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Author Topic: Is This Bad?  (Read 687 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: March 07, 2012, 06:56:46 PM »

Just coming out of the closet here, is it bad that I honestly do not care anymore that Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics separated and regard each of us as still being brothers in communion with each other even if it is not formally recognized by either Churches? I mean, seeing how badly Evangelical Protestantism is, which is what I came from, I realize that Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism is much more pure and similar to each other than these Protestant Churches are.

I mean, yeah as an Orthodox Christian I recognize that Rome adopted some heresies I cannot come to accept; such as Papal Infallibility or turning God into an abusive father, but I also think that the East has adopted many heresies I find trouble believing in, such as our teachings on divorce or the fact that many of us have turned externals into dogma and argue among them with each other all of the time, like how we arrange our icons or what calendar we use.

In my opinion, I think that both Churches compliment each other in terms of where the other falls short of. I love how Orthodox theology is so deep, philosophical and mystical; yet, I hate how impractical it is at times. I mean, half the time we can barely understand what it means or draw important conclusions on how to live or apply abstract theological truths.

Whereas even though Roman Catholic theology is too legalistic, mediocre and simple, it is at least practical and I can actually apply it to myself than reading a mystical philosophy text in the east that I would need to be a philosophy professor to fully understand. I am currently deciding if I should even bother recommending Protestants or non-Christians to an Orthodox parish which is usually far away from where they live when I can just recommend them to the local RC Church if it is too impractical.

I would also wonder if the RC could do or have ever done this, where instead of recommending them to a far-away RC Parish you recommend them to the local Orthodox Church. I just think instead of arguing over events that happened a thousand years ago we should use our efforts to combat Evangelicalism and the number of Protestant heresies arising out of America.
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2012, 07:22:38 PM »

Just coming out of the closet here, is it bad that I honestly do not care anymore that Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics separated and regard each of us as still being brothers in communion with each other even if it is not formally recognized by either Churches?
Bad?

I also think that the East has adopted many heresies I find trouble believing in, such as our teachings on divorce or the fact that many of us have turned externals into dogma and argue among them with each other all of the time, like how we arrange our icons or what calendar we use.

Well, I think the divorce practice in Roman Catholicism is much worse than divorce in Orthodoxy. As for turning to externals and arguing, Roman Catholics do this too, I don't think you can pin it on real life Orthodox.

I love how Orthodox theology is so deep, philosophical and mystical; yet, I hate how impractical it is at times. I mean, half the time we can barely understand what it means or draw important conclusions on how to live or apply abstract theological truths.
If you got your practical, day to day religion from Thomistic Roman Catholic theology, you'd probably feel a similar disconnect. Except on the internet and among heavily convert parishes, Orthodox don't obsess about abstract theological truths.
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2012, 07:28:43 PM »

Just coming out of the closet here, is it bad that I honestly do not care anymore that Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics separated and regard each of us as still being brothers in communion with each other even if it is not formally recognized by either Churches? I mean, seeing how badly Evangelical Protestantism is, which is what I came from, I realize that Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism is much more pure and similar to each other than these Protestant Churches are.

Unfortunately, yes, this is a problem, because it amounts to an ecclesiological heresy to believe so. Those who do not share the same faith cannot be in communion.

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I mean, yeah as an Orthodox Christian I recognize that Rome adopted some heresies I cannot come to accept; such as Papal Infallibility or turning God into an abusive father, but I also think that the East has adopted many heresies I find trouble believing in, such as our teachings on divorce or the fact that many of us have turned externals into dogma and argue among them with each other all of the time, like how we arrange our icons or what calendar we use.

What is wrong with the Orthodox teaching on divorce? Even the Latin Church was happy to allow for divorce at one point, as we can clearly see when a pope in the 10th Century granted a Byzantine emperor a fourth marriage after he made an appeal because the clergy in Constantinople refused to do so (I cannot for the life of me remember who, however, I will have to go look that up).

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In my opinion, I think that both Churches compliment each other in terms of where the other falls short of. I love how Orthodox theology is so deep, philosophical and mystical; yet, I hate how impractical it is at times. I mean, half the time we can barely understand what it means or draw important conclusions on how to live or apply abstract theological truths.

I don't think Orthodox theology is abstract at all. If one looks at the theology of many of the Eastern fathers, like Palamas or Maximus the Confessor, we see that they in fact view that the only thing that matters is personal existence, regarding things like natures and essences as mere abstractions. This is why, for example, we can only confess that Christ has two natures only in contemplation, because the reality is that we experience is one person, the Word incarnate, not two abstract natures. Achieving true experience of God through actions like the liturgy, prayer, fasting reading the Scriptures, and having a holy way of life is doubtlessly more important than studying abstract theology.

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Whereas even though Roman Catholic theology is too legalistic, mediocre and simple, it is at least practical and I can actually apply it to myself than reading a mystical philosophy text in the east that I would need to be a philosophy professor to fully understand. I am currently deciding if I should even bother recommending Protestants or non-Christians to an Orthodox parish which is usually far away from where they live when I can just recommend them to the local RC Church if it is too impractical.

The application of Catholic theology is only practical in the hands of a good teacher. There is nothing practical about picking up Summa Theologica, for example and trying to derive how to live a Christian life from the work. One needs a good guide, no matter if one is reading Cyril of Alexandria, Gregory Palamas or Thomas Aquinas. I think that you are oversimplifying things here into an East-West dichotomy that does not exist in reality.

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I would also wonder if the RC could do or have ever done this, where instead of recommending them to a far-away RC Parish you recommend them to the local Orthodox Church. I just think instead of arguing over events that happened a thousand years ago we should use our efforts to combat Evangelicalism and the number of Protestant heresies arising out of America.

Our purpose, is for the deification of man, not combating Protestant heresies. We can combat those heresies by being holy, God-fearing people as our Lord commanded, which will compel others to follow in our way of life.
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2012, 07:41:52 PM »

The Church is the Body of Christ.  Christ has not two bodies, but one.  Now, take this analogy: You have a man, let's call him Jim.  He has a brother, let's call him Jacob.  Jim and Jacob are very similar, but are they two people or one?  Does the existence of Bob, who lives on the same street as them but is quite different, make Jim and Jacob any less two distinct persons?
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 08:54:07 PM »

The Church is the Body of Christ.  Christ has not two bodies, but one.  Now, take this analogy: You have a man, let's call him Jim.  He has a brother, let's call him Jacob.  Jim and Jacob are very similar, but are they two people or one?  Does the existence of Bob, who lives on the same street as them but is quite different, make Jim and Jacob any less two distinct persons?

That's a good way to put it.
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 10:18:14 PM »

I am currently deciding if I should even bother recommending Protestants or non-Christians to an Orthodox parish which is usually far away from where they live when I can just recommend them to the local RC Church if it is too impractical.

I would also wonder if the RC could do or have ever done this, where instead of recommending them to a far-away RC Parish you recommend them to the local Orthodox Church.

I would say that this idea, as stated, is a bit too extreme. Nevertheless, I do very strongly believe that potential converts to Orthodoxy should be well educated about Catholicism, and vice versa, so as to be able to make an informed decision.
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2012, 11:48:20 AM »

I am currently deciding if I should even bother recommending Protestants or non-Christians to an Orthodox parish which is usually far away from where they live when I can just recommend them to the local RC Church if it is too impractical.

I would also wonder if the RC could do or have ever done this, where instead of recommending them to a far-away RC Parish you recommend them to the local Orthodox Church.


I would say that this idea, as stated, is a bit too extreme. Nevertheless, I do very strongly believe that potential converts to Orthodoxy should be well educated about Catholicism, and vice versa, so as to be able to make an informed decision.

First of all, let me say that I find your (JamesR's) characterizations of both Orthodox and Catholic theology unfortunate and waaayyy overly simplistic and inaccurate.

What you would do in a situation such as you describe might depend, at least in part, on how strongly you feel about your faith.  As a Catholic, I'd refer potential converts to a Catholic parish.  The likelihood of there being no Catholic parishes close by but an Orthodox one nearby, at least in most of the U.S. and Western Europe is pretty slim, I'd reckon.  Now, if there was an Orthodox parish close by and *no possibility whatsoever* of a potential convert getting to a distant Catholic parish, well....hmm....I might suggest they go there--but not necessarily.  I suppose when push comes to shove, I'd rather see a potential convert become Orthodox than remain Protestant or non-Christian.  But again...not necessarily.

While intercommunion does occur between Catholics and Orthodox (something that's been discussed at length on other threads), for the most part it is "unofficial" and unsanctioned--especially by the Orthodox.  So, while I sympathize with your position, you may want to be a little careful about what you suggest and to whom.  
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2012, 10:15:14 AM »

Just coming out of the closet here, is it bad that I honestly do not care anymore that Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics separated and regard each of us as still being brothers in communion with each other even if it is not formally recognized by either Churches? I mean, seeing how badly Evangelical Protestantism is, which is what I came from, I realize that Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism is much more pure and similar to each other than these Protestant Churches are.

Unfortunately, yes, this is a problem, because it amounts to an ecclesiological heresy to believe so. Those who do not share the same faith cannot be in communion.

Isn't it true that a great many Orthodox believe that EOs and OOs share a common faith?
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2012, 10:24:22 AM »

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I mean, seeing how badly Evangelical Protestantism is, which is what I came from, I realize that Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism is much more pure and similar to each other than these Protestant Churches ar

I think it was Frank Schaffer who pointed out that it is actually the RC Church and the protestant church are more similar to each other than either of them are to Orthodoxy.  I dont remember all of the details of what he said, but I think it had to do with how they are both western, both legalistic, and both need some sort of mathematical equation to explain every little detail about the mysteries of the faith. Orthodoxy is none of those things.

If anyone remembers more of what he said, feel free to help me out.
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Peter J
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2012, 11:02:33 AM »

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I mean, seeing how badly Evangelical Protestantism is, which is what I came from, I realize that Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism is much more pure and similar to each other than these Protestant Churches ar

I think it was Frank Schaffer who pointed out that it is actually the RC Church and the protestant church are more similar to each other than either of them are to Orthodoxy. 

Well, as I said on the thread "Why do the Orthodox need Catholics?":

To rescue them from the likes of Frank Schaeffer and Alexey Young!

What happened to Franky Schaeffer?

Not, of course, that Schaeffer and Young would see it that way. In fact ...

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He [Young] issues this warning to his fellow believers: "Orthodox patriarchs, bishops, priests, and theologians--all you who actively pursue a policy of rapprochement with Rome: Beware. You are trying to bring the Orthodox Church into a lion's den of unbelievable malignancy. You cannot save the Catholic Church, but the Catholic Church can and will contaminate and then destroy you."

If you visit that link it will give you a pretty good idea what Catholics (or, at least, the organization Catholic Answers) think of Frank Schaffer.
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2012, 01:02:59 PM »

Just coming out of the closet here, is it bad that I honestly do not care anymore that Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics separated and regard each of us as still being brothers in communion with each other even if it is not formally recognized by either Churches? I mean, seeing how badly Evangelical Protestantism is, which is what I came from, I realize that Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism is much more pure and similar to each other than these Protestant Churches are.

Unfortunately, yes, this is a problem, because it amounts to an ecclesiological heresy to believe so. Those who do not share the same faith cannot be in communion.

Isn't it true that a great many Orthodox believe that EOs and OOs share a common faith?

What is your point?  Cavaradossi said that the idea that two people who believe contradictory things can be in communion is heresy.  So, whether or not the EO and the OO share a common faith (let alone whether or not most Orthodox believe this) is irrelevant.  If they do share a common faith, it wouldn't mean they are in communion, merely that it would be possible for them to be.  If they do not share a common faith, then the most that a majority of Orthodox believing they do share such a faith would only amount to an error on their part, and would not necessarily mean they believe the EO and OO are in communion.

Anyways, I would say a great many Orthodox (at least of the Eastern variety) do not know that the OO exist.
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