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SeanMc
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« on: May 15, 2005, 06:34:40 PM »

"Lost," this word readily describes my situation. If you look to your left, you will see that my religion is, "Sort of Catholic." But, I've come to see that in some matters, the Catholic Church goes against both Holy Scripture and Tradition.

Let me start off by saying that I became Catholic in 2004 (raised a Jehovah's Witness, atheist by 13/14) and, though I had some theological doubts, I put my faith in the Catholic claim of Papal infallibility. From what I can see from the Fathers, the Church of Christ did not believe what the modern Catholic Church believes. I was more convinced of Catholicism intellectually, rather than spiritually, but now the intellectual basis of my faith in the Catholic Church is starting to fall apart.

There are numerous examples of the Roman Church's errors and straying from Tradition. Catholics are starting to pray to Jesus "through Mary." Such a concept is foreign to Tradition along with the Co-Redemptrix theology which started gaining ground in the 1950's and will soon, IMO, be declared a dogma of the Catholic Church. On a side-note, I'm also having trouble with believing the Assumption, can anyone "prove" this doctrine in Orthodox, rather than Catholic terms?

Add to this the theological and other changes that the II Vatican Council brought. Not to be "anti-ecumenical," but doesn't Holy Scripture state that, "For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens." (Ps. 96:5). I don't think Our Lord, or St. Peter for that matter, would kiss the Koran or pray with Buddhists like Pope John Paul II (soon to be St. John Paul) did. I also find it interesting that the Latin Patriarch is doing things today, which were vehemently condemned by previous Popes.

The whole concept of indulgences is extremely sketchy (it only starts to appear in the Medieval Church, the best explaination I've heard for this one is from the arguement of the ability of Peter the loose and bind, but this is from the same Church that says that revelation ended with the last Apostle. 

Another thing that irks me about Catholicism is the excessive legalism which seems to supercede all, more important things (for example, you won't go to hell for missing Mass, only if it you do it regularly and so disrespect God, right?).

So, all this being said, I am very lost. What should I believe?

Just to state something, liturgically I'm very western, rather than eastern. I come from an Anglo-Irish ethnic background, and similarly an Anglican and Catholic religious background. Should I continue to go to the Catholic mass, I've stopped as of late because I feel like such as hypocrite going. I also need to go to Confession, as I haven't been in a while, similarly, should I go to Confession in a Catholic Church? What should I do in these kind of instances? (PS. I'll still pray the Rosary, of course, a Western tradition going back to St. Dominic in the 8th Century).

Just a little on me: I'm a second-year (in Sept.) Classics student (both Greek and Latin) at UBC (http://cnrs.ubc.ca/). I'm thinking of switching to Political Science, however. 

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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2005, 10:26:49 PM »

There are numerous examples of the Roman Church's errors and straying from Tradition. Catholics are starting to pray to Jesus "through Mary."

I am not sure; I am not Orthodox, but then studying Orthodox prayers, they're no different from Catholic prayers with regards to Mary.

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Such a concept is foreign to Tradition along with the Co-Redemptrix theology which started gaining ground in the 1950's and will soon, IMO, be declared a dogma of the Catholic Church. On a side-note, I'm also having trouble with believing the Assumption, can anyone "prove" this doctrine in Orthodox, rather than Catholic terms?

I don't know if these points would be addressed well in an Orthodox forum (with all due respect to our Orthodox brethren), unless you want to only reinforce your doubts. It would best be answered in a Catholic forum such as Catholic Answers. As for the Assumption, the only difference as far as I can tell with the Dormition is that Mary was assumed before she died, rather than after she died. There seems to also be Biblical precedents to this, as we note that Elijah and Enoch were assumed while still alive.

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I don't think Our Lord, or St. Peter for that matter, would kiss the Koran or pray with Buddhists like Pope John Paul II (soon to be St. John Paul) did.

Kissing the Quran was an act of respect, not an act of faith. Pope John Paul II showed that if we Christians are to be understood and listened to, it would do well to first set an example and show respect foremost to others before anything else. Only when there is mutual respect would there be dialogue, and hopefully through prayer and reflection as well as faithful witrness, we can bring them to Christ. Do you think calling them sinful reprobates who are bound for Hell will get them to listen, or will it only make them defensive and build up a wall with little chance for dialogue? I have seen how debates go, and usually when one comes around flying and condemning those who do not believe the same way he believes usually is not listened to, meaning in short the whole exercise goes down in failure. As for praying with other faiths--it again would help to know to whom the prayers are directed to. I am certain Pope John Paul II had not directed his prayers to Buddha. But then we are admonished as well to pray for one another, and again I am certain Pope John Paul II prayed that other faiths would come to believe in Christ and His Gospel.
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2005, 02:24:43 AM »

[ As for the Assumption, the only difference as far as I can tell with the Dormition is that Mary was assumed before she died, rather than after she died. There seems to also be Biblical precedents to this, as we note that Elijah and Enoch were assumed while still alive. ]

What Bibilical precedents tell us that the Theotokos was assumed while still alive?

Tradition tells us that the Assumption took place after her Dormition (Falling Asleep).  The story of St Thomas arriving late and asking to pay his last respects.  When they took him to the tomb of the Blessed Mother she was no longer there.  Tradition also says there was a flower on the stone where her body was placed.  That is why we Bless flowers on the 'Feast of the Dormition'.  Look at any Icon of the 'Dormition' and you will see Christ standing by her holding an infant.  The infant represents her soul which he took to heaven.  If her entire body was taken it was sometimes after her 'Dormition' (death) not before.

Beseides, if Mary was Immaculately conceived as papal Catholics claim she would have been incapable of death.  It was the sin of Adam & Eve that gave us our mortality. 

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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2005, 03:35:33 AM »

Beseides, if Mary was Immaculately conceived as papal Catholics claim she would have been incapable of death.

You mean to say that Elijah and Enoch were incapable of death as well? Or was it because of the grace of God that such were given to these people then?
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2005, 09:15:07 AM »

[You mean to say that Elijah and Enoch were incapable of death as well? Or was it because of the grace of God that such were given to these people then?]

You are mixing apples and oranges.  No one has ever claimed Elijah and Enoch were Immaculately Conceived thereby making them immortal since as such they would no have the result of Adam & Eve's sin.

Will still be interested in knowing -

What Bibilical precedents tell us that the Theotokos was assumed while still alive?

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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2005, 09:21:05 AM »

You mean to say that Elijah and Enoch were incapable of death as well? Or was it because of the grace of God that such were given to these people then?

According to the Fathers, Elijah and Enoch will return return to Earth and die, and then be ressurected. They are understood to be the "Two Witnesses" who will preach repentance during the reign of the Antichrist, and will be killed by him, then raised from the dead. (Apocalypse 11:3-13).
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2005, 09:41:39 AM »

So, all this being said, I am very lost. What should I believe?

This is a question for God, not for a forum. I could tell you what to believe, a Roman Catholic will tell you something else, an Anglican will tell you something else and so on......
The first words which St. John records Christ as saying are: "What do you seek?" (John 1:38) I think that He asks us all this question. What is it that we really seek? If we are seeking Christ, then, like the disciples, we should ask Him: "Where are you staying?"(John 1:38), and His answer is: "Come and see". (john 1:39).

Don't worry about feeling lost- There is a Good Shepherd Who is looking for you!
Just keep "baa-ing" to Him through prayer until He finds you.
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2005, 02:18:34 PM »

Sean,

Though my past appears to differ in a lot of details from your own, I too used to be Roman Catholic and can understand a lot of your basic "issues" with Catholicism.  They sound similar to the problems I inevitably ran into once I began reading the Church Fathers and started taking them on their own terms, rather than forcing them into this or that ideological mould.  This went hand in hand with also seeing the obvious historical problems of Roman Catholicism in and of itself, which I came to include no amount of "development of doctrine" hocus pocus could overcome (at least not with me staying honest and having a good conscience about it all.)

As for the current scandals in Roman Catholicism (which go beyond the misdeeds of clergy and Bishops, or even the Pope, but also touch the practical life of Roman Catholics in parishes - such as the demolition of the liturgy which occured in the late 60's/early 70's), while they are extreme, I would say this should only be a wake up call for you.  If they spur you onward to look deeper and begin seeking for authentic Christianity, that's good...and by the grace of God, you will find a place in the Orthodox Catholic Church.  But if you're looking for somewhere absolutely free from scandals, sinful clergy, all to human (and political) issues being confused with the Gospel, etc. etc... well, then I'm sorry to disappoint you, you won't find an absence of such things anywhere, including (unfortunately) in the Orthodox Church as well.  I know that sounds like a downer, but I think you should be well aware of this before even bothering to set foot into an Orthodox Church.  You'll find sinners there too, you'll find sinners everywhere.  Orthodoxy is the genuine spiritual hospital - you can find what you need in there.  But you'll also find lots of sick people in the hospital too... which round aboutly, kind of makes sense.  Just don't approach the Church expecting to find only a gallery of Saints, otherwise this unrealistic expectation will set you up for a hard fall.

Quote
There are numerous examples of the Roman Church's errors and straying from Tradition. Catholics are starting to pray to Jesus "through Mary." Such a concept is foreign to Tradition along with the Co-Redemptrix theology which started gaining ground in the 1950's and will soon, IMO, be declared a dogma of the Catholic Church. On a side-note, I'm also having trouble with believing the Assumption, can anyone "prove" this doctrine in Orthodox, rather than Catholic terms?

Well, the fundamental problem behind the "Immaculate Conception" or the "Co-Redemptrix" doctrines, etc. is really the root problem of Roman Catholicism itself (or I should say, one of the root problems), a core problem that caused the Latin Church to sever itself both officially and organically from the Orthodox Church - the treatment of theology as a strain of philosophy, rather than the careful articulation of Prophetic revelation.  Many Roman Catholics are confused (and thus deceived) by the fact that the Church Fathers often employed terms borrowed from worldly philosphers and thinkers.  While this is certainly the case, they were using such terminology in a modified way, and for a purpose - to express the reality revealed to the Holy Apostles, and which they too (and all of the Saints) really and truly experience.  It's the same reality, an unchanging truth, because obvious God doesn't change, and our salvation has been acomplished once and for all.

OTOH, Roman Catholicism essentially winds up teaching that there are "other truths", not known consciously to the Holy Apostles or even necessarily experienced by them or expounded by them, which human cleverness (supposedly "guided by grace") can arrive at.  Thus, the Christian revelation becomes a set of premises, which can be subjected to syllogistic reasonins ala. Aristotle (who essentially replaced the Fathers as the means the Latins used for understanding the revelation of Christ).  And that is why, new "logical conclusions" re being arrived at from the so called "facts of revelation" which are understood in a very legalistic fashion.  Hence, why in the 19th century the Roman Catholic Church could decide definitively (over 1800 years after the fact, after the alleged "insitution of the Papacy") that the Pope was "infallible", and not see anything ridiculous in this.

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The whole concept of indulgences is extremely sketchy (it only starts to appear in the Medieval Church, the best explaination I've heard for this one is from the arguement of the ability of Peter the loose and bind, but this is from the same Church that says that revelation ended with the last Apostle.

"Indulgences" negate the value of asceticism/penances and require a completly superficial/legalistic understanding of penances.  Apart from this legalistic understanding, "indulgences" make no sense whatsoever.

Ascetic practices, particularly when given as penances by a Priest who hears confessions to a repentent person, are medicinal - if they chastise, it is for the same reason God chastises us (and this is what St.Paul teaches) - because He loves us, and He wants us to be made better.  Often, the best medicines taste bad.

OTOH, the Roman Catholic Church has reduced penance to the "legal satisfaction" of a displeased God.  Besides the basic problem of this view in and of itself, it also opens the door to the extravagant idea that a properly authorized individual can apply the "legal satsifactions of others" (in this case, allegedly, of Saints) on behalf of penitents, so as to lessen or get them out of penance.  And why?  Because in this legalistic understanding, unless penances are completed, a person will be left "unpaid" and have to go to "Purgatory" to pay the rest off.  All of this...the understanding of penance, the indulgences, and the purgatory, are absurdities.  They have nothing to do with the Apostolic doctrine, and Orthodoxy rejects all of these as innovations.

Quote
Another thing that irks me about Catholicism is the excessive legalism which seems to supercede all, more important things (for example, you won't go to hell for missing Mass, only if it you do it regularly and so disrespect God, right?).

You spend time with someone you love - even if you're not in the mood, you make time for them.  If you don't pray, if you don't go to the Divine Liturgy...well, what's that say about what's in your heart?  Your priorities?  There is no understanding though, that I'm aware of that this is a quote "mortal sin".  IN the end, these are matters of the heart...we have to learn to be honest with ourselves.  That is a struggle which lasts a lifetime.

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Just to state something, liturgically I'm very western, rather than eastern. I come from an Anglo-Irish ethnic background, and similarly an Anglican and Catholic religious background. Should I continue to go to the Catholic mass, I've stopped as of late because I feel like such as hypocrite going. I also need to go to Confession, as I haven't been in a while, similarly, should I go to Confession in a Catholic Church? What should I do in these kind of instances? (PS. I'll still pray the Rosary, of course, a Western tradition going back to St. Dominic in the 8th Century).

Rather than complicate things with my amateur opinions, I'd recommend you find an Orthodox parish near by (preferably one where English is used for much of the Liturgy, or all of it even) and start attending.  Visit a few Churches even.  Just attend, take it all in.  And when you feel comfortable (or perhaps you may be like me, a little shy, and feel the need to "push" yourself to do this), talk to a Priest there.  Or several Priests.  Just say you're "interested" in Orthodoxy - you don't have to be dead set convinced just to talk to them.

In the mean time, here is a good website with lots of valuable articles - they'll give you a take on history, religion, and western civilization that you're probably not familiar with.  The wriitings of two of the featured authors on there (the late Fr.John Romanides and Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos) are particularly good.

"The Romans" website - www.romanity.org

Btw., I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to send you a private message relating to this.

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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2005, 04:42:51 AM »

You are mixing apples and oranges. No one has ever claimed Elijah and Enoch were Immaculately Conceived thereby making them immortal since as such they would no have the result of Adam & Eve's sin.

I think you're muddling the issue: we're talking of the Assumption, not the Immaculate Conception. Reread the posts above. We have not tackled the Immaculate Conception here.

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What Bibilical precedents tell us that the Theotokos was assumed while still alive?

Like I said, Enoch and Elijah. Are you denying the Bible doesn't speak of them?
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2005, 10:37:49 AM »

I could tell you what to believe, a Roman Catholic will tell you something else, an Anglican will tell you something else and so on......

I dunno about that. Smiley It could be that all three would say something like one should believe in: One God in Three Persons, just for starters.

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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2005, 11:19:51 AM »



I think you're muddling the issue: we're talking of the Assumption, not the Immaculate Conception. Reread the posts above. We have not tackled the Immaculate Conception here.


No, he didn't muddle the issue, as the two are intextricably bound to each other.
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2005, 11:34:33 AM »

Millardo Millardo Millardo... I got to tell you, you either study more about Orthodoxy or stop making (I will be nice) funny statements.

Parafraze: From my stydy of Orthodox Prayers they are the same as Latin, with regards to Mary.

hm.

Let me just say this... YOU KNOW EXACTLY ZIP ABOUT THE WAY WE SEE THEOTOKOS. (ZIP BEING NAUGHT, NONE, ZERO...)

Enjoy.

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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2005, 11:47:13 AM »

Kissing the Quran was an act of respect, not an act of faith.

Which of the church fathers do you think would have kissed the Koran if given the opportunity as an act of respect?
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2005, 11:55:26 AM »



Which of the church fathers do you think would have kissed the Koran if given the opportunity as an act of respect?

Or currrent Patriarch or Metropolitan for that matter. (At least I hope not).
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2005, 11:48:23 PM »

SeanMC:

A friend told me a while back something invaluable as I face family opposition to the Orthodox Church.  First of all, seek God and ask him to reveal the truth to you.  Secondly, ask friends and family members to do the same, pray for you that God would reveal truth.  Lastly, pursue God.
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2005, 03:23:37 AM »


I think you're muddling the issue: we're talking of the Assumption, not the Immaculate Conception. Reread the posts above. We have not tackled the Immaculate Conception here.


The deliberated vagueness in papal statements regarding the passing of the Theotokos (they don't explicitly state that she died) was due to the belief that being free from original sin, the Theotokos would not die. Of course, seeing as the tradition is that Mary did indeed die (the feast of the Dormition having been celebrated for centuries) the pope was not able to state explicitly that she did not die.

Munificentissimus Deus reads:
Quote
44. For which reason, [...] we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

Christos Anesti!  Christ is Risen!
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