Author Topic: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims  (Read 2685 times)

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Offline noahzarc1

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2019, 09:55:17 PM »
I'm coming around on the claim that the Papacy is a divinely instituted office with special prerogatives. That being said I'm still very typically Orthodox in that I believe that there are limitations on that primacy that have been exceeded. I'm basically somewhere in the middle and comfortable with that.
What are your thoughts on the Bishops of other sees?
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Offline noahzarc1

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2019, 10:01:44 PM »
3 The Byzantine commentator Balsamon (twelfth c.) writes as follows concerning the privileges of the see of Constantinople: "The great throne of Constantinople ... subject to the Perinthians (Heraclea), functioned under a bishop. For the great city was not yet called Constantinople, but was a small town named Byzantium. However, when divine mysterious providence caused the sceptres of the Empire to b[3]e transferred thither from Old Rome as from a wild olive to a cultivated olive, Saint Metrophanes who was at that time in charge of the church of this throne was named archbishop instead of bishop. For this reason the first holy Ecumenical Council commemorated in the sixth and seventh canons the four patriarchs, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, but did not mention the bishop of Constantinople." G. Rhalles and M. Potles, Σύνταγμα των θείων και ιερό/ν κανόνων (Athens, 1854), 4,542-43, quoted in Máximos, p. 74, note 1.
I think this is referring to Constantinople being raised to a patriarchate.  The transfer of power mentioned seems to be referring to the Emporer's throne (sceptre), not the primacy.
Also some early back and forth between Rome and Constantinople often found the Popes of Rome continuously referring to Rome, Antioch and Alexandria because those were always seen as the seats of Peter, with Rome being ranked first, Antioch where he spent over 10 years as its Bishop and Alexandria because that is where Mark was dispatched to. So before Popes went about claiming the primacy they claimed at Vatican I, they often used those three to try to exclude any claims Constantinople was making as not even being among the "3 sees."
« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 10:02:10 PM by noahzarc1 »
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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2019, 10:12:21 PM »
Well, I'm more thinking about it from the aspect of if the claim is wrong over the whole church, then it must be wrong over the entire Roman church as well.  It can't be right for one and wrong for the other.
I'm not sure if the logic holds quite the way your describing it, i.e. if its wrong for it to be over all then its wrong at a local or jurisdictional level. I think what is happening then, is your argument is that if it is right for Rome to do it for her jurisdiction, then it would be right for her to have it over all. I don't think anyone at anytime in the church denied the Bishop of Rome his rightful authority over his jurisdiction. The Bishop of Rome can still have his rightful jurisdiction without it extending over the entire world.

My thoughts are a little murkier on whether Rome actually has the authority over the other churches it claims or maybe a partial amount of that authority.
Are you in communion with Rome? You don't actually get to be murky on the subject. Rome has claimed its universal jurisdiction is absolute and all those in communion with her must accept that claim. It is an absolute claim and you must accept it absolutely. Rome has never tolerated anyone in communion with her to be murky on the subject. So you, like Rome claims all else have to do, must decide yes or no. There is no middle ground my dear brother.

Even in the Orthodox church, metropolitans have a degree of authority over regular bishops, even if it's not absolute authority.  Patriarchs have authority over metropolitans, even if not absolute.  It seems natural that there would be one bishop who would have some degree of authority over the whole Church, even if it's not to the extent that Rome claims it, as a preservation of unity.
That is not the Roman position. Their position is the extent Rome claims. Vatican I is flat out clear and there is no wiggle room. You must accept that.   

The twigs are united to the tree via the branches, the branches via the boughs, and the boughs via the trunk.  It's easy enough to say that Christ is the trunk, but since he isn't physically present on earth, something must stand in his stead (the bishop of Rome) or else you have a complete tree of independent boughs all floating around a non-existent trunk.
This is why the Pope says he's infallible. In Paster Aeternus, Pius IX stated, "But since we hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty ..." The way Rome understands "stead" is to be God Almighty.

The Church of Cyprus was granted autocephaly long before the schism, so I think any Catholic would have to acknowledge that there are churches that are independent to some degree of Rome.  But that's not controversial for us - we couldn't have the Eastern Catholic churches if that was a controversial concept.
I guess I'm curious from your perspective to what degree you think Eastern Catholic Churches are independent of Rome? When the Union of Brest came about in the 16th century, the Ruthenians and the Roman Pontiff certainly had different ideas of what it meant to be a part of the church. The Ruthenians certainly saw themselves as part of the church and were coming as equals to discuss communion with Rome. The Papal nuncio advised them ahead of time to not expect such a concession from the Roman Pontiff and in the end, it was made clear (and they accepted) they had been separated from the true Church. Do you envision the Melkites govern and discern dogma and doctrine for themselves absent notice, input or consent of Rome? That I think would be a tragic misunderstanding and reading of history, particularly of the 23 Sui Iurus churches in "communion" with Rome.

Welcome to Melkite middle ground between the Truth and a lie. It is premised on the fact that two Truths can exist - that Rome is all powerful, that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, holding His place on Earth - and that the Pope is simply a bishop with primacy and it's fine to just ignore what he says because some Melkite bishops think so.

The Melkite bishop, in the papal supremacy statement, stated "except for the rights and privileges of Eastern patriarchs". Of course, Pius IX did not approve of this and most Latin catholics consider it invalid.

The Melkite situation is laughable.
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Offline PorphyriosK

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #48 on: January 14, 2019, 10:22:53 PM »
3 The Byzantine commentator Balsamon (twelfth c.) writes as follows concerning the privileges of the see of Constantinople: "The great throne of Constantinople ... subject to the Perinthians (Heraclea), functioned under a bishop. For the great city was not yet called Constantinople, but was a small town named Byzantium. However, when divine mysterious providence caused the sceptres of the Empire to b[3]e transferred thither from Old Rome as from a wild olive to a cultivated olive, Saint Metrophanes who was at that time in charge of the church of this throne was named archbishop instead of bishop. For this reason the first holy Ecumenical Council commemorated in the sixth and seventh canons the four patriarchs, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, but did not mention the bishop of Constantinople." G. Rhalles and M. Potles, Σύνταγμα των θείων και ιερό/ν κανόνων (Athens, 1854), 4,542-43, quoted in Máximos, p. 74, note 1.
I think this is referring to Constantinople being raised to a patriarchate.  The transfer of power mentioned seems to be referring to the Emporer's throne (sceptre), not the primacy.
Also some early back and forth between Rome and Constantinople often found the Popes of Rome continuously referring to Rome, Antioch and Alexandria because those were always seen as the seats of Peter, with Rome being ranked first, Antioch where he spent over 10 years as its Bishop and Alexandria because that is where Mark was dispatched to. So before Popes went about claiming the primacy they claimed at Vatican I, they often used those three to try to exclude any claims Constantinople was making as not even being among the "3 sees."

Yes, I've read this too.

Offline PorphyriosK

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #49 on: January 14, 2019, 10:24:01 PM »
I still keep coming back to this quote from Pope Gregory the Great:

"Was it not the case, as your Fraternity knows, that the prelates of this Apostolic See which by the providence of GOD I serve, had the honour offered them of being called universal by the venerable Council of Chalcedon. But yet not one of them has ever wished to be called by such a title, or seized upon this ill- advised name, lest if, in virtue of the rank of the pontificate, he took to himself the glory of singularity, he might seem to have denied it to all his brethren...the LORD says to His disciples, But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your master; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your Father upon the earth, for one is your Father."

If the Pope always had universal jurisdiction, Pope Gregory seems to be unaware of it. 
« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 10:27:13 PM by PorphyriosK »

Offline noahzarc1

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #50 on: January 14, 2019, 10:28:21 PM »
Welcome to Melkite middle ground between the Truth and a lie. It is premised on the fact that two Truths can exist - that Rome is all powerful, that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, holding His place on Earth - and that the Pope is simply a bishop with primacy and it's fine to just ignore what he says because some Melkite bishops think so.

The Melkite bishop, in the papal supremacy statement, stated "except for the rights and privileges of Eastern patriarchs". Of course, Pius IX did not approve of this and most Latin catholics consider it invalid.

The Melkite situation is laughable.
Much of what you said I found to be the exact state of the Ukrainian Catholic Church I spent a few years at. They were openly quite dismissive of Rome and quite dismissive of anyone who asked about it and why. They were my last train out of the Catholic Church. It begs another question of what Bishops of the Roman church truly must think of themselves? What authority do they have, particularly during an interregnum? None. Its all very complex once one starts to really consider all the implications of the Vicar of Christ.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 10:28:50 PM by noahzarc1 »
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Offline platypus

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #51 on: January 14, 2019, 11:05:43 PM »
I am also a former Roman Catholic, and the papal claims were at one point very convincing to me. Reading about Church history changed that. The post-Vatican I monarchial papacy didn't exist in the first few centuries of Christianity, and seeing how the Church actually operated is immensely helpful. I liked The First Seven Ecumenical Councils: Their History and Theology by Fr. Leo Donald Davis. He's a Jesuit, and one of his goals in writing the book was to demonstrate the authority of the Bishop of Rome during the time of the Ecumenical Councils. But instead, the Church from the 4th to the 8th century that he describes is a federation of self-governing Churches who see themselves as having the authority to determine doctrine doctrine, or excommunicate each other. No different from the Orthodox Church today, but quite different from the very organized Roman Catholic Church.

After their split from Orthodoxy, the Roman Church had to completely revise their code of canon law to give all the power to the pope. Previously they used the conciliar canon law established by the Orthodox Church in the first millennia, because they used to be Orthodox. This was called the Gregorian Reforms, and it's easily verifiable history. Compare the mostly episcopalian church government from the Ecumenical Councils to the current rule of law in the Roman Church and the difference is tremendous. All the authority that was spread out in the Church of the first millennia, like the ability to choose a bishop, or canonize a saint, or determine doctrine, the Roman Church gives to the Pope. It's a system of church government foreign to the Church Fathers.

I'm not asking this as an argument against the Orthodox position, but if the self-governing churches have the authority to define dogma for themselves, and the self-governing Church of Rome decided to define the papal dogmas for itself, how can the Orthodox argue against it?  At least, how can the Orthodox argue against it as binding on the Roman church?
+1

A Church doesn't have unlimited authority to dogmatize things; instead it has a duty to protect Holy Tradition from those who would change it. Imagine for a moment that my Church, the OCA, defines at a council tomorrow that the Eucharist isn't really the Body and Blood of Christ. This would not make it true, and it would be in no way binding on the faithful because it's directly contrary to Holy Tradition. The other Churches would be right to immediately forbid concelebration with OCA clergy. Although this particular heresy has never been defined at a council, other ones have.

And this is why Papal infallibility is so important to Catholics, because it gives them -at least on paper- a failsafe way to determine what is true or not. Papal approval, though, is not how the Fathers determined the validity of a council. With all 7 ecumenical councils, the Churches (Rome included) decided whether or not to accept the teachings based on whether or not they thought it was in accord with Holy Tradition. They didn't choose what to accept based on whether or not the Pope accepted it.

This was the hardest thing to wrap my mind around when converting to Orthodoxy. There's no one final earthly ecclesiastical authority. Instead, maintaing Orthodoxy is a constant struggle on the part of both the clergy and the laity. And it's a messy process. There's no logical way to understand how the Church has kept the same beliefs over a 2,000 year stretch. It only through the action of the Holy Spirit that it's possible. And the lack of officialness to the whole process is not at all appealing to the logical mind. But the Orthodox Church has been around for two millennia, and Satan hasn't won yet.
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Offline KostaC

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #52 on: January 15, 2019, 02:00:30 AM »

Does a convert from Roman Catholicism to Eastern Orthodox  have to publicly renounce Rome. I have seen conflicting opinions on this? I don't mean they continue being RC as well as Orthodox but is there some sort of refutation of Rome?

A convert is either chrismated and publically denounces heresies in some places, or rebaptized entirely

I think it might even vary from bishop to bishop. I was a catechumen at 13 and chrismated at 16. The bishop had years before mandated no rebaptism for Catholics. I vaguely recall he was consulted on whether I needed to renounce any heresies but I was so young he figured I didn't really latch onto those heresies yet and my catechumen classes were one-on-one separate from the adults dumbed down for a 13 year old and I was taught from the basics. I only found that all out years later from the priest who guided and chrismated me. It seems like they had to put more effort into figuring out what I needed best and it all worked out fine in the end. I do wonder if my metropolis has had similar cases of teenaged-converts yet.
Yeah, it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I was received into the OCA by chrismation, and didn’t get to do a renunciation of heresy or have to get baptized by an Orthodox priest. But I’m pretty sure ROCOR makes ex-RCs do both. Not sure about any of the other Churches.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 02:01:28 AM by KostaC »

Offline noahzarc1

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #53 on: January 15, 2019, 06:56:48 AM »
What are the actual heresies the east says someone from the west has to renounce? Are there 1, 2, 4, 8 and which are they? Or is it just a blanket statement of renouncing errors? My thought is that only those who read theology books and historical councils really know what the heresies are. The average lay person, if they love Christ, knows to love Christ and do their best to love their neighbor as themselves, but overall couldn't tell you what the "heresies" are.
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Offline platypus

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #54 on: January 15, 2019, 10:45:37 AM »
What are the actual heresies the east says someone from the west has to renounce? Are there 1, 2, 4, 8 and which are they? Or is it just a blanket statement of renouncing errors? My thought is that only those who read theology books and historical councils really know what the heresies are. The average lay person, if they love Christ, knows to love Christ and do their best to love their neighbor as themselves, but overall couldn't tell you what the "heresies" are.

I'm not sure where to find the text of the service, but here's a video of a former RC priest doing the renunciations and being recieved into the Russian Church. The English subtitles are a little clunky, but you can get the gist of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9ksr6Sb_2A

I assume there's different renunciations for people being recieved into the Church from other faiths.

ETA: this article has a lot of interesting information on the history of the reception of converts from other denominations: https://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/reception_church_a_pagodin.htm


« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 10:48:58 AM by platypus »
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Offline melkite

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #55 on: January 15, 2019, 06:43:00 PM »
Are you in communion with Rome? You don't actually get to be murky on the subject. Rome has claimed its universal jurisdiction is absolute and all those in communion with her must accept that claim. It is an absolute claim and you must accept it absolutely. Rome has never tolerated anyone in communion with her to be murky on the subject. So you, like Rome claims all else have to do, must decide yes or no. There is no middle ground my dear brother.

I am.  I know I'm not allowed to be murky, but Rome can hold a gun to one's head and still not be able to pry true mental assent out of a person.  If you're not sure, you're not sure, and I'm just not sure.

Quote
That is not the Roman position. Their position is the extent Rome claims. Vatican I is flat out clear and there is no wiggle room. You must accept that.

I don't know that I do.

Quote
I guess I'm curious from your perspective to what degree you think Eastern Catholic Churches are independent of Rome? When the Union of Brest came about in the 16th century, the Ruthenians and the Roman Pontiff certainly had different ideas of what it meant to be a part of the church. The Ruthenians certainly saw themselves as part of the church and were coming as equals to discuss communion with Rome. The Papal nuncio advised them ahead of time to not expect such a concession from the Roman Pontiff and in the end, it was made clear (and they accepted) they had been separated from the true Church. Do you envision the Melkites govern and discern dogma and doctrine for themselves absent notice, input or consent of Rome? That I think would be a tragic misunderstanding and reading of history, particularly of the 23 Sui Iurus churches in "communion" with Rome.

Honestly, before this thread, I had never heard of the idea of individual churches determining doctrine for themselves, either from the Catholic or the Orthodox perspective.  This idea is something new to me.  So I've never envisioned the Melkite church having that kind of power.

Regarding our independence from Rome, it's probably something that is strongest in the perception of the average lay Melkite.  We're aware of Rome's existence and our communion with it.  Beyond that, Rome just doesn't play a part in our daily spiritual lives.

Offline Ignatius II

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #56 on: January 16, 2019, 07:42:34 PM »
Thanks for all the answers to my earlier question in this thread
« Last Edit: January 16, 2019, 07:43:02 PM by Ignatius II »

Offline Frank J

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #57 on: January 27, 2019, 02:27:02 PM »
Hello,
 I would ask God to help you with,what HIS will is here ,I know in my part God wanted me embrace the Russian Orthodox Church faith. I too am a former Roman Catholic who had a non-Christian practiced religion life style. I embraced the Russian Orthodox Christian faith and my life changed for the better. My faith is Jesus Christ and His One Holy Catholic Church in the Orthodox Christian Church is the way to go...

Offline Frank J

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #58 on: March 10, 2019, 03:21:42 PM »
Pope Puis Xll wrote a document on the Catholic Mass saying that if they ever turn the Altar around they straying from the Truth. In 1969 the Novus Ordo altar or table depending on how you look at is now they worship.

Online Eamonomae

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #59 on: March 10, 2019, 04:40:51 PM »
I can understand the struggle, because generations of parents had to justify their known and morally violating (not ignorance, which would be more understandable) trechery of the Eastern Orthodox Church with contradictory slogans like "We're Orthodox but in communion with Rome!" Or "We don't have to incorporate Roman practices in our Church" Or "We don't accept everything from Rome."


But at the end of the day, if you know you are not part of the Body of Christ, or you know that you are obeying an illegal authority, you must choose to follow Christ or reject Christ. That's it.

Matthew 10:34-39
« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 04:50:49 PM by Eamonomae »

Online Eamonomae

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #60 on: March 10, 2019, 04:45:07 PM »
Saint Athanasius suffered persecution and had his life threatened because he would not commune with Arius and his disciples. He would not be a Saint if he communed with Arius and said "I'm Orthodox in communion with Arius."

Saint Cyril of Alexandria:

"Let your holiness be persuaded and let no one else cherish any doubt, that we everywhere follow the opinions of the holy fathers especially those of our blessed and glorious father Athanasius, with whose opinions we differ not in the slightest. I would have added many of their testimonies, proving my opinions from theirs, had I not feared that the length of the letter would be made tedious thereby. We do not permit anyone in any way to upset the defined faith or the creed drawn up by the holy fathers who assembled at Nicaea as the times demanded. We give neither ourselves nor them the licence to alter any expression there or to change a single syllable, remembering the words: "Remove not the ancient landmarks which your fathers have set".

For it was not they that spoke, but the Spirit of God the Father, who proceeds from him and who is not distinct from the Son in essence. We are further confirmed in our view by the words of our holy spiritual teachers. For in the Acts of the Apostles it is written: "When they came to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them". And the divine Paul writes as follows: "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you. And anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him". When, therefore, any of those who love to upset sound doctrine pervert my words to their way of thinking, your holiness should not be surprised at this, but should remember that the followers of every heresy extract from inspired scripture the occasion of their error, and that all heretics corrupt the true expressions of the holy Spirit with their own evil minds and they draw down on their own heads an inextinguishable flame."
« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 04:48:56 PM by Eamonomae »

Offline WPM

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Re: Convert to Orthodoxy from RC - Struggling with papal claims
« Reply #61 on: March 10, 2019, 06:40:52 PM »
This is closer to Rastafarianism than Jewish.
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