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Re: On Roman Primacy #125286
08/29/02 08:33 PM
08/29/02 08:33 PM
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George Blaisdell Offline
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Alex writes:

>>>The problem is, Sir,<<<

Why am I getting an uneasy feeling just now??? :-)

>>>that those scriptural and other quotes have really been done to death by Catholic and Orthodox irenical writings.<<<

Indeed they have, and they have doubtless all come to endless conclusions. I have never seen a linguistic approach, which this one is, that identified REVELATION as the referent of tauth h petra, but I am sure it has been offered somewhere. The key element is the word play between Petros and petra, for Simon, at the juncture of his confession by revelation by God the Father, is given the name Petros, in honor of his being the first such confession. And that first-ness carries weight in Christianity, but not the weight of Papal infallibility and authority over the whole church. Indeed, for all of us Catholics, the very word Catholic means "according to the whole", and does not mean "according to the primate of the principle part."

From the Orthodox perspective, this is the error of the Papacy - That it has failed to submit itself to the whole [eg the unanimous ecumenical decision of the Church], assigning to itself instead infallibility and the authority to appoint and remove all other bishops...

>>>Is there a single, unified Orthodox position on the Petrine scriptures? There is not, as Kallistos Ware shows in his "The Orthodox Church."<<<

This is doubtless true, and you will find ecumenically minded Orthodox affirming and/or denying virtually all possible understandings of the 'petrine ministry' - To my limited understanding, it is not the ministry, but the Petrine confession, by revelation from God the Father, that has built the Church.

>>>Neither the Catholic nor the Orthodox Churches would agree with your approach, Sir.<<<

There's that "Sir" again - I cannot speak for the Roman Catholic faith, for I am not within Her traditions and confession, and I am but just beginning to understand a little of the Orthodox, being not even baptized yet, so I can add but little to your confident assertion of "Neither"... It has been my understanding that from the overall EO perspective, this passage refers primarily to Peter's confession, which I have but given a more particular expression, for that confession is not from flesh and blood, but is from God the Father... Christ's own words... And certainly not thereafter from any flesh and blood, but by revelation from the Father - Upon this very rock is the Church built... I would be surprised if there would be much Orthodox resistence to this understanding...

And I could be wrong...

geo


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
Re: On Roman Primacy #125287
08/31/02 05:05 AM
08/31/02 05:05 AM
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ZoeTheodora Offline
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Agreed! Far be it from me to argue in favor of bureaucracy! wink wink

I was simply responding to Eric (whom I know from other boards). He seemed to express the usual non-Catholic horror and dread of the Great Papal Bogeyman. I find this attitude curious and even rather amusing (in an endearing way). To hear some people talk, you'd think John Paul II were some sort of tyrannical megalomaniac bent on world domination or sumfin'. Where they get this stuff I don't know.

As Father Hal Stockert(sp?), Byzantine Catholic priest, has put it, papal primacy -- indeed, papal infallibility, too -- is an immense blessing. It benefits us laypeople; it doesn't threaten us. It's not some sort of bogeyman. It's a blessing, a reassurance. That's how I've always experienced it, anyway. The depiction of the pope as some sort of tyrannical control-freak is a mythological construct, cooked up by people suffering from galloping Lord-Actonitis. biggrin Even the Borgia popes weren't the fiendishly power-hungry tyrants of popular lore. Indeed, in the power-lust department, they compare rather favorably with the various caesars who've controlled state-run churches.

That was my only point (specifically in response to Eric): The pope's not some sort of bogeyman; and papal primacy is not some sort of oppressive tyranny. The 800,000 jubilant kids who chanted "John Paul II, we love you!" at World Youth Day did not much resemble the craven serfs of a tyrannical despot, now, did they? wink wink

I feel genuinely sorry for people who don't have a Pope -- especially this one. They don't know what they're missing.

God bless,

ZT

Re: On Roman Primacy #125288
08/31/02 05:08 AM
08/31/02 05:08 AM
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OOPS! My post just above is in response to Alex, not in response to George. (Still getting the hang of this particular message-board format -- sorry!)

God bless,

ZT

Re: On Roman Primacy #125289
08/31/02 01:14 PM
08/31/02 01:14 PM
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Sub-Deacon Ghazaros Offline OP
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Dear George,

I appreciated your reply about the difference between the masculine and femnine forms of the Greek word. Being raised a very anti-Catholic, Baptist Fundamentalist, I am familiar with this argument. But I have always thought this was a Protestant argument. Do you know of any evidence from the Fathers or Church Tradition of this argument being made to contest the use of Mt 16 in defense of Roman Primacy. That the text was used by Popes is manifest. I'm curious to see if any Father objected with this line of argument. I don't believe any ever did.

One reason I think this is becuase in Palestine in Jesus' day, the common everyday language was Aramaic. Ofcourse many knew Greek and some even Latin, but the Jews ordinarily conversed in Aramaic. And ofcourse, this masculine/femine distinction does not apply to Aramaic as there is only one form of the word "Rock" and it is "Kepha." Christ most probably spoke in the common language to His fellow Jews and Disciples (cf. ST. John 1:42). Thus Christ said to Peter, "You are Rock and on this rock I will build my Church."

Yet I don't believe in Roman Primacy primarily because of this passage. I was simply presenting the text to demonstrate that what was previously said by someone that no early Fathers or Popes ever used it in regards to Roman Primacy, was false.

Rather, I believe in Roman Primacy because of how I understand Church Tradition and history. Speaking of which, I'd like to present another quote from the early Church in regards to this. Now here is an example of an early Church writer objecting to Roman Papal claims...

Firmilian wrote:

"[Pope] Stephen [I] . . . boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18] . . . [Pope] Stephen . . . announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" (ibid., 74[75]:17).

Now here's a statement in the 3rd century!!! in reference to a Pope contending that he held "the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]" and "that he holds by succession the throne of Peter."

Sure, Firmillian was objecting to these claims of Roman Papal power. Yet, I'm not saying everyone believed in Roman Primacy from day one. All I'm saying is that Roman Catholics are at least being faithful to their own authentic Church Tradition.

Many on this forum are implying that for the first 1,000 years Rome never believed stuff like this, and I can't see how they are coming to that conclusion.

In Christ's Light,

Der-Ghazarian

Re: On Roman Primacy #125290
08/31/02 03:44 PM
08/31/02 03:44 PM
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George Blaisdell Offline
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Dear George,

>>>I appreciated your reply about the difference between the masculine and femnine forms of the Greek word. Being raised a very anti-Catholic, Baptist Fundamentalist, I am familiar with this argument. But I have always thought this was a Protestant argument. <<<

I ran into it on b-greek, which is pretty much a Protestant forum, and you are right, it is siezed upon by Protestants to attack Papal claims. I was always wary of it because of that, and because of the Aramaic potential, and more than either of these, the utter apparent lack of any prior referent. The bind is tightened when it is acknowledged by all that petros and petra, the masculine and feminine, are both available for usage, so that if He meant Peter, he would have used the masculine. So the issue comes to be one of accounting for the switch. Why is it recorded that our Lord switched to the feminine PETRAi, when the masculine PETROi was naturally available, as was the personal pronoun for 'you' [soi]?

And the truth is, that it can be argued ad infinitum, with all manner of argument, and the Protestants do indeed seem to love arguments a lot, and especially Baptists!

>>>Do you know of any evidence from the Fathers or Church Tradition of this argument being made to contest the use of Mt 16 in defense of Roman Primacy. That the text was used by Popes is manifest. I'm curious to see if any Father objected with this line of argument. I don't believe any ever did.<<<

Peter was first. He was THE first. His was the matter of leadership. He was not given rulership over the apostles - Just leadership.

>>>One reason I think this is becuase in Palestine in Jesus' day, the common everyday language was Aramaic. Ofcourse many knew Greek and some even Latin, but the Jews ordinarily conversed in Aramaic. And of course, this masculine/femine distinction does not apply to Aramaic as there is only one form of the word "Rock" and it is "Kepha." Christ most probably spoke in the common language to His fellow Jews and Disciples (cf. ST. John 1:42). Thus Christ said to Peter, "You are Rock and on this rock I will build my Church."<<<

That was a common reply to the Protestants on b-greek, and the civility of discussion at that point usually had begun to fray. [Ol' Carl Conrad kept a raised gavel which would thunderously bring all discussion to an abrupt end at these kinds of strains in discussion.] And the problem with the Peter = petra idea is that it ignores the M-F difference in the Greek, and the absence of the use of 'you' in the Greek - In other words, if the meaning intended were that Peter = petros, then the Greek would read very differently.

>>>Yet I don't believe in Roman Primacy primarily because of this passage. I was simply presenting the text to demonstrate that what was previously said by someone that no early Fathers or Popes ever used it in regards to Roman Primacy, was false.<<<

Indeed it IS false. I believe in Roman primacy, btw - The whole Church did for the first thousand years. But the confession reads "I believe in [pistew eis] one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church." It does not say 'I believe in the primate of the see of Peter.' It says instead that 'I believe in the whole Church.' And the primate of the Roman see doubtless makes this same confession. It is the Church that is the pillar and ground of truth, not the patriarchs. And it was this way until the actions of the Latin primate separated the Latin Church from the rest of Christianity.

>>>Rather, I believe in Roman Primacy because of how I understand Church Tradition and history.<<<

Me too, and I would add this passage as supporting Roman primacy, but understood as leadership that is catholic, not autocratic. [ie subject and obedient to the whole Church, which means the unanimous consent of ecumenical council, as it was for the first thousand years.]

>>>Many on this forum are implying that for the first 1,000 years Rome never believed stuff like this, and I can't see how they are coming to that conclusion.<<<

There was indeed a lot of that language, and Rome was indeed the "first" see in what needs be called honor and esteem. Indeed, they were the first Church to have the original Bible translated into their local language. A great honor indeed!

You know, if Rome were to subject herself to the whole Church, and roll back Her doctrine to the first thousand years, the Orthodox would be obliged to honor Her anew as their primary Church... The objections you are perhaps finding probably relate to Rome's failure to subject herself to the whole Church, and Her desire to impose herself upon it. The Orthodox fervently worked to re-establish communion with Rome until the sack of Constantinople. I have to think that they understood that event as a declaration by Rome of Her intent toward the whole Church from which She had separated Herself.

These are harsh matters, my friend. And I do agree that there is a connection between Petros and petra in our passage - It is simply not, imo, the connection which the Latin See would have it to be...

geo


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
Re: On Roman Primacy #125291
08/31/02 06:42 PM
08/31/02 06:42 PM
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Deacon John Petrus Offline
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I posted this on another thread, but it more appropriately fits into this one. What follows is an Eastern persepective on Papal primacy. I post it here because I wish to develop it further.

***************

You ask if we are, in the end, Catholics because we submit to papal authority. I think I need to highlight an Eastern understanding of papal and church authority.

In popular parlance, to submit to another's authority is grounded in fear. One submits to the authority of another because the other holds power and can cause the annihilation of the weaker. This is a way too common perception of papal authority. In this conception, the Pope is and speaks from above the Church.

However, in the Eastern understanding*, submission is borne of communion. We submit because we are in communion with the Pope. The Pope speaks, not to us, but for us, in our common voice. This authority is the truth because it is rooted in love. He speaks infallibly when he speaks the truth because the truth is love. The Pope can speak infallibly only because of our communion. We are not in communion because he is infallible.

Now, if the Pope's infallibility derives from communion and communion is borne of love, then he speaks the truth. The truth, since it is love, exists whether or not it has been proclaimed. In this sense, the Pope speaks to and for all mankind, whether or not each individual man or woman recognizes it. This is the same Petrine authority recognized by ecumenical councils. In this conception, the Pope, like the ecumenical councils, reside within and therefore speak from within the Church.

The authority of the Church then is universal (Catholic) because it is love. It is the truth. We submit to the Pope (or an ecumenical council)because the Pope (or an ecumenical council) submits to us and in doing so, the truth is illuminated.**


*This is not to say that the previous explanation represents the Western understanding of papal authority. Rather, this means that the following is based on Eastern ecclesiology and especially that of Maximus the Confessor.

**If submission in fear is a too common Western misperception of papal authority, then fear of submission is too common an Eastern misperception. The Pope cannot unilaterally "proclaim the truth." For by doing so, he would be separating himself from us, his authority would no longer derive from communion, from love itself, and he would therefore not be speaking the truth. He would be speaking for himself and not for the church. His Petrine authority would have been abrogated.

(Fr. Dcn.) John

Re: On Roman Primacy #125292
08/31/02 07:44 PM
08/31/02 07:44 PM
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Deacon John Petrus Offline
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There is another dimension to papal primacy that must also be discussed and this arises from Christian anthropology.

We are on common ground in our view of Church as the body of Christ. This implies that we together, in communion, comprise this one true church. But this is only part of the question, for if this was the only life available to us, our individuality would be subsumed into a universal whole. As individual persons we would cease to exist.

Human beings exist only in relation, we do not exist unto ourselves. We only have individuality by contrasting it to the whole of all existence. Yet, we still retain our individual personhood that is separate and distinct from the whole of creation. This duality, individual personhood and corpus christi is fundamental to our human essence, i.e. that which makes us persons. I exist separate from the Other but only because I exist only with the Other, personhood in dynamic tension.

The Church also exists in this dynamic tension; we exist in the body of Christ as well as separate from Him. Existence must incorporate both of these levels since both are images of the Trinity. Each member of the Trinity exists separate from the Others but only with the Others. We cannot deny the Person without denying the very essence of being, persons in relation, the Father with the Son and the Spirit, the Son with the Father and the Spirit, the Spirit with the Father and the Son, I with the Other, and the Other with the I. For if the Person does not exist neither does the relation.

So, in this sense, the singular is essential to the whole. The individual person cannot be denied. Thus, the infallibility of Papal authority derives from this singular Personhood. To deny the authenticity of the singular Person is to deny the relation of the Person to the Other is to deny existence itself! If the Church can act only when it acts coporately either as a universal whole or as a representational whole (i.e. college of bishops) is to deny the individuality of the Person. This denial is not only potential but is real.

Papal infallibility thus recognizes this individual/universal dynamic. The Pope can act individually when he speaks infallibly when and because he is in perfect relation to the Other. He is in perfect union as the Person-in-relation and thus images the Trinity itself.*

It then follows that if the Pope is incapable of speaking infallibly, then one of two circumstances must exist. He is either outside of the Church (i.e. not in perfect relation with the Other) or the individual person is not able to act. As shown above, this is incompatible with Christian ecclesiology.

*********

*In my opinion this corresponds to what Kirkegaard called "the moment of existence." At this point existence itself attains its potential.


(Fr. Dcn.) John

[ 08-31-2002: Message edited by: Petrus ]

Re: On Roman Primacy #125293
08/31/02 08:38 PM
08/31/02 08:38 PM
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George Blaisdell Offline
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Fr. Deacon John writes:

>>>What follows is an Eastern persepective on Papal primacy. I post it here because I wish to develop it further.<<<

Well, what Catholics tell me is that if you want to be a Catholic, you must believe in the Pope, and after that there is a lot of room for differences of opinion.

***************

>>>You ask if we are, in the end, Catholics because we submit to papal authority. I think I need to highlight an Eastern understanding of papal and church authority.<<<

Well, I would hope that within any particular Church, the Patriarch of that Church has authority within it. Within the whole Church, the ecumenical unanimous consent of all the Patriarchs is the authority, which all must obey... So you are addressing two different issues, one intra and one inter Church authority. To claim catholicity is to claim the rule of the whole, whereas to not be catholic, is to claim the rulership by ONE Patriarch over the whole.

>>>In popular parlance, to submit to another's authority is grounded in fear. One submits to the authority of another because the other holds power and can cause the annihilation of the weaker. This is a way too common perception of papal authority. In this conception, the Pope is and speaks from above the Church.<<<

Well, the slapping of a Papal Bull of excommunication upon the altar of a dissenting Church's Patriarch, followed by military invasion, killing and looting, of the city of the opposing Patriarch's Church, would seem to certainly fill that bill, especially when followed by Papal acquiescence in keeping the plunder.

>>>However, in the Eastern understanding*, submission is borne of communion. We submit because we are in communion with the Pope. The Pope speaks, not to us, but for us, in our common voice. This authority is the truth because it is rooted in love. He speaks infallibly when he speaks the truth because the truth is love. The Pope can speak infallibly only because of our communion. We are not in communion because he is infallible.<<<

This is a new doctrine to me, and would seem to come up short because of the schism, which invalidates the communion, for there is not one, between the Papal communion and the Eastern Orthodox communion of original Christianity. For this reason, if communion is at the base of Papal infallibility, then the lack of communion would seem to have to make the Pope fallible...

>>>Now, if the Pope's infallibility derives from communion and communion is borne of love, then he speaks the truth. The truth, since it is love, exists whether or not it has been proclaimed. In this sense, the Pope speaks to and for all mankind, whether or not each individual man or woman recognizes it. This is the same Petrine authority recognized by ecumenical councils. In this conception, the Pope, like the ecumenical councils, reside within and therefore speak from within the Church.<<<

Yes, this is true, in the pre-schism days of full communion. It is no longer true, because of the lack of communion of the EO and RC Churches.

>>>The authority of the Church then is universal (Catholic) because it is love. It is the truth. We submit to the Pope (or an ecumenical council) because the Pope (or an ecumenical council) submits to us and in doing so, the truth is illuminated.**<<<

This then places Papal infallibility UNDER the Church, with which it must be in communion and to which it must submit in order to have the infallibility which properly accrues to the Church as a whole. We seem to be sitting on the same pile, Fr. John!

*This is not to say that the previous explanation represents the Western understanding of papal authority. Rather, this means that the following is based on Eastern ecclesiology and especially that of Maximus the Confessor.

I'm not surprised.

**If submission in fear is a too common Western misperception of papal authority, then fear of submission is too common an Eastern misperception. The Pope cannot unilaterally "proclaim the truth." For by doing so, he would be separating himself from us, his authority would no longer derive from communion, from love itself, and he would therefore not be speaking the truth. He would be speaking for himself and not for the church. His Petrine authority would have been abrogated.

So it would seem, yet he appoints the bishops and the cardinals, and can recall them, so that if one goes against him, he will lose...

I don't have any answers, Fr. John - Orthodoxy, like you, is kind of the Model A Ford, or the VW Beetle, and the RCC is like the Masseratti or the Formula 1 Car, and the Roman communion is far too 'advanced' for the quaint liturgical practices of the 'primitive' and 'ancient Church'...

I have heard it argued, by a RC priest, who converted to Orthodoxy, and then converted back to the RCC, that if Orthodoxy had undergone what the RCC has gone through, She would be just like the RCC! We are going to see Orthodoxy take native root in the west in the US, as it indeed is now doing, and that witness should show how well or ill it will do in the western mindset. I pray that this witness will be useful to the RCC as well, and will encourage Her to abandon her neo-scholasticism and get back to Her pre-schismatic roots of the first millennium, and seek communion with Her 'other lung' in first millennium terms. I see no other way than to go back to where it all started and fix it foreward from there... And I do not see that happenning...

geo


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
Re: On Roman Primacy #125294
09/01/02 04:34 AM
09/01/02 04:34 AM
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ZoeTheodora Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by George Blaisdell:
I have heard it argued, by a RC priest, who converted to Orthodoxy, and then converted back to the RCC, that if Orthodoxy had undergone what the RCC has gone through, She would be just like the RCC! We are going to see Orthodoxy take native root in the west in the US, as it indeed is now doing, and that witness should show how well or ill it will do in the western mindset. I pray that this witness will be useful to the RCC as well, and will encourage Her to abandon her neo-scholasticism and get back to Her pre-schismatic roots of the first millennium, and seek communion with Her 'other lung' in first millennium terms. I see no other way than to go back to where it all started and fix it foreward from there... And I do not see that happenning...

geo



Dear George...

Both from your take on Matt. 16:18 and your statement above, I can't help wondering whether you are somewhat new to this whole ecclesiological question. Pardon me for saying so, but you seem to be rehashing the most shopworn, hackneyed polemics...polemics that have been successfully challenged and soundly discredited a hundred times before, at least. May I ask how much of the patristic and conciliar literature of the first millennium you've actually read? -- in context, I mean...not merely the carefully selected little snippets provided by Michael Whelton and similar polemicists?

I think you might have a very different view of "the pre-schismatical Church of the first millennium" -- and especially of the way papal primacy operated within that church -- if you really immersed yourself in patristic sources. If you haven't done so already, then I heartily recommend it! biggrin

Glory to Jesus Christ...

ZT

Re: On Roman Primacy #125295
09/01/02 01:47 PM
09/01/02 01:47 PM
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Sub-Deacon Ghazaros Offline OP
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Dear George,

Thanks again for your thought provoking post. Of course, coming from different sides of this issue it is inevitable you and I are going to lean opposite of one another on this.

you said:
Me too, and I would add this passage as supporting Roman primacy, but understood as leadership that is catholic, not autocratic. [ie subject and obedient to the whole Church, which means the unanimous consent of ecumenical council, as it was for the first thousand years.]

and

From the Orthodox perspective, this is the error of the Papacy - That it has failed to submit itself to the whole [eg the unanimous ecumenical decision of the Church], assigning to itself instead infallibility and the authority to appoint and remove all other bishops...

reply:
In truth, I would have no problem with this whatsoever if I had seen the Fathers of the Church teach that the Roman Popes must submit and be "obedient to the whole Church, which means the unanimous consent of ecumenical council" as you have said. Perhaps they have said it, and I just missed it. If so, I am open to seeing this.

Actually I've seen a lot of texts from the early Church saying the opposite of what you have said to the effect that the whole Church should submit and be obedient to the Pope of Rome. This is why I can't in good conscience accept what you have written (although I respect your belief and understanding).

you said:
These are harsh matters, my friend. And I do agree that there is a connection between Petros and petra in our passage - It is simply not, imo, the connection which the Latin See would have it to be...

reply: Yet, I see numerous examples from the first millenia of the Church which support what the Latins say it is -coming from, at the very least, their own Latin Tradition.

Continuining on with Patristic texts, lets consider the example of Pope Leo the Great. I think his theological understanding of his office and authority directly contradicts what many on this forum say was the faith of the Church in the first millenia:

----------------------------------------

Pope Leo I
"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles, and from him as from the head wishes his gifts to flow to all the body, so that anyone who dares to secede from Peter's solid rock may understand that he has no part or lot in the divine mystery. He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church' [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peter's solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it" (Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445).

"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . established the worship belonging to the divine religion . . . But the Lord desired that the sacrament of this gift should pertain to all the apostles in such a way that it might be found principally in the most blessed Peter, the highest of all the apostles. And he wanted his gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery. . . . [You, my brothers], must realize with us, of course, that the Apostolic See--out of reverence for it, I mean--has on countless occasions been reported to in consultation by bishops even of your own province [Vienne]. And through the appeal of various cases to this see, decisions already made have been either revoked or confirmed, as dictated by long-standing custom" (Letters 10:2-3 [A.D. 445]).

"[T]he blessed Peter persevering in the strength of the Rock, which he has received, has not abandoned the helm of the Church, which he understood. For he was ordained before the rest in such a way that from his being called the rock, from his being pronounced the foundation, from his being constituted the doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, from his being set as the umpire to bind and loose, whose judgments shall retain their validity in heaven, from all these mystical titles we might know the nature of his association with Christ" (Sermons 3:2-3 [A.D. 450]).

"If in your view, [Anastasius of Thessalonica], in regard to a matter to be handled and decided jointly with your brothers, their decision was other than what you wanted, then let the entire matter, with a record of the proceedings, be referred to us. . . . Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen [to be apostles], but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others. . . . [So today through the bishops] the care of the universal Church would converge in the one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head" (ibid., 14:11).

"As for the resolution of the bishops which is contrary to the Nicene decree, in union with your faithful piety, I declare it to be invalid and annul it by the authority of the holy Apostle Peter" (ibid., 110).

"Whereupon the blessed Peter, as inspired by God, and about to benefit all nations by his confession, said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Not undeservedly, therefore, was he pronounced blessed by the Lord, and derived from the original Rock that solidity which belonged both to his virtue and to his name [Peter]" (The Tome of Leo [A.D. 449]).

-------------------------------------------

To conclude, I would like to understand how these statements are viewed by Eastern Orthodox. Again, they can't say no one believed in Papal Authority in the first thousand years of the Church because Pope Leo's statements, like the Formula of Hormisdas, just reeks of Papal Authority.

In Christ's Light,

Der-Ghazarian

[ 09-01-2002: Message edited by: Der-Ghazarian ]

Re: On Roman Primacy #125296
09/02/02 12:15 AM
09/02/02 12:15 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 75
Roslyn, WA
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George Blaisdell Offline
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George Blaisdell  Offline
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Zoe writes:

Dear George...

>>>I can't help wondering whether you are somewhat new to this whole ecclesiological question... you seem to be rehashing the most shopworn, hackneyed polemics...polemics that have been successfully challenged and soundly discredited a hundred times before, at least.<<<

My friend, I am new to Christianity. [4 years now...] I look at Orthodoxy, and I look at the Roman Catholic Church, and for me, it's a no brainer... But that is doubtless because I am called to Orthodoxy, and not to the RCC.

I went to a Mass some 8 years ago, and experienced the 'descent of the Holy Spirit' in it, and was given communion as a non-Christian. The 'descent' was very palpable, almost tangible. My first Orthodox service, [as a 'generic' Christian], had no such palpability at all, and I was NOT given communion. I was pretty wiped out with fatigue at the end of the Orthodox service. I simply chose the harder path, because of a whole lot of factors, not the least of which was its spiritual 'invisibility' to me, vs the visibility of the RCC Mass... Another is what I see as a kind of spiritual promiscuity in the RCC that is totally absent in the Orthodox tradition... [They had a shaman teaching 'journeying' at a women's monastery of the RCC in MPLS, as a for instance.]

>>>May I ask how much of the patristic and conciliar literature of the first millennium you've actually read? -- in context, I mean...not merely the carefully selected little snippets provided by Michael Whelton and similar polemicists?<<<

I have not heard of Michael Whelton - Is he Orthodox? I have read Fr. Seraphim Rose's "Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future", which was very pivotal for me in looking at the other Christian 'confessions'... And am in the middle of Zizioulas' "Being as Communion" - I am only a catechumen, and have little experience of reading the ancient fathers and Church history.

>>>I think you might have a very different view of "the pre-schismatical Church of the first millennium" -- and especially of the way papal primacy operated within that church -- if you really immersed yourself in patristic sources. If you haven't done so already, then I heartily recommend it!<<<

Well, I thank you for your recommendation, Zoe - My job at present is to acquire the mind of the Church, and establish Her praxis in my soul, which does not leave a lot of time, you see... I did pick up a couple of books at my Church's library today on the matter of ecumenicism - "Orthodox and Catholic Union: The reply of the Holy Orthodox Church to Roman Catholic overtures on Reunion and ecumenism." [The monks of the Holy Mountain (Athos) seem VERY anti-ecumenical in this tract, which is some 17 years old.] And "The Rush to Embrace" by Archpriest Alexey Young, which has a cover photo of the Orthodox Patriarch and Pope John Paul II all dressed in red and embracing. The monks on Mt Athos stopped including the name of this Patriarch in their services after this event, if I have it right... This Fr. Alexey is a Roman Catholic convert to Orthodoxy some 31 years ago... And seems to be against most ecumenical overtures as well - It seems that the idea of 'meeting our sister church half way' is not an acceptable idea to these two books. I am told that there are other Orthodox clergy who are more amenible than these by a lot - Fortunately, I do not have the 'call' to try resolving these issues... They are tough and heart-wrenching issues...

geo


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
Re: On Roman Primacy #125297
09/02/02 07:09 AM
09/02/02 07:09 AM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 221
North Carolina
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ZoeTheodora Offline
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ZoeTheodora  Offline
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Hi, George. I apologize for the snotty, high-handed tone of my previous post, which I regretted as soon as I posted it.

Yes, Father Alexey Young is VERY anti-Catholic, almost rabidly so. I would not recommend reading him!

The convent that taught "journeying" -- I've no idea what that is, BTW -- does not represent Church Teaching. There have been a lot of popular abuses in recent years, but they run counter to Church Teaching; some have even been soundly denounced by the Magisterium. Feminunzis who give seminars on the Enneagram or what have you are not engaged in a specifically Catholic activity nor do they represent Catholicism. And the good news is that they are a dying breed. There is a growing movement back toward orthodoxy and tradition, and this movement is spearheaded by young priests and laypeople. (By contrast, the AmChurch crowd -- the pagan nuns and so forth -- are graying oldsters. They are the wave of the past.)

Every ecumenical council is followed by a period of turbulence. (Nicaea is a prime example.) Thus 30 years of turbulence followed Vatican II. But all the evidence is that this turbulent period is drawing to an end. The gates of hell cannot and will not prevail. We have Christ's own words on that! biggrin And we know that, no matter what dissident nuns or AmChurch laypeople may do or say, the Magisterium (divinely established and Spirit-guided) will still speak the Truth with a clear voice.

BTW, there has been plenty of turbulence in Eastern history, too, you know...and even today there are serious problems in Orthodox thought and praxis (e.g., Protestantizing tendencies within neo-Hesychasm; the acceptance [contra Holy Tradition] of divorce/remarriage, contraception, and even [in some quarters] abortion).

Re your experience receiving Communion at a Catholic Mass: Did the priest know you were not a Christian? If he didn't know that, then he can hardly be faulted for giving you Communion. He probably just assumed you were Catholic -- a reasonable assumption in most parishes.

Also, re your reading list again: If you are genuinely interested in learning which Church Jesus actually founded -- not merely interested in joining the Church you personally find most congenial -- then I would urge you to dispense with polemics by the likes of Father Alexey Young. Instead, read the early Church Fathers themselves -- the primary sources. See for yourself what the Church of the first millennium was actually like, rather than believing what certain polemicists tell you it was like.

As they say at the Mary Foundation: "Get the facts. Decide for yourself."

In Christ,

ZT

Re: On Roman Primacy #125298
09/02/02 01:27 PM
09/02/02 01:27 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 75
Roslyn, WA
G
George Blaisdell Offline
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George Blaisdell  Offline
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Roslyn, WA
Zoe writes:

>>>Hi, George. I apologize for the snotty, high-handed tone of my previous post, which I regretted as soon as I posted it.<<<

Well, there! You are already a much better person than I, for I tend to self-justify my high-handed snottyness!

>>>The convent that taught "journeying" -- I've no idea what that is, BTW -- <<<

That is where the shaman and the 'client' enter into a trance state together, and take a journey into the spirit-land to find out the who, what, where and why of whatever it is that the client is coming to the shaman for help about. Once that is identified [say, an over-controlling parent having 'stolen' a piece of one's soul and still holding it, even though deceased] and dealt with, either by persuasion or by trickery, if the theft was malicious. Then the shaman engages the wrongful holder, obtains [usually] the piece of soul that was stolen, and returns it to the client, often breathing it back into him or her...

In other words, demonics 101... Empowerment of the person...

>>>does not represent Church Teaching.<<<

Obviously not! But what I found spiritually sleezy was that a convent would make available a room for the propagation of this practice. Were that to happen in an Orthodox monastery, and wind of it got back to the bishop, the matter would be stopped in its tracks immediately, and the penance would be severe...

>>>There have been a lot of popular abuses in recent years, but they run counter to Church Teaching; some have even been soundly denounced by the Magisterium.<<<

Some of them???

>>>Feminunzis who give seminars on the Enneagram or what have you are not engaged in a specifically Catholic activity nor do they represent Catholicism.<<<

Yet they have been tolerated within Her, yes?

>>>And the good news is that they are a dying breed.<<<

Lord have mercy!

>>>There is a growing movement back toward orthodoxy and tradition, and this movement is spearheaded by young priests and laypeople.<<<

Well, I sure hope this part continues.

>>>(By contrast, the AmChurch crowd -- the pagan nuns and so forth -- are graying oldsters. They are the wave of the past.)<<<

I am sorry you cannot venerate your elders, nor should you, if they are pagans within the monastic traditions of your Church... This whole idea is very, aah, 'over the top', so to speak, by Orthodox standards - WAY over the top...

>>>Re your experience receiving Communion at a Catholic Mass: Did the priest know you were not a Christian? If he didn't know that, then he can hardly be faulted for giving you Communion. He probably just assumed you were Catholic -- a reasonable assumption in most parishes.<<<

The good Padre didn't know me from Adam, and I just went up for my wafer along with everybody else. And he gave it to me. Later, when he turned over the podium to another for announcements, he sat down, and his head dropped, and he was one foot in front of me in spirit wondering who I was. He was an adept...

By way of contrast, the Orthodox call each communicant by name to the chalice of the Body and the Blood... If even an Orthodox approaches the cup who is not known to the priest, and has not made prior arrangements, he will be turned away, and enquirers like I was are approached by clergy and welcomed and instructed not to approach the communion cup...


geo


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
Re: On Roman Primacy #125299
09/02/02 07:57 PM
09/02/02 07:57 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 221
North Carolina
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ZoeTheodora Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by George Blaisdell:
The good Padre didn't know me from Adam, and I just went up for my wafer along with everybody else. And he gave it to me. Later, when he turned over the podium to another for announcements, he sat down, and his head dropped, and he was one foot in front of me in spirit wondering who I was. He was an adept...
geo


Dear George:

What do you mean, "He was an adept"? How could you possibly tell such a thing? (I sincerely want to know.)

Here, BTW, I think you are being rather unfair to Catholic churches. Our parishes are far too large (usually) to allow the priest to know everyone in the congregaion by name! Especially our urban parishes.

(And BTW, it's not a "wafer." It's the Very Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Just to clarify. biggrin )

Re that convent: I agree that pagan nuns and such are a horrible reality...I know that stuff exists, although I've personally never encountered anything even remotely as horrible as the seminar you describe. But people who practice paganism are de facto excommunicated...they are apostates; they are part of the great apostasy foretold by St. Paul (and also foretold by approved Catholic mystics, such as Sister Agnes of Akita, Japan). But though the Church may contain apostates or semi-apostates (or rather, though said apostates may continue to call themselves Catholic -- "wheat and tares"), nonetheless the Church Herself in her theandric fullness cannot err; the Magisterium cannot err; the College of Bishops in communion with the successor of Peter cannot err.

By contrast, the East has often erred, especially during the first millennium. In the fourth century, there were entire chunks of the East that were Arian-dominated. Entire Eastern synods were stacked with Arian bishops. That was arguably a worse situation than today -- a far greater threat to the doctrinal integrity of Christianity. Yet Rome was never Arian. Or Monophysite, or Nestorian, or any of the other Eastern heresies.

Should Rome clamp down harder on pagan nuns? I think so. But I also wonder sometimes whether JPII may be taking a more therapeutic approach to the erring. Also, there's a sense in which he just can't win, according to those outside the visible Catholic Church. If he doesn't clamp down, then he's perceived as weak. If he does clamp down, he's labeled tyrannical. Plus, the dissidents pose as martyrs and get a lot of play in the media. He cannot win, no matter how he handles the dissidents (pastorally). It's a tough -- and complex -- situation.

Also -- this just occurred to me! -- there's more than one way of erring, you know. The Orthodox may not have pagan nuns giving channeling seminars and whatnot, but they have doctrinal confusion to spare, IMHO. Just recently, I looked up the Orthodox concept of "toll houses" on a search engine. I happened upon a heated debate between the "toll house" school and the followers of Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, who claim that the souls of the departed sleep until the General Resurrection. This idea of "soul sleep" is utterly repudiated by the Catholic Magisterium, which has a much more developed, defined doctrine on life after death. No, it's not the overdefined caricature some Orthodox imagine -- physical fire in Purgatory and whatnot -- but it is a more crystallized doctrine. There's no confusion such as apparently exists within the Orthodox camp. I would submit that such chaotic confusion on such a key article of Christian faith -- life after death -- shows the pitfalls of separation from the See of Peter and the Magisterium.

As a corollary, who can resolve the dispute between the "toll houses" exponents and Archbishop Puhalo? Who speaks for Orthodoxy when a disputed point like this arises? In Catholicism, the successor of Peter and the Church's Magisterium exist in large part in order to resolve such doctrinal disputes. But no similar arbiter exists in Pan-Orthodoxy. So we're left with irresolvable confusion on one of the most central questions there is: what happens after death.

Thanks, but no thanks. wink

In Christ,

ZT

P.S. BTW, just curious: How do you know so much about all that Demonics 101 stuff?

P.P.S. I'm not a good person at all...I'm sure you are a far better!

P.P.P.S. I don't know much about Fr. Roamnides, but I've heard he's kind of on the fringe, if you know what I mean. His anti-ecumenical rant -- whuch you cite -- certainly seems to bear this out.

Re: On Roman Primacy #125300
09/02/02 10:36 PM
09/02/02 10:36 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,700
Pennsylvania
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Hieromonk Elias Offline
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Hieromonk Elias  Offline
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Pennsylvania
Dear George,

I am delighted that you are studying the faith, and reading widely in theology. We pray for catechumens in our holy Liturgy, and prayers for these seekers and learners are always needed. There are so many temptations during this time.

I am curious as to some of the works you have been directed to read, by the priest or catechist responsible for your Christian formation. Some of these books and pamphlets are more polemical, and some of these authors have agendas that someone new to theological reading might find it difficult to cope with.

Authority is an important theme in theology of course. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ. He has not let go of this authority, and has not given his throne to anyone else, no matter who. So, we must study authority in the context of the authority given to Christ our God.

God rules, governs and guides all things. He has not abrogated this responsibility, nor has he laid it aside. If we study authority in the Church, the name of the Savior must be in every sentence, because He is its author and source. Not least of his directives (which he gives authoritatively) is the commandments he has set forth in Scripture concerning the Apostolic Community and the Church. But what ever he has commanded here, it is certain that he has not let loose of his own authority or responsibility. Our task as Christians is to submit to Christ. All Christians (bishops and people) are called to submit. Submission is then a virtue, insofar as it is part of this fundamental posture of obedience to God. I submit to my monastic superior, the wife submits to her husband, the Catholic to his bishop etc. etc. practicing a suitable and worthy virtue.

My communion with the Pope of Rome is not because of the Pope, but because of Christ our God, who founded his Church and by his command has created order within it. My submission to Christ, involves my acceptance of his Divine Plan, which is unfolded in the mystery of the Church. And this mystery of "Church" is not considered whole, if it neglects the order of the bishop in his city, and among them, the great imperial city and its bishop in Rome.

It is helpful (especially for those new in the faith) to study the Scripture, and the Christian virtues. A good pastor or spiritual father will guide you through the Gospels and help you in your formation.

If your guide is leading you to Father Seraphim, Father Alexey and to the monks of Athos on certain ecumenical questions, it would be wrong to question him of course... If your concern is error within the Church (nuns, feminism, psychological courses etc.) I can understand your questions... but I wonder if a more careful look at the basics of our faith would be more helpful at this point in your journey?

Elias

[ 09-02-2002: Message edited by: Hieromonk Elias ]

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