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Author Topic: Pope pledges to end Orthodox rift  (Read 10278 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 29, 2005, 10:28:39 AM »

Pope pledges to end Orthodox rift

BARI, Italy (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI visited the eastern port of Bari on his first papal trip Sunday and pledged to make healing the 1,000-year-old rift with the Orthodox church a "fundamental" commitment of his papacy.

Benedict made the pledge in a city closely tied to the Orthodox church. Bari, on Italy's Adriatic coast, is considered a "bridge" between East and West and is home to the relics of St. Nicholas of Myra, a 4th-Century saint who is one of the most popular in both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Benedict referred to Bari as a "land of meeting and dialogue" with the Orthodox in his homily at a Mass that closed a national religious conference. It was his first pilgrimage outside Rome since being elected the 265th leader of the Roman Catholic Church on April 19.

"I want to repeat my willingness to assume as a fundamental commitment working to reconstitute the full and visible unity of all the followers of Christ, with all my energy," he said to applause from the estimated 200,000 people at the Mass.

Words aren't enough, he said, adding that "concrete gestures" were needed even from ordinary Catholics to reach out toward the Orthodox.

"I also ask all of you to decisively take the path of spiritual ecumenism, which in prayer will open the door to the Holy Spirit who alone can create unity," he said.

Benedict has said previously that reaching out to the Orthodox and other Christians would be a priority of his papacy, and his call to ordinary Catholics to take the charge as well built on that agenda.

Although a brief, three-hour visit, the trip was Benedict's inaugural pastoral pilgrimage and showed he was following in the much-traveled footsteps of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

The most-traveled pope in history, John Paul made 104 foreign pilgrimages and 146 pastoral visits in Italy during his 26-year papacy. John Paul visited Bari in 1984.

Benedict, 78, has said he is looking forward to attending the World Youth Day celebrations in Cologne, in his native Germany, this August -- a trip John Paul had hoped to make himself.

He also has told residents of Castel Gandolfo, the lakeside papal residence in the hills south of Rome, that he would spend the summer months there. The Holy See distinguishes between pastoral visits to Italian cities and visits to Castel Gandolfo, which is Vatican property.

Polish bishops have said they also want Benedict to visit the late pope's homeland.

Benedict flew by helicopter to Bari, near the "heel" of boot-shaped Italy, and waved to the crowds from a white "popemobile," before celebrating the seaside, open-air Mass to close the conference on the Eucharist.

Wearing his bishop's miter and white vestments with Swiss Guards standing at attention at the foot of the altar area, Benedict blessed the faithful, many of whom waved the Vatican's yellow and white flags or white baseball caps handed out by organizers to shield them from the sun.

Security in the city was tight, with the town center and seaside boulevard leading to the Mass site closed to regular traffic. Hundreds of police patrolled the streets, coastal waters were closed to private vessels and the Italian navy ship San Giusto was anchored nearby, officials said.

In his greetings at the start of the Mass, Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari referred to the city's Orthodox ties, saying the arrival of St. Nicholas' bones in 1057 "built a bridge between the East and West that neither time nor divisions have ever demolished."

"Even in these days, many brothers of the eastern churches have been united with us, encouraging us to continue with renewed commitment and enthusiasm on the path of prayer and ecumenical dialogue," the archbishop said.

In a bid to improve relations, the Vatican's top ecumenical official, Cardinal Walter Kasper, proposed this week at the Bari conference to hold a synod, or meeting of Catholic and Orthodox bishops, news reports said.

Father Vladimir Kuciumov, rector of the Russian Orthodox Church in Bari, said Benedict had already made a good start toward improving relations with the Orthodox in some of his inaugural homilies and speeches.

"We hope for the best," he said in a telephone interview Sunday. "We still have to see, but there is a hope to improve our relations."

The Italian media had been speculating that Benedict would use his first pilgrimage in Italy to weigh in on a pressing national issue: upcoming referendums on voiding parts of a new law that restricts assisted fertility treatment in Italy. Italian bishops have urged voters to stay home so the referendums fail to reach quorum.

It seemed more likely though, that Benedict would use an audience with the Italian Bishops' Conference on Monday to make any reference to the issue.



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Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2005, 01:02:24 PM »

I think one of our patriarchs should publish a list of things that the Roman Catholic Church would have to change before we could have unity.  Sort of like Luther's 95 (?) Thesis.
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2005, 01:22:31 PM »

Quote
Originally Quoted by Landon77:

I think one of our patriarchs should publish a list of things that the Roman Catholic Church would have to change before we could have unity.  Sort of like Luther's 95 (?) Thesis.

Luther's 95 theses are unfortunately thought to challenge key doctrines of the Catholic faith.  On the contrary, the 95 theses primarily attack abuses--in particular, those related with indulgences and salvation.  Luther even declares anathema anyone who does not believe indulgences to be apostolic and holy. 

But this said, I do believe that the Orthodox would be crazy not to create a list of what they believe the Western Church should concede to before any union.  However, I doubt any union is likely to take place soon.  Catholics are not going to give up Papal Infallibility, Papal Authority, Purgatory, the Immaculate Conception, etc., and most Orthodox would never think of accepting these; although, some Eastern Catholics have decided to acquiesce while maintaining their Orthodox beliefs.  I think the pope's true plan is to suck in the Orthodox Church little by little by bringing them into the Western Church through Eastern Catholicism.  Evil

But that's just what I think. 
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2005, 01:26:03 PM »

And I think StGeorge is absolutely correct in at least the last two paragraphs above. Vatican I's "catch-22" needs to be addressed first...before anything else.

But that's just what I think (too).

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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2005, 01:29:10 PM »

Eastern Catholics have not maintained Orthodox belief--hence why they are called Catholics. They only use a form of worship that is prevalent in the Eastern Orthodox communion, but have Catholic beliefs.
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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2005, 02:20:16 PM »

The Bishops should meet at a decent tavern and have a few brews and brats during their discussions.

Also set up the fine for all whiners, cause the world is full of them.

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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2005, 02:34:32 PM »

Tis a good idea. To rally an old call, "Imbibe!!!" lol.
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2005, 04:31:01 PM »

I'd really like to believe otherwise, but I'm strongly inclined to think too much water has gone under the bridge for the entire Latin church to simply return - at least on a legitimate basis.

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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2005, 04:39:50 PM »

Quote

Words aren't enough, he said, adding that "concrete gestures" were needed even from ordinary Catholics to reach out toward the Orthodox.


ISTM that there is no change in tactics really. "Reach out" seems to imply that they stay where they are and pull us in. I could be wrong though. It might be suggesting they reach out and take hold of the hand being extended to pull them out of the mire they're stuck in Wink Grin

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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2005, 04:49:12 PM »

I've got it!  I know how there can be unity!    Grin  The Pope and all his bishops join the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Christian Archdiocese of North America.  They would do this by making all the changes that the current members of the WR Vicariate have been more than willing to make to be a part of the Orthodox Church.    Afro
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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2005, 09:34:58 PM »

More post Vatican II nebulous nonsense. What hubris!
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2005, 12:22:33 AM »

I'd really like to believe otherwise, but I'm strongly inclined to think too much water has gone under the bridge for the entire Latin church to simply return - at least on a legitimate basis.

In my endeavour to become Orthodox, I have had this same thought.  And it is the same thought I have for those of the Protestant faith as well.
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2005, 08:54:40 AM »

Scooter,

Christ is Risen!

Yes, I think that the future is individual conversions - or perhaps small corporate conversions (like a parish from say, the Anglo-Catholics or Old Catholics going over to Orthodoxy.)  There is just too much now regarded as integral to Roman Catholicism which would have to be abandoned - I can't see the Vatican doing that.

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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2005, 10:58:35 AM »

[Words aren't enough, he said, adding that "concrete gestures" were needed even from ordinary Catholics to reach out toward the Orthodox.]

Depends upon what these gestures are.  If he thinks, like his  predecessor that the return of a few stolen relics or Holy items will make the Orthodox Catholics so grateful they will be willing to compromise on doctine or dogma, he really doesn't understand at all.

We shall see just what he means by 'gestures'.

Orthodoc

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« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2005, 11:57:45 AM »

Some are not afraid and have the acorns to make the first gesture, and there are others who are afraid of their own shadow.

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« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2005, 01:56:48 PM »

Let them start with a nice "gesture": the undoing of something that they should have never done; the removal of the Uniat Churches.
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« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2005, 02:04:14 PM »

Let them start with a nice "gesture": the undoing of something that they should have never done; the removal of the Uniat Churches.

That isn't about to happen considering now that they have moved their headquarters to Kiev they are now pushing into area of Ukraine where the Unia does not exist.  just like I predicted here last year and was attacked for stating it.

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« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2005, 02:37:48 PM »

The RC 'organically' has evolved into a total different beast. If we ever do re-unite, it will be a work of the Holy Spirit. I'm probably one of the few here that believes the RC still has grace, but not a "bull's-eye" if you know what I mean. They seriously have to do allot of work fixing their own mess first. They should start by getting rid off that god-awful Novus Ordo and go back to the traditional Latin mass (maybe throw in a few more icons, more incense.. Wink). They should seriously stop with all the bad statues/art/icons that look like they came from the 99-cent store. Stop allowing any moron to stand up on the alter serving communion to others. Stop your parishioners from doing cheesy things like clapping in the middle of the mass. Do something about your church architecture, nobody with good taste and a decent understanding of how a church should look and smell wants to walk into a church that happens to look like a gymnasium also. Stop your priest from sounding like they just got done with a funeral, it's ok to talk and sound like an 'average joe.' Hmmm, what else? Oh yea, throw out all those liberal homo-Leninist priest that have been hiding out in your church that have caused you so much trouble. There is nothing worse you can do to betray Christ than keeping those home wreckers around. Clean your whole house of anyone that intentionally goes out of his or her way to pervert the gospel of Christ. When you do that, that will speak volumes on your willingness to embrace a more traditional Christianity like Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2005, 03:11:00 PM »

Quote
They should seriously stop with all the bad statues/art/icons that look like they came from the 99-cent store.

Those tacky statues look around .99$, but they're really like 40$.

It's almost as bad as trying to buy a Catholic bible. For a cheap hardcover Jerusalem Bible, it costs 60$. For a Calfskin KJV w/apocrypha, it costs $99. I'll take the KJV, thank you; and buy the JB at a used book store (coincidentally, I got la Bible de Jerusalem for 27$ at the Canadian Bible Society).

What's worse is the $100 missals that probably only cost 10-20$ to produce. It's price gouging to the extreme.
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« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2005, 03:27:09 PM »

Politics are politics, be they secular or religious, they both have their agendas, the "mites" of both sides will have little input, for the bishops are trusted by their flocks to make those decisions.

I do not have the patience needed and have little time for repetative rhetoric as seen here and other places.

Let the OC & RC chess game begin.

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« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2005, 06:20:37 PM »

Some are not afraid and have the acorns to make the first gesture, and there are others who are afraid of their own shadow.
You must think very little of the Orthodox, James, if you think that fear is holding us back.
It is the old Rome which lacks "acorns" if she fails to correct her doctrinal errors- it doesn't take "acorns" to perform an empty gesture for the sake of appearances. That's like committing fornication and going to confession saying you missed Mass on Sunday. No "acorns" needed.
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« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2005, 09:47:38 PM »

That discussion is between the Hierarchs, and many Orthodox can't agree on what or if they are errors.

I find it interesting that the MP welcomes a German and denies a Pole, nothing like a little ethnic prejudice to spice things up.

It is going to be interesting, Moscow vs Constantinople, the who's and what's.

I hate spitting contests, but this will be interesting.


james


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« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2005, 10:55:00 PM »

I wouldn't be so sure that ethnic tensions were the sole reason for the MP's coldness towards Rome.  John Paul II seemed IMO to push a little too hard for the tastes of the MP... he wanted to paint himself as the hero reaching out to the evil intolerant Russians. 
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« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2005, 11:31:23 PM »

I wouldn't be so sure that ethnic tensions were the sole reason for the MP's coldness towards Rome. John Paul II seemed IMO to push a little too hard for the tastes of the MP... he wanted to paint himself as the hero reaching out to the evil intolerant Russians.

You are right.  It had nothing to do with ethnic tensions.  It started with a pope that signed an agreement regarding the former UGCC and then refusing to support that agreement once his Eastern Rite subjects turned their backs on it six weeks into the agreement.  A pope that remained silent while those subjects were retaking the parishes by force rather than giving the paishioners the freedom to vote on where they wanted to be.  Up until that point relations were good.  Of course using the Kazan Icon a a bribe into Russia didn't do much to endear him to the Russians. 

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« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2005, 10:48:21 AM »

I think the one thing which has turned a lot of Orthodox off who were willing to go for this ecumenism stuff with good will and with right intentions (quite unlike the closet branch-theorists and syncretists who are enamored with the worldly power and glories of the RCC), is that it's pretty clear that the Vatican has no intention of seriously examining itself and where the Latin Church departed from the "straight and narrow".  In other words, they have no intention whatsoever of "revising the books" and returning to their Orthodox roots, and thus providing a proper basis for re-union.  They're willing to portray this as much as possible (the Pope perhaps "opting" to give his potential fellow Patriarchs a lot of autonomy - but that's the key; "opting to"), at least in some regards (though certainly not in matters liturgical or doctrinal - it seems they still believe that all the Orthodox are concerned about is the Papacy, and that's it), but there is no substance.

- The Pope has no intention of agreeing with St.Photios and the rest of the Orthodox Church that the substance of their filioque dogma (at least as it was often taught and held, historically) was erroneous, and that it was schismatic and a violence against the unity of the Church for Rome to alter the Creed.

- No intention of declairing Vatican I to not simply not in fact be an Ecumenical Council, but to have formulated an outright heresy ("Papal Infallibility", and dogmas pertaining to the absolute authority of the Pope), nor the supposed "infallible definitions" of the Popes on the "Immaculate Conception" and the "Assumption."

- No intention of breaking out of the Frankish "Augustine only" narrowness (and a surprisingly incomplete St.Augustine, if you've ever actually read his works; he's really not so "out there" as some sectarian "Orthodox" polemics try to portray him), and the left overs of barren scholasticism, in favour of the breadth of the Patristic witness (including the Western Fathers, who are plentiful and well worth reading by all, not least of all by their descendents in blood, if not religion.)

etc. etc.

Besides the heretical ways of thinking it has spawned in it's extremes, the ecumenical movement has failed to show any positive fruit in terms of bringing anyone closer to Orthodoxy, most particularly the Roman Catholic Church.

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« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2005, 11:23:25 AM »

What does it matter? The Church is inside of us.
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« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2005, 12:20:43 PM »

What does it matter? The Church is inside of us.

The go become a Protestant and join your local "Christian" church since it is just a "Jesus and me" thing for you.
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« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2005, 01:29:14 PM »

The go become a Protestant and join your local "Christian" church since it is just a "Jesus and me" thing for you.

Christ's response:

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, a time is coming and is now here where true worshipers will neither worship on this mountain nor in Jerusalem at the temple. But true worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth."

Standard Orthodox (and any Organized Religion) Response:

That's not what He meant. What He meant was The (insert church name here) IS the Spirit and Truth. Now, DO WHAT I SAY!!!! I MUST HAVE OBEDIENCE!!
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« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2005, 01:39:12 PM »

Tom- I often wonder why you are Orthodox.  Would you like to share that with the rest of us or just continue being a jerk?  Frankly, your comments about the Orthodox Church are rude.   Anyone who even pretends to call himself an Orthodox Christian and still speak like you do should be ashamed of himself. 

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« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2005, 01:45:55 PM »

Tom- I often wonder why you are Orthodox. Would you like to share that with the rest of us or just continue being a jerk?

Thanks for your support. Now, what do you find wrong with what I posted? What do you disagree with? Tell me how you would refute the Protestant position?
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« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2005, 02:03:54 PM »

I always find it amusing when supposed Orthodox people who truly believe that Orthodoxy is the Truth tell Tom that he should go join a Protestant Church and call him a jerk.

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« Reply #31 on: May 31, 2005, 02:40:46 PM »

Tom, I think Christ meant that one can't tie worship to one specific locale, especially the Old Covenant land of ethnic Israel (or its Samaritan offshoot). I don't think Christ meant that there was not going to be an empirical visible Body (of people) called the Church in which there is succession in time and space from the apostles and continuity of apostolic doctrine. Christ's statements elsewhere seem to indicate that He does have in mind a visible community of believers against which the gates of hell will not prevail.

I do agree with you, however, that this visible Body can't necessarily for all time be tied to one specific "see"--whether that be Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria or Jerusalem--as it's theoretically possible that in a given location entire congregations may apostasize. Patriarchs of each have certainly embraced heresy at one time or another. I just don't believe that there will (or can) be a complete a universal apostasy involving a discontinuous break with the historic apostolic church.
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« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2005, 06:58:17 PM »

Christ said those who worship in spirit and in TRUTH. And hey, ya know, since lots of people are believing lots of different things, most of which are not true and some of which are damaging to the self, some of them aren;t worshipping in truth, but in falsehood. We've got the Truth, Tom, you and I and all Orthodox Christians who come to worship not only in spirit, but in Truth.

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Really? I find it sad. Tom, you're beyond belief sometimes, but I like ya Wink
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« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2005, 07:51:25 PM »

What does it matter? The Church is inside of us.
This isn't the only possible rendering of Luke 17:21. The original reads:
"++-Ã +¦+¦ +¦-ü++-Ã -â+¦++ +¦+¦++-Ã  -ë+¦+¦ ++ +¦+¦++-Ã  +¦+¦+¦+¦ +¦+¦++-Ã  +¦+¦-ü ++ +¦+¦-â+¦+++¦+¦+¦ -ä++-Ã  +++¦++-Ã  +¦++-ä++-é -Ã ++-ë++ +¦-â-ä+¦++" and is translated in the King James Version as:
"Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
However, the second part of the passage "+¦+¦++-Ã  +¦+¦-ü ++ +¦+¦-â+¦+++¦+¦+¦ -ä++-Ã  +++¦++-Ã  +¦++-ä++-é -Ã ++-ë++ +¦-â-ä+¦++" can also be rendered as:
"For behold, the Kingdom of Heaven is in your (plural) midst",
that is, the Church exists among it's members, not inside of each one individually.
This may sound pedantic, but the difference is great. One rendering says the Church is inside of me, while the other says that the Church fills the spaces between it's members, that is, the Church is outside of me.
Perhaps Our Lord left it ambiguous because He meant both, and that we should not over-emphasise one to the detriment of the other?
« Last Edit: May 31, 2005, 08:03:46 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2005, 08:15:41 PM »

By those statements I believe that Christ was pointing to the fact that heresy seperates us from Him.  For example: the life of Saint Agathon
Quote
Once, monks who had heard of his discernment came to St. Agathon to see if they could make him lose his temper. They asked him, "Are you Abba Agathon, a fornicator and a proud man?"

"Yes, that is true," the monk replied.

"Are you the Agathon who is always talking nonsense?" the monks inquired.

"I am," the saint agreed.

"Are you Agathon the heretic?" the monks persisted.

St. Agathon said, "I am not a heretic."

They asked the saint why he agreed with them when they accused him of vices, but then denied this last charge. Agathon replied, "I accepted the first accusations, since that was beneficial for my soul. But heresy is separation from God, and I do not wish to be separated from God."

From the lives of the Saints on www.oca.org under March 2nd
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« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2005, 08:30:11 PM »

See, constructive dialogue and explanations. Isn't that good?

choirfriend and ozgeorge and DT - Thanks!

And, of course, props to my brother Shultz!
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« Reply #36 on: May 31, 2005, 10:27:23 PM »

The RC 'organically' has evolved into a total different beast. If we ever do re-unite, it will be a work of the Holy Spirit. I'm probably one of the few here that believes the RC still has grace, but not a "bull's-eye" if you know what I mean. They seriously have to do allot of work fixing their own mess first.

Nacho, I also believe this.   I read the posted statement on the Pope's intentions for working toward unity... I think it is a good intention... Better than him saying "up your nose Orthodox, we don't need you, you heretics..."... if you get my drift.  His intention is the right one.    The article mentioned a council of RC/EO bishops and I think that is the right approach.  Any change that happens in the RC church will not happen because we held an icon to their head...and made them say, 'we were wrong all these years'..  but will only come if we can help them 'recoup' what they lost spiritually... and  this would evolve like it was their intention all along... They can make changes if in continuing dialogue on the church Fathers a 'renewal' spirit of the faith is brought forth and they focus on how to renew the faith... and renewal  is also one of the Pope's goals. The focus should be on the teachings of the Holy Fathers... not on 'don't do this and don't do that...'  the focus should be a spiritual prayerful one going back to our common routes.     It is right to want the RC church to change , but the EO church as  'the true church' should be able to lead this from within discussion as Christ would have, without a vindictive spirit.    While many would rejoice in hearing the RC church admit its wrong doings,  it would be better to find a way for them to change without also insisting that they say they were wrong... we should help shift the focus back to the beginning.... If they were to do this with full spirit, then little by little, the rest of the change would follow as a natural outcome, slowly.And this would be the best way, with the strongest foundation and least turmoil....    The EO church must work to help them find the true faith and the discovery should be a rejoicing moment,  not a 'Ha ha you were wrong, so there...'   If the vindictive attitude dissipates, and the focus shifts to where it should be, then all things through God and the Holy Spirit would be possible.   
I am hopeful that the Mother Church will accept the offered hand of its wayward child and lead it down the right path in harmony and not discord...

In XC, Kizzy
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« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2005, 01:28:33 PM »

"not...because we held an icon to their head"
that's funny!
great line, Kizzy
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« Reply #38 on: June 05, 2005, 02:58:58 PM »

Hello,

As a Roman Catholic I don't see re-union ever happening.  I realize that is a decidedly pessimistic statement but the fact is that the Roman Catholic Church has changed too much over the years/centuries for it to realistcally be able to re-unify with the Orthodox Church.  The various movements (Charismatic, for one) that have developed in the Roman Catholic Church would preclude this from happening.  Not to mention the various dissenting groups (and the bishops who support these groups) is another signficant factor prohibiting a real re-union.  Hate to say it but once the "cat is out of the bag", so to speak, you can't go back.  Maybe, just maybe, if the Roman Catholic Church were to return to orthodoxy and get its house in order then there could be a real discusion about unity.  Until that happens, though, these discussion are a useless exercise.

Peace,

Rob
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« Reply #39 on: June 05, 2005, 03:10:51 PM »

Hello,

As a Roman Catholic I don't see re-union ever happening.  I realize that is a decidedly pessimistic statement but the fact is that the Roman Catholic Church has changed too much over the years/centuries for it to realistcally be able to re-unify with the Orthodox Church.  The various movements (Charismatic, for one) that have developed in the Roman Catholic Church would preclude this from happening.  Not to mention the various dissenting groups (and the bishops who support these groups) is another signficant factor prohibiting a real re-union.  Hate to say it but once the "cat is out of the bag", so to speak, you can't go back.  Maybe, just maybe, if the Roman Catholic Church were to return to orthodoxy and get its house in order then there could be a real discusion about unity.  Until that happens, though, these discussion are a useless exercise.

Peace,

Rob


Are you sure you are Roman Catholic? Smiley (Joke)

Very true. Very very true.
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« Reply #40 on: June 05, 2005, 03:34:24 PM »




Are you sure you are Roman Catholic? Smiley (Joke)

Very true. Very very true.

Sadly, it doesn't do any good to bury your head in the sand.  I have been Roman Catholic for 12 years and it has been a struggle, especially when you have bishops turning a blind eye to priestly abuses of young men, advocating the homosexual agenda and supporting the ordination of women.  I have often considered/been tempted to convert to the Orthodox Church but have been deterred by the problems that exist within Orthodoxy and its presence in the United States.  Of course, the problems within Orthodoxy are of a different nature but they exist all the same.  Trust me, I am not a happy Roman Catholic.  However, I belong to a great parish with a holy priest and I really try to focus on the truths of the faith rather than the nonsense that happens in the United States.  At the same time, I can't help but wonder if what we are experiencing, as Roman Catholics, isn't due to the fact that we are separated from the Orthodox Church, which would lend a stabilizing force in maintaining tradition.

You have no idea how difficult it is being a faithful Roman Catholic.  From my vantage point, the grass is definitely greener on the other side of the fence.  I may convert to Orthodoxy some day but I want to make sure that it's for the right reasons and not just because I'm running away from the problems in the Roman Catholic Church.  That day may not be so far away.

Peace,

Rob
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« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2005, 04:18:06 PM »

That is a fair comment.

A very fair comment.

I don't know. I have a comment that will require a lot of letters to explain what exactly I mean... So, I won't go there..

But will say, I think that it is hard to be a Christian in this world full stop. And especially in every part of this world (I know it sounds illogic-well it is illogic-what I mean is to say for every part of this world satan finds the way to use the "elemets" against us. Having said this, I really think that "developed world" is the best trap satan thought of by far.

So, USA being the leader of this world, is especially hard area for a Christian to live. (Although, it seems that the rest of the world is trying to keep up and make lives of Christian as harsh as possible....).

In the end, I can not imagine what it is that what you are going through but, honestly, may God bless you. And all od us.
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« Reply #42 on: June 05, 2005, 06:05:13 PM »

Please feel free to share the thoughts you hesitated to.  It may spur additional, and warranted discussion.

My comments didn't really mean so much the U.S. itself the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S.  Yes, there are a lot of trapfalls here with all of the freedom and pushing the limits of decency but it seems as though much of the Roman Catholic Church has just followed that decent blindly when it should have been fighting the cultural decay with every fiber of its being.  You simply don't hear of this abherremt garbage happening in the Orthodox Church here.  Perhaps, if the Roman Catholic Church had more of the Orthodox mindset of "being in the world but not of the world" then none of the priestly sexual abuse crisis would have happened.  Do you know that there is a Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Andrew Greeley, who writes smutty romance novels in which sexual scenes are explained with incredible description?  This is a Roman Catholic priest!  An auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit has often held Mass for openly homosexual people - he even has a mitre with the purple gay triangle on it.  Yet, nothing is done to take these men to task or reign them in.  That's what I'm talking about.  The Roman Catholic Church has run amock in the U.S.

On the other hand, the U.S. provides wonderful opportunity for grace.  What an opportunity to fight Satan and hedonism by thumbing our noses at the cultural climate of the U.S.  So, while I wish this country were more holy, it's more the fact that the Roman Catholic Church has dropped the ball than the pitfalls that exist here.  All countries have temptations and the U.S. is no different.
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« Reply #43 on: June 05, 2005, 08:10:04 PM »

You simply don't hear of this abherremt garbage happening in the Orthodox Church here.
As much as I have always had this perception.. it is true you don't hear of it, but it does exist.   In fact there were several mega 'S.A' lawsuits in the GOA for which it is now working to pay.   Apparently they were discussed at the last big clergy laity. Perhaps the GO church deals with it better than the RC, I don't know.   The point is, that the OC is usually not on the radar screen of the mainstream media, so it is not taken apart in the media limb by limb as it goes through an issue...and can deal with it's issues without having to answer to Times magazine....  unlike the RC church where every issue is analyzed in the press..., misquoted, etc....  and who knows how much of what we read is accurate. Not that I don't believe the issues exist, I do, but I do believe that reading things in the popular press always has some  margin of reporter error or bias...  Interestingly in Greece there has been a huge shakeup in the church trying to get rid of clergy who have gone down the 'wrong path'.  I quote below a NYT article from February, just as an example that there is 'good and bad' everywhere...I don't believe the RC church is uniquely filled with evil clergy...

In XC, Kizzy


"Greek Church Struggles to Quell Raft of Scandals Involving Clergy
February 5, 2005

The New York Times

By ANTHEE CARASSAVA


 
ATHENS, Feb. 4 - Greece's top Orthodox clerics scrambled this week to salvage the church's credibility as scandal after scandal has emerged with clergymen implicated in drug dealing, antiquities theft, trial rigging and lewd conduct.
 
On Friday, the Athens bishop was suspended for six months as an investigation proceeded into accusations that he embezzled $2.9 million and tried to rig a court case in which he was fighting for control of a monastery.
 
The suspension was just one of the latest chapters in a tale of corruption that has scandalized all of Greece, a country where 97 percent of the people belong to the Greek Orthodox Church and the government enforces church law and pays priests' salaries.
 
The suspension, of Metropolitan Panteleimon of the Attica region, which includes Athens, was announced live on television, a day after church leaders appealed to the faithful to report improprieties and help root out corruption and strengthen the institution. The punishment was the harshest ordered against a high church official in two decades.
 
On Thursday, the Holy Synod of church leaders gave another bishop a week to answer allegations made by his predecessor that he was arrested last year during a drug bust in a "bar of ill-repute" in central Greece.
 
"This is no doubt the worst crisis in decades," said the Rev. Epifanios Economou, spokesman for the Greek Church. "We are determined, however, to act fast and decisively. Our greatest priority at this point is to restore faith and trust in the church, not to see people losing it."
 
The suspension of Metropolitan Panteleimon came 48 hours after a radio station broadcast excerpts of what it said were taped telephone conversations between the prelate, his lawyer and a senior judge in an attempt to win a favorable ruling in the case involving control of the monastery.
 
Although he questioned the authenticity of the tape, the metropolitan, who is the equivalent of a high-level bishop, publicly confirmed that he had in fact spoken to the judge about the case. Adding to the controversy, the judge was suspended by Greece's highest court last month on accusations of taking large bribes to free convicted drug dealers from jail.
 
Four other judges face similar disciplinary action, and at least nine other legal officials are under investigation for involvement with lawyers and priests suspected of promoting prostitution, helping get drug dealers acquitted and influencing church elections.
 
Among the clerics implicated is a former monk who was arrested Friday while en route to a prosecutor's office in the port city of Piraeus, to testify in connection with charges of antiquities smuggling. The former monk, Archimandrite Iakovos Giosakis, also faces embezzlement charges in connection with his work as a priest in Chicago.
 
The Synod suspended him from his religious duties on Thursday, when it asked the government to amend its ecclesiastic laws and allow the church to take tougher action on its own against its wayward clergymen.
 
Under the country's Constitution, the state can enforce laws in church affairs. Theodore Roussopoulos, spokesman for the conservative New Democracy Party that rose to power last March vowing to stamp out widespread cronyism and corruption, said the administration would support every effort toward reform."


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« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2005, 08:53:28 PM »

(This post is made as an answer to Rosborn)

Wow, that is bad.

Maybe you can suggest how RCC that prides herself on the "centralized rule" can have that sort of things occuring?

I think that Orthodox Church is facing a problem in the new world where we have a mixed population of "cradle" and converts; where "cradle" Orthodox, in a lot of cases do not wish to do anything "churchy" in english. I think that compromize should be found  one way or another, because this situation should be solved soon. Orthodox problems are more of technical problems (so to speak). Calendar issue, Parallel Hiearchy and of course - how to treat the question of ecumenism. Also we have issues with some of the hiearchs doing bad things-simonial things.

In all of these I have my view but, I am not opposed to other views (this is, in my case a very recent developement).


Now, what I wanted to say is that I am sort of an eclusivist - Orthodoxy containts all of the truth and no one else can be and should be even compared.

(Many of my views were developed from reading. I was not able - due to work - to go to the Church for most of the year, every year for the last 4 years. I lived in Saudi Arabia so... That is to say that since I turned towards Orthodoxy I went to the Church (obviously) only when I was on leave. So I have aquired many Zealot like characteristics, that now in the real world have to be purged and refined. I am saying this, so that what I am going to say next does not seem too strange. Also, I am only a cathecumen, who lacks Church experience and love towards anything non-Orthodox. But, that is all being refined now, and who knows, I might one day actually admit that there are good people outside OC   Smiley )

So, I tend to safeguard the exclusivity of the Orthodox Church.

Of late, listening to many members of the others communities I started to think that, well, satan is doing everything that will hurt everybody, just the way he always did. The target remains the same, only weapon and tactics have changed.

So, it is not enough that he has succed to divide the Christendom into this rather "pathetic" picture of "free for all" "comedy" of basic doctrines of our faith, but he has to do even more. It does not matter what satan does, God will always find the way to get the people towards Himself. This is why satan now attacks all, the way he does. If you notice, all of us have been attacked by means of introduction of new things. Now new things are not necessarily bad, but new things that are so wrong are. I mean RCC is being attacked one way, Anglicans the other, Lutherans third... and so on. In all of the "traditional" western communities the attack is against that tradition. In all evangelical communities, the attack is making them look like... I don't even know what they resemble anymore. Now Orthodoxy, well we have our own little issues, but I tend to think that they are nothing like the rest.

One thing that brought me to Orthodoxy was the fact that, even for all those attacks of the last 2000 years, and especially last 600, Orthdoxy did not change. We were hit and hit hard. We do suffer some consequences of that hit but as a whole Orthodox Church did not change. No new doctrines to make turks or communists happy was introduced, even both of those did try to force the Church to do so.

I guess, my point is that the separation from Orthodoxy is manifested in all non-Orthodox communities the same way. It is just the degree of separation that influences how big the manifestation will be. This manifestation being introduction of "let make the world happy" (you can use TV instead of the word World).

In the end, I think that all this was going to happen. All this has to happen. Satan is making an parody of values and morality in the world. Nothing is sacred anymore, everything is open for our deliberation. We are gods. We can do anything we want. Just yesterday one of the friends friends friend commented that she does not believe in God because that is "so not cool". I just crossed myself, and told her that she is a moron. I know I should have not done it, but the other option was me smashing her head in.. and that just is "so not cool"

The fact that we have "instant information- just add buttons" of this information age, is making all this rotting just more visible. The civilization is killing herself.

One of my great friends, who is enviromental scientist for Australian Government said to me ages ago:"We do not need God to destroy this planet, we will do so in 50 years, if this rape continues-even without increase of tempo or population". This world is empty, always was. To use the words of Brad Pitt in the movie fight club:"All these people that work the jobs that they do not like, so they can buy the things that they do not need".

So, I do not think that what you feel is nothing new. It was felt by many and is and will be.

The question remains, what are we to do?

I say, pray and fast and do more of this that we ever did.
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