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Author Topic: I'm getting frustrated...  (Read 6076 times) Average Rating: 0
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klburt
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« on: October 17, 2002, 12:29:30 AM »

Hello.

My name is Kevin Burt; I'm a former Protestant minister, now 29 years old, married with children, and finishing up my degree after heading back to school.

Fourteen months ago, I began reading Catholic apologetics books.  I gradually became convinced of the basic errors of Protestantism, and was really leaning toward becoming Catholic.  Four months ago, however, on a whim I decided to at least find a little out about Orthodoxy.  Since that time, I've read about five Orthodox books, attended Divine Liturgy numerous times, and spoken with an Orthodox Priest on several occasions.

Where I find myself now is frustrated.  I've been reading incessantly, and praying daily, but I feel like I'm not being able to come to a resolution.  I'm beginning to wonder how I will ever discern between the two faiths, which one is the true Church unbroken from Apostolic times.

Have any of you gone through a conversion time in which you struggled between Catholicism and Orthodoxy?  How does one go about sorting through all the issues that divide East and West?  I thought they were minimal at first, but I've come to realize how vastly different, in some ways, the two traditions are.  I feel like I could spend a lifetime trying to figure it out, only to die with persistent doubts about whether I had chosen the right, true path.

Any advice?
Thanks.
Kevin B.
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2002, 12:33:04 AM »

Practical advice is: if you are interested in continuing active ministry, become Orthodox. If you are approved by the bishop, which usually happens if you are a normal person!--the Antiochians will put you in a correspondence school, or give you the option to do a MTh degree at the Seminary (which I go to right now!), and you will be priested in a reasonable amount of time.  Trying to become a married RC or even Byzantine Catholic priest is tedious.  Possible for ex-Protestant ministers, but tedious.

In Christ,

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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2002, 08:26:15 AM »

Hello.

I feel like I could spend a lifetime trying to figure it out, only to die with persistent doubts about whether I had chosen the right, true path.

Any advice?
Thanks.
Kevin B.

Separate out tone and dogma at first.  There is a different "tone" to the west but that is not necessarily the essence of Orthodoxy.  You know the dogmatic stuff.  Can the Pope under any circumstance speak in a manner which can be kinown prospectively to be free from error?  Should the Pope have the ability unilaterally to modify the creed for the whole church?  Should we dogmatize about the "immaculate conception?"

Then move on to the practice issues.  Is the ancient manner of worship retained more fully in one place or the other?  Multiple masses on one altar in one day, separation of "confirmation" from baptism, participation of infants in eucharist, cycle of daily services v. everything is a mass, married men in holy orders, integrity of liturgical art, etc.

Then finally move on to the tone stuff -- scholastic approach to doctrine, devotions to "the heart of" X, relative use of legal categories for various doctrinal and liturgical matters, etc.

I've seen Orthodox suggest starting with this idea of a "phronema" but that doesn't work for me because one must be Orthodox to "acquire" that.  Coming from the outsiide we must work from the Kerygma to the inner life, not the other way around.

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Dmitri Rostovski
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2002, 09:30:18 AM »

I somewhat digress from my friends.  As someone who has experienced both worlds (albeit limited), for me the answer lies in the Spirit.  Where do you feel the presence of G-d more?  For me the answer is Orthodoxy.  Orthodoxy calms my soul and allows me to go about the business of Theosis without over legalization.  Although, make no mistake, Orthodoxy has its leagalism.   I think it is in the matter of degree and substance.   Both churches have a wealth of knowledge and patristics.  Where do you hear the Spirit?  Which place will better lead you to the Divine?  Which place will allow you to "...be calm, and know that (He) is G-d"?  These are the questions I had to ask myself.  Of course, I am still just a traveler.

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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2002, 09:56:04 AM »

My two kopecks:

Eastern Orthodoxy is the repository of the Byzantine tradition. It's abundantly obvious when you compare it to Byzantine Catholicism which is the original repository and which is a copy.

As far as truth issues go, in theory I have no problem with some kind of papal primacy, provided the Pope is orthodox. AFAIK Catholicism says the Pope can't invent new doctrines off the top of his head and if he turns formally heretical he loses the application of church infallibility known as papal infallibility - it's the office, not the man, that's infallible. (Put another way, he wouldn't be Pope anymore - cf. Robert Bellarmine.)

Segue to a fairness issue: the current setup with the Roman and Eastern Catholics is artificial/unhistorical and unfair automatically to the Eastern people. Historically these Churches weren't wholly owned subsidiaries of the Roman, as a later, postschism Western ecclesiology would reduce the Eastern Catholics to.

'You worship a heart!' is a Protestant slur just like 'you worship a painting' or 'you worship a piece of bread'.

Quote
Then move on to the practice issues.  Is the ancient manner of worship retained more fully in one place or the other?

Overall the East wins (Orthodox, Oriental, Assyrian). Assyrians have the oldest forms, period. To be fair to the Roman Catholics, the Gregorian canon (anaphora, consecration) at the heart of the traditional Roman Mass may be older than the Byzantine anaphoras. Not everything Eastern is ipso facto old.

Quote
Multiple masses on one altar in one day, separation of "confirmation" from baptism, participation of infants in eucharist, cycle of daily services v. everything is a mass, married men in holy orders, integrity of liturgical art, etc.

Obviously the Orthodox win here.

Though in theory one can have the whole round of the divine office in western Catholicism, in practice it was an orthodox intended reform of Vatican II that never happened. The office is still 'the priest's book' to the rank and file.

Basically the real difference all boils down to the Pope thing. The other issues are of practice, not faith, and even the filioque can be explained away.

Is the Church the postschism Roman Catholic Church with tiny, token, hybridized/emasculated Eastern branches or is it a communion of apostolic bishops all holding the same Orthodox faith?

In all fairness, Dmitri, regarding 'Where do you feel the presence of G-d more?', that is important but so is objective truth. One can be fooled into thinking one 'feels the presence of G-d more' at a charismatic Protestant prayer meeting. A quick read of history and theology - objectivity - makes being Protestant impossible. They point clearly to the apostolic Churches. Kevin's question is 'which one?'

And anastasios is right, Kevin, practically speaking - you have a far better chance of becoming an Orthodox priest than you do of becoming a married Catholic priest of any rite.
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2002, 09:56:13 AM »

klburt:

I am presently a Protestant inquirer into Orthodoxy.  When I first began to look past my own sectarian fellowship of churches, one of the ones I naturally looked into first was Rome.  Frankly, the current pope was a very attractive (albeit imperfect) reason for investigating Roman Catholicism.  (For that matter, he still is one of the best things going for Rome and her churches.)

As a Protestant, however, though I could think and pray my way through matters such as prayers to Mary and the saints, bishops, and so forth, there were some troublesome dogmas that I could not then bring myself to accept: the immaculate conceptions, the primacy and infallibility of the pope, among others.

Much later, as in a few years ago, I began to seriously investigate Orthodoxy.  Though to western eyes there are large similarities, in point of fact, the differences run much more deep and are much more significant.  Orthodox do not, as I understand, accept the dogma of the immaculate conception, and do not accede to the primacy of the see of Rome nor to the infallibility of the pope.

But it is certainly more than merely a matter of Orthodoxy agrees with my Protestant beliefs.  (How goofy!)  I, too, have gone cross-eyed reading RC apologetics arguing for the primacy of the pope, and Orthodox writings showing how that argument is false.  What has helped me the most is simply to go back and read the early Church Fathers.  What I read there runs together "seamlessly" with what I read of and in post-Schism Orthodox works.  The same is not true with Roman Catholicism.

Furthermore, I look at the current state of the Roman Catholic Church in the U. S., where I live, versus that of the Orthodox.  Both have their problems and issues, but comparing the two, for me Orthodoxy comes out on top.

Let me clarify: I do not mean in any way to impugn the Roman Catholic faithful, nor the Roman Catholic Church.  Any criticisms I make are, I hope, based on facts, and are done so with as much respect and honor as I can give.  Furthermore, these are my experiences and impressions.  Your own mileage may vary.

By the way, I'm 35, Bible college and seminary trained, married to a wonderful wife (who is resistant to becoming Orthodox), but with no children--yet.
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2002, 10:07:47 AM »

Kevin, another issue to consider that bounces the ball back in the Orthodox court is, 'Why the Renaissance? Why the "Reformation"? Why the "Enlightenment"? Why secular humanism today? And why in the West and not in the East?'
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Dmitri Rostovski
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2002, 10:27:32 AM »

Taking an analytical approach to Orthodoxy seems so un-Orthodox to me.  Interpretations of history and praxis have been manipulated for centuries by both sides to prove their point.  Where I would argue that a study of history clearly proves Orthodoxy, the Catholic would argue the opposite.  My advice is to of course study the history but above all pray.  G-d will leed you where you need to be.  

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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2002, 10:34:56 AM »

Glory to Jesus Christ! For me, reading the Fathers and the 7 Ecumenical Councils (Which is a very Orthodox thing to do) proved  Orthodoxy to me. Not reading someone's interpretation of history. God Bless!
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2002, 12:12:03 PM »

Dear Kevin:


Your dilemma is, indeed, frustrating!

You have come to the right place for a far-ranging exposition on the tenets of Orthodoxy (Eastern and Oriental).  I, too, am learning a lot about the Eastern lung.

However, I balance this out by keeping tab on the "other" Orthodox views especially espoused by the Byzantine Catholics (Eastern Catholics) who prefer to call themselves "Orthodox in communion with Rome" at http://www.byzcath.org

Also, it might be comforting to give a passing glance on the varied and various journeys of faith of many Protestants like yourself, clergy and laity alike, towards the Catholic Church in the FORUM section of http://chnetwork.org

There are married Catholic priests (East and West) who were former Prostestant clergy.  Whether it is "tedious" to take this route is debatable.

Yours is a PERSONAL decision to make and I do not begrudge you for it.  Only, I pray that you keep an open mind.

I am a (Roman) Catholic.


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« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2002, 12:29:05 PM »

klburt,

Quote
Have any of you gone through a conversion time in which you struggled between Catholicism and Orthodoxy?  How does one go about sorting through all the issues that divide East and West?  I thought they were minimal at first, but I've come to realize how vastly different, in some ways, the two traditions are.  I feel like I could spend a lifetime trying to figure it out, only to die with persistent doubts about whether I had chosen the right, true path.

I'm a former Roman Catholic.  I've had to deal with similar issues - if you have any specific questions, I might be able to help you.

One thing I can say, is avoid the type of thinking that insists "Orthodoxy and Catholicism are from different planets"; you're not going to find gigantic, "eureka" differences like that assumption would require.  Rather you're going to notice a bunch of subtle (but very significant) differences that when taken together, will make your decision much easier.

As someone in this forum mentioned, which church reflects what you read in the Church Fathers?  Not simply in terms of liturgy, but also in ascetic practices, and private observances?  I believe whole heartedly that when one examines things like this in their totality, they end up with a very positive argument for Orthodoxy (and not simply "against" their former religion, or other religions.)

However, there is a place for negative apologetics.  You have to ask yourself if Roman claims regarding the Papacy wash with the Fathers, and more importantly (since you'll see a lot of "proof texting" on this issue) if the "Pope centered universal church" envisioned by contemporary Catholicism really reflects the day in, day out life of early Christians.  I submit that even in much of western Christendom, it wasn't towards the end of the first millenium A.D. (and in places like England not until the Norman Conquest at least in 1066 A.D.) that Rome had a firm, authoritarian hold on it's "subjects" - and the truth is that such extension of growing Papal claims never was accepted in the East.

But ultimatly it is you who is going to have to make a decision.

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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2002, 01:11:47 PM »

Thanks to all who have replied to this point.

I am not really concerned at this point about becoming a Priest.  I.e., it is not at all a determining factor of which Church I ultimately decide to enter.  

I do pray, and I do hope that God will lighten my path, but I still hesitate to base my decision upon a "feeling."  I was a Protestant for the first 26 years of my life, and moved between various "movements" within Protestantism...all moves motivated by a "feeling" I thought I had from God.  I'm too wary at this point to trust my feelings, as I realize they change frequently.

What I'm looking for is truth.  In many ways, Orthodoxy seems more similar to the earliest Church.  However, the Papacy appeals to me in that it provides a final, absolute voice in matters of disagreement.  Of course, the Orthodox argue that it provides not that, but rather a final voice subject to the whims of one man, regardless of how good a man he may be.

Has anyone read The Russian Church and the Papacy by Vladimir Soloviev?  I am halfway through it at this point.  He was an Orthodox priest, but wrote this book in support of the Papacy, arguing that only by submitting to Rome could the Church ever regain complete unity.

I just feel adrift in a great ocean of issues.  I feel like when I look into one single issue, even a big one like the Schism of 1054, I'm only touching the tip of the iceberg, and that with only my own, fallible, and highly unstable opinions.  

Some Orthodox have told me that the differences are not that great between East and West.  Most Catholics, if not all, have repeated the same to me.  But, many Orthodox have told me that the differences are immense.  I am reading a book right now by Clark Carlton, entitled The Truth (commended by Bp. BASIL), in which Carlton argues that the differences are so huge that in effect, the Catholics come close to--if not succeed in--worshiping a different God and Lord.

This variance of thought within Orthodoxy has made the search difficult.  Within Catholicism, that is ideally eliminated, but in practicality I'm finding the same problems.  There are numerous bishops and theologians who dissent from the Church, and on some issues, it's difficult to tell what the Church teaches, or whether She has contradicted herself over the centuries.

Anyway, thanks for all the responses you've given.  Perhaps there is not an easy path to finding the truth in this matter.  Jesus promises us that those who seek shall find.  I'm just starting to wonder how that happens, and how long it takes.  Because right now, I doubt at times if I will ever really find, if the door will really ever be opened.  I want to believe that it will, but my practical experience is only becoming more confusing with each week that passes.

Maybe I just need to give it time, and pray more intensely.  I will try.

Thanks,
kevin b.
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« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2002, 01:27:50 PM »

Dear Kevin:


Although he was not of the clergy, David Armstrong's "Biblical Evidence for Catholicsim" at http://www.biblicalcatholic.com
comprehensively covers probably all of the questions a Protestant can come up with regarding both Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

While "James Likoudis' Page" at http://credo.stormloader.com/jlindex.htm gives a poignant portrait of an Orthodox's journey to Catholicism.


AmdG
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2002, 01:28:51 PM »

Kevin,

I agree that where one can most easily be ordained shouldn't be THE deciding factor where one goes.

Vladimir Soloviev wasn't a priest, if this is the same, famous Soloviev I'm thinking of.

I don't know the title of the book you're referring to but it sounds like Russia and the Universal Church, of which I've read excerpts online. Seems like crude pro-Catholic hackwork few if any knowledgeable, orthodox Eastern or Roman Catholics would support today.

James Likoudis is a nice fellow (he likes my site too) but perhaps not the best or most objective source on the differences between the two sides. My understanding is he converted from very nominal Greek Orthodox membership (from birth) to Roman Catholicism in 1952.
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2002, 01:45:34 PM »

Dear Serge:


I think the book "The Russian Church and the Papacy" by Vladimir Soloviev in the hands of KEVIN is the title of the REPRINT of "Russia and the Universal Church" by the same author.

This book has become a "thorn" on the side of Orthodoxy!

Meanwhile, the same REPRINT has become a "bestseller" in the Catalogue section of "Catholic Answers" at http://www.catholic.com


AmdG


(BTW, I like your website, too!  I visit it often and, for Kevin's attention, permit me to cite it:  http://oldworldrus.com)
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« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2002, 01:52:03 PM »

Mr Guerrero,

If your intention here is to push Roman Catholicism at Orthodoxy's expense then perhaps this is not the Web board for you.
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« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2002, 02:04:23 PM »

Kevin,

Serge is correct: Soloviev was not an Orthodox priest. Also, Father Schmemann--Eternal Memory--points out that Soloviev's infatuation with Rome was of short duration, and he returned to his senses...Orthodox senses.

Res ipsa loquitur.

Abdur

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« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2002, 02:06:46 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear Amadeus,

    While you are welcome to come here to learn about Orthodoxy, this, much like Russia, is not a place for you to prostelytize. This is a forum to help those considering converting to Orthodoxy, not leading them to roman Catholicism, so I would ask you please to stop doing this. Thanks in advance & God Bless!
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« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2002, 02:09:07 PM »


For differences between Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Catholicism try yhe following website.  It is maintained by an 'old calendar' Greek jurisdiction but has a wealth of info -

http://orthodox.truepath.com/

Orthodoc
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« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2002, 02:11:15 PM »

Reader Serge:


With Bobby's edifying photographics and Troparion, I feel no need to respond to your last post.


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« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2002, 02:19:26 PM »

Amado,

I didn't make or write what Bobby posted and thanks for the recommendation of my site to Kevin. Good day.
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« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2002, 02:20:22 PM »

Dear Nik:


I am sorry if my posts appeared to you and to Serge as "proselytizing," and probably to all.

Clearly they were made only for the sake of openness and for the charitable treatment of religious persuasions other than Orthodoxy.

Nothing more, nothing less.


AmdG


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« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2002, 02:27:09 PM »

Bobby,

Although I'm a Catholic, I cannot help but giggle (and then some) at the "Pillars of Heterodoxy".  Perhaps the most lighthearted thing I've seen all week! Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2002, 02:31:18 PM »

THANKS!

It was supposed to be a light hearted post, but I removed it at fear of offending anyone

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« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2002, 02:43:29 PM »

I have known Catholics who would agree with Bobby's assessment of Messrs Carroll's (with whom I've crossed swords via e-mail), Armstrong's and Likoudis' views.
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« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2002, 03:08:27 PM »

I've butted heads with Dr. Carroll and Mr. Armstrong in the past, even over decidely WESTERN traditions and theology.  Although I can say that Dave Armstrong scares me alot more than Dr. Carroll in his...ah...zeal, I guess you could call it.  Dave reminds me far too much of a foil of mine from my personal life.
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« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2002, 03:10:08 PM »

[I have known Catholics who would agree with Bobby's assessment of Messrs Carroll's (with whom I've crossed swords via e-mail), Armstrong's and Likoudis' views. ]

Is this the same Mr Carroll who was, until recently, on EWTN's Questions & Answers board?  The same one, who on more than one occassion posted that the word 'catholic' was derived from a latin word.  The same Mr Carroll who so angered  both the Orthodox Catholics and the Eastern Catholics under Rome that they finally demanded and got their own section (thank God)?

About only thing I agreed with him where the Eastern Church is concerned is his insistance that people who identify themselves as being in union with the Pope were, in fact, Roman Catholics who utilize an Eastern Rite!

It seems that most people never took his posts seriously including RC's, EC's, and OC's.

Orthodoc
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« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2002, 03:11:29 PM »

Bobby,

You deleted the post before I could read it?Huh?  Huh

How am I supposed to enjoy it.  If you still have, please either repost it, PM it to me, or send it to my email (joe_zollars@hotmail.com)

Joe Zollars
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« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2002, 03:19:34 PM »

Orthodoc,

The one and the same Dr Warren Carroll.
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« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2002, 05:53:07 PM »

Quote
am not really concerned at this point about becoming a Priest.  I.e., it is not at all a determining factor of which Church I ultimately decide to enter.

Good.  Practicality should not be the first concern one has over a decision like this.

Quote
I do pray, and I do hope that God will lighten my path, but I still hesitate to base my decision upon a "feeling."  I was a Protestant for the first 26 years of my life, and moved between various "movements" within Protestantism...all moves motivated by a "feeling" I thought I had from God.  I'm too wary at this point to trust my feelings, as I realize they change frequently.

"Feelings" can be a double edged sword - they can intuitively tell us when we're right, but also can be very deceptive.  Most of us are still very much spiritual infants, and lack the maturity and inherent powers of discernment to be able to put much stock in intuitions like this.

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What I'm looking for is truth.  In many ways, Orthodoxy seems more similar to the earliest Church.

In what ways do you think the Orthodox Church is "more similar".  Is there anything which you don't think is similar?  I'd suggest also asking yourself those same questions in regard to Roman Catholicism (in what ways is it similar to the early Church, and in which ways is it disimilar).

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However, the Papacy appeals to me in that it provides a final, absolute voice in matters of disagreement.  Of course, the Orthodox argue that it provides not that, but rather a final voice subject to the whims of one man, regardless of how good a man he may be.

It (the Papacy) seems to be a pretty bad trade for Christ and the Holy Spirit (Christ as head of the Church, the Holy Spirit helping God-bearing saints and elders discern, and keeping those who are watchful on the safe path.)

On practical grounds, the Papacy can seem like a "good solution."  As we all know from experiences of different working relationships, it is much easier to have one person in charge with autocratic powers, than to have several more or less equal heads having to actually discuss anything (and come to a resolution.)  I stress, easier.

But is "ease" the ultimate deciding factor?  While it may comfort someone to believe there is an infallible man in some city who can make everything right, what about if that man is not in fact "infallible"?  Well when examining RC-ism, that question has to come up, since it wasn't until Vatican Council I that "papal infallibility" became a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church.  Doesn't it seem odd to you that something so central to a given ecclessiology, would take over 1900 years to be definitively spoken about?  Equally strange, is the spectacle of an "Ecumenical Council" (which is how the Roman Catholics view Vatican I) bestowing infallibility upon the Pope - it's something of a paradox, since you have a doctrine that ulitmatly rests upon the decision of a Council, which basically says that the Pope doesn't need a Council - he can act unilaterially and be a Council unto himself!

There is also a certain agnosticism inherent to the RC desire for an "infallible", almost oracular Pope in Rome.  Do they not truly believe that Christ is with us, "until the end of the age"?  That the Holy Spirit will "lead you into all truth"?  While ultimatly you need someone to give some kind of unifying guidance, to sit at the "head of the table" when a group of any sort gathers, which is closer to what you read about in the book of Acts (at the Council of Jerusalem), or in the records of the original 7 Oecumenical Synods...

- Gathering of more or less equal persons, with perhaps one or a few chief people sitting in the head positions at the table (in the case of Jerusalem, while St.Peter played an important role, it was St.James who ultimatly acted as primate over the assembly), discussing matters in the Holy Spirit...

- or a man who, if he wants to, can forego even the appearance of such conciliar gatherings, and "define matters of doctrine" unilitaterally, and such that they will be binding upon the consciences of the whole Church?

It seems to me that ultimatly all the Papacy does is immortalize error (thus putting modern Roman Catholics in the weird position of starting to "know better" and wanting re-union with the Orthodox Church, but not being able to easily disavow certain abbherant ideas without totally losing face).

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Has anyone read The Russian Church and the Papacy by Vladimir Soloviev?  I am halfway through it at this point.  He was an Orthodox priest, but wrote this book in support of the Papacy, arguing that only by submitting to Rome could the Church ever regain complete unity.

This is perhaps not the best book to read for an "Orthodox perspective."  If anything, there are many Orthodox who insist the man was a Sophiast heretic (the "sophiast" heresy is a strange abbheration that appeared in Russian Orthodox circles in the late 19th/early 20th century, and which to some degree hasn't totally been squashed.)  At the very least, I don't think his views (which reflect a certain set in the Russian Orthodox milieu at that period, typically the intelligensia and upper classes, who were heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism and in some cases Protestant thought) can be said to even represent Orthodoxy in his age (even in Russia), let alone over the last 2000 years.

Though not a perfect book, you'd be better served reading something like THE PRIMACY OF PETER : Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church (edited by John Meyendorff), published by St.Vladimir's Press than Soloviev (if you want something more representative of Orthodoxy's view of the Papacy or St.Peter's place amongst the Apostles.)

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This variance of thought within Orthodoxy has made the search difficult.  Within Catholicism, that is ideally eliminated, but in practicality I'm finding the same problems.  There are numerous bishops and theologians who dissent from the Church, and on some issues, it's difficult to tell what the Church teaches, or whether She has contradicted herself over the centuries.

imho, the claim that the Papacy is a great unifier is only good if you're more bent on appearances than essence.  While the Pope can keep everyone nominally in "communion" with him that pride themselves on being "Catholic", it's painfully obvious that without things not inherent to the Church (Church having control over temporal matters, like the "two swords" of the medieval Popes guaranteed, or Crusades and Inquisitions, etc.) the Papacy's ability to act as any sort of real "unifying force" is very limited (and in our age where almost all of the RCC's temporal power is gone, fast vanishing.)

Really, what does it mean if a given Bishop is willing to kiss the Pope's ring, if his whole business is promoting liberalism and his own extravagant interpretations of things like "Vatican II"?  This is why in the end, while the Orthodox Church for the sake of convienience has guidelines in given synods on how they are organized (and who their primate is; like in the Russian Church Abroad, we have a Metropolitan who has primacy in the Synod, and then there are also Archbishops, and then the rest of the Bishops), when it comes right down to it, the Church is not dependent upon these.  For what is essential to the Church's ecclessiology, is the presence of the true confession of the faith, and communion with one's Bishop (this is very fundamental, and was explicitly articulated in the writings of one of the disciples of the Apostles, St.Ignatius of Antioch).

Seraphim Reeves - P.S. : some plurality in thought is ok (gasp!)
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« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2002, 06:40:58 PM »

Seraphim -

"Old Man, look at my life,
24 and so much more -" Cool

How did you get so knowledgable at such a young age?

Steve
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« Reply #31 on: October 17, 2002, 10:05:06 PM »

While after meeting Orthodoc personally I can testify that he is a solidly Orthodox man who is very friendly to Catholics, his recommendation of the "orthodox.truepath" website scares me!  That site is wildly polemical, with photos such as a Catholic bishop doing a Nazi salute that is used to "prove" bishops and Pope Pius XII were anti-semitic, etc.

A much better site is http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/orthodoxy_and_catholicism/

In Christ,

anastasios
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« Reply #32 on: October 17, 2002, 11:27:31 PM »

[That site is wildly polemical, with photos such as a Catholic bishop doing a Nazi salute that is used to "prove" bishops and Pope Pius XII were anti-semitic, etc. ]

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words Anastasios.
I've been asked many times if I like and trust Roman Catholics.  My answer is that on an individual basis there are many RC's that I both love and would trust  with my very life.  But as far as the RCC goes, I  don't trust it worth a damn.

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« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2002, 12:06:41 PM »

Dear Orthodoc,

I can surely understand why you distrust the RCC.  In fact, I feel the same way sometimes.  What with all the changing pronouncements, etc., it's a wonder to me the RCC is still intact.

What is needed is repentence on both sides.  Even if you are 100% Orthodox in theology (which I believe you are, Orthodoc), you still have to take into account that both sides have sinned against the other.  And even if you say "well the RCC sinned 75% of the time" or even 94% of the time, there is still sin.  The only way to get the RCC on the right track (ie to bring it back to Orthodoxy) is to treat it kindly but firmly, and interact with it (albeit at a distance for safety reasons!).

The site you referred does not help insure unity, and is thus sinful.  A realistic analysis of RCC claims and actions is more than warrented, but putting misleading photos, articles that are half-truths, and vitriolic hate-filled postings about the RCC will NOT help.  Take it from me, someone on the Outside of Orthodoxy looking in: St. Vlad's people NEVER talk bad about the RCC even if they are critical.  This has me more interested than ever in joining up.  But if the trupath website were all I knew about Orthodoxy, I would not want to be Orthodox.  Just like a site like Dave Armstrong's which attempts to debunk Orthodoxy makes me cringe.

In Christ,

anastasios
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« Reply #34 on: October 18, 2002, 03:40:21 PM »

[Take it from me, someone on the Outside of Orthodoxy looking in: St. Vlad's people NEVER talk bad about the RCC even if they are critical.  This has me more interested than ever in joining up. ]

Anastasios:  This is good to hear.  But please don't  use it as a prerequisite for converting to Holy Orthodoxy.
Only convert if and/or when you are convinced that the Orthodox Catholic Church is the True Faith.  True in the sense that it alone, contains the truth entirely while others contain bits and pieces.  Some more than others.

If you are convinced that all Christian faiths are equal, or that there is no difference between Orthodox Catholicity and Byzantine Catholicity then it would be better for you to stay in your present Church.

This is not meant to be either harsh or judgemental.  It just means that you haven't fully grasped the essence of Orthodoxy Christianity if you feel that way.

As I write this, I keep thinking -  "I just hope he realizes what I am trying to tell him and know I'm not being offensive, just  informative."

Once again,  it's wonderful that the people at St Vlad's are so welcoming and friendly.  But convert because of  what you have learned or realize, not because you are accepted or rejected at St Vlad's.

Orthodoc  

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« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2002, 10:08:24 PM »

Orthodoc,

Allow me to clarify what I mean.  Of course truth is what matters and I have to go where the truth is.

I should have more clearly explained that what I mean is that if the only Orthodox I met were people like the truepath people, then I would never have given it a second thought.

By God's grace, most of the people I meet that are Orthodox are good Christian examples.

I do believe, however, that the way the general ethos of the people is is important to a faith; the RC's say it doesn't matter if the Popes and most bishops in the middle ages were hedonistic SOB's because their charism only was to pass on the truth.  I believe that a religion that is true will, while still having bad members, draw people consistently with the good apples.  That's what I've found so far with Orthodox.

In Christ,

anastasios
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