Welcome back, I was wondering where you went.
I don't disagree that the pain of loss that St. Paul informs us of is the wasted efforts of our ministries, but the language of 'refining fire' bringing our 'works' to light is unmistakably the biblical motif of the Final Judgment for which there are numerous NT passages.
Final Judgement, sure, but that's not Purgatory.
It's like this: Catholics can hold more juridical views than Pope Benedict, but they cannot deny his teaching on purgatory as magisterial and representative of the Church. It is not an ultramontanist sort of thing in which Catholics must accept verbatim the words of an encyclical, nor is it a mainline Protestant permissability to teach explicitly against what the bishop has taught.
But this raises, to me anyway, the question of authority in your Church. If Benedict's view on purgatory is magisterial and representative of the Church, then in what way can Catholics hold a view that goes beyond what the Pope teaches? But if those same Catholics point to earlier councils and popes to justify their views, then is it not Pope Benedict who has strayed from what is magisterial and representative of the Church?
Yes, you may not have a particular problem with Palamism, but it is still an example of a quasi-dogmatic teaching that has developed post-schism. Many Orthodox blogs list as a tenet for reconciliation 'the renouncement of scholasticism's created grace and accepting Palamism energy-essence distinction.' Personally, I believe that Rahner is correct on grace over and against scholastics and Palamites, although I am far more sympathetic to the East on grace as opposed to scholastic distinctions.
I'll let the EO take that one, since I'm less familiar with Palamas. To the extent that what he teaches is unique to the Byzantine tradition, I would think that you wouldn't have to accept it as dogmatic; but if you think the essence-energy distinction is unique to the East, then I have to ask when the West rejected the Cappadocians as part of their patristic inheritance.
FWIW, "many Orthodox blogs" can say whatever they want. What matters is what the Church says.
The iconographic 'norms' of the East were not the norm for the West since at least the mid first millennium. Ascetic practices such as fasting have been retained, although the expressions and details of such canons have been modified throughout the centuries. What are you referring to with regard to penance?
Ascetic practices have been modified out of existence for the vast majority of RC's. Fasting = one normal meal and two smaller meals that can't equal a second normal meal, with no meat but with allowance for dairy and fish, two days in Lent. Or, in the context of Communion, fasting = one hour of no food before receiving Communion. That's not fasting, that's awesome! Sure, those are legal minimum requirements, no one is prevented from doing more, etc., but realistically, when you set the bar that low, most people won't even try. The only RC's that I know who practice more rigorous fasting are either traditionalists or chasers after Marian visions. Regarding penance, I linked that to the ascetic life in general, I don't have any access to what other people experience in confession...I presume based on what I can see externally that what happens in confession reflects similar trends, but that's not a scientific conclusion by any means.
I'll let the EO's handle iconographic matters, they are more particular about such.
It's the vision of God's infinite essence, derived in part from the Pauline words 'then I will see God face to face.'
Yeah, but was St Paul talking about seeing the essence of God, or seeing God face to face in the person of Christ?
If we disagree on essence-energy, then it's not even worth it to get into this.
From an RC view, we don't 'fully experience' our reward until our bodies our resurrected. However, we are with God in His presence (the beatific vision). The fullness of eternal union with God can only come to pass with a glorified body to experience it. To use a loose analogy it would be like experiencing the beauty of the sun by sight while not yet being able to experience its warmth.
Other than the "beatific vision" aspect (as above), I don't really see anything here that I'd disagree with.
1 Peter 3 says that 'in it, only eight people were saved.' I don't think that it was the general resurrection, but rather the migration of souls from Sheol (all the elect) to heaven.....still awaiting their resurrected bodies in the eschaton.
The "eight people" is a reference to Noah and his family, saved through the ark (i.e., "it").
As always we have to be especially careful about interpreting symbolic imagery in Scripture, but it seems to me that the martyrs are with God in some capacity (heaven), same would be said about the thief in Paradise with Christ. In any case, I don't see this issue of post-mortem experience being a divisive one between churches.
As a matter of "post-mortem" experiences, I don't think it needs to be divisive, but insofar as these things touch on the general resurrection and the last judgement, as well as the essence of God apparently, I think we'll end up leaving the realm of theologoumena fairly quickly.
We equate "Paradise" with the good dimension of Sheol, heaven's antechamber if you will. So when Christ tells the thief about being with him in Paradise that day, we believe it. But while Christ ascends to heaven, we don't hear anything similar about the thief. The main difference as I see it is in the fact of the resurrection.
"With God in some capacity" I could accept. Everyone is "with God in some capacity", in this world or in the next.