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Author Topic: Orthodox and Purgatory  (Read 2000 times) Average Rating: 0
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stanley123
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« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2013, 12:22:43 AM »

David Bentley Hart raises a key question here:

"The Eastern church believes in sanctification after death... but Rome has also traditionally spoken of it as 'temporal punishment', which the pope may in whole or part remit [cf. indulgences]...

[theosis in Orthodoxy is not] merely a forensic imputation of sinlessness to a sinful creature; it is a real glorification and organic transfiguration of the creature in Christ, one which never violates the integrity of our creatureliness, but which - by causing us to progress from sin to righteousness - really makes us partakers of the divine nature.

Very well then: what then could it mean to remit purgation? Why, if it is sanctification, would one want such remission, and would it not then involve instead the very magical transformation of the creature into something beyond itself that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches both deny? These... are questions as yet unanswered"
Traditional formulations have included a punitive dimension of purgatory, which is true insofar as the process of purgation is painful to the degree of our actions and words in this life. Benedict XVI has dispensed entirely with any language of Punishment. In light of that I am not sure that Hart's contention has much bite to it.

Repackaging the item does not change its nature. RC dogma has been remarketed so many times of late, it's hard to keep up.
Vatican II is essentially Hegelian; by dialectical method there is very little that might not be in principle -s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d- into encompassing things that looked quite different before thesis/antithesis is incorporated into synthesis, including according to one liberal Roman Catholic blogger in a discussion of Cardinal Newman, even something like voodoo.

It seems to me that union with RC these days would not simply entail union with something that can be made to sound or seem like us along a margin where a large body of practicing RCs might think something else entirely, but would entail approval, tacit or explicit, of the Hegelian/Newman hermeneutic which has become integral to the modern Roman Catholic tradition (not RC of the first millennium any more than papal infallibility) itself.


Excuse me, but I get the impression that Eastern Orthodox also stretch things. For example, there was a discussion on whether or not it is forbidden for an EO to say a prayer with a RC. Now it was shown that it is condemned by the canons of the EO Church for an EO to pray with a heretic or schismatic. Nevertheless, people seemed to agree that the principle of economia allowed it. Examples were brought up of a RC wife and an EO husband who prayed together and although this was condemned by the canons of the Church, the economia principle allowed a stretching of the condemnation so that in the end, it would not be a sin for a RC wife and an EO husband to pray together. In other words, this stretching principle which you refer to, is not restricted to Catholicism, but it is alive and well in Eastern Orthodoxy as well.
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« Reply #46 on: June 02, 2013, 10:09:21 PM »

There is indeed an Orthodox Purgatory. It is right here [Warning! Terrible to behold]: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.0.html

I am really impressed with how much better this thread is doing.
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« Reply #47 on: June 05, 2013, 04:24:33 AM »

There is indeed an Orthodox Purgatory. It is right here [Warning! Terrible to behold]: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.0.html

I am really impressed with how much better this thread is doing.

I thought that this thread was Orthodox Purgatory: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37983.0.html

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« Reply #48 on: June 05, 2013, 08:32:41 AM »

There is indeed an Orthodox Purgatory. It is right here [Warning! Terrible to behold]: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.0.html

I am really impressed with how much better this thread is doing.

I thought that this thread was Orthodox Purgatory: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37983.0.html



Crazy huh ?  topic oranges, winds up being about apples......
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« Reply #49 on: June 22, 2013, 12:50:54 AM »

Catholics have traditionally interpreted 1 Cor 13 as the definitive scriptural support for purgatorial fires which has been situated in Jesus' statements about a 'trying' fire in the Judgment which yields gold/silver just like 1 Cor 3:15. This is furthe established in light of the Fact that Second Temple Jewish schools of Hillel and Shaamaite who basically taught a Jewish conception of purgatory which corresponds to the Kadesh prayer.

St Paul's discourse on love (I Cor 13) is the "definitive scriptural support" for purgatory?  How?  Or did you have another passage in mind? 

I Cor 3.15 doesn't appear to me to be a solid proof in favour of purgatorial fire, though I can understand the appeal.  In context, St Paul appears talking about apostolic labours and labourers (vv. 5-11), the "competition" that arises (v. 4), and so on.  It seems to me that he's saying that the "value" of the work each person does will be judged by God (vv. 13.13), therefore the people need not worry too much about it.  Everyone is building on the foundation, which is Christ (vv. 10-11).  If the work survives, great, but if not, the worker will suffer loss (seeing his work "go to waste"), but will himself be saved for his efforts (vv. 13-15).  I think it's a stretch to apply this to the virtue or sinfulness of every person and then say that there's a purification "by fire" for those who are not bad enough to deserve hell.  But if you already have those kinds of presuppositions, I guess you can read Scriptures into them.       

I need to dig out my Siddur...
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.

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Again, there is a solid Latin exegetical tradition for purgatory in which we see a purgatorial process as revealed in scripture, not merely a theologoumenon. When I said that Pope Benedict's teaching is the modern Catholic position I mean that it is predominant in Catholic theology which he mentions in his encyclical. Benedict's teaching from his encyclical on eschatological is authoritative insofar as it is a truthful expression of purgatory but Catholics can hold a wide range of opinions on the matter (ie more juridical). I just happen to be pretty lock-in-step
With much of Pope Benedict's theology whereas some of my friends identify more with JP II's personalist scholasticism, for example, or not with any recent pope.
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If Benedict's is the view predominant in Catholic theology, but it is just one of a few truthful expressions of purgatory, and Catholics can hold a wide range of opinions on the matter, how is it not a theologoumenon?  Dogma doesn't operate in this way.
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.

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In the East, though, it seems that some theological ideas or what the West would perceive as theologoummen has gained quasi-dogmatic status (such as Palamite theology). EOs can correct me if this is not accurate but I believe that I read it from an Orthodox website (I don't think this is applicable to your church though Mor).

Palamism was about a thousand years after we parted ways, so it doesn't really apply to us per se.  But inasmuch as Gregory Palamas synthesized teachings found in the early fathers (e.g., the Cappadocians), I don't see a real "Oriental objection" to it.  In this, it's similar to the teaching on icons.  Iconoclasm wasn't our struggle, but just because it wasn't ours, just because the pro-icon theology was developed by others, doesn't mean that we wouldn't recognize it as our faith also. [/quote]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.   

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I find your statements about VII or Trent being the only relevant councils for RCs to be way off the mark. All of the councils are intimate and dogmatic for RCs, but it is not surprising that a council that took place ~50 years ago plays such a prominent role in RCs, especially in light of the turbulent cultural crises in the West, we look to recent councils especially for guidance on pertinent issues. I am sure that ecumenical councils in the past had the same if not more of this kind of effect on ancient Christians in the decades that followed after.

Of course Vatican II would be so prominent for modern RC's, I don't deny that.  But after that, the only council that really seems to register with Catholics (at least based on the ones I know) is Trent.  Most "Vatican II Catholics" aren't thinking too much about Trent, it's more the "traditionalists", but there you go.  Even if the other councils are dogmatic and binding on RC's in theory, it's hard to see it in practice.  Certain general liturgical norms, iconographic norms, ascetic and penitential practices, etc. are all addressed by earlier councils, and yet RC's ignore all that as if it doesn't matter.  What's the use in signing on to an "ecumenical council" if you're not going to abide by its decisions?  [/quote] 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?

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I don't find the statement to be sound that we couldn't have the beatific vision (heaven) without a resurrected body or that Sheol is a more fitting place prior to the general resurrection. The parable in Luke does seem to be Sheol, but when Matthew states that after the resurrection 'the saints walked from their graves' and when in the Petrine epistles Christ frees some of the OT souls from Sheol in his descent, we interpret this as Christ's destruction of the barrier that held OT saints from their supernatural end, the beatific vision. Similarly, in the book of Revelation the martyred saints are already in heaven with The Lord.

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Is the "beatific vision" merely "heaven", or is it the vision of God's essence?  My understanding is that it's more the latter than the former, and unless I'm missing something, that wouldn't be Orthodox. 
It's the vision of God's infinite essence, derived in part from the Pauline words 'then I will see God face to face.'

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When Christ descends into Sheol, he certainly destroys its power, fills it with his light, etc.  But I think it's quite another thing to say that disembodied souls go to heaven.  Body and soul are created at the same time, not at two different times.  Death is the first time a human being experiences an "alienation" of himself from himself, so to speak.  If our "fate" is determined by how we conducted ourselves in this life before that "alienation" (cf. II Cor 5.10), how can we fully experience the reward or the punishment without the resurrection, without becoming "whole" again?  That's not to say that the body dies and the soul takes a nap: the departed souls are alive and already experience something of their ultimate destiny in Sheol.  Christ did not "go to heaven" upon death, and I don't think we say definitively that he went to heaven upon his resurrection or in the forty days between his own resurrection and ascension.  When he ascends, he goes to heaven in his human body and takes his seat at God's right hand; Christ is the first fruits, we follow along at his coming (cf. I Cor 15.23). 
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.

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[Strictly speaking, I Peter 3 doesn't say Christ set any of the souls in Sheol free, it says that he went and preached to them.  Regarding the opening of the tombs and the resurrection of holy people at the death of Christ in Matthew's Gospel, I'm not really sure what to make of that.  I want to say that it's more like the resurrection of Lazarus than it is the general resurrection: it's a prefiguration, a confirmation, of the general resurrection.  But even Lazarus went on to die later, and I suspect the holy people Matthew's referring to also died eventually. 
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.

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Revelation speaks about the martyrs being with the Lord in heaven.  Are we sure that this is a teaching on what happens in between their own deaths and the general resurrection/final judgement?  Or is there so much more to St John's vision that it's difficult to use that idea to support this particular notion?  I'd say the latter. 

But on this, and anything else, I'm willing to admit error if it's pointed out to me.  I will say, though, that insofar as I refer to the (Syriac) liturgical tradition to answer these questions, it is not something utterly foreign to Catholicism: these ideas are contained, in some cases almost exactly, in the liturgical offices and rites of the Syrian Catholic Churches (Syriac, Maronite, Malankara in the West, Chaldean and Malabar in the East).  I don't think they changed their liturgies to reflect Roman teaching.       
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.
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« Reply #50 on: June 22, 2013, 01:04:27 AM »

Is there any difference between Purgatory and the Toll-Houses? Both seem kind of similar in the "testing/trial" nature not-quite-Heaven-not-quite-Hell thing.
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« Reply #51 on: June 22, 2013, 01:47:19 AM »

I think Orthodox would do well to not overly criticize Catholics on purgatory, if they did a little digging they would likely find many Orthodox sources discussing purgation through God's love prior to the judgement day, not in the same way that many Catholics would see it, but still there nevertheless.
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« Reply #52 on: June 22, 2013, 01:49:32 AM »

I think Orthodox would do well to not overly criticize Catholics on purgatory, if they did a little digging they would likely find many Orthodox sources discussing purgation through God's love prior to the judgement day, not in the same way that many Catholics would see it, but still there nevertheless.

Exactly...
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« Reply #53 on: June 22, 2013, 03:52:40 AM »

I think Orthodox would do well to not overly criticize Catholics on purgatory, if they did a little digging they would likely find many Orthodox sources discussing purgation through God's love prior to the judgement day, not in the same way that many Catholics would see it, but still there nevertheless.

They would do even better to keep their mouths shut until they read up on the traditional points of disagreement, those being whether it is necessary that God punish for sins which have been forgiven; and whether there exists another fire which is not the eternal fire which punishes the damned.
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« Reply #54 on: June 22, 2013, 09:05:13 AM »

Is there any difference between Purgatory and the Toll-Houses? Both seem kind of similar in the "testing/trial" nature not-quite-Heaven-not-quite-Hell thing.

One main difference.  The idea of "Toll Houses" is not doctrinal (ei you can believe it or not) but Purgatory is......
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« Reply #55 on: June 22, 2013, 12:47:57 PM »

Welcome back, I was wondering where you went.  Smiley

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. 

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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? 

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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.   

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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.         

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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.  Tongue

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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.

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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"). 

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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. 
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« Reply #56 on: June 22, 2013, 11:13:09 PM »

I think Orthodox would do well to not overly criticize Catholics on purgatory, if they did a little digging they would likely find many Orthodox sources discussing purgation through God's love prior to the judgement day, not in the same way that many Catholics would see it, but still there nevertheless.

They would do even better to keep their mouths shut until they read up on the traditional points of disagreement, those being whether it is necessary that God punish for sins which have been forgiven; and whether there exists another fire which is not the eternal fire which punishes the damned.
On the first point, there would be no disagreement with Pope Benedict who, as I have shown, sees the pain as a secondary function that is the effect of the goal which of course is purgation. Now, there certainly are some RC theologians (not many today) who emphasize the need for a strictly punitive for sin, but that would be a disagreement between individuals, not the churches themselves.

There is enough scriptural evidence to confirm that there is, in fact, a 'testing' or refining fire that is not Hell. It is a figurative image, to be sure, used by The Lord himself most notably in the book of Revelation. With regard to how one chooses to interpret that scriptural image in the context that Christ used it is the issue.
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« Reply #57 on: June 22, 2013, 11:42:15 PM »

I think Orthodox would do well to not overly criticize Catholics on purgatory, if they did a little digging they would likely find many Orthodox sources discussing purgation through God's love prior to the judgement day, not in the same way that many Catholics would see it, but still there nevertheless.

They would do even better to keep their mouths shut until they read up on the traditional points of disagreement, those being whether it is necessary that God punish for sins which have been forgiven; and whether there exists another fire which is not the eternal fire which punishes the damned.

And material vs. immaterial fire, yes?
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« Reply #58 on: June 22, 2013, 11:55:23 PM »

Welcome back, I was wondering where you went.  Smiley

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. 
Yes, but like Pope Benedict, I see Purgation as taking place in this Judgment as Christ gazes into our souls and brings our life work to light, which in turn refines us. Oddly enough, even notable Protestants like Pannenberg have said that then Ratzinger's work on purgatory is not divisive and actually helpful for Protestants to further reflect on sanctification. Jus thought it was worthy of mention.

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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.

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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? 
Catholics cannot point to a council that goes against Benedict's teaching on purgatory  because such a council doesn't exist. The dogma on purgatory is incredibly brief, which is precisely what allows for theological diversity, within reason, on the subject. Benedict, in emphasizing the rehabilitative dimension over the punitive, has not denied that there is a punitive or painful consequence that is suffered in purgatory. However, RCs are allowed to detail more time or emphasis on juridical categories so long as it doesn't contradict conciliar or magisterial teaching. That is the framework that an RC theologian works within. I am not sure how the question of authority comes up though? Furthermore, the partkcular part about judgment in the encyclical I quoted, Spe Salvi, Benedict informs us that this view is that of many recent RC theologians, himself included, and not a dogma.

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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.   

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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.
Careful. That is a huge matter of controversy in academia, even among Orthodox theologians. That distinction is far from explicit in the Cappadocians, and some argue that it is even at odds with them. St. Basil comes the closest and it is only in one letter and it is still incredibly vague. There is a real question whether the Cap Fathers intend an epistemological or ontological distinction.

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FWIW, "many Orthodox blogs" can say whatever they want.  What matters is what the Church says.
That's true, but there is no universal voice for the Orthodox Church to clarify what is binding universally on those in her communion, so there are many high profile EO bishops that demand that much and other who don't. It seems to me, and I certainly could be wrong, that Palamism is for the EO today what Thomism was for the RC in the Middle Ages, the norm or standard but not dogma.

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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?

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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 see your concern, but a minimal requirement for fasting that is universally binding is sensible to me, and individuals can and should go beyond, especially at the encouragement of their pastors. My family personally fasts for the entire morning before receiving the Eucharist, but that is part of our relationship with God and it doesn't mean that those who don't do this (or those who do more, like 24 hour fasting) are 'more holy' or any such thing.

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It's the vision of God's infinite essence, derived in part from the Pauline words 'then I will see God face to face.'

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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.  Tongue
Haha, fair enough!

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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.

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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.

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The "eight people" is a reference to Noah and his family, saved through the ark (i.e., "it"). 
Hmmm....I have always read it as Christ visiting the souls in Sheol (the bad side, so to speak) and as he says preaching the Gospel to them and only eight were saved which parallels the eight saved on the ark (Noah's family). It's enigmatic to be sure as is the teaching in general on Christ's descent into hell.

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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.

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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. 
We disagree on the matter of Sheol in that I (RCs) think that Sheol was dissolved and one experiences heaven or hell in a disembodied state awaiting the Resurrection and you (OO) see Sheol as still operative and the dead experience a foretaste of their final fate before Resurrection.

I acknowledge that this is a straightforward divergence in doctrine, but I don't find this issue on eschatology to be communion dividing.
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« Reply #59 on: June 23, 2013, 05:55:18 PM »

I think Orthodox would do well to not overly criticize Catholics on purgatory, if they did a little digging they would likely find many Orthodox sources discussing purgation through God's love prior to the judgement day, not in the same way that many Catholics would see it, but still there nevertheless.

They would do even better to keep their mouths shut until they read up on the traditional points of disagreement, those being whether it is necessary that God punish for sins which have been forgiven; and whether there exists another fire which is not the eternal fire which punishes the damned.
On the first point, there would be no disagreement with Pope Benedict who, as I have shown, sees the pain as a secondary function that is the effect of the goal which of course is purgation. Now, there certainly are some RC theologians (not many today) who emphasize the need for a strictly punitive for sin, but that would be a disagreement between individuals, not the churches themselves.

This leads to a paradox of sorts. If purgatory is not punitive but for purification, what is the rationale for applying indulgences per modum suffragi? How can a process of cleansing be sped up by extra merits, and what would be the benefits of performing such an action?

There is enough scriptural evidence to confirm that there is, in fact, a 'testing' or refining fire that is not Hell. It is a figurative image, to be sure, used by The Lord himself most notably in the book of Revelation. With regard to how one chooses to interpret that scriptural image in the context that Christ used it is the issue.

But that has never been one of the original points of contention. The big one is whether satisfaction is necessary, followed by the nature of the purgatorial fire (whether there exists any fire other than hellfire, or as Shanghaiski pointed out, whether it is material or immaterial).
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« Reply #60 on: June 23, 2013, 11:32:01 PM »

I think Orthodox would do well to not overly criticize Catholics on purgatory, if they did a little digging they would likely find many Orthodox sources discussing purgation through God's love prior to the judgement day, not in the same way that many Catholics would see it, but still there nevertheless.

They would do even better to keep their mouths shut until they read up on the traditional points of disagreement, those being whether it is necessary that God punish for sins which have been forgiven; and whether there exists another fire which is not the eternal fire which punishes the damned.
On the first point, there would be no disagreement with Pope Benedict who, as I have shown, sees the pain as a secondary function that is the effect of the goal which of course is purgation. Now, there certainly are some RC theologians (not many today) who emphasize the need for a strictly punitive for sin, but that would be a disagreement between individuals, not the churches themselves.

This leads to a paradox of sorts. If purgatory is not punitive but for purification, what is the rationale for applying indulgences per modum suffragi? How can a process of cleansing be sped up by extra merits, and what would be the benefits of performing such an action?
The same ineffable way that prayers are believed to aid the dead. I would rather be apophatic on the particulars, but I would speculate that indulgences and prayers help them to reconcile their errors with the truth more quickly. In turn, the suffering from the purgation is shortened.
There is enough scriptural evidence to confirm that there is, in fact, a 'testing' or refining fire that is not Hell. It is a figurative image, to be sure, used by The Lord himself most notably in the book of Revelation. With regard to how one chooses to interpret that scriptural image in the context that Christ used it is the issue.

But that has never been one of the original points of contention. The big one is whether satisfaction is necessary, followed by the nature of the purgatorial fire (whether there exists any fire other than hellfire, or as Shanghaiski pointed out, whether it is material or immaterial).
[/quote]I thought you made a comment concerning whether 'another' fire punishes the damned. Those in purgatory are not damned though. There's no dogma on the constitution of purgatorial fire, but most RC theologians see it as immaterial. The 'satisfaction' (not a dogmatic term, but prevalent in medieval theology) is need not to be construed juridically (though it has been in the past by many), but the necessary requirement for entering heaven (perfected).
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