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Author Topic: Did the Church Fathers support the doctrine of purgatory?  (Read 2787 times) Average Rating: 0
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Wandile
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« Reply #45 on: August 14, 2013, 10:35:32 AM »

St. Mark of Ephesus seems to have rejected outright the Catholic dogma on purgatory

:-)

Yes he did ( he was the only one who did). So too did Arius reject the Trinitarian formula of Nicaea. What does this prove Huh

I think the broader point is the basic disagreement about doctrine itself. Catholics believe it can develop in such a way that the original question about the Church Fathers is moot: whether there were Fathers who taught purgatory doesn't matter because it has developed through councils and popes to its current state.  This is something the Orthodox roundly reject both on the papal ground and the development grounds.

That's why I think the reductionist idea that we basically believe the same thing because we both believe in an after death cleansing is missing the mark.  The method and purpose of that cleansing is completely different, and in many ways, the views are contradictory (punishment for temporal sin and idea that the pope has the authority to release souls from purgatory are a couple that come to mind immediately).
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« Reply #46 on: August 14, 2013, 10:44:15 AM »

Rather than proof texting the Fathers or referring to a local, unusual Synod, which you fail to even exegete, you might just ask (humbly) the Orthodox posters here if they believe in the Latin view of purgatory. Cavaradossi explains well the Orthodox distinctions. Or better yet, ask an Orthodox priest.

You seem to want to show us Orthodox that we are really Roman Catholic on this issue. That suggests a misunderstanding of Orthodox epistemology. Orthodoxy is that which is believed by the whole Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I don't doubt that certain Orthodox embrace something close to the Latin innovation of purgatory. Yet certain Orthodox embrace a lot of different views.
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« Reply #47 on: August 14, 2013, 10:47:41 AM »

St. Mark of Ephesus seems to have rejected outright the Catholic dogma on purgatory

:-)

Yes he did. So too did Arius reject the Trinitarian formula of Nicaea. What does this prove Huh

It proves your theory that the Orthodox haven't rejected the Western dogma on purgatory is incorrect.

My point is this: it is not "being realistic" to act like there are not differences when there are, in fact, differences. This isn't helpful to either side.

I think more knowledgeable posters than I would be able to show that this "inclusive" act has been a method employed by the Roman Church for a very, very long time. Maybe someone can take up that point... I'm not qualified to do so, but I have noticed it in my study of these things.

ETA: By "inclusive act" I mean to suggest that Rome will say, "We are saying the same thing, just differently.  Come into communion with the Pope and it doesn't matter the specifics."
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« Reply #48 on: August 14, 2013, 10:51:55 AM »

Rather than proof texting the Fathers or referring to a local, unusual Synod, which you fail to even exegete, you might just ask (humbly) the Orthodox posters here if they believe in the Latin view of purgatory. Cavaradossi explains well the Orthodox distinctions. Or better yet, ask an Orthodox priest.

The quotes were provided for someone else. Secondly They speak for themselves and don't need a rocket scientist or super theologian to understands the words written. They are very straight forward.

You seem to want to show us Orthodox that we are really Roman Catholic on this issue. That suggests a misunderstanding of Orthodox epistemology. Orthodoxy is that which is believed by the whole Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church .


No, what I'm really here for is to show the fathers taught purgatory. That is in keeping with the OPs question. I just touched on Orthodoxy and the Council of Jerusalem as more of a fun bit of history. Not intended to be polemical although that's what it ended up being


I don't doubt that certain Orthodox embrace something close to the Latin innovation of purgatory. Yet certain Orthodox embrace a lot of different views.

True
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« Reply #49 on: August 14, 2013, 10:58:15 AM »

St. Mark of Ephesus seems to have rejected outright the Catholic dogma on purgatory

:-)

Yes he did. So too did Arius reject the Trinitarian formula of Nicaea. What does this prove Huh

It proves your theory that the Orthodox haven't rejected the Western dogma on purgatory is incorrect.


So now one man speaks for all of Orthodoxy? An Orthodox man rejected purgatory, yes. The Orthodox Church however has not since it is said the Orthodox Church speaks through councils. Wasn't the argument put forward that the very few eastern bishops at the Council of Florence don't represent the whole of Orthodoxy? This is blatant contradiction.

My point is this: it is not "being realistic" to act like there are not differences when there are, in fact, differences. This isn't helpful to either side.

I think more knowledgeable posters than I would be able to show that this "inclusive" act has been a method employed by the Roman Church for a very, very long time. Maybe someone can take up that point... I'm not qualified to do so, but I have noticed it in my study of these things.

ETA: By "inclusive act" I mean to suggest that Rome will say, "We are saying the same thing, just differently.  Come into communion with the Pope and it doesn't matter the specifics."
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« Reply #50 on: August 14, 2013, 11:05:04 AM »

I think in this regard Mark of Ephesus is important because he actually engaged in debates with the "Latins" and ultimately was vindicated by the Orthodox Church. To harken back to your Arius statement, in a way, Mark's statements and argument in this matter carries the weight of Athanasius's statements and arguments contra Arius.

Also, in this case, the Orthodox Church spoke through a rejection of councils - rejecting the formulations of purgatory at Florence. Silence here is a very strong statement in itself. This is much more than one man.
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« Reply #51 on: August 14, 2013, 11:18:44 AM »

Rather than proof texting the Fathers or referring to a local, unusual Synod, which you fail to even exegete, you might just ask (humbly) the Orthodox posters here if they believe in the Latin view of purgatory. Cavaradossi explains well the Orthodox distinctions. Or better yet, ask an Orthodox priest.

The quotes were provided for someone else. Secondly They speak for themselves and don't need a rocket scientist or super theologian to understands the words written. They are very straight forward.

You seem to want to show us Orthodox that we are really Roman Catholic on this issue. That suggests a misunderstanding of Orthodox epistemology. Orthodoxy is that which is believed by the whole Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church .


No, what I'm really here for is to show the fathers taught purgatory. That is in keeping with the OPs question. I just touched on Orthodoxy and the Council of Jerusalem as more of a fun bit of history. Not intended to be polemical although that's what it ended up being


I don't doubt that certain Orthodox embrace something close to the Latin innovation of purgatory. Yet certain Orthodox embrace a lot of different views.

True

So, if, as you claim, you are really here to show that the Fathers taught the Latin understanding of purgatory, why don't you do just that. Citing a long string of quotes from the Fathers, out of context, as you have done, is not showing anything. That is just proof-texting. "They speak for themselves" is not an Orthodox approach to understanding either Scripture or the Fathers.

Show us through your careful understanding of the Fathers that they argued in favour of the Latin concept of Purgatory, with her concomitant Papal Indulgences and Treasury of Merit.

Unless you can back up your heterodox assertions, only you are to blame for this thread's polemic tone.
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« Reply #52 on: August 14, 2013, 11:21:18 AM »

Fwiw, Fr. Georges Florovsky had some interesting things to say about beliefs and official teachings and Councils and Fathers and such:

Quote
Catholic experience can be expressed even by the few, even by single confessors of faith; and this is quite sufficient. Strictly speaking, to be able to recognize and express catholic truth we need no ecumenical, universal assembly and vote; we even need no "Ecumenical Council." The sacred dignity of the Council lies not in the number of members representing their Churches. A  large "general" council may prove itself to be a "council of robbers" (latrocinium), or even of apostates. And the ecclesia s par s a often convicts it of its nullity by silent opposition. Numerus episcoporum does not solve the question. The historical and practical methods of recognizing sacred and catholic tradition can be many; that of assembling Ecumenical Councils is but one of them, and not the only one. This does not mean that it is unnecessary to convoke councils and conferences. But it may so happen that during the council the truth will be expressed by the minority.

And what is still more important, the truth may be revealed even without a council. The opinions of the Fathers and of the ecumenical Doctors of the Church frequently have greater spiritual value and finality than the definitions of certain councils. And these opinions do not need to be verified and accepted by "universal consent." On the contrary, it is they themselves who are the criterion and they who can prove. It is of this that the Church testifies in silent receptio. Decisive value resides in inner catholicity, not in empirical universality. The opinions of the Fathers are accepted, not as a formal subjection to outward authority, but because of the inner evidence of their catholic truth. The whole body of the Church has the right of verifying, or, to be more exact, the right, and not only the right but the duty, of certifying.

-- Fr. Georges Florovsky, The Collected Works of Georges Florovsky, Volume One: Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View, pp. 52-53
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« Reply #53 on: August 14, 2013, 12:02:27 PM »

Wandile, none of the Fathers you quoted mention a treasury of merits from the good works of the saints which the Roman pope has the exclusive right to apply via indulgences. They don't say anything along the lines of Trent, which said:

If anyone says that after the grace of justification has been received the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out for any repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be paid, either in this world or in the other, in purgatory, before access can be opened to the kingdom of heaven, anathema sit.

They mention praying for the dead, like the scriptures. They don't delve into fantastical innovations like the Latin church.
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« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2013, 12:46:49 PM »

Rather than proof texting the Fathers or referring to a local, unusual Synod, which you fail to even exegete, you might just ask (humbly) the Orthodox posters here if they believe in the Latin view of purgatory. Cavaradossi explains well the Orthodox distinctions. Or better yet, ask an Orthodox priest.

The quotes were provided for someone else. Secondly They speak for themselves and don't need a rocket scientist or super theologian to understands the words written. They are very straight forward.

Hi Wandile,

The quotes may have been provided for someone else, but if you only wanted him to respond to them, you should've sent them to him privately.  If you're going to post them here, however, don't be surprised if others respond as well.  

Actually, these quotes are not as straightforward as you want to make them out to be.  I don't have the time to search out their context, but as you've presented them, most of them agree with the Orthodox position, and could be made to agree with the Latin position if you read that into the quotes and assume that "both are saying the same thing".  But since the Latin teaching on "Purgatory" involves a bit more than just a post-death pre-resurrection cleansing, you really do have to read it into the texts or stretch the meanings of terms to make it fit.    


I apologize, I nearly forgot about this. Forgive me

Quote
Clement of Alexandria

The believer through discipline divests himself of his passions and passes to the mansion which is better than the former one, passes to the greatest torment, taking with him the characteristic of repentance for the faults he may have committed after baptism. He is tortured then still more, not yet attaining what he sees others have acquired. The greatest torments are assigned to the believer, for God's righteousness is good, and His goodness righteous, and though these punishments cease in the course of the expiation and purification of each one, "yet" etc. (Patres Groeci. IX, col. 332 [A.D. 150-215]).

Are we even sure that this is talking about what happens to the soul after death?  ISTM it could also be some sort of allegory on ascetic struggle (it says "the believer through discipline", not "through death").  Even if it is talking about death, I don't think we can understand this without context.  What does discipline have to do with it?  What mansion is better than the former mansion which also includes the "greatest torment"?  Who/what is doing the torturing?  And what is the rest of the sentence that gets cut off by "etc."?      

Quote
Origen

If a man departs this life with lighter faults, he is condemned to fire which burns away the lighter materials, and prepares the soul for the kingdom of God, where nothing defiled may enter. For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones (I Cor., 3); but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones? Neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works. (Patres Groeci. XIII, col. 445, 448 [A.D. 185-232]).

This need not be the Latin "Purgatory".  If the "fire" talked about is just a metaphor for a cleansing, the mechanism of which we don't really understand, then fine--that would be an acceptable way of trying to explain it.  But there's a reason why Latin apologists look specifically for "fire" references and not merely for "cleansing".  And it seems from my reading of this quote that the "fire" is being used metaphorically, unless we are also to take literally that the soul after death takes with him wood and hay and stubble that needs to be dumped before entering heaven or that God is literally a fire.  

Quote
Cyprian

It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory; it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the Day of Judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord (Letters 51[55]:20 [A.D. 253]).

Again, what's the context?  Without knowing that, it's impossible to say it definitely means what you think it means.  

Quote
Ambrose of Milan

Give perfect rest to thy servant Theodosius, that rest which thou hast prepared for thy saints… I have loved him, and therefore will I follow him into the land of the living; nor will I leave him until by tears and prayers I shall lead him wither his merits summon him, unto the holy mountain of the Lord (Funeral Sermon of Theodosius 36-37 [A.D. 395]).

What about this suggests Latin "Purgatory" as opposed to the value of prayer for the departed in a general sense?  

Quote
Augustine

There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for other dead who are remembered. It is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

First of all, as above, this doesn't seem to argue "Purgatory" as much as it does "prayer for the departed".  That said, it's just not correct that we don't pray for the martyrs.  We certainly pray "to" them, but we also pray "for" them and "with" them.  That much is clear from our liturgical texts and rites.  Perhaps in the Western tradition you make or have come to make Augustine's distinction, but it is certainly not universal.  

Quote
Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment (The City of God 21:13 [A.D. 419]).

So far, this is the first quote you've presented that, to me, argues for the Latin view.  

Quote
That there should be some fire even after this life is not incredible, and it can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden whether some of the faithful may be saved, some more slowly and some more quickly in the greater or lesser degree in which they loved the good things that perish, through a certain purgatorial fire (Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Charity l8:69 [A.D. 421]).

Is this arguing that Latin "Purgatory" definitely exists, or that it is an acceptable and reasonable proposition explaining post-death purification?  It's "not incredible", "can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden", etc.  I can see the appeal, but it need not mean what you want it to mean.  

Quote
Tertullian

That allegory of the Lord [Matt. 5:25-26] . . . is extremely clear and simple in its meaning . . . [beware lest as] a transgressor of your agreement, before God the judge . . . and lest this judge deliver you over to the angel who is to execute the sentence, and he commit you to the prison of hell, out of which there will be no dismissal until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off in the period before the resurrection. What can be a more fitting sense than this? What a truer interpretation? (The Soul 35 [A.D. 210]).

You want this to mean Latin "Purgatory", and it could mean that.  But besides wanting to know the context or what's missing where all the . . . 's are, I'm curious about what I bolded above.  What does it mean that people can be confined to hell "until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off"?  Is Tertullian teaching something along the lines of universal salvation?  It wouldn't make sense to be there until you pay your debts, but then stay there forever because there's no escaping hell, right?  Or is it common for Latins to refer to "Purgatory" as "hell"?  In my experience, it is never the case, but maybe you'll surprise me.  Smiley

Anyway, out of everything you provided, the quotes which most supported your position are from early Church fathers who either went wrong themselves or whose writings were used to support wrong notions as if they held them.  Everything else is less straightforward than you think.  It could mean what you want it to mean, but that post alone doesn't demonstrate it.    
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« Reply #55 on: August 14, 2013, 02:35:09 PM »

The difference I have found is in definition.  Other than that, I can’t really say there is any difference.  A cleansing process is taught by both.  One group defines the how’s, the other not so much.  The point is, the process happens, so I would say both teach it.  Words and definitions may be different, but both teach it.

I agree.  The differences are minor and probably no greater than the differences between EO's and OO's on Christology, i.e., semantics.
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« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2013, 05:10:16 PM »

The difference I have found is in definition.  Other than that, I can’t really say there is any difference.  A cleansing process is taught by both.  One group defines the how’s, the other not so much.  The point is, the process happens, so I would say both teach it.  Words and definitions may be different, but both teach it.

I agree.  The differences are minor and probably no greater than the differences between EO's and OO's on Christology, i.e., semantics.

Amen
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« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2013, 05:14:34 PM »

I would have never thought so many Orthodox would agree to the idea that the Pope can release people from the pains of the post death temporal punishment undergone due to sin that wasn't expiated in the flesh...
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« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2013, 05:20:53 PM »

I would have never thought so many Orthodox would agree to the idea that the Pope can release people from the pains of the post death temporal punishment undergone due to sin that wasn't expiated in the flesh...

The Pope doesn't release people from post death temporal punishment. God does though...
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« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2013, 05:31:21 PM »

I would have never thought so many Orthodox would agree to the idea that the Pope can release people from the pains of the post death temporal punishment undergone due to sin that wasn't expiated in the flesh...

The Pope doesn't release people from post death temporal punishment. God does though...

Well count me out, because I do understand the issue of Plenary vs Partial indulgences while someone is still alive not post death. But it still alludes me as to how a person can remove the temporal punishment due to confessed mortal sins by some physical act of mercy or whatever.  When sins are forgiven they are forgiven.  Hmm, seems I've heard that somewhere.  Anyway, what is the priest forgiving if not the sin in it's totality?
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« Reply #60 on: August 14, 2013, 05:33:05 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.
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« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2013, 05:44:14 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

Please explain the "Treasury of Merits".....Thanks
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« Reply #62 on: August 14, 2013, 05:44:54 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

Can Bishops also grant indulgences?  And if not, why not?
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« Reply #63 on: August 14, 2013, 05:46:17 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

Does not the Catholic priest have the Apostolic right to forgive sins totally?
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« Reply #64 on: August 14, 2013, 05:49:42 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

Please explain the "Treasury of Merits".....Thanks

The treasury of merits are those merits won by the saints, most especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, by their holy lives and good works beyond that necessary for their salvation. These merits are "stored" to be applied to others via indulgences.

All merits won by the saints have their ultimate cause in the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and are a participation in that Sacrifice.
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« Reply #65 on: August 14, 2013, 05:53:16 PM »

Who can grant indulgences?  See here: http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/indulge/norms.htm

Who can forgive? Priests forgive the eternal punishment due to sin in confession. The temporal punishment must still be expiated on earth through penance or in purgatory as discussed above. This is to balance God's mercy and His justice.
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« Reply #66 on: August 14, 2013, 06:04:15 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

He is not the one who frees the souls though. He might be an "agent" but is not the one who does it. Just as the Church does not save, Christ does, yet the Church is so synchronized in the salvation process that one could ignorantly say the church saves.
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« Reply #67 on: August 14, 2013, 06:06:14 PM »

Who can grant indulgences?  See here: http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/indulge/norms.htm

Who can forgive? Priests forgive the eternal punishment due to sin in confession. The temporal punishment must still be expiated on earth through penance or in purgatory as discussed above. This is to balance God's mercy and His justice.

When we confess our sins, these sins are forgiven period.  This Temporal punishment is foreign stuff to us.
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« Reply #68 on: August 14, 2013, 06:07:27 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

Please explain the "Treasury of Merits".....Thanks

The treasury of merits are those merits won by the saints, most especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, by their holy lives and good works beyond that necessary for their salvation. These merits are "stored" to be applied to others via indulgences.

All merits won by the saints have their ultimate cause in the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and are a participation in that Sacrifice.

You mean like a "merit" bank?  I guess this is the 'storing treasures thing' right?  But all of us can store stuff not just the saints.
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« Reply #69 on: August 14, 2013, 06:09:23 PM »

Quote
The treasury of merits are those merits won by the saints, most especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, by their holy lives and good works beyond that necessary for their salvation. These merits are "stored" to be applied to others via indulgences.

All merits won by the saints have their ultimate cause in the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and are a participation in that Sacrifice.

So can 5 merit bucks get me a Dyson vacuum? Also do the taxes come off the back end or...??
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« Reply #70 on: August 14, 2013, 06:12:12 PM »

I think the "merit bank," as you hilariously call it, is based on the scriptural passage about making up in ourselves what is lacking in the Sacrifice of Christ.  It is also related to the idea that there is a Church Militant, Suffering, and Triumphant and that we are all inter-related.

I should note that most Catholics have no idea this is what the Church teaches. I've taught this in RCIA and gotten into arguments with people who say, "I've been Catholic all my life!  I've never heard this nonsense!". I think the joint declarations with the Lutherans on salvation by grace alone really hurt the idea of merits in Catholic popular opinion since it gets to sounding like the dreaded idea that works can save.

Everyone can merit, so long as they are in the state of grace. So, yes, we can all contribute to the treasury of merits in a sense. It is proper to attribute the superabundance of merits to the saints, though, because most of us are not meriting beyond what is necessary for our own salvation.
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« Reply #71 on: August 14, 2013, 06:18:46 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

He is not the one who frees the souls though. He might be an "agent" but is not the one who does it. Just as the Church does not save, Christ does, yet the Church is so synchronized in the salvation process that one could ignorantly say the church saves.

Well, if the pope binds, the sin is bound. If the pope looses, that is grants the indulgence, then the soul is released from purgatory.

Of course, Christ obtains the salvation for the soul. That is quite clearly not what is being discussed here.
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« Reply #72 on: August 14, 2013, 06:30:11 PM »

I think the "merit bank," as you hilariously call it, is based on the scriptural passage about making up in ourselves what is lacking in the Sacrifice of Christ.  It is also related to the idea that there is a Church Militant, Suffering, and Triumphant and that we are all inter-related.

I should note that most Catholics have no idea this is what the Church teaches. I've taught this in RCIA and gotten into arguments with people who say, "I've been Catholic all my life!  I've never heard this nonsense!". I think the joint declarations with the Lutherans on salvation by grace alone really hurt the idea of merits in Catholic popular opinion since it gets to sounding like the dreaded idea that works can save.

Everyone can merit, so long as they are in the state of grace. So, yes, we can all contribute to the treasury of merits in a sense. It is proper to attribute the superabundance of merits to the saints, though, because most of us are not meriting beyond what is necessary for our own salvation.

I believe scripturally, you are correct on the merits but we would refer to them as "Storing up treasures".  I could be wrong but......they are not necessarily exclusive to saints, but then we look at sainthood a little different maybe??
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« Reply #73 on: August 14, 2013, 06:33:07 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

He is not the one who frees the souls though. He might be an "agent" but is not the one who does it. Just as the Church does not save, Christ does, yet the Church is so synchronized in the salvation process that one could ignorantly say the church saves.

Well, if the pope binds, the sin is bound. If the pope looses, that is grants the indulgence, then the soul is released from purgatory.

Of course, Christ obtains the salvation for the soul. That is quite clearly not what is being discussed here.

Why cant Bishops do this?  Or, why only the Pope grant indulgences?  Although we don't believe this way it would be interesting to hear an answer.
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« Reply #74 on: August 14, 2013, 06:36:20 PM »

I don't know the answer to your last question because, honestly, I hadn't really thought of it until you asked. I think it's a good question, though.

My guess is that it has something to do with the Pope's power of the "keys".  There are some sins even that only the Pope can forgive. He can reserve this power to himself or delegate it to other bishops. And so there are some sins only a bishop can forgive as well.
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« Reply #75 on: August 14, 2013, 06:37:54 PM »

The idea that sins incur a debt of temporal punishment which must be paid is precisely the premise behind purgatory which the Orthodox reject. When sins are forgiven, the punishment assigned to them is also undone by the dissolution of their cause, so there is no need for God to punish those temporally who have died having repented but having not yet produced the fruits of repentance. Instead, those who have died repentant without producing any fruits of repentance may undergo some degree of suffering after death which in combination with the prayers of the faithful and the grace of God is able to heal their souls, just as the epitimia assigned after confession is designed to do. The problem with the medieval system of purgatory is that instead of this suffering after death being therapeutic, intended for healing the sinner, it instead is for satisfying the holiness and justice of God, which demands that sinners receive temporal punishments for their sins.
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« Reply #76 on: August 14, 2013, 06:48:03 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

He is not the one who frees the souls though. He might be an "agent" but is not the one who does it. Just as the Church does not save, Christ does, yet the Church is so synchronized in the salvation process that one could ignorantly say the church saves.

Well, if the pope binds, the sin is bound. If the pope looses, that is grants the indulgence, then the soul is released from purgatory.

Of course, Christ obtains the salvation for the soul. That is quite clearly not what is being discussed here.

Why cant Bishops do this?  Or, why only the Pope grant indulgences?  Although we don't believe this way it would be interesting to hear an answer.

If I recall, it is because the pope as the unique temporal head of the Church is uniquely privileged to be able dispense indulgences from the treasury of merits, a privilege which he shares with (or perhaps the better term is delegates to) the other bishops up to a certain limit.

Thomas Aquinas, for example, writes in the Summa, "The Pope has the plenitude of pontifical power, being like a king in his kingdom: whereas the bishops are appointed to a share in his solicitude, like judges over each city. Hence them alone the Pope, in his letters, addresses as "brethren," whereas he calls all others his "sons." Therefore the plenitude of the power of granting indulgences resides in the Pope, because he can grant them, as he lists, provided the cause be a lawful one: while, in bishops, this power resides subject to the Pope's ordination, so that they can grant them within fixed limits and not beyond. "

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/5026.htm
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« Reply #77 on: August 14, 2013, 08:48:12 PM »

^ This would be a good additional point in the "The Pope" thread.

Anyway, the whole purgatory/indulgence thing is very complex. That's what we have proved in this thread!
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« Reply #78 on: August 14, 2013, 10:04:55 PM »

^ This would be a good additional point in the "The Pope" thread.

Anyway, the whole purgatory/indulgence thing is very complex. That's what we have proved in this thread!

Quiet with your nuances. If you really studied the issue you'd see that purgatory is just prayers for the dead being effective in some mysterious way and Orthodoxy and Catholicism teach EXACTLY the same thing. Anyone who says otherwise is just being a difficult, polemical meanie-face.
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« Reply #79 on: August 14, 2013, 10:24:07 PM »

^ This would be a good additional point in the "The Pope" thread.

Anyway, the whole purgatory/indulgence thing is very complex. That's what we have proved in this thread!

Quiet with your nuances. If you really studied the issue you'd see that purgatory is just prayers for the dead being effective in some mysterious way and Orthodoxy and Catholicism teach EXACTLY the same thing. Anyone who says otherwise is just being a difficult, polemical meanie-face.
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« Reply #80 on: August 14, 2013, 10:26:31 PM »

^ This would be a good additional point in the "The Pope" thread.

Anyway, the whole purgatory/indulgence thing is very complex. That's what we have proved in this thread!

Quiet with your nuances. If you really studied the issue you'd see that purgatory is just prayers for the dead being effective in some mysterious way and Orthodoxy and Catholicism teach EXACTLY the same thing. Anyone who says otherwise is just being a difficult, polemical meanie-face.

 Smiley
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« Reply #81 on: August 14, 2013, 11:58:25 PM »

I would have never thought so many Orthodox would agree to the idea that the Pope can release people from the pains of the post death temporal punishment undergone due to sin that wasn't expiated in the flesh...

LOL.
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« Reply #82 on: August 15, 2013, 12:00:00 AM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

The pope's treasury consists only of corruptible wealth, nor can he loose people while he himself is bound.
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« Reply #83 on: August 15, 2013, 12:01:59 AM »

^ This would be a good additional point in the "The Pope" thread.

Anyway, the whole purgatory/indulgence thing is very complex. That's what we have proved in this thread!

Quiet with your nuances. If you really studied the issue you'd see that purgatory is just prayers for the dead being effective in some mysterious way and Orthodoxy and Catholicism teach EXACTLY the same thing. Anyone who says otherwise is just being a difficult, polemical meanie-face.

I'm afraid your sarcasm will be lost on many. More's the pity.
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« Reply #84 on: August 15, 2013, 01:27:10 AM »

All I know is that our Purgatory (EO) is better than their Purgatory (RC). Grin
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« Reply #85 on: August 15, 2013, 01:36:22 AM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

He is not the one who frees the souls though. He might be an "agent" but is not the one who does it. Just as the Church does not save, Christ does, yet the Church is so synchronized in the salvation process that one could ignorantly say the church saves.

Well, if the pope binds, the sin is bound. If the pope looses, that is grants the indulgence, then the soul is released from purgatory.

Of course, Christ obtains the salvation for the soul. That is quite clearly not what is being discussed here.

Yeah but onlookers to the thread might get confused so it had to be clarified
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« Reply #86 on: August 15, 2013, 01:39:41 AM »

All I know is that our Purgatory (EO) is better than their Purgatory (RC). Grin

How can you have a purgatory if you guys claim you don't believe in it? Tongue
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« Reply #87 on: August 15, 2013, 09:37:46 AM »

Maybe we have approached this from the wrong angle.  It may be better, at least for my understanding, to clearly stated and provide supporting references for what the Orthodox Church does teach rather than what it does not.  It certainly would aid in my understanding.
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« Reply #88 on: August 15, 2013, 05:44:14 PM »

I think the "merit bank," as you hilariously call it, is based on the scriptural passage about making up in ourselves what is lacking in the Sacrifice of Christ. 

What does the RCC teach is "lacking" in the Sacrifice of Christ?

Also, what does my credit score need to be to access the merit treasury?
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« Reply #89 on: August 16, 2013, 12:06:03 AM »

Maybe we have approached this from the wrong angle.  It may be better, at least for my understanding, to clearly stated and provide supporting references for what the Orthodox Church does teach rather than what it does not.  It certainly would aid in my understanding.

That approach was already tried at the beginning of the thread, when Asteriktos posted quotes from St. Mark of Ephesus and the Confession of Dositheus. However, some controversialists forced us to differentiate between what we believe, and particular Latin beliefs about purgatory, which we hold to be false.
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