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Author Topic: A Catholic's 3 Last Questions to be Answered Before Conversion to Orthodoxy  (Read 2007 times) Average Rating: 0
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Mort_Alz
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« on: September 01, 2013, 08:40:52 PM »

Hello.  I am a Roman Catholic who has run into some difficulty in living the Catholic lifestyle without compromising my family's health and well-being.  Many of these issues I have traced to certain practices and approaches by which the Catholic Church takes its theology.

In studying the Orthodox Church, I have found it has  fulfilled most of my intellectual inquiries into faith without lacking an understanding of human weakness.

Nevertheless, I still have three rather lengthy questions left to be answered and I have yet to receive a full, targeted answer that thoroughly addressed the objections.  Unfortunately, most of the answers were rather dismissive or accusatory.  I am hoping that by editing and clarifying the questions, I may receive a different result here.  My goal is to find out if I can become Orthodox and remain intellectually honest.  I am a young new father of twins and a newly wed.  I want to give my family faith, but I want to give them a faith that I truly believe in.

Anyway, here they are:

The Catholics say that, in the event of a dispute in an Ecumenical Council, the Bishop of Rome may make the final arbitrating pronouncement in the rare occurrences when it may be necessary.  They say that because it works this way, his pronouncement must be infallible.  If he is not delegated this kind of authority, than what is the alternative, and how may the faithful know what is orthodox and what is heterodox if two prominent Church leaders find themselves in disagreement with one another?

If a sacramental or mysterious reality of grace is the true model of faith, then the whole world must, according to God's mercy, have access to those sacraments or mysteries geographically since they only occur in His Church with certainty.  You may find the Catholic Church in most places geographically.  Can you find the Orthodox Church?  If you can't, what is a sincere Christian supposed to do if there is no Orthodox Church for him to receive the grace of the Mysteries/Sacraments?

I have heard that the Orthodox Church believes the highest authority in the Church lies in the entire Church's acceptance or dismissal of any pronouncement made whether from a pope or an allegedly Ecumenical Council.  In fact, that's the only way to know if a council was Ecumenical and therefore infallible or not.  My question is, in the event of the Great Schism, when the Church became split virtually in half, how may the faithful know which half possessed the fullness by which to accept or reject the teachings of either side?

Yours in Christ,

Mort Alz
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2013, 09:18:07 PM »

In answer to the third question, one needs to look at the history for the schism did not happen overnight. For a couple centuries there were polemics back and forth on the part of theologians and bishops. There was an understanding of difference. Did that keep people from communing in the other's churches? Not the majority. The events of 1054 itself were merely a blip on the radar screen--a blip that was forgotten in Constantinople by 1098, when no mention of it was made. What Constantinople remembered was the pope not having been commemorated by the patriarch in the diptychs since 1004 because his systatic letter did not have an Orthodox confession of faith--it included filioque. Also, there were the Crusades, which created a schism in Antioch in 1100, and in Constantinople in 1204. By that time, the door was shut, the case was closed, pretty much. From the time of the 9th to the 13th centuries, however, one can find opinions for and against the notion that the other church was heretical or schismatic. There were also voices, like St. Theophylact of Bulgaria, who said that papal supremacy and the filioque could be excused because the Latins were, after all, barbarians who didn't know any better.
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2013, 09:29:41 PM »

I'm in a similar boat to Mort here.  Looking forward to more answers.
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2013, 09:31:46 PM »

In answer to the third question, one needs to look at the history for the schism did not happen overnight. For a couple centuries there were polemics back and forth on the part of theologians and bishops. There was an understanding of difference. Did that keep people from communing in the other's churches? Not the majority. The events of 1054 itself were merely a blip on the radar screen--a blip that was forgotten in Constantinople by 1098, when no mention of it was made. What Constantinople remembered was the pope not having been commemorated by the patriarch in the diptychs since 1004 because his systatic letter did not have an Orthodox confession of faith--it included filioque. Also, there were the Crusades, which created a schism in Antioch in 1100, and in Constantinople in 1204. By that time, the door was shut, the case was closed, pretty much. From the time of the 9th to the 13th centuries, however, one can find opinions for and against the notion that the other church was heretical or schismatic. There were also voices, like St. Theophylact of Bulgaria, who said that papal supremacy and the filioque could be excused because the Latins were, after all, barbarians who didn't know any better.

Thank you for the facts, but how does that answer my question?  Or, what question should I ask instead?
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2013, 12:20:19 PM »

I didn't necessarily see a correlation between the first and second parts of the third question, so I answered the second part. Did you mean that, for a schism to really have occurred there needed to have been an ecumenical council and/or popular understanding? If so, you have not quite got it right, for they are unnecessary. Examine the schism with the non-Chalcedonians. It did not occur immediately after Chalcedon, if you examine the history. Things were in flux for awhile, until they were not.
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2013, 01:15:28 PM »

The Catholics say that, in the event of a dispute in an Ecumenical Council, the Bishop of Rome may make the final arbitrating pronouncement in the rare occurrences when it may be necessary.  They say that because it works this way, his pronouncement must be infallible.  If he is not delegated this kind of authority, than what is the alternative, and how may the faithful know what is orthodox and what is heterodox if two prominent Church leaders find themselves in disagreement with one another?

If a sacramental or mysterious reality of grace is the true model of faith, then the whole world must, according to God's mercy, have access to those sacraments or mysteries geographically since they only occur in His Church with certainty.  You may find the Catholic Church in most places geographically.  Can you find the Orthodox Church?  If you can't, what is a sincere Christian supposed to do if there is no Orthodox Church for him to receive the grace of the Mysteries/Sacraments?

I have heard that the Orthodox Church believes the highest authority in the Church lies in the entire Church's acceptance or dismissal of any pronouncement made whether from a pope or an allegedly Ecumenical Council.  In fact, that's the only way to know if a council was Ecumenical and therefore infallible or not.  My question is, in the event of the Great Schism, when the Church became split virtually in half, how may the faithful know which half possessed the fullness by which to accept or reject the teachings of either side?

Yours in Christ,

Mort Alz
1. If the leaders do not agree in an infallible ecumenical council, then it would not be the decision of the council. There were cases when leaders in fact did not agree on certain issues in the councils, like the Canons of the Holy Apostles. As a result, not all of those Canons are deemed "infallible", and some are not followed by the Russian Orthodox Church.

The faithful have to do some of the same things the leaders would to know what is correct doctrine: prayer, study, consulting and respecting their own leaders, etc.

2. You are going to have places like arctic islands where there will be no church of any denomination whatsoever. Obviously you are not going to go to liturgy at that point, unless you have a priest with you to serve it. If there is a Catholic church nearby, Orthodox have different answers as to whether you can go to communion there. The opponents of intercommunion in such cases are probably more vocal, but there is a mix of opinions.

3. The issue of infallible councils doesn't really provide an answer to your question (how do you know which side was right in the schism), since the Orthodox don't consider any infallible councils to have occurred after council number 7 or 8.

However, an important thing showing that the Orthodox side was right was the amount and scale of Roman Catholic innovations after the split. The innovations were so profound that it spurred on the creation of Protestantism in the Roman Catholic Church, and one of the main goals of Protestantism was to throw out alot of Roman Catholic tradition, which was considered to be corrupted.

Orthodoxy kept the faith, while Rome's innovations - the crux of the Great Schism - ended up causing a massive schism in the Roman Church centuries later.
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2013, 03:03:59 PM »

The answers to both 1 and 3 is the simple fact that the laity and clergy don't accept something the Church has never taught before.

For instance, the Real Presence has always been Orthodox Christian doctrine, if tomorrow, all of the Bishops of the Holy Orthodox Church decided to change that to the Eucharist being "symbolic" then the laity would recognize that this is a breach of the Holy Tradition which has been delivered continuously through the ages and they would reject it.

Similarly, when the Bishop of Rome made schism against the Holy Catholic Church, he added the Filioque to the Creed, something that the Creed didn't have prior to his adding to it. Thus, the laity and clergy noticed this innovation and rejected it.

It's the whole Church, the Catholic Church that keeps the Faith. Not an individual Bishop or Synod.

Ecumenical Councils have to have representatives of all of the Church present, and in agreement for it to be Ecumenical.

There are regional councils that the Church has had, but not any Ecumenical.
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2013, 03:34:48 PM »

The Catholics say that, in the event of a dispute in an Ecumenical Council, the Bishop of Rome may make the final arbitrating pronouncement in the rare occurrences when it may be necessary.  They say that because it works this way, his pronouncement must be infallible.  If he is not delegated this kind of authority, than what is the alternative, and how may the faithful know what is orthodox and what is heterodox if two prominent Church leaders find themselves in disagreement with one another?

In a similar way science does. Wait, compare and experiment. The Spirit of Truth is Sovereign. In 2000 years, the whole communion of Orthodox churches have kept the same faith that way. One does not need an infallible bishop/council/book to know what a true fact is - even if it's a supernatural true fact. Also one may have to learn to live with the fact the issue is not going to be solved by fiat in his lifetime, so he'd better get humble and not persecute anyone on account of that. Much of the need for a "quick" answer relies on wanting to "legitimaly" marginalize someone. That's not what the Church is about. It may take decades or even centuries for an issue to become clear. We must get used to that.

Can you find the Orthodox Church (everywhere)?  If you can't, what is a sincere Christian supposed to do if there is no Orthodox Church for him to receive the grace of the Mysteries/Sacraments?
1st question: We are in all continents and probably in all major cities.
2nd question: Live as closely to the ideal as possible. Remember the widow's mite. Give your best no matter how little it is. If it means receiving the mysteries once an year, and that is really the best you can do, then so be it.

I have heard that the Orthodox Church believes the highest authority in the Church lies in the entire Church's acceptance or dismissal of any pronouncement made whether from a pope or an allegedly Ecumenical Council.  In fact, that's the only way to know if a council was Ecumenical and therefore infallible or not.  My question is, in the event of the Great Schism, when the Church became split virtually in half, how may the faithful know which half possessed the fullness by which to accept or reject the teachings of either side?

The Church did not become split in half. Along Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Middle East there were 4 traditional patriarchates and I don't know how many already autocephalous patriarchates/churches were on one side, and Rome alone on the other with the part of West Europe that was not occupied by Muslims. Even so, the See of St. James of Compostela in Spain protested the new papal claims, remembering them that it was also an Apostolic See. Soon after the separation and brief centralization of the Church in West Europe, Rome itself split into two popes (in France and in the Vatican) and it took a council to solve the problem. Only after that the pope started seriously questioning the decisions of the councils and the papacy started to take its modern form.
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2013, 03:37:45 PM »

And there were at least 3 other councils after the 7 that can rightfully be called ecumenical. The only reason they aren't so far is the current trend of Ecumenism, which sees in them an obstacle to union - which they are, since they all deal with Western heresies.

As soon as the Church leaves the historical period we live in, I'm sure they will be acknowledged as such.
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2013, 03:39:54 PM »

And there were at least 3 other councils after the 7 that can rightfully be called ecumenical. The only reason they aren't so far is the current trend of Ecumenism, which sees in them an obstacle to union - which they are, since they all deal with Western heresies.

What?
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2013, 03:57:37 PM »

And there were at least 3 other councils after the 7 that can rightfully be called ecumenical. The only reason they aren't so far is the current trend of Ecumenism, which sees in them an obstacle to union - which they are, since they all deal with Western heresies.

What?

8th  and 9th Ecumenical Council

The 8th anathematized changes in the Creed and the restored St. Photios to the throne of Constantinople. Rome was still Orthodod and participated in this Council. Only later it renounced the council. This one was acknowledged in joint letter of all patriarchs in the 19th century.

The 9th dealt with Western objections to traditional apostolic doctrines such hesychams (peace of Christ), and energies of God. Indirectly, it condenmend putting philosophy first as a means to understand God, although one may contend that this is not a typical Roman way of working this subject.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Eighth_Ecumenical_Council
http://web.archive.org/web/20091025112817/http://geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/8-9synods.html
http://www.onearthasinheaven.com/9councils.html (same as above, but uglier and still online)

And the 10th which is the Synod of Jerusalem. The only thing "missing" from a typical Ecumenical Council was the Emperor - "ecumenical" always referred to the whole ecumene of the empire, the area where the Empire had power. The word did not refer to any instance of the Church itself.

Since the Empire - and therefore the ecumene - no longer existed, one may consider that the "ecumene" is now where the Orthodox Church is and any Pan-Orthodox council is ecumenical. It condemned several Protestant heresies and included the consolidated Roman heresies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synod_of_Jerusalem_(1672)
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2013, 04:01:42 PM »

No, I know about the supposed 8th and 9th Ecumenical Councils (I have read about them, and posted about them, for years; here is a more recent example). What I don't understand is your claim that the reason that they are not called ecumenical is for reasons of ecumenism. Where do you get this idea from? ...And I have to admit that claiming ecumenical status, even potentially, for the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672 is a frightening idea, which I haven't heard anyone put forth before. Where are you getting this idea from?
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« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2013, 04:16:39 PM »

No, I know about the supposed 8th and 9th Ecumenical Councils (I have read about them, and posted about them, for years; here is a more recent example). What I don't understand is your claim that the reason that they are not called ecumenical is for reasons of ecumenism. Where do you get this idea from? ...And I have to admit that claiming ecumenical status, even potentially, for the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672 is a frightening idea, which I haven't heard anyone put forth before. Where are you getting this idea from?

I get this idea from the fact that those who I have seen opposing the idea show great discomfort at the fact they are Councils that explicitly condemn Rome's attitudes and doctrines. They are a historical stumbling block to the idea that is dear to radical ecumenists that there is no significant theological differences between the Churches, that there was never any formal anathema of doctrine, just the anathema of particular individuals in 1054.

As for the Synod of Jerusalem, it has the participation of all patriarchates. What is not ecumenical about it except there is no Empire any longer? The same, by the way, stands for the Pan-Orthodox Synod of 1872, possibly the 11th Ecumenical Council, which condemned phyletism.

What makes them "hard" to accept is precisely that they condemn in very clear words Western Christianity. They make union, in the form that is proposed today, "resignifying" words and dogmas under the light of "love" and "tolerance", impossible. They are pillars of Orthodoxy, and they will stand much after this post-modern fad goes away.
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2013, 05:15:50 PM »

Hi Mort,

Others are covering your questions, however gradually.  I want to limit myself to your second question because I don't think there's any easy answer to your first and third questions except to study the history of how authority was exercised in the Church, the history of the councils and their reception, the history of the schisms, etc.  The RC's propose simple and logical solutions to the various questions on authority, but they do not at all match out things played out in history.   

If a sacramental or mysterious reality of grace is the true model of faith, then the whole world must, according to God's mercy, have access to those sacraments or mysteries geographically since they only occur in His Church with certainty.  You may find the Catholic Church in most places geographically.  Can you find the Orthodox Church? 

It hasn't been all that long that the Roman Catholic Church has been present "in most places geographically".  But the RCC has never made that the primary definition of catholicity.  The Church was catholic when it was just a little over a hundred people in an upper room in first century Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection.  When I was interested in becoming a Catholic, the presence of the RCC throughout the world, in more places than Orthodoxy, was an apologetic selling point.  But once you realise that the Church was always "catholic" (which is consistent Church teaching), and how that is the case even when this catholicity is geographically challenged, this objection to Orthodoxy really doesn't make sense.

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If you can't, what is a sincere Christian supposed to do if there is no Orthodox Church for him to receive the grace of the Mysteries/Sacraments?

The sincere Christian should do his best to live according to the gospel.  If he knows about Orthodoxy and believes in it, then he should try his best and make every effort to join the Church.  Of course, the Church also has a responsibility to preach the gospel and expand its reach and presence in the world.  But ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit who draws people to the Church and converts them in his own time.  We trust God to know what to do about it, even while being responsible for our end of the deal. 
 
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« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2013, 10:57:24 AM »

I have heard that the Orthodox Church believes the highest authority in the Church lies in the entire Church's acceptance or dismissal of any pronouncement made whether from a pope or an allegedly Ecumenical Council.  In fact, that's the only way to know if a council was Ecumenical and therefore infallible or not.  My question is, in the event of the Great Schism, when the Church became split virtually in half, how may the faithful know which half possessed the fullness by which to accept or reject the teachings of either side?

The Church did not become split in half.


The Church did not split in half. This may be a simplistic answer but really, the Church is still whole; only a portion (generally the Western part) left the Church and went into heresy.
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« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2013, 11:07:11 AM »

Hello.  I am a Roman Catholic who has run into some difficulty in living the Catholic lifestyle without compromising my family's health and well-being.  Many of these issues I have traced to certain practices and approaches by which the Catholic Church takes its theology.

In studying the Orthodox Church, I have found it has  fulfilled most of my intellectual inquiries into faith without lacking an understanding of human weakness.

Nevertheless, I still have three rather lengthy questions left to be answered and I have yet to receive a full, targeted answer that thoroughly addressed the objections.  Unfortunately, most of the answers were rather dismissive or accusatory.  I am hoping that by editing and clarifying the questions, I may receive a different result here.  My goal is to find out if I can become Orthodox and remain intellectually honest.  I am a young new father of twins and a newly wed.  I want to give my family faith, but I want to give them a faith that I truly believe in.

Anyway, here they are:

The Catholics say that, in the event of a dispute in an Ecumenical Council, the Bishop of Rome may make the final arbitrating pronouncement in the rare occurrences when it may be necessary.  They say that because it works this way, his pronouncement must be infallible.  If he is not delegated this kind of authority, than what is the alternative, and how may the faithful know what is orthodox and what is heterodox if two prominent Church leaders find themselves in disagreement with one another?

If a sacramental or mysterious reality of grace is the true model of faith, then the whole world must, according to God's mercy, have access to those sacraments or mysteries geographically since they only occur in His Church with certainty.  You may find the Catholic Church in most places geographically.  Can you find the Orthodox Church?  If you can't, what is a sincere Christian supposed to do if there is no Orthodox Church for him to receive the grace of the Mysteries/Sacraments?

I have heard that the Orthodox Church believes the highest authority in the Church lies in the entire Church's acceptance or dismissal of any pronouncement made whether from a pope or an allegedly Ecumenical Council.  In fact, that's the only way to know if a council was Ecumenical and therefore infallible or not.  My question is, in the event of the Great Schism, when the Church became split virtually in half, how may the faithful know which half possessed the fullness by which to accept or reject the teachings of either side?

Yours in Christ,

Mort Alz

Your comment, which I have highlighted in red, unfortunately rings painfully true to my experience also, my initial formation was Roman Catholic. I believe it is because we come from a different mindset that protestant-converts-to-Orthodoxy just dont or wont understand. I have been on a lifelong journey searching for the truth, as you put it, yet fully comprehending my human weaknesses at this time.

In addressing your question, which I have highlighted in blue, in regards to accessing the Sacraments. Dear Brother in Christ, practicing our faith in the Presence of God is most vital. I have only recently found this Orthodoxy. My faith in God has been shaken to its core, it has rebounded, stronger than before, yet I still have doubts about this 'church'. I have been a serious inquirer for over two years, just only recently acknowledged as such and made a catechumen and the length of that classification is unclear...all the while being bereft of such sacraments as you have mentioned. It is the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life (50+yrs). I pray you do not suffer on this journey for truth, but be prepared to never again participate in these mysteries or sacraments. Most likely be if you find a priest who is ex-protestant who doesnt understand your Catholicism or worse an ex-Roman Catholic who hates his Catholic background.
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« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2013, 11:52:28 AM »

I pray you do not suffer on this journey for truth, but be prepared to never again participate in these mysteries or sacraments.

I have never heard of this happening. This is probably a unique circumstance - at any rate, this is not the norm.
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« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2013, 10:10:37 PM »

"His Broken Body" by Professor Fr. Laurent Cleenewerk covers these topics in depth, and very well, and fairly.

http://www.amazon.com/His-Broken-Body-Understanding-Perspective/dp/1481905880/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378261408&sr=8-1&keywords=his+broken+body

ISBN
1481905880

Hello.  I am a Roman Catholic who has run into some difficulty in living the Catholic lifestyle without compromising my family's health and well-being.  Many of these issues I have traced to certain practices and approaches by which the Catholic Church takes its theology.

In studying the Orthodox Church, I have found it has  fulfilled most of my intellectual inquiries into faith without lacking an understanding of human weakness.

Nevertheless, I still have three rather lengthy questions left to be answered and I have yet to receive a full, targeted answer that thoroughly addressed the objections.  Unfortunately, most of the answers were rather dismissive or accusatory.  I am hoping that by editing and clarifying the questions, I may receive a different result here.  My goal is to find out if I can become Orthodox and remain intellectually honest.  I am a young new father of twins and a newly wed.  I want to give my family faith, but I want to give them a faith that I truly believe in.

Anyway, here they are:

The Catholics say that, in the event of a dispute in an Ecumenical Council, the Bishop of Rome may make the final arbitrating pronouncement in the rare occurrences when it may be necessary.  They say that because it works this way, his pronouncement must be infallible.  If he is not delegated this kind of authority, than what is the alternative, and how may the faithful know what is orthodox and what is heterodox if two prominent Church leaders find themselves in disagreement with one another?

If a sacramental or mysterious reality of grace is the true model of faith, then the whole world must, according to God's mercy, have access to those sacraments or mysteries geographically since they only occur in His Church with certainty.  You may find the Catholic Church in most places geographically.  Can you find the Orthodox Church?  If you can't, what is a sincere Christian supposed to do if there is no Orthodox Church for him to receive the grace of the Mysteries/Sacraments?

I have heard that the Orthodox Church believes the highest authority in the Church lies in the entire Church's acceptance or dismissal of any pronouncement made whether from a pope or an allegedly Ecumenical Council.  In fact, that's the only way to know if a council was Ecumenical and therefore infallible or not.  My question is, in the event of the Great Schism, when the Church became split virtually in half, how may the faithful know which half possessed the fullness by which to accept or reject the teachings of either side?

Yours in Christ,

Mort Alz
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lovesupreme
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« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2013, 11:23:05 PM »

"His Broken Body" by Professor Fr. Laurent Cleenewerk covers these topics in depth, and very well, and fairly.

http://www.amazon.com/His-Broken-Body-Understanding-Perspective/dp/1481905880/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378261408&sr=8-1&keywords=his+broken+body

ISBN
1481905880

I wasn't aware that he was a priest! Anyway, I would second the recommendation; when I was still discerning between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, this book helped me understand the precise ecclesiastical differences between the two, in a pretty balanced way. He does a great job of anticipating objections to his claims, and then answering them thoughtfully and respectively.
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« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2013, 12:02:12 AM »

Hello.  I am a Roman Catholic who has run into some difficulty in living the Catholic lifestyle without compromising my family's health and well-being.  Many of these issues I have traced to certain practices and approaches by which the Catholic Church takes its theology.

In studying the Orthodox Church, I have found it has  fulfilled most of my intellectual inquiries into faith without lacking an understanding of human weakness.

Nevertheless, I still have three rather lengthy questions left to be answered and I have yet to receive a full, targeted answer that thoroughly addressed the objections.  Unfortunately, most of the answers were rather dismissive or accusatory.  I am hoping that by editing and clarifying the questions, I may receive a different result here.  My goal is to find out if I can become Orthodox and remain intellectually honest.  I am a young new father of twins and a newly wed.  I want to give my family faith, but I want to give them a faith that I truly believe in.

Anyway, here they are:

The Catholics say that, in the event of a dispute in an Ecumenical Council, the Bishop of Rome may make the final arbitrating pronouncement in the rare occurrences when it may be necessary.  They say that because it works this way, his pronouncement must be infallible.  If he is not delegated this kind of authority, than what is the alternative, and how may the faithful know what is orthodox and what is heterodox if two prominent Church leaders find themselves in disagreement with one another?
Actually, the Vatican claims that their supreme pontiff always makes the final pronouncement.  That, however, does not accord with history. E.g. the Fifth Ecumenical Council was called over Abp. Vigilius (the bishop of Rome had not yet taken the title of "pope," which was born by the Patriarch of Alexandria)'s express objection.

The Vatican does not like "receptionism," but that is how the Councils worked: Christ said "I know My own and My own know Me."

The Vatican likes to say the single primate solves the problem, but it does not:it just pushes it back-
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« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2013, 02:11:54 PM »

I pray you do not suffer on this journey for truth, but be prepared to never again participate in these mysteries or sacraments.

I have never heard of this happening. This is probably a unique circumstance - at any rate, this is not the norm.

You still here Feanor? Well, at least its seems Feanor is further in their journey than I am, to have come and feasted with their eyes and left hungry. I left the Catholic church too many years ago, so that now I am a stranger to her, also. Alas.

I believe Orthodoxy to be a beautiful, reverent and spiritually-fulfilling member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I don’t have anything against Orthodoxy or Orthodox people, and I admire and adore its liturgical and spiritual traditions.

I “went home to Rome” because that was where I felt more comfortable and where I could be closer to God. In Orthodoxy I felt trapped, strangled and like a stranger. I felt out of place, constantly uncomfortable, and awkward. I couldn’t receive the nourishment which I need, sacramentally or pastorally. I went ‘home’ to Catholicism because it really feels like ‘home,’ and the practices of the Catholic Church happen to suit my spiritual needs far better.

When I first discovered Orthodoxy, I ‘bought’ the story hook, line and sinker: “The Catholics seperated themselves from the True Church by inserting their heretical doctrines into the faith, now they have no valid sacraments and their faith is defficient.” I actually believed it, and I was drawn towards the beautiful traditions of Orthodox liturgical and spiritual life. However, as time went on I began to see great signs of holiness and sanctification in other traditions, and I realised that despite the various doctrinal and political schisms which have beset the history of Christianity, the Holy Spirit is not denied or absent from any church. That is what I believe. I know in my heart that the Catholic Church is a completely valid Church with valid Eucharist...However, I wanted to stay with Orthodoxy, because I had fallen in love with its traditions and its mystical spirituality.

I think that for many people, Orthodoxy is a termination point in their investigations. They have done much research into different religions and have 'painted themselves into a corner' so to speak, by eliminating, one by one, all the competing faiths which they determine to be invalid. So I think for many people, their mindframe is "Orthodoxy or bust". That's my take, anyways.

All churches fell under the spiritual adulter and people are becoming more deprived of the grace of Christ and the Holy Spirit.That is why people lose their faiths, when they see that even the EO is not perfect(most of it) and when people are so graceless... Is hard to find hope without a true believer,in faith,word and work...
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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2013, 02:47:51 PM »

I pray you do not suffer on this journey for truth, but be prepared to never again participate in these mysteries or sacraments.

I have never heard of this happening. This is probably a unique circumstance - at any rate, this is not the norm.

You still here Feanor? Well, at least its seems Feanor is further in their journey than I am, to have come and feasted with their eyes and left hungry. I left the Catholic church too many years ago, so that now I am a stranger to her, also. Alas.

I believe Orthodoxy to be a beautiful, reverent and spiritually-fulfilling member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I don’t have anything against Orthodoxy or Orthodox people, and I admire and adore its liturgical and spiritual traditions.

I “went home to Rome” because that was where I felt more comfortable and where I could be closer to God. In Orthodoxy I felt trapped, strangled and like a stranger. I felt out of place, constantly uncomfortable, and awkward. I couldn’t receive the nourishment which I need, sacramentally or pastorally. I went ‘home’ to Catholicism because it really feels like ‘home,’ and the practices of the Catholic Church happen to suit my spiritual needs far better.

When I first discovered Orthodoxy, I ‘bought’ the story hook, line and sinker: “The Catholics seperated themselves from the True Church by inserting their heretical doctrines into the faith, now they have no valid sacraments and their faith is defficient.” I actually believed it, and I was drawn towards the beautiful traditions of Orthodox liturgical and spiritual life. However, as time went on I began to see great signs of holiness and sanctification in other traditions, and I realised that despite the various doctrinal and political schisms which have beset the history of Christianity, the Holy Spirit is not denied or absent from any church. That is what I believe. I know in my heart that the Catholic Church is a completely valid Church with valid Eucharist...However, I wanted to stay with Orthodoxy, because I had fallen in love with its traditions and its mystical spirituality.

I think that for many people, Orthodoxy is a termination point in their investigations. They have done much research into different religions and have 'painted themselves into a corner' so to speak, by eliminating, one by one, all the competing faiths which they determine to be invalid. So I think for many people, their mindframe is "Orthodoxy or bust". That's my take, anyways.

All churches fell under the spiritual adulter and people are becoming more deprived of the grace of Christ and the Holy Spirit.That is why people lose their faiths, when they see that even the EO is not perfect(most of it) and when people are so graceless... Is hard to find hope without a true believer,in faith,word and work...

The Church, the Body of Christ, the One True Holy and Apostolic Church, is perfect. The people - sometimes not so much. Luckily I don't expect anyone to be any more perfect than I am - therefore I am constantly pleasantly surprised. People are people - some good, some bad, most a mixture, all struggling to work out our salvation as we all sin and fall short. Personally I'm kept really busy seeing to myself and my own sins to point the finger at others for being graceless (which I can't know for a fact any way!)
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« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2013, 04:41:34 PM »

Hello.  I am a Roman Catholic who has run into some difficulty in living the Catholic lifestyle without compromising my family's health and well-being.  Many of these issues I have traced to certain practices and approaches by which the Catholic Church takes its theology.

In studying the Orthodox Church, I have found it has  fulfilled most of my intellectual inquiries into faith without lacking an understanding of human weakness.

Nevertheless, I still have three rather lengthy questions left to be answered and I have yet to receive a full, targeted answer that thoroughly addressed the objections.  Unfortunately, most of the answers were rather dismissive or accusatory.  I am hoping that by editing and clarifying the questions, I may receive a different result here.  My goal is to find out if I can become Orthodox and remain intellectually honest.  I am a young new father of twins and a newly wed.  I want to give my family faith, but I want to give them a faith that I truly believe in.

Anyway, here they are:

The Catholics say that, in the event of a dispute in an Ecumenical Council, the Bishop of Rome may make the final arbitrating pronouncement in the rare occurrences when it may be necessary.  They say that because it works this way, his pronouncement must be infallible.  If he is not delegated this kind of authority, than what is the alternative, and how may the faithful know what is orthodox and what is heterodox if two prominent Church leaders find themselves in disagreement with one another?
Actually, the Vatican claims that their supreme pontiff always makes the final pronouncement.  That, however, does not accord with history. E.g. the Fifth Ecumenical Council was called over Abp. Vigilius (the bishop of Rome had not yet taken the title of "pope," which was born by the Patriarch of Alexandria)'s express objection.

The Vatican does not like "receptionism," but that is how the Councils worked: Christ said "I know My own and My own know Me."

The Vatican likes to say the single primate solves the problem, but it does not:it just pushes it back-


It cracks me up how this brief little political tiff could be called the "Great Schism".  I remember raising the issue with a professor in a European History class in Junior College.  There was nearly a whole chapter on this while the 1054 schism was a brief aside.  He fortunately got my point (about what a terrible textbook he was teaching from).
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« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2013, 05:47:05 PM »

Hello.  I am a Roman Catholic who has run into some difficulty in living the Catholic lifestyle without compromising my family's health and well-being.  Many of these issues I have traced to certain practices and approaches by which the Catholic Church takes its theology.

In studying the Orthodox Church, I have found it has  fulfilled most of my intellectual inquiries into faith without lacking an understanding of human weakness.

Nevertheless, I still have three rather lengthy questions left to be answered and I have yet to receive a full, targeted answer that thoroughly addressed the objections.  Unfortunately, most of the answers were rather dismissive or accusatory.  I am hoping that by editing and clarifying the questions, I may receive a different result here.  My goal is to find out if I can become Orthodox and remain intellectually honest.  I am a young new father of twins and a newly wed.  I want to give my family faith, but I want to give them a faith that I truly believe in.

Anyway, here they are:

The Catholics say that, in the event of a dispute in an Ecumenical Council, the Bishop of Rome may make the final arbitrating pronouncement in the rare occurrences when it may be necessary.  They say that because it works this way, his pronouncement must be infallible.  If he is not delegated this kind of authority, than what is the alternative, and how may the faithful know what is orthodox and what is heterodox if two prominent Church leaders find themselves in disagreement with one another?

If a sacramental or mysterious reality of grace is the true model of faith, then the whole world must, according to God's mercy, have access to those sacraments or mysteries geographically since they only occur in His Church with certainty.  You may find the Catholic Church in most places geographically.  Can you find the Orthodox Church?  If you can't, what is a sincere Christian supposed to do if there is no Orthodox Church for him to receive the grace of the Mysteries/Sacraments?

I have heard that the Orthodox Church believes the highest authority in the Church lies in the entire Church's acceptance or dismissal of any pronouncement made whether from a pope or an allegedly Ecumenical Council.  In fact, that's the only way to know if a council was Ecumenical and therefore infallible or not.  My question is, in the event of the Great Schism, when the Church became split virtually in half, how may the faithful know which half possessed the fullness by which to accept or reject the teachings of either side?

Yours in Christ,

Mort Alz

And i will repost what i said some time ago:

1st:

The Council that elected Martin V was not called by the Pope and was invalid, without authority to depose or elect any pope.

The Council said:

"Next, that our most holy lord pope John XXIII"

So this Council thought him to be the Pope, i think they know better than you or me.

This council was summoned by John XXIII, the Pisan pope [1 ] , with the support of Emperor Sigismund....
 John XXIII and Benedict XIII were deposed by the council, Gregory XII voluntarily resigned. Then Martin V was elected pope on 11 November 1417 and he was regarded as the legitimate pontiff by the church as a whole.

http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum16.htm

So we have a council called by Pope john XXIII, a council that recognised John XXIII as the true Pope, and this same council deposed the true Pope. Fair enough.

But Vatican I says:

"Since the Roman pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole church, we likewise teach and declare that... nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon...they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council as if this were an authority superior to the Roman pontiff.
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum20.htm#Chapter%203.%20On%20the%20power%20and%20character%20of%20the%20primacy%20of%20the%20Roman%20pontiff


2nd:

The Patriarch and Emperor wrote conciliatory letters to Leo reminding him that Canon 28 "merely sanctioned a custom of 60-70 years in the dioceses of Pontus, Asia and Thrace".

I guess St Leo didn't have much authority with his veto.

Just like what the Emperor said in the times of the 5th oecumenical council: "If you have condemned the three chapters I have no need of this new document for I have from you many others of the same content. If however you have in this new document departed from your earlier declarations, you have condemned yourself". (~Mansi IX 349).

And about your earlier question on how do we know that the Pope has an orthodox faith or not, adding to what ialmisry already said:

"That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

But here some one perhaps will ask, Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation? For this reason: because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another; so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters...

     Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense "Catholic," which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

    What then will a Catholic Christian do, if a small portion of the Church have cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the unsoundness of a pestilent and corrupt member? What, if some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any fraud of novelty.

    But what, if in antiquity itself there be found error on the part of two or three men, or at any rate of a city or even of a province? Then it will be his care by all means, to prefer the decrees, if such there be, of an ancient General Council to the rashness and ignorance of a few. But what, if some error should spring up on which no such decree is found to bear? Then he must collate and consult and interrogate the opinions of the ancients, of those, namely, who, though living in divers times and places, yet continuing in the communion and faith of the one Catholic Church, stand forth acknowledged and approved authorities: and whatsoever he shall ascertain to have been held, written, taught, not by one or two of these only, but by all, equally, with one consent, openly, frequently, persistently, that he must understand that he himself also is to believe without any doubt or hesitation.
"

~St Vincent The Commonitory: For Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith Against the Profane Novelties of All Heresies, Ch. II-III
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf211.iii.iii.html

It is notewhorthy that St Vincent, in actual south of France, in Rome's jurisdiction, never mentions the Bishop of Rome. If he didn't need it, we don't need it either.

Now, you can argue with this saint, but History proves that the Bishop of Rome was not the criteria for Truth: St Meletius and 2nd Oecumenical Council, Vigilius case prior and during the 5th Oecumenical Council, Honorius case, The flip flop of Rome Popes about the 8th oecumenical Council:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22:which-councils-are-ecumenical&catid=14:articles&Itemid=2
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=39:the-vatican-dogma&catid=14:articles&Itemid=2

So if this oecumenical council dissertations trouble you, those rc things should disturb you even more.

Doamne ajuta.
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« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2013, 03:23:56 AM »

hey!

I think I have an answer to your question regarding what to do when no churches are nearby


The answer was from a saint bishop, in russia

but I cannot remember his name or where I read it


Anyway, he said, in such cases where there is no orthodox church, to have the father of the house lead certain prayers (I cannot remember what they were specifically)

so many russian saints I don't think I will ever figure out who it was again...
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« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2013, 05:54:22 PM »

1- The Catholics say that, in the event of a dispute in an Ecumenical Council, the Bishop of Rome may make the final arbitrating pronouncement in the rare occurrences when it may be necessary. They say that because it works this way, his pronouncement must be infallible. If he is not delegated this kind of authority, than what is the alternative, and how may the faithful know what i iiorthodox and what is heterodox if two prominent Church leaders find themselves in disagreement with one another?

I will answer your questions one by one.

Method in being a so called tie breaker may raise an important question. Would a decision made by the Bishop of. Rome always be correct? That is or at least should be the main reason why anyone would be given such authority.  Second question which follows logically is the origin of this Bishop's authority; that is whether it comes from men or from God. If it omes from men then his authority is not infalkible. If the source is Heavenly then does this guarantee that this or any other Bishop. (Roman Catholic, Protestantor even Orthodox) is infallible...Is it that easy to forget he basic Christiantachin that no man or woman is infallible but Christ...Alternative to this mundane decision making is ti shift the the belief in a man to the God-man Christ. Any Bishop can claim to be correct as so far as he follows Christ's teaching but even then cant't claim to be infallible be it Pope, Orthodox Patriarch or any human being...
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« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2013, 06:17:46 PM »

2- If a sacramental or mysterious reality of grace is the true model of faith, then the whole world must, according to God's mercy, have access to those sacraments or mysteries geographically since they only occur in His Church with certainty. You may find the Catholic Church in most places geographically. Can you find the Orthodox Church? If you can't, what is a sincere Christian supposed to do if there is no Orthodox Church for him to receive the grace of the Mysteries/Sacraments?

This where a belief in God Almighty comes in that He will look after us. An example is one of the desert fathers received the Holy Communion directly from an Angell. Please forgive me for forgetting his name. Hopefully someone will know. The point that I am trying to make here is that those who are seeking Christ and prepare themselves for receiving the Holy Communio, then God will ensure that we receive it no matter how impossible it might look. This in no way justifies the lack of Orthodox Church es being more present or at least more missionaries ...because the Church can bd built without achurch building in its modern. Estetical form. Essence only needs to be preserved...

He who seeks shall find and devout Christians will find and enger His Church.
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« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2013, 06:33:44 PM »

Hello.  I am a Roman Catholic who has run into some difficulty in living the Catholic lifestyle without compromising my family's health and well-being.  Many of these issues I have traced to certain practices and approaches by which the Catholic Church takes its theology.

In studying the Orthodox Church, I have found it has  fulfilled most of my intellectual inquiries into faith without lacking an understanding of human weakness.

Nevertheless, I still have three rather lengthy questions left to be answered and I have yet to receive a full, targeted answer that thoroughly addressed the objections.  Unfortunately, most of the answers were rather dismissive or accusatory.  I am hoping that by editing and clarifying the questions, I may receive a different result here.  My goal is to find out if I can become Orthodox and remain intellectually honest.  I am a young new father of twins and a newly wed.  I want to give my family faith, but I want to give them a faith that I truly believe in.

Anyway, here they are:

The Catholics say that, in the event of a dispute in an Ecumenical Council, the Bishop of Rome may make the final arbitrating pronouncement in the rare occurrences when it may be necessary.  They say that because it works this way, his pronouncement must be infallible.  If he is not delegated this kind of authority, than what is the alternative, and how may the faithful know what is orthodox and what is heterodox if two prominent Church leaders find themselves in disagreement with one another?
Actually, the Vatican claims that their supreme pontiff always makes the final pronouncement.  That, however, does not accord with history. E.g. the Fifth Ecumenical Council was called over Abp. Vigilius (the bishop of Rome had not yet taken the title of "pope," which was born by the Patriarch of Alexandria)'s express objection.

The Vatican does not like "receptionism," but that is how the Councils worked: Christ said "I know My own and My own know Me."

The Vatican likes to say the single primate solves the problem, but it does not:it just pushes it back-


It cracks me up how this brief little political tiff could be called the "Great Schism".  I remember raising the issue with a professor in a European History class in Junior College.  There was nearly a whole chapter on this while the 1054 schism was a brief aside.  He fortunately got my point (about what a terrible textbook he was teaching from).
was this little political tiff as brief?
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« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2013, 06:52:27 PM »

3- I have heard that the Orthodox Church believes the highest authority in the Church lies in the entire Church's acceptance or dismissal of any pronouncement made whether from a pope or an allegedly Ecumenical Council. In fact, that's the only way to know if a council was Ecumenical and therefore infallible or not. My question is, in the event of the Great Schism, when the Church became split virtually in half, how may the faithful know which half possessed the fullness by which to accept or reject the teachings of either side?

Orthodox Church is not a democratic institution where majority prevails. 7 Ecumenical Councils are accepted and endorsed by The Orthodox Church because they further clarify the teachings of Jesus Christ...and of what it is that we believe in. If such teachings were contradictory to the teachings of Jesus Christ then they would be incorrect.  The infaklibility of a council is not on who is present but on whether those teachings accepted on those councils are in accordaance ti the Orthodox Church...in a case of schisms then those who follow Church's teaching can still claim to be members of the Church regardless of administrAational issues such was the case of ROCOR for example...they followed the teachings of Orthodox Church even though they were not in conmunion with a majority of Orthodox jurisdictions...

Ps. Just to clarify; I add. ... in cases where more can be said but do not wish to unless it is requested of me and I am able to find time to do so ...
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« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2013, 02:16:12 PM »

Dear Mort Alz,

As a former Roman Catholic, I feel I can sympathize with your feelings and hesitancy towards conversion to the Holy Orthodox Church.  Though I do not have immediate answers off the top of my head at this moment for your first and third of questions, I can offer you an immediate one for the second.

Though you bring up some really wonderful "idealistic" points as far as The Church being available for the entire world to provide Her Sacraments, the sad reality is that The True Church has never been part of the world.  If you look at history, The Church has never really experienced an extended period of peace and harmony -especially with the world.  Even during the times of the greatest emperors: St.Constantine the Great, St.Theodosios and St.Justinian The Great; there were great problems surrounding The Church.

Now, to put your point to the test; say we were in Sweden or in Saudi Arabia, is the Roman Catholic Church available to provide her sacraments everywhere where the people live there?  Obviously not!!! We're talking about a mainly Lutheran and Protestant country and a muslim one that actually prohibits Christian Churches being built there.  You see, I'm sorry, and I don't want to seem rude but I do want to make the point that your point is refuted in such a case.  Now, your presupposition may apply even more in Sweden.  Now, to answer your final question, what is the sincere Christian supposed to do? Well, since you presuppose that he's sincere, then, he will seek the Orthodox Church wherever it may be located.  If he has to travel two hours: then so be it!! Close proximity should not make any church better than another.  Because, if that were the case, then the Lutheran church, in this case, would be the true graceful model of the faith that you're talking about -and we both know that is not the case!.  The United States was not founded by Orthodox Christians; therefore it never even "started" as the majority religion.  I'm sure you can understand that.  It was founded by various protestant sects and to this day, they form the majority of "churches" in the United States.  Now, when sincere people want to find the True Authentic historical Early Church, they find it in the Orthodox Church and many times, they realize they're not necessarily accross the street.  The reality is that immigrant communities have brought her to the U.S.  Now, these people searching for Truth are many times willing to travel -I've heard as little as- 1 hour to 4 hours to the nearest Orthodox Church that they find.  Now, that is more commendable and a much more witness to the True Model of Faith.

As far as the first and third of your questions, may I very and most emphatically recommend some reading? ( If you do not mind?)  I feel that to give you a simple answer or even a paragraph answer, may not be suficient nor spiritually fulfilling (which should be the goal here).

In any case, and in case you can, here's a few books I highly highly recommend that you read which will answer many of your questions and even answer some you may not have at the moment:

1. Popes and Patriarchs: An Orthodox Perspective on Roman Catholic Claims by Michael Whelton
http://store.ancientfaith.com/popes-and-patriarchs-an-orthodox-perspective-on-roman-catholic-claims/

2. The Truth: What every Roman Catholic should know about the Orthodox Church
http://reginaorthodoxpress.com/trutiwevromc.html

3. Two Paths: Papal Monarchy - Collegial Tradition
http://reginaorthodoxpress.com/twopaths.html

4. Orthodoxy and Catholicism: What are the Differences?
http://store.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxy-and-catholicism-what-are-the-differences/

All of these are on sale right now and you can also find them in your local Orthodox Church bookstore.

I wish and pray that you may be enlightened and afterwards come to join us in the Holy Orthodox Church,
Nektarios in E.S.
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« Reply #30 on: October 24, 2013, 02:43:45 PM »

Nektarios has a point. The West has never had the problems the Orthodox East has had because they've never been in that position. The Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople was murdered on a regular basis in the Ottoman Empire, like it was just a normal everyday thing, Go over to the Mosque on Friday, kill the Christians Sunday, restock on Ammunition Monday.

http://www.raymondibrahim.com/islam/assassination-plot-points-to-perilous-position-of-patriarch/

The Pope was never martyred, not a single time. The Pope in fact aided and caused killing, in the Crusades and other events, burning at the stake. And he used a fake pretense called indulgences to do it, using made-up theological justification from Scholastic 'theologians'.

That's the reason the East chose Islam over the West. "Better the Sultan's turban than the Pope's tiara." And I think that view still stands looking at the way the West looks at the East, how the West treats it's traditions, the Eucharist, it's liturgies etc. and how they try to subordinate the East under it's abhorrent malpractices and sacrilegious nonsense such as giving the Eucharist to animals, putting it in a box off of the production line and giving it out as a free sample.
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« Reply #31 on: October 24, 2013, 03:00:29 PM »

The Pope was never martyred, not a single time.

Absolutely wrong.
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« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2013, 03:02:59 PM »

That's the reason the East chose Islam over the West. "Better the Sultan's turban than the Pope's tiara." And I think that view still stands looking at the way the West looks at the East, how the West treats it's traditions, the Eucharist, it's liturgies etc. and how they try to subordinate the East under it's abhorrent malpractices and sacrilegious nonsense such as giving the Eucharist to animals, putting it in a box off of the production line and giving it out as a free sample.

LOL.  Will someone please write off the entire Christian East by bringing up some random garbage that has occurred here or there but does not at all reflect the majority?  Pretty please?  I don't want to deny others this happiness. 
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« Reply #33 on: October 24, 2013, 03:41:24 PM »

I think it's clear it doesn't reflect the majority. Most of that was very rhetorical. I don't necessarily claim everything I write is infallible. I don't know the entire history, but the post-Schism Pope, besides the issues in the Western Great Schism, wasn't dealt a very bad hand.

Nice pic, BTW. Is that 'Carmen Electra'?
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« Reply #34 on: October 24, 2013, 03:45:46 PM »

Nice pic, BTW. Is that 'Carmen Electra'?

Oh, yeah...
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« Reply #35 on: October 24, 2013, 05:59:29 PM »

Quote
If a sacramental or mysterious reality of grace is the true model of faith, then the whole world must, according to God's mercy, have access to those sacraments or mysteries geographically since they only occur in His Church with certainty.  You may find the Catholic Church in most places geographically.  Can you find the Orthodox Church?  If you can't, what is a sincere Christian supposed to do if there is no Orthodox Church for him to receive the grace of the Mysteries/Sacraments?

Supposing that "the whole world" have access to those sacraments would necessitate that there would be a church in every corner of the world.  Unfortunately, I don't ever see this happening.  The Church is not McDonald's.  This would also mean that the world would be in agreement with The Church and vice-versa.  The Church is not of this world, she is called to be in it but not be of it. Our Lord never promised us that it would be easy, if anything, He said the opposite:"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." St.John 16:33.  What does this say? That the True Church would always be in tribulation and such is definitely the case.  Actually, a better criteria of finding the original Church would be to find one that is being persecuted and hated; rather than popular and embraced by the world.  This is the Orthodox Church; persecuted through her first 300 years or so, under benevolent emperors, still facing persecution by heresies, under the muslim infidels: persecuted, even by her "brothers", the crusaders in the west, under the turkish yoke: persecuted, under communism: persecuted.  Look at the situation now? still hated in the middle east.  Look at the situation with the two Orthodox Bishops kidnapped. In Syria the desecration of the Monastery St.Tekla in Maalula, a stronghold of Orthodox and Aramaic speaking Christians.  Yet, this is the Church!

As far as your first point:
Quote
The Catholics say that, in the event of a dispute in an Ecumenical Council, the Bishop of Rome may make the final arbitrating pronouncement in the rare occurrences when it may be necessary.  They say that because it works this way, his pronouncement must be infallible.  If he is not delegated this kind of authority, than what is the alternative, and how may the faithful know what is orthodox and what is heterodox if two prominent Church leaders find themselves in disagreement with one another?

Providentially, most of the "disputes" in the Ecumenical Councils have been against the heretical figures: Arius, Nestorios, Eutychios, etc, to name just a few.  If two Reputable Fathers would disagree on an issue, what would eventually prevail would be -and to answer your question: Holy Tradition.  This would have "the final word."  In other words, Truth does not lie in one man, Truth lies in Holy Tradition and since Holy Tradition comes ultimately from God, then, when the Bishops would appeal to a final criteria, those who would honestly and staunchly hold steadfast to the Holy and Apostolic Traditions, would be basing a decision not on what one man would decide but ON GODLY TRUTH! And this is and what should be the criteria for decisions: TRUTH, which is contained in the Dogmas and the Holy Tradition of the Church.
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