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Re: Byzantine Vocations #88280 10/28/02 05:11 PM
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Joe T Offline
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"Most modern Catholics will do all they can to escape the tradition of the Virgin Mary."

How does one remain a "virgin" after engaging in the marital act and giving birth? Can ANYONE do that one?

"Now what is celibacy all about? No it's not so much about not having sex as people think, though of course this what it foremostly is. So what is it? I know but I had to learn the hard way, and without anyone ever telling me. So since so many modern Christians think their so darn smart, I won't say."

I was hoping that you would give us a definition on celibacy. What is celibacy and how is it related to holiness?

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88281 10/28/02 10:28 PM
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Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble Offline OP
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"I was wondering what Eastern Tradition has to say about celibacy? What book do I turn to for that?"

If you mean eastern catholic tradition, then refer to my previous comment. The Catechism of the Catholic Church applies to eastern catholics as well as western catholics.

Peter

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88282 10/28/02 10:55 PM
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Br. Peter,

At the risk of sounding like I am dancing around the topic of celibacy instead of responding directly, I can only say that the orthodox east relies on the proceedings of the seven ecumenical councils available in the large patristic series that Light-N-Life Publishing sells for around $360 these days. One volume deals with the decisions of the councils themselves, and meticulously addresses what deacons, priests, and so on can and cannot do once they are in their vocations as it relates to being deposed or excommunicated.

Having said that, it is more difficult to answer more specifically about celibacy itself, because I always relied on what I was told by priests, bishops, or monastics on the topic. Alexander Schmemmann's book on marriage would help to clarify some, since the orthodox permit divorce, and allow up to 3 marriages total. There was Constantinopolitan royal court pressure that caused that in particular (which is not addressed in the council decisions, as I recall). And a candidate for Holy Orders can marry as long as he does so before being ordained. Even so, he cannot marry more than once- just laity can do that. If a priest's wife dies leaving him with children, he frequently feels compelled to leave the priesthood in order to provide sufficient care for his children, either with another wife, or a secular job that allows him greater flexibility as to how he allocates his time.

Celibacy also equates to exclusive chastity with one's spouse or no sexual partner at all as in the Roman Church. Beyond that, things get hazier. Take birth control, for instance. There appear to be conflicting views and no definitive statements from the orthodox one way or the other on birth control, though they are staunchly against abortion on grounds that it is actually murder. No murder is involved in preconception birth control however, which possibly is why they can't agree on that.

If I find anything else to add I pass it along. Hope this helped a little.

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88283 10/28/02 11:55 PM
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"If you mean eastern catholic tradition, then refer to my previous comment. The Catechism of the Catholic Church applies to eastern catholics as well as western catholics."

Br. Peter,

How do you know?

How does your statement compare to the following quote found on your parish homepage? http://www.stjosephsbyz.org/us.htm

"... we share a theological approach, liturgy and spirituality with the Orthodox Churches, including the Church of Romania from which the first Romanian Byzantine Catholics came ..."

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88284 10/29/02 12:34 AM
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Maximus Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Joe T:
"Most modern Catholics will do all they can to escape the tradition of the Virgin Mary."

How does one remain a "virgin" after engaging in the marital act and giving birth? Can ANYONE do that one?

"Now what is celibacy all about? No it's not so much about not having sex as people think, though of course this what it foremostly is. So what is it? I know but I had to learn the hard way, and without anyone ever telling me. So since so many modern Christians think their so darn smart, I won't say."

I was hoping that you would give us a definition on celibacy. What is celibacy and how is it related to holiness?
Dear Joe, I don't follow you here? Your first question.

I brought up the Virgin Mary because she is the holiest Christian Saint within Apostolic Christianity. You can not seperate her identity from her virginity. No Christian other then Protestants could stand to think of the Our Lady having hot sex panting and moaning. Let us be honest about the situation Christianity views virginity with purity.

As for your second question. Celibacy is no more then successfuly living out life without sex. Before or after having sex. In the context of Christianity this is done by means of vows - laity or clergy. In Christianity one is to either give life their life in marriage - and build a family. Or one is to give themselves in celibacy as a single person - and this is where the rest of the purpose of celibacy comes in, which is Co********************************************

Justin

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88285 10/29/02 06:18 AM
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I think that the focus of the discussion on celibacy and chastity is a good one; but when the thread goes immediately to 'sexuality', then we are playing the young person's game.

The whole purpose of the vow of celibacy is to make a public profession that one's heart will not be diverted from the professed goal of service to God and to the Church. It really is only marginally related to sexuality, but is more a discipline of the heart that says I will not allow my heart to be diverted to another person, no matter how wonderful that person may be. I do this "for the sake of the Kingdom". We are made to love other human beings (well, duh!) and it is perfectly natural at times to encounter a person over whom one falls head over heels. But the discipline of the vow requires that one not divert one's focus "from the prize". This is truly the most difficult aspect of the vow of chastity. It is setting the limit on how close one can allow one's self to come to another human being without jeopardizing one's vowed commitment.

And this is when many have struggled and some have fallen. And there is oftentimes the excuse that "I'm not abnegating my vow; I just have a special friend who understands me and helps me get through things". While close friendships are indeed wonderful and a gift from God and from the other person, one must understand clearly where the line is to be drawn. And this is precisely why one needs a spiritual director with whom one is in frequent contact: to avoid self-deception.

If one is more concerned about the "sexuality" stuff, then one has already missed the boat on celibacy.

Blessings!

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88286 10/29/02 11:30 AM
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Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble Offline OP
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Joe T,

Thanks for visiting our website. Not many people stop by.

Yes, it is true, as the statement says, that we follow some traditions from the Romanian church, however, the church here in the US is much different then the curch in Romania.

Perhaps I am wrong here, but the theological approach, and the traditions of the Romanian church are those that fit with the CCC.

The Romanian Greek-Catholic Church in Union with Rome, teaches that the celbate state is not a higher position then the married state. Higher no, different, yes.

The question that was posed to me was "I was wondering what Eastern Tradition has to say about celibacy? What book do I turn to for that?"

And my response was "If you mean eastern catholic tradition, then refer to my previous comment. The Catechism of the Catholic Church applies to eastern catholics as well as western catholics."

I assumed, and maybe I was incorrect, that he was refering to eastern catholic tradition, after all that is what I am. If he was refering to eastern orthodox tradition, then that is a different story all together.

Again Joe T, thanks for visitng the site, any comments on it?

Peter

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88287 10/29/02 01:25 PM
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Brother Peter,

You state: "And my response was 'If you mean eastern catholic tradition, then refer to my previous comment. The Catechism of the Catholic Church applies to eastern catholics as well as western catholics.'

I assumed, and maybe I was incorrect, that he was refering to eastern catholic tradition, after all that is what I am. If he was refering to eastern orthodox tradition, then that is a different story all together."

The above statement shows quite clearly, at least from my point of view, why Eastern Catholic seminarians should not be formed, in whole or part, in Latin seminaries. The above statement puts forward the idea that we should be Catholic first, Byzantine second.

There should be no divergence between Byzantine Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic tradition, excepting communion with Rome. The CCC is a fine document but it is not written by us or from our traditional viewpoint. So for teaching from or about our traditions it is of limited value. The whole point of Orientale Lumen, and all the other documents addressed to us, is to rediscover our traditions and use our own sources for teaching not copping out and saying we believe whatever the CCC or other Latin documents say we should. However, if I have misread your statement, I apologize in advance.

In Christ,
Lance


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Re: Byzantine Vocations #88288 10/29/02 02:28 PM
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Dr. John,

I would not disagree with most of your post. As you said celibacy is not soley about sex. Most people would not recognize this.

But I would not dismiss sexuality so quickly. It is an important issue within celibacy, indeed the first and most important. Just like recovery for an alcoholic, he can not find himself or his freedom until he first stops drinking. Not picking up the drink is the first and most important thing. Nothing can come until that abstinance.

The reason so many people have an issue with celibacy is because it is sexual. They are addicted to sex, to being touched. It's really no more harder then that. People will not recognize it as an addiction because their lives are not driven out of control because of their sexual intercourse. So people will say that one is insane to consider celibacy optional. Except of course unless ones addiction is pedophilia then automaticly we demand that celibacy is that persons only option.

Personally I don't consider celibacy or marital sex holy. They are no more holy then not driving your car drunk. They are just the appropriate things to do.

A major key to understanding what celibacy is about is 'self mastery'. Once one is celibate and understands this then they will begin to understand what direction their life is to take. However it has been from my observation and experience that frequent masterbation can cloud ones mind regarding the direction to be taken in their celibate life.

When you said Dr. John that it is to God and Church. You where hiting the nail on the head. One does not have to be Christian however, the same principal applies - it is for something far greater then just yourself. It very much rooted in selflessness.

Marriage is rooted in selflessness also. But it's energy is must be placed not only in "God" but in ones spouse and family.

If both are selflessness and both are devoted to "God" then if marriage is also devoted to spouse and family then does the celibate only pray and put in 8hrs for "Church"? No. There is an answer I would give but this is the whole thing I did not want to mention.

Justin

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88289 10/29/02 02:52 PM
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Dear Friends (hopefully this refers to everyone posting on this thread),

I've come to the happy realization - and acceptance - that I have a Byzantine vocation.

It is a vocation to the religious life - although involving neither the priesthood nor the monastic state.

For me, the acceptance of this as a gift from God to me personally means that vocation is a charisma or a Gift of the Spirit, just as celibacy is.

I don't accept the view that those who aren't celibate somehow don't have the commitment or focus that celibates do, or else don't have it to as intense a degree.

A celibate with strong sexual urges or who is always thinking about sex truly lacks the kind of focus that we should all have on the Object or Final End that is Christ.

I just don't see celibacy as an important component of a committed Christian vocation, no matter what it is, save for monasticism.

(The Celtic monks, in reality, were often married and the Scottish surname "MacNab" actually means "Son of the Abbot.")

Celibacy is not a necessary component of the priesthood, or even of the episcopacy, if the early Church has any say here.

It is one of the charismata of the Spirit, but what is it exactly?

For me, celibacy is another way of experiencing marriage and intimacy.

It is a way of commitment to a particular service or ministry whose nature requires a complete (not better or more intense) focus on its labours.

It is also an eschatological witness made by the person who is celibate to the future resurrection when there "will be no sex" as Christ told the Sadducees who came to tempt Him with their story about the widow married to seven brothers.

Fasting is a similar witness. When we fast, we fast as an expression of sorrow that the Bridegroom is not with us. We fast to discipline ourselves.

But we also fast as a way to witness to the coming Resurrection of our bodies in the Body of Christ when the only food we'll require is our continuing participation in that Body and in that Life.

Alex

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88290 10/29/02 05:17 PM
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Lance wrote:

"The above statement shows quite clearly, at least from my point of view, why Eastern Catholic seminarians should not be formed, in whole or part, in Latin seminaries. The above statement puts forward the idea that we should be Catholic first, Byzantine second."

Absolutely. Otherwise, Eastern Catholicism becomes a "supplemental" form of Catholicism.

"There should be no divergence between Byzantine Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic tradition, excepting communion with Rome. The CCC is a fine document but it is not written by us or from our traditional viewpoint."

I concur with Lance on this. The CCC is, indeed, a beautiful book, which was greatly needed in the Latin Church after so many years of experimental theologies since Vatican II. But for Byzantine Catholics to thump through it like it was THEIR very own catechism prooftexting misses out on some excellent sources of our own tradition, namely our liturgy and liturgical hymns. So much theology in them that one can spend a lifetime drinking from its font of wisdom.

How does one explain Theosis with the CCC if it isn't even in the index? Many parishes use Meyendorff's "Byzantine Theology" or Panayiotis Nellas' "Deification in Christ," both of which are published by SVS.

How do we explain the feasts of Mary's Nativity, Presentation if we don't understand how the Protoevangelium of James was its source? or how to understand one of the three themes of Jerusalem Matins (Descent into Hades) and the Resurrection Icon and the majority of the Resurrection Troparia if we don't get familiar with the Gospel of Nicodemus? or how to understand our Eastern feast of Theophany if we aren't familiar with the apocryphal and Syrian gospels, namely the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles? or how to understand the meaning of "the rock" in a Byzantine Tradition? Our Pentectostarion refers to Jesus or faith in Jesus every time "rock" is used and not the Pope in Rome! How does an Eastern cleric, who is educated in a Latin formation program, go about explaining the faith if he only relies on the CCC and not his very own tradition? Where do we turn to for explanations? The answer is in our very own liturgy and liturgical hymns and liturgical prayers, which are not the basis of the CCC.

It is no wonder why many of our liturgical traditions fell out of use. We didn't have the lexicon to convey their importance or how it fit into the mosaic of Byzantine thought. So, naturally we took on easy-to-comprehend pious practices of other traditions and adopted their catechisms as our own. We felt comfortable using English measurements to engineer things in metric. We were working on the same project, but failed miserably to make things fit.

There is nothing more annoying than going through one formation program only to have to do it all over again so one is better prepared to serve one's own parishioners in the context of a different theological tradition.

But, all in all, it is still better than years past when our clergy were edubecated at Calvinist schools in Europe.

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88291 10/29/02 05:27 PM
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Alex,

May God Bless you on your spiritual journey and may the Holy Spirit guide you in your vocation and calling. I envy the Byzantine Church that they can have you as an actual member and we can have you only as an honorary. From my observation during my time spent reading and participating in this forum you have truly been an inspiration and a good example.

Egzabiher ke-ante gar yihun (may God be with you)

Melkam guzo (happy [spiritual] journey)

Aklile-Semaet


Egzi'o Marinet Kristos
Re: Byzantine Vocations #88292 10/29/02 06:21 PM
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Dear Cantor Joe,

If I may make so bold and speak with you, what about any pragmatic considerations concerning the utilization of a catechism per se in teaching the faith, liturgy etc.?

Certainly, the Orthodox Church has her fair share of historic Catechisms - that of Peter Mohyla, John of Damascus and Dositheus.

Is it that the catechism, as a religious teaching genre, is itself of limited capability to inculcate a solid grounding in Eastern theology or the fact that Latin catechisms purporting to be "universal" are?

Alex

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88293 10/29/02 06:23 PM
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Selam Aklile!

Thank you for your kindness.

I've come to the end of a troubling spiritual journey and for that I am truly thankful.

It was, in fact, Joe Thur's comments on vocations that got me thinking about the direction of my life until now.

I would gladly become Ethiopian Orthodox any time!!

Alex

Re: Byzantine Vocations #88294 10/29/02 06:52 PM
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Alex,

Celibacy may not be for everyone to commit to. This is ok. I don't think we must diminish celibacy to feel ok in the way we choose to live our lives. Personaly I'm happy that pedophilia is not a problem of mine. There may be people who attain greater virtue then us and their may be people who are far less virtues then us. This is just something we will have to face in life. I use to ask my spiritual director all the time: "tell me where on the scale am I? How far down or up?" He use to always respond to me, I paraphrase: well I wouldn't think of it in those terms. I have just now recently began to understand what he means. And what wisdom. We are taught that you have a winner over here and a loser over there. Man! This is not life. Life is a series of loses and wins. It is a continual struggle. We do the best with what we have, with what we aquire. The celibate state is a tough one and anyone who can be successful at this level of self mastery I applaude. If that hurts your noggin then look at the heroin addict. He or she will tell you that heroin is better then sex, and that lack of sex doesn't make their body sick, take their breath away, give them nightmares. They will tell you sex is easier to give up then heroin. But some how some of them give up heroin. Sometimes it's only for a few years, sometimes forever. If you believe in the Christian God then it is that God you have to take up the matter with your overwhelming sexual desires. No celibate person created your body.

You are not weak for sexual desire. This is what your ego might tell you but it is a deception. Man, the body is weak. All the time. Some celibates have big round bellies from eating to much. Some can keep celibate but be brung down by wine. Some can never conquer their anger. The list goes on and on. Just live and struggle you do not have to prove your worth. If Christianity tells you you have to do A & B to prove your worth, then it is a religion of lies. You exist so you are already worthy.

Justin

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