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Constantinople IV #360488 02/21/11 07:18 PM
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In this thread

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which was going off topic there was discussion about Constantinople IV and the fact that the churches accept different councils.

My question is it possible to officially recognize the later council and what would the ramifications of that be?

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: AMM] #360529 02/22/11 12:33 PM
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Before we get too deep into the discussion of Constantinople IV, I'd like to comment on the first part of your post, to wit:

Originally Posted by AMM
We Orthodox Christians cannot possibly lose our status as contrarians extraordinaire!

In that light, I’m going to have to say I disagree with the statements in the thread that changing confessional allegiance is just a matter of maintaining the same viewpoint but through a different window; or that there is currently no essential difference between the two groups.


Relatively speaking, what you're saying is more characteristic of Orthodox than Catholics. You might be surprised, though, by some of the things Catholics say regarding ecumenism.

An example of this (albeit a rather extreme example) are some comments about Cardinal Walter Kasper that I've come across, such as this thread I recently encountered on catholic.com:

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=197343

which is perhaps most notable for estesbob, a "forum elder" with 24,980 posts under his belt, comparing Cardinal Kasper to John Shelby Spong.

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: AMM] #360530 02/22/11 02:27 PM
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My question is it possible to officially recognize the later council and what would the ramifications of that be?


What makes you think it has not been recognized?

And already, the ramifications of that act have been considerable, insofar as the modus vivendi of 880 is now being considered as a basis for restoration of communion in the future?

By the way, there has never been an "official" list of "Ecumenical Councils" in the Latin Church. The most commonly used one was compiled by Robert Bellarmine for anti-Protestant polemical use, and is full of contradiction, not the least being that, until the 12th century, the Synod of 879-880 was considered ecumenical by Rome (it was, after all, ratified by Pope John VIII), while the Synod of 869-870 was considered null and void. Anti-Orthodox polemics saw a repudiation of the later synod and a restoration of the earlier one. Obviously, in the Latin Church, there are no real criteria for recognition of a synod as "ecumenical" other than reception.

That reality was recognized by the Ravenna Statement of the Joint International Theological Commission, particularly paras 35-39, which essentially says there have been no true ecumenical councils since 787. As Rome signed off on the statement, the implications of that are simply enormous.

The Orthodox should try to be good winners, as I must continually remind them.

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: StuartK] #360534 02/22/11 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
What makes you think it has not been recognized?


http://www.catholic.org/prayers/councils.php

The Forth Council of Constantinople (A.D. 869) This was a disciplinary Council to heal the threat of schism which was separating the East and Rome. This was done by deposing the usurper, Photius, and restoring the patriarch, Ignatius. The Greeks finally refused acknowledgment of the Council.

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A later council, the Greek Fourth Council of Constantinople, was held after Photios had been reinstated on the order of the emperor. Today, the Roman Catholic Church recognizes the council in 869–870 as "Constantinople IV", while the Eastern Orthodox Churches recognize the councils in 879–880 as "Constantinople IV" and revere Photios as a saint. At the time that these councils were being held, this division was not yet clear.

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By the way, there has never been an "official" list of "Ecumenical Councils" in the Latin Church. The most commonly used one was compiled by Robert Bellarmine for anti-Protestant polemical use, and is full of contradiction, not the least being that, until the 12th century, the Synod of 879-880 was considered ecumenical by Rome (it was, after all, ratified by Pope John VIII), while the Synod of 869-870 was considered null and void. Anti-Orthodox polemics saw a repudiation of the later synod and a restoration of the earlier one. Obviously, in the Latin Church, there are no real criteria for recognition of a synod as "ecumenical" other than reception.


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That reality was recognized by the Ravenna Statement of the Joint International Theological Commission, particularly paras 35-39, which essentially says there have been no true ecumenical councils since 787. As Rome signed off on the statement, the implications of that are simply enormous.


So no Catholic councils since 787 can be considered dogmatic, is that really true?

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The Orthodox should try to be good winners, as I must continually remind them.


I'm just trying to understand the issue. One of the fundamental things that does not make sense is how the later council could be accepted if it condemns altering the creed. That makes no sense whatsoever.

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: AMM] #360536 02/22/11 03:23 PM
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1. Don't take what is on Catholic web sites at face value. Read some history for a change, and find out what people who matter are thinking about things.

2. Photios is in our Typicon on 6 February. And Photios is a saint, who died in communion with the Church of Rome. Again, read some history.

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So no Catholic councils since 787 can be considered dogmatic, is that really true?


3. That's the way the wind is blowing, and has been for some time (like, oh, 1974)

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I'm just trying to understand the issue. One of the fundamental things that does not make sense is how the later council could be accepted if it condemns altering the creed. That makes no sense whatsoever.


4. The Latin Church through the Pontifical Commission for Promoting Christian Unity has already issued a Clarification on the procession of the Holy Spirit that acknowledges the uninterpolated Greek text of the Creed of Nicaea-Constantinople as being the "only ecumenically binding symbol of faith".

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The Catholic Church acknowledges the conciliar, ecumenical, normative, and irrevocable value, as expression of the one common faith of the Church and of all Christians, of the Symbol professed in Greek at Constantinople in 381 by the Second Ecumenical Council. No profession of faith peculiar to a particular liturgical tradition can contradict this expression of the faith taught by the undivided Church.


Game, set, match--Orthodoxy.

That's why I say you have to learn to be good winners. Allow Rome to save face. There are a billion of them, more than four times as many as there are of you. When the one thing that is holding the Latin Church together is the tenuous hold of the Bishop of Rome over his factious flock, it would not be healthy for Orthodoxy to insist on humiliating Rome or casting doubts upon its moral authority.

Be gracious in victory, accept the substance of Rome's concession, and allow Rome to maintain the fig leaf it needs.

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: StuartK] #360541 02/22/11 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
1. Don't take what is on Catholic web sites at face value. Read some history for a change, and find out what people who matter are thinking about things.


I have, and it still is not clear to me which council (and subsequent ones) are dogmatically binding.

Why do these misconceptions persist and are still communicated if the thinking has actually changed? Why aren't they corrected with clear information about for instance which councils are ecumenical and binding and which aren't?

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So no Catholic councils since 787 can be considered dogmatic, is that really true?


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3. That's the way the wind is blowing, and has been for some time (like, oh, 1974)


How can anathemas be applied to councils post 787 then? Did somebody think they were dogmatic but aren't?

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4. The Latin Church through the Pontifical Commission for Promoting Christian Unity has already issued a Clarification on the procession of the Holy Spirit that acknowledges the uninterpolated Greek text of the Creed of Nicaea-Constantinople as being the "only ecumenically binding symbol of faith".


That to me doesn't address whether or not it's legitimate to alter the creed though.


Re: Constantinople IV [Re: AMM] #360558 02/22/11 09:43 PM
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I have, and it still is not clear to me which council (and subsequent ones) are dogmatically binding.


From my point of view (and, I think, that of my Patriarch), nothing after Nicaea II is ecumenically binding. Later local and general councils may be binding upon specific Churches that have received them.

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How can anathemas be applied to councils post 787 then? Did somebody think they were dogmatic but aren't?


Isolated from the Christian East, the Church of Rome developed the unpleasant habit of thinking it was the only true Church, and therefore doctrinal decisions which were specific only to the Latin Church were defined "dogmatically"--however they cannot be applied to Churches of different Traditions that have different modes of expression and different perspectives, unless those Churches voluntarily receive the teachings of those councils. In short, the dogmas of the second millennium councils bark but don't bite, because the term "dogma", and thus the associated anathemas, has been applied in a sloppy and inexact manner.

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That to me doesn't address whether or not it's legitimate to alter the creed though.


So, basically, you want Rome to come out and say, "Hey, we really screwed up in the 11th century, and we meekly beg your forgiveness for having been in error". That's what I mean by being a bad winner. If you read the Clarification with any degree of charity, it's all there. Just read between the lines.

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: StuartK] #360565 02/23/11 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
Isolated from the Christian East, the Church of Rome developed the unpleasant habit of thinking it was the only true Church, and therefore doctrinal decisions which were specific only to the Latin Church were defined "dogmatically"--however they cannot be applied to Churches of different Traditions that have different modes of expression and different perspectives, unless those Churches voluntarily receive the teachings of those councils. In short, the dogmas of the second millennium councils bark but don't bite, because the term "dogma", and thus the associated anathemas, has been applied in a sloppy and inexact manner.


I have to say I'm just unconvinced by this argument. Anathemas are tied to something real and binding. Different particular churches can't just have their own anathemas that suit their own needs and feelings.

The general line of what you're saying also is striking me as somehow forwarding the idea that the Catholic Church is living under the illusion that it has a post schism conciliar tradition, that some in the church recognize is now not the case but most people don't know this. That really under the covers, despite what you may read or hear, it's really just the same as the Orthodox Church. I'm not buying in to this argument either. On the board Peter J linked to, based on what I read, I can't imagine what this idea would elicit in terms of a reaction.

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So, basically, you want Rome to come out and say, "Hey, we really screwed up in the 11th century, and we meekly beg your forgiveness for having been in error". That's what I mean by being a bad winner. If you read the Clarification with any degree of charity, it's all there. Just read between the lines.


No, the whole issue over the Filioque strikes me as about the worst aspect of the pre schism church. I'm comfortable with the clarification. I'm just trying to understand how a council can be accepted that condemns the use of the Filioque. Even with the clarification, it doesn't make sense.

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: AMM] #360573 02/23/11 02:30 AM
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Great discussion. Just finished reading; wish I had a lot of time tonight to post some thoughts of my own.

Briefly, I think a certain amount of "saving face" on both sides is in order, e.g. Catholics don't need to put on sackcloth for having "added" the filioque to the creed; Orthodox don't need to put on sackcloth for having called the filioque a heresy.

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: AMM] #360581 02/23/11 01:23 PM
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I have to say I'm just unconvinced by this argument. Anathemas are tied to something real and binding.


No, they aren't, if the Church chooses to ignore them.

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Different particular churches can't just have their own anathemas that suit their own needs and feelings.


Yes, they can. Again, look to early Church history: local and regional councils, responding to local situations, frequently anathematized specific beliefs and individuals. Sometimes these anathemas were accepted more widely, more often they were not. When enough Churches accept a local or regional council, it can become "ecumenical" in fact, if not in name. Conversely, just calling a council ecumenical does not make it so, any more than calling an ox a bull makes it so. Only through reception does a council become ecumenical.

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Re: Constantinople IV [Re: StuartK] #360588 02/23/11 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
until the 12th century, the Synod of 879-880 was considered ecumenical by Rome (it was, after all, ratified by Pope John VIII), while the Synod of 869-870 was considered null and void. Anti-Orthodox polemics saw a repudiation of the later synod and a restoration of the earlier one.

Rome never altogether annulled the Council of 869-870, that is to say, the Church of Rome has always considered St. Photius's first patriarchate illegitimate, and his second patriarchate legitimate.

Daniel Stiernon ["Autour de Constantinople IV (869-870)", p. 180] points out that nowhere does Pope John VIII, in his genuine (i.e., unmodified) letters, abrogate the 869-870 Council, and he cites [n. 148] Fr. Venance Grumel, A.A., "Les lettres de Jean VIII pour le rétablissement de Photius," in Echos d'Orient, XXXIX (1940), 138-156. Stiernon also stresses ["Autour de Constantinople IV (869-870)," p. 176] that in the pope's genuine letter to Byzantine Emperor Basil I the Macedonian [MGH, Epist., VII, 169), Pope John VIII cites canon 68 of the Local Council of Carthage (419) [Mansi III:771E], which reads:
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not that the Council which met about this matter in foreign parts should be done away, but that it may remain in force with regard to those who so will to come over to the Catholic Church that there be procured by them no breaking of unity... there shall not be objected to them the decree contrary to their honor adopted by a foreign council, for salvation is shut off to no one, that is to say, that those ordained by the Donatist party, if having been corrected they have been willing to return to the Catholic Church, are not to be received in their grades, according to the foreign council; but they are to be excepted through whom they received the advice to return to Catholic unity.


Moreover, the letter of Pope Stephen V of pious memory (885-891) to Emperor Basil I in 885 or 886 proves that no pope annulled the 869-870 Council, since Photius, who nonetheless died in communion with Rome and in the odor of sanctity, was still, at the time, trying to have the former council abrogated. See Fr. Grumel's "La Lettre du Pape Étienne V a l'empereur Basile Ier" on pp. 129-136 of the 1953 edition of Revue de etudes byzantines; the letter, according to p. 137, is from the manuscript Sinaiticus gr. 1117, 326v-328v. Fr. Dvornik, S.J. of pious memory did not address this even in the 1970 edition of his monumental work, The Photian Schism.

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: AMM] #360591 02/23/11 02:40 PM
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Rome never altogether annulled the Council of 869-870, that is to say, the Church of Rome has always considered St. Photius's first patriarchate illegitimate, and his second patriarchate legitimate.


Au contraire. By ratifying the acts of the Synod of 879-880, Pope John VIII delegitimized the Synod of 869-870, whose acts were burned in a copper kettle, and whose decrees were declared null and void. Principal among these was the condemnation and deposition of Photios. A formal abrogation is unnecessary, simply because the decrees ratified by Pope John VIII have already done so.

The point is therefore moot, and the entire argument specious, an example of sophistry on a monumental scale. Which is why Dvornik never addressed it: it wasn't worthy of serious response.

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: AMM] #360594 02/23/11 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by AMM
The general line of what you're saying also is striking me as somehow forwarding the idea that the Catholic Church is living under the illusion that it has a post schism conciliar tradition, that some in the church recognize is now not the case but most people don't know this. That really under the covers, despite what you may read or hear, it's really just the same as the Orthodox Church. I'm not buying in to this argument either. On the board Peter J linked to, based on what I read, I can't imagine what this idea would elicit in terms of a reaction.


I think it's better not to imagine it. grin

Although, to do justice to estesbob's post, I perhaps should have said that he made a qualified comparison between Kasper and Spong ("From the link given he looks to me like the Catholic version of Bishops Spong"). Nevertheless, a little shocking to me because I would expect him to have a super-high regard for all the Cardinals.

Another webpage I came across (I hope I won't offend anyone by quoting from fisheaters.com) is a bit more amusing:

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I'd heard a story that H.H. Pope Benedict when still a Cardinal actually went to John Paul II when he announced that he was going to make Kasper a Cardinal and said, 'you cannot make him a Cardinal, he is a heretic' or something to that effect. Why Benedict hasn't excommunicated him I don't know.


What I wonder is: how did he or she manage to include that last sentence without noticing that it completely undermines the "story" he or she is telling?

http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com...mp;topic=2510422.msg24063115#msg24063115

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: StuartK] #360595 02/23/11 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
until the 12th century, the Synod of 879-880 was considered ecumenical by Rome (it was, after all, ratified by Pope John VIII), while the Synod of 869-870 was considered null and void.


The one thing I would take issue with there, is your claim that the Synod of 879-880 was considered ecumenical (not just recognized as legitimate) by Rome.

Re: Constantinople IV [Re: AMM] #360596 02/23/11 05:39 PM
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Granted, the term is anachronistic, but it is accurate, in that the canons of the synod were accepted by Rome and Constantinople (and by extension, to the suffragan Eastern patriarchs of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch), and entered into their canonical books. Therefore, the acts of the synod were effective throughout the oikumene (the boundaries of the Roman Empire), making it "ecumenical" in the same manner that the Patriarch of Constantinople used the title "ecumenical".

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