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Author Topic: Thinking about leaving Catholicism  (Read 2370 times) Average Rating: 0
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Peter J
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« on: August 25, 2012, 01:53:18 PM »

Thinking about leaving Catholicism ... I realize that may not seem very newsworthy; yet, in a certain sense, I think it is newsworthy because I get the impression, from the way many people here talk, that they assume that I have absolutely no interest in leaving Catholicism.

On the other hand, I find that many Catholics take a very strange approach to a fellow Catholic who, let's say, doesn't believe in Papal Infallibility or what have you. Namely, they won't say that such a person should be excommunicated, but they will try to provoke him or her into leaving. E.g. "Why would you want to stay in full communion with us if you believe we are wrong?"

But getting back to myself, if someone's going to ask "Does this mean that you are in fact leaving Catholicism?" my answer would be: not in the immediate future.

This post feels a little incomplete, but my other thoughts on the matter aren't well-organized at this point, so ...
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2012, 02:06:46 PM »

Thinking about leaving Catholicism ... I realize that may not seem very newsworthy; yet, in a certain sense, I think it is newsworthy because I get the impression, from the way many people here talk, that they assume that I have absolutely no interest in leaving Catholicism.

On the other hand, I find that many Catholics take a very strange approach to a fellow Catholic who, let's say, doesn't believe in Papal Infallibility or what have you. Namely, they won't say that such a person should be excommunicated, but they will try to provoke him or her into leaving. E.g. "Why would you want to stay in full communion with us if you believe we are wrong?"

But getting back to myself, if someone's going to ask "Does this mean that you are in fact leaving Catholicism?" my answer would be: not in the immediate future.

This post feels a little incomplete, but my other thoughts on the matter aren't well-organized at this point, so ...
If you are Melchite, you are not too far away from E. Orthodox already? What is your opinion on Purgatory, the Sacred Heart, and papal supremacy?
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2012, 02:15:18 PM »

Isn't it so that if you don't believe in Papal Infallibility as a RC you've already excommunicated yourself or something?
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2012, 03:35:57 PM »

On the other hand, I find that many Catholics take a very strange approach to a fellow Catholic who, let's say, doesn't believe in Papal Infallibility or what have you. Namely, they won't say that such a person should be excommunicated, but they will try to provoke him or her into leaving. E.g. "Why would you want to stay in full communion with us if you believe we are wrong?"

Isn't it so that if you don't believe in Papal Infallibility as a RC you've already excommunicated yourself or something?

I don't think so. My reading of Catholic canon law is that the Pope can excommunicate a Catholic who doesn't believe in papal infallibility (or UOJ, IC, etc) but that he isn't obliged to.
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2012, 03:39:29 PM »

What do Eastern Catholics who disbelieve in papal infallibility think about the Orthodox? That it wasn't worth schisming over, that the schism was actually about politics, that the branch-theory-sans-Anglicans is true?
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Peter J
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2012, 03:47:55 PM »

What do Eastern Catholics who disbelieve in papal infallibility think about the Orthodox? That it wasn't worth schisming over, that the schism was actually about politics, that the branch-theory-sans-Anglicans is true?

Yes, or at least that's my impression.
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2012, 04:08:22 PM »

Thinking about leaving Catholicism ... I realize that may not seem very newsworthy; yet, in a certain sense, I think it is newsworthy because I get the impression, from the way many people here talk, that they assume that I have absolutely no interest in leaving Catholicism.

On the other hand, I find that many Catholics take a very strange approach to a fellow Catholic who, let's say, doesn't believe in Papal Infallibility or what have you. Namely, they won't say that such a person should be excommunicated, but they will try to provoke him or her into leaving. E.g. "Why would you want to stay in full communion with us if you believe we are wrong?"

But getting back to myself, if someone's going to ask "Does this mean that you are in fact leaving Catholicism?" my answer would be: not in the immediate future.

This post feels a little incomplete, but my other thoughts on the matter aren't well-organized at this point, so ...

I had the same dilemma.

The Melkite Priest forbade me from teaching catechism as he knew that I was thinking of becoming Orthodox. My friends in the Roman Catholic Church shunned me because I no longer believed in Papal Supremacy and in Papal Infallibility. Then one of them reported me to Catholic Answers, and I was hounded by one of their evangelicals.

Upon the bishop's urging, I contacted several other Melkites who were likewise struggling. He was hoping that I would bring them back to their senses. Well, they left the Melkites and joined the Antiochians immediately, while I stayed put for another year reading about the Papacy.

When I fully realized that Christ is the head of His Holy Church, then the idea of having a visible representative of Christ on earth, the Pope, came tumbling down. I then begged to be received as a catechumen in the Holy Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2012, 05:18:42 PM »

Wow, Peter J.  I never expected this from you.  You always came as someone who is staunchly Catholic.

I will pray for you that you may find Christ, no matter where (Orthodoxy or Catholicism).
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2012, 07:38:10 PM »

the idea of having a visible representative of Christ on earth
We hold that idea too. The Bishop.
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2012, 02:11:15 PM »

Then one of them reported me to Catholic Answers, and I was hounded by one of their evangelicals.
I don't think that the Catholic Answers people should be representing the Catholic Church. Their evangelicals and their moderators seem to me like they are right wing  Republicans and are not in tune with the social teachings of the Catholic Church.
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Peter J
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2012, 02:39:11 PM »

Wow, Peter J.  I never expected this from you.  You always came as someone who is staunchly Catholic.

I will pray for you that you may find Christ, no matter where (Orthodoxy or Catholicism).

Thanks. And I can see why you might be surprised.

Or more precisely, I can think of 2 different reasons you might be surprised:

1. because I've sometimes described myself as traditionalist, or traditional Catholic
2. because I've said things like "the dogmas are normative for Eastern Catholics just as they are for Latin Catholics"

With regard to (1) I should mention that I was never what is typically thought of as "traditional Catholic", i.e. wanting everything to go back to just the way it was 50 years ago.

As for (2) well, I think that's just being realistic. What good is it to pretend that the Vatican said "These are some suggestions" if the Vatican really said "These are dogmas".
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2012, 03:49:17 PM »

Good for you. I know it's more popular to say "wherever you find Christ, I hope you're happy" or something like that, but having been RC and now Orthodox, I can say that the two experiences are not the same, so instead I'll say this: The Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Unia are not spiritually healthy places for people who seek Orthodoxy. I think it is important to figure this out (why you're not flourishing where you are), because I had so many people come up to me during and after my leaving the RCC who said things like "But why not go Eastern Catholic? That way you can be Orthodox but don't have to sever union with the Pope", and even "You know there are Arabic-speaking churches in union with Rome, right? Go to one of those, if you love the Middle East so much" (that one is still confusing to me). These kinds of ideas didn't at all speak to where I was, spiritually, and frankly put me off the idea of ever going back to the RCC even before I had found the Coptic Church...so I really hope that you have some idea of what it is you're after, Peter J. It is hard enough just to make the change itself without all the pressure from everybody to go here, go there, or to second-guess yourself based on what they assume you must need. You'll be in my prayers. I've been there, and it was pretty darn difficult (I'm still unlearning certain things, as recently as yesterday at liturgy...I guess that's good, right? Learning should never stop. Nobody knows everything.)
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2012, 05:25:27 PM »

Then one of them reported me to Catholic Answers, and I was hounded by one of their evangelicals.
I've heard about this happening, but it's still surprising to read it here.
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2012, 06:22:38 PM »

Thinking about leaving Catholicism ... I realize that may not seem very newsworthy; yet, in a certain sense, I think it is newsworthy because I get the impression, from the way many people here talk, that they assume that I have absolutely no interest in leaving Catholicism.

On the other hand, I find that many Catholics take a very strange approach to a fellow Catholic who, let's say, doesn't believe in Papal Infallibility or what have you. Namely, they won't say that such a person should be excommunicated, but they will try to provoke him or her into leaving. E.g. "Why would you want to stay in full communion with us if you believe we are wrong?"

But getting back to myself, if someone's going to ask "Does this mean that you are in fact leaving Catholicism?" my answer would be: not in the immediate future.

This post feels a little incomplete, but my other thoughts on the matter aren't well-organized at this point, so ...

I always got the impression from you that you had yet to find a reason to leave, and then as you recently elucidated for me- that you considered switching teams (so to speak) to be a weighty thing not to be taken lightly. Not that you need it from me or any other internet stranger, but I can certainly respect both positions.

You'll be in my prayers, Peter, and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2012, 06:52:06 PM »

Leaving "catholicism" for what?
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2012, 06:54:03 PM »

Then one of them reported me to Catholic Answers, and I was hounded by one of their evangelicals.
I don't think that the Catholic Answers people should be representing the Catholic Church. Their evangelicals and their moderators seem to me like they are right wing  Republicans and are not in tune with the social teachings of the Catholic Church.

we have a thread about the vice presidential nominee and his bishop.
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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2012, 08:39:26 PM »

On the other hand, I find that many Catholics take a very strange approach to a fellow Catholic who, let's say, doesn't believe in Papal Infallibility or what have you. Namely, they won't say that such a person should be excommunicated, but they will try to provoke him or her into leaving. E.g. "Why would you want to stay in full communion with us if you believe we are wrong?"

Isn't it so that if you don't believe in Papal Infallibility as a RC you've already excommunicated yourself or something?

I don't think so. My reading of Catholic canon law is that the Pope can excommunicate a Catholic who doesn't believe in papal infallibility (or UOJ, IC, etc) but that he isn't obliged to.

Though you'd have to check with a Latin canon lawyer, the case of "automatic excommunication" in Cyrillic's post doesn't seem to apply just to someone who holds a certain opinion in the Latin church (otherwise, there'd be a lot of automatically excommunicated Latins running around).  That being said, of course, any bishop can excommunicate someone.

And the theology behind "papal infallibility" is actually far more complex than "you must believe the Pope is infallible in faith and morals or else".   Pastor Aeternus took place in the context of a move to turn the Catholic Church in France and western Europe into state churches - more like the Anglicans or Lutheran churches in terms of their relation with Rome (the wikipedia entry on Gallicanism is surprisingly good on this).  That means essentially local and even civil authority trumps universal authority and tradition.  The pope's infallibility is tied to and not separate from the infallibility of the church.   Some would argue that current organization and ultramontane trends (in reaction to gallicanism) exaggerate the importance of the papacy.  [Father Robert Taft seems to be one.  Father Herman Pottmeyer, one of the leading scholars of this, seems to argue it as well.  The synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church also, for all intents and purposes, has upheld such a position too]


As for

Quote
What do Eastern Catholics who disbelieve in papal infallibility think about the Orthodox? That it wasn't worth schisming over, that the schism was actually about politics, that the branch-theory-sans-Anglicans is true?
 

Speaking personally, I'd say the the key issue, today, is ecclesiological: what is the role of the "universal church" and the "local churches" as well as the individual church (i.e. bishop and flock).  This is a serious issue, is something that the Orthodox have many opinions on, and which has been difficult in Catholicism (the Melkite church's relationship with Rome is a case in point).   

I think the majority of the evidence from pre-schism times on how this was implemented has been mined and published.  What it means, how this is to be implemented (and even if what worked before sould be normative) is a much more difficult issue, though the implications of the evidence do not always fit the various preconceptions of all sides.  I also think that the Gregorian reform movement massively overreached (in a way even Pastor Aeternus, as "bad" as some people think it is, never did), causing the schism, and that the current structure of Rome and the papacy is open to a wide amount of reasonable change.  I've also heard from both Metropolitans Kallistos of Diokleia and Hilarion of Volokolamsk that there's no consensus on Orthodox side for the eccelesiological issue, beyond that Rome's model is (understandably) unacceptable and that the current structure of Orthodoxy is not ideal.   

Personally, I think the only way this ecclesiological issue can be "solved" is by a historicaly-informed consensus between Rome and the Orthodox (once the Orthodox come into some sort of an agreement).  I think such a thing is possible, but it won't happen in my lifetime.   I also think that, institutionally, the Byzantine-rite Eastern Catholic churches are way too hung up on these issues and would better devote their attention to their tradition and to local pastoral work.   



Peter,

You're in my prayers.  I hope you find what's right, but be advised to be sure that wherever you end up, that you can actually live there.   IMO, pastoral issues trump universal ecclesiological positions in parish/jurisdiction selection.   
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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2012, 08:52:03 PM »

Thinking about leaving Catholicism ... I realize that may not seem very newsworthy; yet, in a certain sense, I think it is newsworthy because I get the impression, from the way many people here talk, that they assume that I have absolutely no interest in leaving Catholicism.

On the other hand, I find that many Catholics take a very strange approach to a fellow Catholic who, let's say, doesn't believe in Papal Infallibility or what have you. Namely, they won't say that such a person should be excommunicated, but they will try to provoke him or her into leaving. E.g. "Why would you want to stay in full communion with us if you believe we are wrong?"

But getting back to myself, if someone's going to ask "Does this mean that you are in fact leaving Catholicism?" my answer would be: not in the immediate future.

This post feels a little incomplete, but my other thoughts on the matter aren't well-organized at this point, so ...

The realization that I did not believe in papal power as defined by Rome was the reason I left that communion. There was no grace period.  Once I accepted that I did not believe in papal infallibility and supremacy, I had already crossed the Tiber.  The next week I was at an Orthodox church.  
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« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2012, 10:12:32 PM »

Wow, Peter J.  I never expected this from you.  You always came as someone who is staunchly Catholic.

I will pray for you that you may find Christ, no matter where (Orthodoxy or Catholicism).

Thanks. And I can see why you might be surprised.

Or more precisely, I can think of 2 different reasons you might be surprised:

1. because I've sometimes described myself as traditionalist, or traditional Catholic
2. because I've said things like "the dogmas are normative for Eastern Catholics just as they are for Latin Catholics"

With regard to (1) I should mention that I was never what is typically thought of as "traditional Catholic", i.e. wanting everything to go back to just the way it was 50 years ago.

As for (2) well, I think that's just being realistic. What good is it to pretend that the Vatican said "These are some suggestions" if the Vatican really said "These are dogmas".

Well, I've read many of your posts here, at ByzCath and at CAF.  Really this is something unexpected from what I gather from your posts.  But I guess we are on the same journey but I cannot say if we are heading towards the same destination.  May you find what you are looking for through God's mercy.
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2012, 10:45:36 AM »

On the other hand, I find that many Catholics take a very strange approach to a fellow Catholic who, let's say, doesn't believe in Papal Infallibility or what have you. Namely, they won't say that such a person should be excommunicated, but they will try to provoke him or her into leaving. E.g. "Why would you want to stay in full communion with us if you believe we are wrong?"[/quote]

Well, that actually seems pretty logical to me. Why would you want to belong to a group that you disagree with or that you think is wrong?

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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2012, 01:17:11 PM »

On the other hand, I find that many Catholics take a very strange approach to a fellow Catholic who, let's say, doesn't believe in Papal Infallibility or what have you. Namely, they won't say that such a person should be excommunicated, but they will try to provoke him or her into leaving. E.g. "Why would you want to stay in full communion with us if you believe we are wrong?"

Well, that actually seems pretty logical to me.
Why would you want to belong to a group that you disagree with or that you think is wrong?

So, then, if there were an Orthodox who disagreed with Orthodox teaching, you wouldn't want the Church to break off communion with him/her but you would try to provoke him/her to break off communion from the Church?

If so, I'd have to say "Huh?"
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« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2012, 01:19:00 PM »

I've been thinking some about the idea that some Eastern Catholics may hold to a kind of modified Branch Theory, a "branch-theory-sans-Anglicans". I think there are really 2 possibilities here ...

The first possibility is a (relatively) slight modification of Branch Theory that leaves the conditions unaltered, but says that only Orthodoxy and Catholicism, and not Anglicanism, satisfy the conditions.

But some will also make another, more profound, modification: they add communion-with-Rome, at least half-heartedly, to the conditions. This complicates things considerably; thus you'll get statements like "I think the Orthodox are right regarding doctrine. But the Catholics have the Pope, so all-in-all they are about equal." It's no longer the simple yes-or-no question "Does such-and-such group satisfy the conditions or not?"
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« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2012, 01:19:18 PM »

So, then, if there were an Orthodox who disagreed with Orthodox teaching, you wouldn't want the Church to break off communion with him/her but you would try to provoke him/her to break off communion from the Church?

If so, I'd have to say "Huh?"

Were you provoked into leaving?  I hope I didn't have a hand in that  Cry
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2012, 01:22:20 PM »

Were you provoked into leaving?

No. But consider this a warning that at some point or other someone may try to provoke you into leaving (if that hasn't happened already).
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« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2012, 01:28:55 PM »

But the question about the Pope is a tough one.  For one thing it is a dogma of the Catholic Church, and the dogma clearly states those who say otherwise are anathemized.  In terms of Orthodox beliefs, there are things that are clearly must be accepted by one (such as those declared so by the Ecumenical Councils) and others that are open to discussion, like for example if the Theotokos was filled with grace from conception or only at the Annunciation.

To deny the Papacy as described in Pastor Aeternus is akin to denying Christ's divine nature or saying Iconoclasm is okay.
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« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2012, 01:29:47 PM »

No. But consider this a warning that at some point or other someone may try to provoke you into leaving (if that hasn't happened already).

Provoke in which way?
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« Reply #26 on: August 27, 2012, 01:51:58 PM »

But the question about the Pope is a tough one.

Agreed. The thing is that some Catholics are always saying (and you've probably heard this at some point) "Why would someone who disagrees with the Pope, want to stay in full communion with him?" (Note: not directed at me personally, but I've witnessed that a-plenty.)

I think the best answer to that is another question: "Why would the Pope want to stay in full communion with someone who disagrees with him?" Shouldn't the same logic apply in both directions?
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« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2012, 02:10:43 PM »

Agreed. The thing is that some Catholics are always saying (and you've probably heard this at some point) "Why would someone who disagrees with the Pope, want to stay in full communion with him?" (Note: not directed at me personally, but I've witnessed that a-plenty.)

I've said it myself a lot recently Cheesy

I think the best answer to that is another question: "Why would the Pope want to stay in full communion with someone who disagrees with him?" Shouldn't the same logic apply in both directions?

Maybe he enjoys it.  I mean, given how he is trying so hard to get the SSPX back into the fold when the SSPX doesn't seem to be interested in anything post-Vatican II.  The SSPX really makes me question what kind of unity the Catholic Church wants.  A visible unity for the sake of it?  Not very good.  I think either the Roman Catholics embrace the SSPX spirituality as a whole or just excommunicate anyone related to the SSPX.  Having that duality of spirituality that doesn't even agree with each other will be a spiritual poison of the Church.  And I cannot even understand why they want to try it in the first place.
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« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2012, 02:16:06 PM »

On the other hand, I find that many Catholics take a very strange approach to a fellow Catholic who, let's say, doesn't believe in Papal Infallibility or what have you. Namely, they won't say that such a person should be excommunicated, but they will try to provoke him or her into leaving. E.g. "Why would you want to stay in full communion with us if you believe we are wrong?"

Well, that actually seems pretty logical to me.
Why would you want to belong to a group that you disagree with or that you think is wrong?

So, then, if there were an Orthodox who disagreed with Orthodox teaching, you wouldn't want the Church to break off communion with him/her but you would try to provoke him/her to break off communion from the Church?

If so, I'd have to say "Huh?"


I would not provoke them and I would certainly try to talk to them, but if their mind was made up and they really could not agree with the Church's teachings - it seems perfectly logical to me to leave when you don't believe with what the Church teaches. I might say it more nicely, but it seems logical to me.
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« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2012, 02:26:20 PM »

Agreed. The thing is that some Catholics are always saying (and you've probably heard this at some point) "Why would someone who disagrees with the Pope, want to stay in full communion with him?" (Note: not directed at me personally, but I've witnessed that a-plenty.)

I've said it myself a lot recently Cheesy

I think the best answer to that is another question: "Why would the Pope want to stay in full communion with someone who disagrees with him?" Shouldn't the same logic apply in both directions?

Maybe he enjoys it. 

Grin

Seriously though, the same logic should apply in both directions.
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« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2012, 02:34:33 PM »

Grin

Seriously though, the same logic should apply in both directions.

Definitely!  But I'm quite curious how he allows such dissent to exist in the Church and actually tolerates it.  As noted by some, the Pope may excommunicate people for disagreeing with his supremacy and primacy, but he chooses not to at this point.

But I do agree, Pastor Aeternus is there and the text is clear.  I myself am wondering how communion can exist when there is disagreement on dogma.
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« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2012, 02:55:32 PM »

Grin

Seriously though, the same logic should apply in both directions.

Definitely!  But I'm quite curious how he allows such dissent to exist in the Church and actually tolerates it. 

Indeed, but I'm afraid I don't have much of an answer to that at the moment -- well, unless you count an answer of the form "I guess he isn't any more interested in breaking-off communion with Catholics that he disagrees with, than they are." (Well, many of them that is. Some of them do in fact break off communion with the pope, i.e. leave Catholicism.)
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« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2012, 03:01:28 PM »

Indeed, but I'm afraid I don't have much of an answer to that at the moment -- well, unless you count an answer of the form "I guess he isn't any more interested in breaking-off communion with Catholics that he disagrees with, than they are." (Well, many of them that is. Some of them do in fact break off communion with the pope, i.e. leave Catholicism.)

But such a union is based on a lie.  Would you insist on continuing a relationship with your girlfriend when you seriously believe there is something wrong with her?  I know some may use a comparisson with a family where you hate your father or mother and you can't really stop being a family and hopefully one day you can patch things up and be a happy family again.  But then one has to move out and give space and hopefully work on patching things up from there.  You don't insist everyone stay under the same roof and lie to one another.  We all need the space for healing.  Unless your belief in the papacy is one of such that you believe that under no circumstance should you break away from it and keep the connection there until such a time you are hoping that the issues are resolved.  I have thought that way but now I am starting to think past that, that indeed the most important thing in our faith is not communion with any particular bishop, but rather following the right faith and being in communion with Christ.
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« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2012, 05:44:47 PM »

Indeed, but I'm afraid I don't have much of an answer to that at the moment -- well, unless you count an answer of the form "I guess he isn't any more interested in breaking-off communion with Catholics that he disagrees with, than they are." (Well, many of them that is. Some of them do in fact break off communion with the pope, i.e. leave Catholicism.)

But such a union is based on a lie.  Would you insist on continuing a relationship with your girlfriend when you seriously believe there is something wrong with her? 

Well, I think wife would make more sense in this analogy than girlfriend -- we are talking about people who are already in full communion with the pope, not new, unaffiliated Christians who are just thinking about becoming Catholic.

But having said that, I do somewhat I agree with you. I'm not saying "Stay in your original communion no matter what."

I know some may use a comparisson with a family where you hate your father or mother and you can't really stop being a family and hopefully one day you can patch things up and be a happy family again.  But then one has to move out and give space and hopefully work on patching things up from there.  You don't insist everyone stay under the same roof and lie to one another.  We all need the space for healing.  Unless your belief in the papacy is one of such that you believe that under no circumstance should you break away from it and keep the connection there until such a time you are hoping that the issues are resolved.  I have thought that way but now I am starting to think past that, that indeed the most important thing in our faith is not communion with any particular bishop, but rather following the right faith and being in communion with Christ.

Actually, even though I use the phrase "in full communion with the pope" for convenience, the issue to me ultimately is not that I would no longer be in communion with the pope, but that I would be switching from one bishop to another without the first bishop's permission. (Contrast that with transferring from one sui iuris church to another, which does require the old bishop's permission.)
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« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2012, 06:03:26 PM »

Indeed, but I'm afraid I don't have much of an answer to that at the moment -- well, unless you count an answer of the form "I guess he isn't any more interested in breaking-off communion with Catholics that he disagrees with, than they are." (Well, many of them that is. Some of them do in fact break off communion with the pope, i.e. leave Catholicism.)

But such a union is based on a lie.  Would you insist on continuing a relationship with your girlfriend when you seriously believe there is something wrong with her? 

Well, I think wife would make more sense in this analogy than girlfriend -- we are talking about people who are already in full communion with the pope, not new, unaffiliated Christians who are just thinking about becoming Catholic.

But having said that, I do somewhat I agree with you. I'm not saying "Stay in your original communion no matter what."

I know some may use a comparisson with a family where you hate your father or mother and you can't really stop being a family and hopefully one day you can patch things up and be a happy family again.  But then one has to move out and give space and hopefully work on patching things up from there.  You don't insist everyone stay under the same roof and lie to one another.  We all need the space for healing.  Unless your belief in the papacy is one of such that you believe that under no circumstance should you break away from it and keep the connection there until such a time you are hoping that the issues are resolved.  I have thought that way but now I am starting to think past that, that indeed the most important thing in our faith is not communion with any particular bishop, but rather following the right faith and being in communion with Christ.

Actually, even though I use the phrase "in full communion with the pope" for convenience, the issue to me ultimately is not that I would no longer be in communion with the pope, but that I would be switching from one bishop to another without the first bishop's permission. (Contrast that with transferring from one sui iuris church to another, which does require the old bishop's permission.)

I was thinking about "wife" but then the analogy would be divorce.  Plus, are we married to the Pope?  As Christians we should be married as a whole (the Church) to Christ.
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« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2012, 09:48:48 PM »



When I fully realized that Christ is the head of His Holy Church, then the idea of having a visible representative of Christ on earth, the Pope, came tumbling down. I then begged to be received as a catechumen in the Holy Orthodox Church.
I have no idea how the two ideas are mutually exclusive at all. One of those areas where I simply don't understand the objection.
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« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2012, 09:50:36 PM »

Thinking about leaving Catholicism ... I realize that may not seem very newsworthy; yet, in a certain sense, I think it is newsworthy because I get the impression, from the way many people here talk, that they assume that I have absolutely no interest in leaving Catholicism.

On the other hand, I find that many Catholics take a very strange approach to a fellow Catholic who, let's say, doesn't believe in Papal Infallibility or what have you. Namely, they won't say that such a person should be excommunicated, but they will try to provoke him or her into leaving. E.g. "Why would you want to stay in full communion with us if you believe we are wrong?"

But getting back to myself, if someone's going to ask "Does this mean that you are in fact leaving Catholicism?" my answer would be: not in the immediate future.

This post feels a little incomplete, but my other thoughts on the matter aren't well-organized at this point, so ...

The realization that I did not believe in papal power as defined by Rome was the reason I left that communion. There was no grace period.  Once I accepted that I did not believe in papal infallibility and supremacy, I had already crossed the Tiber.  The next week I was at an Orthodox church.  

I respect that. Both brave and honest.
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« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2012, 09:53:21 PM »

But the question about the Pope is a tough one.  For one thing it is a dogma of the Catholic Church, and the dogma clearly states those who say otherwise are anathemized.  In terms of Orthodox beliefs, there are things that are clearly must be accepted by one (such as those declared so by the Ecumenical Councils) and others that are open to discussion, like for example if the Theotokos was filled with grace from conception or only at the Annunciation.

To deny the Papacy as described in Pastor Aeternus is akin to denying Christ's divine nature or saying Iconoclasm is okay.
No it's not the same. While it is necessary to adhere to the Catholic Church's own self understanding, to deny that ecclesiology is not on the same level as denying the Divnity of Christ. Both are sins, but to deny the Divinity of Christ is a much, much, much graver sin than denying Papal Infallibility.
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« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2012, 11:57:32 PM »

No it's not the same. While it is necessary to adhere to the Catholic Church's own self understanding, to deny that ecclesiology is not on the same level as denying the Divnity of Christ. Both are sins, but to deny the Divinity of Christ is a much, much, much graver sin than denying Papal Infallibility.

If I say Christ is created and not eternally begotten of the Father, I am anathemized.
If I say Christ is merely a human and not the Second Person in the Trinity, I am anathemized.
If I say that the Pope is merely first among equals and that his jurisdiction is not universal and ordinary in all the Churches, I am anathemized.

I don't see any difference there.
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« Reply #39 on: August 28, 2012, 01:25:56 AM »

No it's not the same. While it is necessary to adhere to the Catholic Church's own self understanding, to deny that ecclesiology is not on the same level as denying the Divnity of Christ. Both are sins, but to deny the Divinity of Christ is a much, much, much graver sin than denying Papal Infallibility.

If I say Christ is created and not eternally begotten of the Father, I am anathemized.
If I say Christ is merely a human and not the Second Person in the Trinity, I am anathemized.
If I say that the Pope is merely first among equals and that his jurisdiction is not universal and ordinary in all the Churches, I am anathemized.

I don't see any difference there.
The difference is not found merely in the canonical penalty. The difference is in the gravity of the sin itself. To deny the Divinitynof Christ is to cease to be a Christian altogether.
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« Reply #40 on: August 28, 2012, 02:42:59 AM »

The difference is not found merely in the canonical penalty. The difference is in the gravity of the sin itself. To deny the Divinitynof Christ is to cease to be a Christian altogether.

I don't think Arians are considered totally non-Christians. But for sure to deny the Papacy as defined by Pastor Aeternus is to cease to be a Catholic.  Thus the dilema by Peter J.
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« Reply #41 on: August 28, 2012, 02:56:10 AM »

Multiple times I was on the point of writing myself up for RCIA. However, I couldn't get myself to believe in Papal Infallibility and universal ordinary jurisdiction of the Pope. I think that it was silly to pronounce those dogmas back in 1870. It's somewhat funny that it was Pius IX who send me on my way to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #42 on: August 28, 2012, 03:29:19 AM »

God bless you wherever you are (or end up) Smiley
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« Reply #43 on: September 04, 2012, 06:49:29 PM »

Peter J, how are you feeling lately?  Have your thoughts changed?  Are you determined to become Orthodox?
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« Reply #44 on: September 05, 2012, 07:55:16 AM »

Peter J, how are you feeling lately?  Have your thoughts changed?  Are you determined to become Orthodox?

Hi. I'd say no, they haven't changed too much; and no, I'm not determined at this point -- it'll be a matter of months (if not years).

Leaving "catholicism" for what?

Either Eastern Orthodoxy or the PNCC.
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