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Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? #350985 08/08/10 03:07 AM
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desertman Offline OP
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http://orthodoxmonk.blogspot.com/2005/10/jesus-prayer-in-eastern-rite-catholic.html

I'm looking for some Eastern Catholic responses to this article. It is from an Orthodox blog, which questions the possiblity of a Catholic truly embracing the serious practice of the Jesus Prayer and hesychasm without creating serious tension with his Catholic identity.

I'd like to think the author is wrong, but he makes some interesting points.






Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: desertman] #351011 08/08/10 07:20 PM
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aramis Offline
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Thing is, it's possible to embrace the Jesus prayer without full-blown hesychasm. Just like one can embrace the Hail Mary without embracing the full cultus of the Dominican Rosary*.

Mind-altering extended prayer (like hesychasts do) can be done with just about any repetitive prayer. Even the Dominican Rosary can become a mind-altering system of prayer.

The monk writing this is engaging in polemic, as well, intentional or otherwise. St. Gregory is on the calendar of several Eastern Catholic churches.

*The Dominican Rosary is the proper term for the Rosary as commonly used in the Roman Church; it was introduced in its present form by St. Dominic for his friars.

Last edited by aramis; 08/08/10 07:22 PM.
Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: aramis] #351014 08/08/10 08:02 PM
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The simplest thing to do is contact some Greek Catholic monks (not all Eastern Catholics are Byzantines, and the non-Byzantines have no full-blown tradition of hesychasm). Why not contact Abbot Nicholas at Holy Resurrection Monastery in California? There are also plenty of Greek Catholic Studite monks in Ukraine and elsewhere who indeed practice hesychia. As with many Orthodox polemicists, the author operates under the assumption that Latin Catholicism is normative for all Catholics (something not true since at least Vatican II), and that there is some inherent dichotomy between Latin spirituality and the concept of uncreated energy. Needless to say, his assumptions are wrong and his understanding of Catholic ecclesiology and doctrine hopelessly out of date. It would not surprise me in the least if Orthodox Monk was a recent convert to Orthodoxy from one of the Protestant denominations.

Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: StuartK] #351020 08/08/10 09:51 PM
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desertman Offline OP
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These are the kind of answers I was hoping to receive. I wasn't at all convinced the author was right, but it planted a few subtle doubts (which bothered me)- and I needed someone more discerning than me to help make things clear, which I do appreciate.

I'm a Roman Catholic, who's been discerning a call to the East for a couple of years, and still learning about the delicacy of Eastern Catholic/Orthodox differences and similarities. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and even anxiety-inducing trying to discern what is true and what isn't amongst all the complicated history and polemics from all sides of the Roman/Eastern Catholic + Orthodox divide. So, please forgive me for posting this if it was insulting to anyone. I probably need to stop reading internet articles, and simply focus on the writings of the Fathers. And to PRAY! blush


Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: desertman] #351021 08/09/10 12:31 AM
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Quote
I'm a Roman Catholic, who's been discerning a call to the East for a couple of years, and still learning about the delicacy of Eastern Catholic/Orthodox differences and similarities.


If we as Eastern Catholics are faithful to the commission given to us by the Holy See for the past century, then there should be no differences whatsoever, other than our commemoration of the Bishop of Rome in the liturgy. Unfortunately, we are still a fair distance from that ideal, not so much because of the interference of the Church of Rome as our own confusion about our identity.

Quote
Roman/Eastern Catholic + Orthodox divide


It's more a three way divide:

Roman Catholic <--->Greek Catholic <---> Eastern Orthodox

With us stuck in the middle and taking flak from both sides.

Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: StuartK] #351022 08/09/10 01:06 AM
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desertman Offline OP
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Originally Posted by StuartK
If we as Eastern Catholics are faithful to the commission given to us by the Holy See for the past century, then there should be no differences whatsoever, other than our commemoration of the Bishop of Rome in the liturgy. Unfortunately, we are still a fair distance from that ideal, not so much because of the interference of the Church of Rome as our own confusion about our identity.


Thanks for the clarification. In other words the ideal, when reached might be that eventually all Byzantine Catholics would embrace the title "Orthodox in Communion with Rome".
Quote


It's more a three way divide:

Roman Catholic <--->Greek Catholic <---> Eastern Orthodox

With us stuck in the middle and taking flak from both sides.


I'm beginning to understand this reality more and more. Thanks for you help.

Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: StuartK] #351402 08/21/10 02:45 AM
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Luvr of East Offline
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Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
I'm a Roman Catholic, who's been discerning a call to the East for a couple of years, and still learning about the delicacy of Eastern Catholic/Orthodox differences and similarities.


If we as Eastern Catholics are faithful to the commission given to us by the Holy See for the past century, then there should be no differences whatsoever, other than our commemoration of the Bishop of Rome in the liturgy. Unfortunately, we are still a fair distance from that ideal, not so much because of the interference of the Church of Rome as our own confusion about our identity.

Quote
Roman/Eastern Catholic + Orthodox divide


It's more a three way divide:

Roman Catholic <--->Greek Catholic <---> Eastern Orthodox

With us stuck in the middle and taking flak from both sides.


Dear Desertman,

I am also a Roman Catholic who is discerning whether or not to join a particular Church of the Byzantine Rite. The Church in particular I have been integrating myself in to is the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. As a Roman Catholic, I don't know about you, but there is a lot to process. Like do the Melkites accept the other councils that we as Romans accept as ecumenical or only the first seven? From the people I have been talking with, one who is a good Deacon at the parish and the other who works for Eastern Christian Publications, it seems like they would not accept the other councils our Church calls ecumenical.

Dear StuartK,

I think I had read that the Roman Catholic Church had condemned the practice of heychasm. If I read wrong then please correct me. But if I read right, does that affect the union between the Roman Church and Byzantine Churches in any way?

Kyrie eleison,

Manuel

Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: Luvr of East] #351410 08/21/10 01:37 PM
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desertman Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Luvr of East

Dear Desertman,
I am also a Roman Catholic who is discerning whether or not to join a particular Church of the Byzantine Rite. The Church in particular I have been integrating myself in to is the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. As a Roman Catholic, I don't know about you, but there is a lot to process. Like do the Melkites accept the other councils that we as Romans accept as ecumenical or only the first seven? From the people I have been talking with, one who is a good Deacon at the parish and the other who works for Eastern Christian Publications, it seems like they would not accept the other councils our Church calls ecumenical.
Manuel


Hello Luvr of East,

I'm glad to hear from another who is working their way through all the big questions. From what I've gathered, as far as the Church councils go, I think it may be that as Catholics, the Melkites would not be permitted to openly reject the later councils, but on the other hand in following their own Eastern tradition, it would not be likely for them to refer to the later councils very often, and possibly not at all. That's my understanding, but I may be wrong.

Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: desertman] #351411 08/21/10 02:21 PM
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Pope Paul VI referred to the councils convened after the schism as 'general synods of the Western Church'. Pope Benedict XVI, while still Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote that the Eastern Churches could hardly be expected to accept the doctrinal formulations reached by the Catholic Church after the separation. With these two in mind, as a Melkite-Greek Catholic priest, I follow the line of the Zoghby Initiative. This was endorsed finally by the patriarch and synod of the Melkite Church.

Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: desertman] #351412 08/21/10 02:26 PM
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Dear Desertman,

In reference to the post schism councils, my understanding is that since they were basically dealing with issues of Roman concerns and for the most part there were no Eastern Churches, they are not binding on the Universal (Catholic) Church. The few councils that the Eastern Churches were there, they were forced to sign documents they did not wish to sign for reasons such as hoped for military help from the west when the Muslims were on the heels on the Eastern Roman Empire. And so instead of them being Ecumenical Councils, they are, or from the people I've spoken with, they think it should be, considered Synods of the West.

BTW, which particular Byzantine Church are you going to ? And, have you heard if the Roman Catholic Church had condemned the practice of hesychasm? That is what I have read. I forget where though.

Kyrie eleison,

Manuel

Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: desertman] #351413 08/21/10 02:31 PM
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Desertman,

Also, since we are in similar situations in this process, I'd like your thoughts on a line of posts I started dealing with the Patriarch's "Traditional" Territory. If you could read and post there. So as not to change the direction of this series of posts.

Kyrie eleison,

Manuel

Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: Luvr of East] #351423 08/22/10 02:40 AM
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desertman Offline OP
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I haven't heard anything about Rome specifically condemning hesychasm, but what caused me to originally post the article, was that the author seemed to be implying that Pope John Paul in that quoted address was far from endorsing it. He points out specifically these two lines from the Pope:
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There was no lack of tension with the Catholic viewpoint on certain aspects of this practice (hesychasm). However, we should acknowledge the good intentions which guided the defense of this spiritual method

From this, the author then assumes:
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When a Roman Catholic speaks of admitting the good intentions of someone, he wants to say that the fellow was wrong, but at least he meant well.

and then:
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We concede that a Roman Pontiff has never pronounced infallibly, so a member of an Eastern Rite Church might be able to claim that he is not bound in conscience, but that is his own affair with his own conscience

So according to this Orthodox author, hesychasm has never been formally condemned by Rome, but in his opinion doesn't mesh with being Catholic. Where he goes wrong, as StuartK pointed out, is here:
Quote
In our view, a member of an Eastern Rite Catholic Church has to clarify within himself just what his theology is, and how it is to be constrained by the principles of Roman Catholic theology. Otherwise he is in danger of a ‘cafeteria Catholicism’ of the right: a picking and choosing without regard to consistency with his own basic principle of allegiance to the Pope.

I imagine that an Eastern Catholic would reply that they are not "constrained by the principles of Roman Catholic theology".

Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: desertman] #351424 08/22/10 03:48 AM
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Unfortunately my friend, that is not always the case. There are many who may be technically Byzantine, but are so unaware of their tradition nor of the make up of the Church or even the history of the faith. I have friends who say they are members of the Byzantine Catholic Church (if that really is the name of a church, does anyone know who it's Orthodox correspondence would be?) and in their parish the have a sanctuary to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and pray the rosary as a group. Nothing against those devotions, but they are not of the Byzantine tradition. Also when I tried to explain how there are 21 (it is 21 right?) churches who are in union with the Pope and it is this communion that makes up the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, she started saying how no no no, there is one Church, maybe many branches but only One Church. So I said I understand where she is coming from because I used to have a Roman mind as well (I'm starting to think more Eastern I think lol) and she got all upset. She tried correcting me repeating what she had previously said. So, unfortunately, there is still a lot of latinization, I believe it is called, among certain Eastern parishes.

I was just reading the online Catholic Encyclopedia article on Hesychasm : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07301a.htm

In the last paragraph that describes it's system, it starts talking about one of the major discrepancies between the Hesychasts and the anti-hesychasts were their philosophical base for their argument. The hesychasts used Platonist philosophy while the anti-hesychast used Aristotelian philosophy to defend their views.

Kyrie eleison,

Manuel

Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: Luvr of East] #351429 08/22/10 08:52 AM
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The comment in the first paragraph are so very true for whole Eparchies around the world. The damage done in the past will take a few generations to go. How do you teach a people their own tradition when they ditched it for what ever the Latins were doing at the time. They have also not understood the instruction of the Popes to restore their own tradition. Especially hard when they dont understand what their tradition is either, as they have kept their distance from the Orthodox for so long. "Orientale Lumen" is one such instruction that holds up the Orthodox monastic tradition and much more, as examples for those who are unsure of what the Church wants them to do in getting back to the tradition.

cool

Re: Eastern Catholic Hesychasm? [Re: Economos Roman V. Russo] #351433 08/22/10 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ot'ets Nastoiatel'
Pope Paul VI referred to the councils convened after the schism as 'general synods of the Western Church'.


I quite like this idea myself. Seems quite logical, but do you have a source that I can point to in order to defend the attacks on my using the quote that are bound to follow?

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