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Author Topic: RC looking east  (Read 1841 times) Average Rating: 0
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TSchristian
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« on: August 24, 2014, 04:17:54 AM »

Hello all, this is my first post here and hope to learn many great things from you all of truth and the faith (these are not to be read mutually exclusive of course  Smiley .) I don't like writing about my personal experiences for my own reasons so I'll just say that my story is the same as many other traditionally oriented RCs. I am already convinced that papal supremacy and infallibility are errors, now I am just attending Divine Liturgy at a local Greek Orthodox church and taking it slow with research and contemplation as I don't want my possible conversion to be based on proving something else wrong but experiencing and understanding the truth of Orthodoxy.

My main concerns are simple, how much can I retain from my personal Thomistic studies? I do not mean the Thomism that was developed by the Thomists that came after that systematized it to death or the over reaction of the existential thomists [sic] of modernity but studying from the source without interpreters (more of a moderate Aristotelian/moderate Platonic approach.) My main studies were his philosophy such as natural law, the five ways, Aristotelian fundamentals such as form and matter or the four causes, a priori analytics (I must confess I study and support a moderate amount of analytical philosophy), synderesis or Greek συντήρησις (suntḗrēsis), etc... I have read that Orthodox seminaries used his Summa as teaching manual in the distant past, so I can't imagine there is much difference.

I have also developed a love for Miester Eckhart's (another Dominican Smiley ) spirituality and mysticism while being a Catholic that focuses on detachment, silence, stillness and drawing closer to God by withdrawing the self (this spirituality is more of a passivity of the Christian while God is the activity.) I am guessig that Hesychasm is the Orthodox version of this spirituality. If anyone is familiar with Eckhart and Palamas, how much is common and how much is different that I am obliged to change for theological reasons?

I'm also a Marian in the respect of Louis de Monfort's way, total consecration to Christ through Mary. Is there any similar ways in Orthodoxy that I may investigate, if not is it possible to continue this devotion? Especially the Rosary.

I realize I'm inquiring like a typical legal minded Catholic of dos and don'ts, still working on that, but I only ask to seek doctrinal purity in my devotions and ways (primary reason why I am being pulled Eastward.)

Thanks and God bless
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2014, 04:27:46 AM »

Welcome to the forum.
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2014, 06:52:41 AM »

God bless you TS Christian! I am from a similar background, maybe less intellectual though.

Personally I love singing the Orthodox "Hail Mary". I think the Orthodox Church is very Marian. I also learned to love St. John the Baptist in a new way.

I think most of this could be addressed with a pious Priest or monk. For me, visiting monasteries has been important.

About Thomism, I do not know. I have learned one thing about Orthodoxy – it is mostly learned by participation, not studies.

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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2014, 02:22:37 PM »

TSchristian, put your books and ideas away. Attend as many Orthodox services as you can (Vespers and Matins, as well as Divine Liturgy), keeping your eyes and ears open and receptive to what you see and hear, in the words of the services, and in the icons, and develop a relationship with the priest there who will guide you into the faith.
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2014, 02:23:12 PM »

Hello TSchristian,

You speak with a significant amount of meta-cognition and I commend you for approaching conversion in the right way (i.e. not "Well, it's not x").

By all means, please continue to go to services and never feel pressured to convert, even when Easter rolls around next year. If you need another year or five, take them. Smiley

You are free to read as much of St. Thomas and Eckhart's writings as you want as an Orthodox Christian. I would advise that you state your intentions with your spiritual father, just so that you two are on the same page, so to speak. You might even be able to discuss the readings with him, should you so choose.

I cannot speak on the theological differences, but if you are catechized properly, you will learn what the Orthodox believe and be able to point out discrepancies in non-Orthodox writings. Still, there is much wisdom to glean from people of all walks of life, especially Roman Catholics who share much of our faith. Personally, St. John of the Cross's "Dark Night of the Soul" really speaks to me.

I am aware of quite a few Catholic converts (on these very forums) who still pray the rosary, with their spiritual father's blessing. There are also many wonderful prayers to our Lady that you can incorporate into your daily prayer rule. There's really no shortage of ways to get close to our Lady in Orthodoxy, so I would not worry about that at all.

I wish you the best on your journey. God bless.
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2014, 02:23:26 PM »

n/m
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2014, 08:02:37 PM »

Hello.
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2014, 08:09:49 PM »

Welcome to the forum.

I also used to be a Roman Catholic although I spent about three years in the Melkites to get my feet wet before joining the Greek Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2014, 08:44:38 PM »

Welcome!


I second LBK's advice.   Take your time and wade into the stream.
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2014, 11:32:02 PM »

TSChristian, I am in a similar stage of my spiritual life. I also agree that the best approach is to attend services and, as much as possible, to pray from an Orthodox prayer book. There is an inner logic to Orthodoxy, and I feel I have begun to see it more by praying than I ever did in reading. I have found a lot of peace in using Eastern prayer forms - I have been unsettled by the constant tinkering with the Roman liturgy in the 20th century, especially the Divine Office, and using an Orthodox prayer book has helped a lot to find stability. And there is no shortage of Marian devotion in Orthodoxy - there are numerous Canons and Akathists in honor of the Theotokos easily found online, and she is hymned in virtually every service of the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2014, 12:49:26 AM »

Do you like Stump's Aquinas?
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2014, 03:12:48 AM »

Thank you all for you charitable responses, I appreciate and study them attentively.

LBK, I see the wisdom in your advice and shall meditate on it but I have to remember it's those books and ideas that, with the grace of God, have lead me here that I have melded with contemplation and prayer of my investigations. Without such study, I would lack the clarity and seriousness of my curiosity. But I have started a relationship with the local Greek Orthodox priest today and he will start assisting me through these trials. Funny thing is though that the first thing he suggested is that I start reading books he had in mind, I think we're going to get along just fine Smiley


lovesupreme, thank you for your compliment. Looks like we have something in common, I also enjoy John of the Cross as he shares the same spirituality of Eckhart, meditative silence.


MalpanaGiwargis, glad to see a fellow Catholic sharing the same road to Damascus with me Cheesy Is there any prayer books that you have in mind that will help? I tried looking for some but have no luck of my own. Thanks.


NicholasMyra, Eleonore Stump? I don't know since I don't read interpreters of Aquinas or works of other Thomists a lot, I am able to read Aquinas' works on my own.


Two questions to Catholic converts. How shall I go about divulging my current state to the priest that baptized, confirmed, gave me first Holy Communion and was my confessor for a year? Although I stopped attending his Masses when I started down the road of "rad-trad"ism (even though he performs a beautiful TLM and keeps his Novus Ordos strict and by the book), I feel like I need to go back to him and explain what is happening since this isn't just like relocating to Catholic parish that resists Vat-II but altogether may end up leaving the Church of Rome. Anyone with a similar experience?

And the other question is, this may or may not be a ridiculous line of thinking but it has been bothering me. If I, as Catholic currently, embrace what Orthodoxy has to teach that corrects what Rome has erroneously taught, what should compel me to leave the Western Church's tradition for the East if I hold no heretical opinions? If this is nothing more than a battle of what one should believe, then the East has won me over but other than that what is it? The way Rome and the Orthodox are dialoguing at the moment, the way Rome has started to dismantle the central power structure of the Vatican, the West not wanting to convert the East and the East not particularly interested in evangelizing in the West and the attitude the Eastern Patriarchates of the West seem to indicate a possible union, if not everyone has relaxed accusations of heresy and schism at the moment. The way I'm looking at it, the current living authorities on both sides don't seem interested in pulling laymen from each other and such actions don't compel me to rush to Orthodoxy which is why I'm taking this slow. There is much I love dearly of the Western patrimony that has not been defiled by papalism, so I'm trying to assent to truth without losing what I have come to love. Hope you all can understand because the East has fought in the past to preserve their patrimony from being Latinized, well I was Latinized from ground zero and don't wish to be Easternized if I can avoid it.


God bless
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2014, 03:28:18 AM »

I am not a former Catholic, but can speak a bit on the second question.

If you do not believe the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, you should leave it for a body whose doctrines you do hold as true. Maybe not right away, but you should at least stop communing (which it sounds like you have). Now, whether or not that means you should become Orthodox is ultimately up to you. I would tell you that Orthodoxy is the fullness of the faith, but, then again, I'm Orthodox. No surprises there.

It's true that ecumenical activities have quelled a lot of animosity between our two bodies, but we are far from one, and, barring a miracle, we will not be within our lifetime. If you believe in Orthodoxy, you should become Orthodox. I hate to put things that bluntly, but that's how being in communion with the Church works.

Have you looked into Western Rite Orthodoxy? It is, by no means, Roman Catholicism in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate (just as Eastern Catholicism is not, at least in my view, Orthodoxy in communion with Rome). It is a completely legitimate rite of Orthodoxy, representing the fullness of the faith in the Western, pre-Schism form.

Really, though, in America, you're not going to be at risk of being "Easternized." Most parishes, especially OCA and Antiochian, conduct services in English and are made up primarily of converts. There's no reason you need to start dressing like a stereotypical Middle Eastern shopkeeper, learn Russian, or acquire a love for Greek baked goods (but why wouldn't you?) just to benefit from the wisdom of St. Gregory Palamas. Wink
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2014, 05:33:59 AM »

And there is no shortage of Marian devotion in Orthodoxy - there are numerous Canons and Akathists in honor of the Theotokos easily found online, and she is hymned in virtually every service of the Orthodox Church.

Fixed it for you.  Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2014, 06:33:52 AM »

And there is no shortage of Marian devotion in Orthodoxy - there are numerous Canons and Akathists in honor of the Theotokos easily found online, and she is hymned in virtually every service of the Orthodox Church.

Fixed it for you.  Smiley

Thanks. Having not experienced every service, I figured I would hedge a little.  Cheesy
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« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2014, 07:12:03 AM »

Thank you all for you charitable responses, I appreciate and study them attentively.

LBK, I see the wisdom in your advice and shall meditate on it but I have to remember it's those books and ideas that, with the grace of God, have lead me here that I have melded with contemplation and prayer of my investigations. Without such study, I would lack the clarity and seriousness of my curiosity. But I have started a relationship with the local Greek Orthodox priest today and he will start assisting me through these trials. Funny thing is though that the first thing he suggested is that I start reading books he had in mind, I think we're going to get along just fine Smiley


lovesupreme, thank you for your compliment. Looks like we have something in common, I also enjoy John of the Cross as he shares the same spirituality of Eckhart, meditative silence.


MalpanaGiwargis, glad to see a fellow Catholic sharing the same road to Damascus with me Cheesy Is there any prayer books that you have in mind that will help? I tried looking for some but have no luck of my own. Thanks.


NicholasMyra, Eleonore Stump? I don't know since I don't read interpreters of Aquinas or works of other Thomists a lot, I am able to read Aquinas' works on my own.


Two questions to Catholic converts. How shall I go about divulging my current state to the priest that baptized, confirmed, gave me first Holy Communion and was my confessor for a year? Although I stopped attending his Masses when I started down the road of "rad-trad"ism (even though he performs a beautiful TLM and keeps his Novus Ordos strict and by the book), I feel like I need to go back to him and explain what is happening since this isn't just like relocating to Catholic parish that resists Vat-II but altogether may end up leaving the Church of Rome. Anyone with a similar experience?

And the other question is, this may or may not be a ridiculous line of thinking but it has been bothering me. If I, as Catholic currently, embrace what Orthodoxy has to teach that corrects what Rome has erroneously taught, what should compel me to leave the Western Church's tradition for the East if I hold no heretical opinions? If this is nothing more than a battle of what one should believe, then the East has won me over but other than that what is it? The way Rome and the Orthodox are dialoguing at the moment, the way Rome has started to dismantle the central power structure of the Vatican, the West not wanting to convert the East and the East not particularly interested in evangelizing in the West and the attitude the Eastern Patriarchates of the West seem to indicate a possible union, if not everyone has relaxed accusations of heresy and schism at the moment. The way I'm looking at it, the current living authorities on both sides don't seem interested in pulling laymen from each other and such actions don't compel me to rush to Orthodoxy which is why I'm taking this slow. There is much I love dearly of the Western patrimony that has not been defiled by papalism, so I'm trying to assent to truth without losing what I have come to love. Hope you all can understand because the East has fought in the past to preserve their patrimony from being Latinized, well I was Latinized from ground zero and don't wish to be Easternized if I can avoid it.


God bless

I am a RC convert and was disturbed by some of the same changes. I attended classes at a Greek Orthodox Church before finding a western rite parish. There are two main western liturgies , the Liturgy of St Gregory , which any pre VII RC will recognize,had st Tikhon ,which is I believe derived from a high Anglican service(at least to me, the former was very familiar as a R c alter boy. I have only been to one other WR parish besides my own, and it was very different. Our priest is bi-ritual(also does the Liturgy of St. John chrysostom )and we are encouraged to also go to Eastern Liturgy at times . I confess that I am starting to love the eastern rite. I can only speak for Antiochians, but our liturgies are in English , at least the ones I have attended. Welcome, it is a long and sometimes hard journey from RC to Orthodoxy, especially for someone  who Is a practicing RC. God bless you on your journey.
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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2014, 11:55:16 AM »

FWIW, at least one of our saints (Saint Gennadios Scholarios) was a great admirer of Thomas Aquinas.
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2014, 03:22:09 PM »


Two questions to Catholic converts. How shall I go about divulging my current state to the priest that baptized, confirmed, gave me first Holy Communion and was my confessor for a year? Although I stopped attending his Masses when I started down the road of "rad-trad"ism (even though he performs a beautiful TLM and keeps his Novus Ordos strict and by the book), I feel like I need to go back to him and explain what is happening since this isn't just like relocating to Catholic parish that resists Vat-II but altogether may end up leaving the Church of Rome. Anyone with a similar experience?

And the other question is, this may or may not be a ridiculous line of thinking but it has been bothering me. If I, as Catholic currently, embrace what Orthodoxy has to teach that corrects what Rome has erroneously taught, what should compel me to leave the Western Church's tradition for the East if I hold no heretical opinions? If this is nothing more than a battle of what one should believe, then the East has won me over but other than that what is it? The way Rome and the Orthodox are dialoguing at the moment, the way Rome has started to dismantle the central power structure of the Vatican, the West not wanting to convert the East and the East not particularly interested in evangelizing in the West and the attitude the Eastern Patriarchates of the West seem to indicate a possible union, if not everyone has relaxed accusations of heresy and schism at the moment. The way I'm looking at it, the current living authorities on both sides don't seem interested in pulling laymen from each other and such actions don't compel me to rush to Orthodoxy which is why I'm taking this slow. There is much I love dearly of the Western patrimony that has not been defiled by papalism, so I'm trying to assent to truth without losing what I have come to love. Hope you all can understand because the East has fought in the past to preserve their patrimony from being Latinized, well I was Latinized from ground zero and don't wish to be Easternized if I can avoid it.


God bless

First question: Did you not talk to your confessor about why you left? I have kept a dialogue with the Priest to whom I confessed for several years, so he knows my heart. That is what a Confessor is for. Tell him what you believe and he will understand why you cannot belong to his flock anymore. If he is a traditional Priest, he will not give you communion or absolution anyway.

Second question: My last sentence explained it I think. Also – the difference is not just papism.
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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2014, 03:33:42 PM »

FWIW, at least one of our saints (Saint Gennadios Scholarios) was a great admirer of Thomas Aquinas.

Thanks. I didn't know he's a Saint. Seen some references about him translating the Summa into Greek but without any reference canonization.
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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2014, 07:50:57 PM »

FWIW, at least one of our saints (Saint Gennadios Scholarios) was a great admirer of Thomas Aquinas.

Thanks. I didn't know he's a Saint. Seen some references about him translating the Summa into Greek but without any reference canonization.

I can find no reference to him being a saint. Patriarch, and scholar, yes. Saint, no.
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« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2014, 08:19:55 PM »

FWIW, at least one of our saints (Saint Gennadios Scholarios) was a great admirer of Thomas Aquinas.

Thanks. I didn't know he's a Saint. Seen some references about him translating the Summa into Greek but without any reference canonization.

I can find no reference to him being a saint. Patriarch, and scholar, yes. Saint, no.

He is commemorated August 31st. http://www.goarch.org/chapel/dateceleb_view?m=8&d=31&y=2014
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« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2014, 08:52:51 PM »

FWIW, at least one of our saints (Saint Gennadios Scholarios) was a great admirer of Thomas Aquinas.
There is also a lot of good scholarship and commentary taking place right now that show that Thomism and Palamism are not as incompatible as some Orthodox Christians believe. See Marcus Plested and Fr. Andrew Louth for more info. Personally, I think 90% of the negative comments Orthodox Christians are making are based on anti-Western sentiment rather than actually reading Scholastic philosophy. In fact, out of the many Orthodox Christians I have challenged to demonstrate the incongruity, only one was able to do a somewhat adequate job.
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« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2014, 10:56:13 PM »

FWIW, at least one of our saints (Saint Gennadios Scholarios) was a great admirer of Thomas Aquinas.

Sounds very scholarly!  Cheesy

I know, it's not even anything clever. I'm sure it's just Greek for "the scholar". I'm a moron.
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« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2014, 12:52:17 AM »

FWIW, at least one of our saints (Saint Gennadios Scholarios) was a great admirer of Thomas Aquinas.

Sounds very scholarly!  Cheesy

I know, it's not even anything clever. I'm sure it's just Greek for "the scholar". I'm a moron.

When I heard that St. John of the Ladder's real name was "John Climacus" I literally laughed out loud. "How perfect!" I thought.  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2014, 07:16:48 AM »

FWIW, at least one of our saints (Saint Gennadios Scholarios) was a great admirer of Thomas Aquinas.
There is also a lot of good scholarship and commentary taking place right now that show that Thomism and Palamism are not as incompatible as some Orthodox Christians believe. See Marcus Plested and Fr. Andrew Louth for more info. Personally, I think 90% of the negative comments Orthodox Christians are making are based on anti-Western sentiment rather than actually reading Scholastic philosophy. In fact, out of the many Orthodox Christians I have challenged to demonstrate the incongruity, only one was able to do a somewhat adequate job.

I agree. It seems to me a lot of the anti-Western polemic is a modern innovation, sometimes even showing ignorance of what the Orthodox fathers have taught. At its worst, it's like a religious Kevin Bacon game- instead of connecting random movies to Kevin Bacon, it's "Take any terrible event or idea in history and see if you can connect it to St. Augustine and the Franks." Another scholar who is doing some interesting re-examination of Sts. Gregory Palamas and Mark of Ephesus is Fr. Christiaan Kappes. He has a bunch of interesting articles here: https://sscms.academia.edu/ChristiaanWKappes
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« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2014, 11:02:09 AM »

TSchristian, any of the standard Orthodox prayer books would be sufficient. If there is a parish you are attending, you might ask the advice of the priest. Different jurisdictions have slightly different traditions about things like prayers before Communion, but that isn't of immediate relevance for an inquirer. It never hurts to have more than one, either.  Cheesy
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« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2014, 07:11:46 PM »

These statements from Plested's book are, to put it mildly, very problematic from the Orthodox POV:

"An Orthodoxy that refuses to have any truck with Aquinas is not only impoverished by that refusal but also untrue to itself."

"To disown this fruitful encounter [the long history of the Orthodox encounter with Aquinas] is to disown a hefty part of the tradition of Orthodox theology."

Orthodoxy is neither deficient, nor less Orthodox, for not embracing Thomism.
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« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2014, 10:42:50 PM »

FWIW, at least one of our saints (Saint Gennadios Scholarios) was a great admirer of Thomas Aquinas.
There is also a lot of good scholarship and commentary taking place right now that show that Thomism and Palamism are not as incompatible as some Orthodox Christians believe. See Marcus Plested and Fr. Andrew Louth for more info. Personally, I think 90% of the negative comments Orthodox Christians are making are based on anti-Western sentiment rather than actually reading Scholastic philosophy. In fact, out of the many Orthodox Christians I have challenged to demonstrate the incongruity, only one was able to do a somewhat adequate job.


I would once again echo what LBK said, and to put all of that stuff away.  

Thomism is rooted in the Latin spirit and approach to God.   There is nothing wrong with studying Scholasticism as an academic exercise, but how far do you take it?

Our Fathers rejected Scholasticism as it came to be,   is that not enough?  

I realize they are not infallible, but I am not willing to throw them under the bus either because what they said is inconvenient or it makes your Roman Catholic friends "uncomfortable."

That is the sort of "Ecumenism" that drives some among us batty (and has caused schism), and I also reject it.

Does that make me "Anti-Western?"  The West was Orthodox once upon a time,  is rejecting the innovations and path the Latin West took mean hatred?

I have been in discussions with Roman Catholics where disagreeing and providing rebuttals to Catholic Apologetics and Polemics will get you the label "Anti-Catholic."

I think the term "Anti-whatever" is overused and is a conversation stopper, not starter.

Honesty and Candor should be the order of the day.


To the OP,  I understand your struggles, but leave yourself open to the will of God.   Holding on to a philosophy that is foreign to Orthodox praxis will hobble you in your journey.  Learn the ABCs of our Faith, and perhaps in time you can revisit those other things.
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« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2014, 07:28:21 AM »

FWIW, at least one of our saints (Saint Gennadios Scholarios) was a great admirer of Thomas Aquinas.
There is also a lot of good scholarship and commentary taking place right now that show that Thomism and Palamism are not as incompatible as some Orthodox Christians believe. See Marcus Plested and Fr. Andrew Louth for more info. Personally, I think 90% of the negative comments Orthodox Christians are making are based on anti-Western sentiment rather than actually reading Scholastic philosophy. In fact, out of the many Orthodox Christians I have challenged to demonstrate the incongruity, only one was able to do a somewhat adequate job.


I would once again echo what LBK said, and to put all of that stuff away.  

LBK is the sort of person who confuses boorish incuriosity for zeal. The fact is, an Orthodoxy that refuses to hold meaningful interaction with "the West" is deficient, because it is not true to itself.

Quote
Our Fathers rejected Scholasticism as it came to be,   is that not enough?

No. For one thing, they didn't "reject" scholasticism. They used it actually. The Fathers displayed none of the hardened ignorance or incuriosity which is currently trendy in pop Orthodox circles. Unless you want to argue that Sts. John Damascene, Gregory Palamas, Mark of Ephesus, or Gennadius Scholarius weren't fathers.

Quote
Does that make me "Anti-Western?"

Yes. As you yourself said, "Thomism is rooted in the Latin spirit and approach to God," indicating that you think there is something wrong with "the Latin spirit" in general. That makes you not only anti-Western but anti-Orthodox.
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« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2014, 07:36:40 AM »

David Bentley Hart's excellent essay "The Myth of Schism" can be found here. He demolishes much of the garbage theology and historiography that informs contemporary knee-jerk anti-Westernism (and which is parroted on this thread). He also points out the real differences between us and the RC's, in a constructive and nuanced way.

My favorite bit:
Quote
In truth, the most unpleasant aspect of the current state of the division between East and West is the sheer inventiveness with which those ardently committed to that divisoin have gone about fabricating ever profounder and more radical reasons for it. Our distant Christian forbears were content to despise one another over the most minimal of matters - leavened or unleavened Eucharistic bread, for instance, or veneration of unconsecrated elements - without ever bothering to suppose that these differences were symptomatic of anything deeper than themselves. Today, however, a grand mythology has evolved regarding the theological dispositions of the Eastern and Western Christendom, to the effect that the theologies of the Eastern and Western Catholic traditions have obeyed contrary logics and have in consequence arrived at conclusions inimical each to the other - that is to say, the very essence of what we believe is no longer compatible.
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« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2014, 07:40:44 AM »

These statements from Plested's book are, to put it mildly, very problematic from the Orthodox POV:

"An Orthodoxy that refuses to have any truck with Aquinas is not only impoverished by that refusal but also untrue to itself."

"To disown this fruitful encounter [the long history of the Orthodox encounter with Aquinas] is to disown a hefty part of the tradition of Orthodox theology."

Orthodoxy is neither deficient, nor less Orthodox, for not embracing Thomism.

Conflating "encounter" and "embrace"- this is the behavior of a sect.
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« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2014, 08:03:09 AM »

Iconodule wrote:

"LBK is the sort of person who confuses boorish incuriosity for zeal. The fact is, an Orthodoxy that refuses to hold meaningful interaction with "the West" is deficient, because it is not true to itself."

REPLY:  Who said I am opposed to meaningful interaction?  Your issues with LBK aside, it is sound advice to put away controversies when you are just starting out.   Meaningful interaction doesn't mean we necessarily accept the position the other party is taking.


"No. For one thing, they didn't "reject" scholasticism. They used it actually. The Fathers displayed none of the hardened ignorance or incuriosity which is currently trendy in pop Orthodox circles. Unless you want to argue that Sts. John Damascene, Gregory Palamas, Mark of Ephesus, or Gennadius Scholarius weren't fathers."

REPLY:  And you assume that I am one of those trendy pop Orthodox?  The Fathers used scholarship, yes....absolutely.   But there is a difference between Thomistic Scholasticism as it evolved over time and scholarship with a lower case s.   Note the part of my sentence...."came to be."   A distinction that was not clear in what I wrote.

"Yes. As you yourself said, "Thomism is rooted in the Latin spirit and approach to God," indicating that you think there is something wrong with "the Latin spirit" in general. That makes you not only anti-Western but anti-Orthodox."

REPLY:   You got me there.   I do think that there is something wrong with the "Latin Spirit" in that it strayed from Orthodoxy.   Note also I acknowledged the past Orthodoxy of the West.   Try Again.


Iconodule,   you make a few assumptions that I would like to clear up, friend.

First,  I know full well that the Fathers studied philosophy and didn't live in a bubble.   Second, you seem to be under this impression that I'm some cranky anti-Western internet polemicist.   

I was a Roman Catholic for many years before becoming Orthodox....not just a pew warmer.   Third Degree Knight of Columbus, Militia of the Immaculata, Vice President of my Newman Center in College.   The Latin Spirit was my Life....I bear no hatred towards my old Communion, it was merely me trying to warn the OP to not let that stuff get in the way.   I had to let all of that go before I could truly begin to embrace Orthodoxy.   I think people who have never been Roman Catholic in a serious or devout way appreciate or realize how hard and horrible it is to leave.    It is this experience I was speaking to, and yes I realized and believe that the Latin Church since the schism has gone off the rails....hard to see that when you are in the thick of it.    Asserting that those innovations are not compatible with Orthodoxy does not make me "anti-Western" or "anti-Orthodox." 


Try again.





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« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2014, 08:20:54 AM »

REPLY:  Who said I am opposed to meaningful interaction?  Your issues with LBK aside, it is sound advice to put away controversies when you are just starting out.   Meaningful interaction doesn't mean we necessarily accept the position the other party is taking.

We are not merely talking about "the other party" but in fact our own fathers.

Quote
And you assume that I am one of those trendy pop Orthodox?  The Fathers used scholarship, yes....absolutely.   But there is a difference between Thomistic Scholasticism as it evolved over time and scholarship with a lower case s.   Note the part of my sentence...."came to be."   A distinction that was not clear in what I wrote.

It is not simply philosophy I'm talking about, but specifically the Aristotelian style of reasoning which characterizes scholasticism, both in Aquinas and in many of the Eastern fathers. You will find Thomism itself employed by fervent anti-unionists such as Joseph Bryennios and St. Gennadius Scholarius, who maintained that Aquinas was a wise man whose only fault was using his methods to defend the Latin errors.

Quote
 You got me there.   I do think that there is something wrong with the "Latin Spirit" in that it strayed from Orthodoxy.   Note also I acknowledged the past Orthodoxy of the West.   Try Again.

Perhaps we should dispense with vagaries like "Latin spirit" and get down to specifics. What specifically about Thomism is rooted in this straying "Latin spirit"? What is your actual objection to the scholastic methods?

  
Quote
I was a Roman Catholic for many years before becoming Orthodox....not just a pew warmer.   Third Degree Knight of Columbus, Militia of the Immaculata, Vice President of my Newman Center in College.   The Latin Spirit was my Life....I bear no hatred towards my old Communion, it was merely me trying to warn the OP to not let that stuff get in the way.   I had to let all of that go before I could truly begin to embrace Orthodoxy.   I think people who have never been Roman Catholic in a serious or devout way appreciate or realize how hard and horrible it is to leave.    It is this experience I was speaking to, and yes I realized and believe that the Latin Church since the schism has gone off the rails....hard to see that when you are in the thick of it.    Asserting that those innovations are not compatible with Orthodoxy does not make me "anti-Western" or "anti-Orthodox." 

It's good that you have come to Orthodoxy; unfortunately, in doing so, you have also swallowed a lot of extraneous anti-Western nonsense which has little to do with the actual Orthodox tradition. So did I, by the way- all the buzzwords and slogans I see flying around here, I used too for a while.


Try again.






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« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2014, 09:12:07 AM »

"We are not merely talking about "the other party" but in fact our own fathers."

REPLY: Our Fathers were Thomists?


"It is not simply philosophy I'm talking about, but specifically the Aristotelian style of reasoning which characterizes scholasticism, both in Aquinas and in many of the Eastern fathers. You will find Thomism itself employed by fervent anti-unionists such as Joseph Bryennios and St. Gennadius Scholarius, who maintained that Aquinas was a wise man whose only fault was using his methods to defend the Latin errors."

REPLY:  Again,  I do not object to using Greek Philosophy.   I will even concede that Aquinas himself was a man of brilliance and piety.


"Perhaps we should dispense with vagaries like "Latin spirit" and get down to specifics. What specifically about Thomism is rooted in this straying "Latin spirit"? What is your actual objection to the scholastic methods?"

REPLY:   In short, what I object to is the over intellectualization of Faith.  God is not this abstract thing that is bandied about in Philosophical Proofs and Metaphysics.   

My word choices were careful and deliberate.  I used the word approach....and what Scholasticism "came to be."   Even modern scholars distinguish between Aquinas himself and the Schoolmen who came later.   I can criticize the New Atheists use of the Scientific Method to "disprove" the existence of God while holding the methods themselves to be perfectly sound.   I don't pretend to be a philosopher, and refuse to condemn Aristotle or the study/application of Greek Philosophical ideas because that would make me an idiot, now wouldn't it?  You may be snide and dismissive of those who are critical of Thomism, but they are also learned men who came to their conclusions.   Perhaps my beef is with Thomists, and not Thomism itself. 


"It's good that you have come to Orthodoxy; unfortunately, in doing so, you have also swallowed a lot of extraneous anti-Western nonsense which has little to do with the actual Orthodox tradition. So did I, by the way- all the buzzwords and slogans I see flying around here, I used too for a while."

REPLY:  What is the actual Orthodox Tradition?   Is Rome in error or not?   Are they heterodox or not?   That isn't anti-Western nonsense, that is the reality.   It need not be a relationship of antagonism.  I sure as heck don't pillory my former co-religionists with these kinds of discussions.   We stay away from the topic of religion, actually....my conversion hurt a few of them deeply.   If you think I enjoy the Schism or relish this at all, you are mistaken.   A thousand year old schism broke more than a few of my friendships.   Ideas and actions have consequences.


Incidentally,   Roman Catholicism is also varied.   My Newman Center was run by a Secular Franciscan who was big on Dun Scotus and proud of the fact that the Franciscans defended and promulgated the Immaculate Conception.



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« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2014, 09:27:29 AM »

"We are not merely talking about "the other party" but in fact our own fathers."

REPLY: Our Fathers were Thomists?

Thomists, not necessarily; scholastics, yes.

St. Gennadios Scholarios certainly was a Thomist, as were the celebrated anti-unionists Joseph Bryennios and Makarios Makres.


Quote
REPLY:   In short, what I object to is the over intellectualization of Faith.  God is not this abstract thing that is bandied about in Philosophical Proofs and Metaphysics. 

I have good news for you then. Thomas Aquinas would agree. As for later schoolmen, apart from the specific Latin errors (e.g. filioque) they may have defended, can you point out where they reduce God to such an abstraction?

Quote
REPLY:  What is the actual Orthodox Tradition?   Is Rome in error or not?   Are they heterodox or not?   That isn't anti-Western nonsense, that is the reality.   It need not be a relationship of antagonism. 

Rome is in error; that's different from saying, "They have nothing worth reading or listening to." 

Quote
My Newman Center was run by a Secular Franciscan who was big on Dun Scotus and proud of the fact that the Franciscans defended and promulgated the Immaculate Conception.

Interestingly, Fr. Christiaan Kappes recently published a book discussing how Sts. Gregory Palamas and Mark of Ephesus support the immaculate conception: http://www.amazon.com/The-Immaculate-Conception-Eugenicus-Professed/dp/1601140681

I'm very curious.
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« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2014, 12:13:26 PM »

St. Gennadios Scholarios certainly was a Thomist, as were the celebrated anti-unionists Joseph Bryennios and Makarios Makres.

Let's not get carried away.

The following older thread provides excellent discussion concerning the supposed Thomism of St. Gennadios Scholarios.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37982.45.html

"Barbour's title, for example, is a hyperbolic statement of a truism. As he says, on p 39, "the element that unites Thomism and Byzantium is not dogma, but philosophy, a philosophy which is guided and suited to defend Christian faith." In other words, Byzantine theologians were "Thomists" because they read, enjoyed, and employed philosophical works on logic and reason. Well, of course they did -- and they did so well before Aquinas -- but that hardly makes them "Thomists" in any sense.

I do agree, though, that some modern Orthodox writers have created a false dichotomy between faith and reason, theology and philosophy."

"That's not being a "Thomist". That's showing an appreciation for what Aquinas got right. Not unlike how a lot of modern-day Orthodox in the West like C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton."

"The question is if they adopted his system or if the points of agreement in methodology and content actually predated their encounter with Aquinas. The argument and evidence seem to be pushing for the latter, despite the rhetoric.

EDIT: Further questions involve the complexity of Gennadios' life and thought. Gennadios read and approved of Aquinas but also sided with Aquinas' arch-rivals on significant matters. He knew Latin and was versed in Latin theology but was also a famously strident anti-Westerner."

"I should qualify my second statement: He knew Latin and was versed in Latin theology but was also famously strident in his opposition to Rome and certain Roman doctrines.

In a lot of ways, he reminds me of St. Nikodemos the Athonite. Both Gennadios and Nikodemos took famous Roman Catholic writings and produced significantly edited translations of those writings for Greek Orthodox audiences.

Yes, it is significant that they use those writings as a starting point. Just as it is significant that they edit them."

"With that in mind -- and that should address a HUGE lacuna in your statement -- you have to read up on Gennadios's life. He was not a churchman or theologian until late in life. He was a philosophy professor. So, the first 40 or 50 years of his interest in Aquinas had nothing at all to do with Orthodox theology. Gennadios was simply translating Aquinas' commentaries on Aristotle, which themselves are exercises in philosophy, not theology. Later on, Gennadios translated sections of Aquinas' theological manuals into Greek, but did so with the heavy hand of an editor, removing everything he deemed unOrthodox. In other words, you really need to make a strong and proper distinction between Gennadios's relationship to (a) Aquinas as a philosopher and (b) Aquinas as a theologian. This undercuts a lot of the hay Barbour (and you) seem to be making."
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« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2014, 05:03:04 PM »

David Bentley Hart's excellent essay "The Myth of Schism" can be found here. He demolishes much of the garbage theology and historiography that informs contemporary knee-jerk anti-Westernism (and which is parroted on this thread). He also points out the real differences between us and the RC's, in a constructive and nuanced way.

Thank you for including that article. I enjoy DBH very much and that article doesn't disappoint. I recommend it.

I think, however, that he misses the very important differences that exist between Roman Catholic spiritually in praxis compared to Orthodoxy. I live in a heavily Roman Catholic European country and my wife is a committed RC and member of Opus Dei. A few of the vast differences in our praxis include:

- no real fasting discipline in the RCC (each fasts according to his own conscious)
- huge focus on Eucharistic adoration in the RCC
- infatuation with Marian apparitions in the RCC (Fatima, Lourdes and increasingly, Medjugorje) and willingness to allow such to dictate doctrine and dogma
- continued emphasis on works to achieve indulgences in the RCC
- a "legal" mindset in the RCC that manifests itself in "obligations" like going to church on certain days to avoid a "mortal sin"

There are many others as well. The very committed RCs I know (such as my wife) may spend very little time actually in liturgy every week and yet considerable time in adoration of the Eucharist, witnessing "seers" from Medjugorje, or attending diverse communities such as the Charismatic Renewal, the Legionaries of Christ, or Opus Dei. Whilst these groups may be fine, their praxis is in many ways not Orthodox.

So, whilst we have much in common with the RCC in terms of theology, doctrine and ecclesiology as DBH points out, we live out our faith in radically different ways. We are like two peoples who started out with the same language, yet after centuries of isolation, have developed incomprehensible differences. That means that however sanguine the likes of DBH or others may be about our common etymology (to extend my language metaphor), we no longer speak the same spiritual language. And that is not going to change anytime soon.
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« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2014, 08:31:06 PM »

"Thomists, not necessarily; scholastics, yes.

St. Gennadios Scholarios certainly was a Thomist, as were the celebrated anti-unionists Joseph Bryennios and Makarios Makres."

REPLY:  The Stylite replied much more articulately on this point than I could,  I will let this question be settled between you.

"I have good news for you then. Thomas Aquinas would agree. As for later schoolmen, apart from the specific Latin errors (e.g. filioque) they may have defended, can you point out where they reduce God to such an abstraction?"

REPLY:  I have no doubt Aquinas would agree.   At the end of his life he declared his works straw...

As I mentioned before,  I am speaking of Thomism as it evolved.   My issue is not with any particular schoolmen, who may in and of themselves have been great guys.   I am speaking in terms of the Popular Culture of Roman Catholicism, the everyday perception, application (or misapplication/misinterpretation) of these ideas, and Thomism as it is perceived and applied "on the ground."   In Roman Catholicism, there is a very deep disconnect between what occurs in Rome and the Schools, and what happens everywhere else.

I will use Marxism as an example.   I am no way using this comparison to denigrate...I hope I nip any "How dare you...." posts in the bud.

There is a disconnect between "popular" Marxism and "actual" Marxism.   Karl Marx himself reported repudiated "Marxism" and yet his ideas took on a life of their own, divorced from their creator.


"Rome is in error; that's different from saying, "They have nothing worth reading or listening to." "

REPLY:  I never said anything of the sort.


"Interestingly, Fr. Christiaan Kappes recently published a book discussing how Sts. Gregory Palamas and Mark of Ephesus support the immaculate conception: http://www.amazon.com/The-Immaculate-Conception-Eugenicus-Professed/dp/1601140681"

REPLY:  Be careful there.   Some arguments have been made about the Theotokos' sanctity that could lend itself to an Orthodox "interpretation" of the Immaculate Conception, but I wouldn't take that too far.

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« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2014, 11:56:19 PM »

David Bentley Hart's excellent essay "The Myth of Schism" can be found here. He demolishes much of the garbage theology and historiography that informs contemporary knee-jerk anti-Westernism (and which is parroted on this thread). He also points out the real differences between us and the RC's, in a constructive and nuanced way.

Thank you for including that article. I enjoy DBH very much and that article doesn't disappoint. I recommend it.

I think, however, that he misses the very important differences that exist between Roman Catholic spiritually in praxis compared to Orthodoxy. I live in a heavily Roman Catholic European country and my wife is a committed RC and member of Opus Dei. A few of the vast differences in our praxis include:

- no real fasting discipline in the RCC (each fasts according to his own conscious)
- huge focus on Eucharistic adoration in the RCC
- infatuation with Marian apparitions in the RCC (Fatima, Lourdes and increasingly, Medjugorje) and willingness to allow such to dictate doctrine and dogma
- continued emphasis on works to achieve indulgences in the RCC
- a "legal" mindset in the RCC that manifests itself in "obligations" like going to church on certain days to avoid a "mortal sin"

There are many others as well. The very committed RCs I know (such as my wife) may spend very little time actually in liturgy every week and yet considerable time in adoration of the Eucharist, witnessing "seers" from Medjugorje, or attending diverse communities such as the Charismatic Renewal, the Legionaries of Christ, or Opus Dei. Whilst these groups may be fine, their praxis is in many ways not Orthodox.

So, whilst we have much in common with the RCC in terms of theology, doctrine and ecclesiology as DBH points out, we live out our faith in radically different ways.

I think you overstate our differences. Personally I have encountered none of this 'infatuation' with Marian apparitions in the Catholic Church, and while I am certain it exists, I wouldn't say that this characterizes being Catholic. Eucharistic adoration takes place for about 20 minutes a week at our parish, on Tuesdays after Mass. I doubt that counts as a 'huge focus', and really is just reverence for the incarnate Son of God that we all worship and adore. I was Orthodox for six years and have been worshiping with the Catholics for the majority of the last ten months or so (and for almost two months as a Catholic). The differences are really not that radical at all, at least in my experience.

As an Orthodox Christian, I:

Said my morning prayers, recited the Jesus Prayer, read the Bible, repented of and confessed my sins, communed, tried to live out my faith in the world by attempting to be non-judgmental, disciplined, charitable, and virtuous, said my evening prayers, and went to bed.

As a Catholic, I:

Say my morning prayers, recite the Jesus Prayer, read the Bible, repent of and confess my sins, commune, try to live out my faith in the world by being non-judgmental, disciplined, charitable, and virtuous, say my evening prayers, and go to bed.

Okay, add to this the recital of the Rosary and more fellowship with other parishioners, as well as a greater frequency of communion (due to the frequency of services), and there really isn't anything that radically different going on at all, that I can see (aside from obvious cultural and aesthetic differences).
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« Reply #39 on: August 28, 2014, 12:22:37 AM »

"I have good news for you then. Thomas Aquinas would agree. As for later schoolmen, apart from the specific Latin errors (e.g. filioque) they may have defended, can you point out where they reduce God to such an abstraction?"

REPLY:  I have no doubt Aquinas would agree.   At the end of his life he declared his works straw...

As I mentioned before,  I am speaking of Thomism as it evolved.   My issue is not with any particular schoolmen, who may in and of themselves have been great guys.   I am speaking in terms of the Popular Culture of Roman Catholicism, the everyday perception, application (or misapplication/misinterpretation) of these ideas, and Thomism as it is perceived and applied "on the ground."   In Roman Catholicism, there is a very deep disconnect between what occurs in Rome and the Schools, and what happens everywhere else.

Well, it's a good thing I began the topic with this:

Quote
My main concerns are simple, how much can I retain from my personal Thomistic studies? I do not mean the Thomism that was developed by the Thomists that came after that systematized it to death or the over reaction of the existential thomists [sic] of modernity but studying from the source without interpreters (more of a moderate Aristotelian/moderate Platonic approach.) My main studies were his philosophy such as natural law, the five ways, Aristotelian fundamentals such as form and matter or the four causes, a priori analytics (I must confess I study and support a moderate amount of analytical philosophy), synderesis or Greek συντήρησις (suntḗrēsis), etc... I have read that Orthodox seminaries used his Summa as teaching manual in the distant past, so I can't imagine there is much difference.

Like I said, I don't engage much on the interpretations of Thomists but read what Aquinas wrote myself. And again, his theological works were secondary to me, his Aristotelian philosophy is what interests me. The only theological subject that he expounded on that truly interests me is predestination, but most of which were not his original thoughts.

I'm glad to see that the East values Aristotelian philosophy then, puts me at much ease.
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« Reply #40 on: August 28, 2014, 12:59:09 AM »


I'm glad to see that the East values Aristotelian philosophy then, puts me at much ease.



Orthodoxy has had many bright lights in the fields of learning.


This will be my last post on this thread, and I will let Iconodule have the last word, as I really don't want to get into a back and forth that may go down a road I don't wish to travel (IE, Polemical) and hopelessly derail your thread.

My advice is to put away the books.   Seriously.   I was fixated on these things, and it was deeply detrimental to my Journey.   You are not me, obviously.....BUT, it is a danger that can't be ignored.

My teacher was a wonderful Yiayia who wasn't interested in debating any of this nonsense.  She told me simply:

"Understand the Divine Liturgy."

Several times during the Liturgy,  "Let us Attend!" is said. 

What I needed was not to read about this or that council or worry about this philosopher or that....

What I needed was to learn how to BE Orthodox, as opposed to learning ABOUT Orthodoxy or living an abstract, intellectual Orthodoxy.

I learned more from her and the elderly people in my parish about being Orthodox than any book or blog.   

The Liturgy, prayers, Icons, Hymns and Lives of the Saints are your "Catechism."   Anything else is extra, and whether or not it is helpful at this stage is something you can talk about with a Priest.

Live the Faith, and leave the Thomist stuff alone.  You can always come back to it when you have grown in the Faith....this isn't about "banning books" or "living in ignorance."


God be with you in your Journey.

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« Reply #41 on: August 28, 2014, 01:33:28 AM »

...

I'm glad to see that the East values Aristotelian philosophy then, puts me at much ease.

The irony here is profound.
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« Reply #42 on: August 28, 2014, 01:37:35 AM »

David Bentley Hart's excellent essay "The Myth of Schism" can be found here. He demolishes much of the garbage theology and historiography that informs contemporary knee-jerk anti-Westernism (and which is parroted on this thread). He also points out the real differences between us and the RC's, in a constructive and nuanced way.

Thank you for including that article. I enjoy DBH very much and that article doesn't disappoint. I recommend it.

I think, however, that he misses the very important differences that exist between Roman Catholic spiritually in praxis compared to Orthodoxy. I live in a heavily Roman Catholic European country and my wife is a committed RC and member of Opus Dei. A few of the vast differences in our praxis include:

- no real fasting discipline in the RCC (each fasts according to his own conscious)
- huge focus on Eucharistic adoration in the RCC
- infatuation with Marian apparitions in the RCC (Fatima, Lourdes and increasingly, Medjugorje) and willingness to allow such to dictate doctrine and dogma
- continued emphasis on works to achieve indulgences in the RCC
- a "legal" mindset in the RCC that manifests itself in "obligations" like going to church on certain days to avoid a "mortal sin"

There are many others as well. The very committed RCs I know (such as my wife) may spend very little time actually in liturgy every week and yet considerable time in adoration of the Eucharist, witnessing "seers" from Medjugorje, or attending diverse communities such as the Charismatic Renewal, the Legionaries of Christ, or Opus Dei. Whilst these groups may be fine, their praxis is in many ways not Orthodox.

So, whilst we have much in common with the RCC in terms of theology, doctrine and ecclesiology as DBH points out, we live out our faith in radically different ways.

I think you overstate our differences. Personally I have encountered none of this 'infatuation' with Marian apparitions in the Catholic Church, and while I am certain it exists, I wouldn't say that this characterizes being Catholic. Eucharistic adoration takes place for about 20 minutes a week at our parish, on Tuesdays after Mass. I doubt that counts as a 'huge focus', and really is just reverence for the incarnate Son of God that we all worship and adore. I was Orthodox for six years and have been worshiping with the Catholics for the majority of the last ten months or so (and for almost two months as a Catholic). The differences are really not that radical at all, at least in my experience.

As an Orthodox Christian, I:

Said my morning prayers, recited the Jesus Prayer, read the Bible, repented of and confessed my sins, communed, tried to live out my faith in the world by attempting to be non-judgmental, disciplined, charitable, and virtuous, said my evening prayers, and went to bed.

As a Catholic, I:

Say my morning prayers, recite the Jesus Prayer, read the Bible, repent of and confess my sins, commune, try to live out my faith in the world by being non-judgmental, disciplined, charitable, and virtuous, say my evening prayers, and go to bed.

Okay, add to this the recital of the Rosary and more fellowship with other parishioners, as well as a greater frequency of communion (due to the frequency of services), and there really isn't anything that radically different going on at all, that I can see (aside from obvious cultural and aesthetic differences).

You will notice that there is a huge critique against some modern parishes who do not do more adoration, there is indeed emphasis, especially in many modern monasteries. Also add all the novenas, scapulars etc. that could be used for you as a lay person to skip through purgatory with less pain (usually from Marian apparition, just saying).

I think you were given a good explanation, but of course there are exceptions. If you go to the Charismatic Catholics, you would probably feel more at home as a pentecostal christian but...
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« Reply #43 on: August 28, 2014, 01:46:09 AM »

Quote
If you go to the Charismatic Catholics, you would probably feel more at home as a pentecostal christian but...

Huh??
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« Reply #44 on: August 28, 2014, 05:07:13 AM »


I'm glad to see that the East values Aristotelian philosophy then, puts me at much ease.



Orthodoxy has had many bright lights in the fields of learning.


This will be my last post on this thread, and I will let Iconodule have the last word, as I really don't want to get into a back and forth that may go down a road I don't wish to travel (IE, Polemical) and hopelessly derail your thread.

My advice is to put away the books.   Seriously.   I was fixated on these things, and it was deeply detrimental to my Journey.   You are not me, obviously.....BUT, it is a danger that can't be ignored.

My teacher was a wonderful Yiayia who wasn't interested in debating any of this nonsense.  She told me simply:

"Understand the Divine Liturgy."

Several times during the Liturgy,  "Let us Attend!" is said. 

What I needed was not to read about this or that council or worry about this philosopher or that....

What I needed was to learn how to BE Orthodox, as opposed to learning ABOUT Orthodoxy or living an abstract, intellectual Orthodoxy.

I learned more from her and the elderly people in my parish about being Orthodox than any book or blog.   

The Liturgy, prayers, Icons, Hymns and Lives of the Saints are your "Catechism."   Anything else is extra, and whether or not it is helpful at this stage is something you can talk about with a Priest.

Live the Faith, and leave the Thomist stuff alone.  You can always come back to it when you have grown in the Faith....this isn't about "banning books" or "living in ignorance."


God be with you in your Journey.



POM nomination!
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