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Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable #419669 11/29/19 06:19 PM
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On November 12, Patriarch Bartholomew participated in the Vespers service at the Catholic Abbey of Our Lady of St. Rémy in Rochefort, Belgium, together with Archimandrite Alexios, the abbot of Xenophontos Monastery, and Hieromonk Theophilos of Pantocrator Monastery, both on Mt. Athos.

According to a new report from the Union of Orthodox Journalists, during his trip to Mt. Athos the previous month, Pat. Bartholomew attempted to convince several Athonite abbots and monks that there are no dogmatic differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, and that reunion with the Catholic church is inevitable.

Pat. Bartholomew expressed his personal convictions during a private talk at Pantocrator Monastery with the brethren and guests of the monastery, including other Athonite abbots. Eyewitnesses report that Pat. Bartholomew’s security did not allow anyone to record the conversation.

In his opinion, the division that now exists between Orthodoxy and Catholicism is merely a matter of historical events, not dogmatic differences.

Catholics “are just as Christian as we are,” Pat. Bartholomew emphasized, adding that the recent gift of the relics of St. Peter from Pope Francis is proof of the Catholic church’s nearness to Orthodoxy.

According to the UOJ’s sources, Pantocrator abbot Archimandrite Gabriel, Xenophontos abbot Archimandrite Alexios, Vatopedia abbot Archimandrite Ephraim, the brethren of several monasteries, and other guests were all present for the talk.

Most of the brethren were at a loss, hearing Pat. Bartholomew’s ecumenistic arguments, though none present objected. Some of those present reportedly began to weep when Pat. Bartholomew said that reunion with the Catholic church is inevitable.

Recall that Xenophontos and Pantocrator Monasteries have been the most receptive to the Ukrainian schismatics. Abbot Alexios of Xenophontos concelebrated in the enthronement of Epiphany Dumenko as primate of the OCU, and Pantocrator was the first monastery where schismatics served Liturgy on Mt. Athos.

At a recent meeting in Constantinople with representatives of Tbilisi University, Pat. Bartholomew said that dialogue with other Christians, especially Catholics, is one of the priorities of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.


http://orthochristian.com/125924.html

Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: Augoustinos] #419671 11/30/19 07:53 PM
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Christ is in our midst!!

A few things come to mind here.

First, His All-Holiness is not the Eastern Pope so his opinion will have to be concurred with by all the Orthodox bishops in the world to get to the end he envisions. Given what has happened with his unilateral moves in Ukraine, a move like this without each and every Orthodox bishop on board may only add schism to schism. From reading different sites, it seems that the bulk of the Orthodox Churches oppose communion with the new Ukrainian ecclesial body.

Then there is Rome to consider. The fact that many Orthodox bishops and autocephalous Churches consider many of the Ukrainians His-All Holiness has entered into communion with as having no canonical orders or episcopal succession--especially the former Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church--would give Roman authorities pause, especially the most conservative members of the hierarchy. In fact, if Pope Francis were to try a unilateral move like this it could cause a schism on the Roman side. I don't think Rome would move until all internal Orthodox issues were resolved. And it seems that the Ukrainian issue could prove to be one where the sides harden their attitudes toward each other over time.

So while we all pray for the day when we can share communion in the bond of One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, it seems to me to be farther away than the time of the ecumenical moves of 50 years ago when Pope Paul and Patriarch Athenagoras met in the Holy Land to lift the anathemas of 1054.

Bob

Last edited by theophan; 11/30/19 08:05 PM. Reason: spelling of name
Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: Augoustinos] #419673 12/01/19 10:13 PM
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The stern voices of this Orthodox Christian website, linked above, echo the dark past; while that of His Beatitude represents the bright present and still brighter future. God bless that gathering for Vespers at Rochefort, Belgium! I'm an optimist: the Holy Spirit will won out perhaps sooner than we think. The official Catholic/Orthodox dialogue has reached its 40th year and has born fruitful results. I feel certain that the Moscow patriarchate's rumblings will fail and fall as quickly as the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall.

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Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: Augoustinos] #419674 12/02/19 12:26 AM
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Christ is in our midst!!

I read the website comments linked above. But I think that with all those issues aside, there are more practice issues that actually seem to bolster His All-Holiness' comment of a few years ago that we are "ontologically different."

The Latin Catholic Church has, over the course of the 20th century, abandoned all the practices that are day-to-day in the life of the Orthodox Church and which were a foundation of her own practice up to the Vatican Council of 1962-65. We have, for example, abandoned fasting--there are officially two days a year on which we are supposed to fast and a one hour Eucharistic fast, but these are more ignored than practiced--we have abandoned the idea of regular use of the Mystery of Confession--even the former rule of "Easter Duty" (once per year during the Lenten and Easter seasons) is something the average Catholic would look at you with a puzzled look if asked. (I know of many people who have not been to confession since their first. I also taught religious ed to Grade 7 twice in the past two years and found my students terrified when our pastor insisted they go to confession during Advent and Lent because they had not been back since their first in Grade 2. There are many adults of my acquaintance who admit of having been decades since their last. How that meshes with some strict Orthodox jurisdictions which mandate confession prior to Holy Communion is something I wonder about.) The catechesis we have had in the past 50 years has been inconsistent and largely devoid of content (and we wonder why young people abandon the practice of the Faith). Of those who do practice the Faith outside Sunday Liturgy, much has been abandoned with the phrase "we don't have to do that anymore." The idea, back in the day after Vatican 2, was that Catholics should take over those practices that were previously mandated because they were adults. That made for race to the bottom in practice with the previous phrase often repeated. I know a very few who have regular prayer and other practices interwoven into their daily lives but when I talk to clergy privately I find that they report that this is not anywhere near the norm.

So I don't see how coming into communion would not produce a myriad of problems apart from the discussions of doctrinal differences with which many of us are all too familiar.

But I do bow to the miracle of how the Holy Spirit can work.

Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: Augoustinos] #419676 12/02/19 07:56 AM
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A few unfortunate things to note. The article seems to have absolutely no source other than "a new report from the Union of Orthodox Journalists." After skimming through the websites www.orthochristian.com and https://spzh.news/, they seem to run a lot of pro-MP/anti-EP articles and this might be another attempt to smear the EP. As Utroque mentioned, the stern voices seem to be the websites' target audience. In addition to this, the Joint International Commission on Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, of which the Patriarchate of Moscow is a member, is essentially suspended until the EP/MP schism works itself out.

One fortunate thing to note. Pope Francis sends greetings and a delegation to Patriarch Bartholomew on feast of St Andrew.

Quote
MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS
TO HIS HOLINESS BARTHOLOMEW I ON THE OCCASION
OF THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREW,
PATRON SAINT OF THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE


To Holiness Bartholomew
Archbishop of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarch

It is with great spiritual joy and in profound communion of faith and charity that I join the prayer of the Church of Constantinople in celebrating the feast of its holy patron, the Apostle Andrew, the first-called and brother of the Apostle Peter. My spiritual closeness is manifest once again this year with the presence of a delegation of the Church of Rome, to which I have entrusted the expression of my warmest greetings and best wishes to Your Holiness, to the members of the Holy Synod, to the clergy, monks and all the faithful gathered at the solemn Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Church of Saint George. Through the delegation, I convey the assurance of the unwavering intention of the Catholic Church, as well as my own, to continue in our commitment to working towards the re-establishment of full communion among the Christians of the East and the West.

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the foundation of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, jointly inaugurated by Patriarch Dimitrios I and Pope Saint John Paul II during the latter’s visit to the Phanar on the occasion of the feast of Saint Andrew. During these years the Joint International Commission has taken many significant steps forward. I convey, therefore, my heartfelt gratitude to all its past and current members for their dedicated commitment. In particular, I recall with gratitude Metropolitan Stylianos, who for many years was the Orthodox Co-Chair of the Commission, and who earlier this year died in the hope of the Resurrection promised to all those who have placed their trust in God. During his visit to the Phanar, Pope Saint John Paul II declared that “the question we should ask ourselves is not whether we can re-establish full communion, but rather whether we have the right to remain separated” (Address to His Holiness Dimitrios I, Saint George at the Phanar, 30 November 1979). This question, which is only seemingly rhetorical, continues to challenge our Churches and demands that all the faithful respond with a renewal of both attitude and conduct.

The search for the re-establishment of full communion among Catholics and Orthodox is certainly not confined to theological dialogue, but is also accomplished through other channels of ecclesial life. Our relations are nourished above all through authentic gestures of mutual respect and esteem (cf. Rom 12:9). Such actions show a shared fidelity to the word of our one Lord Jesus Christ, and the will to remain together in his love (cf. Jn 15:10). This charity is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22) and a mark of genuine Christian life (cf. Jn 13:35). Moreover, mindful of the one baptism in which we have been regenerated, of the one faith that enlivens us, and of the one Holy Spirit who guides us (cf. Eph 4:4-5), our closeness grows and intensifies each time that we pray for one another (cf. Jas 5:16) and pray together as brothers (cf. Matt 18:19-20). Finally, our relationship is seen to be mature when, obedient to the Risen Christ’s mandate to take the Gospel to all creatures and to heal the sick (cf. Mk 16:15-18), Catholics and Orthodox work together in proclaiming the Good News and in serving the needy. The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have already embarked upon this promising journey, as testified by our joint initiatives. I trust also that in local contexts all of us will increasingly strengthen the daily dialogue of love and life in shared spiritual, pastoral, cultural and charitable projects.

Beloved brother in Christ, to whom I am bound by a sincere and fraternal friendship, these are just some of the hopes and sentiments that fill my heart and that I wish to share with you on this joyous occasion. United in prayer to the Apostle Andrew, I renew to you and to all those present my warmest best wishes, and I exchange with you a holy embrace in Christ our Lord.



Franciscus


http://www.vatican.va/content/franc...sco_20191130_messaggio-bartolomeo-i.html

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: Augoustinos] #419680 12/02/19 02:17 PM
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Christ is in our midst!!

A note on the parish web page for Holy Transfiguration Melkite parish gave me another thought. A mention that Latin Catholics who were chrismated were welcome to receive Holy Communion at the parish.

There are a number of Latin Catholics who have skipped confirmation because it is now, in many cases, not celebrated until the end of one's high school years. There are many reasons for this, including the time demands on young people in this age bracket.

How do Orthodox Christians view this? The separation of confirmation and first Eucharist was made in 1910 by Pope St Pius X who had hoped that the bishops would confirm earlier than the age of 12--common at that time. First Eucharist was only given after confirmation until his indult permitted First Communion prior to confirmation. Now there are some Catholics who have come to believe that this latter sacrament is not necessary.

Bob

Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: theophan] #419681 12/02/19 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by theophan
Christ is in our midst!!


But I do bow to the miracle of how the Holy Spirit can work.


It will be no miracle. Was it not an abandonment of the Holy Spirit that caused the split? We need to work with Him to heal the split, and that is exactly what His Beatitude and the Bishop of Rome, among many, are doing. Your lamentations about Latin Catholic praxis might be echoed by an experience my wife and I had in Greece a number of years ago. We enthusiastically went to a large Orthodox church for Vespers on the vigil of Pentecost: besides the priest, deacon and cantor, we were the only ones in church. The morning Divine Liturgy saw six more in attendance. Last May in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, I was startled when most of the congregation went outside for a smoke and conversation rather than approach the Chalice, only to return after several had received. Fasting? Please.

I think there's a winnowing process going on in the Latin church, and much fruit will come. I find it very interesting that His Beatitude led Athonite monks to a Cistercian monastery in Belgium. Perhaps it will be monks, eastern and western together, who will see us through this morass. As it is said, the Spirit leads where He wills.

Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: Utroque] #419682 12/02/19 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Utroque
The stern voices of this Orthodox Christian website, linked above, echo the dark past; while that of His Beatitude represents the bright present and still brighter future. God bless that gathering for Vespers at Rochefort, Belgium! I'm an optimist: the Holy Spirit will won out perhaps sooner than we think. The official Catholic/Orthodox dialogue has reached its 40th year and has born fruitful results. I feel certain that the Moscow patriarchate's rumblings will fail and fall as quickly as the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall.


So that's what holding to the truth is to you - "stern voices?" Mean-spirited men who do not understand that we must put love above any and all forms of truth?

How will this wonderful little pasture of roses and ecumenical butterflies come to pass when the Latin Church holds to teachings that were. A.) never taught by the Early Church B.) a direct result of Rome becoming more of a political than religious empire
C.) the Papal Reformation of the 11th century, in which Rome showed Her utter contempt and arrogance towards the East and D.) cause massive theological, soteriological, and anthropological problems for believers who take the faith seriously?

I would be very interested in your take on how this is going to happen without Rome recanting everything they invented after the 11th century and going into a truly ecumenical council with a humble heart ready to accept the decisions of the united council.

Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #419684 12/02/19 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
How will this wonderful little pasture of roses and ecumenical butterflies come to pass when the Latin Church holds to teachings that were. A.) never taught by the Early Church B.) a direct result of Rome becoming more of a political than religious empire
C.) the Papal Reformation of the 11th century, in which Rome showed Her utter contempt and arrogance towards the East and D.) cause massive theological, soteriological, and anthropological problems for believers who take the faith seriously?


Well, I certainly do not think it will come about by clawing at and scowling about our liturgical practices and reforms that may have taken place centuries ago, and when we did what to whom. Is it not time to heal the deep wounds that have been inflicted by both sides? The Church needs truthful and humble dialogue, not stern warnings not to participate in the monastic Evensong of the "other side" because they baptize by pouring and not immersion and other such inconsequentials. This believer is in the dark. Can you tell me what those massive theological, soteriological and anthropological problems are for believers who take the faith seriously?

Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: theophan] #419710 12/08/19 11:06 PM
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Good points Bob

Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: Augoustinos] #419737 12/17/19 03:41 PM
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My own personal belief is that there are 3 axes in the OC: EP, Moscow, and Non-Aligned. Unfortunately, courting one or all of them at the same time seems guaranteed to fail due to their own internal conflicts/self understanding.

Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: orthodoxsinner2] #419740 12/18/19 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Originally Posted by Utroque
The stern voices of this Orthodox Christian website, linked above, echo the dark past; while that of His Beatitude represents the bright present and still brighter future. God bless that gathering for Vespers at Rochefort, Belgium! I'm an optimist: the Holy Spirit will won out perhaps sooner than we think. The official Catholic/Orthodox dialogue has reached its 40th year and has born fruitful results. I feel certain that the Moscow patriarchate's rumblings will fail and fall as quickly as the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall.


So that's what holding to the truth is to you - "stern voices?" Mean-spirited men who do not understand that we must put love above any and all forms of truth?

How will this wonderful little pasture of roses and ecumenical butterflies come to pass when the Latin Church holds to teachings that were. A.) never taught by the Early Church B.) a direct result of Rome becoming more of a political than religious empire
C.) the Papal Reformation of the 11th century, in which Rome showed Her utter contempt and arrogance towards the East and D.) cause massive theological, soteriological, and anthropological problems for believers who take the faith seriously?

I would be very interested in your take on how this is going to happen without Rome recanting everything they invented after the 11th century and going into a truly ecumenical council with a humble heart ready to accept the decisions of the united council.


To Support the above:

This is what Catholics seem to be unable to grasp, let alone consider.

While it is indeed time to heal the "deep wounds" as mentioned in a post below the one quoted above, it is impossible to do so when the cause of these wounds is present and operating even more than it was "centuries ago." I'll list just a few of the reasons why unity is not imminent:

1. Papal claims. Neither history or theology supports an Imperial Papacy. Primacy? Yes. Dictatorship? Absolutely not.
2. Filioque.
3. Original Sin vs. Ancestral sin. The RCC concept of Original sin demands doctrinal innovation for it to stand. The Eastern/Patristic/original/Apostolic concept of Ancestral sin needs none of that. And so the EO look at a doctrine such as Purgatory or Immaculate Conception and they see the former as false and the latter as unnecessary, and both as not being part of the Faith that was received by the Apostles.
4. Ecclesiology: Roman Catholics see our communion defined as being "in union with the Pope." Eastern Orthodox see our communion as being the Body and Blood of Christ.....no pope required although he is certainly missed for the last 1000 years.

Those are some basics, which need to be unpacked of course. But the bottom line is that Rome changed things, the EO did not. Rome needs to repent.

Then there is another dimension:

Homosexuality. Rome is simply infested with practicing homosexuals at all levels. This means that the so-called priests and bishops who are non-celibate catamites and sodomites (60% of them is a conservative estimate) simply don't believe anything they say at Mass. If they did, they'd be frightened and might repent, but they "know" it's all bunk and must think the faithful are rubes and simpletons for showing up for the fake rituals week after week.

So, if Rome could clear up it's problems in these areas, unity might be possible.

Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: Utroque] #419763 12/25/19 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Utroque
Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
How will this wonderful little pasture of roses and ecumenical butterflies come to pass when the Latin Church holds to teachings that were. A.) never taught by the Early Church B.) a direct result of Rome becoming more of a political than religious empire
C.) the Papal Reformation of the 11th century, in which Rome showed Her utter contempt and arrogance towards the East and D.) cause massive theological, soteriological, and anthropological problems for believers who take the faith seriously?


Well, I certainly do not think it will come about by clawing at and scowling about our liturgical practices and reforms that may have taken place centuries ago, and when we did what to whom. Is it not time to heal the deep wounds that have been inflicted by both sides? The Church needs truthful and humble dialogue, not stern warnings not to participate in the monastic Evensong of the "other side" because they baptize by pouring and not immersion and other such inconsequentials. This believer is in the dark. Can you tell me what those massive theological, soteriological and anthropological problems are for believers who take the faith seriously?


The theological problem:

1. Who is God? Is God this angry, vengeful deity, ready to smite sinners for the slightest infraction. That is the image I get from Western theological writings, including a great deal of the Roman Catholic "saints" and "visionaries," who seem all to happy to give us lurid details of God sending sinners to an eternal hell of fire for eating one bite to much of Hagen-Daz ice cream and then falling into the mortal sin of gluttony. Really??? This is my loving heavenly Father, someone who is constantly on the lookout for the slightest legal infraction? This kind of thinking comes from the cultural intoxication of Rome with law, something I learned about in seminary and something that is fact. The Roman mindset was that of the law, the upholding of the law, punishments, etc. Throw into that Augustine's toxic writings on the nature of man and you have a recipe for theological disaster. It is no wonder so many have left the Roman Church. Who likes to be pounded week after week with an unremitting litany of guilt and eternal damnation?

Now contrast this to what I have discovered in the East - God as loving Father, chastizing His children with view in mind of their good, not of simply punishment for breaking the house rules. The whole difference between the two theologies is nicely summed up in the saying of the Fathers of the Early Church, who described the Eucharist as "The Medicine of Immortality." Medicine. Healing. Love. Sorry, that is simply not found in the way that Rome has used hell and the angry God to keep the unwashed pew rats in line over the ages. And now they are having blowback from this and don't know what to do with it. Maybe a change in their presentation of who God is might be in order. I'm not saying to deny that there is a punitive reality in the next life, but I am saying that a real emphasis on the loving nature of God needs to push to the front. I am finding this in the East. I do not see it in the West.

2. Anthropological problem:

David Bentley Hart has observed (and I think quite correctly) that despite his brilliance, it would have been better for the Church had he died twenty years earlier than he did. His discourses on the nature of man, the Fall, and the faux idea of "Original Sin," which came from his inability to read Greek, have led to a completely distorted picture of mankind in the Western world. And ultimately, when you believe that sinners (aka "other people" such as Native Americans and South Americans) are depraved, wicked, guilty sinners who cannot possibly be the children of God, it opens the door to horrendous treatment and abuse of these people. The foundational Cavinism of the West leads people to think like this (and I speak as an X-Calvinist, so don't throw down with me on this)

"I am of the elect. These Africans are worshiping idols, therefore, they surely are not of the elect. The non-elect are God's enemies, and we know what He does with His enemies. Therefore, I shall subdue them, subjugate them, and if they resist, kill them. And I shall do this in the name of God, who hates His enemies and sends them to hell for His glory."

This is Western thinking. Oh, I know, not across the board and certainly there were those in the West who did radiate the love of God in their faith, but they were few and far between. The following is more in line with the epistemelogical end of Augustine's musings on the wretchedness of "Totally Depraved" sinners:

The Puritans viewed themselves as God's special people, replacing national Israel. Nowhere do the dangers of this assumption become more clear than in the Puritans' treatment of the native Americans. Since the Puritans considered themselves God's chosen people, they concluded that they had the right to take the land from the heathen Indians. The American Indians were the "new Canaanites" in America's "Promised Land." The fruit of Puritan theology was brutal. They saw their mission as convert these "Canaanites" to Christianity; failing that, it was acceptable to slaughter them in the name of Christ.

For example, the Puritan massacres of the Pequot Indian tribe on May 26, 1637, and again on July 14, 1637, were deemed by the Puritans to be directed by God -- Captain John Mason declared, "God laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven ... Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies" (Segal and Stinenback, Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny, pp. 111-112, 134-135). Converting the pagans for God was acceptable to the Puritans, but killing the pagans for the Lord was also acceptable!

Defenders of the Puritans claim that it was the hostility of the Pequots that led to their unfortunate demise. But the Pequots were one of the most tranquil tribes in New England. History reveals that their "hostility" did not manifest itself until they were hunted like animals. For argument sake, let's say that the Pequots were the instigators of hostilities, virtual savages if you will (which they were not). Does this justify hunting them down, slaughtering the men, women, and children in their sleep, and then doing it again six weeks later to finish the job!? (Not exactly "battlefield" victories!) Moreover, the Puritans claimed it was in obedience to God that these pagans were slaughtered!

Here the reasoning of the Puritans defies logic and a sense of common decency, let alone Christian principles. Captain John Underhill also wrote of the Pequot slaughter: "Sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents ... We have sufficient light from the Word of God for our proceedings." What an incredible testimony for one claiming to be a Christian!

Last edited by Irish_Ruthenian; 12/25/19 09:16 PM.
Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: Augoustinos] #419764 12/25/19 09:15 PM
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CONTINUATION

More anthropological problems: The Immacuate Conception


(A) The teaching that the Mother of God was purified before Her birth, so that from Her might be born the Pure Christ, is meaningless; because if the Pure Christ could be born only if the Virgin might be born pure, it would be necessary that Her parents also should be pure of original sin, and they again would have to be born of purified parents, and going further in this way, one would have to come to the conclusion that Christ could not have become incarnate unless all His ancestors in the flesh, right up to Adam inclusive, had been purified beforehand of original sin. But then there would not have been any need for the very Incarnation of Christ, since Christ came down to earth in order to annihilate sin.

(B) The teaching that the Mother of God was preserved from original sin, as likewise the teaching that She was preserved by God’s grace from person sins, makes God unmerciful and unjust; because if God could preserve Mary from sin and purify Her before Her birth, why does He not purify other men before their birth, but rather leaves them in sin? It follows likewise that God saves men apart from their will, predetermining certain ones before their birth to salvation.

(C) This teaching, which seemingly has the aim of exalting the Mother of God, in reality completely denies all Her virtues. After all, if Mary, even in the womb of Her mother, when She could not even desire anything either good or evil, was preserved by God’s grace from every impurity, and then by that grace was preserved from sin even after Her birth, then in what does Her merit consist? If She could have been placed in the state of being unable to sin, and did not sin, then for what did God glorify Her? If She, without any effort, and without having any kind of impulses to sin, remained pure, then why is She crowned more than everyone else? There is no victory without an adversary.

3. Soteriological Problems:

Honestly Bob, do I really even have to go into the massive problems caused by Penal Substition and the idea that salvation has to do with crime and guilt rather than sickness and healing? God becomes, as I said in point one, not the healing Father, but the implacable Judge who is looking for every little fault. This causes people like my wife to be walking around in a state of constant fear and terror. Is that "Joy to the World," or is it "Watch Yourself Carefully Lest you Slip Into Hell?" Of course, this dire fear, and the idea of punishment and payments for sin leads to another utterly false idea - Indulgences. Hey, rather than theosis, we can simply do a bunch of things and get off!

SUCH A DEAL!!!

Salvation stops being a concern with the transformation of our souls into Christlikeness and instead a search for ways to pay off God so that He doesn't smack us. I have no better example I can think of than that which I saw from the movie, THE GODFATHER.

The most vivid picture of this Western thinking which comes to my mind is that scene in the Godfather where Fredo, having been caught betraying The Family, is taken fishing by one of his brother’s goons. Fredo knows the jig is up, and he begins to pray the Rosary in what appears to be a sort of last gasp attempt to do something to miss the fires of hell. But Fredo is not changed on the inside. If he were to somehow shoot the goon about to kill him and escape to Mexico, he would the same ego maniacal little gangster he has been all his life. And he would meet God in that way – his Rosary meant nothing. It was a last ditch attempt to escape punishment, to perhaps impress God and not get a hell-beating. This is a far cry from a sincere life of repentance and seeking God in which the soul experiences theosis in this life and becomes like Christ. (From the blog site https://http4281.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/making-merchandise-of-grace/)

Do you see how this idea of doing so many First Fridays, so many Rosaries, so many of whatever and you get a free pass directly to the Pearly Gates, completely short-circuits theosis and - at least to me - makes a mockery of the Christian life? But that's what happens when you have the wrong emphasis on the Christian life, again, traceable back to the influence of the Roman Empire's culture of law and Augustine's musings on the nature of man. We are a massa damnata, not children who are sick and need healing. And the damned mass will get damnation and God will be glorified for doing that which if we saw another human being doing it, we would call that human being a sociopathic monster.

Don't ask me to validate Western theology or to cast aside truth because we want unity so badly. If Rome wants unity that badly, then let Her admit to Her faults, Her phony doctrines, Her made up theological ideas, and come to the table of a truly ecumenical council with a repentant heart, instead of the heart She showed at the Council of Florence where She demanded submission from the Orthodox East. St. Mark of Ephesus saw right through that and was having no parts of it.

Rome's response: Destroy Constaninople in 1204, calling the Christians inside infidels, pagans, and heretics worthy of death because they would not accept the inventions of Rome.

Sorry.....I am not the guy to approach with a false idea of what unity will be like. And if that makes me personna non gratia here, then so be it. The Early Fathers of the Church were rather adamant about error also, weren't they?

Re: Patriarch Bartholomew says reunion with Catholics is inevitable [Re: Augoustinos] #419767 12/25/19 11:57 PM
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Honestly Bob, do I really even have to go into the massive problems


Christ is Born!!

Irish_Ruthenian:

My brother, how did I get pulled into the middle of this? I just made a few observations above on some purely practice issues. I surely didn't mean to open the Pandora's box of theological complexities you outline and that often lead to polemics. Some of us are celebrating the Feast of the Nativity--God became man in order that man might become like God. Please step back and take a breath; enjoy the day.

Bob
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