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« on: August 30, 2011, 07:27:28 PM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?

-If many people together can be infallible, why not one person? Does this limit the Holy Spirit? Why/why not?


I've just been thinking, though I trend in many areas toward the Orthodox, I wonder it is hypocritical to accept concilliar infallibility due to the Holy Spirit, yet not accept the infallibility of the bishop-presiding-in-love, pope, or whatever scenario you choose. Does reflect upon our distrust in humanity or in the lack of trust in God?

I'm open to all opinions and instruction. Just thinking out loud.
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2011, 09:24:36 PM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?

-If many people together can be infallible, why not one person? Does this limit the Holy Spirit? Why/why not?


I've just been thinking, though I trend in many areas toward the Orthodox, I wonder it is hypocritical to accept concilliar infallibility due to the Holy Spirit, yet not accept the infallibility of the bishop-presiding-in-love, pope, or whatever scenario you choose. Does reflect upon our distrust in humanity or in the lack of trust in God?

I'm open to all opinions and instruction. Just thinking out loud.

Depends on whether Papal Infallibility is even pre-Schism. I don't see anything wrong with it in theory, though.
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2011, 12:32:23 AM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?

-If many people together can be infallible, why not one person? Does this limit the Holy Spirit? Why/why not?


I've just been thinking, though I trend in many areas toward the Orthodox, I wonder it is hypocritical to accept concilliar infallibility due to the Holy Spirit, yet not accept the infallibility of the bishop-presiding-in-love, pope, or whatever scenario you choose. Does reflect upon our distrust in humanity or in the lack of trust in God?

I'm open to all opinions and instruction. Just thinking out loud.

Depends on whether Papal Infallibility is even pre-Schism. I don't see anything wrong with it in theory, though.
Contemporary church historians argue there is not so much of a hint of papal infallibility in the first Christian millennium.

As Roman Catholic priest Father Hans Kung candidly admits:

"Historical research, notably that of Yves Congar, has shown that down to the twelfth century, outside Rome, the significance of the Roman church was not understood as a real teaching authority in the legal sense (magisterium)... No one in the whole of the first millennium regarded decisions of the pope as infallible." Fr. Hans Kung, The Catholic Church: A Short History (2001), p. 61.

Tierney, Origins of Papal Infallibility, 1150-1350: A Study on the Concepts of Infallibility, Sovereignty and Tradition in the Middle Ages affirms "There is no convincing evidence that papal infallibility formed any part of the theological or canonical tradition of the church before the thirteenth century; the doctrine was invented in the first place by a few dissident Franciscans because it suited their convenience to invent it; eventually, but only after much initial reluctance, it was accepted by the papacy because it suited the convenience of the popes to accept it" (p. 281).

Vatican I (convened by Pope Pius IX in 1868) claimed papal infallibility was the faith of the church all along - a judgment at obvious odds with what later became mainstream scholarly rejection -including rejection by major Roman Catholic scholars like Yves Congar (cf. also Bernhard Hasler, How the Pope Became Infallible: Pius IX and the Politics of Persuasion (trans. from the German addition in 1981; Hasler, a Catholic priest, should not be overlooked). Hans Kung's book Infallible? An Investigation is also very good. Fr. Kung, expert adviser at Vatican II, got into a bit of trouble for publishing that book, which explicitly repudiates papal infallibility.

Vatican I also anathamatized anyone who rejects papal infallibility. Some have suggested Aquinas's doctrine of "false testes" may come into play here -i.e. if the pope proclaimed a doctrine on the basis of having received false or misleading information.

A complete lack of historical evidence for papal infallibility in the first Christian millennium, of course, does  not rule out infallibility from a Roman Catholic perspective, however if the historical basis is utterly removed it would have to rest upon a more or less radical developmental model e.g. ala Hegelian dialectic; Newman's idea of development required at least some form of and Aristotelian "seed." Hegelian development is pretty much standard fare in the Documents of Vatican II, which, if memory serves, Pope John Paul descriptively/revealingly called "Newman's Council."

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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2011, 12:44:23 AM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?

-If many people together can be infallible, why not one person? Does this limit the Holy Spirit? Why/why not?


I've just been thinking, though I trend in many areas toward the Orthodox, I wonder it is hypocritical to accept concilliar infallibility due to the Holy Spirit, yet not accept the infallibility of the bishop-presiding-in-love, pope, or whatever scenario you choose. Does reflect upon our distrust in humanity or in the lack of trust in God?

I'm open to all opinions and instruction. Just thinking out loud.



Who said groups of people can be infallible? The Church is infallible, not any individual or group of individuals.
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2011, 01:40:34 AM »

A group of individuals is kind of an oxymoron. And what's the difference between that and a church?
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2011, 01:44:59 AM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?

-If many people together can be infallible, why not one person? Does this limit the Holy Spirit? Why/why not?


I've just been thinking, though I trend in many areas toward the Orthodox, I wonder it is hypocritical to accept concilliar infallibility due to the Holy Spirit, yet not accept the infallibility of the bishop-presiding-in-love, pope, or whatever scenario you choose. Does reflect upon our distrust in humanity or in the lack of trust in God?

I'm open to all opinions and instruction. Just thinking out loud.

Depends on whether Papal Infallibility is even pre-Schism. I don't see anything wrong with it in theory, though.
Contemporary church historians argue there is not so much of a hint of papal infallibility in the first Christian millennium.

As Roman Catholic priest Father Hans Kung candidly admits:

"Historical research, notably that of Yves Congar, has shown that down to the twelfth century, outside Rome, the significance of the Roman church was not understood as a real teaching authority in the legal sense (magisterium)... No one in the whole of the first millennium regarded decisions of the pope as infallible." Fr. Hans Kung, The Catholic Church: A Short History (2001), p. 61.

Tierney, Origins of Papal Infallibility, 1150-1350: A Study on the Concepts of Infallibility, Sovereignty and Tradition in the Middle Ages affirms "There is no convincing evidence that papal infallibility formed any part of the theological or canonical tradition of the church before the thirteenth century; the doctrine was invented in the first place by a few dissident Franciscans because it suited their convenience to invent it; eventually, but only after much initial reluctance, it was accepted by the papacy because it suited the convenience of the popes to accept it" (p. 281).

Vatican I (convened by Pope Pius IX in 1868) claimed papal infallibility was the faith of the church all along - a judgment at obvious odds with what later became mainstream scholarly rejection -including rejection by major Roman Catholic scholars like Yves Congar (cf. also Bernhard Hasler, How the Pope Became Infallible: Pius IX and the Politics of Persuasion (trans. from the German addition in 1981; Hasler, a Catholic priest, should not be overlooked). Hans Kung's book Infallible? An Investigation is also very good. Fr. Kung, expert adviser at Vatican II, got into a bit of trouble for publishing that book, which explicitly repudiates papal infallibility.

Vatican I also anathamatized anyone who rejects papal infallibility. Some have suggested Aquinas's doctrine of "false testes" may come into play here -i.e. if the pope proclaimed a doctrine on the basis of having received false or misleading information.

A complete lack of historical evidence for papal infallibility in the first Christian millennium, of course, does  not rule out infallibility from a Roman Catholic perspective, however if the historical basis is utterly removed it would have to rest upon a more or less radical developmental model e.g. ala Hegelian dialectic; Newman's idea of development required at least some form of and Aristotelian "seed." Hegelian development is pretty much standard fare in the Documents of Vatican II, which, if memory serves, Pope John Paul descriptively/revealingly called "Newman's Council."


Argh, don't tell me I need to read Hegel to get a handle on this stuff!  laugh He's harder than Kant!
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2011, 02:11:25 AM »

Argh, don't tell me I need to read Hegel to get a handle on this stuff!  laugh He's harder than Kant!
^lol, yes, Hegel is actually key  laugh  for the historical development of so many ideas and trajectories(!) from Marxism to the 19th century religionsgeschichte schule to Vatican II to the Paris School of theology and beyond. I *hated* slogging through Phenomenology of Spirit (albeit perhaps it was somewhat due to the pressure I was under at the time), which is widely considered the most difficult major philosophical work to read, and which one must use scholars to decipher because Hegel coined many neologisms and often used words which he didn't invent in an idiosyncratic manner.
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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2011, 03:18:03 AM »

Argh, don't tell me I need to read Hegel to get a handle on this stuff!  laugh He's harder than Kant!
^lol, yes, Hegel is actually key  laugh  for the historical development of so many ideas and trajectories(!) from Marxism to the 19th century religionsgeschichte schule to Vatican II to the Paris School of theology and beyond. I *hated* slogging through Phenomenology of Spirit (albeit perhaps it was somewhat due to the pressure I was under at the time), which is widely considered the most difficult major philosophical work to read, and which one must use scholars to decipher because Hegel coined many neologisms and often used words which he didn't invent in an idiosyncratic manner.

What? You mean The Negative Absolute isn't in the dictionary under, "Economy."
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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2011, 07:40:35 AM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?


Councils do not claim to be infallible.  They have never made such a claim.  The search for "infallibility" is a peculiar fixation of the Western Church, probably only of the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Councils do do is proclaim that they are in conformity with the Scriptures, the Fathers and with preceding Councils. "As the Fathers have taught, so do we proclaim..."

Their genius is not "infallibility" but "faithfulness"  -  faithfulness to the mind of the Church.

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« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2011, 07:44:39 AM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?


Councils do not claim to be infallible.  They have never made such a claim.  The search for "infallibility" is a peculiar fixation of the Western Church, probably only of the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Councils do do is proclaim that they are in conformity with the Scriptures, the Fathers and with preceding Councils. "As the Fathers have taught, so do we proclaim..."

Their genius is not "infallibility" but "faithfulness"  -  faithfulness to the mind of the Church.



My first thought is of the councils that were rejected. Obviously, a majority over ruled the minority. However, I get uncomfortable when we have larger schisms resulting from rejections (4th EC and the OO for example).

Also, it feels like this would be a rejection of the Holy Spirit in the councils, and the councils merely being a gathering of consensus.
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2011, 07:51:47 AM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?


Councils do not claim to be infallible.  They have never made such a claim.  The search for "infallibility" is a peculiar fixation of the Western Church, probably only of the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Councils do do is proclaim that they are in conformity with the Scriptures, the Fathers and with preceding Councils. "As the Fathers have taught, so do we proclaim..."

Their genius is not "infallibility" but "faithfulness"  -  faithfulness to the mind of the Church.



My first thought is of the councils that were rejected. Obviously, a majority over ruled the minority. However, I get uncomfortable when we have larger schisms resulting from rejections (4th EC and the OO for example).

Also, it feels like this would be a rejection of the Holy Spirit in the councils, and the councils merely being a gathering of consensus.

In our times the Tradition is fairly settled and unchallenged and has been for over a millennium.  There was a time from the 4th to 8th centuries when the Church was rocked by serious heresies and so it called into temporary existence 7 great Councils to address them, to put down the false teaching and to formally clarify the true and orthodox teaching.  These Councils did not concern themselves with an attempt to act as an over-arching teaching authority nor to formulate doctrine in general.  They addressed the aspects of the faith -trinitarian, christological, pneumatological- which were currently in danger from heretical teachings.

Having dealt with the heresy threatening the Church the Councils dissolved.  They are extraordinary irruptions from the other world into the life of the Church, the work of the Spirit, in safeguarding the teaching of Christ and His path to salvation.

For the last 1200 years the Church has had no need to call further Councils.  Heresies which have come along have been localised and have been dealt with by local Synods and local Churches.

So, the teaching authority of the Church -which is the Tradition and the Spirit who flows within it- has flowed on quietly for centuries since the last Great Council in 787.

If we should be faced by a new church-wide heresy, then the Church will probably combat it again by convening an Ecumenical Council.  And probably God will be pleased to give us such superb and staunchly orthodox individuals as Athanasius and Maximus the Confessor to protect our holy faith.  For the "authority" to protect the faith is not the exclusive provenance of the archbishop of Rome but it can be given by God even to laymen and monastics.

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« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2011, 07:56:36 AM »


I've just been thinking, though I trend in many areas toward the Orthodox, I wonder it is hypocritical to accept concilliar infallibility due to the Holy Spirit, yet not accept the infallibility of the bishop-presiding-in-love, pope, or whatever scenario you choose. Does reflect upon our distrust in humanity or in the lack of trust in God?


Real and genuine Councils are those composed of bishops who exercise their God-given episcopal prerogatives under the freedom and prompting of the Holy Spirit.

Real and genuine Councils can never be at the mercy and stranglehold of just one bishop.

Real and genuine Councils are not reduced to rubberstamps by one bishop who can negate them by refusing to approve them.
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2011, 08:03:04 AM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?


Councils do not claim to be infallible.  They have never made such a claim.  The search for "infallibility" is a peculiar fixation of the Western Church, probably only of the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Councils do do is proclaim that they are in conformity with the Scriptures, the Fathers and with preceding Councils. "As the Fathers have taught, so do we proclaim..."

Their genius is not "infallibility" but "faithfulness"  -  faithfulness to the mind of the Church.



My first thought is of the councils that were rejected. Obviously, a majority over ruled the minority. However, I get uncomfortable when we have larger schisms resulting from rejections (4th EC and the OO for example).

Also, it feels like this would be a rejection of the Holy Spirit in the councils, and the councils merely being a gathering of consensus.

This is a personal decision which belongs to you alone.

Your Church membership will greatly depend on whether you accept

the 3 Councils of the Oriental Orthodox

the 7 Councils of the Eastern Orthodox or

the 21 Councils of the Roman Catholics.
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« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2011, 08:33:53 AM »

Technically speaking, only God is infallible and inerrant.

Both infallibility of the Pope and inerrancy of the Bible are concepts risen in the West out of the perplexity that many self-proclaimed Christians taught different things and you could find examples of pious and bad people in all groups. Being so difficult to know what the divine teaching is since you could not rely on the criterias of homogeinity of all who say they are Christians, nor on a clear cut identification of moral and holy people, the West settled for the arbitrary definition of infallible material channels of the teachings of God: the Pope for Romans Catholics and the Bible for the Protestants.

The promise for the Church never being defeated by the gates of hell, and about us having the continuous teaching of the Spirit of Truth, is, in my opinion, something that should be understood in the same way that science "never" goes wrong: it actually does, but it self-corrects. There is no need for a "Universal Head Scientist" that will settle the limits of what is science and what is bogus, nor of a book of good practices to settle good standards. While we have men and women looking for real knowledge, scientific truth will prevail, even if for some decades false ideas have the hegemony.

That's exactly what we see in Church history. Sometimes, for some decades, heresies prevailed, but because there are always men and women walking the Way, eventually Truth prevails. We *do* need a bishop who is a leader of the collegiate of bishops for organizational purposes, but that has nothing to do with this leader being an infallible source of truth. Neither he nor the Bible.
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« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2011, 12:08:16 PM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?


Councils do not claim to be infallible.  They have never made such a claim.  The search for "infallibility" is a peculiar fixation of the Western Church, probably only of the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Councils do do is proclaim that they are in conformity with the Scriptures, the Fathers and with preceding Councils. "As the Fathers have taught, so do we proclaim..."

Their genius is not "infallibility" but "faithfulness"  -  faithfulness to the mind of the Church.
Father, this has been muddied very much by the Internet. I cannot count how many times I have read some layperson say, "This is not true, at least not yet. Maybe one day a council will declare it."

Councils are, of course, magic.
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« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2011, 01:17:44 PM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?


Councils do not claim to be infallible.  They have never made such a claim.  The search for "infallibility" is a peculiar fixation of the Western Church, probably only of the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Councils do do is proclaim that they are in conformity with the Scriptures, the Fathers and with preceding Councils. "As the Fathers have taught, so do we proclaim..."

Their genius is not "infallibility" but "faithfulness"  -  faithfulness to the mind of the Church.



My first thought is of the councils that were rejected. Obviously, a majority over ruled the minority. However, I get uncomfortable when we have larger schisms resulting from rejections (4th EC and the OO for example).

Also, it feels like this would be a rejection of the Holy Spirit in the councils, and the councils merely being a gathering of consensus.

In our times the Tradition is fairly settled and unchallenged and has been for over a millennium.  There was a time from the 4th to 8th centuries when the Church was rocked by serious heresies and so it called into temporary existence 7 great Councils to address them, to put down the false teaching and to formally clarify the true and orthodox teaching.  These Councils did not concern themselves with an attempt to act as an over-arching teaching authority nor to formulate doctrine in general.  They addressed the aspects of the faith -trinitarian, christological, pneumatological- which were currently in danger from heretical teachings.

Having dealt with the heresy threatening the Church the Councils dissolved.  They are extraordinary irruptions from the other world into the life of the Church, the work of the Spirit, in safeguarding the teaching of Christ and His path to salvation.

For the last 1200 years the Church has had no need to call further Councils.  Heresies which have come along have been localised and have been dealt with by local Synods and local Churches.

So, the teaching authority of the Church -which is the Tradition and the Spirit who flows within it- has flowed on quietly for centuries since the last Great Council in 787.

If we should be faced by a new church-wide heresy, then the Church will probably combat it again by convening an Ecumenical Council.  And probably God will be pleased to give us such superb and staunchly orthodox individuals as Athanasius and Maximus the Confessor to protect our holy faith.  For the "authority" to protect the faith is not the exclusive provenance of the archbishop of Rome but it can be given by God even to laymen and monastics.


If councils have such an important Spirit guided mission how can they not be infallible, at least in their formal definitions? Why would God allow error in?
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« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2011, 01:38:54 PM »

If councils have such an important Spirit guided mission how can they not be infallible, at least in their formal definitions? Why would God allow error in?


Why does God allow any bishop or any human being for that matter to teach or believe error? A council either reflects the mind of the Church or it does not. The Holy Spirit blows where He will. He is not subject to our human formulas. Here is a passage from The Orthodox Church by Fr Sergius Bulgakov.





"The life of the Church is a miracle which cannot be explained by external factors. The Church recognizes or does not recognize a given ecclesiastical assembly representing itself as a council: this is a known historical fact. Another historical fact is that to be accepted by the Church as such, it is not sufficient for an ecclesiastical assembly to proclaim itself as a council. It is not a question of a juridical and formal acceptance. This does not mean that the decisions of the councils should be confirmed by a general plebiscite and that without such a plebiscite they have no force. There is no such plebiscite. But from historical experience it clearly appears that the voice of a given council has truly been the voice of the Church or it has not: that is all. There are not, there cannot be, external organs or methods of testifying to the internal evidence of the Church; this must be admitted frankly and resolutely. Anyone who is troubled by this lack of external evidence for ecclesiastical truth does not believe in the Church and does not truly know it. The action of the Holy Spirit in the Church is an unfathomable mystery which fulfils itself in human acts and human consciousness. The ecclesiastical fetishism which seeks an oracle speaking in the name of the Holy Spirit and which finds it in the person of a supreme hierarch, or in the Episcopal order and its assemblies — this fetishism is a terrible symptom of half-faith."
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« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2011, 02:44:37 PM »

If councils have such an important Spirit guided mission how can they not be infallible, at least in their formal definitions? Why would God allow error in?
The way I see it is that the Church is infallible. So if the Church accepts the dictates of the council, then it was guided by the Holy Spirit. If not, then.....


PP
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« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2011, 05:48:15 PM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?


Councils do not claim to be infallible.  They have never made such a claim.  The search for "infallibility" is a peculiar fixation of the Western Church, probably only of the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Councils do do is proclaim that they are in conformity with the Scriptures, the Fathers and with preceding Councils. "As the Fathers have taught, so do we proclaim..."

Their genius is not "infallibility" but "faithfulness"  -  faithfulness to the mind of the Church.

Father, this has been muddied very much by the Internet. I cannot count how many times I have read some layperson say, "This is not true, at least not yet. Maybe one day a council will declare it."

Councils are, of course, magic.


Do you remember what these things are?... the things which are not true today but might be tomorrow?   Probably be a bit of a shock for the Apostles!  laugh
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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2011, 06:00:31 PM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?


Councils do not claim to be infallible.  They have never made such a claim.  The search for "infallibility" is a peculiar fixation of the Western Church, probably only of the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Councils do do is proclaim that they are in conformity with the Scriptures, the Fathers and with preceding Councils. "As the Fathers have taught, so do we proclaim..."

Their genius is not "infallibility" but "faithfulness"  -  faithfulness to the mind of the Church.



My first thought is of the councils that were rejected. Obviously, a majority over ruled the minority. However, I get uncomfortable when we have larger schisms resulting from rejections (4th EC and the OO for example).

Also, it feels like this would be a rejection of the Holy Spirit in the councils, and the councils merely being a gathering of consensus.

In our times the Tradition is fairly settled and unchallenged and has been for over a millennium.  There was a time from the 4th to 8th centuries when the Church was rocked by serious heresies and so it called into temporary existence 7 great Councils to address them, to put down the false teaching and to formally clarify the true and orthodox teaching.  These Councils did not concern themselves with an attempt to act as an over-arching teaching authority nor to formulate doctrine in general.  They addressed the aspects of the faith -trinitarian, christological, pneumatological- which were currently in danger from heretical teachings.

Having dealt with the heresy threatening the Church the Councils dissolved.  They are extraordinary irruptions from the other world into the life of the Church, the work of the Spirit, in safeguarding the teaching of Christ and His path to salvation.

For the last 1200 years the Church has had no need to call further Councils.  Heresies which have come along have been localised and have been dealt with by local Synods and local Churches.

So, the teaching authority of the Church -which is the Tradition and the Spirit who flows within it- has flowed on quietly for centuries since the last Great Council in 787.

If we should be faced by a new church-wide heresy, then the Church will probably combat it again by convening an Ecumenical Council.  And probably God will be pleased to give us such superb and staunchly orthodox individuals as Athanasius and Maximus the Confessor to protect our holy faith.  For the "authority" to protect the faith is not the exclusive provenance of the archbishop of Rome but it can be given by God even to laymen and monastics.


If councils have such an important Spirit guided mission how can they not be infallible, at least in their formal definitions? Why would God allow error in?

Who said that God allows error?    The Councils are faithful to the teachings of the Scriptures and the Fathers and the preceding Councils.

You'll find the Councils hammer the claim to be "faithful" to the tradition again and again.  The word "infallible" can't be found once in anything from the Seven Councils. 

Let's not imprison ourselves within what is obviously a Roman Catholic fixation.  Try and stop focusing on "infallible" - the word doesn't really exist in Russian. They make use of "nepogreshimost" which means "impeccability." 
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« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2011, 08:50:05 PM »

If councils have such an important Spirit guided mission how can they not be infallible, at least in their formal definitions? Why would God allow error in?
The way I see it is that the Church is infallible. So if the Church accepts the dictates of the council, then it was guided by the Holy Spirit. If not, then.....


PP
-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?


Councils do not claim to be infallible.  They have never made such a claim.  The search for "infallibility" is a peculiar fixation of the Western Church, probably only of the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Councils do do is proclaim that they are in conformity with the Scriptures, the Fathers and with preceding Councils. "As the Fathers have taught, so do we proclaim..."

Their genius is not "infallibility" but "faithfulness"  -  faithfulness to the mind of the Church.



My first thought is of the councils that were rejected. Obviously, a majority over ruled the minority. However, I get uncomfortable when we have larger schisms resulting from rejections (4th EC and the OO for example).

Also, it feels like this would be a rejection of the Holy Spirit in the councils, and the councils merely being a gathering of consensus.

In our times the Tradition is fairly settled and unchallenged and has been for over a millennium.  There was a time from the 4th to 8th centuries when the Church was rocked by serious heresies and so it called into temporary existence 7 great Councils to address them, to put down the false teaching and to formally clarify the true and orthodox teaching.  These Councils did not concern themselves with an attempt to act as an over-arching teaching authority nor to formulate doctrine in general.  They addressed the aspects of the faith -trinitarian, christological, pneumatological- which were currently in danger from heretical teachings.

Having dealt with the heresy threatening the Church the Councils dissolved.  They are extraordinary irruptions from the other world into the life of the Church, the work of the Spirit, in safeguarding the teaching of Christ and His path to salvation.

For the last 1200 years the Church has had no need to call further Councils.  Heresies which have come along have been localised and have been dealt with by local Synods and local Churches.

So, the teaching authority of the Church -which is the Tradition and the Spirit who flows within it- has flowed on quietly for centuries since the last Great Council in 787.

If we should be faced by a new church-wide heresy, then the Church will probably combat it again by convening an Ecumenical Council.  And probably God will be pleased to give us such superb and staunchly orthodox individuals as Athanasius and Maximus the Confessor to protect our holy faith.  For the "authority" to protect the faith is not the exclusive provenance of the archbishop of Rome but it can be given by God even to laymen and monastics.


If councils have such an important Spirit guided mission how can they not be infallible, at least in their formal definitions? Why would God allow error in?

Who said that God allows error?    The Councils are faithful to the teachings of the Scriptures and the Fathers and the preceding Councils.

You'll find the Councils hammer the claim to be "faithful" to the tradition again and again.  The word "infallible" can't be found once in anything from the Seven Councils. 

Let's not imprison ourselves within what is obviously a Roman Catholic fixation.  Try and stop focusing on "infallible" - the word doesn't really exist in Russian. They make use of "nepogreshimost" which means "impeccability." 



I dunno, Origen sure seems to have gotten screwed over by the sixth council.


And how about the Canons which are essentially repudiated today such as the ones not allowing a woman to initiate divorce even if her husband is bringing his mistresses home with him?
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« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2011, 08:59:43 PM »

If councils have such an important Spirit guided mission how can they not be infallible, at least in their formal definitions? Why would God allow error in?
The way I see it is that the Church is infallible. So if the Church accepts the dictates of the council, then it was guided by the Holy Spirit. If not, then.....


PP
-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?


Councils do not claim to be infallible.  They have never made such a claim.  The search for "infallibility" is a peculiar fixation of the Western Church, probably only of the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Councils do do is proclaim that they are in conformity with the Scriptures, the Fathers and with preceding Councils. "As the Fathers have taught, so do we proclaim..."

Their genius is not "infallibility" but "faithfulness"  -  faithfulness to the mind of the Church.



My first thought is of the councils that were rejected. Obviously, a majority over ruled the minority. However, I get uncomfortable when we have larger schisms resulting from rejections (4th EC and the OO for example).

Also, it feels like this would be a rejection of the Holy Spirit in the councils, and the councils merely being a gathering of consensus.

In our times the Tradition is fairly settled and unchallenged and has been for over a millennium.  There was a time from the 4th to 8th centuries when the Church was rocked by serious heresies and so it called into temporary existence 7 great Councils to address them, to put down the false teaching and to formally clarify the true and orthodox teaching.  These Councils did not concern themselves with an attempt to act as an over-arching teaching authority nor to formulate doctrine in general.  They addressed the aspects of the faith -trinitarian, christological, pneumatological- which were currently in danger from heretical teachings.

Having dealt with the heresy threatening the Church the Councils dissolved.  They are extraordinary irruptions from the other world into the life of the Church, the work of the Spirit, in safeguarding the teaching of Christ and His path to salvation.

For the last 1200 years the Church has had no need to call further Councils.  Heresies which have come along have been localised and have been dealt with by local Synods and local Churches.

So, the teaching authority of the Church -which is the Tradition and the Spirit who flows within it- has flowed on quietly for centuries since the last Great Council in 787.

If we should be faced by a new church-wide heresy, then the Church will probably combat it again by convening an Ecumenical Council.  And probably God will be pleased to give us such superb and staunchly orthodox individuals as Athanasius and Maximus the Confessor to protect our holy faith.  For the "authority" to protect the faith is not the exclusive provenance of the archbishop of Rome but it can be given by God even to laymen and monastics.


If councils have such an important Spirit guided mission how can they not be infallible, at least in their formal definitions? Why would God allow error in?

Who said that God allows error?    The Councils are faithful to the teachings of the Scriptures and the Fathers and the preceding Councils.

You'll find the Councils hammer the claim to be "faithful" to the tradition again and again.  The word "infallible" can't be found once in anything from the Seven Councils. 

Let's not imprison ourselves within what is obviously a Roman Catholic fixation.  Try and stop focusing on "infallible" - the word doesn't really exist in Russian. They make use of "nepogreshimost" which means "impeccability." 



I dunno, Origen sure seems to have gotten screwed over by the sixth council.


And how about the Canons which are essentially repudiated today such as the ones not allowing a woman to initiate divorce even if her husband is bringing his mistresses home with him?

Wonder how the bishop would act if a husband cites the canon to prevent his wife proceeding with a divorce application against him in an ecclesiastical court?
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2011, 10:22:50 PM »

And how about the Canons which are essentially repudiated today such as the ones not allowing a woman to initiate divorce even if her husband is bringing his mistresses home with him?


Canons are not doctrinal. They are norms of ecclesiastical life. Often times they were compiled to deal with certain historical circumstances that may or may not still exist today. That is why bishops have leeway way in applying these canons.
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« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2011, 03:58:04 AM »

Quote
Canons are not doctrinal.

Not quite. There are canons which are indeed doctrinal, such as those dealing with Christological matters, and on the status of the Mother of God, which are inviolable. Other canons are pastoral and regulatory, applied as necessary by priests and bishops.
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« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2011, 02:45:51 PM »

If councils have such an important Spirit guided mission how can they not be infallible, at least in their formal definitions? Why would God allow error in?
The way I see it is that the Church is infallible. So if the Church accepts the dictates of the council, then it was guided by the Holy Spirit. If not, then.....


PP
-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?


Councils do not claim to be infallible.  They have never made such a claim.  The search for "infallibility" is a peculiar fixation of the Western Church, probably only of the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Councils do do is proclaim that they are in conformity with the Scriptures, the Fathers and with preceding Councils. "As the Fathers have taught, so do we proclaim..."

Their genius is not "infallibility" but "faithfulness"  -  faithfulness to the mind of the Church.



My first thought is of the councils that were rejected. Obviously, a majority over ruled the minority. However, I get uncomfortable when we have larger schisms resulting from rejections (4th EC and the OO for example).

Also, it feels like this would be a rejection of the Holy Spirit in the councils, and the councils merely being a gathering of consensus.

In our times the Tradition is fairly settled and unchallenged and has been for over a millennium.  There was a time from the 4th to 8th centuries when the Church was rocked by serious heresies and so it called into temporary existence 7 great Councils to address them, to put down the false teaching and to formally clarify the true and orthodox teaching.  These Councils did not concern themselves with an attempt to act as an over-arching teaching authority nor to formulate doctrine in general.  They addressed the aspects of the faith -trinitarian, christological, pneumatological- which were currently in danger from heretical teachings.

Having dealt with the heresy threatening the Church the Councils dissolved.  They are extraordinary irruptions from the other world into the life of the Church, the work of the Spirit, in safeguarding the teaching of Christ and His path to salvation.

For the last 1200 years the Church has had no need to call further Councils.  Heresies which have come along have been localised and have been dealt with by local Synods and local Churches.

So, the teaching authority of the Church -which is the Tradition and the Spirit who flows within it- has flowed on quietly for centuries since the last Great Council in 787.

If we should be faced by a new church-wide heresy, then the Church will probably combat it again by convening an Ecumenical Council.  And probably God will be pleased to give us such superb and staunchly orthodox individuals as Athanasius and Maximus the Confessor to protect our holy faith.  For the "authority" to protect the faith is not the exclusive provenance of the archbishop of Rome but it can be given by God even to laymen and monastics.


If councils have such an important Spirit guided mission how can they not be infallible, at least in their formal definitions? Why would God allow error in?

Who said that God allows error?    The Councils are faithful to the teachings of the Scriptures and the Fathers and the preceding Councils.

You'll find the Councils hammer the claim to be "faithful" to the tradition again and again.  The word "infallible" can't be found once in anything from the Seven Councils. 

Let's not imprison ourselves within what is obviously a Roman Catholic fixation.  Try and stop focusing on "infallible" - the word doesn't really exist in Russian. They make use of "nepogreshimost" which means "impeccability." 



I dunno, Origen sure seems to have gotten screwed over by the sixth council.


And how about the Canons which are essentially repudiated today such as the ones not allowing a woman to initiate divorce even if her husband is bringing his mistresses home with him?

It's not like Origen was a paragon of Orthodoxy before the fifth council. He was condemned for serious errors, as was Theodore of Mopsuestia, as a warning to those who would continue to espouse his wacky ideas.
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« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2011, 02:55:37 PM »

But Origen's errors were just hypothetical speculations on his part, were they not? He didn't teach them as doctrine.
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« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2011, 03:02:37 PM »

But Origen's errors were just hypothetical speculations on his part, were they not? He didn't teach them as doctrine.

One issue is that speculation can't go against good doctrine. There may be room for speculation within orthodox boundaries, but once you go outside those boundaries you can't slap the label "speculation" on an idea and get a free pass. A second issue is the aftermath: Origen's beliefs seemed to be highly thought of--by the Cappadocians, yes, but also by people who took it in entirely the wrong direction. His speculations resulted in causing much theological strife and even physical violence. Now, how this squares with St. Augustine's errors, and why Augustine is still considered a saint, and has had his nakedness covered, I don't know.
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« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2011, 03:06:03 PM »

I guess I'd have to see how explicit he was in labeling them speculations. I can understand holding him accountable for just being plain irresponsible, but any author's work can be twisted by someone who is determined enough.

Also, what do you mean by "had his nakedness covered" in the case of St. Augustine? He gets raked over the coals by Orthodox all the time.
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« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2011, 03:08:06 PM »

-What is it?

-Are council's infallible?
-What makes them infallible?

-If many people together can be infallible, why not one person? Does this limit the Holy Spirit? Why/why not?


I've just been thinking, though I trend in many areas toward the Orthodox, I wonder it is hypocritical to accept concilliar infallibility due to the Holy Spirit, yet not accept the infallibility of the bishop-presiding-in-love, pope, or whatever scenario you choose. Does reflect upon our distrust in humanity or in the lack of trust in God?

I'm open to all opinions and instruction. Just thinking out loud.

My own opinion is that infallibility is about: 1) being completely correct, free from mistakes, contradictions; 2) being whole; and 3) being free from biases, and having a perspective that matches reality exactly as it is. Or something along those lines. IMO this means that only God is infallible. The Church is theanthropic, and thus because it has a human element it is not infallible. The same goes for everything else that has humanity involved: the Bible, Tradition, etc.
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« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2011, 03:11:06 PM »

My only problem with that is the way one is supposed to tell the divine from the human in the Church seems to be very subjective.
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« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2011, 03:14:11 PM »

Also, what do you mean by "had his nakedness covered" in the case of St. Augustine? He gets raked over the coals by Orthodox all the time.

True enough. I suppose I was thinking of a more moderated or balanced approach. For example, here is part of what St. Photius said about St. Augustine (though he applied it to several Fathers):

"Even so, if any among them [ie. the Church Fathers] has fallen into something unseemly--for they were all men and human, and no one composed of dust and ephemeral nature can avoid some trace of defilement--I would then imitate the sons of Noah and cover my father's shame with silence and gratitude instead of a garment." - St. Photius, Mystagogy, 70

The idea of covering your Father's nakedness (or generally applied, that of anyone) is that you are covering over something scandalous or incorrect, out of love/compassion and piety.
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« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2011, 03:15:44 PM »

Also, what do you mean by "had his nakedness covered" in the case of St. Augustine? He gets raked over the coals by Orthodox all the time.

True enough. I suppose I was thinking of a more moderated or balanced approach. For example, here is part of what St. Photius said about St. Augustine:

"Even so, if any among them [ie. the Church Fathers] has fallen into something unseemly--for they were all men and human, and no one composed of dust and ephemeral nature can avoid some trace of defilement--I would then imitate the sons of Noah and cover my father's shame with silence and gratitude instead of a garment." - St. Photius, Mystagogy, 70

The idea of covering your Father's nakedness (or generally applied, that of anyone) is that you are covering over something unseemly or incorrect, out of love/compassion and piety.
Ah. Ok.
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« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2011, 04:01:10 PM »

But Origen's errors were just hypothetical speculations on his part, were they not? He didn't teach them as doctrine.
"The sudden relapse of Origenism at the end of the fifth century and the beginning of the fifth was not a matter of chance; it revealed all the strength of Hellenistic themes that had not been overcome, even in the mind of the Church itself -a constant temptation to rationalize Christianity. The revival of Origenism must be interpreted in this connection. It is not accidental that these disputes over Origen, which became so acute under Justinian, were limited almost exclusively to the monastic environment, which had arisen as a way or method of 'practical' incarnation..." (Alexander Schmemann, The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy, p. 158). Along with positive aspects of Origen which influenced the likes of St. Athanasuis, Basil the Great, and Evagrius, "its danger too might be discerned more and more clearly: it lay in the 'spiritualization' of Christianity, the very subtle and innermost 'de-incarnation- of man. This was a danger from Greek idealism which had not been overcome -the desire to replace 'salvation' by contemplation" (ibid, p. 159).

The 5th Ecumenical Council ratified a specific condemnation (of 543) not so much Origenism as a whole as "those aspects of it which were obviously contradictory to the doctrine of the Church" in the form of 15 Anathemas published in a state edict of 543 (link provided below). "All five patriarchs signed this condemnation unconditionally, and there were still disputes only among the Palestinian monks. Despite the unusualness of a theological definition by state edict (apparently no one protested against this). Origenism, or its extreme assertions in any case, had been overcome in the mind of the Church" (ibid, p. 160). Among the specific points repudiated were apocatastasis (universalism), the pre-existence of the soul, and a denial of a genuine and lasting resurrection of the body. Rowan Greer argued the Anathemas were not new but derived from an earlier local synod (Greer, Origen (1979). The text of the edict can be reviewed here: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xii.ix.html

Fr. Schmemann remarks "It was not accidental that the council condemned simultaneously both Origen [of Alexandria] and the mot extreme representatives of the school of Antioch. This was the judgment of the Church, not only of heresy but also of its own past; it revealed completely the defects of both trends in their one-sidedness within Orthodoxy itself. Neither Antioch nor Alexandria alone could give an integral, catholic description of the faith of the Church. Chalcedon had been a formula for synthesis, but the formula itself was inadequate... Justinian had behaved rudely, and much in the history of his reign is darkened forever by this rudeness and violence. But there was a genuine dispute within the church about the Eastern  Fathers ["Eastern" here used in the more specific sense of Syria and Antioch rather than in the broader sense of Byzantium vs. Rome or Asia vs. Europe, as Fr. Schmemann explains on p. 132]; their writings were really sharply contradictory to the tradition of Chalcedon. Again, the dispute about Origen was genuine, not forced on the Church by Justinian. The truth in the solution of these questions was not Justinian's, but the truth and rightness of the decisions and achievements of the period. This is the only truth the Church recognizes in considering the Council of 553 as one of the ecumenical councils. And the whole future development of Orthodox theology confirmed it" (ibid, p. 165).
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« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2011, 04:36:07 PM »

Wow. That's some pretty insane crap. Is it agreed by scholars that Origen really taught those things in the anathemas?
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« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2011, 09:06:11 PM »

Cf. Origen’s De Principiis. http://christianbookshelf.org/origen/origen_de_principiis/index.html
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