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Author Topic: Pope Francis on the Orthodox  (Read 2534 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 19, 2013, 01:22:51 PM »

From the lengthy interview out today with the Pope on  the Orthodox and dialogue:

" How can we reconcile in harmony Petrine primacy and collegiality? Which roads are feasible also from an ecumenical perspective?”

The pope responds, “We must walk together: the people, the bishops and the pope. Synodality should be lived at various levels. Maybe it is time to change the methods of the Synod of Bishops, because it seems to me that the current method is not dynamic. This will also have ecumenical value, especially with our Orthodox brethren. From them we can learn more about the meaning of episcopal collegiality and the tradition of synodality. The joint effort of reflection, looking at how the church was governed in the early centuries, before the breakup between East and West, will bear fruit in due time. In ecumenical relations it is important not only to know each other better, but also to recognize what the Spirit has sown in the other as a gift for us. I want to continue the discussion that was begun in 2007 by the joint [Catholic–Orthodox] commission on how to exercise the Petrine primacy, which led to the signing of the Ravenna Document. We must continue on this path.”

I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.” http://www.americamagazine.org/pope-interview

It's a very long read and this excerpt really shouldn't be viewed out of its context in the piece, but it is clear that this Pope has a sharp mind and knows his patristics and has his own view on Petrine ecclesiology which appears not to be in lockstep with the usual Roman cut and paste apologetics often posted here to provoke us.  I'm not saying I agree with him, but it is worth serious consideration to study his mind.

A serious, non polemical discussion would be nice for once. No "spawn of Satan" stuff. Perhaps, as our mom's used to advise, we could disagree without being disagreeable. Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2013, 06:04:34 PM »


A serious, non polemical discussion would be nice for once. No "spawn of Satan" stuff. Perhaps, as our mom's used to advise, we could disagree without being disagreeable. Thanks.

Why does what the Whore of Babylon thinks have any relevance for Orthodoxy?

Just kidding.

I agree. It looks promising and maybe, just maybe, the papists will figure out a way to change their ecclesiology without ever acknowledging the change.
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2013, 06:41:32 PM »

If they get rid of their false theology and stop modernizing and innovating, like Pope Francis' recent comments seem to affirm will happen, then Unity is possible (although certainly not probable) but if unity includes second guessing on the doctrines of women in the Priesthood, homosexuality and abortion... well, I think it's more likely that Orthodox would unify with Anglicans than Catholics.

I think I have made my decision.
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2013, 06:45:09 PM »

I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”
It is an interesting comment, but what exactly does he mean?
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2013, 07:03:12 PM »

I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”
It is an interesting comment, but what exactly does he mean?

Yeah, I'm wondering that myself. I'm afraid that the answer could be anything, everything, or nothing at all.  

If I remember correctly, someone here (Mor?) recently wrote that he likes that the Pope's comments force people to really consider what he is saying, since they could be taken many different ways (as though this is a rhetorical device he is using). This is one of Pope Francis' less-appealing qualities, as far as I am concerned. Riddles and cryptic remarks would be fine if he were writing fortune cookies or horoscopes, but honestly I'm disappointed to read so much from Pope Francis today and still come away scratching my head about things it should be possible to put in simple terms. If he's going to be as revolutionary as some people seem to think he is, he could at least cut down on the Vaticanese. It seems like everything is one way, then it's the other, or maybe it's both at the same time (depending on how many hours one wants to spend 'contemplating' things...you know the Latins and their contemplative lifestyles! Grin). Maybe I'm just not smart or deep enough to get it, but I dunno. It's at best annoying, and at worst makes me not want to listen to him or those who take him as a spiritual leader of Christianity.
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2013, 07:13:23 PM »

I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”
It is an interesting comment, but what exactly does he mean?

Yeah, I'm wondering that myself. I'm afraid that the answer could be anything, everything, or nothing at all.  

If I remember correctly, someone here (Mor?) recently wrote that he likes that the Pope's comments force people to really consider what he is saying, since they could be taken many different ways (as though this is a rhetorical device he is using). This is one of Pope Francis' less-appealing qualities, as far as I am concerned. Riddles and cryptic remarks would be fine if he were writing fortune cookies or horoscopes, but honestly I'm disappointed to read so much from Pope Francis today and still come away scratching my head about things it should be possible to put in simple terms. If he's going to be as revolutionary as some people seem to think he is, he could at least cut down on the Vaticanese. It seems like everything is one way, then it's the other, or maybe it's both at the same time (depending on how many hours one wants to spend 'contemplating' things...you know the Latins and their contemplative lifestyles! Grin). Maybe I'm just not smart or deep enough to get it, but I dunno. It's at best annoying, and at worst makes me not want to listen to him or those who take him as a spiritual leader of Christianity.
Maybe he is saying that people can be in communion with each other while agreeing to disagree. I don't know if the Orthodox will go for that, but I know that the Episcopal Church USA will embrace that idea, because they already have embraced it.
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2013, 07:18:02 PM »

If I remember correctly, someone here (Mor?) recently wrote that he likes that the Pope's comments force people to really consider what he is saying, since they could be taken many different ways (as though this is a rhetorical device he is using). This is one of Pope Francis' less-appealing qualities, as far as I am concerned. Riddles and cryptic remarks would be fine if he were writing fortune cookies or horoscopes, but honestly I'm disappointed to read so much from Pope Francis today and still come away scratching my head about things it should be possible to put in simple terms. . . .
Yes, it is like that letter he wrote to that atheist editor. I read three different translations of the letter and they all came off as a jumble of ideas lacking any real coherent meaning. I thought it might be that the translations were poorly done, but perhaps it is just that Pope Francis cannot express himself well.
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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2013, 07:59:27 PM »

honestly I'm disappointed to read so much from Pope Francis today and still come away scratching my head about things it should be possible to put in simple terms.

The golden egg is there, you just have to have the audacity to shuck it. Can you do it?
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2013, 08:07:02 PM »

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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2013, 08:56:22 PM »

If they get rid of their false theology and stop modernizing and innovating, like Pope Francis' recent comments seem to affirm will happen, then Unity is possible (although certainly not probable) but if unity includes second guessing on the doctrines of women in the Priesthood, homosexuality and abortion... well, I think it's more likely that Orthodox would unify with Anglicans than Catholics.

I'm confused. Are you saying that the bolded doctrines are ones for which the Vatican is likely diverge from the "orthodox" understanding? Because those in particular seem to be the ones that the Vatican has stressed are non-negotiable (with the more liberal bodies of the Church), time and time again.
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2013, 09:11:37 PM »

If they get rid of their false theology and stop modernizing and innovating, like Pope Francis' recent comments seem to affirm will happen, then Unity is possible (although certainly not probable) but if unity includes second guessing on the doctrines of women in the Priesthood, homosexuality and abortion... well, I think it's more likely that Orthodox would unify with Anglicans than Catholics.

I'm confused. Are you saying that the bolded doctrines are ones for which the Vatican is likely diverge from the "orthodox" understanding? Because those in particular seem to be the ones that the Vatican has stressed are non-negotiable (with the more liberal bodies of the Church), time and time again.

Well, the media has been stressing that those "doctrines" were the ones the Roman Church has considered diverging on. Whether you can believe the media is altogether a different story.
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2013, 09:46:55 PM »

"united in our differences"?

"Now I plead with you brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in the same mind and in the same judgement,"-St. Paul (1 Cor. 1:10).
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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2013, 10:05:33 PM »

"united in our differences"?
It does sound like a form of Orwellian Newspeak.
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2013, 10:07:04 PM »

I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”
It is an interesting comment, but what exactly does he mean?

Yeah, I'm wondering that myself. I'm afraid that the answer could be anything, everything, or nothing at all.  

If I remember correctly, someone here (Mor?) recently wrote that he likes that the Pope's comments force people to really consider what he is saying, since they could be taken many different ways (as though this is a rhetorical device he is using). This is one of Pope Francis' less-appealing qualities, as far as I am concerned. Riddles and cryptic remarks would be fine if he were writing fortune cookies or horoscopes, but honestly I'm disappointed to read so much from Pope Francis today and still come away scratching my head about things it should be possible to put in simple terms. If he's going to be as revolutionary as some people seem to think he is, he could at least cut down on the Vaticanese. It seems like everything is one way, then it's the other, or maybe it's both at the same time (depending on how many hours one wants to spend 'contemplating' things...you know the Latins and their contemplative lifestyles! Grin). Maybe I'm just not smart or deep enough to get it, but I dunno. It's at best annoying, and at worst makes me not want to listen to him or those who take him as a spiritual leader of Christianity.
Maybe he is saying that people can be in communion with each other while agreeing to disagree. I don't know if the Orthodox will go for that, but I know that the Episcopal Church USA will embrace that idea, because they already have embraced it.

After reading the entire article, there is much to appeal to the Orthodox in his remarks, his view of the Petrine ministry seems to be more in keeping with the elusive concept of the first millennium. I'd like to think that his remark about differences is in keeping with the first millennium where communion held in spite of different interpretations of some matters between the Eastern and Western Fathers, a reality not unlike in some ways modern Orthodoxy where certain issues ( Toll Houses, anyone)  are not universally accepted, but don't divide us.
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2013, 10:55:02 PM »

I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”
It is an interesting comment, but what exactly does he mean?

Yeah, I'm wondering that myself. I'm afraid that the answer could be anything, everything, or nothing at all.  

If I remember correctly, someone here (Mor?) recently wrote that he likes that the Pope's comments force people to really consider what he is saying, since they could be taken many different ways (as though this is a rhetorical device he is using). This is one of Pope Francis' less-appealing qualities, as far as I am concerned. Riddles and cryptic remarks would be fine if he were writing fortune cookies or horoscopes, but honestly I'm disappointed to read so much from Pope Francis today and still come away scratching my head about things it should be possible to put in simple terms. If he's going to be as revolutionary as some people seem to think he is, he could at least cut down on the Vaticanese. It seems like everything is one way, then it's the other, or maybe it's both at the same time (depending on how many hours one wants to spend 'contemplating' things...you know the Latins and their contemplative lifestyles! Grin). Maybe I'm just not smart or deep enough to get it, but I dunno. It's at best annoying, and at worst makes me not want to listen to him or those who take him as a spiritual leader of Christianity.
Maybe he is saying that people can be in communion with each other while agreeing to disagree. I don't know if the Orthodox will go for that, but I know that the Episcopal Church USA will embrace that idea, because they already have embraced it.

After reading the entire article, there is much to appeal to the Orthodox in his remarks, his view of the Petrine ministry seems to be more in keeping with the elusive concept of the first millennium. I'd like to think that his remark about differences is in keeping with the first millennium where communion held in spite of different interpretations of some matters between the Eastern and Western Fathers, a reality not unlike in some ways modern Orthodoxy where certain issues ( Toll Houses, anyone)  are not universally accepted, but don't divide us.
I am only Eastern Catholic, and yet I do not think that his views sound all that much more Orthodox than those of his predecessors. He still refers to the ministry of the bishop of Rome as "petrine" when in fact the ministry of all bishops is "petrine." Moreover, like the two previous popes he still seems to be talking only about how the office of the bishop of Rome functions, and not about the objective content of that office. He may want more collegiality, but is that all that the Orthodox think is lacking in the Roman Catholic take on primacy?
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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2013, 10:58:21 PM »

I'd like to think that his remark about differences is in keeping with the first millennium where communion held in spite of different interpretations of some matters between the Eastern and Western Fathers, a reality not unlike in some ways modern Orthodoxy where certain issues ( Toll Houses, anyone)  are not universally accepted, but don't divide us.
I guess I am simply less trusting of Pope Francis' motives. Since the beginning of his pontificate I was shocked by his disregard for liturgical tradition, and since for me the whole of the faith is embodied in the liturgy, I became very worried. It was one thing when I saw - over the course of many years - that the Roman Church's liturgy was in disarray, because at least the pope (both John Paul II, but most especially Pope Benedict) was still liturgically sound, but now that appears to no longer be the case. The Orthodox should be cautious.
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« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2013, 11:11:49 PM »

This is one of Pope Francis' less-appealing qualities, as far as I am concerned. Riddles and cryptic remarks would be fine if he were writing fortune cookies or horoscopes, but honestly I'm disappointed to read so much from Pope Francis today and still come away scratching my head about things it should be possible to put in simple terms. If he's going to be as revolutionary as some people seem to think he is, he could at least cut down on the Vaticanese.

Yes, because the Lord himself always spoke clearly and plainly, and never used parables or rhetoric. I mean, it's not like Christians have been debating the meaning of his words for over 2 millenia. Pshaw.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2013, 11:31:12 PM »

This is one of Pope Francis' less-appealing qualities, as far as I am concerned. Riddles and cryptic remarks would be fine if he were writing fortune cookies or horoscopes, but honestly I'm disappointed to read so much from Pope Francis today and still come away scratching my head about things it should be possible to put in simple terms. If he's going to be as revolutionary as some people seem to think he is, he could at least cut down on the Vaticanese.

Yes, because the Lord himself always spoke clearly and plainly, and never used parables or rhetoric. I mean, it's not like Christians have been debating the meaning of his words for over 2 millenia. Pshaw.  Roll Eyes
But of course the Lord also controlled the message completely by inspiring the New Testament authors to write only what He wanted written for the salvation of souls. Pope Francis does not have that kind of power over the mainstream media.  Cheesy
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« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2013, 11:36:23 PM »

But of course the Lord also controlled the message completely by inspiring the New Testament authors to write only what He wanted written for the salvation of souls. Pope Francis does not have that kind of power over the mainstream media.  Cheesy

I don't know about all that. Isn't the "oldest" Gospel dated as being written as late as 50 years after the Lord's ascension into heaven? The Council of Carthage that determined the Biblical canon didn't happen until the 4th Century.

Don't kid yourself that editorial boards didn't exist back then as well. Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2013, 11:52:43 PM »

But of course the Lord also controlled the message completely by inspiring the New Testament authors to write only what He wanted written for the salvation of souls. Pope Francis does not have that kind of power over the mainstream media.  Cheesy

I don't know about all that. Isn't the "oldest" Gospel dated as being written as late as 50 years after the Lord's ascension into heaven? The Council of Carthage that determined the Biblical canon didn't happen until the 4th Century.

Don't kid yourself that editorial boards didn't exist back then as well. Smiley
The date of the writing of the texts varies, which for the Gospel of Mark is usually given as sometime between 60 and 75 A.D., but the dating is not all that important. The authors were inspired by the Holy Spirit in writing the scriptures, and so they are held to be sacred texts. To put it another way, the texts of the New Testament are the word of God and that is why they are chanted during the liturgy.

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« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2013, 12:17:47 AM »

This is one of Pope Francis' less-appealing qualities, as far as I am concerned. Riddles and cryptic remarks would be fine if he were writing fortune cookies or horoscopes, but honestly I'm disappointed to read so much from Pope Francis today and still come away scratching my head about things it should be possible to put in simple terms. If he's going to be as revolutionary as some people seem to think he is, he could at least cut down on the Vaticanese.

Yes, because the Lord himself always spoke clearly and plainly, and never used parables or rhetoric. I mean, it's not like Christians have been debating the meaning of his words for over 2 millenia. Pshaw.  Roll Eyes

Yes, and Pope Francis is not the Lord Jesus Christ.

And I have no problem with rhetoric, parables, etc. illustrating various points (I'm in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, for goodness' sake; the Alexandrians are famous for this way of interpreting the scriptures). But there is a difference between that and what another poster has called "a jumble of ideas lacking any real coherent meaning", which does not seem too far off the mark to me in describing the impression of some of Pope Francis' musings. Indeed parables do have their place, but certainly not everything can be treated similarly. Not everything is or should be taken as a parable. The Church has a concrete reality, and communion, ecclesiology, theology, etc. are serious matters that are probably not going to be most clearly expressed in off-the-cuff sorts of remarks such as this Pope seems to be gaining a reputation for.
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« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2013, 02:48:51 AM »

I just finished reading the interview with Pope Francis. Honestly, it was a bit exhausting. I felt like I was on a roller coast ride. There were some remarkably profound statements throughout, and yet there were comments that caused me great concern. It seems that Pope Francis is calculating his language so that he can be all things to all people. And as the spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Church, I guess that's part of his duty. However, the lack of clarity on certain salient issues is not gracious or charitable in my humble opinion. Abortion is the greatest moral and human rights issue of our time, and Pope Francis should be unequivocal in his denunciation of this intolerant, inhumane, and unjust practice. To imply that it is an error to talk about abortion too much bothers me.

I applaud his intellect and his cultivated aesthetic appetites (there is hope for anyone who loves the writing of Dostoevsky and the films of Fellini.) I applaud his humility and his desire to remain close to the people. I agree with so much of what he said, and many of his words moved me deeply. For example, nothing could be more beautifully Orthodox than these words:

“The risk in seeking and finding God in all things, then, is the willingness to explain too much, to say with human certainty and arrogance: ‘God is here.’ We will find only a god that fits our measure. The correct attitude is that of St. Augustine: seek God to find him, and find God to keep searching for God forever.”

But the issues of poverty, tolerance, justice, and compassion will never be adequately addressed until we address the inhumanity and evil of abortion. The Catholic Church suffers today from its historical complicity with and apathy towards the evils of slavery and pedophilia. So if Pope Francis wants the Church to be truly relevant for this day and age, if he wants the Church to truly be a compassionate Mother for all human beings, then he should not be hesitant to identify the unborn as the poorest of the poor and the very “least of these.” In every address he gives, in every interview he offers, he should articulate Christ’s redemptive love for all those who are damaged and destroyed by the evil of abortion. Until humanity is liberated from the holocaust of legal abortion, nobody will be truly free. As long as the violence of abortion is tolerated by society, then all talk of peace and tolerance rings hollow.

OK, that’s my arrogant critique of Pope Francis’s words in this interview. Some may wonder why I care, since I am an Orthodox Christian. Well, I care because I recognize that the Pope has profound moral, spiritual, and political influence in the world. I also care because I retain hope that one day the Catholic and Orthodox Churches will reunite as One Faith. Therefore I pray for Pope Francis and wish him well. He certainly carries a monumental burden. And his last words in the interview disclose a spiritual consciousness that we should all strive to embrace:

   “But above all, I know that the Lord remembers me. I can forget about him, but I know that He never, ever forgets me.”

“Lord have mercy.”


Selam
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« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2013, 05:24:33 AM »

All this Pope does is talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk.
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« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2013, 05:55:40 AM »

To "walk united in our differences" is the exact opposite of what must be done. That is the definition of a false union and it is this so called "coming" heretical union that is causing so much anxiety and schisms
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« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2013, 08:05:02 AM »

All this Pope does is talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk.


And what do you do?  Oh.  "Moderated."  Tongue
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« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2013, 08:40:48 AM »

I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”
It is an interesting comment, but what exactly does he mean?

Yeah, I'm wondering that myself. I'm afraid that the answer could be anything, everything, or nothing at all.  

If I remember correctly, someone here (Mor?) recently wrote that he likes that the Pope's comments force people to really consider what he is saying, since they could be taken many different ways (as though this is a rhetorical device he is using). This is one of Pope Francis' less-appealing qualities, as far as I am concerned.

Did I say that?  Smiley

I just find this Pope hard to define.  Liberals will cling to all the soundbites that make it seem like he doesn't care about abortion, homosexuality, or "judging" people in irregular situations, and that's what you'll hear in the media, but he says plenty that is profound, conservative, even Orthodox.  Conservative RC's point to his relatively low liturgical style and compare him to his immediate predecessor, alleging that he doesn't care about liturgy and good taste.  Yet here is someone who not only appreciates Dostoevsky, Mozart, Fellini, and others, but also prays his Breviary in Latin and seems comfortable enough with the language to have responded in Latin to his election.  He washes the feet of incarcerated Muslim girls but he also prays the Rosary.  It's not just his words that are "all over the place", he himself seems to be all over the place.  But I wonder if that says more about him or about those "interacting" with him.  I think Pope Francis is a blank slate, and people are projecting their own ideas on to him and finding a soundbite to support their conception.  But he defies pigeon-holing.  He seems too nuanced for the reality TV generation ever to understand. 

Take the comment about "walking united with our differences".  I presumed he was talking about how we can't expect to unite based on uniformity, but must accept that we live out our Christianity differently and that's OK.  That's a far cry from not too long ago, for example, when RC liturgists were unabashedly proclaiming in print the pre-eminence of the Roman rite over other Eastern and Western rites as if it was the most authentic expression of true Christianity and pursuing such tendencies through Latinisation, restrictions on the mission of other ritual Churches, etc.  I didn't take that to mean "false unity based on compromising and watering down the pure confession of faith in order to advance the New World Order", but then again, I am not soiling myself worrying about the oncoming ecumenist panheretical bogeyman ready to eat us.  But there are people who worry about such things for legitimate reasons, people who have left other denominations because of such things and worry about seeing it in their new home, etc. 

I don't think any one statement or interview from him is going to tell us what he means by "walk united with our differences".  We'll probably have to stay tuned and watch him live out and model what he means by the things he says.  I don't think the Twitter generation (just about all people on earth right now) will have the patience for it, but that says more about the degeneration of society than it does about his incoherence.       

Quote
Riddles and cryptic remarks would be fine if he were writing fortune cookies or horoscopes, but honestly I'm disappointed to read so much from Pope Francis today and still come away scratching my head about things it should be possible to put in simple terms.

I think he does speak simply, but he's also being mediated through the popular press and a Vatican media operation that is having to learn on its feet how to adapt to him.  Previous Popes prepared or had prepared all their public statements, and in the internet age all these were published on the website even before they were delivered.  Off the cuff additions were rare and limited.  But this Pope speaks off the cuff all the time, and it's definitely not "Vaticanese".  This isn't John Paul II or Benedict XVI, he's still basically Fr Jorge, SJ--he could be the priest down the street.  No one is used to it.  Everyone has an idea of what a Pope is, and then here comes Pope Bergoglio.  He combines elements of his last two predecessors with a good dose of Kirill Lakota, but without having sold the Vatican Museum.  He's a trip, I find him fascinating.
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« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2013, 11:31:46 AM »

But of course the Lord also controlled the message completely by inspiring the New Testament authors to write only what He wanted written for the salvation of souls. Pope Francis does not have that kind of power over the mainstream media.  Cheesy

I don't know about all that. Isn't the "oldest" Gospel dated as being written as late as 50 years after the Lord's ascension into heaven? The Council of Carthage that determined the Biblical canon didn't happen until the 4th Century.

Don't kid yourself that editorial boards didn't exist back then as well. Smiley
The date of the writing of the texts varies, which for the Gospel of Mark is usually given as sometime between 60 and 75 A.D., but the dating is not all that important. The authors were inspired by the Holy Spirit in writing the scriptures, and so they are held to be sacred texts. To put it another way, the texts of the New Testament are the word of God and that is why they are chanted during the liturgy.

God is the editor.

But as a dearly departed priest from the old country reminded me years ago when I was a zealous youngster, Holy Scripture was not carved on tablets as in the Commandments nor "revealed" like Joseph Smith's claimed "book of Mormon."  Rather is is the guided, inspired Word of God and the collective work of men were its inspired editors.
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« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2013, 11:41:52 AM »

I just finished reading the interview with Pope Francis. Honestly, it was a bit exhausting. I felt like I was on a roller coast ride. There were some remarkably profound statements throughout, and yet there were comments that caused me great concern. It seems that Pope Francis is calculating his language so that he can be all things to all people. And as the spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Church, I guess that's part of his duty. However, the lack of clarity on certain salient issues is not gracious or charitable in my humble opinion. Abortion is the greatest moral and human rights issue of our time, and Pope Francis should be unequivocal in his denunciation of this intolerant, inhumane, and unjust practice. To imply that it is an error to talk about abortion too much bothers me.

I applaud his intellect and his cultivated aesthetic appetites (there is hope for anyone who loves the writing of Dostoevsky and the films of Fellini.) I applaud his humility and his desire to remain close to the people. I agree with so much of what he said, and many of his words moved me deeply. For example, nothing could be more beautifully Orthodox than these words:

“The risk in seeking and finding God in all things, then, is the willingness to explain too much, to say with human certainty and arrogance: ‘God is here.’ We will find only a god that fits our measure. The correct attitude is that of St. Augustine: seek God to find him, and find God to keep searching for God forever.”

But the issues of poverty, tolerance, justice, and compassion will never be adequately addressed until we address the inhumanity and evil of abortion. The Catholic Church suffers today from its historical complicity with and apathy towards the evils of slavery and pedophilia. So if Pope Francis wants the Church to be truly relevant for this day and age, if he wants the Church to truly be a compassionate Mother for all human beings, then he should not be hesitant to identify the unborn as the poorest of the poor and the very “least of these.” In every address he gives, in every interview he offers, he should articulate Christ’s redemptive love for all those who are damaged and destroyed by the evil of abortion. Until humanity is liberated from the holocaust of legal abortion, nobody will be truly free. As long as the violence of abortion is tolerated by society, then all talk of peace and tolerance rings hollow.

OK, that’s my arrogant critique of Pope Francis’s words in this interview. Some may wonder why I care, since I am an Orthodox Christian. Well, I care because I recognize that the Pope has profound moral, spiritual, and political influence in the world. I also care because I retain hope that one day the Catholic and Orthodox Churches will reunite as One Faith. Therefore I pray for Pope Francis and wish him well. He certainly carries a monumental burden. And his last words in the interview disclose a spiritual consciousness that we should all strive to embrace:

   “But above all, I know that the Lord remembers me. I can forget about him, but I know that He never, ever forgets me.”

“Lord have mercy.”


Selam


Using all of the Church's energy to force through a law will reduce abortion like prohibition eliminated alcoholism. I think the Pope is saying if the Church loses sight of the forest , it will lose the trees within it as well.

Creating a culture that is truly moral through the Gospels and the salvific Grace present in the entire body of Faith is not only a Roman Catholic vision, but one familiar to Orthodox ears as well. That is the path to eliminating (to the greatest extent possible in this fallen realm) moral evil. All of the rallys, political actions and singular focus since Roe have done little to stem the tide of cultural chaos . Living the Gospel, as the Pope suggests, is worth a try.
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« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2013, 11:51:12 AM »

But of course the Lord also controlled the message completely by inspiring the New Testament authors to write only what He wanted written for the salvation of souls. Pope Francis does not have that kind of power over the mainstream media.  Cheesy

I don't know about all that. Isn't the "oldest" Gospel dated as being written as late as 50 years after the Lord's ascension into heaven? The Council of Carthage that determined the Biblical canon didn't happen until the 4th Century.

Don't kid yourself that editorial boards didn't exist back then as well. Smiley
The date of the writing of the texts varies, which for the Gospel of Mark is usually given as sometime between 60 and 75 A.D., but the dating is not all that important. The authors were inspired by the Holy Spirit in writing the scriptures, and so they are held to be sacred texts. To put it another way, the texts of the New Testament are the word of God and that is why they are chanted during the liturgy.

God is the editor.

But as a dearly departed priest from the old country reminded me years ago when I was a zealous youngster, Holy Scripture was not carved on tablets as in the Commandments nor "revealed" like Joseph Smith's claimed "book of Mormon."  Rather is is the guided, inspired Word of God and the collective work of men were its inspired editors.
I didn't say that it was; instead, I simply said that God inspired the authors in such a way that everything He wanted consigned to writing was put down, and that He gave the scriptures to the Church as a sure guide. Perhaps Orthodox believe that the scriptures are full of errors, but as an Eastern Catholic I reject that notion.
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« Reply #29 on: September 20, 2013, 11:53:21 AM »

I just finished reading the interview with Pope Francis. Honestly, it was a bit exhausting. I felt like I was on a roller coast ride. There were some remarkably profound statements throughout, and yet there were comments that caused me great concern. It seems that Pope Francis is calculating his language so that he can be all things to all people. And as the spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Church, I guess that's part of his duty. However, the lack of clarity on certain salient issues is not gracious or charitable in my humble opinion. Abortion is the greatest moral and human rights issue of our time, and Pope Francis should be unequivocal in his denunciation of this intolerant, inhumane, and unjust practice. To imply that it is an error to talk about abortion too much bothers me.

I applaud his intellect and his cultivated aesthetic appetites (there is hope for anyone who loves the writing of Dostoevsky and the films of Fellini.) I applaud his humility and his desire to remain close to the people. I agree with so much of what he said, and many of his words moved me deeply. For example, nothing could be more beautifully Orthodox than these words:

“The risk in seeking and finding God in all things, then, is the willingness to explain too much, to say with human certainty and arrogance: ‘God is here.’ We will find only a god that fits our measure. The correct attitude is that of St. Augustine: seek God to find him, and find God to keep searching for God forever.”

But the issues of poverty, tolerance, justice, and compassion will never be adequately addressed until we address the inhumanity and evil of abortion. The Catholic Church suffers today from its historical complicity with and apathy towards the evils of slavery and pedophilia. So if Pope Francis wants the Church to be truly relevant for this day and age, if he wants the Church to truly be a compassionate Mother for all human beings, then he should not be hesitant to identify the unborn as the poorest of the poor and the very “least of these.” In every address he gives, in every interview he offers, he should articulate Christ’s redemptive love for all those who are damaged and destroyed by the evil of abortion. Until humanity is liberated from the holocaust of legal abortion, nobody will be truly free. As long as the violence of abortion is tolerated by society, then all talk of peace and tolerance rings hollow.

OK, that’s my arrogant critique of Pope Francis’s words in this interview. Some may wonder why I care, since I am an Orthodox Christian. Well, I care because I recognize that the Pope has profound moral, spiritual, and political influence in the world. I also care because I retain hope that one day the Catholic and Orthodox Churches will reunite as One Faith. Therefore I pray for Pope Francis and wish him well. He certainly carries a monumental burden. And his last words in the interview disclose a spiritual consciousness that we should all strive to embrace:

   “But above all, I know that the Lord remembers me. I can forget about him, but I know that He never, ever forgets me.”

“Lord have mercy.”


Selam


Using all of the Church's energy to force through a law will reduce abortion like prohibition eliminated alcoholism. I think the Pope is saying if the Church loses sight of the forest , it will lose the trees within it as well.
I don't think that simply passing laws is enough, but it is a part of what needs to be done in order to respect all innocent human life. I mean, we know that people are going to murder their neighbors for any number of reasons (or even without a reason) but that does not mean that society should decriminalize (or worse, legalize) murder.

Human law should be a reflection of the divine and eternal law.
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« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2013, 12:01:42 PM »

I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”
It is an interesting comment, but what exactly does he mean?

I have to confess that I am totally befuddled as to how one can walk united with differences. Surely that's a contradiction in terms?
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« Reply #31 on: September 20, 2013, 12:09:36 PM »

I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”
It is an interesting comment, but what exactly does he mean?

I have to confess that I am totally befuddled as to how one can walk united with differences. Surely that's a contradiction in terms?

The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church did so for centuries prior to the finality of the Great Schism. I suspect that's what he meant.
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« Reply #32 on: September 20, 2013, 12:31:12 PM »

I just find this Pope hard to define.

Me too. That doesn't make him interesting to me, though. Plenty of things and people connected to the Latin church seem difficult to define. That's one of the things that led me to Orthodoxy. I don't generally wonder where my bishop stands.  

Quote
Yet here is someone who not only appreciates Dostoevsky, Mozart, Fellini, and others, but also prays his Breviary in Latin and seems comfortable enough with the language to have responded in Latin to his election.  He washes the feet of incarcerated Muslim girls but he also prays the Rosary.
 

I don't know what the first part of the first sentence has to do with the second part. I don't particularly care what films any patriarch of any particular church likes. As to the second sentence...okay...so he does some things that he isn't supposed to do and some things that he is supposed to do. Most of us are probably the same. I'm not seeing why I should view this as commendable or interesting.

Quote
It's not just his words that are "all over the place", he himself seems to be all over the place.
 

And that's not a good thing in a Patriarch/Pope. 'Let your yes be yes and your no be no', right?

Quote
But I wonder if that says more about him or about those "interacting" with him.  I think Pope Francis is a blank slate, and people are projecting their own ideas on to him and finding a soundbite to support their conception.  But he defies pigeon-holing.  He seems too nuanced for the reality TV generation ever to understand.

Yes, I understand that you think that media manipulation has a lot to do with that. I agree, to an extent, in so far as the media will frame things in whatever way they think will attract the most readers. But it can't all be that. I think Apotheoun's example of the letter Pope Francis wrote to the atheist editor is instructive of his mindset, as this is something he supposedly wrote of his own hand (so, neither pre-written by careful speech writers nor spontaneous, off-the-cuff remarks), and it is very difficult to assign any consistent meaning to it. I don't know. Perhaps he's still learning the ropes of how the Roman Papacy works. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I am sufficiently underwhelmed by what I have thus far seen, heard, and read that that's a real struggle, particularly as I am somewhat naturally disinclined to make the effort in the absence of compelling reasons (i.e., something more than the fact that he decided to give an exclusive interview to some magazine I've never heard of). I left the Latin communion precisely to get away from this sort of thing, after all.

Quote
Take the comment about "walking united with our differences".  I presumed he was talking about how we can't expect to unite based on uniformity, but must accept that we live out our Christianity differently and that's OK. That's a far cry from not too long ago, for example, when RC liturgists were unabashedly proclaiming in print the pre-eminence of the Roman rite over other Eastern and Western rites as if it was the most authentic expression of true Christianity and pursuing such tendencies through Latinisation, restrictions on the mission of other ritual Churches, etc.

Um...but that bit of the interview was in response to a question about union between Catholics and Orthodox, not about the differences between Eastern and Western Catholics (the interviewer mentions "the future unity", so obviously it can't be about Eastern Catholics, since they're already united with Rome).

Quote
I don't think any one statement or interview from him is going to tell us what he means by "walk united with our differences".
 

That's unfortunate. He could say precisely what he means, if he wanted to.

Quote
We'll probably have to stay tuned and watch him live out and model what he means by the things he says.  I don't think the Twitter generation (just about all people on earth right now) will have the patience for it, but that says more about the degeneration of society than it does about his incoherence.

Again, speaking for myself, I left the Latin church precisely because what they say and what they do are often so different (I don't mean to paint anybody as a monster of anything; that's true of many people regardless of jurisdiction or communion, including me...we're not all patriarchs, however, and as concerns the ecclesiology of the Church, I feel more comfortable with the Orthodox model than anything I've heard coming from Rome in a long time). And I don't know what all these generations you keep mentioning are. I've never used twitter in my life, and I am still unimpressed with a lot of what I've read from the Roman Pope.       

Quote
I think he does speak simply, but he's also being mediated through the popular press and a Vatican media operation that is having to learn on its feet how to adapt to him.  Previous Popes prepared or had prepared all their public statements, and in the internet age all these were published on the website even before they were delivered.  Off the cuff additions were rare and limited.  But this Pope speaks off the cuff all the time, and it's definitely not "Vaticanese".  This isn't John Paul II or Benedict XVI, he's still basically Fr Jorge, SJ--he could be the priest down the street.  No one is used to it.  Everyone has an idea of what a Pope is, and then here comes Pope Bergoglio.  He combines elements of his last two predecessors with a good dose of Kirill Lakota, but without having sold the Vatican Museum.  He's a trip, I find him fascinating.

So he's too fascinating and revolutionary to make sense? Huh And yes, it is Vaticanese. It is typical of certain authorities within that church to try to be all things to all people, and hence mediate their comments to the point that they end up seeming to affirm any number of non-Christian (or even perhaps anti-Christian) views. I'm not saying that Pope Francis has done that in this interview, but rather that if he does that at some point, it is in keeping with what we can see from other Catholic sources that try to unify disparate worldviews so as to find a place under the Vatican's big tent for everybody and everything. Well excuse me for being so blunt, but I have been there, and I find it faith-destroying, so I am less than enthused by seeming openness on the part of the Roman Pope that might make him fascinating to some people or media organizations, but doesn't seem to make him a particularly confident or reliable shepherd. Granted, this is not my problem anymore, but it seems to be the problem of many in the Roman communion who frankly I think deserve better than their current Pope...at least so far as anyone can make sense of him. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2013, 01:36:47 PM »

I just find this Pope hard to define.

Me too. That doesn't make him interesting to me, though. Plenty of things and people connected to the Latin church seem difficult to define. That's one of the things that led me to Orthodoxy. I don't generally wonder where my bishop stands.

I don't think anyone really needs to wonder where the Pope stands.  The Pope is still a Catholic.  I think he's just expanding the meaning of what it is to be Catholic beyond its current caricatures.   

Quote
I don't know what the first part of the first sentence has to do with the second part. I don't particularly care what films any patriarch of any particular church likes. As to the second sentence...okay...so he does some things that he isn't supposed to do and some things that he is supposed to do. Most of us are probably the same. I'm not seeing why I should view this as commendable or interesting.

He simply doesn't fit the stereotypes floating out there.  One stereotype is that he isn't "traditional" in terms of liturgy.  Yet, his Latin is good enough to be the primary language of his prayer, presumably predating his time in Rome.  He "breaks" rubrics, but has a devotion to Mary not typically seen in such people.  He doesn't sing or wear fancy vestments, so he is thought to have poor taste, but his literary and musical preferences are not those of a boor (and he doesn't just "like" the stuff, he interacts and engages with it, it forms him in some way). 

I find it interesting and commendable.  He's a complex individual (that people are unsuccessfully trying to get to know in 140 characters or less).  The Fathers were not all gaunt, ascetic hermits railing against evil from atop pillars.  Many of them were educated, cultured, complex, but also had an unshakable loyalty to Christ and the heart of a pastor.  I simply do not accept that every bishop needs to fit one particular mold.   

Quote
Quote
It's not just his words that are "all over the place", he himself seems to be all over the place.
 

And that's not a good thing in a Patriarch/Pope. 'Let your yes be yes and your no be no', right?

Read that sentence in context.  It doesn't mean what you took it to mean.  But that's precisely what everyone's doing with the Pope. 

Quote
Yes, I understand that you think that media manipulation has a lot to do with that. I agree, to an extent, in so far as the media will frame things in whatever way they think will attract the most readers. But it can't all be that. I think Apotheoun's example of the letter Pope Francis wrote to the atheist editor is instructive of his mindset, as this is something he supposedly wrote of his own hand (so, neither pre-written by careful speech writers nor spontaneous, off-the-cuff remarks), and it is very difficult to assign any consistent meaning to it. I don't know. Perhaps he's still learning the ropes of how the Roman Papacy works. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I am sufficiently underwhelmed by what I have thus far seen, heard, and read that that's a real struggle, particularly as I am somewhat naturally disinclined to make the effort in the absence of compelling reasons (i.e., something more than the fact that he decided to give an exclusive interview to some magazine I've never heard of). I left the Latin communion precisely to get away from this sort of thing, after all.

I wonder how much this last point factors into the reactions.  Most of the criticism seems to come from people who left the Roman Catholic Church or people who remain within but have disagreements with it to the left or the right.  I've never been RC, and I have doctrinal disagreements with that Church.  Some of the soundbites make me grimace a bit, but in general, I don't think he would scandalise very many people if he was one of our bishops.  Many of the things he says, and the ways he says them, are similar in tone and content to what I've heard even cradle Orthodox bishops say. 

It's because he's a Roman Pope that it bothers people, IMO...he doesn't fit the stereotype.  He's still learning "how the Roman Papacy works", as you said.  But why should we as Orthodox want him to learn how the Roman Papacy works?  We should want him to learn how the Orthodox Papacy of Rome worked, and do that instead. 

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Um...but that bit of the interview was in response to a question about union between Catholics and Orthodox, not about the differences between Eastern and Western Catholics (the interviewer mentions "the future unity", so obviously it can't be about Eastern Catholics, since they're already united with Rome).

I know.  I still stand by my comments. 

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That's unfortunate. He could say precisely what he means, if he wanted to.

No bishop speaks with precision and concision always, now and ever, etc.  Why do we fault him?  Because he's the only one anyone in the media cares about? 

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Again, speaking for myself, I left the Latin church precisely because what they say and what they do are often so different (I don't mean to paint anybody as a monster of anything; that's true of many people regardless of jurisdiction or communion, including me...we're not all patriarchs, however, and as concerns the ecclesiology of the Church, I feel more comfortable with the Orthodox model than anything I've heard coming from Rome in a long time). And I don't know what all these generations you keep mentioning are. I've never used twitter in my life, and I am still unimpressed with a lot of what I've read from the Roman Pope.     

I haven't used Twitter either, but it doesn't mean that I can't see the transformation of our society into a bunch of people who don't have an attention span or intelligence to grasp anything more than 140 characters long, or that I don't also have those tendencies at least from time to time.  Even when I was in seminary, I had colleagues tell me that I was a bad preacher if I couldn't preach a homily in three to five minutes (I'm always in the 10-15 minute range) because it meant that people would tune me out and I obviously didn't know the Scripture well enough to preach pithily.  That wasn't the case even within living memory.  People nowadays have no time for nuance or deep or even sustained thought, they speak and interact with soundbytes, memes, and gifs.  How will those people understand?  That's all. 

I agree with you that the Roman Church often says one thing and does another.  But I don't accept that we can't acknowledge the good because of the bad.    

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So he's too fascinating and revolutionary to make sense? Huh And yes, it is Vaticanese. It is typical of certain authorities within that church to try to be all things to all people, and hence mediate their comments to the point that they end up seeming to affirm any number of non-Christian (or even perhaps anti-Christian) views. I'm not saying that Pope Francis has done that in this interview, but rather that if he does that at some point, it is in keeping with what we can see from other Catholic sources that try to unify disparate worldviews so as to find a place under the Vatican's big tent for everybody and everything. Well excuse me for being so blunt, but I have been there, and I find it faith-destroying, so I am less than enthused by seeming openness on the part of the Roman Pope that might make him fascinating to some people or media organizations, but doesn't seem to make him a particularly confident or reliable shepherd. Granted, this is not my problem anymore, but it seems to be the problem of many in the Roman communion who frankly I think deserve better than their current Pope...at least so far as anyone can make sense of him. Roll Eyes

It sounds like you're looking for a fight where there's no aggressor.  I prefer to pick my battles.  Wink
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« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2013, 01:56:05 PM »

"united in our differences"?
It does sound like a form of Orwellian Newspeak.

You can only be united via difference. Sounds like someone fell asleep in Theology 101.
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« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2013, 01:59:27 PM »

I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”
It is an interesting comment, but what exactly does he mean?

I have to confess that I am totally befuddled as to how one can walk united with differences. Surely that's a contradiction in terms?

How else can anything be together that is not differentiated? I like how simple readers post the Pauline passage above and leave everything about the the various members of a body acting together in light of differences not their similarities.

I can forgive people playing philiphaster without having understood anything from Plato to Deleuze. But to zone out on Paul, I dunno.
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« Reply #36 on: September 20, 2013, 02:21:49 PM »

Abortion is the greatest moral and human rights issue of our time, and Pope Francis should be unequivocal in his denunciation of this intolerant, inhumane, and unjust practice. To imply that it is an error to talk about abortion too much bothers me.

Here is what Pope Francis actually said in the interview:
“This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better. I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do?

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time."

The preceding (and following paragraph which I did not post) put into context what the pope is saying. I do not see where he says that is an error to talk to much about abortion. Talking about these issues in context with the Gospel of Christ or the life of the Church does more for people than listing a set of don'ts outside of any sort of context.

I do not see the Orthodox speaking about abortion outside of any context like I see many Catholics do. Quantity is not always better than quality. An inordinate amount of speaking against abortion divorced from the life of the Church is not a good thing.

So if Pope Francis wants the Church to be truly relevant for this day and age, if he wants the Church to truly be a compassionate Mother for all human beings, then he should not be hesitant to identify the unborn as the poorest of the poor and the very “least of these.” In every address he gives, in every interview he offers, he should articulate Christ’s redemptive love for all those who are damaged and destroyed by the evil of abortion. Until humanity is liberated from the holocaust of legal abortion, nobody will be truly free. As long as the violence of abortion is tolerated by society, then all talk of peace and tolerance rings hollow.

[emphasis mine]

"In every address he gives, in every interview he offers" do the Orthodox bishops "articulate Christ’s redemptive love for all those who are damaged and destroyed by the evil of abortion"? Seriously, people would stop listening to the pope if he did that. The Apostles did not go around listing grave sins of injustice in every address that they made.
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« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2013, 02:22:37 PM »

"united in our differences"?
It does sound like a form of Orwellian Newspeak.

You can only be united via difference. Sounds like someone fell asleep in Theology 101.

In the context of the long gone united Church of the first millenium, the "walk with differences" comment appeared interesting at first. The more I think about it in the context of reality however, we can't ignore our divergent paths of the second millennium and Rome's unfortunate predisposition to dogmatize matters and periodically reinvent herself during that (equally long) period of time. Mor mentioned caricatures in how we view each other. I suppose if Pope Francis breaks through the caricatures and defies stereotypes, then perhaps the closest we can hope to come in the  here and now is to simply better understand each other in terms of the significant beliefs we share and accept the ones which rightly keep our communion separate.

I remember a vivid dream my grandfather, who broke with the Unia as a young man, had many years later in the year before his death. Pope John XXIII (who had himself recently died) came to him in a dream. He told my grandfather, " I'm not Pio (Pope Pius XI) . Come home, Joe. All is forgiven." My grandfather replied "You go your way, Johnny, I go mine. Maybe I see you later!" He would laugh when retelling that story.  I suspect my grandfather got it right in his plain spoken way. Maybe we will see our separated brothers later, that's not up to us.  In the meantime, it doesn't hurt to be civil.
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« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2013, 02:24:03 PM »

I just find this Pope hard to define.

Me too. That doesn't make him interesting to me, though. Plenty of things and people connected to the Latin church seem difficult to define. That's one of the things that led me to Orthodoxy. I don't generally wonder where my bishop stands.

I don't think anyone really needs to wonder where the Pope stands.  The Pope is still a Catholic.  I think he's just expanding the meaning of what it is to be Catholic beyond its current caricatures.

I'm not referring only to the current Roman Pope, but rather a tendency in the Latin Church overall that predates him. The fact that they even have "liberal" and "conservative" wings, with different liturgical standards observed by each (and some might say different theologies, ecclesiologies, etc.) is illustrative of a major problem in that communion that stems (I believe) from exactly the phenomenon I described earlier, wherein the Roman communion and its Pope try to be all things to all people. It doesn't work.  

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He simply doesn't fit the stereotypes floating out there.  One stereotype is that he isn't "traditional" in terms of liturgy.  Yet, his Latin is good enough to be the primary language of his prayer, presumably predating his time in Rome.  He "breaks" rubrics, but has a devotion to Mary not typically seen in such people.  He doesn't sing or wear fancy vestments, so he is thought to have poor taste, but his literary and musical preferences are not those of a boor (and he doesn't just "like" the stuff, he interacts and engages with it, it forms him in some way).
 

Yes, and? I don't see how any of this matters. None of this is terribly different than anyone else. Generally speaking, those considered papible are going to have more-than-passible Latin skills (and he's an ethnic Italian, so it's not like it's some miracle), and things like musical taste are quite subjective and don't necessarily indicate anything about where a person stands theologically or whatever, so I don't see why they should have any impact on this conversation other than the fact that you think they make him interesting. I spent a good chunk of yesterday listening to Mozarabic chant (it's good Latin, too...except for the parts that are in faux-Greek), but I'm pretty sure I'm still a boor. Tongue

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I find it interesting and commendable.  He's a complex individual (that people are unsuccessfully trying to get to know in 140 characters or less).  The Fathers were not all gaunt, ascetic hermits railing against evil from atop pillars.  Many of them were educated, cultured, complex, but also had an unshakable loyalty to Christ and the heart of a pastor.  I simply do not accept that every bishop needs to fit one particular mold. 
 

I agree. I don't think anyone holding any particular title (or none) should have to fit a particular mold. My baptismal saint is St. Shenouda the Archimandrite, who famously gave Alexandrian theology a very Coptic outlook and was perhaps seen as something of a brute in some respects, but was also classically educated in Greek. Nobody is one-dimensional, Pope or not.

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Read that sentence in context.  It doesn't mean what you took it to mean.  But that's precisely what everyone's doing with the Pope. 


The point of making an allusion in the first place is that it's no longer in its original context.

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I wonder how much this last point factors into the reactions.
 

Probably quite a bit, but I can't undo my past.

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Most of the criticism seems to come from people who left the Roman Catholic Church or people who remain within but have disagreements with it to the left or the right.  I've never been RC, and I have doctrinal disagreements with that Church.  Some of the soundbites make me grimace a bit, but in general, I don't think he would scandalise very many people if he was one of our bishops.  Many of the things he says, and the ways he says them, are similar in tone and content to what I've heard even cradle Orthodox bishops say.
 

Okay.

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It's because he's a Roman Pope that it bothers people, IMO...he doesn't fit the stereotype.  He's still learning "how the Roman Papacy works", as you said.  But why should we as Orthodox want him to learn how the Roman Papacy works?  We should want him to learn how the Orthodox Papacy of Rome worked, and do that instead.

Okay. He's not doing that, either. You can't be Orthodox outside of the Church. Believe me, I've tried.

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No bishop speaks with precision and concision always, now and ever, etc.  Why do we fault him?  Because he's the only one anyone in the media cares about?
 

I don't care who or what the media cares about. As you've said (and I agree), they're out to make him in their own image. If for some reason they decided they cared about other Christian leaders and not him, they'd do the same to them. I don't fault him for being manipulated by the media. I fault him (if I must, since that's the verb you've used) for saying a lot and not much at the same time. The fact that he's taken to be brilliant or a revolutionary or whatever is just an annoyance on top of that, but has more to do with what people read into what he's saying rather than whatever he actually says (because, again, it's not clear what -- if anything -- he actually means).

Quote
I agree with you that the Roman Church often says one thing and does another.  But I don't accept that we can't acknowledge the good because of the bad. 
 

I agree. There is much good in the Roman communion (including its Pope), even though it is false. Nobody's wrong all the time.

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It sounds like you're looking for a fight where there's no aggressor.  I prefer to pick my battles.  Wink

Of course, Rome just wants a hug. They'd even give me communion if I attended one of their masses. But anyway, I would think that if I were really into fighting with Rome I would've stayed there and just been a pain to everybody, as dissidents in the Roman communion often do (and not often in favor of Orthodoxy, either). Alas, that's even less appealing than an argument with someone I'm actually in communion with about someone or something that neither of us are in communion with. Wink
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« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2013, 02:25:44 PM »

Abortion is the greatest moral and human rights issue of our time, and Pope Francis should be unequivocal in his denunciation of this intolerant, inhumane, and unjust practice. To imply that it is an error to talk about abortion too much bothers me.

Here is what Pope Francis actually said in the interview:
“This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better. I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do?

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time."

The preceding (and following paragraph which I did not post) put into context what the pope is saying. I do not see where he says that is an error to talk to much about abortion. Talking about these issues in context with the Gospel of Christ or the life of the Church does more for people than listing a set of don'ts outside of any sort of context.

I do not see the Orthodox speaking about abortion outside of any context like I see many Catholics do. Quantity is not always better than quality. An inordinate amount of speaking against abortion divorced from the life of the Church is not a good thing.

More than a few Orthodox clergy and laity in my circle came to the same conclusion, his comments, as you noted, struck us as being rather Orthodox in tone. Many Catholic friends were frothing at the mouth. Go figure.
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« Reply #40 on: September 20, 2013, 02:29:20 PM »

I just find this Pope hard to define.

Me too. That doesn't make him interesting to me, though. Plenty of things and people connected to the Latin church seem difficult to define. That's one of the things that led me to Orthodoxy. I don't generally wonder where my bishop stands.

I don't think anyone really needs to wonder where the Pope stands.  The Pope is still a Catholic.  I think he's just expanding the meaning of what it is to be Catholic beyond its current caricatures.

I'm not referring only to the current Roman Pope, but rather a tendency in the Latin Church overall that predates him. The fact that they even have "liberal" and "conservative" wings, with different liturgical standards observed by each (and some might say different theologies, ecclesiologies, etc.) is illustrative of a major problem in that communion that stems (I believe) from exactly the phenomenon I described earlier, wherein the Roman communion and its Pope try to be all things to all people. It doesn't work.  

Quote
He simply doesn't fit the stereotypes floating out there.  One stereotype is that he isn't "traditional" in terms of liturgy.  Yet, his Latin is good enough to be the primary language of his prayer, presumably predating his time in Rome.  He "breaks" rubrics, but has a devotion to Mary not typically seen in such people.  He doesn't sing or wear fancy vestments, so he is thought to have poor taste, but his literary and musical preferences are not those of a boor (and he doesn't just "like" the stuff, he interacts and engages with it, it forms him in some way).
 

Yes, and? I don't see how any of this matters. None of this is terribly different than anyone else. Generally speaking, those considered papible are going to have more-than-passible Latin skills (and he's an ethnic Italian, so it's not like it's some miracle), and things like musical taste are quite subjective and don't necessarily indicate anything about where a person stands theologically or whatever, so I don't see why they should have any impact on this conversation other than the fact that you think they make him interesting. I spent a good chunk of yesterday listening to Mozarabic chant (it's good Latin, too...except for the parts that are in faux-Greek), but I'm pretty sure I'm still a boor. Tongue

Quote
I find it interesting and commendable.  He's a complex individual (that people are unsuccessfully trying to get to know in 140 characters or less).  The Fathers were not all gaunt, ascetic hermits railing against evil from atop pillars.  Many of them were educated, cultured, complex, but also had an unshakable loyalty to Christ and the heart of a pastor.  I simply do not accept that every bishop needs to fit one particular mold. 
 

I agree. I don't think anyone holding any particular title (or none) should have to fit a particular mold. My baptismal saint is St. Shenouda the Archimandrite, who famously gave Alexandrian theology a very Coptic outlook and was perhaps seen as something of a brute in some respects, but was also classically educated in Greek. Nobody is one-dimensional, Pope or not.

Quote
Read that sentence in context.  It doesn't mean what you took it to mean.  But that's precisely what everyone's doing with the Pope. 


The point of making an allusion in the first place is that it's no longer in its original context.

Quote
I wonder how much this last point factors into the reactions.
 

Probably quite a bit, but I can't undo my past.

Quote
Most of the criticism seems to come from people who left the Roman Catholic Church or people who remain within but have disagreements with it to the left or the right.  I've never been RC, and I have doctrinal disagreements with that Church.  Some of the soundbites make me grimace a bit, but in general, I don't think he would scandalise very many people if he was one of our bishops.  Many of the things he says, and the ways he says them, are similar in tone and content to what I've heard even cradle Orthodox bishops say.
 

Okay.

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It's because he's a Roman Pope that it bothers people, IMO...he doesn't fit the stereotype.  He's still learning "how the Roman Papacy works", as you said.  But why should we as Orthodox want him to learn how the Roman Papacy works?  We should want him to learn how the Orthodox Papacy of Rome worked, and do that instead.

Okay. He's not doing that, either. You can't be Orthodox outside of the Church. Believe me, I've tried.

Quote
No bishop speaks with precision and concision always, now and ever, etc.  Why do we fault him?  Because he's the only one anyone in the media cares about?
 

I don't care who or what the media cares about. As you've said (and I agree), they're out to make him in their own image. If for some reason they decided they cared about other Christian leaders and not him, they'd do the same to them. I don't fault him for being manipulated by the media. I fault him (if I must, since that's the verb you've used) for saying a lot and not much at the same time. The fact that he's taken to be brilliant or a revolutionary or whatever is just an annoyance on top of that, but has more to do with what people read into what he's saying rather than whatever he actually says (because, again, it's not clear what -- if anything -- he actually means).

Quote
I agree with you that the Roman Church often says one thing and does another.  But I don't accept that we can't acknowledge the good because of the bad. 
 

I agree. There is much good in the Roman communion (including its Pope), even though it is false. Nobody's wrong all the time.

Quote
It sounds like you're looking for a fight where there's no aggressor.  I prefer to pick my battles.  Wink

Of course, Rome just wants a hug. They'd even give me communion if I attended one of their masses. But anyway, I would think that if I were really into fighting with Rome I would've stayed there and just been a pain to everybody, as dissidents in the Roman communion often do (and not often in favor of Orthodoxy, either). Alas, that's even less appealing than an argument with someone I'm actually in communion with about someone or something that neither of us are in communion with. Wink

Wow, thank you both. This is a great discussion with a lot of thought being given. You're refreshing my belief that all here need not be opinion or snark.
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« Reply #41 on: September 20, 2013, 02:49:06 PM »

I'm not referring only to the current Roman Pope, but rather a tendency in the Latin Church overall that predates him. The fact that they even have "liberal" and "conservative" wings, with different liturgical standards observed by each (and some might say different theologies, ecclesiologies, etc.) is illustrative of a major problem in that communion that stems (I believe) from exactly the phenomenon I described earlier, wherein the Roman communion and its Pope try to be all things to all people. It doesn't work.  

I would agree.  But I would also contend that it's foolish to believe that Orthodoxy doesn't have similar divides.  The liturgical life of the Church is, in some ways, the great equaliser, but still, we have our liberal and conservative factions.  Perhaps that is seen more in some regions or local Churches than in others, but it is there in spite of our Church not "being all things to all people". 

Speaking of "being all things to all people", I love how we are using a Pauline concept that he regarded as positive as a huge negative.  But that's another matter.

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Yes, and? I don't see how any of this matters. None of this is terribly different than anyone else. Generally speaking, those considered papible are going to have more-than-passible Latin skills (and he's an ethnic Italian, so it's not like it's some miracle), and things like musical taste are quite subjective and don't necessarily indicate anything about where a person stands theologically or whatever, so I don't see why they should have any impact on this conversation other than the fact that you think they make him interesting.

I think it speaks to a depth of character, you don't think it matters.  Very well.  But we're obviously making those opinions from different vantage points.

Though I agree that taste generally is a subjective matter, beauty is not.  To the extent that one's taste in music (or whatever) is reflective of beauty, I do think it speaks to the character of a person.  And I disagree that papabili are going to have good Latin skills.  They might be able to read it with the proper pronunciation but to pray it?  Card. Dolan of New York was considered papabile, and he doesn't strike me as a better candidate than this Pope based on Latin or anything else. 

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Quote
It's because he's a Roman Pope that it bothers people, IMO...he doesn't fit the stereotype.  He's still learning "how the Roman Papacy works", as you said.  But why should we as Orthodox want him to learn how the Roman Papacy works?  We should want him to learn how the Orthodox Papacy of Rome worked, and do that instead.

Okay. He's not doing that, either. You can't be Orthodox outside of the Church. Believe me, I've tried.

A false dichotomy.  How do we imagine the RCC returning to the Church?  Will they one day submit an official statement renouncing their errors and accepting Orthodoxy without having changed anything in their ecclesiastical life up to that point?  Or will the body as a whole, much like an individual, make gradual changes toward the goal of joining?  No, you can't be Orthodox outside the Church, but everyone starts somewhere to reform their life according to the principles of the gospel and the norms of the Church, even when they are outside looking in. 

We say they are heretical and outside the Church, but when they as an institution appear to make progress on certain things, we shoot them down in a way we'd never shoot down an individual.   

Quote
Of course, Rome just wants a hug. They'd even give me communion if I attended one of their masses. But anyway, I would think that if I were really into fighting with Rome I would've stayed there and just been a pain to everybody, as dissidents in the Roman communion often do (and not often in favor of Orthodoxy, either). Alas, that's even less appealing than an argument with someone I'm actually in communion with about someone or something that neither of us are in communion with. Wink

That just means you're not spiritually schizophrenic.  Tongue
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« Reply #42 on: September 20, 2013, 04:27:15 PM »

I would agree.  But I would also contend that it's foolish to believe that Orthodoxy doesn't have similar divides.

We should probably define those terms a bit more clearly if we're going to talk about such divides as they relate to Orthodoxy. I will be the first to admit that my experience in this area is rather limited, living in an area where the nearest OO church besides the one I attend is approximately 600 miles away in another state (and is also a Coptic church...and also the home church of one of the priests who also serves us here in Albuquerque), but from what I have observed in the life of my own parish does not quite map on to what generally passes for 'liberal' or 'conservative' in the RCC (where I actually had much more exposure to a variety of parishes than I have had in Orthodoxy). We certainly have politically conservative and liberal members (and the fights over whether Obama is good, bad, or the antichrist can get rather heated), but as you say below, the liturgical life is the great equalizer. We do not disagree or break down into liberal/conservative factions concerning the liturgy, theology, ecclesiology, etc. of the Church. As you say, the liturgical life of the Church is the great equalizer in many ways. Those of the Roman communion, on the other hand, often do disagree about these things, such that I myself was told (after becoming sick of the banality of the N.O. Latins) that if I wanted a more traditional/reverent liturgy, I should attend the local Ruthenian Catholic Church (this was back in Oregon, and I did that, and it was not good). I cannot imagine being told such a thing in any OO church -- "Oh, you don't like the liturgy as it is served where you are? That's not a problem, just go to another one somewhere else". Of course, I am assuming this wouldn't happen, because at least in theory (and in my experience, in practice), liturgical aberrations are seen as a problem, even if they are sometimes handled more slowly than those who suffer them would like (e.g., the recent committee sent to investigate D.C.-area Coptic churches has apparently been a long time coming, according to people I've talked to who have actually attended those churches). The RCC situation creates a context in which conservative and liberal wings are instead reinforced, such that now there are "Traditionalist" Catholics versus...other Catholics, I suppose. I guess you could make a similar example of Old Calendarists vs. other Orthodox, but if there is such a wide divide between Old Calendarists and others (in terms of praxis and theology) as there is between "Traditionalist" and other Catholics, I don't know about it (and I kind of doubt it, but either way this is not our fight as OO; I only put this bit in my reply to hopefully preempt that sort of reply).

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The liturgical life of the Church is, in some ways, the great equaliser, but still, we have our liberal and conservative factions.  Perhaps that is seen more in some regions or local Churches than in others, but it is there in spite of our Church not "being all things to all people".
 

Well, people are people everywhere, of course. That doesn't vary according to jurisdiction. But my point is more that while such things are not emphasized or reinforced in Orthodoxy, they are in the Roman communion, precisely because of a theological or philosophical belief held by many in the Latin Church that, for instance, Byzantines and Latins and all manner of Syriacs, Copts, etc. can coexist under one banner ("Catholic"), so long as they submit to Roman ecclesiology (you will notice, I hope, that "Catholicity" across that communion is defined by communion with the Roman Pope and submission to his ultimate universal authority and jurisdiction, rather than Rome's communion with its various Eastern compatriots; this is an ecclesiological and in some sense theological matter for them, while it is heresy to the Orthodox). This is what I mean when I write negatively against Rome's attempt to be all things to all people. In more modern times it has also grown to include many who do not affirm Christ at all...but that's probably a subject for another discussion. My point is that the impulse is the same in any case: We can all be in communion with Rome, since Rome subsumes many different theologies, political views, etc. and simply declares them to be compatible with one another. How could this do anything but water down the central beliefs of the Christian faith? I don't mean to sound paranoid, but I think this is about something much deeper than political differences such as we might find in our churches, or even whether some people are okay with drums and keyboards in the liturgy and some are not or whatever (though this does matter to me, but again...another conversation). I think that as concerns Rome specifically, they have been separated from Orthodoxy for long enough that we are actually looking at ontological differences that divide us. Even a very reverent and traditional (whatever that means in a Latin context; I'll let them fight that out amongst themselves) Latin liturgy is unacceptable for the various doctrinal innovations added to it, even though it might be nicer to listen to or observe or whatever. We may see a particular Roman Pope as more or less traditional or reverent or whatever, but in either case we're not talking about St. Arsenius or Sts. Maximus and Domatius. Let's not lose sight of Roman Orthodoxy in a rush to get excited over spectres of a more nuanced ecclesiology on the part of a particular modern Latin Pope. 'Liberal' or 'Conservative', they're still worlds apart from Orthodoxy, and the reliance on having liberal or conservative wings in their communion does nothing but hinder their return to the Orthodox faith.

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I think it speaks to a depth of character, you don't think it matters.  Very well.  But we're obviously making those opinions from different vantage points.

Definitely.

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Though I agree that taste generally is a subjective matter, beauty is not.
 

Really? I'm not in agreement with that as a general principle, though I think within the context in which you're probably thinking of it (based on what I've read in your other posts), I can at least see where you're coming from. This Pope is probably not spending much time watching the Kardashians or reading Twitter or whatever. He has refined tastes that speak to a certain depth of character compared to the sort of base mass culture that most people have been inculcated to accept as normative. (Am I close? I'm really trying to see how this means something/why I should care.)

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And I disagree that papabili are going to have good Latin skills.  They might be able to read it with the proper pronunciation but to pray it?  Card. Dolan of New York was considered papabile, and he doesn't strike me as a better candidate than this Pope based on Latin or anything else.
 

I'm not sure that candidates are considered better or worse according to their Latin abilities in the first place (though you'd think it would certainly come in handy, I'm sure there are many translators at the Vatican to vet anything prior to promulgation), but yeah...I agree, hence my original post said "in general" (in the same way that it wouldn't be ludicrous to assume that a Syriac bishop probably has a better grasp of that language than most laypeople he serves, though there may be exceptions; I don't want to put too much emphasis on this ultimately minor point).

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Okay. He's not doing that, either. You can't be Orthodox outside of the Church. Believe me, I've tried.

A false dichotomy.
 

Okay, well it wasn't in my case.

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How do we imagine the RCC returning to the Church?  Will they one day submit an official statement renouncing their errors and accepting Orthodoxy without having changed anything in their ecclesiastical life up to that point?  Or will the body as a whole, much like an individual, make gradual changes toward the goal of joining?  No, you can't be Orthodox outside the Church, but everyone starts somewhere to reform their life according to the principles of the gospel and the norms of the Church, even when they are outside looking in. 

Are you perhaps reading something into this portion of my reply that isn't there? Or perhaps I have misunderstood you. When you wrote that we should want him to return to the Orthodox position, I took that to mean that you view his more nuanced ecclesiology as a positive step in that direction. I agree, though I would add that his more theologically conservative predecessor made even more seemingly pro-Orthodox statements when he was cardinal (unfortunately I don't hang around Latins enough these days to have a source at hand, but one that was quoted to me said, paraphrasing from memory, that "we (Westerners/Latins) cannot expect more from the East than was accepted by them in the first millennium" -- see, it is possible to speak plainly regarding these issues). At any rate, where I disagree, if I am reading you correctly, is that by virtue of making such statements, he is de facto moving towards Orthodoxy. We will perhaps wait and see, but I am of the opinion as of today that nothing said in the interview substantiates such hope. This is sort of what I was getting at in a tongue-in-cheek way when I mentioned before that they would gladly give me communion if I would attend an RC mass. To read Rome's guidelines concerning who can receive, you'd think we were practically in communion already. This is one of the reasons why they paint us in apologetic texts as being not as welcoming or brotherly as they are, and I suppose that's right, if the chalice defines the boundaries of the common faith. I know that for Orthodoxy it does, but again, to tie it back in with the overall theme of Rome being all things to all people, I'm not sure that this is the case with regard to our Latin friends. For this reason, I don't want to downplay any positive development, but I do want to be cautious and actually see how it develops before getting excited that Pope Francis has actually made such a sea change to what it means to be Roman Catholic. I don't think he has. I think much of his message is jumbled, and that this mess is only partially the fault of the media. And, most importantly, I think only Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy. The doors of the Church are open, and I for one await and encourage the return of the Latins, but will not count them as Orthodox until they actually are (whether Pope or layperson).

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We say they are heretical and outside the Church, but when they as an institution appear to make progress on certain things, we shoot them down in a way we'd never shoot down an individual.
 

No, no. I see that's how you've taken my words (and I apologize then, as that's not what I mean), but I mean to encourage what I think is good and discourage what I think is not good. Now of course I could be and probably am wrong on any number of points, since I am new to all this and not gifted with the special charism of infallibility (Wink), but anything I have written in this thread was meant to be in favor of skepticism, not denunciation. They're not the same thing. And honestly, if I seem more skeptical than others (or sharper in my skepticism or whatever), it's only because I've been there, and like I said I don't think Rome is a healthy place to be, as it is. But if it is getting better (and there are signs that it is, certainly, though I don't really see them in the interview under discussion like you do), then good. What could be better than coming to have more in common with our long-estranged Latin friends? But let's not put the cart before the horse, as it were. And let's not forget that friendly gestures are nice, but true doctrinal agreement (such as is recognized by both sides on an official level, not just Latins who would like us to admit how we really believe the same things but are stubborn or whatever) is the hard but necessary goal, and will not be reached by a few agreeable words (according to one interpretation) in an unabashedly pro-'Rome as it is' magazine.

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That just means you're not spiritually schizophrenic.  Tongue

Well that's a relief. Can I get that on some sort of frameable certificate?
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« Reply #43 on: September 20, 2013, 04:31:11 PM »

Mor and Jerm, the Pope ain't talking about you guys anyway. See the subject.
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« Reply #44 on: September 20, 2013, 05:01:13 PM »

I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”
It is an interesting comment, but what exactly does he mean?

I have to confess that I am totally befuddled as to how one can walk united with differences. Surely that's a contradiction in terms?

The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church did so for centuries prior to the finality of the Great Schism. I suspect that's what he meant.
Did it really? And they walked together while one side claimed that a particular difference (e.g., the nature of papal supremacy) is a divinely revealed dogma, the denial of which involves an anathema.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 05:01:21 PM by Apotheoun » Logged

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