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Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122108 08/02/02 12:23 AM
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Dear Stuart,

Thank you for your response to my last post. I would've replied sooner but my power supply went bad on my computer. I'm happy to be back.

Thank you for your thorough rebuke of my last post (even of the things I thought we were agreed on :-). I see now you are an expert with a real command of the issue at hand. I will get those books you recommend. Thank you.

Currently I can't, in good conscience, agree with your depiction of history. I can't help thinking there must be Roman Catholics as unbiased and historically knowledgeable as you who STILL believe in the faith as taught by Rome. I have to believe there are Roman Catholics who have some good reasons for believing what they believe (no matter how mistaken you say they are). I've seen a lot from the Roman Catholic position which appears to treat history the way you say it needs to be approached, which supports their conclusions to some degree. I also know that the Orthodox also have good reasons for believing what they believe. I've seen a lot of good reasons for this also. I don't think either side is totally right OR TOTALLY WRONG and I respect them both. This is part of the reason I am an Armenian Christian in communion with Rome. (I won't elaborate, it would get us side-tracked).

But I admit, as you have indicated, I could be sadly mistaken. I am willing to learn so I can be as enlightened as you are. But I can't help thinking that if I did consider Rome to be as wrong as you have indicated, I don't think I'd be as you said, "an Orthodox Christian with a plus... in communion with the Church of Rome." Rather, I think I'd be an "Orthodox Christian in communion with Orthodox Christians." :-) Yet, I don't think that'd be such a bad thing. If it is God's will, I am certainly willing.

So, I accept your suggestion that we should look at these statements about Rome again. You obviously have the insights into this issue that I need and I would love to learn. Lets start by taking them one by one and you can help me understand the real historical significance of them and what, if anything, they have to do with the historic faith of the Latin or Eastern Churches.

part of Hormisdas' Formula states:

"Following, as we have said before, the Apostolic See in all things and proclaiming all its decisions, we endorse and approve all the letters which Pope St Leo wrote concerning the Christian religion. And so I hope I may deserve to be associated with you in the one communion which the Apostolic See proclaims, in which the whole, true, and perfect security of the Christian religion resides. I promise that from now on those who are separated from the communion of the Catholic Church, that is, who are not in agreement with the Apostolic See, will not have their names read during the sacred mysteries."

1. What do you think was the real meaning behind the phrase, "following... the Apostolic See in all things and proclaiming all its decisions..."

2. and also this statement, "the one communion which the Apostolic See proclaims, in which the whole, true, and perfect security of the Christian religion resides."

3. Or finally, "I promise that from now on those who are separated from the communion of the Catholic Church, that is, who are not in agreement with the Apostolic See, will not have their names read during the sacred mysteries."

Remember, I'm not trying to imply that these words teach a "primacy of jurisdiction" or any other anachronism or "western" mode of theological or philosophical thought. I'm just asking you why these words don't mean what they appear to be clearly saying. I'm sure you can help me to understand the real meaning behind them. Thanks in anticipation,

In Christ's Light,

Wm. Der-Ghazarian

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122109 08/02/02 01:04 AM
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To everyone who has contributed to this discussion:

I was just re-reading through all the posts on this topic of discussion. I want to thank all of you for taking part in this dialogue. I have found it very informitive. You have all made some very good points on each side of the issue. I look forward to more thought-provoking posts in the future.

In Christ's Light,

Wm. Der-Ghazarian

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122110 08/02/02 01:26 AM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Der-Ghazarian:
[QB]Dear Stuart,

Thank you for your response to my last post. I would've replied sooner but my power supply went bad on my computer. I'm happy to be back.

Thank you for your thorough rebuke of my last post (even of the things I thought we were agreed on :-). I see now you are an expert with a real command of the issue at hand. I will get those books you recommend. Thank you.

Currently I can't, in good conscience, agree with your depiction of history. I can't help thinking there must be Roman Catholics as unbiased and historically knowledgeable as you who STILL believe in the faith as taught by Rome. I have to believe there are Roman Catholics who have some good reasons for believing what they believe (no matter how mistaken you say they are). I've seen a lot from the Roman Catholic position which appears to treat history the way you say it needs to be approached, which supports their conclusions to some degree. I also know that the Orthodox also have good reasons for believing what they believe. I've seen a lot of good reasons for this also. I don't think either side is totally right OR TOTALLY WRONG and I respect them both. This is part of the reason I am an Armenian Christian in communion with Rome. (I won't elaborate, it would get us side-tracked).

But I admit, as you have indicated, I could be sadly mistaken. I am willing to learn so I can be as enlightened as you are. But I can't help thinking that if I did consider Rome to be as wrong as you have indicated, I don't think I'd be as you said, "an Orthodox Christian with a plus... in communion with the Church of Rome." Rather, I think I'd be an "Orthodox Christian in communion with Orthodox Christians." :-) Yet, I don't think that'd be such a bad thing. If it is God's will, I am certainly willing.

So, I accept your suggestion that we should look at these statements about Rome again. You obviously have the insights into this issue that I need and I would love to learn. Lets start by taking them one by one and you can help me understand the real historical significance of them and what, if anything, they have to do with the historic faith of the Latin or Eastern Churches.

part of Hormisdas' Formula states:

"Following, as we have said before, the Apostolic See in all things and proclaiming all its decisions, we endorse and approve all the letters which Pope St Leo wrote concerning the Christian religion. And so I hope I may deserve to be associated with you in the one communion which the Apostolic See proclaims, in which the whole, true, and perfect security of the Christian religion resides. I promise that from now on those who are separated from the communion of the Catholic Church, that is, who are not in agreement with the Apostolic See, will not have their names read during the sacred mysteries."

>>>1. What do you think was the real meaning behind the phrase, "following... the Apostolic See in all things and proclaiming all its decisions..."<<<

It refers specifically to the interpretation of the Council of Chalcedon's Christological formula, as opposed to the either excessively nestorian or excessively monophysite positions held by various members of the Church of Constantinople. The issue is covered in Meyendorff's "Christ in Eastern Christian Thought".

>>>2. and also this statement, "the one communion which the Apostolic See proclaims, in which the whole, true, and perfect security of the Christian religion resides."<<<

Again, it pertains exclusively to the Christological controversy, in which Rome's removal from the intellectual ferment of the East resulted in its taking (overall) a balanced interpretation of Chalcedon that was neither crypto-nestorian nor monophysite.

>>>3. Or finally, "I promise that from now on those who are separated from the communion of the Catholic Church, that is, who are not in agreement with the Apostolic See, will not have their names read during the sacred mysteries."<<<

Those who did not subscribe to the Chacedonian definition would be removed from the diptyches--effectively excommunicating them.

>>>Remember, I'm not trying to imply that these words teach a "primacy of jurisdiction" or any other anachronism or "western" mode of theological or philosophical thought. I'm just asking you why these words don't mean what they appear to be clearly saying. I'm sure you can help me to understand the real meaning behind them. Thanks in anticipation,<<<

Mostly, what they are is an attempt to impose a uniform Christological terminology on the Church as a means of achieving both unity and domestic tranquility, as well as the support of the Latin Church for the planned reincorporation of Italy into the Roman Empire (for so the Byzantines always thought of themselves). But this, like all other artificial attempts at forging unity on the Christological issue, failed because the synthesis of the Church was not complete--it would take two more ecumenical councils to do that (neither with much Latin participation), and in the end, the formula expressed in the Tomos of Leo would be greatly modified. Ultimately, and tragically, after 1500 years, both the Chalcedonian Churches of the East and the West have recognized that most of what has been called monophysitism or nestorianism was nothing of the sort, and that both groups were expressing essentially the same understanding of the nature(s) of Christ in their own unique terminology. Thus, both the Catholic communion and the Eastern Orthodox communion have Agreed Christological Statements with the Oriental Orthodox communion and the Church of the East. Which just makes the Formula of Hormosidas one more minor footnote in the long resolution of the Christological controversy.

Stuart

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122111 08/02/02 01:50 AM
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StuartK,

O.k., I can buy this as an interpretation which gives a reasonable, honest alternative to the Roman Catholic interpretation. Thank you.

How about the classic text of St. Ireneaus. I've seen a few Eastern interpreations but I would like to hear yours before we go on to the other Papal statements.

St. Ireneaus states,

"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).

1. What did he mean by "superior origin,"

2. or "all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world,"

3. or again "and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition"

Thanks for your help,

In Christ's Light,

Der-Ghazarian

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122112 08/02/02 03:24 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Der-Ghazarian:

St. Ireneaus states,

"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).

>>>1. What did he mean by "superior origin,"<<<

Irenaeus' purpose in Adv. Her. is first to discredit the various heretical sects which plagued the second century Church; and second to develop criteria whereby the faithful may know wherein the One True Church resides. To the latter end, he develops the concept of Apostolic Succession--the true faith is found in those Churches headed by bishops who were ordained by bishops who were ordained in their turn by bishops ordained by the Apostles themselves. The assumption is that the Apostolic faith will be passed on correctly by those who received it from a line of succession leading back to the source. Or, as he also put it, the heretics cannot trace the origins of their beliefs back to the Apostles appointed by Christ himself.

In this instance, Irenaeus is not holding up the Church of Rome as superior to any other Church, but as an exemplar of what Apostolic Succession means, for here we find a Church that was founded not by one but by two Apostles who were martyred there. He also points out that the Church of Rome has never embraced any heresy (not quite true, as there was Marcion who caused quite a bit of trouble before being expelled), and in something of a tautological argument, says that the fact that the Church of Rome has never fallen into heresy is both proof and cause of its exemplary status.

>>>2. or "all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world,"<<<

This is simply rhetorical hyperbole, as Irenaeus did not practice what he preached, as, e.g., in the case of the Quartodecian Controversy, wherein he chastized Pope Victor for trying to impose the useage of the Church of Rome on the Asian Christian communities in Rome (and by extension, the Asian Churches as a whole). A similar dichotomy can be seen in the writings of Cyprian of Carthage, who on the one hand speaks at length about the unity of the Church, but at the same time excoriates the Bishop of Rome for arrogating to himself prerogatives that belong to all bishops--and he explicitly denies that the Bishop of Rome carries any special "apostolic" charism as heir of Peter. To Hippolytus, all the Apostles were equal in grace, and thus all of the bishops share in a single episcopal charism in their turn.

>>>3. or again "and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition"<<<

Again, Rome is the exemplar, the Apostolic Church par excellence, and those who wish to see how the Apostolic succession should look to her--but Irenaeus is not elevating Rome over any other Apostolic Church in terms of "jurisdiction".

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122113 08/04/02 06:34 AM
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Dear Stuart,

Thanks again for your informitive reply. I need to take a little more time to ponder your response on St. Ireneaus before I post another.

In the mean time, while I've got you in the question-answering mood, please allow me me to ask you a question about Papal authority.

Many times in this forum, in the short time I've been a member, I've seen something expressed which I'm not sure is correct. It is the idea that Rome herself is re-thinking her authority. Now so far, I don't have a problem with this. But the argument goes on to insinuate that Rome no longer is insisting on her "infallibillity." The implication is that Catholics, especially Eastern Catholics are no longer required to believe such a thing in order to stay in good standing with the Roman Church. This sounds real good on paper, but I'm doubting a little its authenticity and whether it is consistent with the reality of the Church of Rome's position on this.

I recall a talk given by Fr. Thomas Hopko in which he stated that Rome instructed a joint Catholic/Orthodox theological commision that "the infallibillity of the Pope was non-negotiable."

If this is true, then aren't Eastern Catholics who say such things really only kidding themselves? Or has Rome opened a way for Eastern Christians to get around the "infallible" decrees of Vatican I and II?

Your thoughts, please

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122114 08/04/02 09:39 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Der-Ghazarian:
[qb]Dear Stuart,

>>>I recall a talk given by Fr. Thomas Hopko in which he stated that Rome instructed a joint Catholic/Orthodox theological commision that "the infallibillity of the Pope was non-negotiable."

If this is true, then aren't Eastern Catholics who say such things really only kidding themselves? Or has Rome opened a way for Eastern Christians to get around the "infallible" decrees of Vatican I and II?<<<

One can only take the Pope at his word when he says that he wishes to explore new definitions and modalities of primacy that will be acceptable to all. If anything at all is "non-negotiable" from the beginning, then the Pope is engaging in a deception, for in true dialogue, everything has to be explored without constraints. I prefer to think that the Pope speaks sincerely, but I will not say that the Pope speaks for the entire Curia Romana.

[ 08-04-2002: Message edited by: StuartK ]

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122115 08/05/02 12:34 AM
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Dear StuartK and friends,

Yes, I understand what you are saying but are these two concepts mutually exclusive? Just because the Pope has invited the other ancient Churches to help him redefine the nature of his Primacy, does it automatically follow that he is open to changing the Latin Church's belief in the Infallibillity of the Roman Pontiff? I think it could be possible that Rome could be open to redefining how she exercises her primacy within the universal Church all the while still affirming she has her infallible charism.

Again, I'm trying to reconcile the two cases of the Pope's words in Ut Unum Sint and those by Fr. Hopko that Rome has said that the "Infallibillity of the Pope" is non-negotiable. I haven't seen anything from Rome that would make me think she is considering backing off on her claim to infallibillity. Has anyone on this forum?

Thanks again,

Wm. Der-Ghazarian

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122116 08/05/02 01:06 AM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Der-Ghazarian:
[qb]Dear StuartK and friends,

>>>Again, I'm trying to reconcile the two cases of the Pope's words in Ut Unum Sint and those by Fr. Hopko that Rome has said that the "Infallibillity of the Pope" is non-negotiable.<<<

When Father Hopko says "Rome", it covers a multiplicity of sins. I am sure that nobody in a high-ranking capacity actually said this to him, so it must have been related as hearsay. To which I respond, there is no such entity as Rome, and in theory, there is not authority superior to that of Rome's bishop. But Rome's bishop is not entirely in control, because the daily functions of the Catholic Church are routinely delegated to the various congregations, which in turn are composed of ecclesiastical bureaucrats who, like all bureaucrats, follow their own agenda and place their own self-perpetuation above the interests of those whom they ostensibly serve. That there would be people in Rome who would say certain things are not open to negotiation does not surprise me, but it is not consistent with the notion that one is asking for assistance in determining how primacy is to be exercised. Particularly since this, and universal ordinary jurisdiction, are the only two issues that are controversial. It is tantamount to saying, we want to make fundamental changes without changing anything.

Now, it will come as no surprise to anyone that the Church of Rome never admits to having made any errors or mistakes in the realm of doctrine, even when doctrine perambulates 180 degrees (or more) over time. So Rome's preference in the matter would definitely lean away from a direct repudiation of Pastor Aeternus and towards a "clarification" that clarifies the doctrine into nullity.

It would seem, in fact, that we have reached that point already, since this Pope has refused on numerous occasions to make ex Cathedra statements, even when pressed by significant portions of the episcopate to do so. Instead, he has chosen alternative ways of exercising his primacy, ways that respect the sensibilities of the Orthodox Churches. This is an inevitable result of the ecclesiology of Vatican II, which recognized not only Churches other than the Church of Rome, but the ecclesial reality of Churches not in communion with the Church of Rome. Now, in making an ex Cathedra proclamation, the Pope is supposed to be representing the unanimous mind of the Church--which he is supposed to discern by consultations with the episcopate. But the episcopate is larger than those bishops in communion with the Church of Rome, and it is my contention that recognizing the reality of the Orthodox episcopate has made it practically impossible for any pope to ever again make an ex Cathedra proclamation, for every Orthodox bishop would oppose such a measure on general principles.

So, regardless of what "Rome" says is or is not on the table, the change has occured, and it is only a matter of admitting it and finding ways of codifying that which has occured.

[ 08-04-2002: Message edited by: StuartK ]

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122117 08/05/02 03:26 PM
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It is interesting.

I agree with Stuart that the likeliest solution here will involve a good deal of face-saving for the Latin Church (ie, not a condemnation of Vatican I, but rather a clarification of it -- even though that may be 180 degrees opposite to what Vatican I actually said) as well as, in substance ,satisfying the needs of Orthodoxy.

Metr. John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon has written well about this specific issue in his collection of essays entitled "Being as Communion". Primacy and concilliarity are complementary principles -- neither can function without the other. Both Rome and Orthodoxy need to recognize this.

From the Orthodox perspective, when the schism happened, the Orthodox Church lost its primatial see ... we replaced it with Constantinople (the next in line), but Constantinople has never played -- and never really will play -- the real primatial see in Orthodoxy in terms of its actual role. The tragedy for the Orthodox Church is that when Rome "left", we were left without a real primatial see, and this sent our own ecclesiological organism into an unbalanced state of affairs. Theoretically, we can shift the primacy to another see, but in practice that hasn't really worked, because Rome is really supposed to be the primatial see in the Church, as the first millenium demonstrates.

For Rome, the problem was that when communion was severed with the Orthodox Church, Roman ecclesiology became excessively Papocentric, such that the internal relations between the Primate and Bishops of the Church of Rome began to be considered normative for the Church-at-large beyond the confines of the Church of Rome. This trend was already there before the split, but really accelerated during the reforming popes immediately thereafter. At this point, Roman ecclesiology even officially says that the Pope can act independently of the remainder of the Episcopate -- which, frankly, is a clear distortion of the way that the Church should work, and just as much of a distortion as the claim sometimes made by Orthodox that primacy is itself irrelevant for the life of the church.

Mtr. John calls for an ecclesiology that reflects Trinitarian theology, such that the three Persons always act together and never alone, and are always coordinated with each other, giving to each other in love. The Father is the "arche", but his "arche" is one of love, not power or authority imposed on the Son or the Spirit, and in turn their love returned to the Father creates the trinitarian dynamic that should characterize ecclesiastical relations as well. Rome needs to realize this, and quit pretensions of its primate being empowered to act unilaterally -- that's not trinitarian. At the same time, Orthodoxy needs to stop pretending that its version of the Church really doesn't need a primate, because that's not trinitarian either -- yes, the three divine Persons are "equal", but there is nevertheless still an "arche".

The apostolic canons likewise deal with this issue, when they say (addressing the issue of relations within the local or national churches) that the bishops of a certain country should do nothing without the consent of the primate, but that likewise the primate should do nothing without the consent of the bishops. This is trinitarian, and reflects the reality that primacy and conciliarity are two sides of the same coin, and neither can be dispensed with if the church is to function properly and in a trinitarian manner. This kind of idea could go a long way to opening minds to the possibilities of ecclesiastical structures, rather than relying on existing formulae, regardless of whether they were arrived at during the Council of Chalcedon or the First Vatican Council.

By contrast, when things are said to be non-negotiable, obviously this is an approach that is completely at odds with trinitarian theology, and is indicative of a confused understanding of what the primatial role really means.

Brendan

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122118 08/05/02 06:44 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Brendan:


>>>The tragedy for the Orthodox Church is that when Rome "left", we were left without a real primatial see, and this sent our own ecclesiological organism into an unbalanced state of affairs. Theoretically, we can shift the primacy to another see, but in practice that hasn't really worked, because Rome is really supposed to be the primatial see in the Church, as the first millenium demonstrates.<<<

This is the frequently reiterated perspective of Archbishop Vsevolod of Scopelos, which has been picked up and amplified by Bishop Kallistos of Deiocleia.

>>>For Rome, the problem was that when communion was severed with the Orthodox Church, Roman ecclesiology became excessively Papocentric, such that the internal relations between the Primate and Bishops of the Church of Rome began to be considered normative for the Church-at-large beyond the confines of the Church of Rome.<<<

Indisputable. As Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco has noted, while the current doctrine of primacy in the Roman Church is juridically neither minimialist nor maximalist, in fact the actual approach taken by the Church of Rome has become increasingly maximalist over the centuries.


>>>This trend was already there before the split, but really accelerated during the reforming popes immediately thereafter. At this point, Roman ecclesiology even officially says that the Pope can act independently of the remainder of the Episcopate -- which, frankly, is a clear distortion of the way that the Church should work, and just as much of a distortion as the claim sometimes made by Orthodox that primacy is itself irrelevant for the life of the church.<<<

Well, yes and no. The clarifications offered by Rome to the German bishops in 1871 in response to Pastor Aeternus indicated that no pope could speak ex Cathedra unless he spoke for the unanimous mind of the Church--which, in practice, he would discern by consulting the episcopacy. Certainly if he did not act in that manner, the chances of any such delcaration being received within the Roman Church would be problemmatic at best.

On the other hand, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic canonist Fr. Victor Popshistil wrote that juridically the Pope is an absolute monarch, though he may choose not to act like one according to his own judgement. That, I think, is only a partial truth, for there has never really been such a thing as an absolute monarch, except as a theory. Even oriental despots had to consider the perspectives and interests of their courtiers, lest they find their legitimacy decisively challenged by a tight chord around the neck (or poison in the wine, take your choice). It is similar with the pope: absolute monarch he may be, but he operates within a constitutional consensus whose boundaries he cannot trespass without calling the whole structure into question.

>>>Mtr. John calls for an ecclesiology that reflects Trinitarian theology, such that the three Persons always act together and never alone, and are always coordinated with each other, giving to each other in love. The Father is the "arche", but his "arche" is one of love, not power or authority imposed on the Son or the Spirit, and in turn their love returned to the Father creates the trinitarian dynamic that should characterize ecclesiastical relations as well. Rome needs to realize this, and quit pretensions of its primate being empowered to act unilaterally -- that's not trinitarian. At the same time, Orthodoxy needs to stop pretending that its version of the Church really doesn't need a primate, because that's not trinitarian either -- yes, the three divine Persons are "equal", but there is nevertheless still an "arche".<<<

Metropolitan John reflects a growing consensus among Orthodox theologians, at the end of which, one hopes, the Orthodox Church will have a common understanding of its own ecclesiology, from which will spring a common understanding of primacy. It has been precisely the lack of consensus on primacy within the Orthodox Church that has prevented the Orthodox from constructively engaging the Pope over the issues raised in Ut Unum Sint.

>>>The apostolic canons likewise deal with this issue, when they say (addressing the issue of relations within the local or national churches) that the bishops of a certain country should do nothing without the consent of the primate, but that likewise the primate should do nothing without the consent of the bishops.<<<

Canon of the Holy Apostles No. 34 has long contained the basis for a solution to the schism--but I am afraid that nobody in the Catholic or Orthodox camp either takes the canon seriously or even understands what it means and demands of each local Church, as well as from the Church that holds the primacy.

>>>This is trinitarian, and reflects the reality that primacy and conciliarity are two sides of the same coin, and neither can be dispensed with if the church is to function properly and in a trinitarian manner. This kind of idea could go a long way to opening minds to the possibilities of ecclesiastical structures, rather than relying on existing formulae, regardless of whether they were arrived at during the Council of Chalcedon or the First Vatican Council.

By contrast, when things are said to be non-negotiable, obviously this is an approach that is completely at odds with trinitarian theology, and is indicative of a confused understanding of what the primatial role really means.<<<

Absolutely. The question has been raise by several Orthodox theologians that the different perspectives held by the East and West on the relationships within the Holy Trinity have serious ecclesiological implications. How do you view this hypothesis?

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122119 08/06/02 12:00 PM
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"Well, yes and no. The clarifications offered by Rome to the German bishops in 1871 in response to Pastor Aeternus indicated that no pope could speak ex Cathedra unless he spoke for the unanimous mind of the Church--which, in practice, he would discern by consulting the episcopacy. Certainly if he did not act in that manner, the chances of any such delcaration being received within the Roman Church would be problemmatic at best."

As a practical matter, this is true, but on the ecclesiological level, on the doctrinal level, it's remarkably close to unilateralism. And, as you rightly note, we mustn't set the standard for determining "absolutist" too high lest we exclude everything from that definition.

"The question has been raise by several Orthodox theologians that the different perspectives held by the East and West on the relationships within the Holy Trinity have serious ecclesiological implications. How do you view this hypothesis?"

I think that it has some credibility, and it applies to a host of issues that distinguish Orthodoxy from Catholicism at this time -- including, but not limited to, ecclesiology. It seems to me that the intersection of Christology and Pneumatology is really the point of departure for some of these issues. Specifically, reflecting on the relationship between the Father and the Spirit and Son and the Spirit, and the respective economies of the Son and the Spirit seems to be a fruitful way of thinking about these issues from the trinitarian perspective. It is possible, for example, that the Western tendency to downplay the Spirit (either through established theology or simply by having an underdeveloped pneumatology) has led to a tendency there to downplay or deemphasize the pneumatological role in the church -- in other words, to play up the economy of the Son -- who was concretely active in the world, in history -- but not that of the Spirit -- who gives the church its eschatological perspective and dimension. In addition, this could lead to a more hierarchical view of the trinity, which could be reflected in a more hierarchical view of church life. And if, in fact, the Spirit is in some sense subordinate to the Son (as He may have been considered for centuries in Roman Catholic trinitarian theology), it's possible that this would lead to an emphasis of the Pope over the remainder of the church, and an increasingly rigid hierarchical model for the church.

From the Orthodox perspective, it's possible that our tradition of viewing the trinitarian persons as fundamentally equal, distringuished only by their origin (or lack thereof), has led to a tendency to de-emphasize primacy in the life of the church. In fact, this needn't be the case, for Cappadocian trinitarian theology still contains the concept of "arche" (and this, in fact, is the lynchpin of this theological schema), but it's possible that this has not been sufficiently emphasized and understood by the Orthodox east over the centuries.

I think that Vladimir Lossky expressed this view in a more aggressive way, seeing in the filioque the entire problem of East and West. That may be an exagerration, for I think that the issue is not simply that of the filioque, but rather of the entire enterprise of how the trinity is conceived in the mind of the church and how it is lived in the life of the church, and this makes me think that getting to a greater consensus on these basic theological issues may really help the churches make progress on issues that may be seemingly unrelated (at least at first glance).

Brendan

[ 08-06-2002: Message edited by: Brendan ]

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122120 08/06/02 01:54 PM
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Come, Holy Spirit!

Brendan writes:

It seems to me that the intersection of Christology and Pneumatology is really the point of departure for some of these issues. Specifically, reflecting on the relationship between the Father and the Spirit and Son and the Spirit, and the respective economies of the Son and the Spirit seems to be a fruitful way of thinking about these issues from the trinitarian perspective..

Hi Brendan, you raise an issue quite dear to my heart. I hope to reply at some length to some specfics of your post as time allows (I have work on websites to attend to in a few moments).

At this point I just wish to mention that there are some fine studies along the lines you suggest: I think of Yves Congar's third volume of I Believe in the Holy Spirit; which, in its entirely is devoted to the "filioque" and its implications.

This wonderful book is available at Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0824516966/praiseofglory

There is also a wonderful study by OCA priest, Michael Meerson, The Trinity of Love, which explores the confluence of eastern and western trinitarian and pneumatological streams in Russian theologians and thinkers. It is remarkable! This, too, can be ordered through Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0819909874/praiseofglory

If I may be bold (as I often am when it comes to my "labor of love" - my website!), can I suggest, too, a look at my own Filioque Page which has a good number of articles exploring these very themes, at:

http://praiseofglory.com/andtheson.htm

I do hope to come back and reply as best as I am able. I have a few "theories" of my own in these areas.

A blessed Feast of the Transfiguration to you and all!

[ 08-06-2002: Message edited by: Gerard Serafin ]

[ 08-06-2002: Message edited by: Gerard Serafin ]

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122121 08/06/02 06:43 PM
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Come, Holy Spirit!

Brendan writes:

It is possible, for example, that the Western tendency to downplay the Spirit (either through established theology or simply by having an underdeveloped pneumatology) has led to a tendency there to downplay or deemphasize the pneumatological role in the church -- in other words, to play up the economy of the Son -- who was concretely active in the world, in history -- but not that of the Spirit -- who gives the church its eschatological perspective and dimension. In addition, this could lead to a more hierarchical view of the trinity, which could be reflected in a more hierarchical view of church life. And if, in fact, the Spirit is in some sense subordinate to the Son (as He may have been considered for centuries in Roman Catholic trinitarian theology), it's possible that this would lead to an emphasis of the Pope over the remainder of the church, and an increasingly rigid hierarchical model for the church.

Hi Brendan,

As I have come to understand things the faith of both "east" and "west" is identical when it comes to the absolute equality of the Persons of the Trinity: there is no subordination of Any to Any in both east and west.

Just two examples (and there really are many more). Is there anything more beautiful than Rublev's icon of the Hospitality of Abraham with its imaging of the Three Divine Persons in perfect communion and unity?

On the level of prayer, perhaps there is something to equal this glorious icon - the beautiful Latin Preface of the Holy Trinity (which used to be prayed every Sunday of the year for many centuries). It is best, of course, in its original majestic Latin (and sung to the tune of the Preface, for which Mozart, I think it was, said he would give up all his own compositions!).

Notice the perfect equality and dignity of the Persons - not a hint of subordination (I give it in the translation of one of my older Missals):

The Preface of the Holy Trinity

It is very meet, right and profitable for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto thee, holy Lord, Father Almighty, Everlasting God: who together with thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by thy revelation of thy glory, the same do we believe of thy Son, the same of the Holy Spirit, without difference or inequality. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, we shall adore distinction in Persons, unity in Essence, and equality in Majesty, which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and the Seraphim do praise, never ceasing to cry out with one voice:

SANCTUS, SANCTUS, SANCTUS
HOLY! HOLY! HOLY!


We can make "constructs" of differences when there really aren't any - and if we stick to the official texts and prayers of each Tradition we can see the basic identity of faith. Granted when it comes to some aspects, especially the procession of the Holy Spirit, there are differences and variations of approaches. But here even, as many have demonstrated, there is a complementarity and not contradiction.

I hope to share eventually some of the "distinctiveness" of the western pneumatological tradition, since I will let others who are more qualified speak of the eastern approaches and distinctives.

[ 08-06-2002: Message edited by: Gerard Serafin ]

Re: The Formula of Pope St Hormisdas
#122122 08/07/02 08:57 AM
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Sorry I was so long in getting back to the Forum...but then there is life outside of the Forum...I can assure you of that! smile

Before I go on to dealing with what happened with Pope Vigilius, let me make a couple of other comments.

Does anyone have any commentary on Pope St Agapetus? It was claimed the popes never interferred with other Patriarchates without invitation. Such I maintain is reading the history of the first millennium Church through post-schism lenses. It would be foolish in the
extreme to claim that the Eastern Churches were wholly subservient to Rome. They jealously guarded their autonomy. Yet, interference from Rome did not always wait for an invitation, either.

Much has been said about needing to understand the
Formula of St Hormisdas in its historical context.
This is quite true. The Formula should not be read as evidence for the style of papacy we have today (everything centralized in Rome with papal
appointments of Bishops, etc.) As has been noted: the Eastern Churches were autonomous (so were parts of the Western Church). Papal statements were generally received with respect but that did not rule out discussion, disagreement or being ignored. Nor should we forget the political situation. In AD 519, Rome was not part of the Empire anymore. The city had fallen to the "barbarians" in 476. Reconquest of Rome for the empire was a political aim. (This was accomplished by the time of Pope Vigilius' death.)

As I said earlier, I thought the Formula significant in two regards:

1)What the Church was (East and West) willing to say about how to interpret Matthew 16 ("You are
Peter".)

2)What the Church (East and West) was willing to say about the necessity of communion with Rome.


This does not mean that political maneuverings stopped or that denials of papal authority did not occur. Nor does it mean that the Emperor, for example, did not feel he could pressure, dictate to and even humiliate the pope. As Kenneth Whitehead states in his book One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church (which has an excellent chapter on the Primacy of Rome):

Except for those few years at the end of the fifth and the beginning of the sixth centuries, the popes were always subjects of the all-powerful, Roman emperor. This was true until the eighth century. The early popes were not rulers as the medieval popes came to be. (page 283)

Stuart has correctly pointed out after the time of
Vigilius popes were subject to confirmation by the
Emperor--just as the reigning monarch of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire had a "veto" power over the election of popes in more recent history.

Rome could also rule on something and be largely
ignored in the East. Case in point: Pope St Leo's
"annulling by the authority of St Peter" the 28th
Canon of Constantinople. The correspondence between Patriarch Anatolius and Emperor Marcian and St Leo is a fascinating read. Anatolius seems very contrite about the whole episode. In a letter to St Leo he blames the clergy of Constantinople for the idea:

Quote
It was the most reverend clergy of the church of Constantinople who were eager about it, and they were equally supported by the most reverend priests of of those parts, who agreed about it. Even so, the whole force and confirmation of the acts was reserved for the authority of your blessedness. Therefore
let your holiness know for certain that I did nothing to furrther the matter, having always held myself bound to avoid the lusts of pride and covetousness.
(Letter 132)


Despite the apparent abject humility of his letter, Anatolius was insincere. Even though St Leo had refused to confirm the canon Constantinople continued to ordain the metropolitans of Asia, Pontus and Thrace. However, the first published listing of the
canons in the fifth century did not include the canon Pope St Leo had "annulled." They appear first in listings published in the sixth century. Just as Rome has been ignored in modern times (despite the more centralized authority structure today) so she was effectively ignored at times in the first millennium Church--especially if the Emperor was on your side!

Stuart wrote:

Quote
I am curious to know why it is SO important to you to prove that (a) no Bishop of Rome has ever either taught or professed erroneous beliefs; and (b)that from the beginning, the Bishops of Rome have rightfully viewed themselves as having some sort of
jurisdiction over other Churches. Particularly when to do so you must resort to special pleading and selective reading of the evidence.


Why is it, Stuart, that you feel the need to
mispresent my perspective here?

A) I do not believe that no Bishop of Rome has never taught or professed erroneous beliefs. The Church, of course, does not teach that every doctrinal utterance of a pope is infallible. A very clear example is the contradiction between John XII and Benedict XII in the fourteenth century regarding when the blessed dead
will experience the "beatific vision."

The official Church position on papal infallibility is not that every utterance of a pope is free from error. CCEO explains:

The Roman Pontiff, in virtue of his office,
possesses infallible teaching authority if, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the Christian faithful who is to confirm his fellow believers in the faith, he proclaims with a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held
...No doctrine is understood to be infallibly defined unless it is clearly established as such. (Canon 597)

Stuart...I don't understand why you feel it is SO
important to misrepresent my position. Even as classic a Catholic text as Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma says that papal encyclicals are not to be automatically regarded as infallible: "Most of the doctrinal expressions made by the Popes in their Encyclicals are not decisions ex cathedra." (page 287) According to Church teaching papal infallibility is rather narrowly defined and is not a blanket "no pope
of Rome has never taught or professed erroneous
beliefs."

B)Neither would I say that "from the beginning, the Bishops of Rome have rightfully viewed themselves as having some sort of jurisdiction over other Churches." We have little idea of what many early Roman popes thought on this subject. By the time we get to Damasus and Celestine and Leo we see a view of jurisdiction becoming apparent (St Leo's annuling of the 28th canon
is an example of this.) This does not mean that the relationship of the Bishops of Rome and other Churches operated like the popes today relate to the Eastern Catholic Churches, for example. Even as conservative a source as Fr Aidan Nichols in Rome and the Eastern Churches admits a growth in the how the popes understood their role, as for example, the chapter: "The Estrangement between Rome and Constantinople: The
Growth of Papal Claims."

Quote
Particularly when to do so you must resort to special pleading and selective reading of the
evidence.


Oh really? You've mispresented my position. What can I expect now? As an aside, I think we should all recognize the temptation historians (especially religious historians) face to craft their presentations to highlight their particular
interpretation of history--their beliefs and sometimes even their prejudices. Certainly, this was true of Abbe Guettee and is even true of some pro-Roman historians.

[ 08-07-2002: Message edited by: DTBrown ]

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