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Author Topic: How do you imagine the structure of the united Church?  (Read 6021 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2005, 10:03:01 AM »

The Orthodox hold to the earlier views of another Carthage man, Saint Cyprian, who developed an uncompromising theology of "extra ecclesiam nulla sacramenta" - no sacraments outside the Church.  With exceptions for the exercise of economia in the reception of some heretics this is still the base teaching of the Orthodox today.

Except for the fact that the canons perscribe means other than baptism for the reception of certain converts (like Arians, etc.) - so it's not always "economia" to receive non-Orthodox without baptism!  Sometimes it is the prescribed method!
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« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2005, 10:10:41 AM »

I would imagine that the option for Baptism remains open? 

So we leave it up to the individual, and not the grace of the Church as expressed through the synods, through the local bishop, through the consciousness of the Church, as to whether or not baptism is necessary?  In a hospital, they don't let someone with the common cold get medication to fight organ rejection just because they want to; in the same way, in the "hospital of the soul" which is the Church, we're not supposed to allow people to "decide for themselves" whether or not they "want" baptism if the Church has determined that baptism is unneccesary.  Not to say that someone who has been allowed to make the decision has done something wrong, but it exhibits (on the part of the priest/bishop) a wrong understanding of the nature of the sacraments and the relationship of the person to the Church.
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« Reply #47 on: November 12, 2005, 10:07:33 AM »

Ntinos,

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How do you think the structure of the Church would be? In the Roman Catholic type, the Orthodox type, a mixture of both?

First, I'd like to express the sentiment that while re-union on proper terms is desirable, I doubt it will happen in the near future if circumstances (in general) remain as they are in the world.

The Latin Church is very troubled, more than ever.  It is mired by corruption, and massive widespread heterodoxy of a very extreme kind, far beyond the long standing doctrinal disputes between it and the Orthodox Church.  Even the liturgical life of the Latins has suffered tremendously - I just cannot see Orthodox Christians seeing anything in common between their Divine Liturgy and the "New Mass" as it is typically celebrated in most parts of the world (and I'm not speaking only of the worst examples of it's celebration here, but how it is normally celebrated).  Such basic, practical matters of ecclessiastical life are now an added obstical to reconciliation (where as they were not before - though alien, there is relatively little about the old Latin Roman Mass which was contrary to the Orthodox ethos.)

This is not to say that there are not some big problems in the Orthodox world as well - hardly!    It is simply that our corrupt bishops and bad pastors of souls have not managed to do quite the amount of damage to our Church that those in the Latin fold have done to their own.

However, with all of those legitimate doubts about the possibility of re-union aside, I would think (being a nobody, this is just my personal opinion) the following scenario would be "workable".

1) All Roman Catholic "Ecumenical Councils" which took place after the great schism have to be officially demoted to the level of "local synods", and explicitly qualified as being (due to their lack of ecumenicity) "open to revision".  That revision can be the work of ages - a large part of it,  I would think, would simply involve any offending documents being dropped, or reduced in Latin-speak to "theological opinions" lacking a binding, universal character.  This would also be a relatively painless (in so far as such is possible) of undoing the damage caused by the multiplication of erroneous propositions on the part of the Latins, and would allow them to "save face" as much as possible (without violating truth, of course.)

2) The Pope would retain his position as Patriarch of the Latin Church.  If it was in the best interest of the Latin Church to remain heavily centralized, much like the Coptic Church is, so be it.  However his juristiction would have a canonical basis, and would not go beyond his particular Church.

3) Liturgically, some changes would be necessary.  The Latins would have to return to something along the lines of the old Tridentine Missal.  Obviously if they wanted to keep vernacular in part or in full that would be fine.  Changing from unleavened to leavened bread, and guaranteeing the administration of Holy Communion under both kinds would also be prudent, so as to avoid any scandal or controversy (even if the Latins don't think their contrary practices in this regard are really a "big deal" - besides, their current official catechism explicitly states the practice of communion in "both kinds" better manifests the significance of the rite).  Also, going back to the use of threefold immersion in their baptismal rite would be a good idea; after all, the universal practice of "baptism by pouring" amongst westerners is relatively new.

4) Another Ecumenical Council would have to be called to sort much of this out.  At it, I suspect the rights and extent of the Patriarchal Sees would have to be re-stated.  This is necessary not only for Rome's sake, but also for the sake of See's which did not exist when earlier Ecumenical Councils met.  The role of Moscow would have to be clarified, for example.  Also, barring a big shake-up in Turkey, I think the Ecumenical Patriarchate would have to be encouraged/pressured to move from what is now (sadly) Istanbul to somewhere else - perhaps Athens.  It would there function as a "Patriarchate of Constantinople in exile", much like how the Patriarch of Antioch has operated for some time.  If they refuse to do this, the EP ought to be "demoted" - they're simply not in a position to excercize that kind of influence in Orthodox affairs - since any refusal to re-locate for the time being, shows their domination under the influence of Turkish authorities, who are without doubt, the enemies of God and His Church.

5) Another fruit of such a Council would be a brief catechism - really just a plainly stated, long credal formula.  It would include the original creedal formulas of the original Seven Councils, as well as solid statements about such issues as the sacraments, basic matters of Christian ethics (married life, life issues, etc.)  Such would be a moment of grace for the Orthodox Churches, I think, because in the west at least there's been some funny business as of late on issues of married life, in particular the whole business of contraception.  While it is true that the principle of economia tends to be more indulgent of sinners than the Latin position in theory allows for (and I think in this the Orthodox approach is better), a line has obviously been crossed in the popular consciousness of many Orthodox (both laity and clergy/prelates) here in the "diaspora" in regard to the issue of "family planning" - since if you go the old world, Bishops, clergy, and monastic fathers will tell you quite plainly that in principle, the use of contraceptives is sinful.

6) While much will have to be put in order before there can be any official "re-union", I also think that many on the "Orthodox side" will have to be patient afterward, and realize that this will be a work-in-progress for some time.  Just as recently Christened pagan peoples have to be given time to assimilate the Orthodox faith and in turn be assimilated, the same will be true of re-united Latins.  Historically Orthodox peoples cannot be so snotty and impatient as to believe incorrect ways of thinking will be undone overnight.  Goodness, to this day you can still see certain peculiar, pagan ways of thinking and behaving amonst particular Orthodox peoples.  In other words, there has to be a humble recogition that we are all sinners working toward a certain ideal (Christ Jesus), and that perhaps the Latins will have, at least for a couple of generations, a little more problematic stuff to "undo".  And they would deserve our prayer and support in that effort.  Symbolically, the restoration of Mt.Athos, with the inclusion of western-rite monastics would be a good start in that direction (and perhaps with time, the disemination of Athonite Benedictines throughout the western world would do a lot of good.)

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« Reply #48 on: November 12, 2005, 10:34:17 AM »

Irish Hermit,

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Carthage 411 upheld the Augustinian view on baptism by heretics and this came to hold sway in the Western Church.ÂÂ  The Orthodox hold to the earlier views of another Carthage man, Saint Cyprian, who developed an uncompromising theology of "extra ecclesiam nulla sacramenta" - no sacraments outside the Church.ÂÂ  With exceptions for the exercise of economia in the reception of some heretics this is still the base teaching of the Orthodox today.

This topic is not nearly as simple as you're representing it.ÂÂ  To state that St.Cyprian's view is the "Orthodox view" is also not factual.ÂÂ  The reality is, when all is said and done, that there is not a single Orthodox intepretation of just what does/does not happen when heterodox/schismatic bodies administer baptisms under a proper form.

What is known, and can be stated without doubt, is that the Orthodox Church is the Church of Christ.ÂÂ  It is in that continuity, She administers valid Sacraments.ÂÂ  When people fall from this fullness of truth, or when they splinter from this visible unity, just what it is they are doing is ultimatly known by God.ÂÂ  To say absolutely and in every case that there "is no grace" is a presumption, and one which sometimes is demonstrated to be wrong by historical fact - for example, when through misunderstanding and political circumstance, two parties which later history will recognize as both being Orthodox have been separated from one another, even to the point of enmity (this happened many times during the Arian and other early Christological controversies.)ÂÂ  Of course, those are things determined by hindsight.

Both the Augustinian and Cyprianic opinions are interpretations of available information - they are educated, and important opinions on what happens when canonical boundaries are broken.ÂÂ  The Cyprianic view takes canonical boundaries at face value, and says when you trespass this, all bets are off.ÂÂ  This makes sense to an extent, but history shows it is not an infallible measure either (that the canons can always accurately describe reality).ÂÂ  It also goes without saying that St.Cyprians views about how non-Orthodox Christians need to be received into the Church (by Baptism only) has never been considered an absolute norm - in fact, the contrary is true.ÂÂ  As for the Augustinian opinion, while it is more penetrating and takes a larger number of things into consideration, it fails to be 100% comprehensive for other reasons - like for example, what about schisms based totally on malice & stupidity; if as St.Augustine teaches, sacraments administered in suct sects are valid but not fruitful, why on earth would they be valid at all?ÂÂ  The objection of Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky earlier in the 20th century makes perfect sense here - is there such a thing as "half grace" - why would God grant that the bread and wine would transform into His Body and Blood, only to be taken sacreligiously by malicious sectarians?

My understanding is the canons deal with what can be known.ÂÂ  Thus why, generally, most Orthodox do accept the opinion of the compiler of canons, St.Nikodemos the Hagiorite, that the Church can and does accept certain types of heretics and schismatics without "repeating" certain sacraments, because if something is lacking, She can "fill" that in by receiving them.ÂÂ  OTOH, the Church can also "repeat" sacraments so administered, if necessary, precisely because the circumstances allow that wherever there is doubt, this can happen for the sake of peace.ÂÂ  For example, if there is real doubt that someone raised Orthodox was in fact baptized properly (lack of certificates, witnesses, etc.), he can be Baptized - even if it's also quite possible this would be a "second baptism".

Generally, unless there is some serious doubt that the form was administered properly, most Orthodox Bishops outside of Greece or Jerusalem (this includes Bishops of many ethnicities and immediate loyalties, not simply Slavs) will not receive Roman Catholics and most confessional Protestants via Baptism.  Though the practice differs (and the Americas there seems to be some confusion on the matter - though in Europe this is less often the case), generally Roman/Uniate Catholics, Non-Chalcedonians, etc. will be received via repentence, confession, and profession of faith - and certain Protestants (generally of the continental/confessional variety that maintain the practice of threefold baptism, even if it is by pouring) by Chrismation.

Receiving converts from Roman Catholicism by Baptism is a complicated matter.  A lot of it hinges not so much upon the fact they're separated from the canonical unity of the Church, but upon the form; pouring.  The Greek answer to this was generally that it did not count - in Greece, Mt.Athos, and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, this is generally how it's remained.  The EP did take this posture, but has reconsidered it in recent decades.  I'm inclined to think the argument in favour of this practice is poor.  In effect, the Greek Churches that keep this practice do not accept the old reasoning for it - since they remain in communion with the rest of the Orthodox world which do not insist that Churches need to receive all heterodox and schismatics only by Baptism.

The Russians went back and forth on this for a little while, after it became common for Latins to baptize only by pouring (which you have to remember is a relatively recent thing - before that they used threefold immersion, and when this was the case, none of this was an issue).  However for centuries now, it's been a very firm matter of discipline, that Roman Catholics are only received via confession (or if they haven't been Confirmed, via Chrismation.)

The only time Latin converts are received via Baptism outside of the exceptions I mentioned, is either by clergy who have problems with obedience (they think they know better than their Bishops or Synod), or to assuage the consciences of very scupelous converts - or in some cases, when there are doubts that the convert from Catholicism was in fact given the proper form of baptism (ex. baptismal papers cannot be produced.)

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« Reply #49 on: November 12, 2005, 04:04:27 PM »

Irish Hermit,

This topic is not nearly as simple as you're representing it.ÂÂ  To state that St.Cyprian's view is the "Orthodox view" is also not factual.
Of course it is not as simple as I presented it but one can hardly offer something equivalent to the Church of Greece's cleric Prof George Metallinos' work on Baptism on this Forum.

Here is something more concise than Metallinos, an interesting article by a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Fr Daniel Degyansky, New York.

Ecumenism and the Ecclesiology of Saint Cyprian of Carthage


"Saint Cyprian of Carthage developed with fearless consistency a doctrine of the complete absence of Grace in every sect which had separated itself from the True Church. His doctrine is one of the basic foundation blocks of Orthodox ecclesiology and it stands in direct opposition to the presuppositions of the ecumenical movement. Moreover, his warnings about the enemies of the Church have traditionally guided Orthodox in their response to those outside Her fold...."

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/stcyprian_eccles.aspx
« Last Edit: November 12, 2005, 04:05:08 PM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #50 on: November 12, 2005, 04:25:25 PM »

a line has obviously been crossed in the popular consciousness of many Orthodox (both laity and clergy/prelates) here in the "diaspora" in regard to the issue of "family planning" - since if you go the old world, Bishops, clergy, and monastic fathers will tell you quite plainly that in principle, the use of contraceptives is sinful.
I come from the Old World and do not find your statement in accord with the facts.  In Greece, contraception is allowed to the faithful.

The Serbian Church permits contraception, keeping in mind that one of the outcomes of any marriage and of the love between a man and a woman is children. But there may be circumstances (illness, etc.) which allow the couple to postpone or to "space" their children. But, the utter refusal to have children at all is sinful and, indeed, grounds for divorce.

The Russian Orthodox Church allows contraception and speaks of it in its major Millennial Statement issued by the Synod of Bishops in August 2000.

BASES OF THE SOCIAL CONCEPT OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

XII. 3. Among the problems which need a religious and moral assessment is that of contraception. Some contraceptives have an abortive effect, interrupting artificially the life of the embryo on the very first stages of his life. Therefore, the same judgements are applicable to the use of them as to abortion. But other means, which do not involve interrupting an already conceived life, cannot be equated with abortion in the least. In defining their attitude to the non-abortive contraceptives, Christian spouses should remember that human reproduction is one of the principal purposes of the divinely established marital union (see, X. 4). The deliberate refusal of childbirth on egoistic grounds devalues marriage and is a definite sin.


At the same time, spouses are responsible before God for the comprehensive upbringing of their children. One of the ways to be responsible for their birth is to restrain themselves from sexual relations for a time. However, Christian spouses should remember the words of St. Paul addressed to them: «Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency» (1 Cor. 7:5). Clearly, spouses should make such decisions mutually on the counsel of their spiritual father. The latter should take into account, with pastoral prudence, the concrete living conditions of the couple, their age, health, degree of spiritual maturity and many other circumstances. In doing so, he should distinguish those who can hold the high demands of continence from those to whom it is not given (Mt. 19:11), taking care above all of the preservation and consolidation of the family.


http://web.archive.org/web/20041009220122/http://www.russian-orthodox-church.org.ru/sd00e.htm

and here

http://www.incommunion.org/articles/the-orthodox-church-and-society/introduction


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« Reply #51 on: December 16, 2005, 06:47:47 PM »

Thank you for your extensive answer, Augustine.
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« Reply #52 on: January 02, 2006, 11:26:27 PM »

Who is WE?ÂÂ  Certainly not WE Orthodox Catholics!

Orthodoc

This may refer to the Orthodox belief that all are born the same way including our Blessed Mother ie without the stain and guilt of original sin but the effects of Adams fall: death.

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