Author Topic: Divine Interpreter  (Read 1888 times)

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Online Asteriktos

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Divine Interpreter
« on: January 15, 2011, 05:30:47 PM »
In another thread Wyatt said the following...

Regardless of the interpretation, both the east and the west accepted this statement from the council of carthage. Perhaps it meant slightly different things to different people at the time (or even now), but the beliefs are close enough to the same to use identical wording on both sides (that is, unless one of the sides no longer believes in the wording of the council).
You mean it is possible for different people to arrive at different interpretations when looking back at Church councils? Hmmmm....that's not good. Sounds like having a divinely inspired interpreter (i.e. the Magisterium) would be useful.

In the East you often hear solutions given to this in the form of the Vincentian Canon, or the Consensus Patrum, or perhaps in Deific Discernment. All of these solutions seem rather vague and subjective to me. The idea of the Catholics, so far as I understand it, in the Magisterium (with the Pope guiding/leading), seems more stable (a positive), if a bit more authoritarian (which can at times be a negative). So... thoughts on this? From a Catholic perspective, is the Catholic system necessary? If so, then how has Orthodoxy remains fairly orthodox according to Catholics, such that it can even be called another lung? From an Orthodox perspective, isn't there some validity in the Catholic system, which is much clearer than the Orthodox system (which isn't really a system at all)?
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 05:31:15 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Wyatt

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Re: Divine Interpreter
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2011, 05:43:58 PM »
I will leave the Eastern Orthodox responses to others more knowledgeable in that area than myself, but I will try to tackle the Catholic position as best as I can. In our Church, truth comes to us ultimately from one source, and that is from God. However, that truth from God comes to us in three different ways: Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterial teaching. Scripture and Tradition are useless without the lens of Magisterial teaching (i.e. the teaching authority of the Church which Christ established) because, as we have seen with the Protestants, leaving things up to the interpretation of the individual leads to chaos and division. Attempting to interpret Councils or quotes of the Fathers by oneself rather than leaning on the understanding of the Church is as fruitless as the Protestant who attempts to interpret Scripture for himself instead of looking to the Church for guidance. We, of course, believe that St. Peter and the Apostles (and their Successors) have the authority to proclaim correct teaching. We believe that this authority is preserved and is still alive and well in the Magisterium of the Church.

Offline Shiranui117

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Re: Divine Interpreter
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2011, 05:48:41 PM »
I will leave the Eastern Orthodox responses to others more knowledgeable in that area than myself, but I will try to tackle the Catholic position as best as I can. In our Church, truth comes to us ultimately from one source, and that is from God. However, that truth from God comes to us in three different ways: Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterial teaching. Scripture and Tradition are useless without the lens of Magisterial teaching (i.e. the teaching authority of the Church which Christ established) because, as we have seen with the Protestants, leaving things up to the interpretation of the individual leads to chaos and division. Attempting to interpret Councils or quotes of the Fathers by oneself rather than leaning on the understanding of the Church is as fruitless as the Protestant who attempts to interpret Scripture for himself instead of looking to the Church for guidance. We, of course, believe that St. Peter and the Apostles (and their Successors) have the authority to proclaim correct teaching. We believe that this authority is preserved and is still alive and well in the Magisterium of the Church.
In my opinion, I think it may be better to say that Scripture is understood in light of Tradition, which is safeguarded by the Magisterium. The Magisterium's job is to look into Tradition and Scripture to answer the questions that currently plague the Church at any given time, and give a judgement based on what is seen from Patristic consensus and Scripture. But overall, a very good explanation. :)

Though, from what I have seen thus far, it seems to me that the Orthodox let Tradition speak for itself; Patristic consensus is always clear enough, coupled with the Canons and Scripture, to tell the Orthodox Church what is right and what should be observed.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 05:49:13 PM by Wandering Sheep »

Online Asteriktos

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Re: Divine Interpreter
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2011, 06:02:19 PM »
Scripture and Tradition are useless without the lens of Magisterial teaching (i.e. the teaching authority of the Church which Christ established) because, as we have seen with the Protestants, leaving things up to the interpretation of the individual leads to chaos and division. Attempting to interpret Councils or quotes of the Fathers by oneself rather than leaning on the understanding of the Church is as fruitless as the Protestant who attempts to interpret Scripture for himself instead of looking to the Church for guidance. We, of course, believe that St. Peter and the Apostles (and their Successors) have the authority to proclaim correct teaching. We believe that this authority is preserved and is still alive and well in the Magisterium of the Church.

But haven't the Orthodox done fairly well without this lense? I mean, yes, there are dogmatic issues like papal supremacy, and maybe some moral issues like contraception and divorce. Yet, aren't most Roman Catholics (including recent popes) rather optimistic about how close the two Churches are?

Though, from what I have seen thus far, it seems to me that the Orthodox let Tradition speak for itself; Patristic consensus is always clear enough, coupled with the Canons and Scripture, to tell the Orthodox Church what is right and what should be observed.

In all cases, or just the important ones? I ask because it is my firm belief that Orthodoxy has not decided on a canon yet. True, the Catholics took fifteen centuries to decide, but eventually they spoke finally on the matter. Orthodoxy... you can still find disagreement to this day (though it is usually smoothed over with phrases like "Most Orthodox theologians..." and so forth).
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 06:02:50 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Divine Interpreter
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2011, 06:07:50 PM »
It would be nice if the Orthodox bishops got together to discuss the canon law one of these days. One of the major weaknesses I see with Orthodoxy today is the disjoint between the bishops.

Offline Wyatt

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Re: Divine Interpreter
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2011, 06:27:07 PM »
I will leave the Eastern Orthodox responses to others more knowledgeable in that area than myself, but I will try to tackle the Catholic position as best as I can. In our Church, truth comes to us ultimately from one source, and that is from God. However, that truth from God comes to us in three different ways: Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterial teaching. Scripture and Tradition are useless without the lens of Magisterial teaching (i.e. the teaching authority of the Church which Christ established) because, as we have seen with the Protestants, leaving things up to the interpretation of the individual leads to chaos and division. Attempting to interpret Councils or quotes of the Fathers by oneself rather than leaning on the understanding of the Church is as fruitless as the Protestant who attempts to interpret Scripture for himself instead of looking to the Church for guidance. We, of course, believe that St. Peter and the Apostles (and their Successors) have the authority to proclaim correct teaching. We believe that this authority is preserved and is still alive and well in the Magisterium of the Church.
In my opinion, I think it may be better to say that Scripture is understood in light of Tradition, which is safeguarded by the Magisterium. The Magisterium's job is to look into Tradition and Scripture to answer the questions that currently plague the Church at any given time, and give a judgement based on what is seen from Patristic consensus and Scripture. But overall, a very good explanation. :)

Though, from what I have seen thus far, it seems to me that the Orthodox let Tradition speak for itself; Patristic consensus is always clear enough, coupled with the Canons and Scripture, to tell the Orthodox Church what is right and what should be observed.
Yes I believe you are right. Your comment about the teaching authority of the Church preserving and safeguarding the meaning of Scripture and Tradition is correct.

Scripture and Tradition are useless without the lens of Magisterial teaching (i.e. the teaching authority of the Church which Christ established) because, as we have seen with the Protestants, leaving things up to the interpretation of the individual leads to chaos and division. Attempting to interpret Councils or quotes of the Fathers by oneself rather than leaning on the understanding of the Church is as fruitless as the Protestant who attempts to interpret Scripture for himself instead of looking to the Church for guidance. We, of course, believe that St. Peter and the Apostles (and their Successors) have the authority to proclaim correct teaching. We believe that this authority is preserved and is still alive and well in the Magisterium of the Church.

But haven't the Orthodox done fairly well without this lense? I mean, yes, there are dogmatic issues like papal supremacy, and maybe some moral issues like contraception and divorce. Yet, aren't most Roman Catholics (including recent popes) rather optimistic about how close the two Churches are?

Though, from what I have seen thus far, it seems to me that the Orthodox let Tradition speak for itself; Patristic consensus is always clear enough, coupled with the Canons and Scripture, to tell the Orthodox Church what is right and what should be observed.

In all cases, or just the important ones? I ask because it is my firm belief that Orthodoxy has not decided on a canon yet. True, the Catholics took fifteen centuries to decide, but eventually they spoke finally on the matter. Orthodoxy... you can still find disagreement to this day (though it is usually smoothed over with phrases like "Most Orthodox theologians..." and so forth).
Have the Eastern Orthodox done well without the lens? Yes and no. The way that Eastern Orthodoxy has remained fairly consistent with Catholicism is that everything was pretty much frozen where it was at the time of the schism. There has been no doctrinal or dogmatic clarifications (or no Ecumenical Councils) within Eastern Orthodoxy as with Catholicism. However, somethings have changed for the worse...such as going from an absolute prohibition of artificial contraception to allowing it in certain instances.

Offline Father H

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Re: Divine Interpreter
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2011, 06:27:46 PM »
In the Orthodox Church the teaching office is simply the Episcopate:  the Bishops in concert with each other in the unity of the Orthodox Faith.  
In the Roman Catholic Church the teaching office was modified to become the "magesterium":  The Bishops in concert with the Bishop of Rome.  

That is the difference in the teaching office, in that the one hinges on the Papacy and the other hinges on Orthodoxy.   As the Holy Councils recognize, the teaching office can be exercised in several ways:
1. Ecumenical Councils
2. Local councils gathered in the interest of Orthodoxy
3. Encyclicals, either that of one Orthodox Bishop or that of many.  
4. The Synodikon bears witness to all three of these and sums up dogma in a universally recognized manner.  

Ultimately "problems of authority" are not solved with the redefinition of the teaching office as RCC magesterium.  The de-emphasis of Orthodoxy and the emphasis upon "single bishop" only serves to feed into the lack of need of consensus patrem and opens up the possibility of "new dogmas" and a departure from the continuity in the Faith of the church in a given age from the Church of all generations preceeding.  

Offline Wyatt

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Re: Divine Interpreter
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2011, 06:42:34 PM »
In the Orthodox Church the teaching office is simply the Episcopate:  the Bishops in concert with each other in the unity of the Orthodox Faith.  
In the Roman Catholic Church the teaching office was modified to become the "magesterium":  The Bishops in concert with the Bishop of Rome.  

That is the difference in the teaching office, in that the one hinges on the Papacy and the other hinges on Orthodoxy.   As the Holy Councils recognize, the teaching office can be exercised in several ways:
1. Ecumenical Councils
2. Local councils gathered in the interest of Orthodoxy
3. Encyclicals, either that of one Orthodox Bishop or that of many.  
4. The Synodikon bears witness to all three of these and sums up dogma in a universally recognized manner.  

Ultimately "problems of authority" are not solved with the redefinition of the teaching office as RCC magesterium.  The de-emphasis of Orthodoxy and the emphasis upon "single bishop" only serves to feed into the lack of need of consensus patrem and opens up the possibility of "new dogmas" and a departure from the continuity in the Faith of the church in a given age from the Church of all generations preceeding.  
It would seem neither model completely represents that of the first millennium Church. In the first millennium Church Rome was present and held primacy (whether it was strictly honorary or also authoritarian could be endlessly debated), and the first millennium Church also had the presence of the other Apostolic Patriarchates. Neither Church's arrangement is exactly parallel to the pre-Schism Church.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 06:43:07 PM by Wyatt »

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Divine Interpreter
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2011, 07:05:44 PM »
I will leave the Eastern Orthodox responses to others more knowledgeable in that area than myself, but I will try to tackle the Catholic position as best as I can. In our Church, truth comes to us ultimately from one source, and that is from God. However, that truth from God comes to us in three different ways: Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterial teaching. Scripture and Tradition are useless without the lens of Magisterial teaching (i.e. the teaching authority of the Church which Christ established) because, as we have seen with the Protestants, leaving things up to the interpretation of the individual leads to chaos and division. Attempting to interpret Councils or quotes of the Fathers by oneself rather than leaning on the understanding of the Church is as fruitless as the Protestant who attempts to interpret Scripture for himself instead of looking to the Church for guidance. We, of course, believe that St. Peter and the Apostles (and their Successors) have the authority to proclaim correct teaching. We believe that this authority is preserved and is still alive and well in the Magisterium of the Church.

Or we could call it by its other name:  The Episcopacy

Only the Catholic Church doesn't try to hide the hierarchy of authority that is in evidence in Scripture and Tradition, where some bishops are more equal than others.

There's more to it than that of course within the Mystical Body of Christ...but this is a fair start, eh Wyatt?

Offline Rufus

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Re: Divine Interpreter
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2011, 06:40:59 PM »
How exactly would one define what the Magisterium is? Is it simply "the teaching authority of the Church"? If so, isn't the Orthodox concept of episcopal authority just like what RC's call Ordinary Magisterium? Wouldn't an Ecumenical Council be the Orthodox equivalent of Extraordinary Magisterium?

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Divine Interpreter
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2011, 07:12:21 PM »
In the Orthodox Church the teaching office is simply the Episcopate:  the Bishops in concert with each other in the unity of the Orthodox Faith.  
In the Roman Catholic Church the teaching office was modified to become the "magesterium":  The Bishops in concert with the Bishop of Rome.  

That is the difference in the teaching office, in that the one hinges on the Papacy and the other hinges on Orthodoxy.   As the Holy Councils recognize, the teaching office can be exercised in several ways:
1. Ecumenical Councils
2. Local councils gathered in the interest of Orthodoxy
3. Encyclicals, either that of one Orthodox Bishop or that of many.  
4. The Synodikon bears witness to all three of these and sums up dogma in a universally recognized manner.  

Ultimately "problems of authority" are not solved with the redefinition of the teaching office as RCC magesterium.  The de-emphasis of Orthodoxy and the emphasis upon "single bishop" only serves to feed into the lack of need of consensus patrem and opens up the possibility of "new dogmas" and a departure from the continuity in the Faith of the church in a given age from the Church of all generations preceeding.  
It would seem neither model completely represents that of the first millennium Church. In the first millennium Church Rome was present and held primacy (whether it was strictly honorary or also authoritarian could be endlessly debated)
Are you saying that one could reasonably argue that the Pope was recognized to have held the same sort of authority in the first millennium as he holds in the Roman Catholic Church post-1870?
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Offline Wyatt

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Re: Divine Interpreter
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2011, 05:09:46 AM »
In the Orthodox Church the teaching office is simply the Episcopate:  the Bishops in concert with each other in the unity of the Orthodox Faith.  
In the Roman Catholic Church the teaching office was modified to become the "magesterium":  The Bishops in concert with the Bishop of Rome.  

That is the difference in the teaching office, in that the one hinges on the Papacy and the other hinges on Orthodoxy.   As the Holy Councils recognize, the teaching office can be exercised in several ways:
1. Ecumenical Councils
2. Local councils gathered in the interest of Orthodoxy
3. Encyclicals, either that of one Orthodox Bishop or that of many.  
4. The Synodikon bears witness to all three of these and sums up dogma in a universally recognized manner.  

Ultimately "problems of authority" are not solved with the redefinition of the teaching office as RCC magesterium.  The de-emphasis of Orthodoxy and the emphasis upon "single bishop" only serves to feed into the lack of need of consensus patrem and opens up the possibility of "new dogmas" and a departure from the continuity in the Faith of the church in a given age from the Church of all generations preceeding.  
It would seem neither model completely represents that of the first millennium Church. In the first millennium Church Rome was present and held primacy (whether it was strictly honorary or also authoritarian could be endlessly debated)
Are you saying that one could reasonably argue that the Pope was recognized to have held the same sort of authority in the first millennium as he holds in the Roman Catholic Church post-1870?
No, obviously he ended up having a lot more on his plate after the other Patriarchs went into schism with the Church. Before that authority was more spread out amongst the other Patriarchates, even though Rome still held primacy.