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What is the Church? #105500
12/10/05 10:37 AM
12/10/05 10:37 AM
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Matt Offline OP
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So for Byzantine Catholics, what/who is "The Church"? Often it seems BC's try to straddle to line between east and west, but it seems that if one is going to say that the church is indeed visible, and given that the RCs and EOs are not in full communion, it would follow that one would have to "pick one". So would you describe Catholicism as the true Church, and then the Orthodox as a sister church, but not "The Church"? I mean the true church of Christ can't be divided right? I have some thoughts on this but I'll hold off for a bit.

Re: What is the Church? #105501
12/10/05 12:06 PM
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Here are my two cents' worth:

The Church is the mystical Body of Christ. The Church is Jesus and all who are united with Him.

As a Catholic, I believe that the fullness of Christ's Church is the Catholic Church: Christians who are in full communion with the Bishop of Rome.

And, as part of the Catholic Church, the Byzantine Catholics (and other Eastern Catholic Churches) are also full members of Christ's Church.

As for other Christians (including the Orthodox and the Protestants), I as a Catholic believe that they share in the Christ's Body but not fully. A body can be one, but it can also have some broken bones.

Overall, I know where the Church is -- the Catholic Church. However, in humility and hope of Christ's mercy and love, I do not know where Christ's Church is not. And thus, I don't try to judge who is in and who is out.

-- John

Re: What is the Church? #105502
12/10/05 03:31 PM
12/10/05 03:31 PM
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Michael B Offline
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Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

Matt, you asked:
Quote
the true church of Christ can't be divided right?
.

My wishes echo your comment, however, the sin of pride has divided one of the most precious things He gave us, His True Church. Oh, how He must hurt, since He loves us so much, and yet, all we do is fuss and fight, and say, (this is just an amalgamation of comments, and reflects no one in particular) "My church is the right one, not yours, for reasons x, y, and/or z."

If you come from a broken home, would you love one parent more than another? Is it even fair to you that you has to be placed in this situation and make that choice? That alone can breed resentment of sorts!

I like to think of our current situation in the following manner.

You meet the person of your dreams, get married, create new life, and provide a loving and caring environment. Then you disagree and split up/divorce. Your child/children, who love(s) you both so much, now has to choose who (s)he wants to stay with, visit with, spend Christmas and other holidays with. Is that fair to the child/children? Why do they have to pick? It is wrong to have to force the child to say Mom is better, or Dad is better. They are both the parents, and the love from them should be unconditional to the child.

In an ideal situation, for the welfare of the child/children, the parents need to make amends and reconcile. When a house united falls, the loving home is gone! And the cost of therapy can be quite expensive!

Mistakes happen. As we are all part of the Church of Christ, we must each be willing to swallow our pride, and embrace each other to reunify the House of God. I realize this may not be a popular position, but the Gospel and history are clear on how the churches should interact, and until that heals, I will not choose my Mother over my Father. I will love them both, unconditionally! I will do all I can to help my Mother and Father reunite, for the good of all, and, being selfish, for my own good.

Wishy washy answer? Maybe, but this is my thoughts on the True Church of Jesus Christ.

In Christ,

Michael

Re: What is the Church? #105503
12/10/05 03:54 PM
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As a Catholic, I believe that the fullness of Christ's Church is the Catholic Church: Christians who are in full communion with the Bishop of Rome.

And, as part of the Catholic Church, the Byzantine Catholics (and other Eastern Catholic Churches) are also full members of Christ's Church.

As for other Christians (including the Orthodox and the Protestants), I as a Catholic believe that they share in the Christ's Body but not fully. A body can be one, but it can also have some broken bones.
Interesting. I won't add my thoughts on the first statement.

If this is in fact the position of the Catholic Church then I think they would consider it an imperative to proselytize those outside of the church in the "broken" limbs of the body of Christ. That would mean Orthodox and Protestants who are effectively in the same boat.

I would also say any theological dialogue between the two sides is pointless.

Andrew

Re: What is the Church? #105504
12/10/05 04:36 PM
12/10/05 04:36 PM
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harmon3110 Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Rilian:
Quote
As a Catholic, I believe that the fullness of Christ's Church is the Catholic Church: Christians who are in full communion with the Bishop of Rome.

And, as part of the Catholic Church, the Byzantine Catholics (and other Eastern Catholic Churches) are also full members of Christ's Church.

As for other Christians (including the Orthodox and the Protestants), I as a Catholic believe that they share in the Christ's Body but not fully. A body can be one, but it can also have some broken bones.
Interesting. I won't add my thoughts on the first statement.

If this is in fact the position of the Catholic Church then I think they would consider it an imperative to proselytize those outside of the church in the "broken" limbs of the body of Christ. That would mean Orthodox and Protestants who are effectively in the same boat.

I would also say any theological dialogue between the two sides is pointless.

Andrew
Andrew,

That was my position, as a practicing Catholic. I don't know if it is the "official" position of the Catholic Church. But, I think continued dialogue among the churches is very necessary. Proselytizing among Christians is bound to exacerbate already difficult relations among the churches. Instead, I think living the Gospel as we each best can and having conversation among our members (hierarchs and laity) are keys to restoring unity within Christ's Church.

-- John

Re: What is the Church? #105505
12/10/05 04:51 PM
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If what you said is the case, the Eastern Patriarchates derive their validity by nature of being subject to the Roman Pontiff and not by their own apostolic origin. There were then effectively no "true" Eastern churches until the various unias during the Counter-Reformation. The Eastern churches were broken, impaired, etc. The Orthodox went "their own way" at the schism as was said in another thread.

If you believe the Orthodox are not true churches in the fullest sense, then they are in error, and teaching error. They are leading people astray. This is fairly basic. Proselytizing then is an imperative, because it is imperative that people be in the church. Hurting peoples feelings should not be a concern, seeking their salvation should be. It would be unfair to act otherwise.

Theological dialogue I say is useless if you accept the model that fullness of the church is brought about by being subject to the Roman Pontiff. The Orthodox don't and won't view unity in those terms. Ever.

Andrew

Re: What is the Church? #105506
12/10/05 07:57 PM
12/10/05 07:57 PM
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Michael B Offline
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Simple comment/question to no one in particular.

Why is there a lot of bashing lately of the Eastern Churches? I thought this was a forum to foster ideas, and build strength and support between the west and the east.

Please see below:

Quote
APOSTOLIC LETTER
ORIENTALE LUMEN
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
JOHN PAUL II
TO THE BISHOPS, CLERGY AND FAITHFUL
TO MARK THE CENTENARY
OF ORIENTALIUM DIGNITAS
OF POPE LEO XIII



Venerable Brothers,
Dear Sons and Daughters of the Church

1. The light of the East has illumined the universal Church, from the moment when "a rising sun" appeared above us (Lk 1:78): Jesus Christ, our Lord, whom all Christians invoke as the Redeemer of man and the hope of the world.

That light inspired my predecessor Pope Leo XIII to write the Apostolic Letter Orientalium Dignitas in which he sought to safeguard the significance of the Eastern traditions for the whole Church.(1)

On the centenary of that event and of the initiatives the Pontiff intended at that time as an aid to restoring unity with all the Christians of the East, I wish to send to the Catholic Church a similar appeal, which has been enriched by the knowledge and interchange which has taken place over the past century.

Since, in fact, we believe that the venerable and ancient tradition of the Eastern Churches is an integral part of the heritage of Christ's Church, the first need for Catholics is to be familiar with that tradition, so as to be nourished by it and to encourage the process of unity in the best way possible for each.
Above are the words of +Blessed John Paul II. To all our venerable Roman Catholic members, to disregard these words is to turn your back on +St. Peter, the first Pontiff of Rome. Stating that the Catholic church is the only church that has the fullness of Christ does not make sense to me when taken in context with this letter. If that was the case, then why even talk to our Eastern Brothers?

Just my two cents.

Here is the link for the full letter

Michael

Re: What is the Church? #105507
12/10/05 08:12 PM
12/10/05 08:12 PM
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Father Anthony Offline

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Thank you Michael.

I believe that it is time that maybe some are reminded of those words and who it was directed to. Maybe the words posted will help enlighten some.

In IC XC,
Father Anthony+


Everyone baptized into Christ should pass progressively through all the stages of Christ's own life, for in baptism he receives the power so to progress, and through the commandments he can discover and learn how to accomplish such progression. - Saint Gregory of Sinai
Re: What is the Church? #105508
12/10/05 10:11 PM
12/10/05 10:11 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Rilian:
If what you said is the case, the Eastern Patriarchates derive their validity by nature of being subject to the Roman Pontiff and not by their own apostolic origin. There were then effectively no "true" Eastern churches until the various unias during the Counter-Reformation. The Eastern churches were broken, impaired, etc. The Orthodox went "their own way" at the schism as was said in another thread.
Andrew-

Rome's position on this issue I think is clear from both OL and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The interpretation listed in the above paragraph is silly (which I think is the point you were trying to make) and cannot be backed by Catholic doctrine or ecclesiology.

Of course, there are some people who mistakenly believe this.......

Re: What is the Church? #105509
12/11/05 12:40 AM
12/11/05 12:40 AM
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I think the most requisite answer for the believer is that the Church is embodiment in Christ, His Body, typefied by the Eucharist. It is a Banquet of Love where we as members centre our worship in Him and He comes to abide in us, in the Eucharist. For us, the Church must firstly always be the Eucharist...


We know as we are known...
Re: What is the Church? #105510
12/11/05 05:56 AM
12/11/05 05:56 AM
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harmon3110 Offline
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To Rilian, Michael, and the others who were disturbed by my post,

First, I apologize for offending you, or causing you to think I was bashing the Eastern Churches, or that I think that the Eastern Churches are somehow not fully the Church.

Second, I don't know what words to use to try to express myself. So, please forgive me in advance if I make a gaff while trying to explain myself.

Yes, I look to Jesus Christ (and thus the Eucharist) for the fullness of Christ's Church. Yes, both Western and Eastern Churches possess that. And, thus, yes, these Churches have the fullness of Jesus Christ too.

What I was trying to express, and what I apparently did so badly, is that communion with each other is also part of the fullness of Christ. Communion with each other is also part, or a dimension of, the Eucharist.

Now, as a Catholic, I believe that this communion with each other is expressed and served by being in communion with the bishop of Rome. I realize that is a divisive belief to some: the Protestants and the Orthodox. But, it is also my belief. It is part of what makes me Catholic. Otherwise, I would be Protestant or Orthodox. Yet, I also appreciate that others do not share this belief.

So, I am trying, in good faith, to practice what I preach and to foster dialogue by responding to your objections by apologizing for offending you by expressing myself poorly. And, by participating at this Forum and in other dialogue, I hope that we can at least understand each other better and get along with each other better.

-- John

Re: What is the Church? #105511
12/11/05 09:01 AM
12/11/05 09:01 AM
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Michael B Offline
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Dear John,

Thank you so much for your post. This was not to single you out. My concerns were indicative of posts on many of the various threads. I only wished to clarify that in order to achieve Communion of the Eucharist with Rome is to understand fully and recognize validly the Holiness and theology of the Eastern Churches. You cannot love a person if you do not know anything about them.

I believe +Blessed John Paul II provided us with the Orientale Lumens as a message to learn more about the East, and then allows us to be knowledgeable enough to work with our bishops to ensure success in the endeavor of sharing the Eucharist in the fullness of one Holy and Apostolic Church, in which we all share membership (West and East).

My only concern, and it was not directed towards anyone in particular, is the constant statement of on the RCC having fullness of the True Faith. To me, this is like denying Christ. Separate Theologies have been established in the last thousand years, and we are now called upon to wade through these differences and find the commonality that will allow us to move forth in healing this unfortunate breach.

May the love and understanding of the Holy Spirit descend upon us all, so that we may, with the help of the Holy Trinity, step up to the challenges that have been presented to us.

With much love in Christ,

Michael

Re: What is the Church? #105512
12/11/05 11:46 AM
12/11/05 11:46 AM
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Matt Offline OP
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Quote
My only concern, and it was not directed towards anyone in particular, is the constant statement of on the RCC having fullness of the True Faith. To me, this is like denying Christ. Separate Theologies have been established in the last thousand years, and we are now called upon to wade through these differences and find the commonality that will allow us to move forth in healing this unfortunate breach.
Michael,

Are you suggesting that Christ's visible church is split? Do you believe this contradicts the promise that "The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it?"? What would be wrong from a Byzantine Catholic perspective of saying that the Catholic Church is the true church and the Orthodox church is a sister church?

Matt

Re: What is the Church? #105513
12/11/05 02:50 PM
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What I was trying to express, and what I apparently did so badly, is that communion with each other is also part of the fullness of Christ. Communion with each other is also part, or a dimension of, the Eucharist.

Now, as a Catholic, I believe that this communion with each other is expressed and served by being in communion with the bishop of Rome.
What about on the day of Pentecost when there wasn't even a Christian in the city of Rome? What about when the Papacy was in Avignon? What about when at the Council of Constance there were three competing Popes? Does the church now cease to exist in the time between when a Pope dies and a conclave elects a new one?

Perhaps you will tell me all of these exceptions and others have explanations as to why at certain times being in communion with the bishop of Rome is not a requirement for being the church. I would assume in the end the explanation would be the church ultimately is not dependent on anyone, including the Roman Pontiff, for its existence.

Anyone here certainly has the right to believe the ontological basis of the church has to be conditioned by being subject to the Roman Pontiff. I have no problem with that. I just don't think anyone should be suprised if the Orthodox aren't interested in being part of a dialogue where this idea is entertained.

Andrew

Re: What is the Church? #105514
12/11/05 04:26 PM
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Dear Matt,

Greetings. You pose some tough questions, and it has taken me a bit to reflect on them. Please remember this is my own opinion, and not that of the Byzantine Church. I would ask some of our esteemed theologians to provide answers if necessary.

Quote
Are you suggesting that Christ's visible church is split? Do you believe this contradicts the promise that "The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it?"?
Christ's Church is one, however, the descendent's of his Holy Apostles are indeed split. Brother against brother, if you may. The gates of hell will not prevail against the One Holy, catholic, and apostolic church, in the end, but for now, due to the Evil One, and the evil one's influence upon the brothers of the church, the Church is in pain. It is our duty to Christ to heal this breach.

Quote
What would be wrong from a Byzantine Catholic perspective of saying that the Catholic Church is the true church and the Orthodox church is a sister church?
I believe this perspective is incompatible with being a true Christian. In the Catholic communion, there are 23 sui iuris Churches, each with its own valid and apostolic rite and/or recension. While the Roman Catholic Church is the largest of these 23, it is not exclusive.

Within each of the 23 churches, the fullness of faith is found, otherwise we could not be in communion with Rome. Each church contributes theological understanding, liturgies, and prayers, which adds to the richness of the spiritual life of the Catholic Church. There are recognized differences in theology, which affect understandings of certain dogma, but our commonality is that we choose to recognize the Patriarch of the West, the Pope, holder of the seat of Peter, as the head of each of our Churches, and he, in turn, recognizes the fullness of each of these Churches.

Since the majority of the sui iuris Churches have current counter part Orthodox churches that are no different theologically, with the exception of the Patriarch, then it stands to reason if the Pope states that the fullness of the Church is found in the sui iuris Church, then that same fullness must be found in the mother church of that particular sui iuris church. To say anything else, is to denigrate the 22 other sui iuris Churches of the Catholic communion and call the words of our Pope wrong. This of course cannot be the case, due to the dogma of Papal Infallibility. Therefore, all Apostolic churches are part of the Body of Christ, and contain the full truth. Not just one, but all. So says our Holy Fathers and St. Peter.

Hope this helps. As I stated, this is just my humble opinion and not a statement on behalf of any other Byzantine Catholic member.

In Christ,

Michael

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