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Author Topic: Is this the biggest obstacle to unity?  (Read 13315 times) Average Rating: 0
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SL4God
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« on: June 23, 2004, 08:33:49 PM »

Are the Catholic and Orthodox disagreements in soteriology the biggest impediment to unity?  It seems like the Augustinianism/Thomism of the West is vastly different than the grace/free will paradigm established in the East.  Anyone's thoughts on this...?
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2004, 12:01:54 PM »

Are the Catholic and Orthodox disagreements in soteriology the biggest impediment to unity?  It seems like the Augustinianism/Thomism of the West is vastly different than the grace/free will paradigm established in the East.  Anyone's thoughts on this...?

In my opinion the greatest obstacle to unity is sin.  The apostles are still arguing about who is the greatest.  The philosophical disputes are more often misunderstandings than not, and are, frankly, a cover for the pride and arrogance of men which keeps us separated.
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2004, 08:25:25 PM »

Sure, I agree that pride is an obstacle because when it comes to doctrinal issues one side will ultimately have to admit that it was incorrect, and that will require a great degree of humility and spiritual maturity.
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2004, 08:30:47 PM »

Sure, I agree that pride is an obstacle because when it comes to doctrinal issues one side will ultimately have to admit that it was incorrect, and that will require a great degree of humility and spiritual maturity.  

Actually, to the extent that the Spirit is speaking to the Church, the disagreements are not real, in my opinion.  The actual disagreements don't require separation.  Imagine how Jesus would respond if his disciples tried to split into three camps over the proper way to describe metaphysical realities.
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2004, 02:06:35 PM »

Hmmm...that's interesting.  So do you think that both sides are saying basically the same thing but with different terminology, or that these ideas fall under the rubric of thelogoumena and should not be something dogmatic that causes a rift in the faith?
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2004, 02:20:27 PM »

Hmmm...that's interesting.  So do you think that both sides are saying basically the same thing but with different terminology, or that these ideas fall under the rubric of thelogoumena and should not be something dogmatic that causes a rift in the faith?

I'm saying that everybody's wrong.  The first side to admit it wins.
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2004, 01:25:22 PM »

Then who should the seeker turn to for correctness and orthodoxy?
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2004, 01:46:15 PM »

I'm saying that everybody's wrong.  The first side to admit it wins.

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SL4GOD: Then who should the seeker turn to for correctness and orthodoxy?

Indeed: if no one is right out there in religionland, God's left us to be orphans.  We never will be able to know all truth confidently, as there's always a chance it could be wrong, or left to another "sister communion" to fill in our blank.

Doesn't sound like Christ's promise to us.
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2004, 10:26:17 PM »

Indeed: if no one is right out there in religionland, God's left us to be orphans.  We never will be able to know all truth confidently, as there's always a chance it could be wrong, or left to another "sister communion" to fill in our blank.

Doesn't sound like Christ's promise to us.

I should have known I would be taken literally.

Let me try to express myself in prose so as not to create greater confusion.  My point is that we are judged on the revelation that we have.  To he who is given much, more will be expected.  In this particular forum we see ongoing debates between Catholics and Orthodox as to who's right.  Very few participants, if any, are convinced.  Both would maintain that they are the ones who are given much.

Very well, then; let us all take on the role of those of whom much is expected.  Since the other guys are the ones of whom less is expected, we are the ones that are required to reach out to them.  Now since our continued separation is against the expressed will of God, it is for us, the ones of whom more is expected, to do everything we possibly can to bring about unity.

It is important to point out that being right isn't good enough.  In St. John's vision he saw the dead small and great stand before God, and the books were opened, and the dead were judged according to their works.  Do you believe in one God?  Even the demons believe and tremble.
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2004, 05:23:40 AM »

The short answer to the continued separation (and I say it in all charity) is this:  REAL DOGMATIC DIFFERENCES still separate us.  While some amount of pride, arrogance and hubris on both sides is certainly to blame, a frustrating thing for the Orthodox is to be told continually by Roman Catholics that "there are no dogmatic differences" and that "we all believe the same thing."  The honest answer is: we don't.  We have REAL DIFFERENCES.  We need to be honest, charitable, forthright, and clear about this.  For union to come between us, either Rome or Orthodoxy would have to change some of its dogmas.  And since neither side in all honesty can do that with a good conscience (because each side in all sincerity believes it is truly right) we are stuck where we are at present.

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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2004, 05:26:52 PM »

The short answer to the continued separation (and I say it in all charity) is this:  REAL DOGMATIC DIFFERENCES still separate us.  While some amount of pride, arrogance and hubris on both sides is certainly to blame, a frustrating thing for the Orthodox is to be told continually by Roman Catholics that "there are no dogmatic differences" and that "we all believe the same thing."  The honest answer is: we don't.  We have REAL DIFFERENCES.  We need to be honest, charitable, forthright, and clear about this.  For union to come between us, either Rome or Orthodoxy would have to change some of its dogmas.  And since neither side in all honesty can do that with a good conscience (because each side in all sincerity believes it is truly right) we are stuck where we are at present.



Nobody's saying that there aren't differences.  The question is whether the differences are such to justify separation.  If we want to remain separated there are no end to the excuses.  But at the end of the day, we're not going to be making these excuses to each other.

The young woman who won't marry until she finds someone who looks like Richard Gere, is as intelligent as Einstein, strong as Vitaly Klitchko, rich as Bill Gates, and as good with children as Mr. Rogers is likely to remain unmarried.
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2004, 08:03:34 PM »

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Are the Catholic and Orthodox disagreements in soteriology the biggest impediment to unity?  It seems like the Augustinianism/Thomism of the West is vastly different than the grace/free will paradigm established in the East.  Anyone's thoughts on this...?

I think there are important differences, but some have been overblown by a very well hidden modernism in some Orthodox circles, which often hides behind the veil of being a "return to the fathers".  Interestingly enough, this modernism (stavroclasm) is subscribed to by those who would be described as being both the "extreme right" and "extreme left" of the Orthodox milieu (since I've seen both extreme Old Calendarists and those coming from very ecumenical/modernized Orthodox backgrounds articulating positions like this.)

What is legitimatly different in the RC and Orthodox understandings, is that the Roman Catholics have historically reduced penances to a purely legalistic phenomenon; the purifying, ascetical element of them (which is actually their primary end) has been all but forgotten.  This idea of penance, combined with the pretensions of the Popes, is what resulted in the heretical teaching of "indulgences."

Another difference is the incompleteness of the RC teaching on the redemption, more so than it's abject wrongheadedness.  It is true that Christ, as Priest and Victim, offered Himself for the sins of the world - that He took our guilt upon Himself, in the supreme expression of both the perfect justice and mercy of God.  The Roman Catholics have historically been keenly aware of this truth.

What is lacking however, is much of a consciousness of the sanctifying work of the rest of Christ's life.  According to the Holy Fathers, the entire life of Christ was a sanctification of human nature, the healing of it's afflictions.  Orthodoxy believes, for example, that water has the ability to confer the grace of regeneration, precisely because Christ was baptized in them - His Baptism in water gave them the ability to save our souls (thus while we receive from Baptism, He gave in His consenting to be Baptized.)

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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2004, 12:56:54 AM »

Nobody's saying that there aren't differences.  The question is whether the differences are such to justify separation.

A question then, if you don't mind: What would you suggest we do in regards to unity?  Some sort of "middle ground" compromise?  Or would one side have to "cave in" to the other?

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The young woman who won't marry until she finds someone who looks like Richard Gere, is as intelligent as Einstein, strong as Vitaly Klitchko, rich as Bill Gates, and as good with children as Mr. Rogers is likely to remain unmarried.

So she is to settle for someone who is totally wrong for her?  You say that "our continued separation is against the expressed will of God, [so] it is for us, the ones of whom more is expected, to do everything we possibly can to bring about unity."  Would this then include unity at the expense of sound doctrine if the "weaker" side, i.e., "they," were in need of such a concession due to their "weakness"?
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2004, 09:45:50 AM »

Pedro,

It depends what the concession is.  For hundreds of years Augustinian theology and the filioque were used in the West and the East did not see a need for breaking communion with them.  Why should it be continually held up as a barrier to union now?

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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2004, 12:18:57 PM »

Fr. Deacon Lance,
I would agree that East and West were able to exist with their differences in a kind of tension for a long time-However, the Schism broke that Theological tension. and the differences have become much more profound over the past 1000 years. (I heard a writer outside the church once causitically remark that the East lost its brain and the West lost its heart).

In my personal opinion, modernism and theological liberalism in the Western Church is the most profound obstacle to unity.  Without this issue east/west relation might be closer to what The EO/OO consultations have achieved. (In spite of what some posters on this site think about THAT issue)
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« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2004, 11:36:24 PM »

A question then, if you don't mind: What would you suggest we do in regards to unity?  Some sort of "middle ground" compromise?  Or would one side have to "cave in" to the other?So she is to settle for someone who is totally wrong for her?  You say that "our continued separation is against the expressed will of God, [so] it is for us, the ones of whom more is expected, to do everything we possibly can to bring about unity."  Would this then include unity at the expense of sound doctrine if the "weaker" side, i.e., "they," were in need of such a concession due to their "weakness"?


I don't mind at all.  I use the language of more being expected from those who have more because both sides will see themselves in that position.  The truth is, Pedro, I'm trying eveything I can to convey the point that our differences are not an excuse for our refusing communion with one another.  Yes, there are differences.  In some area concessions can be made; for example, I'm all for dropping the filioque (I'm Catholic, by the way).  In other areas concessions will be more difficult.

But it's not a question of making concessions.  I make two points.  The first is that our differences do not provide sufficient grounds for refusing to have communion with one another.  The second is that discussions regarding the reunion of the Catholics and the Orthodox usually put the cart before the horse.  Everyone is saying agreement first, then reunion.  That is a method that is doomed to failure.  The reason is that we deprive ourselves of each others' spiritual treasures while we remain separated.  I say reunion first, then agreement will come on its own.  I say that because I believe in the Holy Spirit.

Meanwhile the elephant in the room is that our separation itself is wrong, is a sin.  Indeed it is the greatest sin, because it is a violation of Jesus' new commandment that we love one another.  That's how the world is supposed to know that we are his disciples; that we love one another.  The Master did not make his new commandment conditional on whether we agree with each other.
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« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2004, 12:01:12 AM »

The truth is, Pedro, I'm trying eveything I can to convey the point that our differences are not an excuse for our refusing communion with one another.

All right.  Thanks for commenting.  Would there ever be, in your opinion, "irreconcileable differences" in regards to different communions?

Quote
Yes, there are differences.  In some area concessions can be made; for example, I'm all for dropping the filioque (I'm Catholic, by the way).  In other areas concessions will be more difficult.

Why would concessions be difficult, do you think?

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...discussions regarding the reunion of the Catholics and the Orthodox usually put the cart before the horse.... I say reunion first, then agreement will come on its own.  I say that because I believe in the Holy Spirit.

This is a wonderful sentiment, and I agree that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is the ekklesia and liberty.  However, the God of that Spirit and that ekklesia is not a God of chaos, but of order; if there were things that people though were significant contradictions which were trying to coexist within the Church, this peace would not be realized.

Quote
That's how the world is supposed to know that we are his disciples; that we love one another.

I agree with our Lord, yet no less than the Apostle John himself -- called "the apostle of Love" by some -- made very strong statments about separation from those who did not hold to apostolic doctrine.  Love does not necessitate sacramental communion, though the latter is meant to be the highest manifestation of the former, the fruit of being united in Spirit and in Truth.  If we don't all "say the same thing," as St. Paul said, this highest unity is not among us...but I guess that's a matter for the few questions at the top of this post, huh?

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The Master did not make his new commandment conditional on whether we agree with each other.

I'm with you there; the genuineness of love, I do not think, is contingent on whether or not we agree.  On the contrary: I believe the greatest test of love is being so obedient to the Holy Spirit that one can be charitable and a servant to those with whom you strongly disagree...even to those who hate you.  While we are commanded to be thus to all men (and not only Christians), it does not therefore imply that we are to commune with them in the Lord's holy Supper.
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« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2004, 08:26:36 AM »

Jack,

Quote
I don't mind at all.  I use the language of more being expected from those who have more because both sides will see themselves in that position.  The truth is, Pedro, I'm trying eveything I can to convey the point that our differences are not an excuse for our refusing communion with one another.  Yes, there are differences.  In some area concessions can be made; for example, I'm all for dropping the filioque (I'm Catholic, by the way).  In other areas concessions will be more difficult.

It seems in our days doctrinal issues are not understood to be as serious as they were in the past.  Strictly speaking, that which divides the Orthodox from the non-Chalcedonians is much less than what separates the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.  Yet, even with the Non-Chalcedonians re-union is not yet a given; there are still things which need to happen for such a re-union to be God pleasing, and not result in further schisms.  Yet for many people these days, the difference between monphysitism/miaphysitism and the confession of the Orthodox Church is treated as if it were nothing - though it was obviously "something" as far as our Holy Fathers were concerned.

So many of the Christological controversies of the first millenium would now be looked at with perplexity by "Joe Modern."  Yet it was obviously the mind of the Church, and Christ, that these things do matter.

With that said, the downplaying of the differences between the Orthodox Church and Catholicism is a symptom of modern indifference to truth - "ideas" as such, don't seem to matter much, everything being reduced to the lowest common denominator.  This simply is not the mind of the Church of Christ; it's the mind of modernism, but not the Orthodox Church.

You say that you're all for dropping the filioque - yet doesn't your own church, in councils it numbers as "ecumenical", teach that the filioque is a matter of divine faith?  In other words, it cannot be "both ways"; either you're embracing Orthodoxy, or you're simply contemptuous of any sort of dogmatic authority existing within Christ's Church which conflicts with what you perceive to be most expedient.

Quote
But it's not a question of making concessions.  I make two points.  The first is that our differences do not provide sufficient grounds for refusing to have communion with one another.

According to the second Ecumenical Council (which completed the Symbol began at Nicea), any addition or subtraction from the Creed is forbidden.  Is this prohibition without any consequence?

Quote
Everyone is saying agreement first, then reunion.  That is a method that is doomed to failure.

Not necessarily - the major part of the Iconoclasts, Arians, etc. were reconciled to the Church, by way of repenting of their errors and confessing the catholic faith.  I do agree though, that it is highly doubtful that the RCC as a whole is ever going to neatly, and tidily repent and seek re-integration into the Orthodox Church...but given how things are becoming in the RCC, I would not be surprised if the stream of individual conversions from Catholicism eventually starts taking the form of mini corporate re-unions.

Quote
The reason is that we deprive ourselves of each others' spiritual treasures while we remain separated.

There are obviously things that are done right in the RCC - but the Orthodox Church already has these things.  Though poor, the truth is that the Orthodox Church has the most needful thing - the true confession.  Anything that was good about a Roman Catholic's life, will survive his Baptism into the Church.

Quote
Indeed it is the greatest sin, because it is a violation of Jesus' new commandment that we love one another.

Heresies are works of the devil.  How is it loving for me to want to see anyone labour under such a burden?

Quote
The Master did not make his new commandment conditional on whether we agree with each other.

Doctrine matters.  Truth matters - otherwise, there would be no martyrs, for martyrdom is anything but pragmatic.

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« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2004, 10:12:52 AM »

"Strictly speaking, that which divides the Orthodox from the non-Chalcedonians is much less than what separates the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches."

Really? A major Christological definition separates the Oriental Orthodox from the Eastern Orthodox.  On the other hand Eastern Orthodox and Catholics share the same Christology.  The differences between them, (Augustinian theology, Filioque, Purgatory) considering most were lived with for hundreds of years without breaking communion seem less to me.  Post-schism we have Papal Infallibility & Universal Jurisdiction and the Immaculate Conception but even these seem less serious then a difference over Christ.

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« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2004, 12:55:47 PM »

I pray that all I say here is taken with charity and mutual respect. OO/EO consultations have achieved a lot, but as previously mentioned are not there yet. I think this is only possible because the Copts and other OO's  retained  traditional piety that western modernism has undermined and made east west dialogue so fruitless. Pope Shenouda does not have  thousands of nuns in pantsuits who want to be priests or bishops.
In thinking about this, perhaps the whole Western idea of "Development of Doctrine" was the birthgiver of all modernism. Maybe filoque led  directly to all those angry nuns in pantsuits out to get Pope John Paul II??

As far as "depriving each other of Spiritual Treasures" I think this is a very insufficient reason for intercommunion. Western Chritians are free to partake of the Fathers, Icons, etc.  I like a lot of Catholic writers (Chesterton, Belloc Walker Percy)We are free to share these things now....If you carry this logic too far, The Catholic Church should offer communion (as its spiritual treasure) to Lutherans, Anglicans, etc, because there is "so little separating us" I would  note those protestant denominations that have "open commmunion" are also the ones who have sadly watered down  the basics of the faith to the greatest degree.
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« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2004, 12:01:25 AM »

All right.  Thanks for commenting.  Would there ever be, in your opinion, "irreconcileable differences" in regards to different communions?
Amongst apostolic communions, no, not legitimately.  The Spirit guides the Church into all truth.  A bishop here and there may become a heretic, but there is no legitimate basis for there being different "communions" among the apostolic churches at all.

Why would concessions be difficult, do you think?
I mean that in a completely human sense.  If the Holy Spirit was allowed to work this out, then the concessions wouldn't be concessions at all.  But men have pride, and often lack a sense of proportion.

This is a wonderful sentiment, and I agree that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is the ekklesia and liberty.  However, the God of that Spirit and that ekklesia is not a God of chaos, but of order; if there were things that people though were significant contradictions which were trying to coexist within the Church, this peace would not be realized.I agree with our Lord, yet no less than the Apostle John himself -- called "the apostle of Love" by some -- made very strong statments about separation from those who did not hold to apostolic doctrine.  Love does not necessitate sacramental communion, though the latter is meant to be the highest manifestation of the former, the fruit of being united in Spirit and in Truth.  If we don't all "say the same thing," as St. Paul said, this highest unity is not among us...but I guess that's a matter for the few questions at the top of this post, huh?I'm with you there; the genuineness of love, I do not think, is contingent on whether or not we agree.  On the contrary: I believe the greatest test of love is being so obedient to the Holy Spirit that one can be charitable and a servant to those with whom you strongly disagree...even to those who hate you.  While we are commanded to be thus to all men (and not only Christians), it does not therefore imply that we are to commune with them in the Lord's holy Supper.
Well, yes there should be order, but at some point common sense has to prevail.  If I insist that everyone agree with me on everything, I'm going to wind up a church of one.  Now I'm not talking about communion with adherents of Wicca, I'm talking about communion among all the apostolic churches.  And when Jesus said "Love one another," he was talking about love between the apostles; he wasn't talking about enemies at that point.
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« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2004, 12:15:11 AM »

Jack,It seems in our days doctrinal issues are not understood to be as serious as they were in the past.  Strictly speaking, that which divides the Orthodox from the non-Chalcedonians is much less than what separates the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.  Yet, even with the Non-Chalcedonians re-union is not yet a given; there are still things which need to happen for such a re-union to be God pleasing, and not result in further schisms.  Yet for many people these days, the difference between monphysitism/miaphysitism and the confession of the Orthodox Church is treated as if it were nothing - though it was obviously "something" as far as our Holy Fathers were concerned.

So many of the Christological controversies of the first millenium would now be looked at with perplexity by "Joe Modern."  Yet it was obviously the mind of the Church, and Christ, that these things do matter.

With that said, the downplaying of the differences between the Orthodox Church and Catholicism is a symptom of modern indifference to truth - "ideas" as such, don't seem to matter much, everything being reduced to the lowest common denominator.  This simply is not the mind of the Church of Christ; it's the mind of modernism, but not the Orthodox Church.

You say that you're all for dropping the filioque - yet doesn't your own church, in councils it numbers as "ecumenical", teach that the filioque is a matter of divine faith?  In other words, it cannot be "both ways"; either you're embracing Orthodoxy, or you're simply contemptuous of any sort of dogmatic authority existing within Christ's Church which conflicts with what you perceive to be most expedient.According to the second Ecumenical Council (which completed the Symbol began at Nicea), any addition or subtraction from the Creed is forbidden.  Is this prohibition without any consequence?Not necessarily - the major part of the Iconoclasts, Arians, etc. were reconciled to the Church, by way of repenting of their errors and confessing the catholic faith.  I do agree though, that it is highly doubtful that the RCC as a whole is ever going to neatly, and tidily repent and seek re-integration into the Orthodox Church...but given how things are becoming in the RCC, I would not be surprised if the stream of individual conversions from Catholicism eventually starts taking the form of mini corporate re-unions.There are obviously things that are done right in the RCC - but the Orthodox Church already has these things.  Though poor, the truth is that the Orthodox Church has the most needful thing - the true confession.  Anything that was good about a Roman Catholic's life, will survive his Baptism into the Church.Heresies are works of the devil.  How is it loving for me to want to see anyone labour under such a burden?Doctrine matters.  Truth matters - otherwise, there would be no martyrs, for martyrdom is anything but pragmatic.



It is not Catholic teaching that the Spirit proceeds from the Son in the same ultimate sense that he proceeds from the Father.  The filioque was added without a council to something that was decided on by a council.  A committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has suggested that the filioque be dropped.  So, I'm willing to drop it because it bothers the Orthodox, and it was a later addition, not because I'm willing to compromise truth.  And I'm certainly not contemptuous of dogmatic authority.  Indeed, I'm not contemptuous of Orthodox dogmatic authority.

You refer to the first millenium, and I say "amen" to that.  In the first millenium we were not divided.  It's true that some moderns treat truth as a relative thing.  That's not me.  Indeed, I maintain that communion between our churches is something that God commands.  That is the truth.
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« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2004, 12:17:57 AM »

I pray that all I say here is taken with charity and mutual respect. OO/EO consultations have achieved a lot, but as previously mentioned are not there yet. I think this is only possible because the Copts and other OO's  retained  traditional piety that western modernism has undermined and made east west dialogue so fruitless. Pope Shenouda does not have  thousands of nuns in pantsuits who want to be priests or bishops.
In thinking about this, perhaps the whole Western idea of "Development of Doctrine" was the birthgiver of all modernism. Maybe filoque led  directly to all those angry nuns in pantsuits out to get Pope John Paul II??

As far as "depriving each other of Spiritual Treasures" I think this is a very insufficient reason for intercommunion. Western Chritians are free to partake of the Fathers, Icons, etc.  I like a lot of Catholic writers (Chesterton, Belloc Walker Percy)We are free to share these things now....If you carry this logic too far, The Catholic Church should offer communion (as its spiritual treasure) to Lutherans, Anglicans, etc, because there is "so little separating us" I would  note those protestant denominations that have "open commmunion" are also the ones who have sadly watered down  the basics of the faith to the greatest degree.  

I'm only talking about communion amongst the apostolic churches.

There is no causal connection between the filioque and nuns in pantsuits.
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« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2004, 07:40:48 AM »

"I'm only talking about communion amongst the apostolic churches."

But the Anglicans and some Lutherans claim to be apostolic churches. from a pure historical vantage, there is some validity to these claims
 
"There is no causal connection between the filioque and nuns in pantsuits".

In your opinion, what was the causal factor in modernistic Catholicism and Western Christianity in general?
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« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2004, 08:17:04 AM »

Dcn. Lance,

Quote
Really? A major Christological definition separates the Oriental Orthodox from the Eastern Orthodox.

This is true, but it is becoming clear that many modern non-Chalcedonians (and at least most of the ones I have spoken to on this matter) materially hold to the faith of Chalcedon - though (unfortunately) because they tenaciously continue in the veneration of heretics anathematized by Ecumenical Councils, and refuse to formally subscribe to all of the Ecumenical Councils (Chalcedon in particular), even if mostly (materially) Orthodox in their beliefs, they at the very least remain in schism from the Orthodox Church.

On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church has not maintained Orthopraxis as the non-Chalcedonians have (if anything, they've been running from this at an even faster pace in recent decades, not moving closer - though this movement away began centuries ago.)  And while Roman Catholics officially/formally hold to many of the same dogmas as the Orthodox Church, they often do not understand them in the same sense as the Orthodox Church does - a sense which in most respects seems to be observed by the non-Chalcedonians.

Of course, there are also the important dogmatic differences which separate Roman Catholicism from Orthodoxy - these touch upon the realms of Triadology, soteriology, and ecclessiology.  Typically these differences are an issue of addition (by the RCC), not subtraction.  Filioquism, Indulgences, Papal Infallibility, etc. - these are heresies, as far as the Orthodox Church is concerned.  None of these are subscribed to by the non-Chalcedonians.

Quote
On the other hand Eastern Orthodox and Catholics share the same Christology.

As I said in the above, in theory yes - though due to corruptions in other areas (particularly soteriology and in the realm of praxis), even this has been adversly affected.

Quote
The differences between them, (Augustinian theology, Filioque, Purgatory) considering most were lived with for hundreds of years without breaking communion seem less to me.

If only it were so simple!  I'd like to think you're well aware that what we now consider the distinctively "western" approach to theological understanding ("Augustinianism", "Thomism", etc...though oddly enough, both of those are actually more "Augustinian" and "Thomistic" than their namesakes!), in the period prior to the schism (at least "Augustinian" theology, Thomism/Scholasticism being it's post-schism child) was something "on the grow" and did not characterize all of western Christendom before 1054.  It is precisely because it was a growing development, that it was not something that immediately stuck out to the rest of the Christian world until the last centuries of the first millenia.

However when these changes in western Christian thought did catch the notice of the East, they certainly did become big issues, to the point of the Orthodox East breaking communion with Rome and those who followed these new teachings.

Quote
Post-schism we have Papal Infallibility & Universal Jurisdiction and the Immaculate Conception but even these seem less serious then a difference over Christ.

It might seem that way on paper/theoretically, but in reality these have proven to be far more alienating in their fall out than errors of the originators of the Monophysite heresy-schism; and this is even more so today, when materially so many non-Chalcedonians actually espouse a "Chalcedonian" understanding of Christ (however stubbornly they still try to except themselves from formally accepting the Council of Chalcedon.)

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« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2004, 08:55:07 AM »

Spiros

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But the Anglicans and some Lutherans claim to be apostolic churches. from a pure historical vantage, there is some validity to these claims

Lord have mercy on me, what I am about to write is probably going to offend at least a few people, though this is not my intention.

Strictly speaking, "apostolic succession" is something that can only exist within the Church. for the perpetuation of the Priesthood and the Apostolic faith go hand in hand, and in turn diffuse the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church through sequential time, down through the ages to the present day.

It is true, that much of the form of this perpetuation of the Priesthood does exist outside of the Orthodox Church - the "laying on of hands".  It also needs to be said that the maintanance of this form is more scupulously observed by some churches than it is others (for example, it is strictly adhered to by the non-Chalcedonians and Roman Catholics; not so well by the Anglicans, and even less so by the Lutherans.)

According to the strict interpretation (or put more precisely, application, since the teaching itself is quite unambiguous) of the Canons and the dogma of "no salvation outside of the Church" (which is certainly an Orthodox doctrine), the interior reality of Apostolic Succession does not exist in schisms or heresies.

However, to be fair, I will qualify the above by saying that as a matter of fact the Church has recognized (in hindsight) situations which do not always fit neatly into the categories of the Holy Canons; for example there have definately been situations where two (later recognized by the universal conciousness of the Church) local Orthodox Churches have not been in communion with one another - no one would argue either was deprived of the grace of the holy mysteries.   This, combined with the possibilities of what the secret ministrations of our merciful God might do for those innocently labouring under the yoke of heretical/schismatical leaders (or otherwise alienated from the Church of Christ), give some grounds for a little agnosticism toward the invisible condition/destiny of those professed Christians who are not joined to the Orthodox Church.

Yet, even with those "irenic" qualifications/speculations in mind, we should take instruction from the fact that the Orthodox Church never receives converts from schisms/heresies in an unqualified manner.  Thus, when the Church has received certain classes of converts from heterodoxy in various ways (up to and including, in certain cases, receiving heterodox/schismatic clergy in their orders), it's always been understood that She is supplying/correcting by Her grace and authority whatever is deficient or lacking in the rites they received in their previous confession.

With this in mind, even the most lenient outreach to the heterodox is forced to recognize that save in the most formal/exterior way, no "Apostolic Succession" can be said to exist outside of the Church (since even the most optimistic hopes on our part, cannot claim to know as a matter of fact that the charisms/mysteries of the Church, exist amongst those who are ostensibly separated from the Church of Christ - particularly when this separation is not simply a matter of ecclessiastical politics, but extends to the realm of doctrine, the very way in which we love God with our mind.)

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« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2004, 10:37:09 AM »

Augustine,
No Offense.....So there is no mis-understanding, I agree 100% with your post. My comment about the Anglicans and Lutherans was soley in resposne a previous comment about "apostolic" churches. I feel that many RC's want to rush to intercommunion with Orthodoxy. My point is that If "historic apolisticity" is the criteria, it exists in other  western  churches.

Without offense to our faithful western friends, I believe that Filoque led to Papal infallibility which has led to Homosexual Marriage in Western Christianity. The central issue is the concept of "development of doctrine" which led to any and all modernism, which is not the "faith once delivered" Let the West first  put its house in order as the East is attempting with the OO/EO consultations.
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« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2004, 01:17:50 AM »

"I'm only talking about communion amongst the apostolic churches."

But the Anglicans and some Lutherans claim to be apostolic churches. from a pure historical vantage, there is some validity to these claims
 
"There is no causal connection between the filioque and nuns in pantsuits".

In your opinion, what was the causal factor in modernistic Catholicism and Western Christianity in general?


Orders is a sacrament.  In order for a sacrament to be validly conferred the one conferring same has to intend to do what the Church does.  In the case of the Anglicans that has not been the case.  I don't know enough about the Lutherans.

As to your second question my answer is: luxury.  Wealth and a persecution free environment has allowed the marginally committed to be members of the Church.
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« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2004, 01:37:31 AM »

SpirosLord have mercy on me, what I am about to write is probably going to offend at least a few people, though this is not my intention.

Strictly speaking, "apostolic succession" is something that can only exist within the Church. for the perpetuation of the Priesthood and the Apostolic faith go hand in hand, and in turn diffuse the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church through sequential time, down through the ages to the present day.

It is true, that much of the form of this perpetuation of the Priesthood does exist outside of the Orthodox Church - the "laying on of hands".  It also needs to be said that the maintanance of this form is more scupulously observed by some churches than it is others (for example, it is strictly adhered to by the non-Chalcedonians and Roman Catholics; not so well by the Anglicans, and even less so by the Lutherans.)

According to the strict interpretation (or put more precisely, application, since the teaching itself is quite unambiguous) of the Canons and the dogma of "no salvation outside of the Church" (which is certainly an Orthodox doctrine), the interior reality of Apostolic Succession does not exist in schisms or heresies.

However, to be fair, I will qualify the above by saying that as a matter of fact the Church has recognized (in hindsight) situations which do not always fit neatly into the categories of the Holy Canons; for example there have definately been situations where two (later recognized by the universal conciousness of the Church) local Orthodox Churches have not been in communion with one another - no one would argue either was deprived of the grace of the holy mysteries.   This, combined with the possibilities of what the secret ministrations of our merciful God might do for those innocently labouring under the yoke of heretical/schismatical leaders (or otherwise alienated from the Church of Christ), give some grounds for a little agnosticism toward the invisible condition/destiny of those professed Christians who are not joined to the Orthodox Church.

Yet, even with those "irenic" qualifications/speculations in mind, we should take instruction from the fact that the Orthodox Church never receives converts from schisms/heresies in an unqualified manner.  Thus, when the Church has received certain classes of converts from heterodoxy in various ways (up to and including, in certain cases, receiving heterodox/schismatic clergy in their orders), it's always been understood that She is supplying/correcting by Her grace and authority whatever is deficient or lacking in the rites they received in their previous confession.

With this in mind, even the most lenient outreach to the heterodox is forced to recognize that save in the most formal/exterior way, no "Apostolic Succession" can be said to exist outside of the Church (since even the most optimistic hopes on our part, cannot claim to know as a matter of fact that the charisms/mysteries of the Church, exist amongst those who are ostensibly separated from the Church of Christ - particularly when this separation is not simply a matter of ecclessiastical politics, but extends to the realm of doctrine, the very way in which we love God with our mind.)



Count me among the unoffended, Augustine.  And actually you've hit upon a real difference in understanding between the Orthodox and the Catholics.  We Catholics do not believe that the validity of a sacrament depends upon the sanctity of the minister.  This is because God, being reasonable and merciful, allows us to approach him through visible realities.  The Incarnation was the ultimate sacrament, though, of course, in that case the sanctity of the minister is beyond question.  But it's not so easy to discern in other cases.  So if the sanctity of the minister were pertinent to the sacrament, one would always have to wonder if he was receiving a valid sacrament.  Indeed, in the case of orders, one would have to wonder if his priest, although righteous himself, was validly ordained, since an unrighteous heretic of a bishop might have broken the succession five generations ago.
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« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2004, 01:47:14 AM »

Augustine,
No Offense.....So there is no mis-understanding, I agree 100% with your post. My comment about the Anglicans and Lutherans was soley in resposne a previous comment about "apostolic" churches. I feel that many RC's want to rush to intercommunion with Orthodoxy. My point is that If "historic apolisticity" is the criteria, it exists in other  western  churches.

Without offense to our faithful western friends, I believe that Filoque led to Papal infallibility which has led to Homosexual Marriage in Western Christianity. The central issue is the concept of "development of doctrine" which led to any and all modernism, which is not the "faith once delivered" Let the West first  put its house in order as the East is attempting with the OO/EO consultations.

In the Catholic Church the idea of the development of doctrine does not entail changing it.  The Church is not authorized to tamper with the deposit of faith.  That's why the Catholic Church does not allow homosexual marriage, and never will.

We do need to put our house in order, and probably always will until the second coming.  But I'm sure you wouldn't assert that the Eastern Churches always do everything perfectly.  We're all sinners who need Christ, and, I hasten to add, we need each other.
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« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2004, 12:26:47 PM »

  Hi,
       i think your on to something with augustinian vs uncreated grace - the uncreated grace notion is very obscure in the west.....but even these philosophical perceptions (thomism and logical categories vs eastern mysteries) would present as issues to be dialogued were not the papacy the primary obstacle.......the papacy represents man's inordinate dependence on human systems.....the idea that things would magically be resolved once under papal control is faulted, even 'magical' thinking in my opinion.......................joe
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« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2004, 12:28:46 PM »

"In the Catholic Church the idea of the development of doctrine does not entail changing it.  The Church is not authorized to tamper with the deposit of faith.  That's why the Catholic Church does not allow homosexual marriage, and never will".

problem is, we Orthodox believe that Filoque, papal infailbility, certain Thomistic excesses and other things are changes to the 'deposit of faith'  

"We're all sinners who need Christ, and, I hasten to add, we need each other".

People are important, and as you said, we are certainly not perfect. Helping one another and acting in a decent manner towards  one another does not require intercommmunion. From my vantage, the jurisdctional and calendar issues in my church are higher on the triage than talks with Rome. Why do you need us more than your legitimate children (ie. protestants)? Wouldn't it be easier to talk to them?


"As to your second question my answer is: luxury.  Wealth and a persecution free environment has allowed the marginally committed to be members of the Church."

There are plenty of marginal Orthodox. Some are rich. Orthodoxy has not been persecuted in Greece since 1821.
The problem in the West is really theological leadership committed to some sort of ongoing revelation/development of doctrine. Rome just has not proceeded as far down that path as some protestant groups.  

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« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2004, 12:31:03 PM »

Jdudan54,
I like your post. Good points,
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« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2004, 08:37:25 PM »

Count me among the unoffended, Augustine.  And actually you've hit upon a real difference in understanding between the Orthodox and the Catholics.  We Catholics do not believe that the validity of a sacrament depends upon the sanctity of the minister.  This is because God, being reasonable and merciful, allows us to approach him through visible realities.  The Incarnation was the ultimate sacrament, though, of course, in that case the sanctity of the minister is beyond question.  But it's not so easy to discern in other cases.  So if the sanctity of the minister were pertinent to the sacrament, one would always have to wonder if he was receiving a valid sacrament.  Indeed, in the case of orders, one would have to wonder if his priest, although righteous himself, was validly ordained, since an unrighteous heretic of a bishop might have broken the succession five generations ago.

Dear Jack,

I think Augustine's point was not about the sanctity of the minister, but of his status with regard to Christ's Church.  Orthodox don't think the sanctity of the minister has anything to do with the validity of a particular sacrament; however, his status (in the Church v. outside the Church) has a lot to do with it.
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« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2004, 09:32:15 PM »

Dear Jack,

I think Augustine's point was not about the sanctity of the minister, but of his status with regard to Christ's Church.  Orthodox don't think the sanctity of the minister has anything to do with the validity of a particular sacrament; however, his status (in the Church v. outside the Church) has a lot to do with it.  

Okay, then, help me to understand.  How does one tell if one is in the Church or outside of it, according to Orthodox understanding?
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« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2004, 09:42:02 PM »

"In the Catholic Church the idea of the development of doctrine does not entail changing it.  The Church is not authorized to tamper with the deposit of faith.  That's why the Catholic Church does not allow homosexual marriage, and never will".

problem is, we Orthodox believe that Filoque, papal infailbility, certain Thomistic excesses and other things are changes to the 'deposit of faith'  

"We're all sinners who need Christ, and, I hasten to add, we need each other".

People are important, and as you said, we are certainly not perfect. Helping one another and acting in a decent manner towards  one another does not require intercommmunion. From my vantage, the jurisdctional and calendar issues in my church are higher on the triage than talks with Rome. Why do you need us more than your legitimate children (ie. protestants)? Wouldn't it be easier to talk to them?
I don't know who would be easier to talk to.  It seems as though all non-Catholic Christian denominations define themselves, in part, in contradistinction to us.  But we do talk to the Protestants and seek common ground.  My question to you is this: why do you see talks with Rome as being unimportant?

"As to your second question my answer is: luxury.  Wealth and a persecution free environment has allowed the marginally committed to be members of the Church."

There are plenty of marginal Orthodox. Some are rich. Orthodoxy has not been persecuted in Greece since 1821.
The problem in the West is really theological leadership committed to some sort of ongoing revelation/development of doctrine. Rome just has not proceeded as far down that path as some protestant groups.  



Well, if there are marginal Orthodox, then you have some of the same issues that we do.  And don't say there aren't "liberals" amongst the Orthodox clergy, because I know that's not true.  So how is your situation better than ours in this regard?
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« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2004, 09:46:33 PM »

 Hi,
       i think your on to something with augustinian vs uncreated grace - the uncreated grace notion is very obscure in the west.....but even these philosophical perceptions (thomism and logical categories vs eastern mysteries) would present as issues to be dialogued were not the papacy the primary obstacle.......the papacy represents man's inordinate dependence on human systems.....the idea that things would magically be resolved once under papal control is faulted, even 'magical' thinking in my opinion.......................joe

But we Catholics maintain that the papacy is of divine institution.  I don't know what you mean by "under papal control," or what you say we think would "magically be resolved."
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« Reply #37 on: July 01, 2004, 11:37:00 PM »

I don't know who would be easier to talk to.  It seems as though all non-Catholic Christian denominations define themselves, in part, in contradistinction to us.  But we do talk to the Protestants and seek common ground.  My question to you is this: why do you see talks with Rome as being unimportant? Well, if there are marginal Orthodox, then you have some of the same issues that we do.  And don't say there aren't "liberals" amongst the Orthodox clergy, because I know that's not true.  So how is your situation better than ours in this regard?

Not unimportant, but not as important as Roman Catholics think.  From our POV, it is the RCC that has fallen away.  They should be trying to repent and come back to us.

As to if you are outside the Church or in?  Well, if you're in the Orthodox (right-believing) Church.  If you're not Orthodox, you don't believe (or practice) the right way.
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« Reply #38 on: July 02, 2004, 01:06:08 AM »


    Hi Jack,
        I know that Roman Catholics consider the papacy as divine as the incarnation. Having been R.Catholic for my first 37 years on earth, i suppose i'm schizmatic now, though my faith has increased.....But by papal control, i mean more than administrative efficiency. I mean the pretense to use that office of primacy as 'supremacy'.....hence all 'obstacles' to reunion are seen thru the lens of submission to the vatican. In other words, if you acknowledge the pope as vicar, then unity will mysteriously evolve, transforming such catastrophic differences as created (augustine) grace vs uncreated energy ( palamas, romanides). this is magical thinking..............................................peace, joe
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« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2004, 06:46:13 AM »

I also think the West's promoting the Synod of Orange to ecumenical council will have to be revoked.  When the West anathematized Cassian and Lerins as Semi-pelagians they also anathematized the entire East with them because the Eastern Churches rejected Augustine's teaching and followed Cassian's teaching.
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« Reply #40 on: July 02, 2004, 12:06:08 PM »

"Why do you see talks with Rome as being unimportant?"

Not unimportant, just less important to the life of the Orthodox church than many other issues. Orthodoxy is not incomplete without Rome, though Rome apprantly feels incomplete without Orthodoxy.

I also see the impossiblity of reunion without a widespread and miracalous changes in piety and approach within world Catholicism. If the Pope deleted the Filoque tomorrow it would not create Orthodox hearts among Catholic Clergy and people. Also, there is the issue of human sin and frailty. Most Old World Orthodox have immense fear of Catholicism, and not without reason.

As to our theological liberals, they are remarkably quiet, and are certainly not running the church. In Orthodoxy, a liberal priest is one without a beard and who may shorten the liturgy-big difference from a liberal Roman Catholic priest.
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« Reply #41 on: July 02, 2004, 12:37:04 PM »

 
     Spiros,
        Good points. It appears that the r. catholic view ( at least contemporary) fails to percieve Orthodoxy as a way of life. Hence, manuevering around issues i.e. the filioque, does not correspond to an internal change or disposition
         As for liberalism, the vatican 2 church is floating in it....and perhaps that is why there is a need to 'anchor' onto the ancient traditions that Orthodoxy affords....Rome certainly 'appears' to want or need that re-union in a hungry way.
                                                                                                          joe
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« Reply #42 on: July 02, 2004, 12:40:55 PM »

   
    SL4God,  
             Excellent historical point, which needs more recognition....joe
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« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2004, 01:01:38 PM »

Vatican II's decree on ecumenism, "Unitatis Redintegratio," better explains the Catholic Church's "irrevocable" commitment to Christian "unity."

Our perception of what constitutes the "Church" established by Christ is further explained in "Dominus Iesus" and in "Ut Unum Sint."

We believe we are the "Mother Church" and all other Christian Churches and ecclesial communities should be gathered together aorund the Catholic Church.

Comprising more than half of all Christendom, our own perception is grounded on reality.

On a related subject, what is your reaction to the common declaration of Pope John Paul II and EP Bartholomew made at the end of the latter's visit to Rome?

http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=56197

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« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2004, 03:03:48 PM »

“We believe we are the "Mother Church" and all other Christian Churches and ecclesial communities should be gathered together aorund the Catholic Church”

This makes reunion from an Orthodox vantage look like Florence II or a continuation of the Unia approach that created the various eastern Catholics.

”Comprising more than half of all Christendom, our own perception is grounded on reality”.

 This is a poor argument for the rightness of anything

"On a related subject, what is your reaction to the common declaration of Pope John Paul II and EP Bartholomew made at the end of the latter's visit to Rome?"

My Reactions:

 Gut level reaction-“is outrage”-then I thought about itGǪGǪGǪGǪGǪGǪGǪ.

The survival of the EP in the Phanar is precarious. HH BARTHOLOMEOS may need the power of the west, particularly since relations with the Moscow Patriarchate are so poor. I feel sorrow for him in his current situation, much like Moscow under the communists.

Roman Catholics do not understand that the EP is only a spiritual leader, not an administrative one. Orthodoxy precedes the EP. If the EP united with Catholicism tomorrow, maybe a third of his actual flock (diaspora Greeks, etc. might follow-likely less) None of the other churches would necessarily follow. All Bishops are equal. Orthodoxy lived among the monks and people when the Patriarchate was occupied by all kinds of heretics.  
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