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I've said before that I'm not convinced that the Churches were not treated ecclesiologically any differently prior to VII than after, and I reaffirm this.


To go along with your train of thought here I am reminded of the words of Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch (Melkite)

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treat us like an Orthodox Church


Evidence seems to point to the fact that we (Eastern Catholics) are not.

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Originally Posted by griego catolico

If Christ teaches us through the teaching authority of His Church that his holy and Immaculate Mother was conceived without sin, then are we not to accept it in humility and obedience?


You are missing the point. The Immaculate Conception is redundant, as Eastern teaching has held that all are born absent of the guilt of Adam. The East would say that the Holy Spirit need not have gone to all the trouble of reiterating this.

The fact is that this teaching was necessary in the West for Christological reasons due to its unique Augustinian understanding of humanity's relationship with sin, an understanding that did not develop in other parts of Christendom.

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How can we say we are in union/communion with the Pope of Rome and deny what the Pope of Rome teaches us? Reality check, people!


Roman Catholics do it often enough, no need to be more Catholic than the rest.

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The Holy See seems quite content with the Orthodox expression of Mary's sinlessness. Indeed, it never seems to have arisen in any of the meetings of the Joint International Theological Commission.

As Pope John Paul II said, it is necessary to look past the historically and culturally conditioned expressions of doctrine to examine the unchanging truth that lies behind it. The unchanging truth--the "catholic" faith of the Church--is Mary was preserved from all sin throughout her life. Everything else is needless speculation.

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Originally Posted by jjp
You are missing the point.

Not at all. The topic of this thread is whether or not Eastern Catholics are to accept "post-schism" dogmas", isn't it?

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The Immaculate Conception is redundant, as Eastern teaching has held that all are born absent of the guilt of Adam.

Last time I checked the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the West also teaches that all are born absent of the guilt of Adam.

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The East would say that the Holy Spirit need not have gone to all the trouble of reiterating this. The fact is that this teaching was necessary in the West for Christological reasons due to its unique Augustinian understanding of humanity's relationship with sin, an understanding that did not develop in other parts of Christendom.


So, is the East to tell the Holy Spirit what He can or cannot do? Obviously, the Holy Spirit felt it necessary for the truth of the Immaculate Conception to be declared as revealed truth. Truth is truth.
As Bishop Elya states so well:

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There is no 'Eastern truth' vs 'Western truth'. Truth is one. It may be articulated according to various cultural expressions, but truth is super-cultural. Truth should not be restricted by "party line" positions. We should accept or reject ideas for their worth and not for an artificial attachment to a given "identity." The Church teaches truth. If something is true, it would be absurd to say "Oh, we don't believe that in the East." This seems to be where we get short-circuited in ecumenical "dialogue." All too frequently, such "dialogue" seems to presuppose a relativism where you speak "your truth" and I'll speak "my truth" and we'll just leave it at that. A sort of ecumenical schizophrenia.


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How can we say we are in union/communion with the Pope of Rome and deny what the Pope of Rome teaches us? Reality check, people!


Roman Catholics do it often enough, no need to be more Catholic than the rest.


So, you are saying it's OK to dissent from what Our Lord teaches us through His Church?

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Originally Posted by griego catolico
Originally Posted by jjp
You are missing the point.

Not at all. The topic of this thread is whether or not Eastern Catholics are to accept "post-schism" dogmas", isn't it?


You missed my point re: the IC, not of the thread. My point, again, was not that the teaching is "wrong" but that it doesn't make sense from an Eastern context, and is at best redundant. But that's not a big deal. As Stuart sagely points out, this isn't even a topic of conversation between the two churches in ecumenical settings. It's pretty well understood why there is a difference, and Rome certainly isn't making acceptance of this *teaching* dependent on anything. As I have pointed out already and as you note others quoting, the two churches see the same Truth differently, it is really not a big deal.

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The Immaculate Conception is redundant, as Eastern teaching has held that all are born absent of the guilt of Adam.


Last time I checked the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the West also teaches that all are born absent of the guilt of Adam.


I am not going to get into the minutia of RC dogma, it doesn't interest me and isn't the point. *Whatever you want to say Mary was immaculately conceived from* is also absent in us all, according to the common Eastern teaching of sin. Good?

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The East would say that the Holy Spirit need not have gone to all the trouble of reiterating this. The fact is that this teaching was necessary in the West for Christological reasons due to its unique Augustinian understanding of humanity's relationship with sin, an understanding that did not develop in other parts of Christendom.


So, is the East to tell the Holy Spirit what He can or cannot do? Obviously, the Holy Spirit felt it necessary for the truth of the Immaculate Conception to be declared as revealed truth. Truth is truth.


I can't tell if you genuinely missed the rhetorical nature of my phrase or if you are disingenuously treating it as literal. Either way, you have not addressed what I said, which is that there was no need for Christ to make this point clear to His Eastern churches, as they look at sin differently and the teaching makes no sense in this regard. There was, however, a more pressing need for this in the West for reasons already articulated.

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As Bishop Elya states so well:


Indeed he does, which is why I paraphrased the point earlier. This is a strawman argument anyways, nobody is saying that these truths are relative, so you have no need to demonstrate otherwise.

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So, you are saying it's OK to dissent from what Our Lord teaches us through His Church?


No. I hesitate to say that you are missing the point, but...

This is not a question of "dissent." The Western teaching of the IC is extraneous to Eastern theology. It does no harm, but it doesn't mean very much, because while this teaching makes Mary unique in the Western understanding of sin, it changes nothing in the Eastern view, in which all are born similarly "immaculate". This, as has been said over and over and over, is due to the different ways that the two churches view original sin and it's involvement with humanity.

None of which, we will reiterate again, is a significant point of contention between the churches. To-May-to, to-mah-to.

I hope it is clear now what the true sticking point in all of this is. Hint: it *is* a major topic of the Joint Commissions, and is the theme of griego catolico's post.

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Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Is it a good and pious belief to say that Mary was sinless throughout her life? Yes.

Is that proposition a dogma? No.

The Immaculate Conception theory leads to problems that have no solution within Patristic Tradition, especially the notion that Mary was impeccable (i.e., unable to sin). I know of no Church Father who ever asserted such a thing about the Theotokos. In fact, quite the opposite is true, since some Church Fathers (e.g., St. John Chrysostom) taught that Mary committed sins on occasion.


Once again I mean no disrespect, I'm just trying to understand. How would the above not be considered dissent? It seems to me that you are relying on your own interpretation of Patristic Tradition rather than the Church's interpretation.

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Originally Posted by Rybak
I own several Orthodox prayer books, published by several different jurisdictions. These prayer books refer to the Theotokos, repeatedly, as "stainless", "without stain", "spotless", "without corruption", "sinless", "blameless", "all-blameless one" , "all holy (panagia)", and so on. The Jordanville prayer book (ROCOR) repeatedly reads "O only immaculate one" as due some others.

For another "reality check" I think that some Catholics who stir up trouble with regards to the I.C. dogmatic pronunciation (vis-a-vis East and West), simply don't get it.

Let us not, in the spirit of Christian charity, stir up trouble where trouble does not really exist.


I may be one of those who "simply don't get it", and I'm trying to understand. Apparently those terms you quoted above describing the Theotokos do not have an obvious interpretation for some fellow Catholics and I'm just trying to understand why/how they've come to believe the way they do. I don't believe this is a non-issue and I don't think it's uncharitable to question these ideas. If I would ever be blessed to become an Eastern Catholic, I would want to know how fellow Eastern Catholics see things and how I would explain myself if these sort of issues were to come up. God bless. smile

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Originally Posted by desertman
It seems to me that you are relying on your own interpretation of Patristic Tradition rather than the Church's interpretation.


Which church?

The interpretation Apotheoun laid out is not something he dreamt up on his own.

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Somewhat complicating matters for many Eastern Catholics, at least for the Ruthenians, Melkites, Ukrainians and Romanians, is that they all have parishes named Immaculate Conception. I suppose this is related to the desire to "fit in" in the West and to distinguish themselves as Catholics in the East. Parishes named Immaculate Conception exist in both the New World and the Old Countries.

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"Apparently those terms you quoted above describing the Theotokos do not have an obvious interpretation for some fellow Catholics and I'm just trying to understand why/how they've come to believe the way they do." - desertman

They believe the way that they do because, I think, they are speaking out of ignorance or solely from personal opinion. Too many people come up with their own ideas and opinions when they should seek and hold to what the Church, in fact, teaches.

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Somewhat complicating matters for many Eastern Catholics, at least for the Ruthenians, Melkites, Ukrainians and Romanians, is that they all have parishes named Immaculate Conception.


Just as there are countless Greek Orthodox parishes named "Assumption". I do see this as trying to fit in.

Metropolitan Kallistos (War) in his book the Orthodox Church says that individual Orthodox who believe in the Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos are not heretical. So, what then is the problem?

It is simple, can one particular Church (that being the Roman Church) dictate to all the other particular Churches its own particular expressions of the Apostolic Faith?

I in no way deny the Immaculate Conception but being a Byzantine I see no need for it in my own particular theological outlook of the Apostolic faith. My Church has its own way of speaking about the purity of the Theotokos that is equally Apostolic and orthodox.

How Rome wants to describe it within the context of Latin theology is great but I will stick to my own particular Churches theology, which expresses the same Truth but in a different light.

Like all things in the East/West divide it comes back to the Role of the Papacy in the communion of Churches.

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Originally Posted by Rybak
Somewhat complicating matters for many Eastern Catholics, at least for the Ruthenians, Melkites, Ukrainians and Romanians, is that they all have parishes named Immaculate Conception. I suppose this is related to the desire to "fit in" in the West and to distinguish themselves as Catholics in the East. Parishes named Immaculate Conception exist in both the New World and the Old Countries.


I've no intention of engaging in this debate (but, have at it, folks); however, I'm unaware of any parishes under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception in the Melkite, Romanian, or Ruthenian eparchies in the diaspora. The UGCC does have several.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Originally Posted by Nelson Chase

It is simple, can one particular Church (that being the Roman Church) dictate to all the other particular Churches its own particular expressions of the Apostolic Faith?


Thing is that under at least some readings of history one can read the dogmas of the Council of Chalcedon as the Antiochian patriarchate asserting its particular expression of the Apostolic faith over Alexandria, and the Council of Constantinople as Alexandria asserting its own dogmatic tradition over others (does anybody these days seriously believe that Nestorius was a Nestorian?).

My point is that one Church can indeed dictate the truth to others, wrongly or not, because there are many examples in Church history where precisely this has happened in formulating the dogmas that we perceive as Orthodox today.

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Decrees of the Great Councils were not "dictating" because the whole Church was either represented or assented to them--that's how they became "ecumenical". In the Second Millennium, the Latin Church got into the nasty habit of unilaterally declaring its own doctrines to be dogmatic and binding on all, based on an authority it unilaterally decided that it had.

In the case of the doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary (my omission of capitals is decidedly intentional), we have the Bishop of Rome unilaterally declaring that a very late theological speculation of some medieval Latin theologians, one that did not even garner a consensus among Latin theologians until centuries after its proposition, based on Latin theological presuppositions, expressed in purely Latin terms, to resolve a problem present only in Latin theology, is somehow binding upon all Christians because of an authority the Pope claimed he had because he had claimed it.

You may call it "the development of doctrine", but it would be more honest to claim it is arrogance, parochialism, innovation and hubris. It would do well for the Latin Church to remember that when you dogmatize something, you also end up dogmatizing all the assumptions and suppositions that support the new dogma. That might be why the Christian East has been much more modest about declaring anything secondary to the faith to be "dogmatic".

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Originally Posted by StuartK
Decrees of the Great Councils were not "dictating" because the whole Church was either represented or assented to them--that's how they became "ecumenical". In the Second Millennium, the Latin Church got into the nasty habit of unilaterally declaring its own doctrines to be dogmatic and binding on all, based on an authority it unilaterally decided that it had.

In the case of the doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary (my omission of capitals is decidedly intentional), we have the Bishop of Rome unilaterally declaring that a very late theological speculation of some medieval Latin theologians, one that did not even garner a consensus among Latin theologians until centuries after its proposition, based on Latin theological presuppositions, expressed in purely Latin terms, to resolve a problem present only in Latin theology, is somehow binding upon all Christians because of an authority the Pope claimed he had because he had claimed it.

You may call it "the development of doctrine", but it would be more honest to claim it is arrogance, parochialism, innovation and hubris. It would do well for the Latin Church to remember that when you dogmatize something, you also end up dogmatizing all the assumptions and suppositions that support the new dogma. That might be why the Christian East has been much more modest about declaring anything secondary to the faith to be "dogmatic".


I was going to weigh in with the Orthodox position, but I don't have to do so now.

However, I have to ask how then do you reconcile your Orthodox POV with the question posed by brother 'desertman.' That's the flip side of the same question most Orthodox have in relation to similar discussions with sincere Eastern Catholics.

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