

39. Unlike diocesan and regional synods, an ecumenical council is not an "institution" whose frequency can be regulated by canons; it is rather an "event", a kairos inspired by the Holy Spirit who guides the Church so as to engender within it the institutions which it needs and which respond to its nature. This harmony between the Church and the councils is so profound that, even after the break between East and West which rendered impossible the holding of ecumenical councils in the strict sense of the term, both Churches continued to hold councils whenever serious crises arose. These councils gathered together the bishops of local Churches in communion with the See of Rome or, although understood in a different way, with the See of Constantinople, respectively. In the Roman Catholic Church, some of these councils held in the West were regarded as ecumenical. This situation, which obliged both sides of Christendom to convoke councils proper to each of them, favoured dissentions which contributed to mutual estrangement. The means which will allow the re-establishment of ecumenical consensus must be sought out.

The Catholic position on dogmatic infallibility is actually more nuanced and interesting than is often presented in apologetic debates.
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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2010, 02:02:21 PM »

I'm not sure we should be willing to give that much to the Orthodox. A statement is not true or false based on whether a certain number of bishops concede to it. The Orthodox concern for conciliar acceptance seems to me to at times tend towards special pleading. They aren't too torn up by the conciliar acceptance of the Assyrian Church of the East or the Oriental Orthodox Churches when labelling Ephesus and Chalcedon as ecumenical councils, and Pope Saint Gelasius I was not dependent upon the conciliar acceptance of Constantinople in condemning monophysitism. The Roman Pontiffs have always reserved for themselves the final right to declare and define what the Church has taught. In 1054, Michael I Cerularius had no right to harangue Pope Leo IX on the issue of unleavened bread in the eucharist and then refuse to meet with his legate. It was the proper authority of Leo as Roman Pontiff to declare and define the teaching of the magisterium on the issue of unleavened bread.
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« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2010, 03:35:53 PM »

What is missing here, of course, is any kind of clarity on how one determines whether or not "reception" has occurred.

I point out, for example, on the Orthodox side it has taken nearly 2000 years for the Church to receive the current teaching prescribing certain forms of artificial birth control.  Obviously for 2000 years or thereabouts the strong teaching against any form of birth control was clearly an error.  Would bishops of the 15th century in Orthodoxy have taken kindly to the idea that their moral truth would someday been assessed as an error?  Would the people have leaped on the idea and stopped confessing the times when they used the artificial methods available to them at that time?

There is a certain bottomless boggyness in this business of "reception"

There is, of course, no single theory of ecclesial infallibility in the Catholic Church.  This was true at Vatican I and is equally true today.  While generalizations are always dangerous, I think it is accurate to say that most Catholic theologians today teach what might be called a minimalist position:  when by either conciliar or papal action, the Church solemnly defines dogma, God will protect the Church from imposing serious error.  There is no guarantee that the dogmatic definition is the best definition possible; hence the Church remains free to re-formulate its dogmas in order to render them more adequate to the truth to which they witness.  I refer to Avery Cardinal Dulles's article "Moderate Infallibilism," A Church to Believe In, pp. 133-148. 

The Catholic position on papal infallibility is often presented as asserting the total independence of the Pope from the Church, and certainly the Vatican I formulation on papal infallbiility, which sought to exclude the error of Gallicanism, can be reasonably interpreted in this way.  But this does not mean that "reception" has no place in the Catholic Church's understanding of dogma.  While it is true that Catholic theologians have emphasized formal criteria when determining the magisterial authority of conciliar and papal dogmas, it is not true that only formal and canonical criteria matter. Speaking of papal dogmatic definitions, Lumen gentium (25) states: "To these definitions the assent of the Church can never be wanting, on account of the activity of that same Holy Spirit, by which the whole flock of Christ is preserved and progresses in unity of faith."

What happens if the assent is indeed found wanting? What happens if a dogmatic definition is not received by the whole Church as faithfully speaking the truth of Christ? Avery Cardinal Dulles has suggested that were the Church to refuse her assent, then this can only mean that the Pope had failed to meet all necessary conditions for an authentic ex cathedra pronouncement:

Quote
It would not be proper to regard the pope as a mere mouthpiece for voicing what had previously been explicitly agreed to by the whole Church. As supreme pastor and teacher he has a special responsibility and charism for doctrine. But … it seems evident that definitions, if they authentically correspond to the charism of the papal office, will find an echo in the faith of the Church and will therefore evoke assent, at least eventually. If in a given instance the assent of the Church were evidently not forthcoming, this could be interpreted as a signal that the pope had perhaps exceeded his competence and that some necessary condition for an infallible act had not been fulfilled. (A Church to Believe In, p. 139)

Bishop B. C. Butler agrees: "It follows, of course, though Vatican II does not say so, that if a definition failed in the end to enjoy such a `reception' on the part of the Church, this would prove that the definition had not in fact met the stringent requirements for an ex cathedra pronouncement."

Catholic theology, in other words, does in fact acknowledge the necessity of "reception" in confirming the authenticity of dogmatic definitions. This element is rarely mentioned in apologetic and internet debates, for obvious reasons. Though the cited passage from Lumen gentium is speaking of papal definitions, it is clearly relevant, I believe, to the question of conciliar ecumenicity and conciliar dogmatic definitions.  This is why the Catholic participants in the Catholic/Orthodox dialogue could agree with the following paragraphs in the Ravenna Statement: 

Quote
37. The ecumenicity of the decisions of a Council is recognized through a process of reception of either long or short duration, according to which the people of God as a whole - by means of reflection, discernment, discussion and prayer - acknowledge in these decisions the one apostolic faith of the local Churches, which has always been the same and of which the bishops are the teachers (didaskaloi) and the guardians. This process of reception is differently interpreted in East and West according to their respective canonical traditions.

38. Conciliarity or synodality involves, therefore, much more than the assembled bishops. It involves also their Churches. The former are bearers of and give voice to the faith of the latter. The bishops' decisions have to be received in the life of the Churches, especially in their liturgical life. Each Ecumenical Council received as such, in the full and proper sense, is, accordingly, a manifestation of and service to the communion of the whole Church.

39. Unlike diocesan and regional synods, an ecumenical council is not an "institution" whose frequency can be regulated by canons; it is rather an "event", a kairos inspired by the Holy Spirit who guides the Church so as to engender within it the institutions which it needs and which respond to its nature. This harmony between the Church and the councils is so profound that, even after the break between East and West which rendered impossible the holding of ecumenical councils in the strict sense of the term, both Churches continued to hold councils whenever serious crises arose. These councils gathered together the bishops of local Churches in communion with the See of Rome or, although understood in a different way, with the See of Constantinople, respectively. In the Roman Catholic Church, some of these councils held in the West were regarded as ecumenical. This situation, which obliged both sides of Christendom to convoke councils proper to each of them, favoured dissentions which contributed to mutual estrangement. The means which will allow the re-establishment of ecumenical consensus must be sought out.

The Catholic position on dogmatic infallibility is actually more nuanced and interesting than is often presented in apologetic debates.
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« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2010, 04:45:06 PM »

Speaking of papal dogmatic definitions, Lumen gentium (25) states: "To these definitions the assent of the Church can never be wanting, on account of the activity of that same Holy Spirit, by which the whole flock of Christ is preserved and progresses in unity of faith."

What happens if the assent is indeed found wanting? What happens if a dogmatic definition is not received by the whole Church as faithfully speaking the truth of Christ? Avery Cardinal Dulles has suggested that were the Church to refuse her assent, then this can only mean that the Pope had failed to meet all necessary conditions for an authentic ex cathedra pronouncement:

Quote
It would not be proper to regard the pope as a mere mouthpiece for voicing what had previously been explicitly agreed to by the whole Church. As supreme pastor and teacher he has a special responsibility and charism for doctrine. But … it seems evident that definitions, if they authentically correspond to the charism of the papal office, will find an echo in the faith of the Church and will therefore evoke assent, at least eventually. If in a given instance the assent of the Church were evidently not forthcoming, this could be interpreted as a signal that the pope had perhaps exceeded his competence and that some necessary condition for an infallible act had not been fulfilled. (A Church to Believe In, p. 139)

Bishop B. C. Butler agrees: "It follows, of course, though Vatican II does not say so, that if a definition failed in the end to enjoy such a `reception' on the part of the Church, this would prove that the definition had not in fact met the stringent requirements for an ex cathedra pronouncement."
Dulles' and Butler's comments are the best responses to the problems caused by the Official Relatio of Bishop Gasser and the decree Pastor Aeternus that I have seen, but I am not sure if they are sufficient to overcome the difficulties caused by the theory proposed at Vatican I.  Now I say this because, as Gasser, the head of the Deputation de Fide, put it:  the Pope is not separated, "even minimally, from the consent of the Church, as long as that consent is not laid down as a condition which is either antecedent or consequent," and then Gasser goes on to say - much like the bishops at Vatican II in the document Lumen Gentium - that whenever the pope defines something the consent of the Church will automatically follow that act of definition.  But if that consent does not follow, I do not believe - based either upon what was said in the Relatio or in Pastor Aeternus - that one can hold that the pope's definition is somehow non-infallible and non-binding because the consent of the Church is lacking, since ecclesial consent is not a cause of infallibility that is "either antecedent or consequent" to the papal definition.

Be that as it may, I still commend Butler and Dulles for their attempts to rescue the theory of papal infallibility.
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2010, 05:33:19 PM »

Since the Church teaches that the infallibility of the magisterium is ensured through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, presumably the consent of the Church to a dogmatic definition of the Pope would be ensured by the same.
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2010, 05:35:05 PM »

What is missing here, of course, is any kind of clarity on how one determines whether or not "reception" has occurred.

I point out, for example, on the Orthodox side it has taken nearly 2000 years for the Church to receive the current teaching prescribing certain forms of artificial birth control.  Obviously for 2000 years or thereabouts the strong teaching against any form of birth control was clearly an error.  Would bishops of the 15th century in Orthodoxy have taken kindly to the idea that their moral truth would someday been assessed as an error?  Would the people have leaped on the idea and stopped confessing the times when they used the artificial methods available to them at that time?
You tell us: the same "evidence" that you depend on to condemen "ABC" so called, also unequivocally condemn "NFP" so called, as well.
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2010, 05:45:06 PM »

That would only rather strengthen the point vis a vis the muddy nature of 'reception', no?
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« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2010, 05:49:21 PM »


This is very telling, John.

Father Sergei's theology, in general, is held out by self-identified conservative Orthodox believers as a 20th century exemplar of how NOT to be Orthodox.

And yet you would hold him up as an exemplar of wisdom with regard to his knowledge and understanding of the Roman Church.   

And yet still, his knowledge of the Roman Church and the papacy is about as twisted as his knowledge and understanding of St. Thomas Aquinas....or the Wisdom books of the Old Testament...which led him nearly into heresy and at least into heterodox thinking within Orthodoxy.

And this is who you would follow over the cliff against the papal Church...

That's dumb.

M.
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« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2010, 05:49:21 PM »

There is no comparison necessary.  Don't duck the issue.

The prescribed Orthodox use of artificial birth control is essentially an innovation of the 20th century. 

It is an excellent example of so-called "reception" of doctrine waiting nearly 2000 years for what now appears to be a universal reception....It is now universally received, is it not?

Mary

What is missing here, of course, is any kind of clarity on how one determines whether or not "reception" has occurred.

I point out, for example, on the Orthodox side it has taken nearly 2000 years for the Church to receive the current teaching prescribing certain forms of artificial birth control.  Obviously for 2000 years or thereabouts the strong teaching against any form of birth control was clearly an error.  Would bishops of the 15th century in Orthodoxy have taken kindly to the idea that their moral truth would someday been assessed as an error?  Would the people have leaped on the idea and stopped confessing the times when they used the artificial methods available to them at that time?
You tell us: the same "evidence" that you depend on to condemen "ABC" so called, also unequivocally condemn "NFP" so called, as well.
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« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2010, 07:16:02 PM »

Since the Church teaches that the infallibility of the magisterium is ensured through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, presumably the consent of the Church to a dogmatic definition of the Pope would be ensured by the same.
The "definition" (i.e., Pastor Aeternus) itself muddies things up considerably, because what happens if the consent of the Church does not follow?  According to Gasser the consent of the Church, or lack thereof, has no impact on the infallibility of the definition.  It is all well and good to say that the consent of the Church would always follow, but that really is an evasive answer, or - to be more blunt - no answer at all.
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« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2010, 07:46:47 PM »

Since the Church teaches that the infallibility of the magisterium is ensured through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, presumably the consent of the Church to a dogmatic definition of the Pope would be ensured by the same.
The "definition" itself muddies things up considerably, because what happens if the consent of the Church does not follow?  According to Gasser the consent of the Church, or lack thereof, has no effect on the infallibility of the definition.  It is all well and good to say that the consent of the Church would always follow, but that really is an evasive answer, or - to be more blunt - no answer at all.

The definition does not come forth without episcopal consent already in place.  The consent of the faithful follows as they are taught by their shepherds to understand the truth contained in the definition.  And one always needs to remind that the Church is not a raw democratic form of one man, one vote.    I don't believe patristic consensus is "calculated" that way either.  And clearly, given the Orthodox moral teaching on prescribed artificial contraception, and the undercurrent of clergy and lay resistance to this innovation, the whole process is a foggy-bottom, IF you predicate Truth on majority rule.


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« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2010, 07:54:13 PM »

There is no comparison necessary.  Don't duck the issue.
Haven't ducked anything. The position of the Orthodox Church now remains the same that it was 2000 years ago.  Some, like the Fathers that you claim for your support for Humanae Vitae (which cites no patristics, as it can't), reject sex for anything but procreation.  That you limit yourselves to those Fathers is your problem, not ours.
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The prescribed Orthodox use of artificial birth control is essentially an innovation of the 20th century.

No, but the Vatican's embrace of so called natural birth control (which the Fathers that you depend on condemn as "an outrage against nature"),e,r "natural famiily planning" is essentially an innovation of the 19th century Roman penitentiary.

THe "modern" distinction between contraception and abortifacient is the ancient distinction.

Quote
t is an excellent example of so-called "reception" of doctrine waiting nearly 2000 years for what now appears to be a universal reception....It is now universally received, is it not?
It wasn't universally received then, it is not universally received now. Just as the view of sex being limited to only procreation, basically reducing couples to nothing more than flesh and blood artificial insemination 'bots (read St. Clement on that, and not just the quotes you lift out of context to support your novel views) wasn't universally received then, and it is not universally received now.

The IC would be an excellent example of reception of doctrine, were it not for the fact that it didn't appear until over a millenium after the purported event, and it was vociferously fought as an innovation when it reared its head.
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« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2010, 08:04:40 PM »

Since the Church teaches that the infallibility of the magisterium is ensured through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, presumably the consent of the Church to a dogmatic definition of the Pope would be ensured by the same.
The "definition" (i.e., Pastor Aeternus) itself muddies things up considerably, because what happens if the consent of the Church does not follow?  According to Gasser the consent of the Church, or lack thereof, has no impact on the infallibility of the definition.  It is all well and good to say that the consent of the Church would always follow, but that really is an evasive answer, or - to be more blunt - no answer at all.

The basis of infallibility is the belief that the Holy Spirit is intervening in the world to prevent the magisterium from teaching error.

To accept the idea that the Holy Spirit would protect the magisterium from teaching error, but not to accept the idea that the Holy Spirit would protect the faithful from rejecting an infallible definition strikes me as rather silly.
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« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2010, 08:07:51 PM »

Since the Church teaches that the infallibility of the magisterium is ensured through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, presumably the consent of the Church to a dogmatic definition of the Pope would be ensured by the same.
The "definition" itself muddies things up considerably, because what happens if the consent of the Church does not follow?  According to Gasser the consent of the Church, or lack thereof, has no effect on the infallibility of the definition.  It is all well and good to say that the consent of the Church would always follow, but that really is an evasive answer, or - to be more blunt - no answer at all.

The definition does not come forth without episcopal consent already in place.

Can you quote Pastor Aeternus on that? Because we can (and have already on this read IIRC) quote the contrary from Pastor Aeternus.

Quote
The consent of the faithful follows as they are taught by their shepherds to understand the truth contained in the definition.

LOL. The implied consent to the ministry of truth.

Quote
And one always needs to remind that the Church is not a raw democratic form of one man, one vote. 

Sure it is. The pope is one man, and he has one vote. And that's the only vote that counts.

Quote
I don't believe patristic consensus is "calculated" that way either.

By what the present pope says, if it contradicts his predecessors? No, it doesn't.

Quote
And clearly, given the Orthodox moral teaching on prescribed artificial contraception, and the undercurrent of clergy and lay resistance to this innovation,
You mean those who wish to impose their opinions on everyone?  They've tried to do that for centuries, on a host of topics, but hasn't succeeded. For instance, mandated clerical celibacy.

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the whole process is a foggy-bottom, IF you predicate Truth on majority rule.
You meant it is connected with the US State Department?
http://www.audioenglish.net/dictionary/foggy_bottom.htm
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« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2010, 09:08:48 PM »

Since the Church teaches that the infallibility of the magisterium is ensured through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, presumably the consent of the Church to a dogmatic definition of the Pope would be ensured by the same.
The "definition" (i.e., Pastor Aeternus) itself muddies things up considerably, because what happens if the consent of the Church does not follow?  According to Gasser the consent of the Church, or lack thereof, has no impact on the infallibility of the definition.  It is all well and good to say that the consent of the Church would always follow, but that really is an evasive answer, or - to be more blunt - no answer at all.

Perhaps Cardinal Dulles's commentary on the Vatican I assertion that the dogmatic definitions of "the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable" may be of interest:

Quote
Vatican I firmly rejected one condition which the Gallicans had regarded as necessary for infallibility, namely, the consent of the whole Church.  This is the meaning of the famous phrase ex sese, non ex consensu Ecclesiae (DS 3074).  The Council here denies that the reason for the irreformability of papal definitions is the consent of the Church; it did not deny that the consent of the Church will be present or even that such consent is necessary as a condition for recognizing an authentic exercise of the infallible magisterium.

In other words, the consent of the Church is not the source of an irreformable dogmatic definition.  If this were the case, neither Pope nor Ecumenical Council would be able to authoritatively define doctrine in the name of Christ and his Church.  The consent of the Church is not the source of irreformable dogma--the Holy Spirit is.  On the other hand, the acceptance by the Church of dogmatic definition (whether papal or conciliar) may properly be seen as confirmation of the authenticity of that definition.  Or as Fr Francis Sullivan puts the matter:  "If one asks: how can we have infallible certitude that all the conditions required for an infallible definition are present in any particular case?--I would reply: the evidence of this which itself enjoys infalliblility is the reception of the defined dogma in the faith-consciousness of the Church. Subsequent reception does not confer infallibility on the act of the magisterium, but it provides infallible confirmation of the fact that an infallible definition has taken place" (Magisterium, p. 111). 

When one wades into Catholic theological literature (as opposed to apologetic literature) one quickly discovers that the relationship between infallible dogma and ecclesial consent is much contested.  A wooden, fundamentalist reading of Vatican I may lead one to believe that reception is irrelevant; but many Catholic theologians would argue that it is not.  A Catholic is always permitted to ask, "Has this dogmatic definition actually been received and embraced by the Faithful?"  And if it has not, then he may ask, "Have all the conditions for an authentic and binding infallible definition have been fulfilled in reality?" 

At this point, are the Catholic and Orthodox Churches light years apart, as is often supposed? 
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« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2010, 09:11:06 PM »

Since the Church teaches that the infallibility of the magisterium is ensured through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, presumably the consent of the Church to a dogmatic definition of the Pope would be ensured by the same.
The "definition" (i.e., Pastor Aeternus) itself muddies things up considerably, because what happens if the consent of the Church does not follow?  According to Gasser the consent of the Church, or lack thereof, has no impact on the infallibility of the definition.  It is all well and good to say that the consent of the Church would always follow, but that really is an evasive answer, or - to be more blunt - no answer at all.

Perhaps Cardinal Dulles's commentary on the Vatican I assertion that the dogmatic definitions of "the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable" may be of interest:

Quote
Vatican I firmly rejected one condition which the Gallicans had regarded as necessary for infallibility, namely, the consent of the whole Church.  This is the meaning of the famous phrase ex sese, non ex consensu Ecclesiae (DS 3074).  The Council here denies that the reason for the irreformability of papal definitions is the consent of the Church; it did not deny that the consent of the Church will be present or even that such consent is necessary as a condition for recognizing an authentic exercise of the infallible magisterium.

In other words, the consent of the Church is not the source of an irreformable dogmatic definition.  If this were the case, neither Pope nor Ecumenical Council would be able to authoritatively define doctrine in the name of Christ and his Church.  The consent of the Church is not the source of irreformable dogma--the Holy Spirit is.  On the other hand, the acceptance by the Church of dogmatic definition (whether papal or conciliar) may properly be seen as confirmation of the authenticity of that definition.  Or as Fr Francis Sullivan puts the matter:  "If one asks: how can we have infallible certitude that all the conditions required for an infallible definition are present in any particular case?--I would reply: the evidence of this which itself enjoys infalliblility is the reception of the defined dogma in the faith-consciousness of the Church. Subsequent reception does not confer infallibility on the act of the magisterium, but it provides infallible confirmation of the fact that an infallible definition has taken place" (Magisterium, p. 111). 

When one wades into Catholic theological literature (as opposed to apologetic literature) one quickly discovers that the relationship between infallible dogma and ecclesial consent is much contested.  A wooden, fundamentalist reading of Vatican I may lead one to believe that reception is irrelevant; but many Catholic theologians would argue that it is not.  A Catholic is always permitted to ask, "Has this dogmatic definition actually been received and embraced by the Faithful?"  And if it has not, then he may ask, "Have all the conditions for an authentic and binding infallible definition have been fulfilled in reality?" 

At this point, are the Catholic and Orthodox Churches light years apart, as is often supposed? 
Thank you for the post.  Alas it is not has helpful as I would like, because I hold that the consent of the whole Church, which is an expression of sobornicity, is necessary for the teaching of a council to be God-inspired.

I do find it interesting that the more the Roman Church tries to "define" doctrine in order to bring clarity it actually appears to muddy the waters even more.  Cheesy

The Roman bishop and his curia should take to heart St. Hilary's comment in his treatise on the trinity and remain silent more often.
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« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2010, 09:14:47 PM »

At this point, are the Catholic and Orthodox Churches light years apart, as is often supposed? 
I do not know if the two sides are light years apart, but I do not believe that the Eastern Orthodox will ever accept the idea that the bishop of Rome can issue infallible declarations.

That is just my opinion of course.
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« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2010, 09:50:40 PM »

You believe the consent of the whole Church is necessary?

Surely you can't believe there have been any ecumenical councils then, can you? There has never been one that included the whole Church. At most, in the case of First Nicaea and First Constantinople, they included the Churches of the Roman and Sassanid Empires. Or it would seem that at very most the first two would be all that you could accept. Surely once the Assyrian Church of the East is no longer consenting, there are no longer ecumenical councils.
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« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2010, 09:53:31 PM »

You believe the consent of the whole Church is necessary?
Yes, I do, because I believe that Catholicity involves the whole Church and not just one bishop.
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« Reply #32 on: December 28, 2010, 09:55:29 PM »

Surely you can't believe there have been any ecumenical councils then, can you? There has never been one that included the whole Church. At most, in the case of First Nicaea and First Constantinople, they included the Churches of the Roman and Sassanid Empires. Or it would seem that at very most the first two would be all that you could accept. Surely once the Assyrian Church of the East is no longer consenting, there are no longer ecumenical councils.
Of course I believe that there have been ecumenical councils, and the way that I know a council is ecumenical is by its commemoration in the liturgy of the Church.  Whether or not a council is God-inspired is not determined by some form of juridical act of a particular bishop; instead, it is established through the worship and veneration of the council in question by the Church at prayer.  The rule of prayer is the rule of belief.
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« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2010, 09:56:30 PM »

Thank you for the post.  Alas it is not has helpful as I would like, because I hold that the consent of the whole Church, which is an expression of sobornicity, is necessary for the teaching of a council to be God-inspired.

That, I know, is one Orthodox point of view, but it is not the only Orthodox point of view.  Compare, e.g., the view of Archbishop Stylianos Harkianakis:

Quote
The acceptance a posteriori of the decisions of a synod by the entire body of the Church is not altoglether irrelevant to the ecumenical character of the synod.  However, such an acceptance should be considered the external proof of ecumenicity, that is, as its result and not its cause.  That is to say, if a synod happens to be inherently infallible, because of the decisions of the holy Fathers assembled in the Holy Spirit, then it is necessary that it be obligatory for the conscience of the faithful, in which case this external fact persuades us that the synod was truly infallible.  This, however, does not mean that the acceptance a posteriori is a constitutive and internal element of the ecumenicity of the synod but rather its unavoidable consequence and result. (The Infallibility of the Church in Orthodox Theology, p. 226)

If ratification by the Church is understood as a constitutive element of an Ecumenical Council, then the very notion of the Ecumenical Council is undone, says Harkianakis:  "With such an understanding, the Ecumenical Synod could not be regarded as speaking in the Holy Spirit, but would become a kind of experiment, through which it would seek to ascertain how the people of God react afterwards to those decisions taken by that Ecumenical Synod" (p. 234).  He then goes on to note that "the Ecumenical Synods do not speak simply as the authoritative voice of the Church, but they anathematise a priori all those who do not accept their ethico-doctrinal decisions" (p. 235).  Clearly the council fathers did not understand their decisions as probationary, pending the approval of the wider Church.  They dared to speak a dogmatic word in the name of the Holy Spirit.

But I do not mean to insert myself into an inter-Orthodox debate but only to note the convergence of thinking between one school of Catholic theology (represented by Dulles and Sullivan) and one school of Orthodox theology (represented by Androutsos and Harkianakis).   
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« Reply #34 on: December 28, 2010, 09:58:16 PM »

Surely you can't believe there have been any ecumenical councils then, can you? There has never been one that included the whole Church. At most, in the case of First Nicaea and First Constantinople, they included the Churches of the Roman and Sassanid Empires. Or it would seem that at very most the first two would be all that you could accept. Surely once the Assyrian Church of the East is no longer consenting, there are no longer ecumenical councils.
Of course I believe that there have been ecumenical councils, and the way that I know a council is ecumenical is by its commemoration in the liturgy of the Church.  Whether or not a council is God-inspired is not determined by some form of juridical act of a particular bishop; instead, it is established through the worship and veneration of the council in question by the Church at prayer.  The rule of prayer is the rule of belief.

Did the Nestorian Bishops of China commemorate the rulings of The Third Council of Constantinople in their liturgy, do you think?

A council is ecumenical if the full teaching authority of the magisterium is present within it. The easterners who say that it requires the consent of the "whole" Church just artificially limit "The Church" to the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. If it's applied to the whole Church in reality (Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, the Churches flung all over Eurasia and Africa that Rome and Constantinople had no contact with) it becomes clear how absurdly impossible it makes the task of summoning an ecumenical council.
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« Reply #35 on: December 28, 2010, 10:03:05 PM »

There is a role for the hierarchy and the laity in insuring the proclamation of the Orthodox faith, and that is the beauty of the Eastern tradition, because it does not try to reduce the faith to the opinion of one man.  Cheesy
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« Reply #36 on: December 28, 2010, 10:04:44 PM »

That isn't an answer.
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« Reply #37 on: December 28, 2010, 10:06:29 PM »

Surely you can't believe there have been any ecumenical councils then, can you? There has never been one that included the whole Church. At most, in the case of First Nicaea and First Constantinople, they included the Churches of the Roman and Sassanid Empires. Or it would seem that at very most the first two would be all that you could accept. Surely once the Assyrian Church of the East is no longer consenting, there are no longer ecumenical councils.
Of course I believe that there have been ecumenical councils, and the way that I know a council is ecumenical is by its commemoration in the liturgy of the Church.  Whether or not a council is God-inspired is not determined by some form of juridical act of a particular bishop; instead, it is established through the worship and veneration of the council in question by the Church at prayer.  The rule of prayer is the rule of belief.
Did the Nestorian Bishops of China commemorate the rulings of The Third Council of Constantinople in their liturgy, do you think?

A council is ecumenical if the full teaching authority of the magisterium is present within it. The easterners who say that it requires the consent of the "whole" Church just artificially limit "The Church" to the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. If it's applied to the whole Church in reality (Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, the Churches flung all over Eurasia and Africa that Rome and Constantinople had no contact with) it becomes clear how absurdly impossible it makes the task of summoning an ecumenical council.
The Nestorians and Miaphysites broke communion over the councils they rejected, but since I venerate all seven ecumenical councils it must be pretty clear that I am neither Nestorian nor Miaphysite.

Now with that out of the way:  When three men claimed to be pope during the 14th and 15th century how did the all powerful papacy insure unity?  Isn't it true to say that the papacy itself became the cause of disunity throughout the West?

Alas, having a single bishop with universal powers does not insure unity.
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« Reply #38 on: December 28, 2010, 10:07:55 PM »

That isn't an answer.
It is an answer, but it is just an answer that you do not like, because it is an answer that excludes the necessity of a super bishop to run everything.
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« Reply #39 on: December 28, 2010, 10:24:51 PM »

Quote
The Nestorians and Miaphysites broke communion over the councils they rejected, but since I venerate all seven ecumenical councils it must be pretty clear that I am neither Nestorian nor Miaphysite.Now with that out of the way:  When three men claimed to be pope during the 14th and 15th century how did the all powerful papacy insure unity?  Isn't it true to say that the papacy itself became the cause of disunity throughout the West?Alas, having a single bishop with universal powers does not insure unity.

And the Eastern Orthodox broke communion over the west's custom of using unleavened bread in the mass. The Eastern Orthodox Churches are schismatics, just as the Assyrian Church of the East is.

The answer to your question is the Council of Constance, the 15th ecumenical council of the universal church.

Quote
It is an answer, but it is just an answer that you do not like, because it is an answer that excludes the necessity of a super bishop to run everything.

No, it's not an answer because it expresses no discernable view on the matter of any kind. It's deliberately cryptic nonsense.
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« Reply #40 on: December 28, 2010, 11:26:24 PM »

It is telling, isn't it?  Oh well.  I am not as smart as you are.  I know this.  I hope that explains my dumb posts.  But just to be clear, I don't hold up Sergei as an examplar of wisdom nor do I hold him up as *the* authority on Papism.  I'm sorry that you felt the need to declare my supposed beliefs without having consulted me first.  These passionate discussions are not good for my soul. 

John




This is very telling, John.

Father Sergei's theology, in general, is held out by self-identified conservative Orthodox believers as a 20th century exemplar of how NOT to be Orthodox.

And yet you would hold him up as an exemplar of wisdom with regard to his knowledge and understanding of the Roman Church.   

And yet still, his knowledge of the Roman Church and the papacy is about as twisted as his knowledge and understanding of St. Thomas Aquinas....or the Wisdom books of the Old Testament...which led him nearly into heresy and at least into heterodox thinking within Orthodoxy.

And this is who you would follow over the cliff against the papal Church...

That's dumb.

M.
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« Reply #41 on: December 28, 2010, 11:50:46 PM »

There is a role for the hierarchy and the laity in insuring the proclamation of the Orthodox faith, and that is the beauty of the Eastern tradition, because it does not try to reduce the faith to the opinion of one man.  Cheesy

Unless that one man happens to disagree with you  laugh laugh laugh
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« Reply #42 on: December 28, 2010, 11:59:34 PM »

There is a role for the hierarchy and the laity in insuring the proclamation of the Orthodox faith, and that is the beauty of the Eastern tradition, because it does not try to reduce the faith to the opinion of one man.  Cheesy
Nope, just to one liturgical tradition to the exclusion of all others. In light of the rejection of Chalcedon by the OO's, and Ephesus by the the Assyrians, your argument really holds no water.
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« Reply #43 on: December 29, 2010, 12:00:55 AM »

Todd,
If you think that Rome is in error, and that the Eastern Orthodox are not, why are you "in communion with Rome" (I actually think you are out of communion with Rome) and not in communion with the Eastern Orthodox?
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« Reply #44 on: December 29, 2010, 12:12:24 AM »

Thank you for the post.  Alas it is not has helpful as I would like, because I hold that the consent of the whole Church, which is an expression of sobornicity, is necessary for the teaching of a council to be God-inspired.

I do find it interesting that the more the Roman Church tries to "define" doctrine in order to bring clarity it actually appears to muddy the waters even more.  Cheesy

The Roman bishop and his curia should take to heart St. Hilary's comment in his treatise on the trinity and remain silent more often.
LOL. Spot on as ever, Apotheoun.
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