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Author Topic: Which more "legalistic", Orthodoxy or Catholicism ?  (Read 495 times) Average Rating: 0
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Raylight
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« on: July 31, 2014, 09:59:34 AM »

Which one is more legalistic, Catholicism or Orthodoxy ? and why ? and is it a good or a bad thing to be legalistic ?

 
legalistic meaning according to several Dictionaries :

" Strict, literal adherence to the law or to a particular code, as of religion or morality. "

" strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit. "

" obeying the law in a very strict and exact way "



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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2014, 10:17:55 AM »

Interesting...interesting.

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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 11:01:43 AM »

Which one is more legalistic, Catholicism or Orthodoxy ? and why ? and is it a good or a bad thing to be legalistic ?

 
legalistic meaning according to several Dictionaries :

" Strict, literal adherence to the law or to a particular code, as of religion or morality. "

" strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit. "

" obeying the law in a very strict and exact way "

Personally, I found Catholicism's to be very legalistic. By that I mean a "do A and you'll get B" attitude. Think indulgences and the like, but that's with regards to grace and salvation.

Overall, I think by the definitions you offered both churches are legalistic to an extent. Both operate on the basis of canons (they even formally call it Canon Law in Catholicism), and both can have the tendency to operate strictly within those boundaries.
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2014, 11:20:12 AM »

I think they can be both legalistic. But I think Catholicism is more, just because they make you believe in certain dogmas that are adhered to legalistically. Take for example, clerical celibacy. Their insistence of clerical celibacy is quite legalistic.
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2014, 11:30:00 AM »

Don't forget to consider the 'legalistic' protestants in that group too.

In my experience it depends on who you talk to and their maturity as a believer.  Those who have placed the religious code above all else misunderstand Christianity;those who disregard the religious code also misunderstand Christianity. 

is it a good or a bad thing to be legalistic ?

Are you equating all desire to obey a code of conduct with legalism? Or do you understand that a person can seek to obey a law apart from the extremes of legalism?
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2014, 08:35:36 PM »

Legalism as I've seen it comprises a superstitious element -- that he who knows the code, often an obscure code, in most detail will reap the most benefit (or will, alone of mankind, not burn in hell). It also seems to be something those with an obsessive personality have affinity with. I'd say some kinds of Protestantism or Judaism spring to mind before either Catholicism or Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2014, 08:46:01 PM »

It's kind of a loaded question because the term isn't really objective but is used derogatorily depending on who you ask.

Given the Roman Catholic Church's somewhat lax and liberal attitudes--at least in America--I'd say that Orthodoxy is more legalistic in a good way (excluding Cradle Christophers).
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2014, 09:39:32 PM »

Legalism as I've seen it comprises a superstitious element -- that he who knows the code, often an obscure code, in most detail will reap the most benefit (or will, alone of mankind, not burn in hell). It also seems to be something those with an obsessive personality have affinity with. I'd say some kinds of Protestantism or Judaism spring to mind before either Catholicism or Orthodoxy.

Aye, aye. Just in my personal experience dealing not with church doctrines and dogmas and such just the people. The ones I come across that are the most legalistic and are in the don't do this or don't do that or your soul is out of salvation camp, comes from people I met from the protestant and Adventist, Mormon side of things. And most Catholics I have known  have been pretty laid back in terms of believing what the church says and not fretting too much they if they did something bad that they are doomed. I have only met a handful of persons who I know are Orthodox so I cannot really say too much about them or their attitudes towards the legalese between them and their faith. 
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2014, 09:46:11 PM »

I don't think the Orthodox Church has rules such as;

You have to go to Mass at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to take from the Eucharist at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to pray this and do this and don't do that in order for you to get out of the Purgatory as soon as possible.
You can't do this and if you did then you have to have confession or you will go to Hell...etc


The above points seems to me to be too legalistic, aren't they ?
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2014, 09:59:15 PM »

I don't think the Orthodox Church has rules such as;

You have to go to Mass at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to take from the Eucharist at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to pray this and do this and don't do that in order for you to get out of the Purgatory as soon as possible.
You can't do this and if you did then you have to have confession or you will go to Hell...etc


The above points seems to me to be too legalistic, aren't they ?

The Orthodox canons IIRC are that, technically, if you miss more than three liturgies you have excommunicated yourself. But it is not to be legalistic, and the spirit is considered more than the law. If you need to work on Sundays to support your family then you are 'ok,' if you just miss liturgy because you would prefer to go golfing or sleep then there is a problem. Circumstances can be considered in some things. I don't think it is legalistic at all.

Catholicism is and (most) Protestant are legalism defined. Their soteriology is usually based on legalism: You broke the law, God is a perfect judge that has to punish you, and Christ suffered your punishment for you. God can't just forgive you for repenting your sins.
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2014, 10:05:01 PM »

I don't think the Orthodox Church has rules such as;

You have to go to Mass at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to take from the Eucharist at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to pray this and do this and don't do that in order for you to get out of the Purgatory as soon as possible.
You can't do this and if you did then you have to have confession or you will go to Hell...etc


The above points seems to me to be too legalistic, aren't they ?

The Orthodox canons IIRC are that, technically, if you miss more than three liturgies you have excommunicated yourself. But it is not to be legalistic, and the spirit is considered more than the law. If you need to work on Sundays to support your family then you are 'ok,' if you just miss liturgy because you would prefer to go golfing or sleep then there is a problem. Circumstances can be considered in some things. I don't think it is legalistic at all.

Catholicism is and (most) Protestant are legalism defined. Their soteriology is usually based on legalism: You broke the law, God is a perfect judge that has to punish you, and Christ suffered your punishment for you. God can't just forgive you for repenting your sins.

I see, so you think Catholicism and Protestantism are legalistic in their theology of understanding God's justic and attitude toward sin and the sinners and also legalistic in their way of understanding what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross and why He did it.

On that I agree, because they picture God as a Judge and when you sin, you are sinning against Him and therefor you will never be able to "pay" back for your sins, so therefor Jesus came to Earth and died on the cross...etc you that you will be able to "pay the debt".
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« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2014, 01:22:18 PM »

I don't think the Orthodox Church has rules such as;

You have to go to Mass at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to take from the Eucharist at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to pray this and do this and don't do that in order for you to get out of the Purgatory as soon as possible.
You can't do this and if you did then you have to have confession or you will go to Hell...etc


The above points seems to me to be too legalistic, aren't they ?

I don't think the Roman Catholic Church has rules such as these.  They definitely don't have the first three. 
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« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2014, 02:02:17 PM »

I don't think the Orthodox Church has rules such as;

You have to go to Mass at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to take from the Eucharist at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to pray this and do this and don't do that in order for you to get out of the Purgatory as soon as possible.
You can't do this and if you did then you have to have confession or you will go to Hell...etc


The above points seems to me to be too legalistic, aren't they ?

I don't think the Roman Catholic Church has rules such as these.  They definitely don't have the first three. 

It actually is considered a mortal sin if you miss Mass intentionally. You have to confess it before receiving communion again. Technically, if you take the view that mortal sins are sins that lead to damnation, then you're liable every week you miss Mass, not just once a year. I don't know about receiving the Eucharist, if that has to be done at least once a year, but I do know that once a year was the minimum for most laity in the middle ages and beyond. Most Catholics today just go up no matter what they may have done in the previous week. The third thing Raylight lists is basically indulgences in a nutshell. So I guess you could say that there are rules like these on the books.
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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2014, 02:44:00 PM »

I don't think the Orthodox Church has rules such as;

You have to go to Mass at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to take from the Eucharist at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to pray this and do this and don't do that in order for you to get out of the Purgatory as soon as possible.
You can't do this and if you did then you have to have confession or you will go to Hell...etc


The above points seems to me to be too legalistic, aren't they ?

I don't think the Roman Catholic Church has rules such as these.  They definitely don't have the first three. 

It actually is considered a mortal sin if you miss Mass intentionally. You have to confess it before receiving communion again. Technically, if you take the view that mortal sins are sins that lead to damnation, then you're liable every week you miss Mass, not just once a year. I don't know about receiving the Eucharist, if that has to be done at least once a year, but I do know that once a year was the minimum for most laity in the middle ages and beyond. Most Catholics today just go up no matter what they may have done in the previous week. The third thing Raylight lists is basically indulgences in a nutshell. So I guess you could say that there are rules like these on the books.

If you read the "rules" Raylight claims are RC rules, only the fourth is a reasonable summary of a RC "rule".  As you noted, the obligation to attend Mass is Sundays and holy days, not once a year.  The so-called Easter duty is required, but not under penalty of damnation.  "Damnation" is a very specific thing, and ought not be equated with "mortal sin".  The latter may lead to the former upon death, but they are not the same.  Regarding the third claim, it sounds like indulgences, except I don't think indulgences work in exactly the way he described, and I'm not sure any RC is required to seek them out. 
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« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2014, 02:47:07 PM »

I don't think the Orthodox Church has rules such as;

You have to go to Mass at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to take from the Eucharist at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to pray this and do this and don't do that in order for you to get out of the Purgatory as soon as possible.
You can't do this and if you did then you have to have confession or you will go to Hell...etc


The above points seems to me to be too legalistic, aren't they ?

I don't think the Roman Catholic Church has rules such as these.  They definitely don't have the first three. 

It actually is considered a mortal sin if you miss Mass intentionally. You have to confess it before receiving communion again. Technically, if you take the view that mortal sins are sins that lead to damnation, then you're liable every week you miss Mass, not just once a year. I don't know about receiving the Eucharist, if that has to be done at least once a year, but I do know that once a year was the minimum for most laity in the middle ages and beyond. Most Catholics today just go up no matter what they may have done in the previous week. The third thing Raylight lists is basically indulgences in a nutshell. So I guess you could say that there are rules like these on the books.

If you read the "rules" Raylight claims are RC rules, only the fourth is a reasonable summary of a RC "rule".  As you noted, the obligation to attend Mass is Sundays and holy days, not once a year.  The so-called Easter duty is required, but not under penalty of damnation.  "Damnation" is a very specific thing, and ought not be equated with "mortal sin".  The latter may lead to the former upon death, but they are not the same.  Regarding the third claim, it sounds like indulgences, except I don't think indulgences work in exactly the way he described, and I'm not sure any RC is required to seek them out. 

I should have read Raylight's post a bit closer. You're right that only the fourth would really qualify as a summary of a RC rule.
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« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2014, 03:07:56 PM »

I don't think the Orthodox Church has rules such as;

You have to go to Mass at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to take from the Eucharist at least once a year or you are damned.
You have to pray this and do this and don't do that in order for you to get out of the Purgatory as soon as possible.
You can't do this and if you did then you have to have confession or you will go to Hell...etc


The above points seems to me to be too legalistic, aren't they ?

The Orthodox canons IIRC are that, technically, if you miss more than three liturgies you have excommunicated yourself. But it is not to be legalistic, and the spirit is considered more than the law. If you need to work on Sundays to support your family then you are 'ok,' if you just miss liturgy because you would prefer to go golfing or sleep then there is a problem. Circumstances can be considered in some things. I don't think it is legalistic at all.

Catholicism is and (most) Protestant are legalism defined. Their soteriology is usually based on legalism: You broke the law, God is a perfect judge that has to punish you, and Christ suffered your punishment for you. God can't just forgive you for repenting your sins.

Not what Catholics believe at all.

First, we do not believe that Christ suffered our punishment for us. There is absolutely no one-to-one correlation. Christ suffered on our behalf so that we would not be damned, but he did not suffer our punishment nor our damnation. The non-legalistic/non-mathematical nature of this can be demonstrated in the fact that, as St. Thomas Aquinas clearly teaches, God could have redeemed us in any way he wanted to, but saved us in the way he did because it demonstrated his depth of love for us.

Second, and closely related to the last statement, God could have just forgiven our sins, but he chose do so in a most excellent way by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Catholics may be legalistic in others ways, but not in the manner in which you describe here. We are simply not Calvinists.
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« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2014, 03:39:00 PM »

Catholics may be legalistic in others ways, but not in the manner in which you describe here. We are simply not Calvinists.

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« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2014, 04:17:15 PM »

It's very easy to be legalistic because there are canons and clerical practices of spirituality that makes it so much more simpler for there to be certain standards, but the fact is that, and I think both Orthodox and Catholics agree in principle, legalisms are guidelines, not necessarily "the Rule".  You're not doomed to hell if you don't fast, but it would help you to fast.

Same thing with Soteriology.  While there might be emphases on either side, I don't see any essential doctrinal disagreement between Orthodox and Catholics on this one.  There has been too much misinterpretations from both sides.  Orthodox accuse Catholics (and sadly St. Augustine) essentially of Calvinism, and Catholics accuse Orthodox of Pelagianism.  The discussion and accusations I find are fruitless.

If you ask me, and anyone who has had many good and kind discussions with Catholics, the main issue is Petrine Primacy.  Everything else is secondary.
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« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2014, 05:17:03 PM »

Catholics may be legalistic in others ways, but not in the manner in which you describe here. We are simply not Calvinists.

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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2014, 09:54:55 PM »

I don't think Orthodoxy and Catholicism are legalistic at all. Certainly, there are legalistic people within both traditions, but you can't blame the faith community for that.  There are legalistic people in every faith tradition.  I am understanding the word legalism to mean following the letter of the law without contemplating the spirit of the law.
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« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2014, 10:59:57 PM »

The Roman church is a giant organization with a vast history, and thus hard to categorize; however, I don't think you can have an office of casuistry (not to mention the late position of Devil's Advocate) if you aren't, shall we say, a smidge inclined toward being legalistic. (I won't even touch the whole Counter-Reformation, the "teaching orders" and so forth.)
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