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Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Ray,
Are you suggesting that we just declare by fiat that we are all in communion and then receive communion in one another's churches? Perhaps, we could just end all of the theological commissions and just agree not to discuss anything that might bring up disagreement?

Joe


Terrific! If I could do that - I would!

Seriously. We discuss disagreements here at the Byzcath board - and we still call each other - friend. Discussions should continue and even be more (especially at lower levels).

Discussions at higher levels are mostly manipulated politics anyway. Show time. A competitions at appearing more holy and more special than the other side.

No Joe, let us little people not be blinded by upper management. Too many of them have their agenda, and politics, and the need to appear very holy and very very - right. They put many things above charity.

I think John Paul II made great progress simply because he did put charity and friendship.

The pity is that they, in the past, had enlisted our help (the laity) in order to cause a separation they wanted to make. We laity fell for their propaganda. We allowed them to carve up Christianity. We helped them.

A friend of mine attended the funeral of a very important bishop. Present were dignitaries (bishops) from many churches. They were all dressed in their unique official customs. It seemed as if there would be a competition after - whose ornate gold and silver weighted the most. The colors were blinding - with all type of hats - perhaps the highest hat made that bishop closer to heaven (I dunno). But it seemed like a gathering of clones - each trying to act more reserved and holyer than the other.

A local RC church nailed an anti-war sign above the front door. I didn't like that. It was a had painted sign and sure did not fit with the beautify architecture of the church. Plus I think there is a time to defend yourself. In any event - I wanted to talk to the bishop about it .. so I tried. But after a month of trying ... the secretary had pity on me and quietly explained that I would not be getting an appointment because of security. "What security?" .. "Well - all this priestly pedifile scandle - the bishop really does not see strangers."

Really Joe .. we call them "Your Holiness.." but too many of them seem to live in a dream land. Isolated from us. If you ever get to peek behind the curtain Joe - you will not like what you see.

And so the only unity that counts is the unity we have right here and right now. The friendship on the byzcath board.

what are your thoughts?

-ray

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Ray,

Believe me, I am not naive about what really goes on in the professional, career ministries. I have my opinions, but since they are only opinions and since they are not flattering opinions I will not utter them. Nothing will be accomplished except my desparaging people. I do not have infallible knowledge and only God can judge. I have enough of my own sins to focus on.

Still, we must be careful. What basis do we have for making any judgments about the number, or percentage, of hierarchical leaders that have been obstacles to reunion? I have no empirical facts upon which to base any judgment. Also, our pastors have an incredible burden. Can you imagine what it must be like to be responsible fo shepherding millions of souls?

Joe


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Originally Posted by JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Ray,

Still, we must be careful. What basis do we have for making any judgments about the number, or percentage, of hierarchical leaders that have been obstacles to reunion? I have no empirical facts upon which to base any judgment. Also, our pastors have an incredible burden. Can you imagine what it must be like to be responsible for shepherding millions of souls?

Joe



A good man once told me the difference between discernment (which we are required to do) and judgment (which we are not to do) ... is the application of a sentence. It is the role of a judge to apply a punishment. Not mine to do.

We can discern wrong (and that is required of us) but we have no right to apply a sentence. That is up to God (Providence) and those he appoints to a judgment authority - be it civil or religious.

I certainly have no authority. I apply no sentences. I meat out no punishments. But to mistake discernment for judgment - is to parallelizes a virtue we are supposed to cultivate.

It is plain and clear that the laity did not initiate and execute the schism ... eccleseatical hierarchy did that. How can we shy away from that fact? Did the laity hold councils on the semantics of the creed? Did the laity issue orders to imprison opposing bishops? Did the laity conficate real estate belonging to the other church? No. Hiearchy did that.

Certainly this fact is clear and plain and we do well to remember it. The leaders lead - and the laity followed. It was human fault and human sin - and the hierarchy did it. They are dead now - but the damage they did continues. The sins of the fathers and visited on the sons.

How many hierarchy lack personal holiness?? I do not know the number. How many are actually corrupted? Enough to cause trouble. I think we are all capable of knowing the difference between a really good priest and a really lacking priest. At least we had better know how to tell. The good ones are the ones who know doctrine but apply it with great charity and great human understanding.

For example.. in my home town there was a RC priest named Fr, Jetti. My wife worked in the emergency room for many many years. There are several RC churches in my town and the RC priests are all on call for rotation at the emergency room. My wife make the phone calls for priests to come and administer last rites. At least half the time - she would not get any answer from the priest scheduled to be on call. And so she would call ... Fr. Jetti even when he was not scheduled - even at 3am in the morning and he would answer and say "No one could be reached? No priest has come?" .. "No father." .. "OK - I will be right there." and within 10 minutes he would show up. Never a camplaint. He is a priest - it is his task to accompany the dieing.

Of course Father Jetti's parish was always overflowing and while parochial schools were closing all around - not his. Enrollment was always more than the tiny school could hold. And not just Catholic children either. And on the day when he was transfered - his last Mass was populated by Orthodox, Protestants, Baptists, and people who had no faith ... by loved his humanity.

So - yes. I can discern a good priest. And that is the priest I will go to. (hey - we Catholics can do that when there are 15 RC churches within a 15 minute ride smile

And I can discern a bad one - like the one .. well.. let us just say that the one who was appointed for diocesan public relations (somewhere) was lacking. Yes. I do know him personally. Since I was a child. Plenty of Catholics leave any church he is at. He was also an acquaintance of my father. He had some addictive and abusive problems for a long time .. and still has. Enough said.

Discernment is a function of conscience. We should not ignore it - it comes from conscience. But at the same time - discernment has no judgment and sentence. We do not seek revenge - but we may be required to seek justice when conscience demands it. One must know the difference between these.

How many saint have been canonized for political reasons (toeing the party line included)? How many real saints were persecuted bu their own church - only to eventually give in to laity popularity and pressure - and then canonize them? Shall I name a few Orthodox and Roman Catholic? You know they exist.

Yes. Our hierarchy is not perfect. they sometimes fail, they sometimes sin. I have no idea what God was thinking when he put his church into the hands of humans??!! Except - I do have an idea why he did that. Yes I do. It display his own divinity - all the more. Anyway... (sigh).

To tell you the true Joe.. I am not really any good outside of the Scripture area at Byzcath. I do not put things well and people get offended.

I will be making a post in the Scripture area, soon, and within it (unintentionally) there is something related to how to mend the dis-unity. IF - the hierarchy wants to mend things. The post is regarding Paul's letter to the Romans ... he is addressing Judasisers. In letter Paul's method of conversions is evident. When he began - Paul was not real successful. But after his stoning (in which Paul actually physically died) there was a radical change in the way he spoke the gospel. I will ponit to 'Paul's method' for how to heal the unity.

I will let you know when I post it. You are not obligated to read it. Unless you need something to put you to sleep out of boredom smile

Peace and charity to your wonderful church Joe.
-ray





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Quote
,

I can appreciate what you are saying but this still does not settle the fact that either the pope has universal jurisdiction over the church or he doesn't. Either the pope is infallible or he isn't. One side is right and the other is wrong. We should pray and speak to one another in love and humility, but that is not going to solve the doctrinal problems.


Dear Joe,

You are painting a very narrow picture of infallibility. The RCC says the Pope is infallible. Infallible in what way? How has this infallibility been used, and how many times has this infallibility been used? When mentioning infallibility, it seems many Orthodox believe that the Pope will suddenly start throwing around rules and regulations, as well as dogmas and doctrines, etc. In almost two hundred years, he has spoken in his role of infallibility only twice.

Both Churches believe the Holy Spirit works through the laity. It is the laity that is geared by the Holy Spirit, but who has the last word? Who will the laity approach when being led by the Holy Spirit? There has to be a last word. Someone in authority. That last word then, that one in authority would have to be considered infallible.

Now that would be painting the concept of infallibilty with a broader brush...and once it's painted with a broader brush, an understanding can come about. It might not be exactly what the Orthodox would like, nor exactly what the RCC would like, but it would define infallibility.

We have to understand that the Pope has used his power of infallibility only twice. If the Church is united, and ecumenical councils can come about, he need not use it again. As for what it was used for, they are doctrines that were never fully defined...and therefore very solvable?

God Bless

Zenovia


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Originally Posted by Zenovia
Quote
,

I can appreciate what you are saying but this still does not settle the fact that either the pope has universal jurisdiction over the church or he doesn't. Either the pope is infallible or he isn't. One side is right and the other is wrong. We should pray and speak to one another in love and humility, but that is not going to solve the doctrinal problems.


Dear Joe,

You are painting a very narrow picture of infallibility. The RCC says the Pope is infallible. Infallible in what way? How has this infallibility been used, and how many times has this infallibility been used? When mentioning infallibility, it seems many Orthodox believe that the Pope will suddenly start throwing around rules and regulations, as well as dogmas and doctrines, etc. In almost two hundred years, he has spoken in his role of infallibility only twice.

Both Churches believe the Holy Spirit works through the laity. It is the laity that is geared by the Holy Spirit, but who has the last word? Who will the laity approach when being led by the Holy Spirit? There has to be a last word. Someone in authority. That last word then, that one in authority would have to be considered infallible.

Now that would be painting the concept of infallibilty with a broader brush...and once it's painted with a broader brush, an understanding can come about. It might not be exactly what the Orthodox would like, nor exactly what the RCC would like, but it would define infallibility.

We have to understand that the Pope has used his power of infallibility only twice. If the Church is united, and ecumenical councils can come about, he need not use it again. As for what it was used for, they are doctrines that were never fully defined...and therefore very solvable?

God Bless

Zenovia



Zenovia,

Actually, there is no concensus over the number of times the Pope has spoken ex cathedra; though the common answer seems to be twice. Why only twice, I have no clue; since I could pull out dozens of statements from popes where it is clear that he is intending to bind everyone according to his teaching. But, the issue is not how many times the Pope uses infallibility, but whether he has infallibility to begin with. Since it is the position of the Orthodox (and I think it is the right position) that the notion of papal infallibility is an innovation and not justified by Scripture and sacred Tradition, then Rome has departed by adding to the apostolic faith. I do believe that it is the case that the root cause of the schism is the papacy, because the Pope began to assume for himself authority that was not his to assume. So, from an Orthodox point of view, it is Rome that voluntarily left the Church. Rome separated herrself, but she return to the Church and assume her place of honor and primacy when she abandons her false teachings. This is not meant to offend, but it is to state fairly what is generally the Orthodox point of view.

Joe

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Dear Joe,

You really should know better. The Pope does not "have infallibility", as even a cursory reading of Pastor Aeternus (Vatican I) will confirm. Meanwhile, try reading (like in the Menaion) the Orthodox services for the feast of Pope Saint Leo the Great.

Fr. Serge

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Dear Fr. Serge...

I agree with you. The specter of infallibility that the Orthodox fear - does not exist as doctrine in the RCC. They misunderstand RCC dogma of infallibility - its limits and restrictions.

But on the other hand, the concept of infallibility that they fear does exist in the mind of many Roman Catholics who treat everything the Vatican may say (or what the news media mis-reported as the Pope or Vatican having said) - as infallible.

They are right to fear this. It has caused so much trouble to the RCC world. And it also exists (as Joe said) in as much as the RCC would bishops would often like everyone to treat everything they say as just about infallable.

The problem is within human nature itself. The human nature of laity and bishops alike.

We (all of us) WANT the leaders of our churches to be holy, and right, and everything they say ... to be perfectly right and directly from the mouth of God to our ears. We want our path to holiness to be rules to follow, definitions to learn, dogmas to hold onto, rituals to perform, membership in the 'right church' ... all things through our senses.

We want it to be just like school where we learn (with our intellect), imitate with our actions, say the proper prays and method, and get our degree in holiness. If we are not sanctified by being a member of this church (long enough) we dump that church for another. If we do not become holy - it is not our fault - it is the fault of the church we had attended.

This is an avoidance of conscience.

Living by conscience is too hard.

Living by charity is too costly.

The design of man is such that he MUST have God ... that is more than a fundamental drive of human nature. It is a drive which God embedded into us and it can not be turnend off.

It is built into the design.

However ... If the real God is not there inside man man WILL fill that void with a substitute. He will fashion his own god to worship.

In the narrations of Genesis this is imaged in the birth of Cain. When Adam and the woman are exiled from the garden (Providence and conscience) they no longer see God face to face. The real God no longer fills them and they are empty. They become painfully self-aware. Eve gives birth (Eve represents our psychological mind) ... she gives birth to the twins of Cain and Abel.

Cain comes out first ... and about him she says "I have made for myself ... a god".

A psychological idol.
A replacement.
The inner psycholgical reality of every exteriror idol.

Sorry - the traditional translation of "I have produced a man with the help of God" is a mistranslation due to early translators assuming that Genesis was a pre-history and literal.

And so the problem surrounding - the dogma of Infallibility - is that we want it even where it does not exist - we want it tthrough our senses. We ALL want it. Protestants, Orthodox, Catholic. We want it - out there.

If a man does not pay more and more attention to his fidelity to his conscience - the church (its human factors) becomes an idol.

If a man does pay attention to his conscience - the Church (the presence of Christ in the church) becomes an aide to his sanctification.

I really have to stop posting in these areas. I do not put things well.

-ray

NOTE: A transliteration of the line in Genesis is "I have acquired/produced a man-god" but the meaning is that the mind has fashioned an human produced idol to take the place of God in our conscience.


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Oh.. one more note before work.

This scenario is also figured in the history of the Temple. God's invisible presence settled on the Arc (throne of the King) in the Holy of Holies in the First Temple. (A figure of God having his presence within the conscience. But when Israel sinned - the presence left the Temple. From then on out - Israel made an idol of the Second Temple and all things that Moses had given. This culminated in the Pharisees.

I really have to stop posting in these areas.

-ray

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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Dear Joe,

You really should know better. The Pope does not "have infallibility", as even a cursory reading of Pastor Aeternus (Vatican I) will confirm. Meanwhile, try reading (like in the Menaion) the Orthodox services for the feast of Pope Saint Leo the Great.

Fr. Serge


Perhaps I am misunderstanding you, Fr. Serge, but First Vatican Council's Pastor Aeternus does have the following:

"Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our Savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks ex cathedra, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable."

This would seem to affirm and recognize that the pope does have an infallible charism under certain conditions.

Best to all,
Robster

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Now examine those conditions with great care, and check the debates on the floor of Vatican I - yes, there were debates!

Fr. Serge

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Sorry, Fr. Serge, I don't think I'm understanding you or following you here.

Regards,
Robster

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Elias Zoghby does not believe that there were any "free" debates at Vatican I, and perhaps that is one of the reasons why he rejects the idea that Vatican I is ecumenical.

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Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Elias Zoghby does not believe that there were any "free" debates at Vatican I, and perhaps that is one of the reasons why he rejects the idea that Vatican I is ecumenical.


I would think that whatever questions or issues may arise as to how a particular ecumenical council was conducted, that does not ultimately detract from their being authoritative ecumenical councils. These councils, including First Vatican Council, would all appear to meet the traditional Catholic understanding of an ecumenical council, and appear to conform to what is laid down in both the 1983 Code of Canon Law as well as the 1990 Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches.

I would respectfully suggest that if we're going to attack ecumenical councils with regard to all sorts of procedural matters, we're going to find ourselves with very little left. SSPX has produced material strongly critiquing Second Vatican Council. I suspect that the Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian Church of the East have a thing or two to say about several councils from which they were absent or non-assenting towards, such as Chalcedon, Constantinople II, and Nicaea II. And I've read Unitarian tracts chronicling how Arias was mistreated and hung out to dry at Nicaea I.

It would appear that the lesson of Catholic faithfullness is that we either properly affirm all of our ecumenical councils or we'll wind up having none of them left if we want to continue to engage in post-modernist flavored deconstructionism.

Best to all,
Robster

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As I said, "perhaps" it was one of his reasons for rejecting the ecumenical status of Vatican I. The main reason that Eastern Catholics should reject Vatican I is that it does not agree with the Byzantine tradition.

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Father bless,

I confess that I also don't understand what you mean.

Joe

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