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Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: Stephanos I] #389963 01/16/13 10:11 PM
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Well if Catholic sacraments are null so is the papacy. They are interrelated issues.

Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: Stephanos I] #389964 01/16/13 10:16 PM
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I have found in my conversations with Orthodox Christians that some think there is grace in Catholic sacraments, and I would call these individuals the most ecumenically open; while some are agnostic on the issue, and they tend to be neither for nor against ecumenical discussions; and finally, there are those who say Catholic sacraments are devoid of grace, and this group tends to be opposed to ecumenism. Each of these groups tends to have a view of the papacy that is in line with its overall position concerning the Catholic Church and grace.

Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: chadrook] #389965 01/16/13 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by chadrook
... it all hinges on what you consider reputable? That would be an untestable premises and an invalid argument. I rather enjoy your post. They always liven things up.

Chad,

I think Stuart is speaking here of academic "authorities," rather than ecclesiastical ones. Academics, as a rule, tend to be much more open-minded.

Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Some Orthodox are agnostic on whether or not there is grace in Catholic sacraments.

And that's because from their perspective, it seems a little extreme to take a firm position one way or the other. (Also, the East has always been more comfortable with ambiguity than the West.)


Peace,
Deacon Richard

Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: Apotheoun] #389969 01/17/13 05:12 AM
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Otsheylnik Offline
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Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Well if Catholic sacraments are null so is the papacy. They are interrelated issues.


I don't think so; the Bishop of Rome was still Pope before schism, the sacramental issue is post-schism. Totally separate questions in my mind. Where has the papacy even been mentioned in the above posts on baptism?

Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: Otsheylnik] #389977 01/17/13 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Otsheylnik
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Well if Catholic sacraments are null so is the papacy. They are interrelated issues.


I don't think so; the Bishop of Rome was still Pope before schism, the sacramental issue is post-schism. Totally separate questions in my mind. Where has the papacy even been mentioned in the above posts on baptism?

He was called "pope" just as the Patriarch of Alexandria is called "pope," but the Orthodox have never believed there was some special kind of "office" of "pope" in the Church. So I hold to what I said, the sacramental questions and the questions about primacy are interrelated. If the Catholic Church is devoid of grace, then it follows that it has no bishops. Moreover, the exaggerated claims made by Westerners during the second millennium in connection with the papacy add to the Orthodox sense that Rome has become heretical and that it has no grace in its "sacraments." The two questions are connected whether some people posting in this thread like to think so or not.

Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: Otsheylnik] #389978 01/17/13 04:02 PM
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Apotheoun Offline
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Originally Posted by Otsheylnik
[quote=Apotheoun]Where has the papacy even been mentioned in the above posts on baptism?

The papacy does not need to be explicitly mentioned. because the claims made in connection with it are perhaps the primary cause of the division between East and West. It was when the West began asserting unequivocally that the pope was some kind of "super-bishop" with universal jurisdiction, and began seeing this novel belief as a dogma, that the two sides parted company. It follows that if the Western claims about the papacy are true then the Roman Church has grace filled sacraments, but if the claims made in connection with the papacy are false - seeing that Rome has declared this to be a dogma - then the Orthodox who either deny grace is present in Western sacraments, or those who take an agnostic position on the issue, are correct.

The questions that need to be answered are: (1) what is primacy, and can it be construed as supremacy, and (2) if the West is wrong about the papacy is there grace in its sacraments. It has become pretty clear to me as an Eastern Catholic that the biggest stumbling block to the restoration of communion between the Latin Church and the whole of the East is the papacy. The Western Catholic Church sees the papacy as the visible source of unity in the Church, while the Eastern Orthodox (and the Oriental Orthodox) view it as the primary cause - although not the exclusive cause - of division.

Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: Apotheoun] #390009 01/19/13 07:34 AM
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Having discussed this matter with many Orthodox, both when I was not yet in communion with Rome, and presently, I've noticed three general ecclesiological positions present in the Churches, with varying degrees of in-between positions (which I'll explain forthwith).
(1) The Absolutist Petrine view, which is held by certain Catholics, especially Latin Catholics. This position claims:
(a) The pope can proclaim dogma and legislate laws at his mere and sole discretion.
(b) Infallibility flows from the Pope alone to the Church. Hence, the Pope is conceived as the sole determiner of Truth, or the source of all doctrine.
(c) Jurisdiction flows from the Pope alone to the Church. Hence, the jurisdiction of any bishop is regarded as a mere extension of papal jurisdiction.
Needless to say, this is not an option for orthodox apostolic Christians. Those who adhere to High and Low Petrine ecclesiologies reject these positions

(2) The High Petrine view. Primacy of jurisdiction, not mere honor, is recognized. The bishop of Rome is recognized as the orthodox head bishop of the Church universal.

(8) The Low Petrine view. Universal primacy is not recognized. Primacy is only a primacy of honor, not jurisdiction. Only local bishops have true jurisdiction. I've even met individual EO Christians claim that there is no such thing as a head bishop.

In discussions with other Orthodox Christians, I've encountered five positions that are intermediate between the High and Low Petrine views (hence, the numbering convention, giving the Low Petrine view the position of (8):
(3) The High Petrine view exists on the universal level (i.e., universal jurisdiction is recognized). The primacy of the bishop of Rome is contested not on the grounds of ecclesiology, but based on the belief that the Catholic Church (and, hence, the bishop of Rome) is not orthodox. If the bishop of Rome was orthodox, he would be (as affirmed by the Fifth Ecumenical Council), the head and father of all Christians. The primacy is considered a doctrinal matter, not merely ecclesiastical/disciplinary (I've encountered this position especially among apostolic Christians from the several Syriac Traditions). This position would seem to give credence to brother Todd's claim of connecting the validity of Sacraments and the papacy.

(4) The High Petrine view exists on the universal level (i.e., universal jurisdiction is recognized). The only difference with position (3) is that the primacy is regarded as a merely ecclesiastical/disciplinary matter.

(5) The High Petrine view exists only as far as the Patriarchal/metropolitan level (i.e., patriarchal/metropolitan jurisdiction is admitted). Primacy is regarded as a doctrinal matter (I've encountered this position especially among apostolic Christians from the several Syriac Traditions). Universal primacy is regarded as a primacy of mere honor.

(6) The High Petrine view exists only as far as the Patriarchal/metropolitan level (i.e., patriarchal/metropolitan jurisdiction is admitted). The only difference with position (5) is that primacy is regarded as a merely ecclesiastical/disciplinary matter.

(7) Universal and patriarchal/metropolitan primacy is recognized, but it is regarded as a primacy of mere honor.

Can the Church be united with all these different positions existing within the Orthodox Churches?

Blessings,
Marduk

Last edited by mardukm; 01/19/13 07:39 AM.
Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: danman916] #390010 01/19/13 07:44 AM
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Dear brother Dan,

A long time ago when I was not yet in the Catholic communion, I asked a Coptic priest about this, and he said that the Church (as he understood it), baptized Catholics to complete the form (triple immersion), not that the Grace is not already present. Isn't it possible that there are Eastern Orthodox who hold a similar position?

Blessings

Originally Posted by danman916
Originally Posted by StuartK
I don't know of any reputable Orthodox or Catholic authorities who do NOT recognize the legitimacy and validity of each other's orders and sacraments. That's a red herring.

Well... if that is true, then I don't understand.
At St. Innocent of Moscow Orthodox Church, here in Carol Stream, IL, Catholic converts are baptized.
Why would they re-baptize if they recognized the legitimacy of Catholic sacraments?
In speaking to Father Jeremiah over there a few years ago, it seemed to me that they didn't recognize that the Catholic sacraments were grace-filled.

Would this count as some sort of "conditional" baptism like we Latins do for some Protestants coming into full communion with the Catholic Church?
(Does the East even perform conditional baptisms?)

Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: Epiphanius] #390011 01/19/13 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Epiphanius
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Some Orthodox are agnostic on whether or not there is grace in Catholic sacraments.

And that's because from their perspective, it seems a little extreme to take a firm position one way or the other. (Also, the East has always been more comfortable with ambiguity than the West.)

This makes sense. I've met Orthodox who regard the primacy only as a discplinary matter, not a doctrinal matter, and that it was a heresy for the CC to make it a dogma. But if one accuses someone of heresy for making a dogma out of something that should not be dogma, has not the accuser likewise made a dogma of the opposite position, and thus fallen under his own condemnation?

Blessings

Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: Otsheylnik] #390012 01/19/13 08:20 AM
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Dear brother Otsheylnik,

I don't see it as a matter of ecclesiology because I agree that in a united Church, the commemoration should not be required. I believe the commemoration is a matter of self-identification, and only that, and that this self-identification is necessary at this time since our Churches are still in schism.

However, I do agree with you that your understanding of ecclesiology seems to be different from mine. I do believe, as a Catholic, of the existence and necessity of a head bishop for the universal Church. When I was not yet in the Catholic communion, I did hold to the position of the non-existence of such a position. But I became convinced (even before I joined the Catholic communion) that the most popular rhetoric used by Orthodox to deny the universal head bishopric did not make any sense -- I'm talking about the idea that the a universal head bishop is not needed because Christ is our head. I came to realize that such a rationale deprives patriarchs, metropolitans, primates, etc. - in other words, any and all head bishops - of any claim to existence. But there are head bishops in the Orthodox Church.

So it became inconsistent for me to recognize the reality that my Church local had a head bishop, yet to deny that the Church universal had a head bishop. After all, if the fact that Jesus is the head of the Church is what makes the papacy unnecessary, then this fact also makes any and all head bishops and even any and all bishops unnecessary. The idea that "Jesus is head, therefore we don't need the Pope" is prefectly analogous to the Protestant claim that "Jesus is head, therefore we don't need bishops." That's what it came down to for me. It was a matter of conscience for me to be consistent in my beliefs.

Blessings

Originally Posted by Otsheylnik
Originally Posted by mardukm
Dear brother Otsheylnik,

Thanks for the response. I'm not sure how commemorating a bishop violates anyone's ecclesiology.

It's ecclesiology because it represents what Church you belong to. Essentially, we commemorate those who we are in direct communion with, through our local church. It's just that, in the Orthodox diaspora, local means jurisdiction - our metropolitan is sitting in Moscow or wherever, not in a city nearby - the patriarch of Moscow is in some sense though still a local hierarch for me. The Greek Bishop of Sydney or the Bishop of Rome however are absolutely not a part of this "local" structure.

Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: mardukm] #390013 01/19/13 09:28 AM
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Dear Brother Mardukum,


Originally Posted by mardukm

However, I do agree with you that your understanding of ecclesiology seems to be different from mine. I do believe, as a Catholic, of the existence and necessity of a head bishop for the universal Church.


The early church saw no need for such a thing, so I am not sure why it needs one now.


Originally Posted by mardukm
When I was not yet in the Catholic communion, I did hold to the position of the non-existence of such a position. But I became convinced (even before I joined the Catholic communion) that the most popular rhetoric used by Orthodox to deny the universal head bishopric did not make any sense -- I'm talking about the idea that the a universal head bishop is not needed because Christ is our head. I came to realize that such a rationale deprives patriarchs, metropolitans, primates, etc. - in other words, any and all head bishops - of any claim to existence. But there are head bishops in the Orthodox Church.

So it became inconsistent for me to recognize the reality that my Church local had a head bishop, yet to deny that the Church universal had a head bishop. After all, if the fact that Jesus is the head of the Church is what makes the papacy unnecessary, then this fact also makes any and all head bishops and even any and all bishops unnecessary. The idea that "Jesus is head, therefore we don't need the Pope" is prefectly analogous to the Protestant claim that "Jesus is head, therefore we don't need bishops." That's what it came down to for me. It was a matter of conscience for me to be consistent in my beliefs.


A number of quotes from Pope Saint Gregory the Great suffice to show that the understanding that you claim is wrong (CHrist is the head, so the bishops don't need a head) WAS that of the early Church. The reason we don't need a head bishop is because the bishops share in one ministry - as they are one, they cannot be divided by having a head, and do not need one. Their head, as with all Christians, is Christ. Even Rome held the position you now claim as wrong.

Pope Gregory writes:

Certainly the apostle Paul, when he heard some say, I am of Paul, I of Apollos, but I of Christ 1 Corinthians 1:13, regarded with the utmost horror such dilaceration of the Lord's body, whereby they were joining themselves, as it were, to other heads, and exclaimed, saying, Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul (ib.)? If then he shunned the subjecting of the members of Christ partially to certain heads, as if beside Christ, though this were to the apostles themselves, what will you say to Christ, who is the Head of the universal Church, in the scrutiny of the last judgment, having attempted to put all his members under yourself by the appellation of Universal? Who, I ask, is proposed for imitation in this wrongful title but he who, despising the legions of angels constituted socially with himself, attempted to start up to an eminence of singularity, that he might seem to be under none and to be alone above all?(Book 5, letter 18)

Certainly Peter, the first of the apostles, himself a member of the holy and universal Church, Paul, Andrew, John, what were they but heads of particular communities? And yet all were members under one Head. And (to bind all together in a short girth of speech) the saints before the law, the saints under the law, the saints under grace, all these making up the Lord's Body, were constituted as members of the Church, and not one of them has wished himself to be called universal. (Book 5, letter 18)

Now I confidently say that whosoever calls himself, or desires to be called, Universal Priest, is in his elation the precursor of Antichrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others. (Book 7, Letter 33)

Lo, in the preface of the epistle which you have addressed to myself who forbade it, you have thought fit to make use of a proud appellation, calling me Universal Pope. But I beg your most sweet Holiness to do this no more, since what is given to another beyond what reason demands is subtracted from yourself. For as for me, I do not seek to be prospered by words but by my conduct. Nor do I regard that as an honour whereby I know that my brethren lose their honour. For my honour is the honour of the universal Church: my honour is the solid vigour of my brethren. Then am I truly honoured when the honour due to all and each is not denied them. For if your Holiness calls me Universal Pope, you deny that you are yourself what you call me universally. (Book 8, letter 30)

As we know from Church History, in the first half of the first millenium, Rome and the Eastern Churches regarded the Petrine ministry as shared between all bishops, but especially honoured the THREE Petrine sees of Alexandria, Antioch, and Rome. On this matter, Pope Gregory writes to the Patriarch of Alexandria:

Your most sweet Holiness has spoken much in your letter to me about the chair of Saint Peter, Prince of the apostles, saying that he himself now sits on it in the persons of his successors. And indeed I acknowledge myself to be unworthy, not only in the dignity of such as preside, but even in the number of such as stand. But I gladly accepted all that has been said, in that he has spoken to me about Peter's chair who occupies Peter's chair. (Book 7, Letter 40)

Wherefore though there are many apostles, yet with regard to the principality itself the See of the Prince of the apostles alone has grown strong in authority, which in three places is the See of one....Since then it is the See of one, and one See, over which by Divine authority three bishops now preside, whatever good I hear of you, this I impute to myself. (Book 7, Letter 40)


Regarding the Petrine ministry, finally, Pope Gregory demolishes the idea that we should use the fact that he was given the keys to argue that an individual should have Universal jurisdiction. In fact he says if Peter had them, all the more should no individual bishop have them as they were a gift to the Church.

Lo, he received the keys of the heavenly kingdom, and power to bind and loose is given him, the care and principality of the whole Church is committed to him, and yet he is not called the universal apostle; while the most holy man, my fellow priest John, attempts to be called universal bishop. I am compelled to cry out and say, O tempora, O mores! If then any one in that Church takes to himself that name, whereby he makes himself the head of all the good, it follows that the Universal Church falls from its standing (which God forbid), when he who is called Universal falls. But far from Christian hearts be that name of blasphemy, in which the honour of all priests is taken away, while it is madly arrogated to himself by one. *Book 7, Letter 40)

All of these texts are available online - there are many such passages in the writings of this Pope, these are a small selection.

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3602.htm

My point is that what you claim about the need for a single head bishop is a relatively new ecclesiological position, not recognised in the Roman Church as a matter of dogma, tradition or necessity at least up until the time Pope Gregory wrote (sixth century).

Peace

Last edited by Otsheylnik; 01/19/13 09:33 AM.
Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: Otsheylnik] #390027 01/19/13 08:50 PM
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Dear brother Otsheylnik,

That is a great response. But It appears your understanding of what the papacy is is different from my own. I accept the relevance of Pope St. Gregory's statements. I think we can both agree that Pope St. Gregory's assertions demolish the Absolutist Petrine exaggerations of the papacy. However, as an adherent to the High Petrine view, I don't accept your interpretation of his statements.

Pope St. Gregory clearly denied the concept of a universal bishop, but he did not deny the concept of a head bishop for the Church universal. This is evident from his own actions in relation to the rest of the Church as a whole. There is a palpable difference between the concept of "universal bishop" and the concept of "head bishop of the Church universal." The difference can be understood when one considers the distinction between the concept of "bishop," on the one hand, and the concept of "head bishop," on the other. The important difference is that the authority of a bishop is monarchical in nature, while the authority of a head bishop is presidential in nature. A bishop as such can act unilaterally for the good of his Church. But a head bishop as such can never act alone. So, indeed, there is no such thing as a universal bishop - i.e., a bishop that has a prerogative to act unilaterally for the Church universal, without the agreement or involvement of his brother bishops, since all bishops share in the solicitude of the Church. The Catholic Church fully adheres to Pope St. Gregory's ecclesiology, and this is reflected in the teaching of Vatican 1 and Vatican 2 on the papacy.

Of course, Absolutist Petrine advocates don't have this patristic conception of the papacy, and I have debated Absolutist Petrine advocates on their exaggerations of the papacy at the Catholic Answers Forum many times, sometimes heatedly. However, a head bishop of the Church universal is not the same thing as a universal bishop. I am with you, in agreement with Pope St. Gregory, as far as opposing the idea of a universal bishop (also, IIRC, Pope St. Leo also denied the title of "universal bishop" when the Fourth Ecum sought to grant him that title), but cannot agree with the claim that a head bishop is not a necessary reality of the Church universal. Our Lord Himself explicitly asserted that he will set one servant to take care of the other servants and his entire household by feeding them. And he indicated that this head servant will exist when He returns.

Blessings

Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: mardukm] #390032 01/20/13 04:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mardukm
Dear brother Otsheylnik,

That is a great response. But It appears your understanding of what the papacy is is different from my own. I accept the relevance of Pope St. Gregory's statements. I think we can both agree that Pope St. Gregory's assertions demolish the Absolutist Petrine exaggerations of the papacy. However, as an adherent to the High Petrine view, I don't accept your interpretation of his statements.

Pope St. Gregory clearly denied the concept of a universal bishop, but he did not deny the concept of a head bishop for the Church universal.


This is a bit ingenuous, as one implies the other in this context. If there is one who has jurisdiction over all, as implied by being head of all, he is universal. And Pope Gregory clearly did deny the possibility of any such thing - both explicitly and implicitly. Most importantly, he denied the theological underpinnings for such a thing by denying that Peter had any role (as opposed to place of honour) that other apostles had - he was the head of a particular community. The only head of the Church is Christ.

Certainly Peter, the first of the apostles, himself a member of the holy and universal Church, Paul, Andrew, John, what were they but heads of particular communities? And yet all were members under one Head. (Book 5, letter 18)

This passage it seems throws up a number of problems for high Petrine advocates. If Peter was the head of a particular community and a member of the Church under Christ, why should his successors have any special authority beyond that of their own particular community? Why should they need it? More to the point, why should Rome alone have it, given that in another of his letters (Book 7, Letter 40) Gregory suggests that Peter only died in Rome and was never Bishop there, but that he was in Antioch?

I think it's a distraction and a grasping at straws to say that "sometimes Pope Gregory acted as a head bishop" (by which you mean he acted unilaterally). I'm sure all of us at times have acted in ways that are contrary to principles we believe in, whether out of perceived necessity, spontaneity or simply that to err is human. Sure, the Patriarch of Moscow does things in a unilateral way sometimes. That doesn't mean he should do so. To me, how someone acts under pressures is a far less reliable indicator of what they believe than what they write, repeatedly, in over a dozen letters, for many years, with time to reflect.

Originally Posted by mardukm
Our Lord Himself explicitly asserted that he will set one servant to take care of the other servants and his entire household by feeding them. And he indicated that this head servant will exist when He returns.


This is also disingenuous. I am sure you are as aware as anyone else that there is more than one way to interpret this passage - it doesn't follow that just because Rome uses this verse to justify itself that its the only way that it can be interpreted. Pope Gregory specifically interprets that passage as underpinning the shared Petrine ministry of three sees:

And once more, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me? Feed my sheep John 21:17. Wherefore though there are many apostles, yet with regard to the principality itself the See of the Prince of the apostles alone has grown strong in authority, which in three places is the See of one. Book 7, Letter 40

What seems most odd about this discussion is that for all their talk of "doctrinal development", Roman apologists seem to be so unwilling to admit that the Church believed differently once to what it does now - why? Did the Church have a Chalcedonian Christology in the first century? Of course not, it developed over time. What I find so odd is that Roman apologists are quite willing to recognise this as a case of doctrinal development, but seem so unwilling to do so in regard to primacy. It is this continual desire to argue that governance of the church must always have fitted a model of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when the historical evidence is clear that it did not, which makes it impossible to resolve this situation around primacy. Rome has an easy out clause here with its notion of doctrinal development - it can simply say that "over time we developed this understanding of primacy, but it wasn't always the way it was understood". What is wrong with saying that, as it is so obviously true? It is much better than the alternative, in which the Roman reader must employ a process of eisigesis on every patristic text so that it can read twentieth century concepts into the minds of their first millennium authors.



Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: Otsheylnik] #390033 01/20/13 06:44 AM
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Dear brother Otsheylnik,

Originally Posted by Otsheylnik
This is a bit ingenuous, as one implies the other in this context.

Bishops and head bishops are two different animals. Though all head bishops are bishops, not all bishops are head bishops (obviously). There are several important differences between the two:
(1) A bishop's authority is monarchical in nature; a head bishop's authority is presidential in nature.
(2) A bishop can act unilaterally for the good of his Church; a head bishop can only act collegially for the good of his Church.
(3) A bishop has the highest and sole discretion in exercising his authority; a head bishop exercises his authority only upon appeal and in agreement with his brother bishops.

In your understanding, do you really see no difference between the two?

Quote
If there is one who has jurisdiction over all, as implied by being head of all, he is universal.

The extent of jurisdiction (i.e. universality) is not the issue. Rather, the issue is (1) the nature of the jurisdiction, and (2) the idea of having only one bishop for the whole Church, with no need for any other bishop. As explained above, the nature of a bishop's jurisdiction is different from the nature of a head bishop's jurisdiction. In fact, the same issue can potentially exist even on a patriarchal or metropolitan level. A patriarch or metropolitan who exercises his authority as if his brother bishops did not even exist (i.e., does not recognize the authority of his brother bishops) affords the identical problem with which Pope St. Gregory was concerned on the universal level

Quote
And Pope Gregory clearly did deny the possibility of any such thing - both explicitly and implicitly. Most importantly, he denied the theological underpinnings for such a thing by denying that Peter had any role (as opposed to place of honour) that other apostles had - he was the head of a particular community. The only head of the Church is Christ.

This would be disingenuous. If the only head of the Church is Christ, then there would be no head bishops at all and the ancient Apostolic Canon 34 should not exist. But your own local Church does have a head bishop, even while affirming that Christ is the true head of your local Church. Likewise, Catholics admit a head bishop for the Church universal, as well as local Churches, even while affirming that Christ is the true head of the Church universal, and all local Churches.

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Certainly Peter, the first of the apostles, himself a member of the holy and universal Church, Paul, Andrew, John, what were they but heads of particular communities? And yet all were members under one Head. (Book 5, letter 18)

This must be taken in context of his understanding of what it meant to say that Peter was a "universal Apostle" or that there is a "universal bishop." To Pope St. Gregory, calling Peter the "universal Apostle" meant that the rest of the Apostles had no relevance, that there would be no need for any other Apostle. This obviously cannot be the case because Christ Himself established 12 Apostles, not just one. This is the exact same reason that Pope St. Gregory rejected the concept of a "universal bishop" - because it would make other bishops unnecessary. Without this indispensable context, the extreme and unpatristic position that St. Peter was not in fact the coryphaeus of the Apostles - a fact that is admitted by ALL the early Fathers - is the result. Further, that no other bishop but the Pope is necessary for the existence of the Church is by no stretch of the imagination the teaching of the Catholic Church. I admit that the Absolutist Petrine exaggerations can give that impression, but their claims are not the actual teaching of the Catholic Church on the papacy. Perhaps we can spend some time discussing what you think the CC actually teaches regarding the Primacy.

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This passage it seems throws up a number of problems for high Petrine advocates. If Peter was the head of a particular community and a member of the Church under Christ, why should his successors have any special authority beyond that of their own particular community?

St. Peter was the coryphaeus of the Apostles, and Christ established him as such. He was the only one to be given the charge of confirming the brethren. He was also the one charged with feeding the entire household of Christ (while not denying that the other apostles also fed particular portions of the household/flock). Catholics are only asserting that these unique responsibilities given to St. Peter for the upbuilding of the Church was handed down in the Apostolic Succession. And just as St. Peter performed his unique duties WITH and ALWAYS WITH his brother Apostles, so do his successors in the bishops of Rome perform these unique duties WITH and ALWAYS WITH his brother bishops.

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Why should they need it?

I think this question reflects a position that goes beyond the patristic evidence. All the Fathers of the Church admitted that St. Peter was the coryphaeus (i.e., the head) of the Apostles. Christ established him as such. St. Cyprian explained that he was established as a visible head to provide a principle of unity, because the Church is one. This visible principle of unity exists in the Catholic Church today in the papacy, just as it did for the Apostles in the person of St. Peter.

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More to the point, why should Rome alone have it, given that in another of his letters (Book 7, Letter 40) Gregory suggests that Peter only died in Rome and was never Bishop there, but that he was in Antioch?

I'm not sure what you mean by "Rome alone should have it." What is it you think that Rome alone has? It certainly can't be infallibility - both Vatican 1 and Vatican 2 taught that the entire Magisterium shares in infallibility, not just the Pope alone. It certainly can't be jurisdiction - both V1 and V2 taught that the Church is governed by the Pope and his brother bishops together. This "Rome alone" business is not the teaching of the Catholic Church, nor the belief of High Petrine advocates (though the sola papa error is certainly prevalent among Absolutist Petrine advocates, who in fact do not adhere to the actual teaching of the Catholic Church on the papacy).

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I think it's a distraction and a grasping at straws to say that "sometimes Pope Gregory acted as a head bishop" (by which you mean he acted unilaterally).

It is very important to establish on principle the distinction between a bishop per se and a head bishop per se, because the nature of their jurisdictions is inherently different.

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I'm sure all of us at times have acted in ways that are contrary to principles we believe in, whether out of perceived necessity, spontaneity or simply that to err is human. Sure, the Patriarch of Moscow does things in a unilateral way sometimes. That doesn't mean he should do so. To me, how someone acts under pressures is a far less reliable indicator of what they believe than what they write, repeatedly, in over a dozen letters, for many years, with time to reflect.

I somewhat agree with the principle you express here. As a High Petrine advocate, I recognize that a head bishop can act unilaterally in very extreme cases, and we would probably both agree that these actions must be constrained by the canons (for example, the Catholic Canons assert that not even a motu proprio by the Pope can deprive a person of their acquired rights in the Church). I think what we would disagree on is this: as a High Petrine advocate, I believe these actions in extreme cases (within the canons) are a natural (though not normative) prerogative of any head bishop, while you probably view such actions as both not natural and not normative. Would that be correct?

Originally Posted by Otsheylnik
Originally Posted by mardukm
Our Lord Himself explicitly asserted that he will set one servant to take care of the other servants and his entire household by feeding them. And he indicated that this head servant will exist when He returns.

This is also disingenuous. I am sure you are as aware as anyone else that there is more than one way to interpret this passage - it doesn't follow that just because Rome uses this verse to justify itself that its the only way that it can be interpreted.

Far from denying the different interpretations, it is actually only the Catholic Church that adheres faithfully to all the possible interpretations of this passage - we have head bishops at all levels of the hierarchy. The disingenuous position would seem to be the one that denies the plain intent of the Lord's statement that it applies to the Church universal, while only accepting it on hierarchical levels below the universal level.

Originally Posted by Otsheylnik
Pope Gregory specifically interprets that passage as underpinning the shared Petrine ministry of three sees:
And once more, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me? Feed my sheep John 21:17. Wherefore though there are many apostles, yet with regard to the principality itself the See of the Prince of the apostles alone has grown strong in authority, which in three places is the See of one. Book 7, Letter 40

Yes. this would be a classic High Petrine understanding of the matter. High Petrine advocates reject the "sola papa" error (which is as objectionable as the other "sola" errors of the Protestants).

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What seems most odd about this discussion is that for all their talk of "doctrinal development", Roman apologists seem to be so unwilling to admit that the Church believed differently once to what it does now - why?

Not sure how to respond to this one. I've never actually seen any reputable Catholic apologetics that claim the Primacy did not develop. I have encountered such claims from Absolutist Petrine advocates. Of course, I don't consider apologetics that defend the Absolutist Petrine view as reputable. biggrin

Blessings

Last edited by mardukm; 01/20/13 06:59 AM. Reason: formatting
Re: Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint [Re: mardukm] #390038 01/20/13 08:42 AM
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Otsheylnik Offline
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Originally Posted by mardukm
Dear brother Otsheylnik,

Originally Posted by Otsheylnik
This is a bit ingenuous, as one implies the other in this context.

Bishops and head bishops are two different animals.

I was talking about the terms universal bishop and head bishop implying each other - clearly the term bishop doesn't imply that a universal or head one need exist. ON the term bishop, I have never seen the term head bishop in patristic literature. Metropolitan yes (Patriarch is not strictly speaking an office, but a title of honour given to particular metropolitans). But a metropolitan is still a bishop and it is clear that they are bound by the same canons as refer to other bishops, plus some additional ones putting further parameters around their responsibilities. For example, that they can't ordain people where ever they want to in their metropolia without the local bishop's consent and they may not "go from place to place" without the consent of local bishops. In short, their bishops.

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Though all head bishops are bishops, not all bishops are head bishops (obviously). There are several important differences between the two:
(1) A bishop's authority is monarchical in nature; a head bishop's authority is presidential in nature.
(2) A bishop can act unilaterally for the good of his Church; a head bishop can only act collegially for the good of his Church.
(3) A bishop has the highest and sole discretion in exercising his authority; a head bishop exercises his authority only upon appeal and in agreement with his brother bishops.


The flaw in this understanding is that all metropolitans (instead of the term head bishop which seems undefined) are local bishops first and foremost themselves (of Rome, Moscow, Jerusalem or wherever else), and that local bishops also are accountable to a synod.

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If there is one who has jurisdiction over all, as implied by being head of all, he is universal.

The extent of jurisdiction (i.e. universality) is not the issue. Rather, the issue is (1) the nature of the jurisdiction, and (2) the idea of having only one bishop for the whole Church, with no need for any other bishop.


It is exactly the issue - you even have it as your point (1).

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As explained above, the nature of a bishop's jurisdiction is different from the nature of a head bishop's jurisdiction.[\quote]

I don't really understand this - the limits of both are set by appropriate canons and are confined to local areas of larger or smaller scope.

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[quote]And Pope Gregory clearly did deny the possibility of any such thing - both explicitly and implicitly. Most importantly, he denied the theological underpinnings for such a thing by denying that Peter had any role (as opposed to place of honour) that other apostles had - he was the head of a particular community. The only head of the Church is Christ.

This would be disingenuous. If the only head of the Church is Christ, then there would be no head bishops at all and the ancient Apostolic Canon 34 should not exist.


Are you denying that Christ is the only head of the Church here? I don't think so, but am pointing out that that is the implication of your statement. Anyway assuming that the only head of the Church is Christ, I don't see what bearing that has on the existence of Bishops, deacons or anything else. It's pretty obvious from Church history that the terms bishop and presbyter were used interchangeably for quite a long time. It's also clear that deacons used to exercise many more of the functions now assigned to priests (for example, they used to hear confessions and celebrate the Eucharist - John Chryssavgis excellent book on the diaconate covers these matters). Now, as we know over time, a different set of circumstances evolved regarding the exercise of these three ministries, regulated by the canons of various councils. The way we have grown to delimit the functions of these ministries is clearly not the only way in which they could have been delimited, the point being that the way that the roles of bishops is organised is a matter of discplinary development, so at root you are correct - we could have adopted a whole range of other structures, and I don't see that as a problem.

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Certainly Peter, the first of the apostles, himself a member of the holy and universal Church, Paul, Andrew, John, what were they but heads of particular communities? And yet all were members under one Head. (Book 5, letter 18)

This must be taken in context of his understanding of what it meant to say that Peter was a "universal Apostle" or that there is a "universal bishop." To Pope St. Gregory, calling Peter the "universal Apostle" meant that the rest of the Apostles had no relevance, that there would be no need for any other Apostle.[\quote]

I don't see how this addresses the main point of the piece, which is that Peter was a head of a local church but had a place of honour as first apostle - kind of like the primacy of honour advocated by Orthodox.

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Perhaps we can spend some time discussing what you think the CC actually teaches regarding the Primacy.[\quote]

Given that I grew up in the Catholic Church and was a member of a religious order, I think I'm across this.

[quote][quote]Why should they need it?

I think this question reflects a position that goes beyond the patristic evidence. All the Fathers of the Church admitted that St. Peter was the coryphaeus (i.e., the head) of the Apostles. Christ established him as such. St. Cyprian explained that he was established as a visible head to provide a principle of unity, because the Church is one. This visible principle of unity exists in the Catholic Church today in the papacy, just as it did for the Apostles in the person of St. Peter.


Both Cyprian and Augustine viewed Christ as the rock not Peter. Peter's confession, which is Christ, is the source of unity in the Church, not Peter. Unity flows through Christ on the altar as Eucharist, not from an office.

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More to the point, why should Rome alone have it, given that in another of his letters (Book 7, Letter 40) Gregory suggests that Peter only died in Rome and was never Bishop there, but that he was in Antioch?

I'm not sure what you mean by "Rome alone should have it." What is it you think that Rome alone has? It certainly can't be infallibility - both Vatican 1 and Vatican 2 taught that the entire Magisterium shares in infallibility, not just the Pope alone. It certainly can't be jurisdiction - both V1 and V2 taught that the Church is governed by the Pope and his brother bishops together. This "Rome alone" business is not the teaching of the Catholic Church, nor the belief of High Petrine advocates (though the sola papa error is certainly prevalent among Absolutist Petrine advocates, who in fact do not adhere to the actual teaching of the Catholic Church on the papacy).


I mean the identification with Rome alone as having the Petrine succession, the Bishop of Rome alone occupying the Chair of Peter, from which erroneous interpretation all else you mention flows. For example, in the decrees of the first Vatican Council:

Chapter 4. On the infallible teaching authority of the Roman pontiff
That apostolic primacy which the Roman pontiff possesses as successor of Peter, the prince of the apostles, includes also the supreme power of teaching


No mention of sharing it with Antioch or Alexandria there (it would be worth noting that Cyrian's position was that all bishops shared in this chair - it's restriction to three sees was a typically Roman position, but one which however was still an improvement on identifying it with just one).

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I think it's a distraction and a grasping at straws to say that "sometimes Pope Gregory acted as a head bishop" (by which you mean he acted unilaterally).

It is very important to establish on principle the distinction between a bishop per se and a head bishop per se, because the nature of their jurisdictions is inherently different.

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I'm sure all of us at times have acted in ways that are contrary to principles we believe in, whether out of perceived necessity, spontaneity or simply that to err is human. Sure, the Patriarch of Moscow does things in a unilateral way sometimes. That doesn't mean he should do so. To me, how someone acts under pressures is a far less reliable indicator of what they believe than what they write, repeatedly, in over a dozen letters, for many years, with time to reflect.

I somewhat agree with the principle you express here. As a High Petrine advocate, I recognize that a head bishop can act unilaterally in very extreme cases, and we would probably both agree that these actions must be constrained by the canons (for example, the Catholic Canons assert that not even a motu proprio by the Pope can deprive a person of their acquired rights in the Church). I think what we would disagree on is this: as a High Petrine advocate, I believe these actions in extreme cases (within the canons) are a natural (though not normative) prerogative of any head bishop, while you probably view such actions as both not natural and not normative. Would that be correct?[\i]

Yes, you're correct.

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Originally Posted by Otsheylnik
Originally Posted by mardukm
Our Lord Himself explicitly asserted that he will set one servant to take care of the other servants and his entire household by feeding them. And he indicated that this head servant will exist when He returns.

This is also disingenuous. I am sure you are as aware as anyone else that there is more than one way to interpret this passage - it doesn't follow that just because Rome uses this verse to justify itself that its the only way that it can be interpreted.

Far from denying the different interpretations, it is actually only the Catholic Church that adheres faithfully to all the possible interpretations of this passage - we have head bishops at all levels of the hierarchy. The disingenuous position would seem to be the one that denies the plain intent of the Lord's statement that it applies to the Church universal, while only accepting it on hierarchical levels below the universal level.


It's a matter of opinion as to whether the Roman Church maintains the correct exegesis of this passage.

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[quote]What seems most odd about this discussion is that for all their talk of "doctrinal development", Roman apologists seem to be so unwilling to admit that the Church believed differently once to what it does now - why?

Not sure how to respond to this one. I've never actually seen any reputable Catholic apologetics that claim the Primacy did not develop. I have encountered such claims from Absolutist Petrine advocates. Of course, I don't consider apologetics that defend the Absolutist Petrine view as reputable.


I'm prepared to take it as given that excesses in this area are absolutist Petrine and not reputable.

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