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Author Topic: Peculiar Roman Catholic Salvation Doctrine  (Read 12311 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 14, 2004, 04:21:34 PM »

I have listened to Catholic Answers the last year driving to work in the morning everyday & I ussually agree with most of what they say except for today. They had apologist Patrick Madrid on today who is well known in RC circles.

The topic of salvation came up by one of the callers who called in to the show. The guy asked if someone was a good faithful Catholic for the last 50 years of thier life & one day they decided to go to a football game on Sunday instead of Mass & they happened to die in a car accident on the way to the game, would they go to hell?Huh

I was floored when Patrick Madrid without any hesitation said "yes, they would go to hell for missing one mass." Then the host (I think it was Jimmy Akin) chimmed in & said the same thing.

Is this what Rome really teaches??? This really smacks of legalism to me. Who would feel safe being a Catholic & missing a Sunday mass, & maybe sometimes for good reasons. I think they are way off on this one....
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2004, 05:17:06 PM »

If one has a good enough reason for missing Mass, I don't think they have a problem with it.  Football hardly counts.
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2004, 06:39:36 PM »

Does this man know that missing mass on Sunday is considered a sin?  If so, then he decided of his own free will to turn his back on God and to sin.  I'd assume he was unrepentant of missing mass.  But if he was struggling on the inside with not being at church and in the last millisecond of his life said "Lord, forgive me!" then who is to say what can happen to him but God alone.
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2004, 07:00:10 PM »

If a guy was a good faithful Catholic for fifty years of his life, then I expect he would've figured out by now that missing Mass for no good reason is considered a mortal sin, and so he wouldn't miss Mass for a football game.  Of course, Catholic churches (at least here) seem to have Masses every hour or two on Sundays, so missing Mass shouldn't be an issue.

...and I'm sure someone has already attempted a tailgate Mass by now.   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2004, 07:20:56 PM »

This person has no reason for missing his or her Sunday obligation ( In the RCC it is obligatory to attend Mass on a regular bassis. It is a Mortal Sin not to attend if you dont have a good reason for doing so).  Do you mean to tell me, a former RC, that the RCC makes it almost impossible to miss Mass? I dont think so.

They have Saturday evening and also very early Sunday morning Masses.  Sorry, no excuse for this guy in my books.

The Good Lord gives us 168 hours a week. Can we not give Him back at least 2 hours at Sunday service?

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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2004, 08:37:29 PM »

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If a guy was a good faithful Catholic for fifty years of his life, then I expect he would've figured out by now that missing Mass for no good reason is considered a mortal sin, and so he wouldn't miss Mass for a football game.  Of course, Catholic churches (at least here) seem to have Masses every hour or two on Sundays, so missing Mass shouldn't be an issue.

So, missing one mass in 50 years is derserving of eternal hell?? Looks like they are more concerned about the letter of the law than the spirit. I have also never met a Roman Catholic that has made it to church every Sunday of thier life. In fact, I don't come across many Catholics that attend mass every sunday within a few months span.  

Quote
The Good Lord gives us 168 hours a week. Can we not give Him back at least 2 hours at Sunday service?

I agree, & just 2 hours a week is not enough.  As long as someone makes eucharist on a daily basis, I don't think missing a sunday mass once in a while is a big deal.
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2004, 08:54:04 PM »

At what point can we chalk it up to, "Only God can determine a man's fate"?
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2004, 10:46:57 PM »

So, missing one mass in 50 years is derserving of eternal hell?? Looks like they are more concerned about the letter of the law than the spirit.

Perhaps.  Or else they consider the neglect of Sunday Mass as missing the mark a lot.  

It seems to me like you're looking at this from a quantitative basis: here's a guy who's been a faithful Catholic for fifty years, decides to skip Mass on a Sunday to go to a football game, and then dies, and goes straight to hell.  Is missing one Mass really such a big crime to merit such a punishment?  Well, where was this guy's heart?  For fifty years, he was a faithful Catholic, and all of a sudden he decides to skip Mass, to forfeit the worship of God on "the Lord's Day", in order to enjoy a football game.  Especially with all the options Catholics have as far as Mass attendance goes, where was this guy's heart that he put a game before God?  If we place anything before God, then we are idolators--and that's the first commandment!  I personally think this scenario is unlikely, as such a person would probably make Sunday Mass his priority, go to a Mass that wouldn't conflict with the game, and do both.  But if you put something else before God, what then?  

Quote
I have also never met a Roman Catholic that has made it to church every Sunday of thier life. In fact, I don't come across many Catholics that attend mass every sunday within a few months span.

My experience is different.  While I know Catholics who don't go to church or do so rarely, I also know plenty of Catholics that go to Mass every Sunday, and even quite a few who go daily and have been doing so for years and even decades.  

Quote
I agree, & just 2 hours a week is not enough.  As long as someone makes eucharist on a daily basis, I don't think missing a sunday mass once in a while is a big deal.  

At the risk of sounding "legalistic", Catholics would probably say that daily Mass is not obligatory, as Sunday Mass is.

We have Catholics here...maybe they'll explain this more.
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2004, 10:48:40 PM »

Ultimately, only God can and does determine someone's fate.  However, given a set of circumstances, I think one can approximate a qualified guess regarding a general case (e.g., "if someone kills another in cold blood and dies unrepentant, they will probably wind up in hell", and not "Phil's going to hell for being a jerk").
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2004, 11:23:48 PM »

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Ultimately, only God can and does determine someone's fate.

A punto.

There is no 'peculiar Roman Catholic salvation doctrine' here; Madrid simply spoke poorly. It's presumptuous to say somebody definitely is going to or is now in hell. (That RC priest who got in trouble a while back for saying that at a man's funeral made the same mistake.)

If one commits a mortal sin then objectively one deserves hell, which might have been what Madrid was thinking when he misspoke, but what Phil said is true - and what western Catholicism teaches as well as the Christian East.
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2004, 11:33:33 PM »

Does the Orthodox Church teach that you will go to hell if you miss Divine Liturgy on a Sunday and then die that same Sunday? I've never heard that from an Orthodox priest.

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A punto.

There is no 'peculiar Roman Catholic salvation doctrine' here; Madrid simply spoke poorly. It's presumptuous to say somebody definitely is going to or is now in hell. (That RC priest who got in trouble a while back for saying that at a man's funeral made the same mistake.)

If one commits a mortal sin then objectively one deserves hell, which might have been what Madrid was thinking when he misspoke, but what Phil said is true - and what western Catholicism teaches as well as the Christian East.
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2004, 11:35:20 PM »

Madrid probably forgot to mention that the guy would've avoided hell as long as he mailed his weekly check to the rectory.  Wink

I have listened to Catholic Answers the last year driving to work in the morning everyday & I ussually agree with most of what they say except for today. They had apologist Patrick Madrid on today who is well known in RC circles.

The topic of salvation came up by one of the callers who called in to the show. The guy asked if someone was a good faithful Catholic for the last 50 years of thier life & one day they decided to go to a football game on Sunday instead of Mass & they happened to die in a car accident on the way to the game, would they go to hell?Huh

I was floored when Patrick Madrid without any hesitation said "yes, they would go to hell for missing one mass." Then the host (I think it was Jimmy Akin) chimmed in & said the same thing.

Is this what Rome really teaches??? This really smacks of legalism to me. Who would feel safe being a Catholic & missing a Sunday mass, & maybe sometimes for good reasons. I think they are way off on this one....

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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2004, 11:44:26 PM »

The key word here is will as in 'will go to hell'. The short answer, East or West, to the question as worded is 'I can't predict that'. (Again, that's where Madrid and Akin messed up.) The Orthodox churches can speak for themselves but Sundays and holy days (according to their calendar) are of obligation there, as they are in the West, so it seems that deliberately missing Liturgy without a good reason is to risk going to hell. I know that the Russians have a slightly different rule to the RC one - if one misses three Sundays in a row one can't commune before one goes to confession for the absences.
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2004, 11:46:44 PM »

I'm in big trouble.............

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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2004, 12:49:19 AM »

I'm in big trouble.............

JB

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« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2004, 02:06:57 AM »

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I personally think this scenario is unlikely, as such a person would probably make Sunday Mass his priority, go to a Mass that wouldn't conflict with the game, and do both.  But if you put something else before God, what then?

Don't we all usually put our will before God's on a daily basis?? I agree with nacho, I don't think that there is any warant for condeming one to hell/eternal damnation for missing the liturgy one week.  I don't buy the legalism.

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« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2004, 08:45:38 AM »

Let us also remember that no matter how popular Mssrs. Madrid and Akin may be in apologetical circles, they are not speaking authoritatively for the Church.  As a Catholic, I'm with Serge and Phil on this one, especially Phil.  Given the vast majority of options Catholics have to go to Mass at some point between 4pm on Saturday and sundown on Sunday, there is really no reason why this hypothetical had to occur.  As Phil pointed out, making the conscious decision to snub God and go to a football game, thus indulging in blatant idolatry, is objectively a reason to end up in Hell.  It's right there in black and white numerous times in the Holy Writ.

Of course, our God is a mercful God, is He not?  Ultimately, it's His decision, not Patrick Madrid's.
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« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2004, 09:07:46 AM »

Don't we all usually put our will before God's on a daily basis?? I agree with nacho, I don't think that there is any warant for condeming one to hell/eternal damnation for missing the liturgy one week.  I don't buy the legalism.

bagpiper

I don't think it's legalism.  Sunday Divine Liturgy is of ultimate importance.  I was shocked that even at seminary, there are people who MISS liturgy just because they "don't feel like" going that Sunday.  And I think that putting a game in front of liturgy would be a horrendous sin.  What is that teaching one's children?

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« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2004, 09:12:12 AM »

So, missing one mass in 50 years is derserving of eternal hell?? Looks like they are more concerned about the letter of the law than the spirit. I have also never met a Roman Catholic that has made it to church every Sunday of thier life. In fact, I don't come across many Catholics that attend mass every sunday within a few months span.  I agree, & just 2 hours a week is not enough.  As long as someone makes eucharist on a daily basis, I don't think missing a sunday mass once in a while is a big deal.  

No, it is a big deal. Sunday Mass is the Lord's Day. It matters more than daily Mass. Daily Mass is an extra. Sunday Mass is the lowest common denominator.  If I don't do a major project at work, that affects the future of my company, but I do some extra filing every day and the office is nice looking, I still am going to get fired.

It isn't legalism, it's our relation with God.

Willfully missing a Sunday liturgy is a major sin.

The comment about never meeting a Roman Catholic who has made it to ever liturgy in his/her life is irrelevant because 1) there could be such Roman Catholics who have and 2) the RCC says if there is an honorable reason not to attend that the Mass obligation is lifted.  Football games don't count.

Not to brag, but just to be honest: I have not missed Sunday Divine Liturgy or Mass in 7 years when there was a Church I could go to that was open.  The only 3 times I didn't assist at Mass or Divine Liturgy was while I was in India in areas that DID NOT have ANY Churches and where I did not choose to be (I Would not have gone to those areas on a Sunday had I known there would be no church there).  It's all about the focus.  If my intent is to not put God first, even once, I am in danger of losing salvation.

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« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2004, 09:14:26 AM »

As far as the comment about putting God second on most weekdays, that is true: Jesus said "narrow is the gate."  It's not about legalism, It's about love.

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« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2004, 10:44:48 AM »


Rather than just speaking subjectively about 'legalism' and whatnot, lets talk extremely practically.  There is a difference in canon law on this point between Rome and Orthodoxy.

The folks in question are taking a very rigid interpretation of Roman canon law.  On another program, they even laid out how late in the day a Saturday evening mass has to be to count for the Sunday obligation.  So, on that strict interpretation, if this hypothetical fellow attended Mass at 2:00 P.M. on Saturday, he goes to hell.  At 5 P.M. he's in the clear.  (Well, technically, probably in purgatory for all his venial sins, but lets not slice the pie too thin).  There are also canons from a process in the Medieval period defining precisely which parts of the Mass you have to be there for for it to 'count'.

Orthodox canon law, on the other hand, has no rules, at least that I've been able to find, about Liturgy attendance as such.  There are, however, canons regarding the reception of the Eucharist.  The original policy, from the Apostolic Canons, is that anyone who fails to receive the Eucharist for three weeks in a row has excommunicated him or herself and must be readmitted to Communion via confession.  It was this canonical strain that formed the basis for the later Roman Catholic specificity.  A few centuries later, this was loosened up, such that, to remain an Orthodox Christian, one only needed receive the Eucharist once a year.  Later still, developments in the Sacrament of Repentance led to this being linked to one yearly Confession, usually during Lent, with the single Eucharist on Pascha.

There are two things to observe here.  First, like most differences between Rome and Orthodoxy, its an issue of Rome having defined the issue with incredible detail and specificity, and the East not so.  (You can decide whether they've over-defined, we've under-defined, or both).

More importantly though, this has led to a vast difference in practice.  In practice, in the 'Old Countries', for the most part, Orthodox faithful receive the Eucharist perhaps once a year.  Their 'attendance of Liturgy' is limited to entering a nearby Church on Sunday and the 12 Great Feasts, lighting a candle, praying for a few minutes, and then leaving.  In Roman practice, on the other hand, the Eucharist is received by many on a daily basis, and is required on a weekly basis.

Thankfully, in America, Orthodoxy is moving more and more to the model of frequent Communion by the laity.  But its the Eucharistic Communion that's the critically important issue in our worship, not 'attendance' as such.  I can't help but see in the emphasis on 'attendance' the influence of Calvinist Sabbatarianism in Anglo-American culture.

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« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2004, 11:52:48 AM »

Thankfully, in America, Orthodoxy is moving more and more to the model of frequent Communion by the laity.  But its the Eucharistic Communion that's the critically important issue in our worship, not 'attendance' as such.  I can't help but see in the emphasis on 'attendance' the influence of Calvinist Sabbatarianism in Anglo-American culture.

Don't mean to digress further, but erring with an 'attendance' emphasis albeit how Calvinistic it may be, sounds better to me then the poor excuse many 'Christians' give that they don't go to church since they don't like organized religion or some other such nonesense.  Even if you're not 'in the mood' to go, it's better to go and be positively influenced so to speak then 'protest' going to a church because 'they're all bad' or whatever.
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« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2004, 12:02:28 PM »

Quote
Rather than just speaking subjectively about 'legalism' and whatnot, lets talk extremely practically.


It strikes me funny when the members of the 'cool, unlegalistic church' then turn around and try to figure out if there's vegetable oil in the biscuits they buy.

Quote
There is a difference in canon law on this point between Rome and Orthodoxy.

Slight but true - one Sunday vs. three as the cut-off point that requires confession.

Quote
The folks in question are taking a very rigid interpretation of Roman canon law.


Which is why they're wrong as I said. No-one can presume to say another is hellbound. But one can say if objectively somebody is in mortal sin (murder, maiming somebody, adultery, fornication, etc. - and, thanks to 'the power of the keys', disciplinary rules of the church, which can and do change). The two matters are related but aren't the same thing.

Quote
On another program, they even laid out how late in the day a Saturday evening mass has to be to count for the Sunday obligation.

Not a problem - it's a matter of when the liturgical day begins, which commonly understood is when it's time for Vespers. (Among the moderns 'anticipated Mass' has displaced first Vespers.)

Quote
(Well, technically, probably in purgatory for all his venial sins, but lets not slice the pie too thin).

And you pray for the dead after 40 days or a year because... ?

Quote
There are also canons from a process in the Medieval period defining precisely which parts of the Mass you have to be there for for it to 'count'.

No prob.

Quote
Orthodox canon law, on the other hand, has no rules, at least that I've been able to find, about Liturgy attendance as such.  There are, however, canons regarding the reception of the Eucharist.  The original policy, from the Apostolic Canons, is that anyone who fails to receive the Eucharist for three weeks in a row has excommunicated him or herself and must be readmitted to Communion via confession.


Which is what I was thinking re: the Russian rule and explains why those who don't commune often are then often required by the local Orthodox to confess before receiving. I had heard the Russian rule is to do with Liturgy attendance though.

Also, Stuart Koehl, a Recognized Internet AuthorityGäó of some years' standing who is a Byzantine Catholic, says that going to Vespers the night before 'covers' one's obligation to attend services Sundays and the 12 holy days on the Orthodox calendar.

Quote
It was this canonical strain that formed the basis for the later Roman Catholic specificity.  A few centuries later, this was loosened up, such that, to remain an Orthodox Christian, one only needed receive the Eucharist once a year.  Later still, developments in the Sacrament of Repentance led to this being linked to one yearly Confession, usually during Lent, with the single Eucharist on Pascha.

Western Catholicism has the same rule for essentially the same reasons - people received so rarely they were and are required to do so once a year, during Eastertide.

Quote
There are two things to observe here.  First, like most differences between Rome and Orthodoxy, its an issue of Rome having defined the issue with incredible detail and specificity, and the East not so.  (You can decide whether they've over-defined, we've under-defined, or both).

Seems silly to carp about 'over-definition' when in fact one essentially believes in the same things.

Quote
More importantly though, this has led to a vast difference in practice.  In practice, in the 'Old Countries', for the most part, Orthodox faithful receive the Eucharist perhaps once a year.  Their 'attendance of Liturgy' is limited to entering a nearby Church on Sunday and the 12 Great Feasts, lighting a candle, praying for a few minutes, and then leaving.  In Roman practice, on the other hand, the Eucharist is received by many on a daily basis, and is required on a weekly basis.

Sounds accurate except the last bit - RCs aren't required to receive weekly and in their Old Countries the traditional practice, rare Communions, is like the Orthodox one.

Quote
Thankfully, in America, Orthodoxy is moving more and more to the model of frequent Communion by the laity.
 

Hopefully retaining preparation - being in the state of grace and if not, then confession, and keeping the midnight fast unless dispensed, along with pious Byzantine Rite customs such as prayer rules and Vespers the night before.

Quote
But it's the Eucharistic Communion that's the critically important issue in our worship, not 'attendance' as such.
 

But the 'attendance' you describe, perhaps the longstanding practice of babas/yiayias when not receiving the Sacrament, sounds like awful minimalism indeed.

Quote
I can't help but see in the emphasis on 'attendance' the influence of Calvinist Sabbatarianism in Anglo-American culture.

Could be, perhaps influenced by the recent influx into American Eastern Orthodoxy of former Evangelicals who came from such sabbatarianism.
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« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2004, 01:59:07 PM »

One doesn't have to just receive the Eucharist to worship God.  One should love God with all his heart and that means he should be attending the cycle of Sunday services and feast days when possible.  If he doesn't do that, he is showing a lack of charity to God.  Saying that an emphasis on attendence is the result of Protestant influences is silly, because every Orthodox Church will make you confess if you don't attend liturgy on purpose!  On the other hand, you could go all year without communion and in some cases people are forbidden to recieve communion for periods of time.

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« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2004, 02:32:11 PM »

It was said that St. Gregory Palamas once had a vision. St. Gregory didn't attend Church very much, and either a saint or the Mother of God herself (I forget which) appeared to him and demanded that he go to Church. I guess there's a few ways of looking at that. We might note that even saints sometimes don't go to Church. We might note that even saints have to be nudged on in the spiritual life, even when it comes to things like the eucharist. We might note that he did go to Church when he realised that he should. Or we might say that it was just one example that we can't make much of. Along the same lines, we might also recall other stories and words from ecclesiastical history, such as when St. Mary of Egypt went decades without going to Church or receiving the eucharist once, or how St. Seraphim told one widow that she should not worry about her husband not being able to receive communion (though he had wanted to) before he died, since God can mysteriously give sacramental grace through means other than just the eucharist, confession, etc.
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« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2004, 03:05:22 PM »

St Mary of Egypt and other hermits had a charismatic gift.  They spend their whole lives worshipping God. Note that later monasticism made arrangements for regular reception of the sacraments.  I think we have to be careful not to become antiquarians.

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« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2004, 05:32:02 PM »

This thread appears to be lending legitimacy to an RCC doctrine which is not accepted in the EOC.  The Orthodox Church doesn't recognize categories of sin, mortal or otherwise, which furthermore makes discussion about the hell-worthiness of missing Communion as meaningful as determining the hell-worthiness of nose picking.

From the Q&A section at OCA's website, http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/q-and-a_old/sins.html :

QUESTION:
What is a mortal sin? What are the categories of sins in the Orthodox church?

I am confused because I have a list of the seven grievous sins in the Orthodox Church:
Pride
Covetousness/Greed
Lust
Anger
Gluttony
Envy
Sloth

Also, Fr Stanley S. Harakas writes in The Orthodox Church: 455 Questions and Answers (p. 147) that:

There is a sin which is mortal. ... All wrongdoing is sin, but there is a sin which is not mortal" (1 Jn 5:16). Mortal sin, or sins "unto death," keep us out of heaven as long as we do not repent of them, seek God's forgiveness for them, and reform our lives. St. Paul is clear: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?" (1 Cor 6:9). Read the rest of that passage for a rather exhaustive list of those "sins unto death" which exclude even "believers" from the Kingdom.

I am very confused and I wish I had a complete list of the mortal sins so that I will know if I am in danger of losing my salvation and if I have an urgent need to go to confession.

Please please help me understand.

ANSWER (from Fr. John Matusiak):
Thank you very much for your enquiry. I will do the best to simplify things for you.

In the Orthodox Church there are no "categories" of sin as found in the Christian West.

In the pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic catechism, sins were categorized as "mortal" and "venial." In this definition, a "mortal" sin was one which would prevent someone from entering heaven unless one confessed it before death. Not only were such things as pride, lust, and sloth on the list of "mortal" sins, but failing to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation were also considered "mortal" sins. A "venial" sin, according to this line of thinking, did not jeopardize one's salvation. While stealing a car might be considered a "mortal" sin, stealing a candy bar was not. While a "venial" sin did not jeopardize one's salvation, it still needed to be confessed and still may have had time in purgatory attached to it. Another way to see this distinction in Roman Catholic teaching -- and here I simplify a tremendously complex line of reasoning -- is as follows: If one commits a mortal sin and dies before confessing it, one would go straight to hell. If one commits a venial sin and dies before confessing it, one would not go straight to hell, but would have to spend time in purgatory before entering heaven.

[The Orthodox Church does not accept the teaching on purgatory that developed in more recent times in Roman Catholicism.]

These categories do not exist in the Orthodox Church. Sin is sin.

The Greek word for sin, amartia, means "to miss the mark." As Christians, the "mark" or "target" for which we "aim" is a Christ-like life, one lived to the best of our ability in line with the teachings, precepts, and commandments of God. When we miss this mark, when we fail to hit this target, we sin. Murder is a sin. Pride and envy are sins. Stealing a car is a sin. Stealing a candy bar is a sin. Refusing to attend the Liturgy is a sin -- but so is attending the Liturgy with hatred for others.

Missing the mark is missing the mark. If we aim at the bullseye and miss, it makes no difference if it is by an inch or a yard. In both cases, we have failed to achieve that for which we strive.

In some Orthodox catechisms one finds lists of the "seven deadly sins." While there can be no doubt that these sins are deadly -- here deadly and "mortal" are synonymous, but "mortal" is not used in the same way as in the Roman Catholic "mortal" sin described above -- they are not "worse" in the ultimate sense than sins that are not on the list.

[In the quote from Fr. Harakas' book, the use of the word "mortal" should not be understood in the Roman Catholic definition of "mortal" outlined above. He clearly defines the term as meaning "unto death," or "deadly."]

For example, one would not find listening to rock and roll music on the list of deadly sins. However, a person who spends all of his or her time listening to such music, to the point that he or she ignores others, isolates himself or herself from people and other activities, and becomes controlled by his or her desire to listen to such music to the exclusion of other important aspects of life, can find himself or herself in a deadly and sinful condition. Listening to the music is not the sin; the music itself is not the sin; becoming obsessed with the music -- and ignoring other aspects of one's life or the importance of loving relationships with others -- is what is sinful.

I cannot produce a list of sins; there are countless things that, while not in and of themselves sinful, can lead one to sin. A list of sins implies that things not found on the list are not sinful. Such is not the case. A better way to look at sin would be the following: Are my actions, my thoughts, my attitudes, my material goods, etc. controlling me, or am I in control of them.

Here I will give you another example: It is not sinful to have a glass of wine or a can of beer. Allowing wine or beer to control me, however, is sinful. Why? Because I have the ability to control what I drink. At the same time, what I drink cannot control me -- unless, of course, I allow it to do so. It would be ridiculous to think that a can of beer can force itself down the throat of a person who does not want to drink it. Whether we speak of wine, beer, watching television, giving attention to our car, gossiping, or whatever -- we have the ability to control these things. What is sinful is allowing these things, which in and of themselves have no power of their own, to control us. What is even more sinful is when we fail to recognize that we are being controlled by something which, in reality, is within our control, or when we rationalize our sins by claiming "I just couldn't help it." Huh? Your television turned itself on and held you captive during nine hours of soap operas while you ignored the needs of your family or coworkers or neighbor?

Concerning Confession, having a list of deadly sins could, in fact, become an obstacle to genuine repentance. For example, imagine that you commit a sin. You look on the list and do not find it listed. It would be very easy to take the attitude that, since it is not on a list of deadly sins, it is not too serious. Hence, you do not feel the need to seek God's forgiveness right away. A week passes and you have completely forgotten about what you had done. You never sought God's forgiveness; as a result, you did not receive it, either. We should go to Confession when we sin -- at the very least, we should ask God to forgive us daily in our personal prayers. We should not see Confession as a time to confess only those sins which may be found on a list.

Rather than worry about developing a list of sins to avoid, it would be much wiser to make a list of virtues and attitudes and ministries to achieve. While it is good to avoid places of temptation, it is better to seek places of inspiration. While it is good to avoid individuals who may lead you to sin, it is better to seek out individuals who will lead you to virtue. While it is good to shun those things which tend to control us, it is better to seek self control over things which have no power over us unless we give them that power.
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« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2004, 06:07:01 PM »

The Orthodox Church's manuals of confession most definitely do distinguish between kinds of sins.  They just don't give them the name mortal and venial.  The only reason the Catholic Church itself made firm distinctions between mortal and venial sins was so that it could pastorally deal with the problem of when to suggest one go to confession.

Online you find "experts" who say things like there aren't categories of sin but in practicality they are treated that way, just not dogmatized or overemphasized.  Jaywalking is not going to send you to hell. Deliberately missing Liturgy might.

Fr Matusiak has some interested thoughts but I don't find what he writes convincing.  He often exhibits a misunderstanding of Roman Catholic doctrine in his posts.

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« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2004, 10:17:54 PM »

Could you provide more details about these manuals of Confession?  I have the little red prayer book with the aforementioned grevious sins, but I'm not aware of any official Confession manuals, especially anything with a scholastic reading of really bad sins versus not-so-bad sins.  Maybe something of this nature can be found in Mohila's catechism (I haven't read it in awhile), but this document was never accepted by the whole Church and I don't believe it's in use today since it contains errors rooted in Jesuit influences.

I think Fr. Matusiak's explanation is clear, in that the Orthodox Church doesn't recognize categories of severity, i.e. mortal and venial.  I'd agree that on an intuitive level one has to put murder in a "very bad" category while lying to your boss about being sick would seem to not be of hellbound material.  That said, the OC on an official level, AFAIK, has avoided the slippery slope of categorizing what qualifies for hell and what doesn't, and history shows this has been the prudent approach.

If you have more information, I'd be interested in reading more.  I like to make notes of all the Orthodox manuals and catechisms out there for personal edification.  Thanks.  Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2004, 09:41:11 AM »

Schultz is right.  The hypothetical should not have to occur.  If the individual in question wanted to go to the football game, he could go to Mass on Saturday evening.  This is one of the reasons why Catholics have that option.  I know many Catholics who are Redskins season ticket holders who almost *never* go to Mass on Sundays during the foootball season, but fulfill their Mas obligation by going to Mass on Saturday evening.  So with planning there is no reason why this should happen.  It's a false hypothetical, it seems to me.
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« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2004, 10:26:58 AM »

No, it is a big deal. Sunday Mass is the Lord's Day. It matters more than daily Mass. Daily Mass is an extra. Sunday Mass is the lowest common denominator.  If I don't do a major project at work, that affects the future of my company, but I do some extra filing every day and the office is nice looking, I still am going to get fired.

It isn't legalism, it's our relation with God.

Willfully missing a Sunday liturgy is a major sin.

The comment about never meeting a Roman Catholic who has made it to ever liturgy in his/her life is irrelevant because 1) there could be such Roman Catholics who have and 2) the RCC says if there is an honorable reason not to attend that the Mass obligation is lifted.  Football games don't count.

Not to brag, but just to be honest: I have not missed Sunday Divine Liturgy or Mass in 7 years when there was a Church I could go to that was open.  The only 3 times I didn't assist at Mass or Divine Liturgy was while I was in India in areas that DID NOT have ANY Churches and where I did not choose to be (I Would not have gone to those areas on a Sunday had I known there would be no church there).  It's all about the focus.  If my intent is to not put God first, even once, I am in danger of losing salvation.

anastasios

So for the year that I worked the night shift and would catch early morning liturgy on the weekdays 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes more, and sleep through Sunday liturgy which was at 9AM, those don't really count? or would you say, 2 weekday liturgies = 1 Sunday liturgy, or maybe it's 3 weekday liturgies = 1 Sunday.  

What's your definition of "honarable reason?"  Does it count if your in a wedding party & have to get your hair done during liturgy before the wedding?  How 'bout if you have to work?  How 'bout if your babysitting for friends who are working, and could not find anyone else?
What's your idea of a reasonable distance from a church?  1 hour drive? 2 hour drive? 3?  
You just opened yourself up for lots of logisitical questions.  

And dude, Dustin, you are bragging.
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« Reply #31 on: September 16, 2004, 11:09:34 AM »

Ania,

I don't think Dustin was bragging.

I think what he meant to say was, if we approach church or God with a half-ass attitude, then we need to go back and figure out who we are commited to. If I decided to get trashed on Saturday evening, and then as a result miss liturgy on Sunday, that is most certainly inexcusable.

There are certainly reasons why one could not be able to attend a Liturgy, and some of these reasons are most honorable, but if our intent for missing church is due to laziness or a come-day-go-day attitude then frankly that is sinful.

You seem to be tossing the fuel on the fire with Dustin, but I think he makes good points.  Ultimately it is between God and the person whether or not you attended Church or not.  God wants a sincere and contrite heart, not one that goes back and forth or goes to church when he/she wishes.

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« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2004, 12:01:10 PM »

Quote
Don't we all usually put our will before God's on a daily basis?? I agree with nacho, I don't think that there is any warant for condeming one to hell/eternal damnation for missing the liturgy one week.  I don't buy the legalism.

Agreed. It does seem somewhat legalistic. Just going to church everyone sunday doesn't mean you are a christian, more importantly it's what you do everyday by your actions that counts.

Quote
I don't think it's legalism.  Sunday Divine Liturgy is of ultimate importance.  I was shocked that even at seminary, there are people who MISS liturgy just because they "don't feel like" going that Sunday.  And I think that putting a game in front of liturgy would be a horrendous sin.  What is that teaching one's children?
anastasios

I totally agree with you on this when we are talking about people who are dedicating thier lives to the service of God. I would say for your average layman that I  still don't buy the whole notion though that someone's salvation is in jeopardy if they do decide to skip out on Divine Liturgy. I think the difference is someone who spends everyday doing one of the daily offices & spends some time in prayer compared to someone who doesn't at all. I think God would look much more favorably on the person spending that time everyday praying, but may miss a servie once in a while compared to someone who just goes to church every sunday, but spends no time at all in prayer outside of church.

Quote
I know that the Russians have a slightly different rule to the RC one - if one misses three Sundays in a row one can't commune before one goes to confession for the absences.

This sounds more reasonable. I still would say that everything depends on a persons intentions. I couldn't think of any reason why someone would have to miss 3 liturgies in a row. I think when churches put "definitive" defenitions of what & what can't be missed is kind of missing the point. I think more importantly what they should be teaching people is to walk with God daily, saying the prayers, daily office & various good works everyday which will help change the laity to be much more faithful, thus naturally they would want to be involved with going to all the services at church much more. I think this is a big problem in the RC where only a small percenatage really take thier faith seriously. It's amazing also the amount of "lapsed" catholics that I have come across. I think the RC should seriously change thier approach to reach these people & educate them that there are such things as the daily office & various prayers they could be engaged in everyday. I don't think many RC's are aware of all these things avalaible to them. In the RC system, it kind of seems that the only ones who are living out the faith to the fullest are the clergy & religious. Obviously, telling people that they are in jeopardy if they don't attend the Sunday mass hasn't worked to well, maybe they should try a different approach in trying to educate the greater catholic community that thier is much more for them to be involved with "living" out the faith also. I don't mean to paint with a broad brush, but these are just some observations I have made & I'm trying to be much more pragmatic about real situations than idealistic.

Quote
So for the year that I worked the night shift and would catch early morning liturgy on the weekdays 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes more, and sleep through Sunday liturgy which was at 9AM, those don't really count? or would you say, 2 weekday liturgies = 1 Sunday liturgy, or maybe it's 3 weekday liturgies = 1 Sunday.  

Exactly, you are making my point for me. I don't see it as an all or nothing proposition. I think it comes down to someone's intentions. What if someone spends everyday praying & saying the daily office, but they aren't able to attend the Sunday Divine Liturgy?? Maybe they have to work on that day. Things aren't black & white, life today is so much more complicated than most of human history. I'm also not advocating missing church to hang out at the mall or the movies.






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« Reply #33 on: September 16, 2004, 12:16:23 PM »

Obviously, telling people that they are in jeopardy if they don't attend the Sunday mass hasn't worked to well, maybe they should try a different approach in trying to educate the greater catholic community that thier is much more for them to be involved with "living" out the faith also. I

I don't agree.  I think that there are many, many Catholics who attend Mass every week because it is expected of them, and if they need to they will go the Saturday night Mass ot, in some areas, the Sunday afternoon Mass.  As Orthodox, we need to be careful about talking about lapsed Catholics because there are plenty of lapsed Orthodox we could also be talking about ... but in my own experience among church-going Catholics and church-going Orthodox, the Catholics attend church more regularly (and there are many more who attend every single week) than do the Orthodox, and I think that the main reason for this is the emphasis that Catholicism places on attending Mass every week.  A related problem is the so-called "Orthodox Standard Time", which means, in effect, "liturgy scheduled start time plus 20-40 minutes, depending on personal custom" practiced in so many Orthodox parishes ... it can lead to a lackadaisical approach to things, IMO.

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« Reply #34 on: September 16, 2004, 01:16:18 PM »

The problem is that one man's half-ass attitude towards attending every Liturgy is another man's legitimate reasons for missing a service here and there.  Not everyone runs on the same number of cylinders, and when this topic has been discussed in my parishes in the past the priest has indicated that obsessing and lecturing others about their frequency of attendance or coming in late is a sin in itself.  One fellow might run on eight cylinders 20 hours a day and it's no big deal to attend every service.  However, because it's no effort for him, it's hardly more admirable than someone who runs on four cylinders and works overtime but misses a service once a month.

Everyone approaches at least some aspect of their faith in a half-ass manner though it might not be in attending services.  And the most glaring carefree attitude I routinely witness isn't Sunday attendance, but serving the parish in its ministries.  What's interesting is that I know of people who don't attend every service but if not for their services to the parish outside of Sunday, the church would collapse.
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« Reply #35 on: September 16, 2004, 01:38:04 PM »

//So, missing one mass in 50 years is derserving of eternal hell?? Looks like they are more concerned about the letter of the law than the spirit. I have also never met a Roman Catholic that has made it to church every Sunday of thier life. In fact, I don't come across many Catholics that attend mass every sunday within a few months span.//

In one word:  YES.  According to Roman Catholic doctrine, missing Mass is a mortal sin and deserving of Hell.  You need to confess in order to receive Holy Communion.

JoeS   :-";"xx
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« Reply #36 on: September 16, 2004, 02:04:32 PM »

So for the year that I worked the night shift and would catch early morning liturgy on the weekdays 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes more, and sleep through Sunday liturgy which was at 9AM, those don't really count? or would you say, 2 weekday liturgies = 1 Sunday liturgy, or maybe it's 3 weekday liturgies = 1 Sunday.  

What's your definition of "honarable reason?"  Does it count if your in a wedding party & have to get your hair done during liturgy before the wedding?  How 'bout if you have to work?  How 'bout if your babysitting for friends who are working, and could not find anyone else?
What's your idea of a reasonable distance from a church?  1 hour drive? 2 hour drive? 3?  
You just opened yourself up for lots of logisitical questions.  

And dude, Dustin, you are bragging.  

Sorry, Ania, I was not bragging. I stated a fact: I have done what it take to make it to church for the past 7 years.  The point is, if it is important to you, you will make the effort.

Let's go through your list of options.

At one point in my life I worked 2 jobs.  That included getting up at 3:30 every morning and working from 4 am to 5 pm.  On weekends I had to work, too.  As soon as I got off my job, I went to Church.

Sunday liturgy is more important than weekday liturgies because weeday liturgies are "extra." Six weekday liturgies does not equal even one Sunday liturgy. I am sorry, that's just the way it is. If you couldn't make it to Sunday liturgy, because you were exhausted from work, that is an entirely excusable thing to do.  That you then went to weekday liturgies was EXTRA BLESSINGS for you.  But that didn't somehow "equal out" the Sunday liturgy. It simply can't be compared.

I don't think you can justify skipping liturgy to get your hair done before a wedding. That would be tantamount to saying that looking good is more important than worshipping God.  Is it your practice to start a wedding right after a liturgy anyway?  I have seen weddings at 2 and 3 o'clock on Sundays--couldn't one arrange to get one's hair done in the 3-4 hour interval between the end of liturgy and the commencement of the wedding if that is the case? Or even arrange with the hairdresser to get it done before liturgy if the wedding starts right after? Or opt for a more simple hair style?  My wife didn't even get her hair "done" for our wedding--she simply styled it as normal and looked great.

I cringe when I see people even cooking during liturgy. I mean come on, Church is not primarily about social gatherings, it is about worshipping God. We are really setting ourselves up for problems if we don't make the liturgy the primary focus of our life.

As I said before, if you have to work, that is an honorable reason, although IF POSSIBLE you should try to find work that does not require you to work on Sunday.  If you can't find it, that's fine, you tried.

Babysitting a child when the parents are in a really tough position is an honorable thing to do because you are sacrificing for them.

I am grateful to my Catholic formation because we actually learned to think about these "logistical questions" from a Christian standpoint.  You have a conscience, God gave it to you to decide. Perhaps we will disagree on the SPECIFIC instances.  But nevertheless, there is always a way to approach these issues with a mind formed in Christ.  Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for God.

The Orthodox Church thanfully gives us options as well, though; we have Vespers, Matins, and Liturgy on Sunday and we could just attend one of the services if we absolutely had to.  So really, we have lots of chances to do what is right.

As far as a reasonable drive to church, that depends on your age, work schedule, marital status, children, car condition, church start time.  You have to work that out with your spiritual father.

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« Reply #37 on: September 16, 2004, 02:07:26 PM »

Let me just restate what I am trying to say: if you really have an honorable reason (as defined by your conscience and spiritual father) to miss Sunday liturgy YOU ARE OK.  Anything else you do on a weekday is an extra blessing but shouldn't be seen as somehow equaling out Sunday liturgy. It's just not the same.

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« Reply #38 on: September 16, 2004, 03:17:09 PM »

...in my own experience among church-going Catholics and church-going Orthodox, the Catholics attend church more regularly...than do the Orthodox, and I think that the main reason for this is the emphasis that Catholicism places on attending Mass every week [and] so-called "Orthodox Standard Time", which means, in effect, "liturgy scheduled start time plus 20-40 minutes, depending on personal custom" [which] can lead to a lackadaisical approach to things, IMO.

Very true, Brendan03.  I think what's passed off as "charming tradition" is often just a deterrent to taking liturgy as seriously as we should...call me a time-obsessed American if you must...I say the same thing to the hispanos I work with and pray with....

Not everyone runs on the same number of cylinders, and when this topic has been discussed in my parishes in the past the priest has indicated that obsessing and lecturing others about their frequency of attendance or coming in late is a sin in itself.  One fellow might run on eight cylinders 20 hours a day and it's no big deal to attend every service.  However, because it's no effort for him, it's hardly more admirable than someone who runs on four cylinders and works overtime but misses a service once a month.

Granted, though when you commune in so small a parish as I do, you know who's overworked and who's just moseying.  

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What's interesting is that I know of people who don't attend every service but if not for their services to the parish outside of Sunday, the church would collapse.

This is true.
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« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2004, 03:53:39 PM »

Does attending daily/weekly Liturgy make one righteous in the sight of the Almighty ?

Or is it the one who is sincere, humble and repentent that attends when possible ?

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« Reply #40 on: September 16, 2004, 04:11:16 PM »

Jakub,

I don't think anyone is disputing that.  I think that the "when possible" part is the point of contention.  Going back to the original point for a minute, the guy going to the football game probably HAD opportunities to go to church, and didn't.  In the end, we don't know if this man was a devout christian or a "devout christian".  (The latter is the person that tells everyone that they are a devout christian but doesn't think it involves much work)
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« Reply #41 on: September 16, 2004, 07:36:39 PM »

Agreed. It does seem somewhat legalistic. Just going to church everyone sunday doesn't mean you are a christian, more importantly it's what you do everyday by your actions that counts.

Going to church on Sunday doesn't necessarily make you a Christian, but is regular attendance at Sunday services, especially the Holy Liturgy, whenever possible (absences being allowed for "reasons worthy of a blessing", as I believe the Greek St. Basil Liturgy prays), indispensable in the Christian life?  I'd say yes, most definitely.  

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I totally agree with you on this when we are talking about people who are dedicating thier lives to the service of God. I would say for your average layman that I  still don't buy the whole notion though that someone's salvation is in jeopardy if they do decide to skip out on Divine Liturgy.


Personally, I don't accept a dichotomy between seminarians preparing for ordination and their families on the one hand and "average laymen" on the other with regard to Sunday services.  Those preparing for ordination are held to a higher standard in seminaries, or at least should be.  That means participation in the daily cycle of services, prayerful study, service to the community, and ministry (whatever form it takes) to God's people.  Sunday Liturgy is not the domain of the clergy and those aspiring to be clerics, however: it is for the Church, and you are just as much a part of it as they are.  

The way you phrase this, I don't know if you intend on saying that seminarians skipping out on Divine Liturgy is dangerous for their salvation but not for yours (as an average layman), but I reject that also.    

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I think the difference is someone who spends everyday doing one of the daily offices & spends some time in prayer compared to someone who doesn't at all. I think God would look much more favorably on the person spending that time everyday praying, but may miss a servie once in a while compared to someone who just goes to church every sunday, but spends no time at all in prayer outside of church.

Surely God will look more favourably on the one who devotes more time to daily prayer than the one who prays only at Sunday Liturgy and never at any other time (all other things being in order).  But a person who devotes that time to prayer wouldn't voluntarily skip out on Liturgy for no good reason.  He might say "The only way I can make enough money to support my family is to work two Sundays a month, and that means missing Liturgy", but he wouldn't say "Eh, I think I'll sleep in on Sunday and go to the beach and check out the girls--I think I earned a break, and my wife is getting kinda heavy, I don't like looking at her too much".  

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This sounds more reasonable. I still would say that everything depends on a persons intentions.

Right.  This is why I don't get why people are getting worked up on this.  If you neglect the service of God on the day He made His own in order to do whatever you want other than serve Him, then I think that's a form of idolatry, and idolatry is something that puts one's salvation in jeopardy.  If you have a legitimate reason to not be there, God understands.    

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I couldn't think of any reason why someone would have to miss 3 liturgies in a row.

Ever hear of work?  After my father died (eight years ago tomorrow), my mother worked two twelve hour shifts at her hospital and stayed home five days a week to be with us when we came home from school, rather than continue to work the five days a week 3-11 shift she was working before he died.  This meant that she'd be home with us more, but it also meant the only time she could really ever go to Church was on weekdays where there were services (even when she was working five days, she missed Sunday Liturgy sometimes because sick people don't take Sundays off).  Do I think she was sinning?  Of course not.  She missed every single Sunday Liturgy from 1996 to 2002, but she had a "reason worthy of a blessing".  

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I think when churches put "definitive" defenitions of what & what can't be missed is kind of missing the point. I think more importantly what they should be teaching people is to walk with God daily, saying the prayers, daily office & various good works everyday which will help change the laity to be much more faithful, thus naturally they would want to be involved with going to all the services at church much more.

When I was growing up, because my mother sometimes had to work on Sundays, on those Sundays we wouldn't go to church.  We only went to church when we could go as a family.  When I went to Catholic schools, they taught us about how missing Sunday Mass for no good reason was a mortal sin.  So I started insisting that we go, and ever since I've been in that habit, and I know plenty of Catholics who are in that habit precisely because of that discipline.  

"Definitive definitions" may look like missing the point to you, but I think it's just good parenting, and the Church is our Mother.  I don't know of anyone whose parents didn't make them do things "just because" or threaten them with punishment if they didn't do them.  In the end, it made them better people.  

And what makes you think that the RCC promotes this "Sunday Mass or else eternal damnation" thing instead of promoting good works, regular prayer, etc.?  Sunday Mass is where the faithful receive Holy Communion.  Holy Communion gives us the strength to do those good works and to devote that time every day to prayer and in general to "walk with God".  You can't just do it on your own: that's Pelagianism.      

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I think this is a big problem in the RC where only a small percenatage really take thier faith seriously. It's amazing also the amount of "lapsed" catholics that I have come across. I think the RC should seriously change thier approach to reach these people & educate them that there are such things as the daily office & various prayers they could be engaged in everyday. I don't think many RC's are aware of all these things avalaible to them.

Maybe the Orthodox in your area are super-devout.  Orthodox in general come in all types, and many are just as "lapsed" as Catholics, if not more so.  I know plenty of people who go to church and stay in the parish hall talking to their friends while their wives and children are praying at the Liturgy.  This fact always strikes me particularly on one Sunday when we sing this hymn in our Liturgy after the Gospel:

Those who do not wish to be here may depart without blessing,
But you who are baptised, come to the Church!
Attend the Holy Celebration of the Life-giving Bread on the Life-giving Table
And the Blood poured out from the Breast of our Lord.
Cursed are they who go around hither and thither in the town
When the Holy Liturgy is being celebrated in the Church!
 

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In the RC system, it kind of seems that the only ones who are living out the faith to the fullest are the clergy & religious. Obviously, telling people that they are in jeopardy if they don't attend the Sunday mass hasn't worked to well...

I think our not telling people enough that Sunday Liturgy is indispensable in the Christian life hasn't worked out too well either.  

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...maybe they should try a different approach in trying to educate the greater catholic community that thier is much more for them to be involved with "living" out the faith also. I don't mean to paint with a broad brush, but these are just some observations I have made & I'm trying to be much more pragmatic about real situations than idealistic.

"Let him who is without sin..."  If they should try it, so should we, because Orthodoxy isn't exactly perfect.

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Exactly, you are making my point for me. I don't see it as an all or nothing proposition. I think it comes down to someone's intentions. What if someone spends everyday praying & saying the daily office, but they aren't able to attend the Sunday Divine Liturgy?? Maybe they have to work on that day. Things aren't black & white, life today is so much more complicated than most of human history. I'm also not advocating missing church to hang out at the mall or the movies.

If this is how you feel on the issue, I don't understand what the problem is.  Do you just reject the notion that they want to make it a rule that their people go to church every Sunday barring a good reason?  No one here is saying that if you have to miss Liturgy for a noble reason you are still damned.  The Church has realised that things aren't black and white for a much longer time than any of us have belonged to it, and exceptions can be made and are made for the right reasons, but that doesn't change the ideal.  If the RC's have a rule about this, it is because they regard it as serious.  But it addresses only those who "go around hither and thither in the town" and not those who have legitimate reasons for their absence.  That's the same principle in Orthodoxy, only we don't have a rule that says "missing Sunday Liturgy for no good reason is a mortal sin and sends you to hell", so maybe Orthodox feel better about skipping Liturgy for no good reason.  It's still missing the mark, and that's sin.
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« Reply #42 on: September 17, 2004, 10:50:53 AM »

Just wanted to point out that we will be judged by more than the one factor of "did you go to church every Sunday."  Just think, if the guy going to the football game went to confession the week before, and lived a good blameless life until he made the error of going to the game, he's only got the one sin to worry about, lucky dog.
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« Reply #43 on: September 17, 2004, 12:17:39 PM »

Ania,

I would agree with you there.

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« Reply #44 on: September 17, 2004, 01:09:04 PM »

On the subject of Sunday Observance

It used to be that the Ten Commandments were preached mightily heavy in both pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism and especially in Protestantism.

Scripture has it, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”.  We are commanded to “Keep” the Sabbath with Church going.  

Another thing, in both churches, the “Fear of God” was preached.  “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.

The Scripture commands the meeting together.  St. Paul in Hebrews 10:24-25, commands Christians to meet together.  Preachers and Bishops are to “Stir up one another”.  How is this done?  By preaching the Word of God in the Fear of the LORD.

Human beings are weak by nature.  Force is employed in every human institution, i.e. in the workplace, in the school, in the military to force compliance.  Threat is used.  Great obedience was obtained in Puritan/Calvanist and pre-Vatican II RC because of this preaching.  Laws in colonial America punished those that missed Sunday service.  It was required.  God commands our presence.  It says in Scripture, “He who honors me, I will honor and he who dishonors me, I will dishonor.”  Protestant America was blessed by God because there was an “honoring” of God in this country.  Christians of both the Pre-Vat. RC and Puritan strove to meet that obligation.  There was a great fear that turned into common practice.  The preaching on the “Fear of the Lord” encouraged men to attend services.  There were Blue Laws throughout this country.  There was a time in this country where God was put first and Obedience to God was demanded and obtained.  It was a time when this country was great, holy, civil, gentlemanly and full of grace.



These two themes I have never heard preached in an Orthodox church and for that matter any other modern Christian church.  I was a Catholic for forty years and attended many Protestant Services.  I am scandalized by Orthodox behavior with the laxity of showing up.  One time in a Greek Orthodox service while praying during the Our Father, I was interrupted so someone could be seated.  I immediately left the church and excoriated anyone else arriving to the church in the parking lot and I never returned to that church.  This doesn't happen in Catholic or Protestant churches!

Going to church on Sunday and  committing sin by not going is NOT a legalism or an RC invention nor a Calvanistic approach.  It is sign of a church that knows the Scripture and obeys it.

The Scripture says, “Everything that I command you, that you must be careful to do, you shall not add nor take from it”  (Septuagint) Deuteronomy 12. 32.

The Scripture says, “Cursed is the man that does the works of the Lord carelessly” (Septuagint) Jeremiah 31.10

Jesus said, “Your righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees”.  I guess the “righteousness” in the Churches is quite lax.

On Mortal and Venal Sin, please see Deuteronomy, 22.25, “And a damsel has not committed a sin worthy of death.”  Some sin is mortal, Heaven defying and some sin is venial, not Heaven defying but worthy of some sort of punishment.

Back to the original post:

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“The topic of salvation came up by one of the callers who called in to the show. The guy asked if someone was a good faithful Catholic for the last 50 years of thier life & one day they decided to go to a football game on Sunday instead of Mass & they happened to die in a car accident on the way to the game, would they go to hell?Huh

I was floored when Patrick Madrid without any hesitation said "yes, they would go to hell for missing one mass." Then the host (I think it was Jimmy Akin) chimmed in & said the same thing.”

Far from being strange, have you not read the Scriptures?  (Septuagint) Ezekial 18.24f

“But when the righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, according to all the transgressions which the transgressor has wrought, none of his righteousness which he has wrought shall be at all remembered; in his trespass wherein he has trespassed, and in his sins wherein he has sinned, in them shall he die.”

Far from being an innovation,  Far from being scandalous, A man who goes to Sunday services religiously for 50 years, and fails to go to the next because of a football game and dies on the way, He shall be condemned to Hell.  All his good deeds and faith are for nought.

Today, We don’t know the Scriptures; We don’t read; We don’t quote; We don’t command; We don’t preach; We don’t honor; We don’t remember; We don’t fear God.

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« Reply #45 on: September 17, 2004, 02:10:01 PM »

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If this is how you feel on the issue, I don't understand what the problem is.  Do you just reject the notion that they want to make it a rule that their people go to church every Sunday barring a good reason?  No one here is saying that if you have to miss Liturgy for a noble reason you are still damned.  The Church has realised that things aren't black and white for a much longer time than any of us have belonged to it, and exceptions can be made and are made for the right reasons, but that doesn't change the ideal.  If the RC's have a rule about this, it is because they regard it as serious.  But it addresses only those who "go around hither and thither in the town" and not those who have legitimate reasons for their absence.  That's the same principle in Orthodoxy, only we don't have a rule that says "missing Sunday Liturgy for no good reason is a mortal sin and sends you to hell", so maybe Orthodox feel better about skipping Liturgy for no good reason.  It's still missing the mark, and that's sin.  

I agree with what you are saying. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I'm not sure if someone misses Divine liturgy for "bad reasons" that it's worthy of damnation. Maybe it's a very serious sin, but I just can't beleive God would dam someone eternally. I could be wrong & this is just my opinion.

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These two themes I have never heard preached in an Orthodox church and for that matter any other modern Christian church.  I was a Catholic for forty years and attended many Protestant Services.  I am scandalized by Orthodox behavior with the laxity of showing up.  One time in a Greek Orthodox service while praying during the Our Father, I was interrupted so someone could be seated.  I immediately left the church and excoriated anyone else arriving to the church in the parking lot and I never returned to that church.  This doesn't happen in Catholic or Protestant churches!
I agree with you about the "laxity" in Orthodoxy. The Antiochian Orthodox really don't have this problem. From my experience & the different Orthodox churchs I have been to, I chose the Antiochians over the others because it was appearant that they take thier faith much more seriously than the others. I'm not sure if it's due to all the protestant converts, but I do notice that at the Antiochain churches I have been to that everyone shows up on time. I also attend the Serbian Church in my area, half the church shows up late about 30 -40 minutes into the liturgy. I find it somewhat disrepectful & really annoying observing this.

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Going to church on Sunday and  committing sin by not going is NOT a legalism or an RC invention nor a Calvanistic approach.  It is sign of a church that knows the Scripture and obeys it.
I agree it's the upmost importance, but I'm not sure if it's worthy of eternal damnation if you miss a service.

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The Scripture says, “Everything that I command you, that you must be careful to do, you shall not add nor take from it”  (Septuagint) Deuteronomy 12. 32.

The Scripture says, “Cursed is the man that does the works of the Lord carelessly” (Septuagint) Jeremiah 31.10
Jesus said, “Your righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees”.  I guess the “righteousness” in the Churches is quite lax.
On Mortal and Venal Sin, please see Deuteronomy, 22.25, “And a damsel has not committed a sin worthy of death.”  Some sin is mortal, Heaven defying and some sin is venial, not Heaven defying but worthy of some sort of punishment.

I noticed you have posted alot of Old Testament scripture which is fine, but can you find any new testament scriptures??? I would think that if attending Liturgy is central & of most importance &  our salvation hinges on it, the apostles or early apostalic church fathers would have teached or written about this. Off the top of my head (I'm at work now) I don't ever recall anything that warrants such punishment. I'm with you that we should try to never miss Divine Liturgy, but it all comes down to if someone does miss it are they are devoid of all grace & worthy of hell? That arguement reminds me of the hyper - arminians that beleive you can literally lose your salvation by just crossing the street one moment to the next.

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Far from being an innovation,  Far from being scandalous, A man who goes to Sunday services religiously for 50 years, and fails to go to the next because of a football game and dies on the way, He shall be condemned to Hell.  All his good deeds and faith are for nought.
This is your opinion. I don't think you have made your case. Until you show me something in the new testament or Apostolic Tradition, the above claim remains challenged.


 

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« Reply #46 on: September 17, 2004, 02:33:37 PM »

Why are we as Orthodox wondering if certain actions/inactions merit salvation?

Lord, have mercy.

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« Reply #47 on: September 17, 2004, 02:39:04 PM »

Why are we as Orthodox wondering if certain actions/inactions merit salvation?

Lord, have mercy.



Because we want to end up in heaven with Christ.

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« Reply #48 on: September 17, 2004, 03:13:16 PM »

Anastasios,

The discussion seems focused on "merit" and we all know there's only One that is Holy and Righteous, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Maybe I'm confused.  :-";"xx
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« Reply #49 on: September 17, 2004, 03:27:03 PM »


Scripture has it, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”.  We are commanded to “Keep” the Sabbath with Church going.  


Actually, this isn't the Church's historic teaching.  The Church has historically taught that the Sabbath (Saturday) is /not/ to be observed by Christians as it is by Jews, but rather we are to observe the Lord's Day (Sunday) which is not the same thing.  The Lord's Day is related to the Sabbath in much the same way that the Eucharist is related to the Old Testament sacrifices and Baptism is to circumcision.  It has fulfilled and surpassed it.  Its not the 7th Day of the Old Creation, its the 8th Day, the first day of the new.  So your references to Old Testament shadows and types represent a category confusion.  At least on the point of the Sabbath, you seem to be holding to the position of the Judaizers...see below...

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It says in Scripture, “He who honors me, I will honor and he who dishonors me, I will dishonor.”  <snip>

One time in a Greek Orthodox service while praying during the Our Father, I was interrupted so someone could be seated.  I immediately left the church and excoriated anyone else arriving to the church in the parking lot and I never returned to that church.  

In the spirit of our Lord's injunction that 'by the judgment by which ye judge others ye also shall be judged, and by the measure with which you measure, ye shall be measured'...and irony:

You were sitting in a Church during the Liturgy?  Sitting?  During prayer?  You would dare sit in the presence of the Heavenly King?

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Jesus said, “Your righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees”.  I guess the “righteousness” in the Churches is quite lax.

You seem to be interpreting Christ as telling you to out Pharisee the Pharisees.  And to your credit, you're pursuing your interpretation of this command with all due zeal.  But this is a gross misinterpretation of the passage.  Here's what Christ had to say about the Sabbath:

Mark 2:23-28: 23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. 24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? 25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? 26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? 27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

St. Paul said on the subject, even more directly to the point:

Colossians 2:16 - Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:  

Why this change from the Old Testament?

Galatians 4:4-7 - 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Quote
Far from being an innovation,  Far from being scandalous, A man who goes to Sunday services religiously for 50 years, and fails to go to the next because of a football game and dies on the way, He shall be condemned to Hell.  All his good deeds and faith are for nought.

Romans 2:3 - And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

Romans 14:4 - Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Romans 14:10 - But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

And lest you accuse me of being 'Protestant' in my outlook:

James 4:11-12 - Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.  There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

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Today, We don’t know the Scriptures; We don’t read; We don’t quote; We don’t command; We don’t preach; We don’t honor; We don’t remember; We don’t fear God.

You speak only for yourself, sir.

In truth, I'm hoping your post was a joke, since I can't imagine anyone ever referencing Blue Laws positively, even the most wild-eyed Finney-following Pelagian, but it gives me a jumping off point to try to address this again.  The idea that salvation is merited by law-keeping is a heresy condemned by the Church centuries ago.  The idea that salvation does not require obedience is also a heresy condemned by the Church centuries ago.

Those reacting against the Catholic Answers statement are reacting against what they perceive is un-Christian judgmentalism.  Those on the other side I don't perceive to so much be defending the statement itself, as the idea that Church attendance is critically important.  Both are true, both are right, and they don't contradict each other.  The fact is, it is sinful to not attend Liturgy without good reason.  But it is also a fact that no person can judge the salvation of another, especially based on some individual sin such as this.  Its really that simple.

To quote the Bard: 'If all men were treated according to their dessert, who should escape whipping?'  Certainly I would not.

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« Reply #50 on: September 17, 2004, 04:35:17 PM »

Anastasios,

The discussion seems focused on "merit" and we all know there's only One that is Holy and Righteous, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Maybe I'm confused.  :-

I don't see it as merit; I see it as a discussion of what people do when they love Christ.
Smiley

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« Reply #51 on: September 17, 2004, 10:13:31 PM »

This whole emphasis on the Sunday mass/liturgy seems to me to contradict St. Paul, who says, "On the one hand there is one who judgeth a day above another, but on the other hand there is one who judgeth every day alike.  Let each one in his own mind be fully assured.  The one who mindeth the day, mindeth it to the Lord; and the one who mindeth not the day, mindeth it not to the Lord." (Romans 14:6)  No day is intrinsically superior to any other; if missing Sunday mass is a mortal sin, so is missing any day's mass.  Besides, this whole approach of discussing which sins bring a Christian into judgment and which do not is legalistic.  As St. Paul says again, "If we are faithless, yet that One remaineth faithful; He is not able to deny Himself." (2 Timothy 2:13)  So long as one does not try to, "lay any other foundation than that which is laid, that is Christ," ie. fall into some form of continued idolatry, one cannot be separated from the love of God.  This is the old faith vs. works of the law issue being dredged up again.
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« Reply #52 on: September 17, 2004, 10:31:12 PM »

I'm only going to bother to respond to a couple parts of this post; most of it doesn't merit refuting.  Unfortunately, I don't know how to divide up quotes, so I'll have to respond in one block.
Protestant America was blessed by God because there was an “honoring” of God in this country.  Christians of both the Pre-Vat. RC and Puritan strove to meet that obligation.  There was a great fear that turned into common practice.  The preaching on the “Fear of the Lord” encouraged men to attend services.  There were Blue Laws throughout this country.  There was a time in this country where God was put first and Obedience to God was demanded and obtained.  It was a time when this country was great, holy, civil, gentlemanly and full of grace.
Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.  Churches which constantly emphasize God's judgment make it almost impossible for their members to follow God out of love rather than fear, which is better.  These churches bind their members in a perpetual spiritual childhood.  As to this American golden age you refer to, I would be curious as to when it was.  Was it the time when Puritan governments deprived their citizens of even the most basic of Christian liberties and displayed a general pharisaism and judgmentalism?  Or during the time of the founding fathers, when deism swept away religious observance in most of the educated classes?  Or perhaps into the nineteenth century, the age of robber barons, Indian massacres, environmental pillaging and bloody wars, including a war of aggression against Mexico and a civil war more destructive than any conflict in America's history?  I'll assume you're not speaking of any time in the secular twentieth century.
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« Reply #53 on: September 17, 2004, 10:53:28 PM »

I don't see it as merit; I see it as a discussion of what people do when they love Christ.
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Anastasios

Ahh! And when we love Christ we can't do enough! Doesn't argue well for excuses though.

Thanks for the insight!
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« Reply #54 on: September 18, 2004, 03:03:29 AM »

Wow, the above few post pretty much clear this up. It's appearant that the legalism is unfounded barring no proof from Scripture or Holy Tradition. Looks like it comes down to personal interpretation.
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« Reply #55 on: September 18, 2004, 11:10:08 AM »

For Nacho on the point of quoting from the NT

Quote
The Scripture commands the meeting together.  St. Paul in Hebrews 10:24-25, commands Christians to meet together.  Preachers and Bishops are to “Stir up one another”.  How is this done?  By preaching the Word of God in the Fear of the LORD.

Yes, there is times when for good excuse one can miss liturgy.  The point is one must preach hard because most people given an inch take a mile.  One must preach from a point of a slighter extreme because knowing the sinfulness of people they will abuse any crack in the facade.  The narrower the crack the less of abuse.  This principle can be seen in the difference between the Pre-Vatican II RC (There are no good examples now in modern Cathholicism) and Orthodoxy.  The "crack" is set wide in Orthodoxy and many abuse it.

John Cassian responses are the devil's advocate type.  Sabbath for Christians is Sunday.  By mainstream Christianity when "sabbath" is used Sunday is meant.  For you John Cassian to squeeze a point out of this is the sign, I would think, of an nihilistic mind which is really legalistic; the Hebrew methodology.

The Hebrew methodology is first to affirm the premises.  They then become absolutely true.  Then turn around and deny them and postulate the exact opposite as absolutely true.  This is training given in Hebrew schools.

 I look to the "spirit" of the laws.  One thing I do notice is that the Old Testament is never quoted in Sermons in the Orthodox Church.  No lessons are drawn from it.  In Protestant Christianity and Old Roman Catholicism the Old Testament was constantly used as the basis of teachings and preachings.  Both together, New and Old in a proportionate teaching.  I find no proportion in the Orthodox church.

2nd Point, I was standing.  I always stand throughout the Orthodox service even the readings.  The english slang is to say "to be seated" when one moves to occupy a position in a congregation.  If I need to explain this what sign is this of my disputant?  One does not say "I was moved to let someone be standing"; makes no sense to the reader.  "To be seated" means one takes a position.

3rd point, "Let no man"  but the Church does have the right to judge.  The Church Judges.

And Nacho's last point is well taken.  Any thing can be argued.  and in nacho's ironic statement , which is brilliantly put, John Cassian means that we all may now do what ever we feel like doing.  If i don't feel like going to church, I don't need to go.  i will do whatever i feel like doing.  If I want to arrive at church at the "Our Father". Its allright.

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« Reply #56 on: September 18, 2004, 11:18:57 AM »

"if missing Sunday mass is a mortal sin, so is missing any day's mass.  "

I wouldn't say that, because attending Church on the Lord's Day is one of the Ten Commandments (the Sabbath tradition of worship switched to Sunday, although in the Byzantine Church the Sabbath per se is still considered to be Saturday).  Attending weekday liturgies is not.

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« Reply #57 on: September 18, 2004, 03:43:52 PM »

Quote
Yes, there is times when for good excuse one can miss liturgy.  The point is one must preach hard because most people given an inch take a mile.  One must preach from a point of a slighter extreme because knowing the sinfulness of people they will abuse any crack in the facade.  The narrower the crack the less of abuse.  This principle can be seen in the difference between the Pre-Vatican II RC (There are no good examples now in modern Cathholicism) and Orthodoxy.  The "crack" is set wide in Orthodoxy and many abuse it.

You are right about the "crack" being wide. It's obvious to me that the wrong approach is telling people that they may be in eternal jeopardy if they miss the Liturgy for the wrong reasons. This hasn't worked to well by observing the church attendance of both Catholicism & Orthodoxy. I do beleive we can learn much from our prestestant brothers who don't seem to have such a problem of making it too church on time, but yet they aren't threatened with eternal damnation. I think the difference is that in most protestant circles they are really trained from the ground up to be really active in church life & living out christianity every day in general. If the Orthodox & Catholics took this approach, I think church attedance would swell & thier members would take it much more seriously. I will say that at the Antiochian Orthodox church I attend doesn't have this problem. The reason for this is that the priest has really taken an active role in teaching & showing the laity how to live the christian life. He does things like having bible studies at his house & another goal is to get 20 Orthodox prayer groups started in the local area. I relly don't see this happening at the more ethnic parishes where it's much more lax in attitude. Our priest would never have to tell people that thier salvation may be in jeopardy if they slack off & miss Liturgy because he has chosen to take a more christ centered approach of showing through his actions why Divine Liturgy is of the upmost importance.  



Quote
John Cassian responses are the devil's advocate type.  Sabbath for Christians is Sunday.  By mainstream Christianity when "sabbath" is used Sunday is meant.  For you John Cassian to squeeze a point out of this is the sign, I would think, of an nihilistic mind which is really legalistic; the Hebrew methodology.

I think Mr. Cassian was right with what he was saying. Nobody can make such proclamations of someones salvation. That really violates the spirit of the new testament as affirmed by the various scriptures he posted.  

Quote
2nd Point, I was standing.  I always stand throughout the Orthodox service even the readings.  The english slang is to say "to be seated" when one moves to occupy a position in a congregation.  If I need to explain this what sign is this of my disputant?  One does not say "I was moved to let someone be standing"; makes no sense to the reader.  "To be seated" means one takes a position.

I agree with you here. I stand throughout the whole service because I beleive it's the most respectful form of worship.

Quote
3rd point, "Let no man"  but the Church does have the right to judge.  The Church Judges.
You are right that judgements can be made. The problem here is that they can't really be made with the topic at hand. I still haven't seen any solid proof that such a decleration is merited.  If we were to take you literally, then about 80% of Orthodox & Catholics are living in some serious mortal sin.  There is an obvious difference between chronic abuse & someone who barely misses Liturgy at all. The original post dealt with someone who has been faithful for a long time that missed one service for "bad reasons" & happened to die that same day. I still don't buy that a judgement can be made about this person salvation.

Quote
And Nacho's last point is well taken.  Any thing can be argued.  and in nacho's ironic statement , which is brilliantly put, John Cassian means that we all may now do what ever we feel like doing.  If i don't feel like going to church, I don't need to go.  i will do whatever i feel like doing.  If I want to arrive at church at the "Our Father". Its allright.

I'm not advocating missing Sunday service. I still think it's a serious sin, but that is far different that making a proclamation about someone's salvation.  I hope you see the difference.
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« Reply #58 on: September 18, 2004, 03:47:23 PM »

John Cassian means that we all may now do what ever we feel like doing.  If i don't feel like going to church, I don't need to go.  i will do whatever i feel like doing.  If I want to arrive at church at the "Our Father". Its allright.

St. Paul says:

I Corinthians 10:23-24, 29b - Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.  Everything is permissisble, but not everything is edifying.  Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.  For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience?  If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

You attending or not attending Liturgy, or showing up late, assuming you have no good excuse, is sinful.  However, me judging you for it is also sinful.  Unless I missed your Episcopal consecration, you are, like me, in a position to judge no man.

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« Reply #59 on: September 18, 2004, 11:25:24 PM »

"if missing Sunday mass is a mortal sin, so is missing any day's mass.  "

I wouldn't say that, because attending Church on the Lord's Day is one of the Ten Commandments (the Sabbath tradition of worship switched to Sunday, although in the Byzantine Church the Sabbath per se is still considered to be Saturday).  Attending weekday liturgies is not.

anastasios
But do you not think that regarding any day as being the sabbath for everyone (not only for those who choose voluntarily to observe it) contradicts Romans 14?
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« Reply #60 on: September 18, 2004, 11:27:44 PM »

No, becuase the Church says the sabbath is Saturday, and that the Lord's Day is Sunday.

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« Reply #61 on: September 18, 2004, 11:33:40 PM »

I hope you'll understand if I don't find that a very satisfying response....
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« Reply #62 on: September 19, 2004, 12:14:26 AM »

Dear lellimore,

That's fine if you don't find it satisfying but that is what I was taught and have read in catechisms, etc., so that's just what I believe.  I can't remember if you are not Orthodox so I am not sure how to approach your question.  Smiley

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« Reply #63 on: September 19, 2004, 02:48:27 AM »

"In case any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or anyone else on the list of the Clergy, or any layman, without any graver necessity or any particular difficulty compelling him to absent himself from his own church for a very long time, fails to attend church on Sundays for three consecutive weeks, while living in the city, if he be a Cleric, let him be deposed from office; but if he be a layman, let him be removed from Communion." - Sixth Ecumenical Council, Canon 80

"Remember that in time past our fathers judged that if any layman staying in a city three Sundays should fail to attend church for three weeks in succession, he should be denied communion." Local Council of Sardica, Canon 11
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« Reply #64 on: September 19, 2004, 07:15:52 AM »

Let me get this right,

God loves us so intensley that it far exceeds any human love a parent has for his/her child; moreover, His disposition never changes towards us

Yet, if we miss one Sunday and die, then God is going to eternally damn us to burn in hell forever???
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« Reply #65 on: September 19, 2004, 11:24:01 AM »

Let me get this right,

God loves us so intensley that it far exceeds any human love a parent has for his/her child; moreover, His disposition never changes towards us

Yet, if we miss one Sunday and die, then God is going to eternally damn us to burn in hell forever???

No, not WILL. But COULD.  You are missing the point: if we miss Sunday FOR NO GOOD REASON, then we are rejecting God, not the other way around.

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« Reply #66 on: September 19, 2004, 01:00:45 PM »

No, not WILL. But COULD.  You are missing the point: if we miss Sunday FOR NO GOOD REASON, then we are rejecting God, not the other way around.

Well, that's really a legal statement of the church, isn't it? It's not a real, immediate rejection of God, but an imputed rejection and thus, by implication, a rejection of the absent by the church in the name of God.

This is the point where the Protestants fail to keep a straight face. The logic has gotten inverted so many times along the way that there's no real justification for assigning a meaning to someone's actions here.
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« Reply #67 on: September 19, 2004, 05:44:36 PM »

Well, that's really a legal statement of the church, isn't it? It's not a real, immediate rejection of God, but an imputed rejection and thus, by implication, a rejection of the absent by the church in the name of God.

I'm sorry, Keble; you lost me.  How does the the idea that God could -- as opposed to the idea that He definitely will -- reject us qualify as a "legal statement"?  It doesn't seem to me as though the Church is being dogmatic here, but rather cautionary...

Orthodox Bagpiper --

You don't quite have all the story from this (very long!) thread, I think...God is the Lover who loves us more intensely than any man or woman ever could, you're right...and yet...we walk away from that, with no good reason, and we thus condemn ourselves.  Now, given a good reason, there's no problem (at least, the Church sees no reason why there should be).  God's merciful and understands.  But He'll not stop us from walking away.

This we know, but can't (read: SHOULDN'T) say when either happens.
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« Reply #68 on: September 19, 2004, 06:14:16 PM »

I have listened to Catholic Answers the last year driving to work in the morning everyday & I ussually agree with most of what they say except for today. They had apologist Patrick Madrid on today who is well known in RC circles.

The topic of salvation came up by one of the callers who called in to the show. The guy asked if someone was a good faithful Catholic for the last 50 years of thier life & one day they decided to go to a football game on Sunday instead of Mass & they happened to die in a car accident on the way to the game, would they go to hell?Huh

I was floored when Patrick Madrid without any hesitation said "yes, they would go to hell for missing one mass." Then the host (I think it was Jimmy Akin) chimmed in & said the same thing.

Is this what Rome really teaches??? This really smacks of legalism to me. Who would feel safe being a Catholic & missing a Sunday mass, & maybe sometimes for good reasons. I think they are way off on this one....



Yes...According to RC Dogma the football fan would go to Hell because he did not die in a state of grace and in fact died while in the commission of a cardional sin -- not keeping the Sabbath Holy.

Although I agre with most of what the RCC teaches...this and other apsects, in my opinion are teachings designed to control people....not promote true faith in Christ.

In Orthodoxy we are confortable in leaving the judging of souls up to God and praying "Lord Have Mercy"...But hey the Roman Catholics believ the Pope has the Keys to heaven...some even believe thios tio be an actual physical manifestation of actual keys to heaven....so RC Dogma, must have all the answers as to how we will be judged. The Pope after a is the "Vicar of Chirst"

So how could the pope be wrong? How could any Pope be wrong?
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« Reply #69 on: September 19, 2004, 08:05:23 PM »

Aren't we forgetting about the concept of mercy here? And granting people economia for the sake of human shortcomings and weaknesses?  What about the prayer of the Church for the respose of the departed? Wouldn't the Church's prayers for the departed be enough to cleanse him of the sin of missing one Divine Liturgy, esp. if he was in the habit of attending his entire life? I'm sorry, but this whole thread sounds very very legalistic to me.
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« Reply #70 on: September 19, 2004, 09:06:03 PM »

What is legalistic about saying that someone who willfully misses Mass/Liturgy WITHOUT A GOOD ENOUGH REASON is committing a sin?  

I'm sorry, but it sounds to me like there are a bunch of people in this thread who want to defend spiritual laziness.
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« Reply #71 on: September 19, 2004, 09:40:22 PM »

Tikhon29605

Quote
Aren't we forgetting about the concept of mercy here?

I believe it was Met. Anthony (of ROCOR) who counselled priests to read the entire relevant canon(s) to people during confession, including all their strict penalties... and then to apply a much lighter penance than the canons demand. I think the point is, if you're sorry, then the Church is forgiving and wants to do whatever it can for your spiritual health. If you aren't sorry and don't repent, though, then the Church wants to forgive but can't do so, because you are the one who is essentially refusing to be reconciled. I've missed a lot of Church since I became Orthodox 3 years ago, so I'm not just pointing fingers here...
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« Reply #72 on: September 19, 2004, 11:29:49 PM »

Aren't we forgetting about the concept of mercy here? And granting people economia for the sake of human shortcomings and weaknesses?  What about the prayer of the Church for the respose of the departed? Wouldn't the Church's prayers for the departed be enough to cleanse him of the sin of missing one Divine Liturgy, esp. if he was in the habit of attending his entire life? I'm sorry, but this whole thread sounds very very legalistic to me.

Who said God couldn't show mercy?? Those prayers help, or may not. All Phil and I are saying is that you COULD end up in hell. That is an objective fact, just like I could die tomorrow, could eat ice cream, could be nasty to my neighbor, etc.

I think the problem is with the people who are saying God WOULD overlook a sin.  We don't know what God would do!

I don't see one bit of legalism in this thread AT ALL.  Insert any other sin, for instance:

1) I never cheated on my wife for 50 years.  I then go and cheat on her and die. I'm sure God will look past that one time.

2) I never used the Lord's name in vain.  The one day I said "G*d* you" and meant it, then got hit by a car.  I'm sure God would look past it.

3) I never stole money from anyone, but hey, I took 20 bucks from my rich brother and then died. I am sure God would look past it.

4) I always sent my "sponsor a child" child $20 bucks a month. But then I forgot to send the check for March.  He starved to death but hey, I gave him money all those other times so God will look past it, right?

I mean come on.  God doesn't OVERLOOK sin OR neglegence.  He may FORGIVE us but that is up to HIM so let's stop PRETENDING that it is "legalistic" to say he MAY condemn someone for missing Liturgy *for no good reason*.

anastasios
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« Reply #73 on: September 19, 2004, 11:51:12 PM »

The question isn't about getting away with sinning.  What's being objected to is buying into an RC categorizing of sins, which explicitly single out missing Liturgy, that definitively lead to hell.  This doesn't sound like anything I've read nor been taught by my priest, and it's probably best that one discusses this with his or her spiritual father.  It's been my understanding that the process of theosis is a process that extends over our natural life and into the next, where prayers from the living can assist the deceased in their journey towards deification and the forgiveness of their sins.  Turning this process into a confessional transaction that has to be completed before death because one didn't attend every Liturgy sounds awfully legalistic, and Schmemann criticized this infiltration into Orthodox thinking by Scholastics like Peter Mohila.  The RC mortal/venial designation is a definitive statement on what is guaranteed to send someone to hell; this is not something the Orthodox Church does.  Furthermore, it would seem that getting angry because someone else is cooking in the parish kitchen during Liturgy, or leaving Liturgy in a huff because a few folks are chatting outside the sanctuary or stragglers come in late are egregious sins in themselves of greater proportion.  In that case, if the behavior of others in Liturgy arouse such feelings within you, probably staying home where such enmity isn't provoked is the least sinful route.

I came across a couple of paragraphs at the website for Sts.Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral that might be beneficial...

http://www.stsconstantine.com/basics_of_orthodox_christian_pra.htm
"Orthodox rules of daily living are viewed as caring for the soul. They are not to be viewed as legal requirements for entry into God's kingdom. Half a century ago some Christians taught that eating meat on Fridays was a mortal sin, an offense that endangered one’s eternal salvation. The Orthodox Church never viewed its rules in this way. Instead it views its rules with the Lord’s words in mind, 'I have come that they may have life, and have it in abundance.'

In other words, the rules exist to help us become better people, more humble, more self-aware, more attuned to God’s will, more loving, etc. A person who eats meat on Fridays is neglecting his/her soul. How that affects his/her eternal salvation is up to God. As St. Paul writes, 'The kingdom of heaven is not food and drink.' The Lord once said, 'It is not what goes into a person, but rather what comes out of a person that defiles him.' Nevertheless, the Church teaches that fasting on Fridays (and Wednesdays) is beneficial to spiritual growth. The same could be said regarding all Orthodox Christian practices."
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« Reply #74 on: September 20, 2004, 12:08:40 AM »

Dear Strelets,

It appears you have bought into the typical neo-Orthodox way of trying to force distinctions between Orthodoxy and Catholicism that don't exist. For instance:

Quote
The question isn't about getting away with sinning.  What's being objected to is buying into an RC categorizing of sins, which explicitly single out missing Liturgy, that definitively lead to hell.  This doesn't sound like anything I've read nor been taught by my priest, and it's probably best that one discusses this with his or her spiritual father.  It's been my understanding that the process of theosis is a process that extends over our natural life and into the next, where prayers from the living can assist the deceased in their journey towards deification and the forgiveness of their sins.

Orthodoxy most certainly teaches that if you die in a serious sin you will go to hell if you did not repent.  And missing liturgy is a serious sin if it is done for no good reason.  So again, you MAY (not will) go to hell if you do this.

Some sins can be forgiven post-mortum by the prayers of the faithful (why we pray for the dead since we do not believe in purgatory). That is true. But if you die in serious sin without repenting, you may go to hell.


Quote
In other words, the rules exist to help us become better people, more humble, more self-aware, more attuned to God’s will, more loving, etc. A person who eats meat on Fridays is neglecting his/her soul. How that affects his/her eternal salvation is up to God.

No one would disagree with you there.

BTW, Peter Moghila is a canonized saint of the Orthodox Church, whose writings and teachings were accepted by almost the entire Russian Church. I don't buy into Schmemann's critique of scholasticism: it has actually a lot in common with what many Greek Old Calendarists write, in that a long-standing development of the Church is singlehandedly rejected.

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« Reply #75 on: September 20, 2004, 03:31:28 AM »

Strelets:

I really really like what you said, esp. the quotation from the Greek Orthodox Church's website about "care for the soul" versus "legal requirements." It seems to me that some of us believe more strongly in sin than we do in forgiveness, more strongly in adherence to the letter of the law than to the spirit in which that law is lived and more in one absence from Liturgy leading us to hell that that combined effects of the prayers of the faithful in delivering us from hell.  I thank you.
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« Reply #76 on: September 20, 2004, 03:54:50 AM »

Q: What is to be remarked of such souls as have departed with faith, but without having had time to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance?
A:  This: that they may be aided towards the attainment of a blessed resurrection by prayers offered in their behalf, especially such as are offered in union with the oblation of the Bloodless Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, and by works of mercy done in faith for their memory.
Q: On what is this doctrine grounded?
A:  On the constant tradition of the Catholic Church; the sources of which may be seen even in the Church of the Old Testament.  Judas Maccabaeus offered sacrifice for his men that had fallen.  (2 Macc. xii. 43)  Prayer for the departed has ever formed a fixed part of the Divine Liturgy, from the first Liturgy of the Apostle James.  St. Cyril of Jerusalem says: very great will be the benefit to those souls for whom prayer is offered at the moment when the holy and tremendous Sacrifice is lying in view. (Lect. Myst. v.9.)
  St. Basil the Great in his prayers for Pentecost says that the Lord vouchsafes to receive from us propitiatory prayers for those that are kept in Hades, and allows us the hope of obtaining for them peace, relief and freedom.  
 Source: The Catechism of the Orthodox Church, pp 68-69.  
     This is the old Catechism of Metropolitan Philaret from 19th century Russia, translated into English and approved for use in North America by (the later Saint) Tikhon, Bishop of the North American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church (predecessor to the OCA)
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« Reply #77 on: September 20, 2004, 08:59:19 AM »

"and allows us the hope of obtaining for them peace, relief and freedom."

I couldn't agree more! But instead of having to just rely on the hope, how about making it easier on ourselves by not sinning voluntarily when we have the chance!

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« Reply #78 on: September 20, 2004, 09:03:12 AM »

This thread has grown retarded.

Why waste all the brain power coming up with reasons to not go to church rather then just think of ways to get there.

Seems to me like some folks have misplaced priorities.

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« Reply #79 on: September 20, 2004, 09:07:29 AM »

Strelets:

I really really like what you said, esp. the quotation from the Greek Orthodox Church's website about "care for the soul" versus "legal requirements." It seems to me that some of us believe more strongly in sin than we do in forgiveness, more strongly in adherence to the letter of the law than to the spirit in which that law is lived and more in one absence from Liturgy leading us to hell that that combined effects of the prayers of the faithful in delivering us from hell.  I thank you.

You really don't get what others are saying.  If you want to turn Orthodoxy into a feel-good religion, be my guest.  The Bible and the Church Fathers say otherwise.  I am getting near the end of posting on this thread, but I will say again: if you love God, you will not intentionally miss liturgy. Period. And if you miss liturgy intentionally, you are cutting yourself off POSSIBLY from God. He may have mercy, but that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about setting oneself up for failure through our inaction.

You have created a masterful way of evading the issue though; by framing it in "legalism" as if attending liturgy were a requirement instead of an act of love, you very easily dismiss missing it as "just not living up to the rules" such as not fasting enough, etc.  You keep missing the point that not honoring the Lord's Day is a direct violation of the commandments, whereas for instance not fasting enough is not.

I think it is very spiritually dangerous to think that you will "in the end be ok" because others are praying for you. What is this, universalism?  Others' prayers can help us in our Christian walk both here and post-mortum, but they do not subsitute completely for our repentence.

Read The Soul After Death by Fr Serpahim Rose, Life After Death by Met. Hierotheos, and The Mystery of Death by Vassiliades--God is merciful but God is just.  For the last time, I am not talking about fulfilling a legal requirement; I am talking about manifesting our love for God until the last moment.  Enough saints and fathers have shown that even falling at the end can forfeit salvation, as St Paul himself says.  Who are you going to base yourself: St Paul, the Fathers, and the Saints, or some writings by the GOA website and St Philaret's catechism taken out of context from what we are saying?

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« Reply #80 on: September 20, 2004, 10:17:12 AM »

Amen, brother Anastasios.

Don't understand the queerness of the mentality of some folks re: church.  

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« Reply #81 on: September 20, 2004, 10:58:53 AM »

You really don't get what others are saying.  If you want to turn Orthodoxy into a feel-good religion, be my guest.  The Bible and the Church Fathers say otherwise.  I am getting near the end of posting on this thread, but I will say again: if you love God, you will not intentionally miss liturgy. Period. And if you miss liturgy intentionally, you are cutting yourself off POSSIBLY from God. He may have mercy, but that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about setting oneself up for failure through our inaction.

Anastasios et al.,

The real reason this thread is silly is that neither side understands what the other is saying, as I said on this thread some time ago.  NO ONE ON THIS THREAD IS SAYING ITS NOT A SERIOUS SIN TO MISS LITURGY FOR NO GOOD REASON.  No one ever has.  No one is calling that idea legalism.

What people are calling legalism is:

     - The idea that a person who wants to go to a football game on Sunday morning, so they skip Mass Sunday morning, but go to one 5:30 Saturday night, then dies, is in the clear, but someone who does the same thing, but attends the Saturday Mass at 3:00 in the afternoon goes to Hell.

     - The idea that someone who dies without recourse to confession, despite the state of their character or life, goes to Hades and has to be prayed out by survivors or God will damn them to Hell for bad timing.  The reason this is legalism is it fails to take sin seriously.  Sin is not a short list of 'serious' infractions that we can all avoid and thereby ensure our salvation.  Sin is a reality that goes to the very core of our being.  We could spend every moment of the rest of our lives in confession and repentance (and indeed we should), but even if we do so, we will not die 'in the clear'.  As St. Sisoes the Great said immediately before his repose, he regreted only that he had just made a beginning of repentance.  I wouldn't call this view of the Fathers 'feel good religion', would you?  Nowhere do the Fathers teach that we are at some point in a 'state of Grace', i.e. temporary moral perfection.  Quite the opposite.  The process of positive Theosis described by Strelets is paralleled by an unending process of repentance and tears.

     - We feel that it is legalistic to hold that any human person can judge his or her brother based upon some piece of outward behavior.

So, unless you or others care to defend any of those three objections above, I think we can call this thread closed, because, as I said before: EVERYONE AGREES THAT MISSING LITURGY IS A SERIOUS SIN.

In fact, I would go so far as to include all of the services of the Church, and personal prayer as required of us, not just showing up on Sunday.  I would also include conducting your life in such a way and confessing such that one is eligible to fully participate in the Eucharist every Sunday Liturgy.  I would go much farther than what you are proposing, but I would also reject any kind of legalism that provides for judging one brother as facing eternal damnation and another brother as being 'righteous'.

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« Reply #82 on: September 20, 2004, 11:39:00 AM »

JohnCassian echoed much of my sentiments.  The discussion has evolved into "You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!", "No, your chocolate's in my peanut butter!".  No one is denying it's not a sin to miss Liturgy.  What I find unseemly is to spend time pointing out someone else's sin of missing Liturgy while failing to take note of the huge ass stick protruding from your own eye because you attend Liturgy in a state of anger and agitation towards other Orthodox.  After all, anger is in that list of grievous sins, while missing Liturgy is not.

My initial religious training was in that feel good, daisy chain bastion of Christianity Lite, the United Methodist Church.  It was that experience that led me to embrace the truth of Orthodoxy and its teachings, including those that state there is a place called hell and those with an unbelieving, unrepentant heart will end up in that fiery abode.  But it's being presumptuous on our part to single out a sin of another as a guaranteed ticket to hell, when in fact there are no safe sins.  You are cutting yourself from God by intentionally sinning, period.  Making a list of really bad sins does nothing but serve to inflate one's ego and give a false sense of security for abiding by the letter of the law.

Regarding Peter Mohila's catechism, which one are you going to use?  His Latin version, which was corrected by Meletios because of the abundant Scholastic errors?  Mohila rebuked that corrected version, which was the one accepted at Jassy and Kiev.  I'm not aware of Mohila's canonization and I'd be grateful if you could provide more details.  This topic came up in another board some time ago and this sainthood was news to everyone.  It's been suggested that this is rooted in something Catholic apologist James Likoudis wrote, but I don't have anything more than that.  Nevertheless, Mohila's original error-filled catechism was not adopted by Russia and it's not in use today.  He adamantly rejected that corrected document that was briefly in use.

As far as The Soul After Death by Fr Serpahim Rose, this is a shoddy piece of scholarship.  It makes generous use of pseudographia works, such as the the supposed writing of St. John Chrysostom called Homily on Patience and Gratitude or bogus quotes from St. Ephraim.  Besides providing mistranslations of existing service books, Rose also quotes untraceable service books without providing sources.  Rather than relying upon obscure, controversial sources on the after life, I prefer to stick with tried and true Patristics accepted by the whole Church, as directed by my spiritual father.
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« Reply #83 on: September 20, 2004, 01:58:58 PM »

Strelets,

Fr Seraphim's book is a great book, despite some of its errors. Nevertheless, I also provided suggestions in two other books, which are more moderate and more scholarly.

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« Reply #84 on: September 20, 2004, 02:00:25 PM »

"NO ONE ON THIS THREAD IS SAYING ITS NOT A SERIOUS SIN TO MISS LITURGY FOR NO GOOD REASON."

But in some posts, some people come very close to saying that, with a type of cavlier attitude towards liturgy attendence.

But you are right, we are all talking past each other.  Rather than cause any further discord I am simply going to stop posting on this thread. Anyone else can have the last word Smiley

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« Reply #85 on: September 20, 2004, 02:25:21 PM »

After you have the knowledge of what is due to God, your conscience and the Holy Spirit will let you know when you err.

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« Reply #86 on: September 20, 2004, 02:33:08 PM »

John Cassian: Thank you for your post!  I enjoyed it.
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« Reply #87 on: September 20, 2004, 02:56:03 PM »

The first point is that there is a scriptural basis for the remark by Catholic Answers.

“But when the righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, according to all the transgressions which the transgressor has wrought, none of his righteousness which he has wrought shall be at all remembered; in his trespass wherein he has trespassed, and in his sins wherein he has sinned, in them shall he die."  (Septuagint) Ezekial 18.24f


The question is has this verse been preached to the people?  Are they aware of this?  Is this taught to the people?  How many Christians are lax in their Obedience or in the word of John Cassian to their legalisms that their laxity is jeopardizing their salvation?  

When was the last time a preaching had this in its content?

Last Month?
Last Six Months?
Last Year?

But I think I know the answer to everybodies answer-----NEVER!
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« Reply #88 on: September 20, 2004, 04:23:04 PM »

I'm sorry, Keble; you lost me.  How does the the idea that God could -- as opposed to the idea that He definitely will -- reject us qualify as a "legal statement"?  It doesn't seem to me as though the Church is being dogmatic here, but rather cautionary...

Well, no, I don't think it's cautionary, because then it would be phrased as "most people need to attend the liturgy at least every Sunday." My point is that tracing the justification for the Sunday obligation leads one back to church authority, not to the benefits/hazards of attending or not.
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« Reply #89 on: September 20, 2004, 04:41:23 PM »

"NO ONE ON THIS THREAD IS SAYING ITS NOT A SERIOUS SIN TO MISS LITURGY FOR NO GOOD REASON."

But in some posts, some people come very close to saying that, with a type of cavlier attitude towards liturgy attendance.

Well, no. What I see that, on the one hand, churchgoing for the members of this forum isn't really all that big a deal for themselves. But on the other hand, as stated it is nothing more than a matter of ritual observance. If it is that serious, then so is everything else-- which it is; nobody should believe in the concept of venial sins. But it's probably not as bad a sin as voting Republican Grin or any number of other things which are treated pretty casually. And far, far more important to be going to church because you have a spiritual need to do so than because you have an ecclesial obligation to do so.
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« Reply #90 on: September 20, 2004, 05:22:20 PM »

But it's probably not as bad a sin as voting Republican Grin or any number of other things which are treated pretty casually.

 :rofl:  Love it!
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« Reply #91 on: September 20, 2004, 10:38:50 PM »

I'm hoping that this will be my final post in this thread, although I may get drawn back in depending on the responses, if any.  I hope not.    

Quote
The RC mortal/venial designation is a definitive statement on what is guaranteed to send someone to hell; this is not something the Orthodox Church does.

This almost sounds like the Protestant friend who tried to tell me that re-using an uncancelled postage stamp was just as sinful as raping and killing children.  Was my Protestant friend telling me about an Orthodox teaching on sin that I've never heard of?  

We may not break sins down into lists of "mortal" and "venial", but I think the concept is still there.  There are sins that lead unto death, i.e. serious sins.  All sin is bad, but I think it's just common sense that some are worse than others.  Perhaps the problem is that some think this makes God a monster, waiting for us to trip up so he can pull the lever and watch us fall into flames, when the truth is that when we commit such sins, we commit "spiritual suicide" (for lack of a better term).  Of course, there is always the opportunity for repentance, but the sin is deadly to us when we commit it, and although we should put our trust in God's mercy and pray for His forgiveness and repent, we shouldn't just do as we please and presume that God will forgive us.  That's Protestant, not Orthodox.                  

Besides, the requirements for an individual to be guilty of mortal sin in RCism are kinda tough to meet, given how many people are these days.  So relax, guys...the situation may not be as bleak as you think we think it is.  Tongue    

Quote
Furthermore, it would seem that getting angry because someone else is cooking in the parish kitchen during Liturgy...

I actually do not have much of a problem with this, although in my experience it is not really necessary (the only thing in my parish that must be prepared there rather than brought from home is rice).  

Quote
or leaving Liturgy in a huff because a few folks are chatting outside the sanctuary or stragglers come in late are egregious sins in themselves of greater proportion.  In that case, if the behavior of others in Liturgy arouse such feelings within you, probably staying home where such enmity isn't provoked is the least sinful route.

OK, but is this something we want to improve or something we just accept as a part of life?  Would we be justified in not going to church indefinitely for these reasons?  We are supposed to bear with one another: patience is a tough thing (I know, I'm very impatient), and I can't see how one could do it without God's grace, especially through the sacraments.  

Quote
In other words, the rules exist to help us become better people, more humble, more self-aware, more attuned to God’s will, more loving, etc. A person who eats meat on Fridays is neglecting his/her soul. How that affects his/her eternal salvation is up to God. As St. Paul writes, 'The kingdom of heaven is not food and drink.' The Lord once said, 'It is not what goes into a person, but rather what comes out of a person that defiles him.' Nevertheless, the Church teaches that fasting on Fridays (and Wednesdays) is beneficial to spiritual growth. The same could be said regarding all Orthodox Christian practices."

So at what point do we get to say that we've reached such spiritual perfection that we don't need the Liturgy every Sunday when we are able to make it?  

Quote
What people are calling legalism is:

    - The idea that a person who wants to go to a football game on Sunday morning, so they skip Mass Sunday morning, but go to one 5:30 Saturday night, then dies, is in the clear, but someone who does the same thing, but attends the Saturday Mass at 3:00 in the afternoon goes to Hell.

So there is no difference between the seventh day of the liturgical week and the first day of the liturgical week?  The guy in the original hypothetical example probably would've known the difference if he was as faithful as the story made him out to be.  

Quote
  - The idea that someone who dies without recourse to confession, despite the state of their character or life, goes to Hades and has to be prayed out by survivors or God will damn them to Hell for bad timing.  The reason this is legalism is it fails to take sin seriously.  Sin is not a short list of 'serious' infractions that we can all avoid and thereby ensure our salvation.  Sin is a reality that goes to the very core of our being.  We could spend every moment of the rest of our lives in confession and repentance (and indeed we should), but even if we do so, we will not die 'in the clear'.  As St. Sisoes the Great said immediately before his repose, he regreted only that he had just made a beginning of repentance.  I wouldn't call this view of the Fathers 'feel good religion', would you?  Nowhere do the Fathers teach that we are at some point in a 'state of Grace', i.e. temporary moral perfection.  Quite the opposite.  The process of positive Theosis described by Strelets is paralleled by an unending process of repentance and tears.

True.  Then again, I don't think we are denying this (at least I'm not...if there is reason to, I'm too stupid to know what it is).  

Quote
  - We feel that it is legalistic to hold that any human person can judge his or her brother based upon some piece of outward behavior.[/i]

But no one is suggesting that it is OK to condemn individuals for this or that sin.  Just because you say "If someone does X and dies unrepentant, they may find themselves in hell" doesn't mean you are saying "You're going to hell".  There is no salvation outside the Church, but that doesn't mean I think Buddhists are hell-bound jackasses.  

Quote
So, unless you or others care to defend any of those three objections above, I think we can call this thread closed, because, as I said before: EVERYONE AGREES THAT MISSING LITURGY IS A SERIOUS SIN.

I'm not so sure I believe this...

Quote
In fact, I would go so far as to include all of the services of the Church, and personal prayer as required of us, not just showing up on Sunday.  I would also include conducting your life in such a way and confessing such that one is eligible to fully participate in the Eucharist every Sunday Liturgy.  I would go much farther than what you are proposing, but I would also reject any kind of legalism that provides for judging one brother as facing eternal damnation and another brother as being 'righteous'.

I agree with this.  

Quote
What I find unseemly is to spend time pointing out someone else's sin of missing Liturgy while failing to take note of the huge ass stick protruding from your own eye because you attend Liturgy in a state of anger and agitation towards other Orthodox.  After all, anger is in that list of grievous sins, while missing Liturgy is not.

I know I sorta addressed this earlier, but I'm beginning to wonder where this came in.  The only story I thought we were concerned with was the one in the original post.  There was nothing in there about the guy going to a football game because he was pissed off about scantily clad female eucharistic ministers or the like.  

Quote
But it's being presumptuous on our part to single out a sin of another as a guaranteed ticket to hell, when in fact there are no safe sins.  You are cutting yourself from God by intentionally sinning, period.  Making a list of really bad sins does nothing but serve to inflate one's ego and give a false sense of security for abiding by the letter of the law.

You're right that there are no safe sins.  Does the mortal/venial distinction lead to people perceiving themselves as safe for not committing big sins while committing little ones all over the place?  It's quite possible (probably the case for many), but the abuse of good things doesn't make them intrinsically bad: they are just being abused.  Is the mortal/venial distinction "good"?  I'm not sure if it's good or bad, I'm just of the opinion that it is self-evident, at least in certain cases.  

Quote
...tracing the justification for the Sunday obligation leads one back to church authority, not to the benefits/hazards of attending or not.

But why does the Church authorise it?  Is it merely to warm pews or fill coffers, or is it done with a view toward the spiritual benefit of her children?  

Quote
What I see that, on the one hand, churchgoing for the members of this forum isn't really all that big a deal for themselves. But on the other hand, as stated it is nothing more than a matter of ritual observance.

If the Liturgy is nothing more than a matter of ritual observance, then I can completely understand why people don't think it's such a big deal to miss it.  If the Liturgy is what the Orthodox teach it is, however, then it's much more than the mere ritual observance it is in Protestant denominations.  

Quote
If it is that serious, then so is everything else-- which it is...

I don't think murder and selling black market videos are equal except in the fact that they are both sins.  

Quote
And far, far more important to be going to church because you have a spiritual need to do so than because you have an ecclesial obligation to do so.

Who is perfect?
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« Reply #92 on: September 20, 2004, 11:06:45 PM »

I would love to expostulate on the subject but I need to meet a truck @ midnite in outskirts of San Diego .

Tecate later,
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« Reply #93 on: September 22, 2004, 12:53:59 PM »

Dear lellimore,

That's fine if you don't find it satisfying but that is what I was taught and have read in catechisms, etc., so that's just what I believe.  I can't remember if you are not Orthodox so I am not sure how to approach your question.  Smiley

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I was just trying to get some discussion going on how Paul's statements in Romans 14 and elsewhere in his letters can be reconciled with the church giving extra weight to Sunday, feast days, etc.  I'm looking at the consistency between the practices of the church and the letters of Paul.  (btw, I'm a former Protestant heavily leaning toward converting, but still having a few issues remaining)
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« Reply #94 on: September 22, 2004, 04:22:04 PM »

But does Romans 14 absolutely prohibit giving extra weight to Sundays (and, by extension, feast days)?  Even the Apostles worshipped especially on the Lord's Day.
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« Reply #95 on: September 22, 2004, 04:38:45 PM »

I have another question for those much more knowledgeable here. Basically what this also boils down to is that our salvation is really in the hands of the church correct??? This is also getting into what protestants have always protested in some aspects against Rome. We are responsible for our own salvation, but not unless we are also making it to Liturgy every week correct???
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« Reply #96 on: September 22, 2004, 07:53:11 PM »

Quote
...tracing the justification for the Sunday obligation leads one back to church authority, not to the benefits/hazards of attending or not.
But why does the Church authorise it?  Is it merely to warm pews or fill coffers, or is it done with a view toward the spiritual benefit of her children?

Ah, but there is a difference between spiritual benefit and spiritual obligation. Is it obligatory to go to mass weekly because of the nature of the mass itself, or because the church orders its members to do so? It seems to me that it is the second reason which obtains. And thus it may partly be that a reason behind it is a mere demonstration of ecclesial power-- a reason which is surely ignoble.

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If the Liturgy is nothing more than a matter of ritual observance, then I can completely understand why people don't think it's such a big deal to miss it.  If the Liturgy is what the Orthodox teach it is, however, then it's much more than the mere ritual observance it is in Protestant denominations.

Well, I don't think it's just a ritual observance either. But then ECUSA has a much higher standard of being in liturgy than the RC requirements present. The curious thing is that the RC church has not traditionally required participation in the liturgy but twice a year. It's a standard which does suggest nothing more than a ritual observance. And I wouldn't say that such an observance isn't without merit, but those whose observance has merit are coming because they want to go to church, or at least because they equate obedience to the church with reverence to Jesus.

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I don't think murder and selling black market videos are equal except in the fact that they are both sins.  Who is perfect?

I would tend to take a modernist viewpoint and suggest that it is the context in which the sins occur that gives them significance-- not just the external conditions, but the state of the soul.
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« Reply #97 on: September 22, 2004, 08:24:19 PM »

I can't help myself...

Ah, but there is a difference between spiritual benefit and spiritual obligation. Is it obligatory to go to mass weekly because of the nature of the mass itself, or because the church orders its members to do so? It seems to me that it is the second reason which obtains. And thus it may partly be that a reason behind it is a mere demonstration of ecclesial power-- a reason which is surely ignoble.

Does a mother insist on a child finishing the food on his plate (or eating more nutritious food and less junk food, etc.) because she wants to exert power over her child, or because she wants her child to live (and live well)?  

Even if you think it is a demonstration of ecclesial power, the Church has the power to bind and to loose for the spiritual benefit of her children.    

Quote
Well, I don't think it's just a ritual observance either. But then ECUSA has a much higher standard of being in liturgy than the RC requirements present. The curious thing is that the RC church has not traditionally required participation in the liturgy but twice a year. It's a standard which does suggest nothing more than a ritual observance.

Define participation in the liturgy, please?  I don't understand what you are saying when you suggest that Roman Catholics traditionally required participation in the liturgy only twice a year.  My understanding is that the Sunday Obligation is older than Vatican II.  What exactly are you saying?  

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I would tend to take a modernist viewpoint and suggest that it is the context in which the sins occur that gives them significance-- not just the external conditions, but the state of the soul.

OK, I can agree with that to an extent.
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