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Author Topic: Basic Points of Difference between the Orthodox Church and Papism  (Read 3002 times) Average Rating: 0
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Bogoliubtsy
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« on: June 22, 2004, 12:37:13 AM »

Basic Points of Difference between the Orthodox Church and Papism

By the Most Reverend Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, His Eminence IEROTHEOS Vlachos -- Translated from Greek by Fr. Patrick B. O’Grady

   

The bishops of Old Rome, beside small and non-essential differences, always held communion with the bishops of New Rome and the bishops of the East until the years 1009-1014, when, for the first time, the Frankish bishops seized the throne of Old Rome.  Until the year 1009 the Popes of Rome and the Patriarchs of Constantinople were unified in a common struggle against the Frankish princes and bishops, already even at that time heretics.

The Franks at the Synod of Frankfurt in 794 condemned the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod and the honorable veneration of the holy icons.  Likewise in 809 the Franks introduced into the Symbol of the Faith the “Filioque” (Latin: “and the Son”); namely, the doctrine concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit both from the Father and from the Son.  Now at that time the Orthodox Pope of Rome condemned this imposition.  At the Synod of Constantinople presided over by Photios the Great, at which also representatives of the Orthodox Pope of Rome participated, they condemned as many as had condemned the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod and as many as had added the Filioque to the Symbol of Faith.  However, the Frankish Pope Sergius IV, in the year 1009, in his enthronement encyclical for the first time added the Filioque to the Symbol of Faith.  Then Pope Benedict VIII introduced the Creed with the Filioque into the worship service of the Church, at which time the Pope was stricken out from the diptychs of the Orthodox Church.

The basic distinction between the Orthodox Church and Papism is found in the doctrine concerning the uncreated nature and uncreated energy of God.  Whereas we Orthodox believe that God possesses an uncreated nature and uncreated energy and that God comes into communion with the creation and with man by means of His uncreated energy, the Papists believe that in God the uncreated nature is identified with His uncreated energy (acrus purus) and that God holds communion with the creation and with man through His created energies, even asserting that in God there exist also created energies.  So then the grace of God through which man is sanctified is seen as created energy.  But given this, one cannot be sanctified.

From this basic doctrine proceeds the teaching concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son, the cleansing fire, the primacy of the Pope, etc.

Beside the fundamental difference between the Orthodox Church and Papism, in the theme of the nature and energy of God, there are other great differences which have given rise to topics of theological dispute, namely:

    --the Filioque, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son with the result that the monarchy of the Father is diminished, the final equality of the Persons of the Holy Trinity is compromised, the Son is diminished in His own character in having been born, if there exists a oneness between Father and Son then the Holy Spirit is subordinated as not equal in power and of the same glory with the other Persons of the Holy Trinity, with the result that He is shown as the “unproductive (steiro) Person,”

    --the utilization of unleavened bread in the Divine Eucharist which transgresses the manner with which Christ accomplished the Mystical Supper,

    --the consecration of the “precious Gifts” which takes place not with the epiclesis, but rather with the proclamation of Christ’s words of institution, “Take, eat . . . drink of it, all of you . . .,”

    --the view that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross satisfied the Divine justice, which presents God the Father as a feudal lord and which overlooks the resurrection,

    --the view about the “merits” of Christ which the Pope dispenses, along with the “superabundant” grace of the saints,

    --the alienation and segmentation placed between the mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation, and the Divine Eucharist,

    --the doctrine concerning the inheritance of guilt from the ancestral sin,

    --the liturgical innovations in all of the mysteries of the Church (Baptism, Chrismation, Ordination, Confession, Marriage, Anointing),

    --the practice of not communing the laity in the “Blood” of Christ,

    --the primacy of the Pope, according to which the Pope is “episcopus episcoporum (Latin: the bishop of bishops) and the origin of the priesthood and of ecclesiastical authority, that he is the infallible head and the principle leader of the Church, governing it in monarchical fashion as the vicar of Christ on the earth” (I. Karmires).  With this concept the Pope views himself as the successor of the Apostle Peter, to whom the other Apostles submit themselves, even the Apostle Paul,

    --the non-existence of concelebration in the praxis of worship services,

    --the infallibility of the Pope,

    --the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Theotokos and the development of the worship of Mary (mariolatria), according to which the All-Holy Virgin is elevated to Triune Deity and even becomes a concept leading to a Holy Quaternity (!),

    --the views of analogia entis (analogy of being) and analogia fidei (analogy of faith) which hold sway in the West,

    --the unceasing progress of the Church in the discovery of the recesses of revelatory truth,

    --the doctrine about absolute predestination,

    --the concept concerning the single methodology for the knowledge of God and of creatures, which leads to a blending of theology and epistemology.

Moreover, the great difference in practice, which points out the manner of theology, is found also in the difference between Scholasticism and Hesychastic theology.  In the West Scholasticism was expounded as an endeavor to search out the meaning of all the mysteries of the faith by means of logic (Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas).  However, in the Orthodox Church hesychasm prevails; namely, the purification of the heart and the illumination of the mind (nous), towards the acquisition of the knowledge of God.  The dialogue between St. Gregory Palamas and Barlaam the scholastic and uniate is characteristic and shows the difference.

A consequence of all the foregoing is that we have in Papism a decline from Orthodox ecclesiology.  Whereas in the Orthodox Church great significance is given to theosis which consists in communion with God, through the vision of the Uncreated Light, then those who behold the Light gather in an Ecumenical Synod and accurately define revelatory truth under conditions of confusion.  But in Papism great significance is given to the edict of the Pope; indeed, the Pope even stands over these Ecumenical Synods.  Consistent with Latin theology, “the authority of the Church exists only when it is established and put in good order by the will of the Pope.  Under a contrary condition it is annihilated.”  The Ecumenical Synods are seen as “councils of Christianity that are summoned under the authenticity, the authority, and the presidency of the Pope.”  Whenever the Pope leaves the meeting hall of the Ecumenical Synod, it ceases to have power.  Bishop Mare has written, “There would be no Roman Catholics more accurate as those exclaiming, “I believe also in one Pope” than who say “I believe also in one . . . Church.”

Furthermore, “the significance and role of the bishops within the Roman church is no more than a simple personification of the papal authority, to which also the bishops themselves submit just as also do the simple faithful.”  Towards this papal ecclesiology it is essentially maintained that “the apostolic authority left off with the apostles and was not passed on to their successors, the bishops.  Only the papal authority of Peter, under which all of the others are found, was passed on to the successors of Peter; namely, the popes.”  Along with the foregoing it is maintained by the papal “church” that all the churches of the East are secessionist and have deficiencies.  It receives us as sister churches into communion by dispensation (kat’ oikonomian), since she sees herself as the mother church and sees ourselves as daughter churches.

The Vatican is an earthly power (kratos) and each pope is the wielder of the power of the Vatican.  It is a matter of a man-centered organization, a worldly, indeed an especially legalistic and worldly organization.  The earthly power of the Vatican was instituted in the year 755 by Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagne -even in our own time he was recognized by Mussolini, in 1929.  The source of the proclamation of papal worldly power is significant, as Pope Pius XI maintained, “the one who stands in God’s stead on earth cannot be obedient to earthly power.”  Christ was obedient to earthly power, the pope cannot be!  The papal authority establishes a theocracy, since theocracy is defined as subsuming both worldly and ecclesiastical authority into one concept.  Today we can see theocratic-worldly power in the Vatican and in Iran.

Pope Innocent IV (1198-1216) maintained the characteristic nature of these things in his enthronement speech, “He who has the bride has the bridegroom.  However the bride herself (the church) has not been coupled with empty hands, but brings therein an incomparably rich dowry, the fullness of spiritual goods and the expanses of the world’s things, the largesse and abundance of both. . . . Your contributions of the worldly things has given me the diadem, the mitre over the priesthood, the diadem for kingdom and it has established me as His representative (antiprosopo), in the garment and on the knee of which it is written: the King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Consequently great theological differences exist, which have been condemned by the Synod of Photios the Great and at the Synod of Gregory Palamas, just as it appears in the “Synodikon of Orthodoxy.”  In addition also the Fathers of the Church and the local synods down to the 19th century condemn all the deceits of papism.  The issue is not mollified or improved by a certain typical excuse which the pope would give for an historical error, whenever his theological views were outside of the revelation and the eccesiology is moved into an enclosed course, since of course the pope presents himself as leader of the Christian world, as successor of the Apostle Peter and the Vicar-representative of Christ over the earth, as if Christ would give His authority to the pope and He cease ruling in blessing in the heavens.
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2004, 04:10:29 AM »

I don't know why I tried to mull through this at almost 4 am, but I'm confused by some of this.

Quote
The basic distinction between the Orthodox Church and Papism is found in the doctrine concerning the uncreated nature and uncreated energy of God.  Whereas we Orthodox believe that God possesses an uncreated nature and uncreated energy and that God comes into communion with the creation and with man by means of His uncreated energy, the Papists believe that in God the uncreated nature is identified with His uncreated energy (acrus purus) and that God holds communion with the creation and with man through His created energies, even asserting that in God there exist also created energies.  So then the grace of God through which man is sanctified is seen as created energy.  But given this, one cannot be sanctified.

OK, I get the result of the two doctrines...for the Orthodox, God and his nature and energies are all uncreated, whereas (according to this) the Papist doctrine implies that some of God's nature and energies are created, which would be heresy (implied not stated). But the wording and explanation is SO CONFUSING. Huh Can someone with a little more brain power available to wield (right now I'm spent) maybe paraphrase the key parts of this explanation? Maybe someone with a little more experience than I have in discussing these matters...

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--the consecration of the “precious Gifts” which takes place not with the epiclesis, but rather with the proclamation of Christ’s words of institution, “Take, eat . . . drink of it, all of you . . .,”

OK this is clear enough (except that I don't know what the epiclesis is), but I don't know which Church uses the epiclesis for the actual consecration, and which uses Christ's words...this is a simple question of "which is which?" and "what is the epiclesis?"

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--the view that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross satisfied the Divine justice, which presents God the Father as a feudal lord and which overlooks the resurrection,

Again my simple question, which doctrine belongs to which church?

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--the view about the “merits” of Christ which the Pope dispenses, along with the “superabundant” grace of the saints,

What view about the "merits" of Christ does the Pope dispense? And what exactly does the "superabundant" grace of the saints refer to?

Quote
--the views of analogia entis (analogy of being) and analogia fidei (analogy of faith) which hold sway in the West,

--the concept concerning the single methodology for the knowledge of God and of creatures, which leads to a blending of theology and epistemology.

LOL These are lost on me.

Quote
--the unceasing progress of the Church in the discovery of the recesses of revelatory truth,

--the doctrine about absolute predestination,

Again my simple question, which doctrine goes with which church? My guess is the "unceasing progress of the Church in the discovery of the recesses of revelatory truth" refers to Papist doctrine, but maybe I'm wrong, in which case someone please correct me. As for predestination, I didn't know either church talked about it...which church holds the doctrine "about" predestination, and what is the doctrine exactly?

LOL I know these are a lot of questions, and some are rather complicated. Maybe I am just not suited (yet) to handle such dense discussion of theology, but any light you more learned folk can shed on my befuddlement is humbly appreciated.

Thanx in advance. Smiley




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hmmmm...
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2004, 04:17:37 AM »

When did the Catholic Church start teaching Predestination?! And it seems worshiping Mary has also became Catholic dogma, hmm I really need to keep up with my Church! Wink
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2004, 04:34:58 AM »

very interesting article bogo.  I think the author, respectuflly, is ignorant of some peculiars of Roman Doctrine however.

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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2004, 04:59:07 AM »

Yes I agree, very ignorant in some areas.
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2004, 09:12:11 AM »

Ben, which ones would that be?

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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2004, 09:33:21 AM »

Here is a link to the sub-page for Roman Catholic enquirers, from one of the best general information Orthodox websites:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/inq_rc.aspx

There also is a corresponding sub-page for enquirers from the Protestant traditions.

It would be a good place to continue reading on the topic.

This other link leads to English translations of some other works by Metropolitan Ierotheos.    

http://www.pelagia.org/htm/index.htm

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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2004, 11:09:55 AM »

Given my own background, I find articles like this very interesting, particularly when written by those who do not themselves have an RC background (or at least a well informed one - having been Roman Catholic obviously doesn't make one an expert on Catholicism!).

Here are some thoughts...

Quote
The bishops of Old Rome, beside small and non-essential differences, always held communion with the bishops of New Rome and the bishops of the East until the years 1009-1014, when, for the first time, the Frankish bishops seized the throne of Old Rome.  Until the year 1009 the Popes of Rome and the Patriarchs of Constantinople were unified in a common struggle against the Frankish princes and bishops, already even at that time heretics.

While the "Franks" angle is correct (in fact this political dimension explains the why behind the separation of Rome from the rest of the Patriarchates imho), I think the author underplays the previous problems between Rome and Constantinople, in particular the fact that there were many many situations where it was Constantinople which was the grievous offender (in particular when it was under the control of heretics.)

Also even in the best of times, the relationship between New and Old Romes was strained - the growth of Constantinople's temporal importance, and this causing it's obvious increase in ecclessiastical importance, caused problems almost right from the beginning.  To imply that the seeds of the territorial/juristictional disputes between Old and New Rome were not centuries old by the time it contributed to an open schism is naive, imho.

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The Franks at the Synod of Frankfurt in 794 condemned the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod and the honorable veneration of the holy icons.

True, however I have heard the argument that the Franks behind this had received corrupted translations of the acts of the Seventh Council.

Quote
Likewise in 809 the Franks introduced into the Symbol of the Faith the “Filioque” (Latin: “and the Son”); namely, the doctrine concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit both from the Father and from the Son.  Now at that time the Orthodox Pope of Rome condemned this imposition.  At the Synod of Constantinople presided over by Photios the Great, at which also representatives of the Orthodox Pope of Rome participated, they condemned as many as had condemned the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod and as many as had added the Filioque to the Symbol of Faith.  However, the Frankish Pope Sergius IV, in the year 1009, in his enthronement encyclical for the first time added the Filioque to the Symbol of Faith.  Then Pope Benedict VIII introduced the Creed with the Filioque into the worship service of the Church, at which time the Pope was stricken out from the diptychs of the Orthodox Church.

The above is true, however it leaves out that the Spanish were using the modified, filioque Creed long before this.

Quote
The basic distinction between the Orthodox Church and Papism is found in the doctrine concerning the uncreated nature and uncreated energy of God.  Whereas we Orthodox believe that God possesses an uncreated nature and uncreated energy and that God comes into communion with the creation and with man by means of His uncreated energy, the Papists believe that in God the uncreated nature is identified with His uncreated energy (acrus purus) and that God holds communion with the creation and with man through His created energies, even asserting that in God there exist also created energies.  So then the grace of God through which man is sanctified is seen as created energy.  But given this, one cannot be sanctified.

To be fair, though from fairly early on there were Eastern Fathers who very clearly made this distinction between energies and essence, it would seem that the Latins were never as keen to do such.  This is not to say that they did not often implicitly express this view (you can see this when Western Fathers discuss God as "Light", etc.), but the clear distinction was not present.  This also explains, in my opinion, why the Western Fathers in general were not as clear in making distinctions between what one might describe as the "Eternal Trinity" and the "Economic Trinity".  Thus you have the western Father St.Hilary of Potiers, using the word "procession" (in regard to the Holy Spirit) in a way that was (at least without careful reading) not unambiguous.  While this is not in my view what created the divisive, and clearly erroneous version of filioquism come about, it certainly is what made the spread of the errant version of the filioque in the west possible, where it simply would not have been possible in the East.

I think what is perhaps more accurate to say (in a historical context) is that the west (via the Franks) would come to over-estimate the value of theology "by analogy" (that is to say, that we can know things about God as He is, according to His essence, by looking at man and the rest of the creation.)  While the undivided Church (this includes the consensus of the Western Fathers as well) admits a "relative" knowledge of God can be arrived at by examining His creatures (including man), She also stressed (and the East persisted in this emphasis) that actual knowledge of God's essence is impossible.  The distinctly defined teaching of energies/essence, best reflects and protects this ancient and truly Catholic affirmation about what our knowledge of God really consists of.

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the Papists believe that in God the uncreated nature is identified with His uncreated energy (acrus purus) and that God holds communion with the creation and with man through His created energies, even asserting that in God there exist also created energies.

The strict identification of God's essence with His energies (God is "pure act", with no potency) is definatly what the Latins came to believe, particularly after they gave pride of place to scholasticism, where this identification is insisted upon.  However, it's worth pointing out that "scholasticism" was initially not well received in the West - there were many Latins who regarded Thomas Aquinas and the movement inspired by his works as the "modernism" of it's time.  With this said, the thoroughly "Augustinian" (however often this may actually go well beyond what St.Augustine himself actually taught and believed) climate that existed in western Christendom by the time scholasticism appeared, did facilitate it's spread.

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So then the grace of God through which man is sanctified is seen as created energy.  But given this, one cannot be sanctified.

While this may sound harsh, it's a legitimate critique of the Latin teaching.  While it's hard to say just what exactly constitues Roman Catholic teaching in our times (it seems that it can be whatever one wants it to be - whether it be Protestantized Charismaticism, "Orthodox in Communion with Rome" Uniatism, Tridentine "Traditionalism", etc.), up until relatively recently it was certainly the consensus of the "theologians" in the RCC that grace is a created relationship, a created thing.  It existed (in this teaching) in two forms - habitually, and actually.  The "habit" of grace (sanctifying grace) being a stable condition of the soul, which could increase with the practice of virtue (though lost by "mortal sin"), and "actual graces" being the helps God is said to give souls to "do the right thing."

It's interesting to note that this teaching on grace, besides making it hard to see just how it results in a real contact with the Divinity (it would seem to teach that this only occurs "virtually"), also reduces grace to a relationship solely between God and human beings.  The Orthodox teaching, otoh clearly shows that God's benevolence extends to all things - not simply men and angels, but even the animals and the world of inanimate creatures.

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From this basic doctrine proceeds the teaching concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son, the cleansing fire, the primacy of the Pope, etc.

I don't think the author spends enough time demonstrating why this is.  I happen to agree with him - there is definately a relationship between this, errant filioquism, and later RC errors/aggrandizements/exagerations.

Quote
--the utilization of unleavened bread in the Divine Eucharist which transgresses the manner with which Christ accomplished the Mystical Supper,

And most importantly (at least it whould be for Roman Catholics themselves) was a relatively late innovation which contradicted the Latin's own ancient custom (which was similar to that of the rest of the Catholic Church, in using leavened bread in the Eucharist.)

Quote
--the consecration of the “precious Gifts” which takes place not with the epiclesis, but rather with the proclamation of Christ’s words of institution, “Take, eat . . . drink of it, all of you . . .,”

While it is true that at one time there was an explicit epiclesis in the Roman liturgy, this fell into disuse centuries before the final schism between the Latins and the Eastern Churches.   That is not necessarily a defence of this; I do agree it is an abbheration since there are many Fathers who clearly attribute the transmutation of the Holy Gifts to the invocation of the Holy Spirit.  However it is one which either the Easterners were largely unaware of for quite some time, or one which did not bother them THAT much early on.

Perhaps what might soften this lack of an explicit epiclesis, is that even in the Tridentine ritual of the 20th century, there was an implicit "epiclesis" type prayer before the "words of institution" (protoclesis?) were read, in the Offertory before the Canon.  However, even acknowledging this it is clearly the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that not only does the actual transformation of the gifts take place during the "words of institution", but that it is the words themselves that constitute the essential "form" of the Eucharist (that which makes transubstantiation occur.)

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--the view that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross satisfied the Divine justice, which presents God the Father as a feudal lord and which overlooks the resurrection,

While there are definatly troubling exagerations in popular RC piety regarding the "wrath of God" and it's satisfaction, I suppose I am one of those troubled by what Fr.Seraphim Rose (of blessed memory) and those like minded with him called "stavroclasm" - the de-emphasizing, or even negation of the place of the Holy Sacrifice of Christ Crucified, in the economy of salvation.  While I do not accuse His Eminence of this, in my experience over the top critiques of the RCC's actual dogmatic teaching on the Cross and it's value seem to go hand in hand with shades of this real (though often very subtle/academic) error.

Christ took upon Himself the sins of the entire world - He received in Himself the guilt of all men.  The books of the New Testament (including the Holy Gospels themselves) are so replete with this teaching, that it really should not be THAT controversial.

Unfortunately, this stavroclasm (or shades of it) has become quite popular amongst two otherwise completely opposed camps - hard core "traditionalist" Orthodox, and theological liberals!

Connected to this, is great discomfort with the idea that God can be "wrathful", and even punish mankind.  While obviously His wrath is just, and always informed with the desire to make men turn to Him with repentence (thus it is filled simultaneously with great mercy, and not a passionate/vindictive desire to torment His enemies as sinners are prone to do), it is very real, and we should tremble at the thought of it.  As odd as it may sound, I actually had (to illustrate the point I made about this "stavroclasm" uniting both "traditionalists" and "modernists") one heiromonk, who was part of a church which was practically in communion with no one else in the world, tell me that God does not punish people!  Of course, I knew something was amiss (having read enough of the Bible myself, and reflecting on my own personal experience, which is replete with undeniable cases of being spanked, and some hard, by the hand of my Maker.)

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 --the view about the “merits” of Christ which the Pope dispenses, along with the “superabundant” grace of the saints,

Yup, an indefensible innovation.

Quote
--the alienation and segmentation placed between the mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation, and the Divine Eucharist,

While this began under easily understood circumstances, it's growth into a "norm", in which you have un-Chrismated persons receiving the Holy Gifts, is inexcusable.

Quote
--the doctrine concerning the inheritance of guilt from the ancestral sin,

While St.Augustine taught something like this in His speculative teachings, the above is hardly the teaching of the RCC.

In the catechisms (both old and new) of the RCC that I've read, "original sin" is described as being only a sin, in so far as there is a privation of grace.  In RC teaching, children are not born in the state of grace.  This must be acquired by supernatural charity, which in extraordinary cases can be received in various ways, but ordinarily is only received in Baptism (as an infused virtue/potential).   If one is not in the "state of grace", then they are in the state of sin, they remain unjustified.  Given that this is how men are born, and this is a result of Adam's sin, it is called "original sin", and this is why (and the only way) it's a "sin".  In fact the RC catechetical works I've read are very clear in saying that this sin (and only this sin) does not involve any personal guilt on the part of the one who bears it.

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--the liturgical innovations in all of the mysteries of the Church (Baptism, Chrismation, Ordination, Confession, Marriage, Anointing),

While some of the modern changes in these rites (in theory) are a move in the right direction (not limiting the anointing of the sick to only the dying, which used to be RC practice, hence "extreme unction"...confirming adult converts at least at the same time they're baptized, allowing for concelebrations of the clergy at Mass, etc.), the reality is that for the most part they've become even less "Orthodox" in spirit and rite than they ever were.  Frankly, most RC Masses are hard to discern from Lutheran services.

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--the practice of not communing the laity in the “Blood” of Christ,

This has officially changed, and it's common to see communion under "both kinds" in RC parishes - however, it is also very common to see communion under "one kind" still.

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--the non-existence of concelebration in the praxis of worship services,

This used to be true.  In the Tridentine ritual, the only concelebrations which occured (as far as I know) were at the consecrations of bishops, and even these were from what I remember quite awkward.

However, now concelebration of the eucharist is very common.  In many places it's become the "easy" way for RC priests to satisfy their obligation to say their daily Mass.

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--the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Theotokos and the development of the worship of Mary (mariolatria), according to which the All-Holy Virgin is elevated to Triune Deity and even becomes a concept leading to a Holy Quaternity (!),

An exageration on a dogmatic level, though seeing some RC popular piety I'm not sure if it's THAT far off on a popular level.  Certainly the teaching of our Lady as "co-Redemptrix" and "Mediatrix of All Graces", and the hard push in many RC conservative circles for these to be proclaimed official dogmas of the RCC, are exagerations in that direction.

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--the doctrine about absolute predestination,

Well, we are all predestined, according to God's foreknowledge (Romans chapter 8.)  This means that God has known from eternity where we will end up at the end of the day, what our spiritual condition will be when we die.  If it is hell, it will be because our ingratitude and malice - if Heaven, it will be because we responded favourably to God, Who loved us first (in other words, a salvation based upon a synergy, in which God is the dominant/primary partner.)

I think the author meant double predestination which is what the Calvinists teach (that God does not simply foreknow our choices and our fate, but makes it so that our end is irresistably imposed upon us, whether good or bad).  However as far as I know, the RCC does not teach this.  Strictly speaking, they regard John Calvin as a heretic.

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Pope Innocent IV (1198-1216) maintained the characteristic nature of these things in his enthronement speech, “He who has the bride has the bridegroom.  However the bride herself (the church) has not been coupled with empty hands, but brings therein an incomparably rich dowry, the fullness of spiritual goods and the expanses of the world’s things, the largesse and abundance of both. . . . Your contributions of the worldly things has given me the diadem, the mitre over the priesthood, the diadem for kingdom and it has established me as His representative (antiprosopo), in the garment and on the knee of which it is written: the King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Fr.Justin Popavitch (of blessed memory - many regard him as a Saint-Confessor of our age) rightly observed that within Papism is a latent humanism, even an implied atheism (not in theory, but in practice).  In a futile attempt to find rationalistic, human certainties, the Reign of God (perhaps a slightly more telling translation of the Biblical Greek that is commonly rendered "Kingdom of God") has been transformed into the Kingdom of Man.  The Reformation, "Enlightenment", Modernism, Post-Modernism, Nihilism, etc of the west were all natural progressions of the ruinous path taken by the Popes and their followers.

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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2004, 12:52:32 PM »

Many of these points seem exaggerated or otherwise based in the need for differentiation.

The basic distinction between the Orthodox Church and Papism is found in the doctrine concerning the uncreated nature and uncreated energy of God.  Whereas we Orthodox believe that God possesses an uncreated nature and uncreated energy and that God comes into communion with the creation and with man by means of His uncreated energy, the Papists believe that in God the uncreated nature is identified with His uncreated energy (acrus purus) and that God holds communion with the creation and with man through His created energies, even asserting that in God there exist also created energies.  So then the grace of God through which man is sanctified is seen as created energy.  But given this, one cannot be sanctified.

This seems to pop up from time to time, and I've already spoken about how I think the philosophical categories involved are archaic. But there's another point to be made: I don't see any need to have an opinion on this matter. Taken apart, this is nothing more than a philosophical speculation about the nature of grace. But it has no effect on grace, which we cannot change by philosophizing about it.

Furthermore, the claim that

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From this basic doctrine proceeds the teaching concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son, the cleansing fire, the primacy of the Pope, etc.

is an after-the-fact rationalization. I don't agree with any of this. Papal primacy is, after all, a political claim, so one should first expect a political origin-- and I do. There's no reason to believe a priori that the differences between East and West derive logically from a single philosophical principle; it is more reasonable-- and I think more consonant with the development of the differences-- to attribute differences to mutual isolation, political tensions, and unrelated differences.

Going on to the specific differences (and omitting those where I see no dispute that there are differences):

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   --the utilization of unleavened bread in the Divine Eucharist which transgresses the manner with which Christ accomplished the Mystical Supper,

This is praxis, not theology.

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   --the consecration of the “precious Gifts” which takes place not with the epiclesis, but rather with the proclamation of Christ’s words of institution, “Take, eat . . . drink of it, all of you . . .,”

More irrelevant theorizing. The consecration occurs when it occurs, not when someone thinks it occurs.

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   --the view that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross satisfied the Divine justice, which presents God the Father as a feudal lord and which overlooks the resurrection,

An oversimplification of the Western view.

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   --the alienation and segmentation placed between the mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation, and the Divine Eucharist,

More praxis.

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   --the doctrine concerning the inheritance of guilt from the ancestral sin,

Another place where the philosophical language has shifted. Anglicans, for instance, would not tend to talk about "guilt" in this way these days.

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   --the liturgical innovations in all of the mysteries of the Church (Baptism, Chrismation, Ordination, Confession, Marriage, Anointing),

The most distinctive parts of Eastern liturgical practice, to Western eyes, are also innovations, so I don't think so. Innovation in liturgy isn't necessarily bad.

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   --the practice of not communing the laity in the “Blood” of Christ,

A dated comment.

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   --the non-existence of concelebration in the praxis of worship services,

Another dated comment.

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   --the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Theotokos and the development of the worship of Mary (mariolatria), according to which the All-Holy Virgin is elevated to Triune Deity and even becomes a concept leading to a Holy Quaternity (!),

An exaggeration with a kernel of truth in it; but to Protestant eyes, some of the same tendencies are seen in the East.

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   --the views of analogia entis (analogy of being) and analogia fidei (analogy of faith) which hold sway in the West,

I have no idea what he's talking about, so I'm going to say that this is nonsense.

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   --the unceasing progress of the Church in the discovery of the recesses of revelatory truth,

Again, another issue of comparative exaggeration, where Protestants will criticize the East or doing the same thing but to a lesser extent.

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   --the doctrine about absolute predestination,

IF we're talking double predestination: wrong church. SIngle predestination: it's right there in St. Paul, so I don't see how it can be denied.

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   --the concept concerning the single methodology for the knowledge of God and of creatures, which leads to a blending of theology and epistemology.

It's fanciful to assert that those in the East don't do the same thing. You can't do theology without doing epistemology.


It's too easy to fall into untruth in this emphasis on differentiation. I could go on at length about the similarities between Rome and Constantinople as contrasted with (say) Geneva. But it's a treacherous place to go.
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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2004, 05:40:45 PM »

Ben, which ones would that be?

Shiloah

Ummm that Catholics believe in absolute Predestination and that Catholicism worships Mary.
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2004, 10:20:54 AM »

Keble,

I happen to agree with you (as can be seen) that the article is flawed; not in it's articulation of Orthodoxy obviously, but it's perception of Roman Catholicism.

re: azymes
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This is praxis, not theology.

Yes, but the two enjoy a relationship which makes meddling with the former without good cause anathema to the Orthodox consciousness - and I think many Orthodox would say that it was the loss of this abbhorence for needless modification which contributed to the west's increasing alienation not only from the Christian East, but more importantly, it's own ecclesial traditions and doctrinal life.

With that said, we know that at one time the Latins (like Orthodox Christians to this day) used leavened bread in their Mass.  It's a change whose rational I cannot fathom.

Whether or not it is a 'deal breaker' in the case of a real union attempt is hard to say; however it did seem important enough to any number of Eastern heirarchs and saints to make a stink over, particularly given the tradition that Christ Himself intentionally used leavened bread during the Last Supper when instituting this holy mystery.

re:epiclesis
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More irrelevant theorizing. The consecration occurs when it occurs, not when someone thinks it occurs.

Given that the Fathers who did address this topic attribute the transubstantiation of the Gifts to the epiclesis (saw this yet again just recently while reading St.John Chrysostomos' Six Books on the Priesthood), I see no reason to assent to what is clearly an abbheration on the part of the Latins.

re: Dogma of Redemption (in particular the Cross)
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An oversimplification of the Western view.

I agree, but more for it's potential misrepresentation of Orthodox teaching on this subject.  The important distinction between Orthodox and Roman Catholic teaching on the Redemption is the Anslemnian theory subsequently assumed into the RC dogmatic consciousness, which even many western scholars now admit was new in it's time.  However, I'm not going to crow too much at the RC's on this subject, since in the present age there is alot of confusion on this subject amongst Orthodox themselves, which is a travesty.

re: Baptism, Confirmation/Chrismation, First Communion and their order
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More praxis.

I have to disagree - particularly when the origin of the Latin practice is clearly yet another abbheration created by strange circumstances.  Chrismation is the completion of Baptism - both the sealing of the Holy Spirit, and an ecclesial confirmation of the Baptism itself, by the Episcopate.   Admitting someone to the Chalice prior to this harms the logic of the sacrament itself.

re: Original Sin, guilt, etc.
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Another place where the philosophical language has shifted. Anglicans, for instance, would not tend to talk about "guilt" in this way these days.

I think this is a misleading criticism as well, on two levels.  First, it misrepresents the confessed view of the RCC, which goes out of it's way to say that there is no personal guilt involved in the transmission of original sin.  Secondly, frequent expression of this overstated critique has created a false view amongst some Orthodox which comes close to vindicating Pelagius.  While we are not personally guilty of Adam's sin, we are certainly born into the condition of sin by being the issue of Adam.

The local Synod of Carthage (252 A.D.) which was presided over by St.Cyprian stated the following...

Not to forbid (the baptism) of an infant who, scarcely born, has sinned in nothing apart from that which proceeds from the flesh of Adam.  He has received the contagion of the ancient death through his very birth, and he comes, therefore, the more easily to the reception of the remission of sins in that it is not his own but the sins of another that are remitted."

Canon 110 of the African Code (which was approved by 217 Bishops in Carthage in 419 A.D., and later ratified by the Council in Trullo in 692 and later still by the Seventh Oecumenical Council in 787) says...

On account of this rule of faith even infants, who could have committed as yet no sin themselves, therefore are truly baptized for the remission of sins, in order that what in them is the result of generation may be cleansed by regeneration

In other words, something bad really is translated to us, by virtue of being Adam's descendents - it is not simply a case of "moral cooties" (being born into a rotten social environment which tempts us to sin).

While not a personal sin, this contagion is displeasing in the sight of God, and must be cleansed before admission into the Kingdom of God is possible - and this is accomplished by the work of Christ, subjectively applied to souls in the Mystery of Baptism.

re: sacramental innovation in general
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The most distinctive parts of Eastern liturgical practice, to Western eyes, are also innovations, so I don't think so. Innovation in liturgy isn't necessarily bad.

You're right that change isn't necessarily bad - and this is why Orthodoxy has a problem with certain changes the Latins implimented both before and after the schism.  Just a couple of examples of what I mean...

Baptism - what was once an economic practice reserved for emergencies (Baptism by pouring) became the norm amongst the Latins after the schism; a practice which undermines the full symbolism found only in the older practice of triple immersion (still practiced by the Orthodox.)

Unction - Though this has now changed, for centuries the Latins turned this into "extreme unction", and only provided it for those perceived to be on their deathbed.  This goes against the express teaching of St.James, and the practice of the "undivided Church".

re: theology via "analogy of being"
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I have no idea what he's talking about, so I'm going to say that this is nonsense.

Then perhaps it's a bit rash to say it's a nonsensical critique?

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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2004, 12:45:57 PM »

Augustine,

re:azymes

There is no conclusive proof that the Latins originally used leavened bread.  Nor do I think one can assert unequivocally that Christ used leavened bread.  In fact I would tend to agree with those who say Christ celebrated the Essene calendar Passover, and if the Last Supper was in the context of the Passover meal I find it hard to believe Christ would have used anything but azymes.  That said I also believe after the Last Supper leavened bread was used as that is what would have been available.  The Latins used unleavened bread for a long time before the Byzantien Church complained about it.  And remember the Armenians also use unleavened bread and Ethiopians do so on Holy Thursday.

re: epiclesis

The Roman Canon never contained an explicit descending epiclesis like the Byzanitne Liturgy:
"Again we offer to You this spiritual and unbloody sacrifice, and we implore and pray, and entreat You, send down Your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts here present. + And make this bread   the precious body of Your Christ.  + And that which is in this chalice, the precious blood of your Christ. + Having changed them by Your Holy Spirit; so that to those who partake of them, they may be for the purification of the soul, for the remission of sins, for the communion in Your Holy Spirit, for the fullness of the heavenly kingdom, for confidence in You, not for judgment or condemnation."  

It does contain an implicit ascending epiclesis:
"Humbly we beseech Thee, almighty God, to command that these our offerings be carried by the hands of Thy holy Angel to Thine Altar on high, in the sight of Thy divine Majesty, so that those of us who shall receive the most sacred Body + and Blood + of Thy Son by partaking thereof from this Altar may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing: Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen."

This is acknowledgede by no greater a liturgical expert than St. Nicholas Cabasilas himself.  Also manuscripts of the Liturgy of St. Peter (Roman Canon inserted into Chrysosotom framework) found on Mt. Athos do not include the Byzantine Epiclesis the Orthodox currently insert into the Roman Mass for their Western Rite.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2004, 04:47:06 PM »

re: azymes

Yes, but the two enjoy a relationship which makes meddling with the former without good cause anathema to the Orthodox consciousness - and I think many Orthodox would say that it was the loss of this abbhorence for needless modification which contributed to the west's increasing alienation not only from the Christian East, but more importantly, it's own ecclesial traditions and doctrinal life.

Well, the reason for using unleavened bread in the West is pretty obvious. I haven't done a survey of Eastern sources who insist that the bread is to be leavened (the two I looked up quickly don't offer an opinion), but I'm betting that it's for the typical reason of supressing the Judaicizers. At this late date, that has ceased to be an issue. In any case, neither of these is a hard theological reason; both are "ought"s which depend on their historical context for their justification.

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re:epiclesis

Given that the Fathers who did address this topic attribute the transubstantiation of the Gifts to the epiclesis (saw this yet again just recently while reading St.John Chrysostomos' Six Books on the Priesthood), I see no reason to assent to what is clearly an abbheration on the part of the Latins.

The issue isn't agreement; the issue is whether you need to have an opinion in the first place.

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re: theology via "analogy of being"

Then perhaps it's a bit rash to say it's a nonsensical critique?

Well, I'm a Westerner, so if someone says I hold to something which I've never heard of, I'll certainly say, "nonsense."
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