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Author Topic: Irish Catholic insearch of the Catholic Church  (Read 3544 times) Average Rating: 0
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chrisb
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« on: February 22, 2006, 10:40:05 AM »

Grace and Peace be with you all,

I'm Irish Catholic and I've been reading a great deal of Eastern Orthodox and Russian Orthodox material and I've found it to be really amazing and difficult to separate from what I tend to read from Contemplative Catholic authors.

Is it largely in the details of doctrines and dogmas that separates us or am I missing something?

Peace and God Bless.

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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2006, 08:31:04 PM »

There are dogmatic differences but the main problem I think relates to Authority and the See of St Peter. Catholics accept the Authority of the Roman Pontiff as the descendant of Peter. The Orthodox do not and that there is your problem.

John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_02051995_orientale-lumen_en.html also pointed to historical reasons for division

Quote
Even when certain dogmatic misunderstandings became reinforced -- often magnified by the influence of political and cultural factors -- leading to sad consequences in relations between the Churches, the effort to call for and to promote the unity of the Church remained alive.

This points to the fact that the division in Europes Churches geographically reflects the division between the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. The Orthodox developed under the aegis of Byzantium and the West under that of Rome. Geo-political and cultural reasons led to different ecclesial structures which not surprisingly subsequently gave rise to different doctrines also. And a resistance to authority from the "other side" of the divide.
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2006, 11:04:53 PM »

There are dogmatic differences but the main problem I think relates to Authority and the See of St Peter. Catholics accept the Authority of the Roman Pontiff as the descendant of Peter. The Orthodox do not and that there is your problem.  

That is a problem, one of quite a few, that must be overcome for reunion.  The Orthodox acknowledge special status of Rome as a see of Peter, but not sovereignty over the Church, not supremacy over all diocese; Antioch was the first See of Peter, shouldn't they claim more?  First among equals, that was what the Church in its entirety believed in the earliest centuries.

This points to the fact that the division in Europes Churches geographically reflects the division between the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. The Orthodox developed under the aegis of Byzantium and the West under that of Rome. Geo-political and cultural reasons led to different ecclesial structures which not surprisingly subsequently gave rise to different doctrines also. And a resistance to authority from the "other side" of the divide.  

I would correct your statement to say "The Orthodox developed under the aegis of Rome and the West under that of the Franks."
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2006, 12:43:15 AM »

I would correct your statement to say "The Orthodox developed under the aegis of Rome and the West under that of the Franks."

Grace and Peace be with you cleveland,

I see you've been keeping up on your history...  Wink but wasn't it the Spanish who conceived  the filioque and later Charlemagne who pushed the issue with Byzantium?

I also see that you are a seminarian. How are your studies going? Where are you studying and to what ends: Priest?

Peace and God Bless.
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2006, 02:36:56 AM »

Peace also to you chris.

I don't think charlemagne was the one who coined Byzantium, but he was the one pushing to usurp the title of "emperor of the romans" - although the Pope also did that as a gesture to secure Frankish protection of Rome.  If I remember correctly, it was post-reformation France that came up with "Byzantium" for the East...

As for my studies, they are going well. I am studying the program designed to prepare people for the priesthood, but in all honesty I'm ready to do whatever the Church and my Bishop need.
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2006, 04:33:55 AM »

Peace also to you chris.

I don't think charlemagne was the one who coined Byzantium, but he was the one pushing to usurp the title of "emperor of the romans" - although the Pope also did that as a gesture to secure Frankish protection of Rome.  If I remember correctly, it was post-reformation France that came up with "Byzantium" for the East...

As for my studies, they are going well. I am studying the program designed to prepare people for the priesthood, but in all honesty I'm ready to do whatever the Church and my Bishop need.

If you check out romanity.org (or wikipedia...maybe that info is from romanity.org - it looks to have a lot in common), the term "byzantine" was coined/propagated by a 17th century French historian that didn't like the Eastern Romans.
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2006, 04:39:24 AM »


I would correct your statement to say "The Orthodox developed under the aegis of Rome and the West under that of the Franks."

You beat me to it....

Incidentally, I bought a nice CD recently called "Chant Wars", a collaboration of two musical ensembles called Sequentia and Dialogos.  It was supposedly Gaulican Chant vs Carolingian Chant.  I was told recently that most "Gregorian Chant" would be more properly called Carolingian after Karl the Great (don't call him Charlemagne) and his reforms for standarization unfortunately pushed the other forms of western Chant (Sacrum, Milan, etc.) into obscurity.

Acording to their website, Dialogos has a CD that is supposedly Lombardic Chant vs Dalmatian Chant...we're getting more Oriental...so, now we're talking!
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2006, 09:48:27 AM »

During my time as Catholic, I realised things most Orthodox ignore (not people on this forum but
everyday Orthodox greeks). In no case should we accuse the Petrine See of coming up with
the primacy and infallibility. Not only was it the Franks and the cultural difference between
Latin Romans and Byzantine Romans but many other factors such as the Donation of Constantine,
which even though its sole purpose was to keep the Franks from getting their hands on Rome,
it promoted the primacy of the Pope. In my opinion, the Primacy developed just like any other
church tradition and should be respected in any way. As for the infallibility though...That is another
issue. I would be willing to accept a certain "Orthodoxy of the Roman See" but infallibility of the Pope
is too much.

Also, we should keep in mind that differences such as filioque and azymes are of no importance at all
(even though, it was those differences mainly that caused the schism) since the Council in which
Photius took place as well, affirmed that each Church could keep on with its traditions.
The Catholics with the filioque and the azymes and the orthodox with the enzymes and without the filioque.
It would only take a better and more orthodox explenation of the filioque by the western church to make
the Eastern church agree.

Yours in Christ.
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2006, 10:03:46 AM »

Chris B
go back to your early Celtic roots in the Irish Church and you will find Orthodoxy among great saints such as Patrick, Brigid, Columba, Brendan, Cuthbert, Aidan and Finnan, to name a few

You will find your true roots as an Irish Christian in the Eastern Orthodox Church
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chrisb
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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2006, 11:14:46 AM »

Peace also to you chris.

I don't think charlemagne was the one who coined Byzantium, but he was the one pushing to usurp the title of "emperor of the romans" - although the Pope also did that as a gesture to secure Frankish protection of Rome.  If I remember correctly, it was post-reformation France that came up with "Byzantium" for the East...

As for my studies, they are going well. I am studying the program designed to prepare people for the priesthood, but in all honesty I'm ready to do whatever the Church and my Bishop need.

Grace and Peace be with you cleveland,

I think you misunderstood me when I spoke of Charlemagne pushing the issue with Byzantium. I was not suggesting that Charlemagne 'coined' Byzantium but that he 'pushed' the issue of the 'filioque' with the Byzantines.

Actually I didn't know the term Byzantium was a bad one... Is it?

Thank you all for the input.
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2006, 01:03:10 PM »

Quote
If you check out romanity.org (or wikipedia...maybe that info is from romanity.org - it looks to have a lot in common), the term "byzantine" was coined/propagated by a 17th century French historian that didn't like the Eastern Romans.

Aye, Ρωμανία used to be our name  Wink
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2006, 01:04:23 PM »

Quote
Actually I didn't know the term Byzantium was a bad one... Is it?

No, it's not a bad term brother. It's a very accurate name of the Eastern Roman Empire from 300s to 1453.  Smiley Smiley
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chrisb
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« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2006, 01:44:03 PM »

Chris B
go back to your early Celtic roots in the Irish Church and you will find Orthodoxy among great saints such as Patrick, Brigid, Columba, Brendan, Cuthbert, Aidan and Finnan, to name a few

You will find your true roots as an Irish Christian in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Grace and Peace Brother Aidan,

Actually I am familiar with the work of Timothy Joyce and the Anamchairde Network but would you suggest anything else?

Peace and God Bless.
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2006, 01:17:16 AM »

Light and Life Publishing has a nice book called "Celtic Saints" and one or two other books on the topic of Celtic Christianity that are Orthodox in perspective.

Road to Emmaus Journal (an Orthodox publication - you can google it) has several issues with interesting articles - one is regarding Brittony's (in France) Celtic/Orthodox past - Fall 2003; there are several others, as I said. Check the back issues section)

Celtic Daily Prayer, by the Northumbria Community has alot of great stuff (they seem to be loosely a fellowship of evangelical high Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Orthodox in Great Britain). An Orthodox Christian would not agree with everything they put forth, but would find no great difference with them overall.

Surprisingly, the book "How the Irish Saved Civilization" is a good source of historic information, though Thomas Cahill himself is a flake.

On Amazon I found a book called "Listening to the Heartbeat of God" It too is okay, as information, but not written from an Orhtodox point of view. The author seems to me to be an Anglican who wishes he was Catholic but is too liberal to convert.

One thing for sure, try to preview some of these books on-line on Amazon or elsewhere. Some Celtic spirituality stuff is pure New Age hogwash; but if you stick to Celtic Christianity (rather than spirituality) you're more free of that stuff.
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2006, 01:27:26 AM »

Also google Our Lady of Walsingham - they have some info on the early Celtic Church
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2006, 06:46:35 AM »

Grace and Peace be with you all,

I'm Irish Catholic and I've been reading a great deal of Eastern Orthodox and Russian Orthodox material and I've found it to be really amazing and difficult to separate from what I tend to read from Contemplative Catholic authors.

Is it largely in the details of doctrines and dogmas that separates us or am I missing something?

Peace and God Bless.



Dia dhuit, a'Chrisb. Is mise Montalban!

It is most definitely a matter of dogma (so I must respectfully disagree with Philokalia).

There is indeed a difference in Church governance, but this stems from dogma. The Church structure is a reflection of the Trinity (for we believe that the Church is the Body of Christ on earth). Thus the way we operate reflects our notion of God. That in the Trinity there is unity in diversity. Just as each member of the Trinity is completely God each bishopric is also 'complete' (Catholic means complete).
"See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid"
http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-21.htm#P2123_357530

So any tampering with this structure would be to change our notion of God.

We are not simply a church without a Pope.

Further, we have different notions of salvation; we reject the legalistic metaphors* of a God that needs to be 'satisfied'

Catholics believe in the 'development' of doctrine; in hand with this is the notion that one can know more about God through logic (scholasticism). We believe that the fullness of the Church was given at Pentecost. Although we believe that we can have different ways of expressing this truth, it is the SAME truth. This is different to the Catholic Church, which, for instance, only adopted the notion of Papal Infallibility in the 1800s.

A very good book to read on the matter is The Truth: What Every Roman Catholic Should Know About the Orthodox Church (Faith Catechism)
by Clark Carlton


*sometimes these are used, but the best metaphors are those regarding the loving and healing God.
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« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2006, 03:45:28 PM »

Dia dhuit, a'Chrisb. Is mise Montalban!

It is most definitely a matter of dogma (so I must respectfully disagree with Philokalia).

There is indeed a difference in Church governance, but this stems from dogma. The Church structure is a reflection of the Trinity (for we believe that the Church is the Body of Christ on earth). Thus the way we operate reflects our notion of God. That in the Trinity there is unity in diversity. Just as each member of the Trinity is completely God each bishopric is also 'complete' (Catholic means complete).
"See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid"
http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-21.htm#P2123_357530

So any tampering with this structure would be to change our notion of God.

Grace and Peace be with you montalban,

This idea of the Church Architecture reflecting the Trinity should assume 'three supreme Patriarchs' or 'One' or are you suggesting the Trinity means more that three as a sort of Pantheism?

Why are there more than three Patriarchs?

Quote
We are not simply a church without a Pope.

Further, we have different notions of salvation; we reject the legalistic metaphors* of a God that needs to be 'satisfied'

Why did Jesus die for us? Did he have to? What does Atonement mean?

Quote
Catholics believe in the 'development' of doctrine; in hand with this is the notion that one can know more about God through logic (scholasticism). We believe that the fullness of the Church was given at Pentecost. Although we believe that we can have different ways of expressing this truth, it is the SAME truth. This is different to the Catholic Church, which, for instance, only adopted the notion of Papal Infallibility in the 1800s.

Does the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth?

Quote
A very good book to read on the matter is The Truth: What Every Roman Catholic Should Know About the Orthodox Church (Faith Catechism)
by Clark Carlton

I will check that out! Thanks.


Quote
*sometimes these are used, but the best metaphors are those regarding the loving and healing God.

Why does Jesus 'intercede' for us with God the Father?
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« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2006, 07:51:18 PM »

Grace and Peace be with you montalban,

This idea of the Church Architecture reflecting the Trinity should assume 'three supreme Patriarchs' or 'One' or are you suggesting the Trinity means more that three as a sort of Pantheism?

Why are there more than three Patriarchs?

There seems to be a slight communication gap. Architecture? I was talking about ‘structure’ as in the form of the hierarchy of the church; the organisation of the church.

Why are there more than three Patriarchs? There doesn’t need to be only three; you missed the ‘unity in diversity’ bit. Each church headed by a bishop is ‘catholic’. Each person is ‘catholic’. The church as a whole, all the churches in communion with each other is ‘catholic’. That is the nature of God. Each member of the trinity is completely God.

In Catholicism you make one part of the church greater than the others, by having a kind of super-bishop.

Why did Jesus die for us? Did he have to? What does Atonement mean?

Again I noted that sometimes legalistic language is used; but God is not one who wants anything, so the suggestion that He desired payment for a wrong, is — wrong! God is love.

Does the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth

All truth was already given to us at Pentecost. Do you think God hides things from us — that Jesus’ message was not enough? For Catholicism you have what Jesus taught you as a starting point. For us it is the end point.

Slan leat go feoil
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2006, 03:43:56 AM »

Chris B
go back to your early Celtic roots in the Irish Church and you will find Orthodoxy among great saints such as Patrick, Brigid, Columba, Brendan, Cuthbert, Aidan and Finnan, to name a few

You will find your true roots as an Irish Christian in the Eastern Orthodox Church

I agree. I'm a Celt. I've an icon of St. Colm (Columba). The early church in Britain and Ireland was Orthodox until put down following the Synod of Whitby.

The Papacy also gave permission for the English to invade Ireland (the only English Pope did this); instigating centuries of warfare between Ireland and England - an overview of history finds the Popes often siding with the powerful.
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2006, 09:28:26 AM »

an overview of history finds the Popes often siding with the powerful.

Well they do tend to be on the side of God who is pretty powerful. Their political judgements do not come under the charism of infallibility. Having said which the papacy opposed the USA over the invasion of Iraq which seems to be siding against the powerful.
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« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2006, 09:51:24 AM »

There seems to be a slight communication gap. Architecture? I was talking about ‘structure’ as in the form of the hierarchy of the church; the organisation of the church.

Perhaps 'architecture' was a bad choice of words. You are correct, I should have used 'structure'.

Quote
Why are there more than three Patriarchs? There doesn’t need to be only three; you missed the ‘unity in diversity’ bit. Each church headed by a bishop is ‘catholic’. Each person is ‘catholic’. The church as a whole, all the churches in communion with each other is ‘catholic’. That is the nature of God. Each member of the trinity is completely God.

If you desire to suggest that Orthodoxy is 'structured' as the Trinity then you would have to have either 3 or 1 unless you believe the Trinity is more than 3?

With regards to the 'unity in diversity' I get the impression that you are suggesting God (i.e. Trinity) is not of 'one mind' and 'one will'. Is this correct? When you attribute 'unity in diversity' to the Trinity, what do you mean by that?

Quote
In Catholicism you make one part of the church greater than the others, by having a kind of super-bishop.

I'm not here to represent Catholicism. I'm not an apologist for the papacy. As I've said to a couple other individuals on this forum every Catholic is not a two-dimensional carbon-copy of the Magisterium. We are 'individuals' just like you and everyone else. We read the Bible, pray, and try to live the beatitudes.

As a largely contemplative Catholic with deep Baptist roots I am 'unique' just they way God made me. Kind of like a snowflake...  Grin

If you desire to know my views on a subject you shouldn't 'assume' what I believe but you should ask me.

Quote
Again I noted that sometimes legalistic language is used; but God is not one who wants anything, so the suggestion that He desired payment for a wrong, is — wrong! God is love.

So then that begs the question 'Why did Jesus have to die'? You appear to be falling into an old Muslim trap. If God is Love then 'Why did Jesus have to die'?

In a more complete understanding the attributes of God, He is also Just. His Love cannot make Him less Just nor can His Righteousness make Him less Loving and Merciful but we cannot simply look a one attribute of God as if it is the whole.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. - Romans 5:8-11 ÂÂ

So I ask you to reflect on 'Why did Jesus have to die'? What did 'atonement' mean in Semitic culture?

Quote
All truth was already given to us at Pentecost. Do you think God hides things from us — that Jesus’ message was not enough? For Catholicism you have what Jesus taught you as a starting point. For us it is the end point.

Actually I believe Jesus Himself said as much:

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. - John 16:12-13 ÂÂ

I believe what is different is that you appear to believe that once the Holy Spirit came to those at Pentecost He ceases any further activity. As if it is to be jealously guarded as a possession when it is actually a gift to all those who ask of the Lord.

If we look at the example of Cornelius we see plainly that the Holy Spirit descended upon him and convicted him to repentance and regeneration as a New Creation before he was given any Sacraments. God's Grace, His Mercy is not bound by you or any earthly institution to be given out on your (or any others) whim.

I would be much less arrogant about my convictions toward my practice and a bit more modest in my assumptions if I were truly lead by the Spirit and the Beatitudes.

Give this some reflection and try to be less of an apologist and more of a humble servant of God.

Peace and God Bless.
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« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2006, 09:54:37 AM »

I agree. I'm a Celt. I've an icon of St. Colm (Columba). The early church in Britain and Ireland was Orthodox until put down following the Synod of Whitby.

Grace and Peace montalban,

I am looking into that but my journey continues regardless of what 'team-shirt' I wear.

Quote
The Papacy also gave permission for the English to invade Ireland (the only English Pope did this); instigating centuries of warfare between Ireland and England - an overview of history finds the Popes often siding with the powerful.

If I judged every man for the sin they are to blame I would trust no one then where would be Church be?

Peace.
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« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2006, 07:20:39 PM »

If you desire to suggest that Orthodoxy is 'structured' as the Trinity then you would have to have either 3 or 1 unless you believe the Trinity is more than 3?

With regards to the 'unity in diversity' I get the impression that you are suggesting God (i.e. Trinity) is not of 'one mind' and 'one will'. Is this correct? When you attribute 'unity in diversity' to the Trinity, what do you mean by that?

I said it is based on the Triune nature of God in which there is university in diversity, and that each member is of the Trinity is completely God. I stated that the word ‘Catholic’ as first applied meant complete. I showed how each church headed by a bishop is thus complete, or Catholic, in that no one church has more ‘power’ than any of the others. I don’t  know what more I can say to that effect. The unity in diversity in which no one is greater than the other, in which all contain the fullness of belief is what I’ve already stressed.

I also have never said anything about God not being of one will; in fact I referred to the church (as a parallel of God) being of one accord; in communion, as being ‘Catholic’.

I'm not here to represent Catholicism. I'm not an apologist for the papacy. As I've said to a couple other individuals on this forum every Catholic is not a two-dimensional carbon-copy of the Magisterium. We are 'individuals' just like you and everyone else. We read the Bible, pray, and try to live the beatitudes.

As a largely contemplative Catholic with deep Baptist roots I am 'unique' just they way God made me. Kind of like a snowflake...  

If you desire to know my views on a subject you shouldn't 'assume' what I believe but you should ask me.

When I said you, I was referring to you as a group. I said you catholics. I can argue about what Catholics per se believe and you (as Catholics) believe that the Pope is a super-bishop. If you wish to distance yourself (as an individual) from you (Catholics as a group) believe then perhaps calling yourself Catholic at all is not helpful. You state that you are Catholic. I state the differences between Catholics and Orthodox. That is as simple as I wanted this to be. Instead you now have me explaining further the nature of Orthodox belief for which I think is best done in other threads per the very topics you wanted explained.

So then that begs the question 'Why did Jesus have to die'? You appear to be falling into an old Muslim trap. If God is Love then 'Why did Jesus have to die'?

Out of an act of love. He came to restore nature. He didn’t do so because He felt slighted and could only be satisfied by a payment of Himself. What ‘Muslim trap’ are you referring to?

In a more complete understanding the attributes of God, He is also Just. His Love cannot make Him less Just nor can His Righteousness make Him less Loving and Merciful but we cannot simply look a one attribute of God as if it is the whole.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. - Romans 5:8-11  

So I ask you to reflect on 'Why did Jesus have to die'? What did 'atonement' mean in Semitic culture?

Jesus died to restore us. It was an act of love for us. So that we might be able to put on Christ (Gal. 3:27) by being united with a restored nature in an act called theosis. As Ireneaus said “God became man that man may become God”

But anyway, we’ve moved from me stating that Orthodox and Catholics have a different notion of salvation, to you asking me to defend the Orthodox notion of salvation, which is not my intent. It was to show that we have differences in understanding. The act of theosis, it’s merits (as regards arguing for it) are actually then a different topic.
But you can view a discussion on this matter at http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/lutherantheology.stuckwisch.html
Which states in part…
Deification reflects the paradoxical Johannine affirmation that the “Word was God” and that it “became flesh” (John 1:1,14), so that created human beings might not boast in the face of God in their “fleshly” nature, but be “in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 1:29-30), members of His Body, anticipating the eschatological fulfillment when God will be “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28). (Meyendorff, “Theosis”: 471)
Thus, Deification “reflects the experience of Christ’s divinity.” God became man, and the Son of God assumed human mortality, so that by His life, death and Resurrection He might become the first of a new, deified humanity. He is the New Adam -- the Forerunner, the Trailblazer, the Firstborn of mankind in communion with God. (Meyendorff, “Theosis”: 471)
 “In the Orthodox understanding Christianity signifies not merely an adherence to certain dogmas, not merely an exterior imitation of Christ through moral effort, but direct union with the living God, the total transformation of the human person by divine grace and glory -- what the Greek fathers termed ‘deification’...(theosis).” The most important Scriptural foundation for this doctrine of Deification is ii Peter 1:3-4, but passages with similar connotations are also considered, e.g., Psalm 82:6, John 14:17, Romans 8:11, i John 3:2, etc. “Salvation is understood to mean ‘participation’ or ‘sharing’ or ‘fellowship’ with God, or ‘indwelling’ in the words of the Gospel of John.” Salvation as Deification does not imply that created human beings “become God” in a pantheistic sense. On the contrary, Deification takes place when believers “let God be God” for them, that is, when they “enter into a personal relationship with God through Baptism and participate fully in God’s life through the sacraments in the church, the body of Christ.” (Salvation: 19-20).

See also http://www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/what/ecumenical/o-e.html
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« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2006, 07:22:16 PM »

Grace and Peace montalban,

I am looking into that but my journey continues regardless of what 'team-shirt' I wear.
Do you feel that belonging to (and following the beliefs of) a particular group is irrelevant?
If I judged every man for the sin they are to blame I would trust no one then where would be Church be?

Peace.
Trust in the saints
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« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2006, 07:23:38 PM »

Well they do tend to be on the side of God who is pretty powerful.
LOL! They try to be, but separating themselves from His church doesn't help.

Their political judgements do not come under the charism of infallibility. Having said which the papacy opposed the USA over the invasion of Iraq which seems to be siding against the powerful.
Indeed there are exceptions.
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« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2006, 04:35:17 AM »

So then that begs the question 'Why did Jesus have to die'? You appear to be falling into an old Muslim trap. If God is Love then 'Why did Jesus have to die'?
Jesus had to die because it was the necessary entry fee to get into Hades

On the Incarnation of the Word

John
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« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2006, 06:04:30 AM »

Why did Jesus die for us? Did he have to? What does Atonement mean?

Hi Chrisb. Smiley

I was responding to a different question when I posted this, but I think it contains at least part of the answer from an Orthodox perspective.

From the Orthodox perspective, the Fall was not a fall from a perfect state, necessitating the Incarnation - no.  In the first Genesis creation account, we read that we were created in God's image, according to his likeness.  Scripture and the Fathers draw a distyinction between image and likeness as theological terms.  We were created in an immature state, bearing the seal of God (the "image of God"), and set on a journey towards the fullness of realisation of the holiness of God (the "likeness of God").  The Fall was a fall from this path towards the fullness of our deification/theosis.

Some of the Fathers, including St Isaac the Syrian, have speculated whether the Incarnation and Ascension would have happened even had there been no Fall.  Of course, we can never know, because the reality is that the Fall has happened, but it would make sense that the Incarnation & Ascension - God taking on our human nature to take it back into the heavenly state - was part of his plan for our theosis from the beginning, an act of God's supreme love, and not some sort of "quick-fix" in response to man's sin.

God, in Christ, redeemed humanity by sharing in humanity.  I forget where I read "That which Christ did not become, he did not redeem".  However, through sin, in the Fall, we introduced death into the nature of man, thus changing the nature of the humanity that needed to be redeemed.  Therefore, not only did Christ share in our birth and life, (which was the original plan, according to St Isaac and others), but he now needed to share in our death as well, and overcome it - and this he did.

Had Christ not shared in our death, and overcome it in his glorious Resurrection, then we'd be in a sorry state indeed.  Christ's death was not some sort of payment to "satisfy" a God who needed to be appeased - it was his redemption of man by sharing in the nature of man.

As fopr the question of why Christ had to die, well I would say that God chose to do it this way.  The rest of my post above is not to say that God was somehow incapable of bringing about the redemtion of man by some other means, without the necessity of the death and resurrection of Christ.  Indeed, God is perfectly capable of doing anything differently from how he has chosen to do it - from creating the universe to ordering the laws of nature as he has - but he has chosen to do it the way he has.  One could just as easily ask why the grass has to be green or why we have to inhale oxygen in order to live.
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