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Author Topic: Do the first two Ecumenical Councils offer strong evidence for the papacy?  (Read 806 times) Average Rating: 0
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Trebor135
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« on: February 01, 2013, 12:24:15 AM »

Hi all,

I've been an Eastern Orthodox catechumen for some months now but would like to be sure I'm on the right path.

A blog post by a Catholic apologist located here--

http://catholicnick.blogspot.ca/2010/10/council-of-nica-proves-papacy.html

--is getting me to wonder whether or not the first two Ecumenical Councils might actually offer strong evidence for the papacy. I might be overthinking this issue or lacking some important information... but what could be good responses to the arguments made?

Thanks,
T.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 12:33:17 AM by Trebor135 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 01:21:07 AM »

You are on the right path in Orthodoxy.  Interpretations such as the one offered here by the blog is the "apologist" is filling in a lot of blanks just to prove their point.  I found this a lot in many arguments that favor the Roman position on the Papacy.  They take certain statements which seem to argue in favor of the Papacy and fill in a lot of the blanks in between so it will properly defend their position.  I don't buy such arguments.

This about this, if Rome has universal jurisdiction, then why accord territorial control to Alexandria at all?  All those territories should have belonged to Rome anyway.  But they were assigned to other cities.  And notice how the blogger argues that "oh, they didn't mention anything about Rome, therefore it must mean what I want it to mean."  Logical fallacy there.
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2013, 01:39:01 AM »

No.  Somewhere here I debunked the article upon which this is based.  The issue was that, unlike Rome, Alexandria and Antioch's ecclesiastical boundaries did not coincide with what had been the civil boundaries.  Libya and the Pentapolis, mentioned in the canon, had just been joined to the civil administration in Egypt just a generation before Nicea, having been separated from Alexandria/Egypt for three centuries before that.  For Rome, it had ruled the three Western parts of the tetrarchy, hence the Patriarchate of the West.

How the fourth was divided, with the second and third cities of the empire in the same Diocese, needed to be hammered out, a problem not present in the West.

This had been the extent of Alexandria's civil jurisdiction

and, once the dust had settled, the generation (or two) after Nicea:


Things did not change for Old Rome until around this time, with the rise of New Rome. And, contrary to your linked apologist's claims, the Councils and Church did "dare" to tough Old Rome's jurisdiction, turning over all of Moesia Thracia to New Rome.

A better translation can make this clearer:
Quote
Let the ancient customs prevail which were in vogue in Egypt and Libya and Pentapolis, to allow the bishop of Alexandria to have authority over all these parts, since this is also the treatment usually accorded to the bishop of Rome. Likewise with reference to Antioch, and in other provinces, let the seniority be preserved to the Churches. In general it is obvious that in the case in which anyone has been made a bishop without the Metropolitan’s approval, the great Council has prescribed that such a person must not be a Bishop. If, however, to the common vote of all, though reasonable and in accordance with an ecclesiastical Canon, two or three men object on account of a private quarrel, let the vote of the majority prevail.
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/councils_ecumenical_rudder.htm#_Toc34001967

You're on the right track.  Welcome home!
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 02:02:00 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2013, 11:42:16 AM »

Hi all,

I've been an Eastern Orthodox catechumen for some months now but would like to be sure I'm on the right path.

A blog post by a Catholic apologist located here--

http://catholicnick.blogspot.ca/2010/10/council-of-nica-proves-papacy.html

--is getting me to wonder whether or not the first two Ecumenical Councils might actually offer strong evidence for the papacy. I might be overthinking this issue or lacking some important information... but what could be good responses to the arguments made?

Thanks,
T.

This might come as a surprise, but even though I'm Catholic myself I didn't see a lot of value in that blog entry.
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2013, 07:14:28 PM »

I think this article has much stronger arguments for the Papacy in the Eucemenical Councils of the Church.
http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=79&id=98

or (Very Long)
http://www.alleluiaaudiobooks.com/primacy-of-the-pope-in-the-early-church/
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 07:17:28 PM by domNoah » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 08:25:32 PM »

What does God think about this, Is your soul not more important to him than all the popes and cardinals and bishops?

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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2013, 08:39:47 PM »

The Second Ecumenical Council? Isn't that the one where they sent their decisions to the Pope, the Pope said "no way bud," and the east said "Um, we don't care what you say, we're sticking with it"...?  police
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 08:46:30 PM »

I personally think that the Papacy is such a poor, pathetic issue to consider when converting.  Do you want to become or remain Catholic because of the Pope?  Christianity is about Jesus, not the Pope.  Your decision whether to be Catholic or Orthodox should be based on where you feel you are closer to Christ.  Not because there is some perception about the role of one bishop.
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2013, 08:51:36 PM »

I think this article has much stronger arguments for the Papacy in the Eucemenical Councils of the Church.
http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=79&id=98
As footnote 1 shows, it rests on the same misguided mistranslation as the OP's article.
as for a start:
Quote
We find the Church teaching the same doctrine throughout the world, governed in each city by a Bishop; the Bishops we find acknowledging a hierarchical gradation among themselves,looking up to the Bishop of the greatest town in the province; and all of these together more or less subject to one or other of the three patriarchates of Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome, —for in those early days Constantinople and Jerusalem had put in no claim to a place in this rank. Let us look, then, at these three patriarchates, and inquire whether the ecclesiastical authority was equally divided among them or given to one, and whether this one had the power from the first, or only a primacy of honour
Given that Jerusalem was "the Mother of the Christian name, from which no one dares to separate.” (PL 63, 503) and that Ultramontanism makes much of St. Peter's sojourn there to try to ground its dogma in scripture, this charging past this problem of Jerusalem not making the big three starts the article wandering off the straight and narrow and down the broad way and straight through the wide gate into the open arms of Pastor Aeternus, with all the errors therein.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 08:59:09 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2013, 09:29:40 PM »

The Second Ecumenical Council? Isn't that the one where they sent their decisions to the Pope, the Pope said "no way bud," and the east said "Um, we don't care what you say, we're sticking with it"...?  police

Rome did the same with the Quinisext as well, and one of the results was the replacement of iconography with self-expressive religious art.
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2013, 10:39:23 PM »

Do you want to become or remain Catholic because of the Pope? 

I want to remain Catholic, but I wouldn't say that it is (ultimately) because of the pope, although he does play a part in it.
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2013, 10:40:57 PM »

Do you want to become or remain Catholic because of the Pope?  

I want to remain Catholic, but I wouldn't say that it is (ultimately) because of the pope, although he does play a part in it.

My point is, the Pope shouldn't be the deciding factor.  Our salvation does not come from the Pope.  Even though he claims that.
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2013, 11:28:04 PM »

According to the historian Aristeides Papadakis (IIRC), the word papacy does not even appear until the 11th century.
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2013, 11:39:37 PM »

Do you want to become or remain Catholic because of the Pope? 

I want to remain Catholic, but I wouldn't say that it is (ultimately) because of the pope, although he does play a part in it.

My point is, the Pope shouldn't be the deciding factor. 

I agree. If the Pope were the deciding factor, that would mean that if I were Orthodox then I should leave Orthodoxy for Catholicism. (Yes, I realize I have two "if"s in that sentence. So sue me. Well, actually, don't sue me.)
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2013, 02:28:31 AM »

Interpretations such as the one offered here by the blog is the "apologist" is filling in a lot of blanks just to prove their point.  I found this a lot in many arguments that favor the Roman position on the Papacy.  They take certain statements which seem to argue in favor of the Papacy and fill in a lot of the blanks in between so it will properly defend their position.  I don't buy such arguments.

I'd like to ask if you have any other examples of this phenomenon. Smiley

Quote
This about this, if Rome has universal jurisdiction, then why accord territorial control to Alexandria at all?  All those territories should have belonged to Rome anyway.  But they were assigned to other cities.

The Catholic response might be that the three patriarchates had authority--in differing degrees, but nonetheless real.

Quote
And notice how the blogger argues that "oh, they didn't mention anything about Rome, therefore it must mean what I want it to mean."  Logical fallacy there.

There might have been other reasons why Rome wasn't mentioned, true. But what could they be?
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Trebor135
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2013, 02:42:44 AM »

No.  Somewhere here I debunked the article upon which this is based.

If you find those post(s), be sure to let us know.

Quote
The issue was that, unlike Rome, Alexandria and Antioch's ecclesiastical boundaries did not coincide with what had been the civil boundaries.  Libya and the Pentapolis, mentioned in the canon, had just been joined to the civil administration in Egypt just a generation before Nicea, having been separated from Alexandria/Egypt for three centuries before that.  For Rome, it had ruled the three Western parts of the tetrarchy, hence the Patriarchate of the West.

How the fourth was divided, with the second and third cities of the empire in the same Diocese, needed to be hammered out, a problem not present in the West.

This had been the extent of Alexandria's civil jurisdiction

and, once the dust had settled, the generation (or two) after Nicea:


Things did not change for Old Rome until around this time, with the rise of New Rome. And, contrary to your linked apologist's claims, the Councils and Church did "dare" to tough Old Rome's jurisdiction, turning over all of Moesia Thracia to New Rome.

Intriguing. I'd like to ask for a summary of what the tetrarchy looked like and the areas where each patriarchate had jurisdiction in ca. 250-300 AD. My screenreading program doesn't describe images, unfortunately.

Also, at what council and by what canon was Mosia Thracia transferred to Constantinople?

Quote
A better translation can make this clearer:
Quote
Let the ancient customs prevail which were in vogue in Egypt and Libya and Pentapolis, to allow the bishop of Alexandria to have authority over all these parts, since this is also the treatment usually accorded to the bishop of Rome. Likewise with reference to Antioch, and in other provinces, let the seniority be preserved to the Churches. In general it is obvious that in the case in which anyone has been made a bishop without the Metropolitan’s approval, the great Council has prescribed that such a person must not be a Bishop. If, however, to the common vote of all, though reasonable and in accordance with an ecclesiastical Canon, two or three men object on account of a private quarrel, let the vote of the majority prevail.
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/councils_ecumenical_rudder.htm#_Toc34001967

The phrase "this is also the treatment usually accorded to the bishop of Rome" is confusing. How to interpret "this is also the treatment" (the precise geographical limits are the same? or the granting of certain privileges occurs for both Rome and Alexandria?) and "usually accorded to... Rome" (why not always?) are the issues.

Quote
You're on the right track.  Welcome home!

Thanks. Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2013, 02:45:36 AM »

This might come as a surprise, but even though I'm Catholic myself I didn't see a lot of value in that blog entry.

Hmm, how come?
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2013, 02:51:10 AM »

What does God think about this,

All those who have struggled to decide between Catholicism and Orthodoxy would pay a small fortune to know for sure. The Great Schism is among the biggest tragedies in Christian history.

Quote
Is your soul not more important to him than all the popes and cardinals and bishops?

I hope so. Tongue The fathers of Vatican I would likely not agree though.

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◄  Matthew 18:12  ►

New International Version (©1984)
"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?

Thanks for citing this parable. It gives one hope that God will bring us through somehow.
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2013, 02:53:22 AM »

The Second Ecumenical Council? Isn't that the one where they sent their decisions to the Pope, the Pope said "no way bud," and the east said "Um, we don't care what you say, we're sticking with it"...?  police

No, I don't believe so. Maybe you're thinking of the Fifth Ecumenical Council? They were going to excommunicate Vigilius and he changed his mind to condemn the heretical documents under their pressure.
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2013, 02:56:55 AM »

I personally think that the Papacy is such a poor, pathetic issue to consider when converting.  Do you want to become or remain Catholic because of the Pope?  Christianity is about Jesus, not the Pope.  Your decision whether to be Catholic or Orthodox should be based on where you feel you are closer to Christ.  Not because there is some perception about the role of one bishop.

But the pope's job description is now set in stone; the participants at Vatican I saw the papacy as a vital enough issue to make binding dogmas about it, with anathemas attached and all.

Do you think the decision whether to be Protestant or Catholic/Orthodox "should [sola-ly] be based on where you feel you are closer to Christ" or also on matters of theology and history?
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« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2013, 03:21:43 AM »

The Second Ecumenical Council? Isn't that the one where they sent their decisions to the Pope, the Pope said "no way bud," and the east said "Um, we don't care what you say, we're sticking with it"...?  police

No, I don't believe so. Maybe you're thinking of the Fifth Ecumenical Council? They were going to excommunicate Vigilius and he changed his mind to condemn the heretical documents under their pressure.

I was being facetious when I posted in the form of a question. It did happen, at multiple councils, including the 2nd Ecumenical  Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2013, 03:30:10 AM »

I want to remain Catholic, but I wouldn't say that it is (ultimately) because of the pope, although he does play a part in it.

What is, or should, it be "(ultimately) because of"?

My point is, the Pope shouldn't be the deciding factor.  Our salvation does not come from the Pope.  Even though he claims that.

Should someone be Protestant, though, if that makes him feel closer to Christ for whatever reason, and even though it deprives him of the benefits of the sacraments?
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« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2013, 03:34:30 AM »

I was being facetious when I posted in the form of a question. It did happen, at multiple councils, including the 2nd Ecumenical  Smiley

Ahh, OK, thanks for clarifying. Do you have a link giving the juicy details? Tongue
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« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2013, 04:26:38 AM »

I was being facetious when I posted in the form of a question. It did happen, at multiple councils, including the 2nd Ecumenical  Smiley

Ahh, OK, thanks for clarifying. Do you have a link giving the juicy details? Tongue

The best I can do is this overview, though it gives the basic details about the acceptance/non-acceptance of various canons from the Council which the eastern bishops accepted and the west rejected for at least a time.
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« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2013, 02:04:39 AM »

I personally think that the Papacy is such a poor, pathetic issue to consider when converting.  Do you want to become or remain Catholic because of the Pope?  Christianity is about Jesus, not the Pope.  Your decision whether to be Catholic or Orthodox should be based on where you feel you are closer to Christ.  Not because there is some perception about the role of one bishop.

But the pope's job description is now set in stone; the participants at Vatican I saw the papacy as a vital enough issue to make binding dogmas about it, with anathemas attached and all.

Do you think the decision whether to be Protestant or Catholic/Orthodox "should [sola-ly] be based on where you feel you are closer to Christ" or also on matters of theology and history?

If you think Catholicism doesn't bring you closer to God, then what does the decision of Vatican I mean to you?  If you decide to remain Catholic, then yes, the Papacy is something part and parcel of the faith you need to accept.  But don't make it the deciding point.  There is much more about both faiths than one office.
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« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2013, 02:09:01 AM »

Interpretations such as the one offered here by the blog is the "apologist" is filling in a lot of blanks just to prove their point.  I found this a lot in many arguments that favor the Roman position on the Papacy.  They take certain statements which seem to argue in favor of the Papacy and fill in a lot of the blanks in between so it will properly defend their position.  I don't buy such arguments.

I'd like to ask if you have any other examples of this phenomenon. Smiley

Quote
This about this, if Rome has universal jurisdiction, then why accord territorial control to Alexandria at all?  All those territories should have belonged to Rome anyway.  But they were assigned to other cities.

The Catholic response might be that the three patriarchates had authority--in differing degrees, but nonetheless real.

Quote
And notice how the blogger argues that "oh, they didn't mention anything about Rome, therefore it must mean what I want it to mean."  Logical fallacy there.

There might have been other reasons why Rome wasn't mentioned, true. But what could they be?

Most of those you will see in matters regarding the papacy.  The reason being that there are plenty of Scriptural evidence as well as Tradition that St. Peter was accorded a primacy among the Apostles and throughout the Church.  Now, does that primacy mean he has universal ordinary jurisdiction and that all the other Apostles are under him?  That is where the "fill in the blanks" part happens.  Take the passage from Matthew as an example.  It is the single most quoted piece of scripture about the Papacy there is.  But there is really nothing in there that justifies whatever it is in Pastor Aeternus.  What does the keys really mean?  It is all just conflicting interpretations from all sides.  How do we even know what is right or what is wrong?  The Early Fathers never commented on this because it was a non-issue to them.
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« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2013, 02:22:49 PM »

Interpretations such as the one offered here by the blog is the "apologist" is filling in a lot of blanks just to prove their point.  I found this a lot in many arguments that favor the Roman position on the Papacy.  They take certain statements which seem to argue in favor of the Papacy and fill in a lot of the blanks in between so it will properly defend their position.  I don't buy such arguments.

I'd like to ask if you have any other examples of this phenomenon. Smiley

Quote
This about this, if Rome has universal jurisdiction, then why accord territorial control to Alexandria at all?  All those territories should have belonged to Rome anyway.  But they were assigned to other cities.

The Catholic response might be that the three patriarchates had authority--in differing degrees, but nonetheless real.

Quote
And notice how the blogger argues that "oh, they didn't mention anything about Rome, therefore it must mean what I want it to mean."  Logical fallacy there.

There might have been other reasons why Rome wasn't mentioned, true. But what could they be?

Most of those you will see in matters regarding the papacy.  The reason being that there are plenty of Scriptural evidence as well as Tradition that St. Peter was accorded a primacy among the Apostles and throughout the Church.  Now, does that primacy mean he has universal ordinary jurisdiction and that all the other Apostles are under him?  That is where the "fill in the blanks" part happens.  Take the passage from Matthew as an example.  It is the single most quoted piece of scripture about the Papacy there is.  But there is really nothing in there that justifies whatever it is in Pastor Aeternus.  What does the keys really mean?  It is all just conflicting interpretations from all sides.  How do we even know what is right or what is wrong?  The Early Fathers never commented on this because it was a non-issue to them.

Of course, even if St. Peter himself was given some special ordinary jurisdiction over the other Apostles (which does not appear to be the case in Acts), it does not necessarily follow that that authority would pass to his successors in the See of Rome (as opposed to any other sees that where he might have established bishoprics).  It is an altogether different question about whether this would include infallibility -- a concept that is undermined by the very holding of councils in the first place as they are not needed if all one must do to discover the True Doctrine is to have the Pope tell him in a particular fashion.  Coming to understand the difference of opinion (amongst East and West) about whether the Apostles themselves were bishops or whether they simply established episcopal sees helped me along to recognizing the strained logic behind the Latin idea of Roman primacy and all it entails.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 02:23:51 PM by ErmyCath » Logged

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