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Author Topic: Primacy - Christ is the Head and all Apostles are equal.  (Read 12128 times) Average Rating: 0
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paul2004
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« Reply #45 on: August 02, 2004, 01:10:40 PM »


884 "The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council." But "there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor."


Can you explain this further for better understanding. Assume a situation where there was no colonization by European Kings and that the Roman church was confined largely to Europe. In such a situation, how the primacy of rule is understood? Secondly assume a situation with no Byzantine empire and Roman Capital, how primacy in understood in such a situation?  

I think the universal model of the Church should be independent of the political system in a region. Because church needs to grow in different regions. In the OO tradition, churches are free to exist in different regions. They have Holy Synods in each region, and the identity of individual churches honored (except few issues). The unity between churches is understood as unity in the faith and practises of the Church.  We have common faith and common traditions (such as Sacraments, fasting, intercession to saints, remembering the departed, monasticism etc.).

Given that even the EO tradition is same as OO in this regard, I do not see any reason for OO churches to change the tradition and come under the universal rule of Rome.  What is the spiritual benefit of such a model of unity? How does it explain salvation?

Also, one cannot serve two masters at the same time. A bishop should accept the head of the Holy Synod in his region or country. The same bishop need not be under the head of another Holy Synod.  In the RC church model, a bishop needs to obey two heads, the head of uniate Church and the head of the Roman Church, who is the Pope of Rome. How can one bishop serve two masters?

Apostolic Canon:
Canon XXXIV. (XXXV.)
The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; but each may do those things only which concern hisown parish, and the country places which belong to it. But neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit [some mss. read: through the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father through the Lord by the Holy Spirit, even the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit].

http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/St.Pachomius/aposcanon.html

Currently we have the following Synods in the OO church:

Synod of Alexandria (Coptic)
Synod of Syrian Orthodox
Synod of Armenian Church (Etchmiadzin, Cilicia)
Synod of Ethiopian Church
Synod of Indian Church (Indian Orthodox, Jacobite)
Synod of Eritrean Church.

Each of these Synods have head bishops and Orthodox traditions pracitsed in each dioceses and parishes through Orthodox bishops and priests. What more is needed than this? In this OO model, a bishop of regional (national) Synod follows only his Synod and the head of the Synod (except Jacobite bishops of SOC, hence they tring to justify the RC model within OO).

I have a general question, which is independent of RC model or SOC-Jacobite model. Can the Church function and follow traditions in an uninterrupted way through the OO model where a Bishop serves only one Holy Synod?

-Paul
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« Reply #46 on: August 02, 2004, 01:30:24 PM »

Dear Friends and Brothers,


I post this not to persuade anyone.  I only write this to let those on both sides who have a heart for unity between the ancient Churches know about this excellent book.  Its also to let them know that there are members of both Churches who don't beleive we are so far from unity as some would imply.

Dear Ghazaros, Thank you for suggesting the book. If church fathers are not-consistent about the concept of unity through universal supremacy of one primate, then that means the concept (of universal supremacy) is not very important in the Church. But unity is important, because that is the common aspect of both teachings. One is trying to reach unity through having one world-wide head and the other is trying to experience unity in one faith of different churches. We can argue that even in the RC model, in reality they are following unity in faith, because they follow the catechism as taught by Roman Church and various uniate churches remain united in that faith (the faith which carries the teaching of universal supremacy).  

So, essentially it is a model of unity in faith followed by Rome also. Thus it is a question of finding out the faith acceptable to all and then experiencing the unity in that faith.

-Paul

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« Reply #47 on: August 02, 2004, 07:01:02 PM »


Quote
Assume a situation where there was no colonization by European Kings and that the Roman church was confined largely to Europe. In such a situation, how the primacy of rule is understood? Secondly assume a situation with no Byzantine empire and Roman Capital, how primacy in understood in such a situation?
 

The Catholic Church is set up so that no Council is called, or can be called, without Rome's blessing, and no Council is ratified or considered valid until Rome, once again, gives it's blessing.

Historicaly, all of the 7 Ecumenical Councils, accepted by both the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Church were accepted and ratified by the Pope. And for many of those at the time in the West, that is when the Council became valid.

Quote
I think the universal model of the Church should be independent of the political system in a region. Because church needs to grow in different regions. In the OO tradition, churches are free to exist in different regions. They have Holy Synods in each region, and the identity of individual churches honored (except few issues).


Well, a council that deals with matters of doctrine must be ratified and approved by Rome. Bishops gathered in a council do have the power to declare or define doctrine, but their decisions are only valid when Rome approves. This is seen as a safegard of the true faith.

Peter's sucessor, as the head of the Church, has a duty to protect the true faith from all error. A council of bishops could gather and declare heresy, God knows the Church has had many heretical bishops throughout the ages, sometimes more than holy bishops who professed the true faith.

Catholics believe that Rome is the safegard of the faith, as it was in many ways in the early Church, and that it can not fall into error. Therefore, every decision, of every council, must be ratified or regonized by the sucessor of Saint Peter. He is the final word in such matters, as Saint Augustine said, "Rome has spoken; the case is closed".

Quote
The unity between churches is understood as unity in the faith and practises of the Church.  We have common faith and common traditions (such as Sacraments, fasting, intercession to saints, remembering the departed, monasticism etc.).

Exactly, and Catholics see that unity of faith as resting in the successor of St. Peter. And that was the the whole point of: "The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council. But there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor." The successor of Peter is that unity of faith, that safegard against heresy, that final word in such matters that effect our salvation.

Quote
Also, one cannot serve two masters at the same time. A bishop should accept the head of the Holy Synod in his region or country. The same bishop need not be under the head of another Holy Synod.  In the RC church model, a bishop needs to obey two heads, the head of uniate Church and the head of the Roman Church, who is the Pope of Rome. How can one bishop serve two masters?

I am a little confused as to what you mean. In a RC "church model" a bishop is obediant to the Holy Father - the sucessor of Saint of Peter. I have no idea what you mean by "the head of uniate Church". There are not two Popes in Catholicism, one for the East and one for the West, rather there is one Pope for the entire Church. Every Catholic bishop is subject to the Roman Pontiff.

Quote
Currently we have the following Synods in the OO church:

Synod of Alexandria (Coptic)
Synod of Syrian Orthodox
Synod of Armenian Church (Etchmiadzin, Cilicia)
Synod of Ethiopian Church
Synod of Indian Church (Indian Orthodox, Jacobite)
Synod of Eritrean Church.

But surely the Synod of Alexandria, or any other Synod you listed, coulnd't just declare or define doctrine. Only an Ecumenical Council could do this, but who would call such a council? And who would ratify it as valid? How would you know who was right if a dispute arose over a certain doctrinal issue that the Council resolved? You have no emperor or Pope to call such a council, to ratify it or to enforce is decisions, so in all honesty it would be every difficult for the Oriental Orthodox to have a Council that dealt with doctrinal issues.

The Synods you mention deal with administrative issues, nothing wrong with that. America has the American Council of RC Bishops that deals with such issues, but the point of Roman Primacy is that such a synod of Bishops couldn't declare or define doctrine, that is up to the Roman Pontiff or an Ecumenical Council, that has been ratified by the Roman Pontiff.
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« Reply #48 on: August 02, 2004, 08:08:02 PM »

Dear Ben,

I have time now to deal with only one of your points...

But surely the Synod of Alexandria, or any other Synod you listed, coulnd't just declare or define doctrine. Only an Ecumenical Council could do this, but who would call such a council? And who would ratify it as valid? How would you know who was right if a dispute arose over a certain doctrinal issue that the Council resolved? You have no emperor or Pope to call such a council, to ratify it or to enforce is decisions, so in all honesty it would be every difficult for the Oriental Orthodox to have a Council that dealt with doctrinal issues.

I am not sure we absolutely need an emperor or Pope to summon a council.  Who would summon one, then?  I don't know.  I don't think it matters who calls the council.  What matters is that when someone calls for it, the bishops of the Church gather for it.  I think in Oriental Orthodoxy (as well as the EO Churches, perhaps) the hard part is not calling for the council, but actually getting the bishops to come rather than listen to them refuse to come due to this or that reason.  If we had an emperor or a Pope, perhaps it would be easier to get the bishops to come, but that would mean it would be done by some sort of force, and if you can help it at all, I think you'd rather see them come of their own will than by force.
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« Reply #49 on: August 02, 2004, 08:40:16 PM »

Dear Ben,

I have time now to deal with only one of your points...I am not sure we absolutely need an emperor or Pope to summon a council.  Who would summon one, then?  I don't know.  I don't think it matters who calls the council.  What matters is that when someone calls for it, the bishops of the Church gather for it.  I think in Oriental Orthodoxy (as well as the EO Churches, perhaps) the hard part is not calling for the council, but actually getting the bishops to come rather than listen to them refuse to come due to this or that reason.  If we had an emperor or a Pope, perhaps it would be easier to get the bishops to come, but that would mean it would be done by some sort of force, and if you can help it at all, I think you'd rather see them come of their own will than by force.  

Okay... I agree it matters not who calls the Council, though I think it is much easier when you have an Emperor or Pope or both, but what about my other questions.....

Who would ratify it? Who would enforce its decisions? What if some of the bishops disagreed? What if some of the laity disagreed? Who would you trust?

Certainly, if some doctrinal argument arose within the OO and a Council was called to resolve it, there would be much debate, and surely not all would accept the Council. With no Pope or Emperor to say that that Council was valid and to enforce its decisions, I think it would be very difficult to have such a Council.

And who, in the long run, would say it was truly "Ecumenical"? Some say that the EO has had 9 Councils, they just aren't officialy considered to be Ecumenical...yet.

I think that without a figure like the Pope, calling, assembling, and ratifing a Council dealing with some sort of doctrinal dispute would be very difficult.
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« Reply #50 on: August 03, 2004, 12:12:27 PM »

I am a little confused as to what you mean. In a RC "church model" a bishop is obediant to the Holy Father - the sucessor of Saint of Peter. I have no idea what you mean by "the head of uniate Church". There are not two Popes in Catholicism, one for the East and one for the West, rather there is one Pope for the entire Church.

Dear Ben, There is a Pope of Alexandria (i.e. RC uniate Pope), an RC Synod in India, Catholicos of Church of the East (Chaldean), Patriarch of Antioch etc., all RC with own Synods. Now, the bishops are subject to two heads, first the Pope/Catholicos/Patriarch of their regional Synod and then the Pope of Roman Church. How is this possible, i.e to serve two masters at the same time?

-Paul
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« Reply #51 on: August 03, 2004, 12:29:59 PM »

 

The Catholic Church is set up so that no Council is called, or can be called, without Rome's blessing, and no Council is ratified or considered valid until Rome, once again, gives it's blessing.


Dear Ben,  Thanks for explaining the catechism more clearly. Now it is clear to me.  How about the first three Ecumenical councils? Where these councils headed by the Roman Church?

I think there is no need for frequent Ecumenical councils. Ecumenical councils are needed only for major issues. Possible theological issues were settled in the early centuries, it was done in a excellent way, so there are no major issues now.

When there are major issues, we believe that the Holy Spirit will cause the Churches to come together.

In 1965 the heads of all OO churches met and made some important decisions about relationship with EO and other Apostolic churches, including the RC church.  Since it was the beginning of Ecumenical dialogues, perhaps it was important for the OO church to meet in such an Ecumenical council.

I think in the future also, when there are important issues, there will be a way for the churches to come together in a mysterious way.  Currently between OO churches there are no major issues. At present the major issue is the dialogue with the RC church, with official meeting of OO started only in 2004. All OO are members of this council. Following are the Churches in dialogue with the Apostolic Roman Church.

1. Apostolic Church of Armenia (Cilicia, Etchmiadzin)
2. Apostolic Church of Alexandria (Coptic)
3. Apostolic Church of Antioch (Antiochian Syrian)
4. Apostolic Church of the East (India)
5. Apostolic Church of Ethiopia
6. Apostolic Church of Eritrea.

In the first meeting held at Cairo, "primacy" was slelcted as a topic for further discussion in subsequent meetings.  OO considers this is a major issue between Apostolic OO Churches and the Apostolic RC church.

Regards,
Paul
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« Reply #52 on: August 03, 2004, 03:33:53 PM »

Dear Ben, There is a Pope of Alexandria (i.e. RC uniate Pope), an RC Synod in India, Catholicos of Church of the East (Chaldean), Patriarch of Antioch etc., all RC with own Synods. Now, the bishops are subject to two heads, first the Pope/Catholicos/Patriarch of their regional Synod and then the Pope of Roman Church. How is this possible, i.e to serve two masters at the same time?

-Paul

The Coptic Catholic Pope of Alexandria is a bishop, he does not have the same power the Holy Father does. The Catholic Pope or Patriarch of Alexandria is obediant to the Holy Father, just as all Catholic Bishops are, he must be.

As for the Synods you mentioned, there is nothing wrong with them, I have already said this. They deal with administrative issues, but certainly they could not and would not deal with doctrine. Only the Pope or an Ecumenical Council, called and/or approved by the Pope, can deal with matters of doctrine.

The chair of Peter is the unity of the Church, safegarding the Church from all errors and heresy - this is Catholic dogma. And that is why the catechism states: "The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council. But there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor."
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« Reply #53 on: August 03, 2004, 03:46:33 PM »


Quote
Dear Ben,  Thanks for explaining the catechism more clearly. Now it is clear to me.  How about the first three Ecumenical councils? Where these councils headed by the Roman Church?


No, but all three were approved and ratified by Rome. The Pope sent legates in his place and after the Council had concluded he was sent the acts and gave his stamp of approval. According to Catholic teaching, the Ecumenical Councils were not valid until the Pope approved, surely some in the West also believed this at the time, however, this was not the universal teaching of the Church.

As stated in my one of previous posts, all of the 7 Ecumenical Councils, accpepted by both the RC and EO were approved and ratified by the Pope, and if I am not mistaken on a few occasions the Pope's legates presided over the Council. But it matters not who presided over the Councils, according to RC teaching, it matters only if a Pope ratified the Councils decisions.

Quote
I think there is no need for frequent Ecumenical councils. Ecumenical councils are needed only for major issues. Possible theological issues were settled in the early centuries, it was done in a excellent way, so there are no major issues now.


Perhaps no major theological issues have come up in the OO for the last 1500 years or so, and I understand why, however, major theological issues have come up in the RC over the centuries, and thus there was a need for Ecumenical Councils.

Quote
When there are major issues, we believe that the Holy Spirit will cause the Churches to come together.

I understand, and that is nice, but certainly if there was a serious theological disagreement, some would say the Holy Ghost was guiding them, and others would the say the same thing. Some would say a Council was needed, some wouldn't. Some would attened the Council, some wouldn't. Some would accept it and some wouldn't. As I have said, I really don't see how an Ecumenical Council could occur and be accepted and considered an Ecumenical Council without some authority figure, like the Pope, or even an Emperor.

In Christ,
Ben
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« Reply #54 on: August 03, 2004, 04:48:19 PM »

The Coptic Catholic Pope of Alexandria is a bishop, he does not have the same power the Holy Father does. The Catholic Pope or Patriarch of Alexandria is obediant to the Holy Father, just as all Catholic Bishops are, he must be.

How about the Catholic Pope of Rome, is he also a Bishop or beyond a Bishop? In my understanding, the Pope of Rome is the Bishop of Rome.

Quote
Only the Pope or an Ecumenical Council, called and/or approved by the Pope, can deal with matters of doctrine.

Can the Pope alone decide a matter of doctrine?

Regards,
Paul
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« Reply #55 on: August 03, 2004, 05:09:55 PM »

How about the Catholic Pope of Rome, is he also a Bishop or beyond a Bishop? In my understanding, the Pope of Rome is the Bishop of Rome. Can the Pope alone decide a matter of doctrine?

Regards,
Paul

The succesor of Saint Peter is a Bishop, however he is first amoung all bishops. He is the head of the Church, and for that reason he has authority that all the other bishops do not have, this authority, according to Catholic teaching is not a human innovation, but from our Lord himself.  

The first Vatican Council declared:

SESSION 4 : 18 July 1870
First dogmatic constitution on the church of Christ

Pius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record.

The eternal shepherd and guardian of our souls [37] ,
in order to render permanent the saving work of redemption,
determined to build a church
in which,
as in the house of the living God,
all the faithful should be linked by the bond of one
faith and
charity.
Therefore, before he was glorified,
he besought his Father,
not for the apostles only,
but also for those who were to believe in him through their word,
that they all might be one as the Son himself and the Father are one [38] .
So then,
just as he sent apostles, whom he chose out of the world [39] ,
even as he had been sent by the Father [40],
in like manner it was his will that in his church there should be shepherds and teachers until the end of time.
In order, then, that
the episcopal office should be one and undivided and that,
by the union of the clergy,
the whole multitude of believers should be held together in the unity of
faith and
communion,
he set blessed Peter over the rest of the apostles and
instituted in him the permanent principle of both unities and
their visible foundation.
Upon the strength of this foundation was to be built the eternal temple, and the church whose topmost part reaches heaven was to rise upon the firmness of this foundation [41] .
And since the gates of hell trying, if they can, to overthrow the church, make their assault with a hatred that increases day by day against its divinely laid foundation,
we judge it necessary,
with the approbation of the sacred council, and
for the protection, defence and growth of the catholic flock,
to propound the doctrine concerning the
institution,
permanence and
nature
of the sacred and apostolic primacy,
upon which the strength and coherence of the whole church depends.
This doctrine is to be believed and held by all the faithful in accordance with the ancient and unchanging faith of the whole church.
Furthermore, we shall proscribe and condemn the contrary errors which are so harmful to the Lord's flock.

Chapter 1 On the institution of the apostolic primacy in blessed Peter

We teach and declare that,
according to the gospel evidence,
a primacy of jurisdiction over the whole church of God
was immediately and directly
promised to the blessed apostle Peter and
conferred on him by Christ the lord.
[PROMISED]
It was to Simon alone,
to whom he had already said
You shall be called Cephas [42] ,
that the Lord,
after his confession, You are the Christ, the son of the living God,
spoke these words:
Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the underworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven [43] .
[CONFERRED]
And it was to Peter alone that Jesus,
after his resurrection,
confided the jurisdiction of supreme pastor and ruler of his whole fold, saying:
Feed my lambs, feed my sheep [44] .
To this absolutely manifest teaching of the sacred scriptures, as it has always been understood by the catholic church, are clearly opposed the distorted opinions of those who misrepresent the form of government which Christ the lord established in his church and deny that Peter, in preference to the rest of the apostles, taken singly or collectively, was endowed by Christ with a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction.
The same may be said of those who assert that this primacy was not conferred immediately and directly on blessed Peter himself, but rather on the church, and that it was through the church that it was transmitted to him in his capacity as her minister.
Therefore,
if anyone says that
blessed Peter the apostle was not appointed by Christ the lord as prince of all the apostles and visible head of the whole church militant; or that
it was a primacy of honour only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction that he directly and immediately received from our lord Jesus Christ himself:
let him be anathema.

Chapter 2. On the permanence of the primacy of blessed Peter in the Roman pontiffs

That which our lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the blessed apostle Peter, for the continual salvation and permanent benefit of the church, must of necessity remain for ever, by Christ's authority, in the church which, founded as it is upon a rock, will stand firm until the end of time [45] .

For no one can be in doubt, indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, the pillar of faith and the foundation of the catholic church, received the keys of the kingdom from our lord Jesus Christ, the saviour and redeemer of the human race, and that to this day and for ever he lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors the bishops of the holy Roman see, which he founded and consecrated with his blood [46] .

Therefore whoever succeeds to the chair of Peter obtains by the institution of Christ himself, the primacy of Peter over the whole church. So what the truth has ordained stands firm, and blessed Peter perseveres in the rock-like strength he was granted, and does not abandon that guidance of the church which he once received [47] .

For this reason it has always been necessary for every church--that is to say the faithful throughout the world--to be in agreement with the Roman church because of its more effective leadership. In consequence of being joined, as members to head, with that see, from which the rights of sacred communion flow to all, they will grow together into the structure of a single body [48] .

Therefore,
if anyone says that
it is not by the institution of Christ the lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole church; or that
the Roman pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy:
let him be anathema.

Chapter 3. On the power and character of the primacy of the Roman pontiff

And so,
supported by the clear witness of holy scripture, and
adhering to the manifest and explicit decrees both of our predecessors
the Roman pontiffs and of
general councils,
we promulgate anew the definition of the ecumenical council of Florence [49] ,
which must be believed by all faithful Christians, namely that
the apostolic see and the Roman pontiff hold a world-wide primacy, and that
the Roman pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter,
the prince of the apostles,
true vicar of Christ,
head of the whole church and
father and teacher of all christian people.
To him, in blessed Peter, full power has been given by our lord Jesus Christ to
tend,
rule and govern
the universal church.
All this is to be found in the acts of the ecumenical councils and the sacred canons.

Wherefore we teach and declare that,
by divine ordinance,
the Roman church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other church, and that
this jurisdictional power of the Roman pontiff is both
episcopal and
immediate.
Both clergy and faithful,
of whatever rite and dignity,
both singly and collectively,
are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this
not only in matters concerning faith and morals,
but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the church throughout the world.

In this way, by unity with the Roman pontiff in communion and in profession of the same faith , the church of Christ becomes one flock under one supreme shepherd [50] .

This is the teaching of the catholic truth, and no one can depart from it without endangering his faith and salvation.

This power of the supreme pontiff by no means detracts from that ordinary and immediate power of episcopal jurisdiction, by which bishops, who have succeeded to the place of the apostles by appointment of the holy Spirit, tend and govern individually the particular flocks which have been assigned to them. On the contrary, this power of theirs is asserted, supported and defended by the supreme and universal pastor; for St Gregory the Great says: "My honour is the honour of the whole church. My honour is the steadfast strength of my brethren. Then do I receive true honour, when it is denied to none of those to whom honour is due." [51]

Furthermore, it follows from that supreme power which the Roman pontiff has in governing the whole church, that he has the right, in the performance of this office of his, to communicate freely with the pastors and flocks of the entire church, so that they may be taught and guided by him in the way of salvation.

And therefore we condemn and reject the opinions of those who hold that
this communication of the supreme head with pastors and flocks may be lawfully obstructed; or that
it should be dependent on the civil power, which leads them to maintain that what is determined by the apostolic see or by its authority concerning the government of the church, has no force or effect unless it is confirmed by the agreement of the civil authority.

Since the Roman pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole church, we likewise teach and declare that
he is the supreme judge of the faithful [52] , and that
in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment [53] .
The sentence of the apostolic see (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone,
nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon [54] . And so
they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council as if this were an authority superior to the Roman pontiff.

So, then,
if anyone says that
the Roman pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and
not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church, and this
not only in matters of
faith and morals, but also in those which concern the
discipline and government of the church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that
he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that
this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful:
let him be anathema.

Chapter 4. On the infallible teaching authority of the Roman pontiff


That apostolic primacy which the Roman pontiff possesses as successor of Peter, the prince of the apostles, includes also the supreme power of teaching.
This holy see has always maintained this,
the constant custom of the church demonstrates it, and
the ecumenical councils, particularly those in which East and West met in the union of faith and charity, have declared it.

So the fathers of the fourth council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith:
The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our lord Jesus Christ, You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church [55] , cannot fail of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the apostolic see the catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honour. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the apostolic see preaches, for in it is the whole and true strength of the christian religion [56] .
What is more, with the approval of the second council of Lyons, the Greeks made the following profession:
"The holy Roman church possesses the supreme and full primacy and principality over the whole catholic church. She truly and humbly acknowledges that she received this from the Lord himself in blessed Peter, the prince and chief of the apostles, whose successor the Roman pontiff is, together with the fullness of power. And since before all others she has the duty of defending the truth of the faith, so if any questions arise concerning the faith, it is by her judgment that they must be settled." [57]
Then there is the definition of the council of Florence:
"The Roman pontiff is the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole church and the father and teacher of all Christians; and to him was committed in blessed Peter, by our lord Jesus Christ, the full power of tending, ruling and governing the whole church." [58]

To satisfy this pastoral office, our predecessors strove unwearyingly that the saving teaching of Christ should be spread among all the peoples of the world; and with equal care they made sure that it should be kept pure and uncontaminated wherever it was received.

It was for this reason that the bishops of the whole world, sometimes individually, sometimes gathered in synods, according to the long established custom of the churches and the pattern of ancient usage referred to this apostolic see those dangers especially which arose in matters concerning the faith. This was to ensure that any damage suffered by the faith should be repaired in that place above all where the faith can know no failing [59] .

The Roman pontiffs, too, as the circumstances of the time or the state of affairs suggested,
sometimes by
summoning ecumenical councils or
consulting the opinion of the churches scattered throughout the world, sometimes by
special synods, sometimes by
taking advantage of other useful means afforded by divine providence,
defined as doctrines to be held those things which, by God's help, they knew to be in keeping with
sacred scripture and
the apostolic traditions.

For the holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter
not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine,
but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.
Indeed, their apostolic teaching was
embraced by all the venerable fathers and
reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors,
for they knew very well that this see of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Saviour to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren [60] .

This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this see so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole church is preserved in unity, and, resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell.

But since in this very age when the salutary effectiveness of the apostolic office is most especially needed, not a few are to be found who disparage its authority, we judge it absolutely necessary to affirm solemnly the prerogative which the only-begotten Son of God was pleased to attach to the supreme pastoral office.

Therefore,
faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the christian faith,
to the glory of God our saviour,
for the exaltation of the catholic religion and
for the salvation of the christian people,
with the approval of the sacred council,

we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that

when the Roman pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA,
that is, when,
in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians,
in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority,
he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church,
he possesses,
by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter,
that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals.
Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable.

So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.

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« Reply #56 on: August 03, 2004, 05:15:06 PM »

Dear Ben,  I would lilke to know if the RC (I prefer the usage RC instead of Catholic, which I hope you agree,  because in OO faith Catholic means the universal church) church approves the Apostolic Canons?  

You said that only the Pope of Rome or a Synod approved by the Pope can deal with matters of doctrine. In Orthodox churches, each Synod has the authority to interpret a matter of faith, based on existing catechism, canon etc. i.e. when the interpretation does not deviate from existing canon/catechism.

For example, the Synod can make a decision on a contemporary issue, such as opinon on war, opinion on abortion etc. The Coptic Synod recently made such a decision.  The Indian Catholicos expressed his opinion on Palestinian issue. There is no need for an Universal Pope or Emperor for this purpose.  Orthodox churches are guided by faith, which is traditionally transmitted and also recorded in canons and catechism of the Church.

You mentioned that the Pope of Rome  cannot change a previous decision, but bound by the decisions of previous Synod, but we know that the Pope of Rome made several apologies for past mistakes. My understanding is that your catechism teaches that individual Popes are infallible. If an (individual) Pope is infallible, then how can the present Pope declare that some of the past Popes were in error?  There is contradiction, is it not?


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« Reply #57 on: August 03, 2004, 05:32:37 PM »

Quote
Dear Ben,  I would lilke to know if the RC (I prefer the usage RC instead of Catholic, which I hope you agree,  because in OO faith Catholic means the universal church) church approves the Apostolic Canons?  


RC is fine, I just use Catholic, because these days Eastern Catholics, wish to be called Byzantine Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, Maronite Catholic, or whatever, and "Roman Catholic" has come to mean only those Catholics belonging to the Latin rite of the Church. For that reason, I just say Catholic.

Quote
You said that only the Pope of Rome or a Synod approved by the Pope can deal with matters of doctrine. In Orthodox churches, each Synod has the authority to interpret a matter of faith, based on existing catechism, canon etc. i.e. when the interpretation does not deviate from existing canon/catechism.

Only a Pope or a Council approved by the Pope can declare or define dogma. Issues such as birth control or what is happening in Palestine are not dogmatic. Supporting Palestine or Israel is not defining or declaring dogma. Let me clear, that when declaring or defining dogma is at hand, only the Pope or a Council with his approval may decide.

Quote
For example, the Synod can make a decision on a contemporary issue, such as opinon on war, opinion on abortion etc. The Coptic Synod recently made such a decision.  The Indian Catholicos expressed his opinion on Palestinian issue. There is no need for an Universal Pope or Emperor for this purpose.  Orthodox churches are guided by faith, which is traditionally transmitted and also recorded in canons and catechism of the Church.


I agree no need to have a Pope or Emperor to make a decision on the Palestinian conflict, but I think it would be every difficult for the OO to have an Ecumenical Council dealing with a serious dogmatic issue, and to enforce its decisions.

Quote
You mentioned that the Pope of Rome  cannot change a previous decision, but bound by the decisions of previous Synod, but we know that the Pope of Rome made several apologies for past mistakes. My understanding is that your catechism teaches that individual Popes are infallible. If an (individual) Pope is infallible, then how can the present Pope declare that some of the past Popes were in error?  There is contradiction, is it not?

The Pope is bound to the infallible declarations of previous Popes and Councils. The current Pope could not deny/reject the Trinity or the Divinity of Christ or the Immaculate Conception. If he did so, we would be sure to know that he does not occupy the chair of Saint Peter. However, the current Pope can appologize for past mistakes or injustices. Like apologizing for the sacking of Constantinople or the Inquistion. But the Pope can not reject or overturn a previously declared and defined dogma.

You may be confused, I don't know, but no Pope has ever rejected or overturned anything previously declared or defined as dogma. If you disagree, please provide some exmaples of this happening.

Yes the Pope can make a mistake, but not when he speaks EX CATHEDRA. The Pope is ONLY Infallible when speaking EX CATHEDRA, only then is he guided by the Holy Ghost, please see the declaration of the First Vatican Council that I copied and pasted into my last post.



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« Reply #58 on: August 03, 2004, 09:24:25 PM »

Okay... I agree it matters not who calls the Council, though I think it is much easier when you have an Emperor or Pope or both, but what about my other questions.....

Who would ratify it? Who would enforce its decisions? What if some of the bishops disagreed? What if some of the laity disagreed? Who would you trust?

Certainly, if some doctrinal argument arose within the OO and a Council was called to resolve it, there would be much debate, and surely not all would accept the Council. With no Pope or Emperor to say that that Council was valid and to enforce its decisions, I think it would be very difficult to have such a Council.

And who, in the long run, would say it was truly "Ecumenical"? Some say that the EO has had 9 Councils, they just aren't officialy considered to be Ecumenical...yet.

I think that without a figure like the Pope, calling, assembling, and ratifing a Council dealing with some sort of doctrinal dispute would be very difficult.

Dear Brothers,

There have been a lot of questions/replies sent my way which I've been unable to reply to.  I'm going to try and get to them.  This one I'd like to comment on because I think its an easy one.

Who ratifies a council?  Each Church does, not some soveriegn dictator which then obliges everyone to believe it.  Faith in the truth doesn't work that way.  If some teaching is presented to a particular Church or part of the Church, those entrusted to shepherd that Church must decide if that is the faith consistent with the tradition they were entrusted with.  If it is, then good... we have communion.  If it isn't... then we have problems.  Hopefully from that point on, communication and dialogue can continue until a consensus is reached.  BUT NO CHURCH CAN BE ORDERED TO ACCEPT AND BELIEVE SOMETHING.  This just isn't how it works.  For a millennium Elder Rome tried doing this to the East.  Finally, she has realized it just isn't going to work.  Thank the Lord for the progress that has been made between our Churches.  Thank God for the humility of the Latin Pontiffs of our day.

Which leads me to another statement you made in regard to the Pope's statement that he sought communion with the Orthodox and not jurisdiciton.

That's nice, but Catholic dogma is Catholic dogma, the Pope can't erase the declarations of the first Vatican Council, he can't sweep the dogmatic constitutions of the Roman Councils under the rug and hope for a new version of Roman Primacy to appear that is acceptable to all sides. Roman Primacy and Papal Infallibility are clearly defined Catholic dogmas, that aren't open to much interpretation.

No, its not "nice."  Its either true and the Pope is serious in his suggestion that he's open to seeing Primacy re-worked to be made acceptable to all sides, or he's a liar and a world class "B.S." artist.   I prefer to believe the former rather than the latter.

As Cardinal Ratizinger wrote:  "no one who claims allegiance to Catholic theology can... regard as the only possible form, consequently, as binding on all Christians the form this primacy has taken in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries... nevertheless, that what was possible for a thousand years is not impossible for Christians today." -from Elias Zoghby's "Ecumenical Reflections."

Finally, you asked about the OO approach to Primacy.  I don't think there is any significant difference between us and the EO's.  We share the same Eastern tradition and are alike in most ways.  This is not a matter of imitation but rather an evidence of commonality with one another.  In other words, we can't help it.
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« Reply #59 on: August 03, 2004, 09:47:39 PM »

Quote
Who ratifies a council?  Each Church does, not some soveriegn dictator which then obliges everyone to believe it.  Faith in the truth doesn't work that way.  If some teaching is presented to a particular Church or part of the Church, those entrusted to shepherd that Church must decide if that is the faith consistent with the tradition they were entrusted with.
 

I understand, but if there was a serious heresy, and some of the bishops endorsed and taught this heresy, what happens when they reject a Council that condemns the heresy that they have embraced?

If some bishops rejected the authoirty of the Council along with a large lay following, you'd have a real serious problem! You'd have no one to say the Council was true and valid, no one to enforce its decisions, and you'd be left with a schism.

Yes, of course you could hope for dialouge in such a situation, but with a figure like the Pope, no such a problem arises. There is a heresy, the Pope or someone else calls a council, condemns it, Rome ratifies it, and the end. Those who reject the Council are schismatics, end of the discussion. But with no final authoirty, both sides of a serious conflict could say they were right and the other side was schismatic.

Quote
BUT NO CHURCH CAN BE ORDERED TO ACCEPT AND BELIEVE SOMETHING.
 

There is only ONE Church, and this Church must preach, teach, and protect the truth at all costs. One must obey the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, not matter what.

Quote
Which leads me to another statement you made in regard to the Pope's statement that he sought communion with the Orthodox and not jurisdiciton.No, its not "nice."  Its either true and the Pope is serious in his suggestion that he's open to seeing Primacy re-worked to be made acceptable to all sides, or he's a liar and a world class "B.S." artist.   I prefer to believe the former rather than the latter.

Well, I'm sorry, but read what I posted in one of my previous posts from the First Vatican Council. Papal Infalliblity, Papal Sumpremacy, and Universal Jurisdiction, aren't up for too much interpretation and discussion. They have all been clearly declared and defined as Church doctrine, they can not be erased, re-defined, or slightly changed. They are what they are, and no matter what the Pope may say or do, it does not change what Rome has declared to be dogma.

Quote
Finally, you asked about the OO approach to Primacy.  I don't think there is any significant difference between us and the EO's.  We share the same Eastern tradition and are alike in most ways.  .

I was just wondering because Roman primacy developed a great deal between the 5th and 11th centuries.
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« Reply #60 on: August 03, 2004, 09:59:55 PM »

Dear Ghazaros, Thank you for suggesting the book. If church fathers are not-consistent about the concept of unity through universal supremacy of one primate, then that means the concept (of universal supremacy) is not very important in the Church. But unity is important, because that is the common aspect of both teachings. One is trying to reach unity through having one world-wide head and the other is trying to experience unity in one faith of different churches. We can argue that even in the RC model, in reality they are following unity in faith, because they follow the catechism as taught by Roman Church and various uniate churches remain united in that faith (the faith which carries the teaching of universal supremacy).  -Paul  

Paul,

If they helped to keep the Church in unity for much of the first millenium, a balance between Primacy and Collegiality are indeed important, even critical to recovering that lost unity today.  Please note that I am speaking of an acceptable form of Roman Primacy and not "universal supremacy" -a big difference.
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« Reply #61 on: August 03, 2004, 10:22:29 PM »

 

I understand, but if there was a serious heresy, and some of the bishops endorsed and taught this heresy, what happens when they reject a Council that condemns the heresy that they have embraced?

If some bishops rejected the authoirty of the Council along with a large lay following, you'd have a real serious problem! You'd have no one to say the Council was true and valid, no one to enforce its decisions, and you'd be left with a schism.

Yes, of course you could hope for dialouge in such a situation, but with a figure like the Pope, no such a problem arises. There is a heresy, the Pope or someone else calls a council, condemns it, Rome ratifies it, and the end. Those who reject the Council are schismatics, end of the discussion. But with no final authoirty, both sides of a serious conflict could say they were right and the other side was schismatic.  

There is only ONE Church, and this Church must preach, teach, and protect the truth at all costs. One must obey the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, not matter what.

This problem you suggest is easily answered.  Then each of these Churches are no longer in communion with one another and consider's each other schismatic or heretical (as the case may be) untill the problem is resloved.  I'd hate to break this to you, Ben, but even though there's always been a Pope of Rome, this STILL took place.  Divisions took place inspite of Papal Primacy.  The office of the Papacy did not automatically fix the problems.  You will surely answer that this is so because the Oriental Churches did not "obey" the Pope.   But after 1500 years, our ships stil haven't sunk; we are still afloat.  And in modern times what has happened??? Latin theologians realized we never taught what we were accused of.  Popes swallowed their pride and set aside their arrogance and were willing to sit down and discuss this.  The result was joint Christological agreements.  All this resolution without us ever being forced to "obey Rome."  This corresponds to what I said above and does not correspond to the forced-faith and obedience/slavery model which you suggest (which reminds me more of Islam than the freedom promised in Christianity.

Well, I'm sorry, but read what I posted in one of my previous posts from the First Vatican Council. Papal Infalliblity, Papal Sumpremacy, and Universal Jurisdiction, aren't up for too much interpretation and discussion. They have all been clearly declared and defined as Church doctrine, they can not be erased, re-defined, or slightly changed. They are what they are, and no matter what the Pope may say or do, it does not change what Rome has declared to be dogma.I was just wondering because Roman primacy developed a great deal between the 5th and 11th centuries.

No need to apologize.  You are entitled to your opinion.  Obviously, I throw my lot in with those many theologians of East and West who do believe Papal Primacy is up for much discussion and interpretation.  The councils you site have been referred to by Roman Pontiffs themselves as "General Councils of the West" rather than Ecumenical!  Time will tell.  But I can assure the East will never accept the Vatican I model of Papal Primacy.
I have faith that as it has happened over the Christological debate, it CAN and Will happen over the issue of primacy.
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« Reply #62 on: August 03, 2004, 10:41:42 PM »

 
Quote
I'd hate to break this to you, Ben, but even though there's always been a Pope of Rome, this STILL took place.  Divisions took place inspite of Papal Primacy.  The office of the Papacy did not automatically fix the problems.
 

Of course it didn't. There was an Emperor who called the Council, who enforced its decisions, and even violently persecuted those who didn't accept them. Divsions took place, but it was and is clear who were the schismatics and heretics.

The Arian Bishops rejected Nicea, but it was clear they were heretics, an Ecumenical Council, called for and enforced by the Emperor and approved and ratified by the Pope, condemned their heretical beliefs, end of story.

Quote
But after 1500 years, our ships stil haven't sunk; we are still afloat.

Your ships have not been faced with a serious heresy in the last 1500 years! And if they had, I don't think the OO's would have been able to have a Council to deal with a heresy while under ethier Byzantine or Islamic rule.

Quote
No need to apologize.  You are entitled to your opinion.  Obviously, I throw my lot in with those many theologians of East and West who do believe Papal Primacy is up for much discussion and interpretation.

I am not merely stating my opinions. You are free to read what the Catholic Ecumenical Councils had to say. They have declared and defined clearly the Catholic teaching on Papal Infallibilty, Supremacy, and universal jurisdiction, all of which can not be erased or somehow redefined.

Quote
The councils you site have been referred to by Roman Pontiffs themselves as "General Councils of the West" rather than Ecumenical!


Yes and until very recently Rome always made it clear that the Catholic Church was the one true Chruch, and that the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches were schismatic. "General Councils of the West" means the exact same thing as "General Councils of THE Church" from the viewpoint of Catholic doctrine. The Catholic Church teaches it is the one true Church, all else....schism and heresy.

Quote
But I can assure the East will never accept the Vatican I model of Papal Primacy.

And I assure you that the West cannot abandon the Vatican I model of Papal Primacy.

Quote
I have faith that as it has happened over the Christological debate and it CAN and Will happen over the issue of primacy.

I disagree.

From my limited study, it seems that the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church have come to believe that dispite historical disputes and misunderstandings, both sides believe the same thing. This is clearly true from the Comon Christological Agreements between the RCC and the OOC.

However, it is clear that East and West are *not* in agreement regarding Papal Primacy. It is obvious that either the East would have to accept Roman Catholic dogma, or the West would have to abandon it. I don't believe that is/was the case with the Christological disagreements.
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« Reply #63 on: August 03, 2004, 11:03:32 PM »

 
Of course it didn't. There was an Emperor who called the Council, who enforced its decisions, and even violently persecuted those who didn't accept them. Divsions took place, but it was and is clear who were the schismatics and heretics.

The Arian Bishops rejected Nicea, but it was clear they were heretics, an Ecumenical Council, called for and enforced by the Emperor and approved and ratified by the Pope, condemned their heretical beliefs, end of story.

Not quite.  What about the Nestorians?  What about the Monophysites?  Etc.  They were also condemened as heretics but later discovered not to be espousing what they were accused of.  Where's your proof in this?

Your ships have not been faced with a serious heresy in the last 1500 years! And if they had, I don't think the OO's would have been able to have a Council to deal with a heresy while under ethier Byzantine or Islamic rule.

Oh, come on.  You don't think the East has had to battle any heresies since our departure from Rome???  Maybe, if you are correct, we are better off without the Papacy then.  I don't think either statement is true.

I am not merely stating my opinions. You are free to read what the Catholic Ecumenical Councils had to say. They have declared and defined clearly the Catholic teaching on Papal Infallibilty, Supremacy, and universal jurisdiction, all of which can not be erased or somehow redefined.

When I spoke of your opinions I referred to your opinion about what can be reformed, developed, interpreted differently, etc.  You obviously think none of this can in a substantial enough way to satisfy the East.  The Popes own words directly contradict your opinion.  I'm sticking with the Pope on this one.

Yes and until very recently Rome always made it clear that the Catholic Church was the one true Chruch, and that the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches were schismatic.

Untill very recently?  Did Rome change her mind?  I'm glad she did.

"General Councils of the West" means the exact same thing as "General Councils of THE Church" from the viewpoint of Catholic doctrine.

It doesn't to the East.   The Pope knows it and that's why the he said it.  Again, your opinion about the Roman Pontiff's motives are just that, you opinion.  Many others have different ones.

The Catholic Church teaches it is the one true Church, all else....schism and heresy.  And I assure you that the West cannot abandon the Vatican I model of Papal Primacy.  I disagree.

Who said abandon?  How about reformulate.  I know you will disagree.  I'm just glad you aren't currently the Roman Pope!   Smiley

From my limited study, it seems that the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church have come to believe that dispite historical disputes and misunderstandings, both sides believe the same thing. This is clearly true from the Comon Christological Agreements between the RCC and the OOC.  However, it is clear that East and West are *not* in agreement regarding Papal Primacy. It is obvious that either the East would have to accept Roman Catholic dogma, or the West would have to abandon it. I don't believe that is/was the case with the Christological disagreements.

That's what they used to think about the Christological debate.  Smiley  If the Churches want unity, they'll figure it out.  It will really piss off the strict hard-liners on both sides, but most of them will get over it.  You watch and see.  I'm not just an arm-chair wannabe theologian but also an armchair prophet.   Wink

Thanks for the debate.  I'm signing-off for the night.  I've got a family to attend to.
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« Reply #64 on: August 04, 2004, 01:13:43 AM »

Quote
Not quite.  What about the Nestorians?  

Nestorius, along with the heretical teachings he is said to have embraced and taught, were condmened. I am convinced that the modern day Assyrians aren't Nestorians, well at least their bishops aren't. Several Christological agreements with Rome are clear that the Assryians, or at least those bishops who have signed and agreed to the Christological agreements with Rome, are not Nestorians.

Quote
What about the Monophysites?

Monophysitism is a heresy, however the OO's say they are *not* Monophysites. Perhpas Chalcedon should be re-examined, but the Christological formula used and declared at Chalcedon wasn't heretical, and can't be considered to be so if both sides seek union. It should only be re-examined to the point of who was condmened and if they were really heretics, in my opinion. I think it would be a mistake to expect either the RCC or the EOC to reject or reformulate Chalcedonian Christology.

Quote
They were also condemened as heretics but later discovered not to be espousing what they were accused of.
 

Yes of course. That is what needs to be re-examined, not the condemnation of the heresy itself, but perhaps the condemnation of individuals who didn't embrace and teach heresy, as they were accused of doing.

Quote
You don't think the East has had to battle any heresies since our departure from Rome???  


Okay, what heresy has the OO had to battle in the last 1500 years or so?

Quote
When I spoke of your opinions I referred to your opinion about what can be reformed, developed, interpreted differently, etc.
 

That is not merely my opinion, rather official Church teaching. Dogma cannot be erased, which is what would have to happen if the West embraced the East's teaching on Papal Primacy. There aren't many ways you can take the declarations of the Catholic Ecumenical Councils, like the First Vatican Council, regarding Papal Primacy.

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The Popes own words directly contradict your opinion.

Ah, but the Pope's opinions are *not* infallible. The Pope can be wrong, and can make some serious mistakes, the current Pontiff is a perfect example.

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I'm sticking with the Pope on this one.

Nothing wrong with that, but it is just false hope. Papal Infallibility, Papal Sumpremacy, and Papal Universal Jurisdiction are dogma, they can not be erased or rejected. You seem to think they just need to be "reformed" or "redefined", however, you yourself said that the East will never accept the First Vatican Council. What the First Vatican Council declared and defined, is dogma, it can't be changed, so hoping that somehow Rome will completely reform its interpretation of Roman Primacy is absurd. For Rome to do so, they would fall under their own anathema.

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Untill very recently?  Did Rome change her mind?  I'm glad she did.

In the last 40 years or so, Ecumenism and Liberalism have infected the Church on all levels. Resulting in the Holy Father kissing the Qu'ran, praying with Jews and heretics in their places of worship, allowing Catholic places of worship to become Ecumenical houses of worship (for exmaple what happened at Assisi, and what is now happening at Fatima), priests and bishops rejecting Catholic dogma and even concelebrating with schismatics and heretics and without be punished for their actions, the idea that those "Churches" who reject fundamental Catholic dogma are some how a part of the Church or not schismatic or heretical are becoming wide spread amoung the laity, clergy and bishops, and an overall watering-down of fundamental Catholic doctrine.

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Who said abandon?  How about reformulate.

Well what I quoted from the First Vatican Council is dogma. Are you telling me Universal Jurisdiction and Infalibility can somehow be "reformulated" without being all together abandoned? I don't think its possible. Vatican I stated that the bishop of Rome can declare or define something to be held by the entire Church, and that when doing so EX CATHEDRA, he is prevented from all error. How can Rome "reformulate" that?

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I'm just glad you aren't currently the Roman Pope!

Just be gald its not 1904. Since Vatican II we have had the most liberal and ecumenicaly minded Popes ever, and I suspect its only going to get worse. The last straw to break the cammel's back will be when the next Pope allows women to enter the priesthood. We already have altar girls and female Eucharistic ministers....women priests are next!
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« Reply #65 on: August 04, 2004, 11:23:02 AM »

Since Vatican II we have had the most liberal and ecumenicaly minded Popes ever, and I suspect its only going to get worse. The last straw to break the cammel's back will be when the next Pope allows women to enter the priesthood. We already have altar girls and female Eucharistic ministers....women priests are next!

According to all I've read, Pope John Paul II's Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is regarded as infallible by the "ordinary magisterium" of the RCC.  I think there was even an explanation to this effect coming out of Card. Ratzinger's office.  If so, then why would you be so sure that the next Pope will allow women to become priests?  

You sound like you have very little faith in the Church whose beliefs you profess very confidently (so it seems to me, anyway).
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« Reply #66 on: August 04, 2004, 02:00:40 PM »

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According to all I've read, Pope John Paul II's Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is regarded as infallible by the "ordinary magisterium" of the RCC.


Exactly. It is regarded as infallible, that is why its going to be quite a problem if the next Pope does allow women to be ordained as priests. You must keep in mind that there are many Catholic bishops, and even Cardinals, that support the idea of women priests. Pope John Paul II's Ordinatio Sacerdotalis met quite a lot of opposition from liberal laity, clergy, and even bishops.

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I think there was even an explanation to this effect coming out of Card. Ratzinger's office.  If so, then why would you be so sure that the next Pope will allow women to become priests?
 

I am not totally positive, but things are just getting worse and that is the next logical step when you have altar girls and female Eucharistic ministers. Do not think all Catholics are in agreement, there are a large number of celrgy who support women being priests, and even bishops and Cardinals! My God, look at what has happened to the Catholic Church in the last 40 years! It is obvious that things are only getting worse. The bishops of the Church are becoming more liberal and liberal, as the older bishops retire and die.

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You sound like you have very little faith in the Church whose beliefs you profess very confidently (so it seems to me, anyway).    


Look at what has happened to the Catholic Church in the last 40 years, and tell me why I should have faith. The great apostasy is here and now, the Church has been infected by heresy on all levels. There are millions of examples of what I am saying. There is no way of ignoring it, it is what it is, the Church is not the same today as it as 50 years ago, the Mass isn't the same, the Sacraments aren't the same, and even the faith has been so watered down, that it even seems as if the faith has been changed. However, that is just and illusion, no dogma has changed, but so many have false hope that dogma can be erased, trased, or put more nicely "reformulated". And I trust that there are many bishops, priests, and laymen who would change Church dogma if they could.
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« Reply #67 on: August 04, 2004, 05:18:14 PM »

Nestorius, along with the heretical teachings he is said to have embraced and taught, were condmened. I am convinced that the modern day Assyrians aren't Nestorians, well at least their bishops aren't. Several Christological agreements with Rome are clear that the Assryians, or at least those bishops who have signed and agreed to the Christological agreements with Rome, are not Nestorians.Monophysitism is a heresy, however the OO's say they are *not* Monophysites.

Yes, but the Assyrian Church of the East and the Oriental Orthodox were accused of Nestorianism and Monophysitism -respectively- untill this century.  If our Churches aren't Nestorian or Monophysite now, then we never were becuase we still affirm our same teachings.  Again all this has been realized by Rome, hence our Christological statements without any of us bending our knees to the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff.  Therefore, once again, my point remains that Churches can not be ordered to believe things through the authority of one Bishop, even if he does have an acknowledged primacy.  If anything, such a misuse of primacy leads to schism as happened with Pope Leo.  If Churches are really heretical they will go away as did the Arians or remain apart from the Church.  But if these Churches are authentic, sooner or later they will be recognized as such.  They will be known by their fruit.

Perhpas Chalcedon should be re-examined, but the Christological formula used and declared at Chalcedon wasn't heretical, and can't be considered to be so if both sides seek union. It should only be re-examined to the point of who was condmened and if they were really heretics, in my opinion. I think it would be a mistake to expect either the RCC or the EOC to reject or reformulate Chalcedonian Christology.  

Our Church's position is that Pope Leo's language was unfamiliar and could be misleading and therefore was UNNACCEPTABLE.  So we were not accusing anyone of heresy.  We just wanted a statement accaptable to all sides.  I think we've accomplished this in our time.


 Okay, what heresy has the OO had to battle in the last 1500 years or so?  

You really do believe that no Eastern Church has had to battle a heresy since our split with Old Rome?  I am surprised.  You should study our history more and not make such assertions before doing so.  Another irony which comes to mind is how Latins like to boast that the East had many heresies in the early centuries which Rome had to bail them out of (a proof for the need for Papal Supremacy).   Yet you are saying that since the split we've never had a heresy!!!  You put these two together and can come up with some interesting inferences here.  I.e.  with Rome, many heresies... without Rome, no heresies.  If that's the case, when it comes to Rome, who needs her! Huh

That is not merely my opinion, rather official Church teaching. Dogma cannot be erased, which is what would have to happen if the West embraced the East's teaching on Papal Primacy.

That just simply isn't true.  Have you ever studied the different formulas which were suggested and thrown around during Vatican I before they "agreed" or were intimidated into accepting the one they did?  Many of these would just about fix the problem themselves.  Then there is the whole question of the ecumenical status of Vatican I itself?  Where is the infallible statement stating this is infallible Council?  There are a lot of issues which, under examination, could render this Council not ecumenical at all (see Melkite Archbishop Elias Zoghby's article "Vatian I: A Pseudo Council?" at:

http://www.geocities.com/derghazar/articles.html    for more info.

Just be gald its not 1904. Since Vatican II we have had the most liberal and ecumenicaly minded Popes ever, and I suspect its only going to get worse....

You sound like a disgruntled Traditionalist.  I feel your pain brother.  But if the Pope is a liberal, how do you explain his stance against sexual immorality, contraception and abortion.  He's the most unusual liberal I've ever seen.  Smiley  You are walking a fine line trying to distinguish what is the authentic part of your Church and what is the modernistic, heretical part.  That's a lot of responisbility to bear on your shoulders.  I wish you the best.

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« Reply #68 on: August 04, 2004, 05:30:27 PM »


Exactly. It is regarded as infallible, that is why its going to be quite a problem if the next Pope does allow women to be ordained as priests.

...  

I am not totally positive, but things are just getting worse and that is the next logical step when you have altar girls and female Eucharistic ministers. Do not think all Catholics are in agreement, there are a large number of celrgy who support women being priests, and even bishops and Cardinals! My God, look at what has happened to the Catholic Church in the last 40 years! It is obvious that things are only getting worse. The bishops of the Church are becoming more liberal and liberal, as the older bishops retire and die.

But Ben, I thought the whole point of papal infallibility is that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church, if necessary through the Pope himself, so that erroneous and heretical things DO NOT HAPPEN.  If you believe OS is infallible, then it's not that it will be a problem when the next Pope allows female priests: IT JUST WON'T HAPPEN BECAUSE THE HOLY SPIRIT WON'T LET IT HAPPEN, and if it does, then you know he's not really the Pope.  But here you are on the one hand advertising this teaching as a sure safeguard for the Church and on the other hand worrying for the immediate future of your Church IN SPITE of it.      

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Look at what has happened to the Catholic Church in the last 40 years, and tell me why I should have faith.

Because if you are a Roman Catholic and believe that the RCC is the Church Christ founded, you should have faith in your God and in your Pope's God-given charism of infallibility that He won't let heresy ravage His Church.  But if the past forty years is enough to get you questioning all of this, then I suggest you stop trying to convince the Orthodox that papal infallibility is so great.  Obviously it's not working for you.    

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The great apostasy is here and now, the Church has been infected by heresy on all levels. There are millions of examples of what I am saying. There is no way of ignoring it, it is what it is, the Church is not the same today as it as 50 years ago, the Mass isn't the same, the Sacraments aren't the same, and even the faith has been so watered down, that it even seems as if the faith has been changed. However, that is just and illusion, no dogma has changed, but so many have false hope that dogma can be erased, trased, or put more nicely "reformulated". And I trust that there are many bishops, priests, and laymen who would change Church dogma if they could.

Again, why worry if you believe in your faith?  For all your insistence that papal infallibility and associated teachings are God's Truth and the only sure safeguard for the church, it doesn't seem to have done much to help you or it.  What's so great about it?
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« Reply #69 on: August 04, 2004, 11:44:44 PM »

Now i know this is off topic and will seem biased because i am Oriental Orthodox, but this section of the forum seems to be the most fruitful when it comes to theological / ecclesiastical debates, such as this one and the awesome Christological ones when Deacon Peter and Linus7 were still around.
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« Reply #70 on: August 05, 2004, 07:10:21 PM »

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Yes, but the Assyrian Church of the East and the Oriental Orthodox were accused of Nestorianism and Monophysitism -respectively- untill this century.


Very true, and perhaps some Assyrian and Oriental Orthodox priests or bishops were/are heretics, I don't know, I have seen some quotes - posted by Linus before he stopped posting here - from OO bishops that seemed heretical, but that isn't for me to decided. If, however, our Churches can agree on a Christological formula, once and for all, then I would have no problem saying it was all misunderstandings, mistranslations, or whatever. Perhaps, we Chalcedonians do need to re-examine who was condemned of what, and why, and if they really were/are heretics.

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If our Churches aren't Nestorian or Monophysite now, then we never were becuase we still affirm our same teachings.

Well I don't know. The Assyrians still commemorate Nestorius as a Saint and un-bloody martyr for the faith. And some of the stuff that I have read, written by Assyrian bishops, is a little questionable, and yet some of the stuff I have read is totally orthodox, I don't know, it is the same with OO bishops. I don't know enough to say who believes what, I can't say that the OO Church is this or that or that the Assyrians or this or that. I'll leave it up to Rome, and if both sides can agree on a orthodox Christological agreement, then you sure won't here any complaints from me! Smiley I want union, however, I will not accept anything that compromises the Catholic faith, and thus far the Christological agreements between Rome and the Assyrians and Rome and the OOs look pretty orthodox, though once again my knowledge is limited, and I leave that kind of stuff those better educated than me in these matters.

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Again all this has been realized by Rome, hence our Christological statements without any of us bending our knees to the infallibility of the
Roman Pontiff.


One must not be in obediance in Rome to have a correct Christology, Rome teaches the EO to have orthodox Christology, and yet the EO are not in obediance to Rome.

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Therefore, once again, my point remains that Churches can not be ordered to believe things through the authority of one Bishop, even if he does have an acknowledged primacy.

There is only one Church. Only one true Church, founded by Christ, and the succesors of St. Peter have been appointed as the head of this Church on earth. The successors of St. Peter have the job of protecting the faith from all error no matter what, with or without the rest of the Church's bishops. Truth is truth no matter who agrees. The divinity of Christ is true, not matter if only one bishop in the entire world believes this. The Church is not a democracy, whether the bishops all agree or not does not change what is the truth. All of the bishops at Nicea could have adopted Arius's teachings, hypotheticaly speaking, and it would not have made them the truth.

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If Churches are really heretical they will go away as did the Arians or remain apart from the Church.

The Arians stuck around for quite a while, and to this day there are groups or denominations that have been haavily influenced by some of Arius's. And look at Islam! Believe it or not Islam started as a heresy and look at it now - the fastest growing religion in the world!

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Our Church's position is that Pope Leo's language was unfamiliar and could be misleading and therefore was UNNACCEPTABLE.

I don't think that just because something is unfamiliar, it is thus unnacceptable.

 
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So we were not accusing anyone of heresy.


You aren't, but OO Christians on this forum have refered to Pope Saint Leo as a heretic and his Tome as heretical. I have a few OO Christian friends, and they all think that the Catholic Church is Nestorian!

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You really do believe that no Eastern Church has had to battle a heresy since our split with Old Rome?


I must really be in the dark! I can not think of one heresy that the OO has faced in the last 1500 years or so! I am not stating it as a fact or claiming to be an expert, but I am honestly asking you.....what heresy has the OO had to deal with since the break with Rome?

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Another irony which comes to mind is how Latins like to boast that the East had many heresies in the early centuries which Rome had to bail them out of (a proof for the need for Papal Supremacy).

Well, that is historical fact. Bishop Ware brings this up in his book "The Orthodox Church" as one of the reasons Rome did have a "primacy of honour" in the early Church. Rome, from the Orthodox persepective, remained the safegard of the faith, not falling into heresy, for centuries. It is historical fact that often the East turned to Rome for help when the East was attacked with heresy after heresy.

 
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Have you ever studied the different formulas which were suggested and thrown around during Vatican I before they "agreed" or were intimidated into accepting the one they did?


Yes I have, but my friend, they all meaning NOTHING now. What was declared at Vatican I is DOGMA, it can not be erased or somehow changed.

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Then there is the whole question of the ecumenical status of Vatican I itself?  Where is the infallible statement stating this is infallible Council?  


The First Vatican Council declared a dogma, it was thus Infallible in doing so, just as Nicea was. A dogma declared or defined in a General Council of Bishops and ratified by the Holy Father is INFALLIBLE.

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There are a lot of issues which, under examination, could render this Council not ecumenical at all (see Melkite Archbishop Elias Zoghby's article "Vatian I: A Pseudo Council?"


Sorry, Vatican I declared and defined doctrine, it placed anathemas on anyone who disagreed with their declarations, and the Council was ratified as valid by the Pope at the time - that is all I need to know it was a true and valid Council.

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You sound like a disgruntled Traditionalist.


Wow, then I guess every single faithful Catholic up to 1965 or so was a "disgruntled Traditionalist"...lol. Just imagine...remain true to the faith and you are not "disgruntled"...hehehe. Anyway, yes I am a Traditionalist, I remain true to the Catholic faith that was preached, defended, and propagated up untill the 1960's.

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But if the Pope is a liberal, how do you explain his stance against sexual immorality, contraception and abortion.


Well of course he is a conservative in that area, however I am refering to matters of faith. Sadly, If JPII was a bishop in the Church oh say 100 years ago, I doubt he would have survived long without being excommunicated or at least punished. And my God I don't know how long he would have survived in the days of the Inquisition.
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« Reply #71 on: August 05, 2004, 07:24:13 PM »


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But Ben, I thought the whole point of papal infallibility is that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church, if necessary through the Pope himself, so that erroneous and heretical things DO NOT HAPPEN.

Exactly, thus when a Pope declares or emrabces publicaly something blantantly heretical, like if the next Pope lets women become priest, we would be sure to know that the Chair he occupied was not that of St. Peter, but that of the anti-Christ.

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If you believe OS is infallible, then it's not that it will be a problem when the next Pope allows female priests: IT JUST WON'T HAPPEN BECAUSE THE HOLY SPIRIT WON'T LET IT HAPPEN, and if it does, then you know he's not really the Pope.

No it can happen. We know that a great apostasy will occur within the true Church in the last days, God will allow this to happen. Those who embrace heresy and leave the true faith are not the Church. If Rome allows women to be priests - then we will be sure to know that the Sedevacantists are right.

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But here you are on the one hand advertising this teaching as a sure safeguard for the Church and on the other hand worrying for the immediate future of your Church IN SPITE of it.


Of course I am worrying, look at was has happened in the RC in the last 40 years! I am just saying that the problem will be if Rome does allow women to be priests - for then we will know Rome is no longer the Rome- if you know what I mean. The Holy Spirit will protect the Church from ALL error, if Rome embraces error - heresy - it is *not* the Chruch.

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Because if you are a Roman Catholic and believe that the RCC is the Church Christ founded, you should have faith in your God and in your Pope's God-given charism of infallibility that He won't let heresy ravage His Church.


But God is and will let heresy ravage his Church! Please look at what is happening as we speak! It is fact that in the last days the true Church would be attacked on all levels and infiltrated by the greatest of heresies. This is Biblical prophesy, and that of many Catholic Saints. However, no need to fear unless Rome itself embraces heresy as truth - which has not happened. Since Vatican II, NO dogma has been changed, and even the new catechism is pretty orthodox, however, when or if Rome embraces what is false as truth, then there is much to fear!

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But if the past forty years is enough to get you questioning all of this, then I suggest you stop trying to convince the Orthodox that papal infallibility is so great.
 

I am not trying to convince anyone. I am just responding to questions and/comments. Please, I am not out to convert or convince anyone! However, remember the Pope is only infallible when defining or declaring something to be held by the whole Church EX CATHEDRA. He can, like any othe bishop, be wrong and even be a material heretic.
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« Reply #72 on: August 05, 2004, 08:43:21 PM »

Hello Ben,

As for having some heretical sounding bishops, you and I both know that the OO don't hold a candle to the RCs.  But that's another subject.

There is only one Church. Only one true Church, founded by Christ, and the succesors of St. Peter have been appointed as the head of this Church on earth. The successors of St. Peter have the job of protecting the faith from all error no matter what, with or without the rest of the Church's bishops. Truth is truth no matter who agrees...  

O.k., this is getting carried away.  I'm familiar with Roman Catholicism.  And I know you are an adherent to this faith.  You know I am not.  This is getting redundant.  You know the Orthodox teach that the faith was not entrusted to just one but instead to twelve.  We believe that they all were responsible for preserving this faith, and so are all their successors.  There's no need for you and I to keep going back and forth with this.

You aren't, but OO Christians on this forum have refered to Pope Saint Leo as a heretic and his Tome as heretical. I have a few OO Christian friends, and they all think that the Catholic Church is Nestorian!  

There's over-zealots in every Church.

I must really be in the dark! I can not think of one heresy that the OO has faced in the last 1500 years or so! I am not stating it as a fact or claiming to be an expert, but I am honestly asking you.....what heresy has the OO had to deal with since the break with Rome?

The Paulicians, Iconoclasts and Corruptionalists to name some of the more prominent.  And of course, everybody's favorite... CHALCEDON (I have a page on the history of this if interested:) http://www.geocities.com/derghazar/chalcedon.html  This is not to say Chalcedonians are heretical but Leo's Tome was decided to be unnacceptable by our Church through our own Councils and through Councils with other Churches.  Then there is Islam and Communism which we also endured.

Well, that is historical fact. Bishop Ware brings this up in his book "The Orthodox Church" as one of the reasons Rome did have a "primacy of honour" in the early Church. Rome, from the Orthodox persepective, remained the safegard of the faith, not falling into heresy, for centuries. It is historical fact that often the East turned to Rome for help when the East was attacked with heresy after heresy.

Here's where we get into the difference between the EO and OO understanding of Rome's importance.  EO's think Rome got it right a little more than the OO do.  Wink

Yes I have, but my friend, they all meaning NOTHING now. What was declared at Vatican I is DOGMA, it can not be erased or somehow changed.  

They all mean nothing?  Huh  So for you:  the bishops from all over the RC world gather together to discuss what their understanding of the Tradition regarding the role of the Papacy is, and their witness means nothing?  Wow.  So there's no chance that any of them were offering witness from authentic Holy Tradition which could've made the declaration better or more acceptable?  What good are bishops then?  To carry out the orders of the Pope?  You are witnessing to that attitude which Pope Gregory condemned and which you deny has ever existed in Roman Catholicism.  I guess the bishops' witness is all rubbish and all that matters is the declaration the Pope wanted.  I find such an approach to the relationship between primacy and collegiality to be totally unnacceptable.  Thanks for reminding me that I'm in the faith in which I belong (as I'm sure I've done for you).

The First Vatican Council declared a dogma, it was thus Infallible in doing so, just as Nicea was.   A dogma declared or defined in a General Council of Bishops and ratified by the Holy Father is INFALLIBLE.  Sorry, Vatican I declared and defined doctrine, it placed anathemas on anyone who disagreed with their declarations, and the Council was ratified as valid by the Pope at the time - that is all I need to know it was a true and valid Council.  

Again this is all conditioned on whether Vatican I continues to be considered Ecumenical by Old Rome (which you affirm it will).  Time will tell.  But the difference between you and I is that you think a Council is to declare a truth that legalistically binds everyone from that point on.  I think a Council is to bring unity and manifest the mind of the entire Church.  I'm going to be publishing an excellent article on this by the dearly departed Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan on my web-site soon (I'll announce it on this forum when I do).  It opened my eyes to a new understanding of the real role of the Council.

Wow, then I guess every single faithful Catholic up to 1965 or so was a "disgruntled Traditionalist"...lol. Just imagine...remain true to the faith and you are not "disgruntled"...hehehe. Anyway, yes I am a Traditionalist, I remain true to the Catholic faith that was preached, defended, and propagated up untill the 1960's.  

I sympathize with you traditionalists to a point.  In other ways I'm glad the Latin Church is coming around.

Well of course he is a conservative in that area, however I am refering to matters of faith. Sadly, If JPII was a bishop in the Church oh say 100 years ago, I doubt he would have survived long without being excommunicated or at least punished. And my God I don't know how long he would have survived in the days of the Inquisition.

Pope JPII:  half liberal, half conservative... a boderline heretic who a hundred years ago would have been burned at the stake.  Yet today, he's the infallible head of the Church!  You have a very interesting faith, my brother.

Anyway.  I see no point in carrying this on.  I don't believe in debating un-endlessly just for the sake of debate.  We are on opposite sides of this issue and not one thing you or I say is going to change a thing.  The only thing we can change is ourselves... and I've got my hands full with this.  I will read your reply, though.

May God bless you, thanks for the discussion.
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« Reply #73 on: August 05, 2004, 08:45:21 PM »

Ben,

For sequence & clarity could you please indicate who is quoted & when it occured ?

Some of us geesers need a little help.

Thanx
james
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An old timer is a man who's had a lot of interesting experiences -- some of them true.

Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.
Jakub
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« Reply #74 on: August 05, 2004, 08:55:55 PM »

Brother Ghazar,

I forgot to welcome you, and may I say you are professing your faith & beliefs in a most intelligent & brotherly manner.

james
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An old timer is a man who's had a lot of interesting experiences -- some of them true.

Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.
Ghazar
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"Ghazaros, toors yegoor:" "Lazarus, come forth."


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« Reply #75 on: August 05, 2004, 09:06:54 PM »

Dear Brother Jakub (Hagop in Armenian)  Wink

Thank you for your generous welcome and kind words.  I look forward to learning a lot from you all as we share our Holy Orthodox faith with one another.

Btw, you wouldn't happen to be the same Jakub I've had the pleasure to dialogue with in a Byzantine Forum with, would you?

p.s. wow, with that post, I just became a "jr. member."  Smiley  I'm moving up in the world (or at least in the forum).  Cheesy
« Last Edit: August 05, 2004, 09:08:05 PM by Ghazaros » Logged

Trusting in Christ's Inextinguishable Light,
Rev. Sub-Deacon Lazarus Der-Ghazarian,
Byzantine Catholic Church, Eparchy of Parma
St. Gregory the Illuminator Institute:
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