www.byzcath.org

Melkite Answers to Common Questions

Posted By: Matt

Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/01/11 04:20 PM

I find that I am asked many of the same questions. Thus, I have created the below list of (oversimplified) common questions and answers. Feel free to add or critique as needed.

Q: How many ecumenical councils?
A: Seven

Q: Do you believe in papal infallibility?
A: No

Q: Do you believe in original sin?
A: Yes, but not in inherited guilt

Q: Do you believe in universal, immediate jurisdiction of the Pope?
A: Pope has appelate jurisditiction

Q: Do you believe in the treasury of merits?
A: No

Q: Do you accept the filioque?
A: No

Q: Do you recognize Orthodox saints?
A: Yes

Q: Why aren't you Orthodox?
A: 1) Despite our disagreements, Rome is not in heresy 2) Pope's role is more than "he who wears the fuzziest slippers" 3) We appreicate much in Roman Catholicism 4) Orthodoxy has its own issues

That's a start anyway.


Posted By: Otsheylnik

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 02:15 AM

Surely you mean "do you USE the Filioque? No."

Not using or saying it is different from not accepting the Roman explanation of why the Latins who say don't differ materially in their faith.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 02:39 AM

I think it is appropriate to say we do not accept the inclusion of the Filioque in the Creed, because, if the Congregation for the Oriental Churches is correct, neither does the Latin Church. It's just that, in their usual befuddled way, they haven't been able to allow their actions to match their words.
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 06:39 AM

Originally Posted by StuartK
I think it is appropriate to say we do not accept the inclusion of the Filioque in the Creed, because, if the Congregation for the Oriental Churches is correct, neither does the Latin Church.


The Eastern Congregation has said the Latin Church does not accept the inclusion of the Filioque into the Creed? What are you referring to?
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 06:49 AM

Originally Posted by Matt


Q: How many ecumenical councils?
A: Seven

Q: Do you believe in papal infallibility?
A: No

Q: Do you believe in universal, immediate jurisdiction of the Pope?
A: Pope has appellate jurisdiction

Q: Do you believe in the treasury of merits?
A: No


There are some Melkites who would disagree with the above. For example, I believe Bishop John Elya would object to these statements. I know he's spoken on some of these issues in the past and came out in favor of traditional Catholic teachings on these issues. Perhaps those Melkites who would object are a minority but they are part of the Melkite Church.

Secondly, I think that the vast majority of Roman Rite Catholics who hold to the teachings of the Catholic Church as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church would be greatly offended by these statements as well.

Can you imagine a Melkite priest saying this sort of stuff on EWTN? If he did and it was a not a live broadcast, it'd never get on the air.
Posted By: Otsheylnik

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 08:48 AM

Originally Posted by DTBrown
Originally Posted by StuartK
I think it is appropriate to say we do not accept the inclusion of the Filioque in the Creed, because, if the Congregation for the Oriental Churches is correct, neither does the Latin Church.


The Eastern Congregation has said the Latin Church does not accept the inclusion of the Filioque into the Creed? What are you referring to?


THis I must also see.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 12:02 PM

I'm sorry, I meant the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 12:03 PM

Quote
Can you imagine a Melkite priest saying this sort of stuff on EWTN? If he did and it was a not a live broadcast, it'd never get on the air.


I've heard Patriarch Gregorios say things that encompass just about all of this.
Posted By: Economos Roman V. Russo

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 01:38 PM

So now the ground and measuring rod of truth is EWTN!? Judas Priest!!!
Posted By: ByzBob

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 02:38 PM

Originally Posted by Matt

Q: Why aren't you Orthodox?
A: 1) Despite our disagreements, Rome is not in heresy 2) Pope's role is more than "he who wears the fuzziest slippers" 3) We appreicate much in Roman Catholicism 4) Orthodoxy has its own issues

That's a start anyway.


This is probably the most complex question of all, and the one I personally wrestle with the most. Could not an argument be made that Rome is heterodox, since it attempts to make universal that which is particular and/or regional? In other words, since Rome says (or rather said in times past) "you have to believe this (insert Latin theologoumenon here)" to be in communion with us is it worth all the fuss to maintain communion? On the other hand it is unlikely that the Holy See today would require such strict adherence, but none the less it is "on the books," so to speak.
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 02:59 PM

Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
Can you imagine a Melkite priest saying this sort of stuff on EWTN? If he did and it was a not a live broadcast, it'd never get on the air.


I've heard Patriarch Gregorios say things that encompass just about all of this.


Yes, for example here.

But, there's something amiss if Melkite priests can make these statements on Ancient Faith Radio but not on EWTN. I'm not saying that EWTN is the standard of Catholic truth but if this vision of what the Melkites believe cannot play on EWTN it illustrates the problem.

This tension is further shown in the "Profession of Faith" and "Oath of Fidelity" that was published with Ad Tuendam Fidem:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/c..._cfaith_doc_1998_professio-fidei_en.html

Included as part of this, as mentioned in the above document is:

Quote
the doctrine on the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff;


I've been told by a Ukrainian Catholic deacon that Ukrainian Catholic priests take this oath upon ordination. I don't know if Melkite priests take this oath or not. It's interesting that the timing of Ad Tuendam Fidem came just a few months after the letter from Rome rejecting the Zoghby Initiative.


Posted By: Herbigny

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 05:06 PM

My priest (UGCC) would certainly (and heartily) agree to the "Melkite Answers".

-even though he would maintain that they are not exclusive to Melkite Greek Catholics but to all those Greek Catholics who truly take Vatican II seriously (amongst other church documents and directives).

-as to the question of the filioque, my priest has said that "we don't agree with the Filioque, but we will not break Communion with the Latin Church over their understanding of the Filioque; there are matters overwhich we can agree to disagree without breaking Communion"

-he would agree that we don't believe in the Pope's infallibility in the way that some people who watch EWTN would understand it, but we would support it as properly understood in a Byzantine theological context (we believe in the Church's infallibility and in an Ecumenical Council's infallibility, etc.)

Speaking for myself, it would seem to me that EWTN's listeners would have trouble with the theological positions of almost all the Eastern Catholic posters on the Byzantine Forum. They would probably have problems with the married presbyters, the Instructions to Implement the New Canon Law Liturgically, Orientalium Ecclesiarum, etc. etc.

Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 06:56 PM

Quote
But, there's something amiss if Melkite priests can make these statements on Ancient Faith Radio but not on EWTN. I'm not saying that EWTN is the standard of Catholic truth but if this vision of what the Melkites believe cannot play on EWTN it illustrates the problem.


On the other hand, Patriarch Lyubomir appeared in a special on the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church that aired on EWTN, in which he said there were no theological differences between the Orthodox and the Greek Catholics.

As to why the Melkites don't often appear on EWTN, it might have something to do with the derogatory attitude that the network and its various web sites have had towards the Patriarchate of Antioch since the announcement of the Zoghby Initiative, if not before. One does not necessarily feel that one's perspective will be accurately portrayed after being repeatedly characterized as "dissident" and "schismatic" by the outlet that wants to interview you.

Overall, I get the impression that EWTN is fundamentally clueless about the Eastern Churches, and views us with bemused condescension as the ethnic ghettos of the Catholic Church, with such a pretty Mass and many quaint and colorful customs.
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 10:45 PM

Quote
On the other hand, Patriarch Lyubomir appeared in a special on the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church that aired on EWTN, in which he said there were no theological differences between the Orthodox and the Greek Catholics.


I'd be interested in the exact wording of that statement. My guess it was one of those statements that could be interpreted differently depending on the hearer.

Quote
As to why the Melkites don't often appear on EWTN, it might have something to do with the derogatory attitude that the network and its various web sites have had towards the Patriarchate of Antioch since the announcement of the Zoghby Initiative, if not before. One does not necessarily feel that one's perspective will be accurately portrayed after being repeatedly characterized as "dissident" and "schismatic" by the outlet that wants to interview you.


Could you tell us more? I've never heard EWTN refer to the Melkite Church as "schismatic" and "dissident."
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 10:59 PM

Originally Posted by Herbigny
My priest (UGCC) would certainly (and heartily) agree to the "Melkite Answers".

-even though he would maintain that they are not exclusive to Melkite Greek Catholics but to all those Greek Catholics who truly take Vatican II seriously (amongst other church documents and directives)....

-he would agree that we don't believe in the Pope's infallibility in the way that some people who watch EWTN would understand it, but we would support it as properly understood in a Byzantine theological context (we believe in the Church's infallibility and in an Ecumenical Council's infallibility, etc.)


Herbigny,

What would be a "Byzantine theological context" to understand papal infallibility?

For example, Canon 597 of The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches describes the infallibility of the Pope this way:

Quote
Canon 597 - §1. The Roman Pontiff, in virtue of his office, possesses infallible teaching authority if, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the Christian faithful who is to confirm his fellow believers in the faith, he proclaims with a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held.


Part 2 of that canon says the College of Bishops also could have infallibility -- but there's nothing in the Eastern Code that suggests a limited papal infallibility.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 11:34 PM

Dave, you always bring up canon law, whereas in reality, canon law is whatever the Church chooses to make of it.

As regards the Eastern Code, both the Melkite and Ukrainian patriarchs would simply write it off as a bad piece of work, a Western document imposed on the Eastern Churches, to be followed only so long as it does not contradict the legitimate Tradition of the Eastern Churches, and it is judged prudent to follow.
Posted By: jjp

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/02/11 11:36 PM

The problem with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches is that it was not written by the Eastern Churches. So, citing it to Eastern Christians will not have much of an impact.

I think it might be fair to say that while not all Melkites would agree with each of the answers above, a majority of them would. Expressing the general thoughts on these topics was more the OP's point, I presume, than making a perfect list that every living Melkite would find complete agreement with.
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 01:40 AM

Originally Posted by StuartK
Dave, you always bring up canon law, whereas in reality, canon law is whatever the Church chooses to make of it.

As regards the Eastern Code, both the Melkite and Ukrainian patriarchs would simply write it off as a bad piece of work, a Western document imposed on the Eastern Churches, to be followed only so long as it does not contradict the legitimate Tradition of the Eastern Churches, and it is judged prudent to follow.


Stuart,

I'm just citing official Catholic documents. Pope Benedict does not share your disdain for the Eastern Code.

Last Fall, at a celebration marking the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Eastern Code of Canons, Pope Benedict said this about the Eastern Code:

Quote

Dear friends, in the context of the Church's current effort for a new evangelization, canon law, as the peculiar and indispensable ordering of ecclesial fellowship, will not fail to contribute to the life and the mission of the Church in the world, if all the components of the People of God know how to interpret is wisely and apply it faithfully. Thus, I exhort, as did the venerable John Paul II, all the beloved children of the Eastern Churches "to observe the precepts set down with a sincere heart and a humble will, not in the least doubting that the Eastern Churches will provide in the best way possible for the good of the souls of faithful Christians with renewed discipline, and that they will always flourish and carry out the task entrusted to them under the protection of the glorious and blessed ever Virgin Mary, who in all truth is called 'Theotokos' and who shines as the great mother of the universal Church" ("Sacri canones").


From Pope Benedict's viewpoint, there is no disparity between the Eastern Code of Canons and the encyclicals Ut Unum Sint and Oriental Lumen written by Pope John Paul II. He said:

Quote
The "Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium" was followed by two other important documents of the magisterium of John Paul II: the encyclical letter "Ut unum sint" (1995) and the apostolic letter "Orientale Lumen" (1995). Furthermore, we cannot forget the "Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism" published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (1993) and the instruction of the Congregation for Eastern Churches about the application of the liturgical prescriptions of the Code (1996). In these authoritative documents of the magisterium various canons of the "Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium," just as the "Codex Iuris Canonici," are textually cited, commented on and applied to the life of the Church.


A PDF version of the Eastern Code can be read online here.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 03:17 AM

Quote
I'm just citing official Catholic documents. Pope Benedict does not share your disdain for the Eastern Code.


No, but many of our Patriarchs and God-Loving Bishops do. And their voices count more than that of the Pope.

Quote
Thus, I exhort, as did the venerable John Paul II, all the beloved children of the Eastern Churches "to observe the precepts set down with a sincere heart and a humble will, not in the least doubting that the Eastern Churches will provide in the best way possible for the good of the souls of faithful Christians with renewed discipline, and that they will always flourish and carry out the task entrusted to them under the protection of the glorious and blessed ever Virgin Mary, who in all truth is called 'Theotokos' and who shines as the great mother of the universal Church" ("Sacri canones").


Well, that's certainly condescending. Essentially, he's saying, "I know your Tradition and your pastoral needs better than you do". I think a lot of us do not concur.

Quote
" In these authoritative documents of the magisterium various canons of the "Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium," just as the "Codex Iuris Canonici," are textually cited, commented on and applied to the life of the Church."


And, as always, please overlook any internal contradictions among these documents, because, really, we do know what's best for you. Honest.
Posted By: JDC

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 03:34 AM

Originally Posted by Herbigny
...but to all those Greek Catholics who truly take Vatican II seriously (amongst other church documents and directives).


This seems a little circular. Basically, "because I take Vatican II so seriously, I reject the notion that it is an ecumenical council. Because this council made up of the pope and mainly Roman bishops has directed me to be more Eastern, I say now that the pope lacks authority over my Church, and I say it on, well, his ....um...authority".

I'm just not sure this works.
Posted By: Economos Roman V. Russo

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 12:58 PM

Nor must we forget the observation of the peerless canonist, the late Msgr. Victor Pospishil, "no Eastern hierarch in his right mind would renew communion with Rome under the circumstances envisioned by the CCEO"!
Posted By: Job

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 01:06 PM

Originally Posted by Ot'ets Nastoiatel'
Nor must we forget the observation of the peerless canonist, the late Msgr. Victor Pospishil, "no Eastern hierarch in his right mind would renew communion with Rome under the circumstances envisioned by the CCEO"!


May his memory be eternal. Thank you for reminding me of this quote...I think it could be taken a step further to say why would one remain in communion with Rome if this is what is expected???
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 01:32 PM

Quote
Could you tell us more? I've never heard EWTN refer to the Melkite Church as "schismatic" and "dissident."


See Melkites Are Misunderstood on the Archeparchy's own website.

Quote
Our role is made more difficult by well meaning, if uninformed members of our own Catholic Church. The following sadly inaccurate and misleading statement was issued by the most prominent American Catholic broadcasting network. This sad misstatement is being shared here at the urging of Father Rod McRae - not to belittle the original writer or embarrass the broadcasting company - but rather so such misinformation can be publicly corrected. The reply was written by Father John Mowatt, a Russian Catholic priest. Both the original statement and Father Mowatt's reply have been printed side-by-side for better analysis.


I think there is only one "most prominent American Catholic broadcasting network"--how many people can name even one other? Some of the tendentious statements made on that network:

Quote
This is one of the most disaffected groups among the Eastern Rite Catholics. Unlike other Byzantine Catholics, this group is headed by a patriarch who is accustomed to seeing himself as one of the equals among who the Pope of Rome (the Patriarch of the West) is agreed to be the first.

The current patriarch [Maximos V of blessed memory] prior [sic] has even permitted the marriage of ordained men, the tradition among them (as with the Orthodox) is to permit the ordaining of men who have already been married, although they favor a celibate episcopate. (The marriage of ordained clergy appears to have been a Protestant innovation in Christendom).

Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 01:39 PM

Quote
May his memory be eternal. Thank you for reminding me of this quote...I think it could be taken a step further to say why would one remain in communion with Rome if this is what is expected???


Vladyka Vsevolod of Scopelos, may his memory be eternal, used to say the real sticking point on the Papacy was its refusal to be judged or held accountable for its actions, for it is a basic point of all law that no man may be judge of his own case, but the Code of Canons insists that the Pope is precisely that. In addition, if the canons are taken literally, the Pope cannot be bound either by the decisions of his predecessors, or even his own earlier decisions. As Vladyka liked to say, "Nobody would buy a used car from a man under those conditions".

As to why one wold remain in communion under those conditions, the answer is simple: the canons are seldom if ever applied and when they are, never in their literal sense.
Posted By: Job

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 01:53 PM

Quote
Vladyka Vsevolod of Scopelos, may his memory be eternal, used to say the real sticking point on the Papacy was its refusal to be judged or held accountable for its actions, for it is a basic point of all law that no man may be judge of his own case, but the Code of Canons insists that the Pope is precisely that. In addition, if the canons are taken literally, the Pope cannot be bound either by the decisions of his predecessors, or even his own earlier decisions. As Vladyka liked to say, "Nobody would buy a used car from a man under those conditions".

God bless Vladyka Vsevolod! I think he had hit the nail right on the head. In regards to "the cannons are seldom if ever applied..." My question is then why do they exist? We could look at the canons that are never adhered to, such as not using a jewish doctor, they were created during a time in history when something was happening which no longer makes any sense...hence it is disregarded, the canon being discussed is very recent...1993...If you belong to a church that thinks so little of you, doesn't that signal there are issues...in my opinion, serious issues that should not simply be brushed aside...
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 02:10 PM

Quote
As to why one wold remain in communion under those conditions, the answer is simple: the canons are seldom if ever applied and when they are, never in their literal sense.


So, the Eastern Code is already obsolete, despite the recent statement by Pope Benedict?

It's the CCEO that supports the whole bureaucracy of the Eastern Congregation in Rome, which acts as representative spokesman for the Pope. It is the Eastern Congregation which gives final "consideration" to such things as the new UGCC Catechism (see page 3 of the pdf in the link) or to approval, postponement or promulgation of Particular Law for Eastern Catholic jurisdictions and is the medium for appointment of Eastern Catholic Bishops (either directly or by approval of nominating lists).

It is well acknowledged there are a few minor issues that are not resolved with the Code and how it is applied but the situation is hardly what you describe.

Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 02:13 PM

Stuart,

Thank you for the info regarding EWTN and the Melkites. Interesting read.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 03:04 PM

Originally Posted by StuartK
...the Pope cannot be bound ... As Vladyka liked to say, "Nobody would buy a used car from a man under those conditions".
There really isn't a choice since Peter alone was given the keys.
Posted By: ByzBob

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 03:29 PM

Originally Posted by ajk
There really isn't a choice since Peter alone was given the keys.


That assertion depends a great deal on how you read scripture. The fathers wouldn't agree with such a sentiment.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 03:32 PM

Originally Posted by ByzBob
Originally Posted by ajk
There really isn't a choice since Peter alone was given the keys.


That assertion depends a great deal on how you read scripture. The fathers wouldn't agree with such a sentiment.


Easily said, but which Fathers? And on the key point, read the scriptures and tell us, who else was given the keys?
Posted By: ByzBob

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 03:37 PM

Originally Posted by ajk

Easily said, but which Fathers? And on the key point, read the scriptures and tell us, who else was given the keys?


St. Augustine for example. Mat 16 is in the future tense. All the Apostles were given the keys (see Mat 18 and John 20).
Posted By: ByzBob

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 03:45 PM

When you hear the words: 'Peter, do you love me?' imagine you are in front of a mirror and looking at yourself.
Peter, surely, was a symbol of the Church. Therefore the Lord in asking Peter is asking us too.
To show that Peter was a symbol of the Church remember the passage in the
Gospel: 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
Has only one man received those keys? Christ himself explains what they are
for: 'Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.' If these words had been said only to Peter, now that he is dead who would ever be able to bind and loose?
I make bold to say that all of us have received the keys. We bind and loose. And you also bind and loose.
Whoever is bound is separated from your community: he is bound by you. When he is reconciled, however, he is loosed, thanks to you because you are praying for him. We all in fact love our Lord, we are all his members.
And when the Lord entrusts his flock to shepherds, the whole number of shepherds is reduced to one individual body, that of the one Shepherd.
Peter is undeniably a shepherd, but without doubt Paul also is a shepherd, each Apostles is a shepherd. All the holy bishops are shepherds, without a shadow of a doubt. St. Augustine, Serm. Morin, 16 (Miscellanea Agostiniana, 493ff.)
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 03:59 PM

Originally Posted by ByzBob
Originally Posted by ajk

Easily said, but which Fathers? And on the key point, read the scriptures and tell us, who else was given the keys?


St. Augustine for example. Mat 16 is in the future tense.

So? Didn't it happen as Jesus said? What from Augustine?


Originally Posted by ByzBob
All the Apostles were given the keys (see Mat 18 and John 20).
There is very little of key(s) in scripture, and nothing of keys in Mat 18 or John 20. Don't read into scripture what's not there.
Posted By: ByzBob

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 04:02 PM

Originally Posted by ajk
Don't read into scripture what's not there.


This is why I disbelieve the notion of Papal Infallibility - it just isn't there. For the quote from St. Augustine, agreeing that the keys were given to all the apostles to bind and loose (Mat 18 and John 20) see the quote above.

Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 04:07 PM

Quote
There is very little of key(s) in scripture, and nothing of keys in Mat 18 or John 20. Don't read into scripture what's not there.


Good advice. For an Orthodox perspective on the "keys," I suggest this commentary by Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 04:34 PM

Originally Posted by ByzBob
Originally Posted by ajk
Don't read into scripture what's not there.


This is why I disbelieve the notion of Papal Infallibility - it just isn't there. For the quote from St. Augustine, agreeing that the keys were given to all the apostles to bind and loose (Mat 18 and John 20) see the quote above.

In the same way -- explicitly -- neither is the Trinity, the Dormition, homoousios, etc. "there."

There is certainly a patristic witness of all bishops sitting on the chair of Peter. The quoted passage seems to argue that point. From a purely exegetical viewpoint, however, I think it goes too far beyond the text. Unlike the writing of even the Fathers, which no one claims are infallible, scripture is the inerrant word of God, and in being explicit provides the scope and limits for interpretation.
Posted By: ByzBob

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/03/11 05:16 PM

Originally Posted by ajk
In the same way -- explicitly -- neither is the Trinity, the Dormition, homoousios, etc. "there."


The trinity and homoousios is explicitly taught in scripture if one reads it with the mind of the church. I would not equate the Dormition with either of these two fundamental dogmas.

Quote
There is certainly a patristic witness of all bishops sitting on the chair of Peter. The quoted passage seems to argue that point. From a purely exegetical viewpoint, however, I think it goes too far beyond the text. Unlike the writing of even the Fathers, which no one claims are infallible, scripture is the inerrant word of God, and in being explicit provides the scope and limits for interpretation.


I agree with St. Augustine here, as I think his interpretation is the common one during the patristic era. However, as it is not a matter of dogma, and there is a lack of consensus I wouldn't hold anyone else to it. Suffice it to say, there is not a consensus in the fathers for Pastor Aeternus either.
Posted By: griego catolico

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/04/11 02:06 PM

Originally Posted by StuartK

As to why the Melkites don't often appear on EWTN, it might have something to do with the derogatory attitude that the network and its various web sites have had towards the Patriarchate of Antioch since the announcement of the Zoghby Initiative, if not before. One does not necessarily feel that one's perspective will be accurately portrayed after being repeatedly characterized as "dissident" and "schismatic" by the outlet that wants to interview you.


His Grace John Elya did in fact celebrate Divine Liturgy at EWTN on one occasion. So, I would say that whatever tension-if any-that existed between EWTN and the Melkites was resolved.
Posted By: Otsheylnik

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/04/11 02:12 PM

Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
I'm just citing official Catholic documents. Pope Benedict does not share your disdain for the Eastern Code.


No, but many of our Patriarchs and God-Loving Bishops do. And their voices count more than that of the Pope.


Hahaha this is by far the most amusing thing I have heard a Catholic say in long time. I was having a bad day but you gave me a good belly laugh. The days of post-Vatican II disdain for authority are clearly not over.
Posted By: Otsheylnik

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/04/11 02:14 PM

Originally Posted by JDC
Basically, "because I take Vatican II so seriously, I reject the notion that it is an ecumenical council. Because this council made up of the pope and mainly Roman bishops has directed me to be more Eastern, I say now that the pope lacks authority over my Church, and I say it on, well, his ....um...authority".

I'm just not sure this works.


It doesn't.
Posted By: Economos Roman V. Russo

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/04/11 03:07 PM

Whereas I get the impression that EWTN is fundamentally clueless FULL STOP! In the language of choice of the neo-con troglodytes "Infinitus est autem numerus stultorum" (Sap. Reg. Sal.)
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/04/11 04:06 PM

Quote
His Grace John Elya did in fact celebrate Divine Liturgy at EWTN on one occasion. So, I would say that whatever tension-if any-that existed between EWTN and the Melkites was resolved.


No, it wasn't, since Bishop John was definitely odd man out in the Melkite Synod. His views definitely did not represent those of his Church, and neither those of his predecessor, Bishop Joseph (Tawil) nor his successor Archbishop Cyril (Boutros), nor even his "auxiliary", Bishop Nicholas (Samra).
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/04/11 04:10 PM

Quote
The days of post-Vatican II disdain for authority are clearly not over.


Actually, it's not a matter of "disdain for authority", but rather discerning where authority resides, and in what manner. I know that gives those with the rule-following fetish headaches, but there it is.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/04/11 04:12 PM

Quote
It doesn't.


That's why Tradition trumps magisterium.
Posted By: Herbigny

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/04/11 05:28 PM

Originally Posted by JDC

This seems a little circular. Basically, "because I take Vatican II so seriously, I reject the notion that it is an ecumenical council. Because this council made up of the pope and mainly Roman bishops has directed me to be more Eastern, I say now that the pope lacks authority over my Church, and I say it on, well, his ....um...authority".

I'm just not sure this works.


I think it still works. That Vat II is not strictly speaking an "ecumenical council" because the Orthodox Churches were not participants as full members, does not mean it was not a General Council of the Catholic Communion and does not mean that it was not authoritative (given that the Eastern Catholic Churches were full participants and did not have objects {as apparently happened at other General Councils})
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/04/11 06:13 PM

Well, if the Ravenna Statement, paras 35-39 are to be believed, there have been no true "Ecumenical Councils" since 787, because no council since then has been universally received as being ecumenical. All general synods since that time are binding only upon the particular Churches that have received them as binding, and that authority is revokable.

In fact, the authority of councils has and continues to be revokable until their teaching is internalized and becomes part of the Tradition of the Church, regardless of whether that council calls itself ecumenical or not. This works both in the East and the West. The West accepted the authority of the Synod of Constantinople of 869-870, then accepted the authority of the Synod of 879-880, which revoked the acts of the previous Synod, and then, after more than several centuries, decided to repudiate the Synod of 879-880 and accept the Synod of 869-870. Similarly, though it is called "ecumenical", the Latin Church repudiated much of the Council of Constance through the Council of Florence.
Posted By: Otsheylnik

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/05/11 11:09 AM

Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
The days of post-Vatican II disdain for authority are clearly not over.


Actually, it's not a matter of "disdain for authority", but rather discerning where authority resides, and in what manner. I know that gives those with the rule-following fetish headaches, but there it is.


I thought the responsibility for deciding where authority resided lay with the whole Church, particularly through its Bishops, amongst whom the Bishop of Rome should have first place if one is in communion with him (whether you are Orthodox, Catholic, eastern or western this is the case). If I missed the decree that embraced individualism and allowed every man and their dog to discern the will of the church for themselves I apologise.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/05/11 11:56 AM

First, while the responsibility for teaching true doctrine lies with the bishops, the responsibility for defending the true faith lies with all the faithful. History time and again reveals episodes when bishops have fallen into error (yes, even including the Bishop of Rome), and it has been the lower clergy and the laity (particularly monastics) who stood firm and were vindicated.

Second, you seem to assume that the voice of some bishops (e.g., the Melkites and Ukrainians) are less authoritative than others (e.g., the Latins). Since there is no unanimity among the bishops on this matter, diversity of opinion is still permissible.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/05/11 03:33 PM

Originally Posted by DTBrown
Quote
There is very little of key(s) in scripture, and nothing of keys in Mat 18 or John 20. Don't read into scripture what's not there.

Good advice. For an Orthodox perspective on the "keys," I suggest this commentary by Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck.
Thanks for this reference which I recall now from a prior posting. Fr. Laurent adopts here something of a scorched theology policy: deny any point that the other side can use, even if it can be considered a valid point; deny the other all sustenance even though we too may starve. But at least he does make the point if it isn’t missed amidst all the denying (p 268-9):

Quote
Is it then impossible to conclude anything about these texts? More specifically, did Peter receive the keys? Yes, as Christ undoubtedly fulfilled his promise.
ok but not good enough. The text says “will give”; only Peter for sure will be given the keys and by Christ Himself. This is what I mean, for instance, by explicit: if one searches scripture for all forms of homoousios one does not find it; search for all forms of give and key in a verse and one finds, explicitly, Matt. 16:19 (and Rev. 9:1).

Quote
Did the other Apostles also receive the keys, either with Peter or after him? Perhaps, although we have seen that the actual 'giving of the keys' is shrouded in mystery.
With or after – to be complete, not at all, since they may be distinct from the binding and losing, or even through or from Peter. Since, after all, as Fr. Laurent goes on to say, there is an acceptance by Orthodox theology that all bishops share the (shifting the imagery but not the point; see below) chair of Peter:

Quote
This being said, the Orthodox tradition has always been to proclaim St. Peter as 'holder of the keys.' For instance, the service for the feast of the Chains of St. Peter is eloquent:

Today Peter, the rock of faith, the foundation of the church, appoints his precious chains for the devotion of our souls. Rejoice, joy of the universe, keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, for you give grace to those who honor you with love and venerate your precious chains with longing!'

Likewise, the Orthodox prayer of reconciliation of apostates (seemingly a very ancient one) is unambiguous:

O Master, Lord our God, who didst entrust the keys of thy kingdom unto Peter, the foremost Apostle, didst build on him thy holy Church and gave unto him the power, by thy grace, to bind and to loose.
[emphasis added]

It seems that too often Orthodox in their zeal to deny papal claims question the plain words of scripture, even beyond the accepted liturgical expression that some maintain is the essence of primary theology.

Quote
The controversy about Peter, then, is only relevant to the papacy if the Church is a universal organism governed by a College of Bishops and if only one bishop succeeds to ‘the prince of the Apostles.’ As Fr. Meyendorff concludes:

It is therefore comprehensible why, even after the schism between East and West, Orthodox ecclesiastical writers were never ashamed of praising the 'coryphaeus' and of recognizing his preeminent function in the very foundation of the Church. They simply did not consider this praise and recognition as relevant in any way to the papal claims, since any bishop, and not only the pope, derives his ministry from the ministry of Peter.

The great Patriarch Photius is the first witness to the amazing stability in Byzantium of the traditional patristic exegesis. On Peter: he writes, repose the foundations of the Faith.' He is the coryphaeus of the Apostles.'

Evert though he betrayed Christ, he was not deprived of being the chief of the apostolic choir, and has been established as the rock of the Church and is proclaimed by the Truth to be key-bearer of the Kingdom of heaven...'
[emphasis added]

So why here and now object to Peter’s headship, that he is coryphaeus, as given by the above Orthodox interpretation of Mat 16:19; that explicitly "Peter alone was given the keys"? Is there more to be said to get to the “papal claims”? Of course. But what should not be said is what one today can not possibly know with a comprehensive but anachronistic self-assurance that only detracts from what is objective such as the opinion “They simply did not consider this praise and recognition as relevant in any way to the papal claims...”
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/06/11 02:38 AM

Originally Posted by ByzBob
Originally Posted by Matt

Q: Why aren't you Orthodox?
A: 1) Despite our disagreements, Rome is not in heresy 2) Pope's role is more than "he who wears the fuzziest slippers" 3) We appreicate much in Roman Catholicism 4) Orthodoxy has its own issues

That's a start anyway.


This is probably the most complex question of all, and the one I personally wrestle with the most. Could not an argument be made that Rome is heterodox, since it attempts to make universal that which is particular and/or regional? In other words, since Rome says (or rather said in times past) "you have to believe this (insert Latin theologoumenon here)" to be in communion with us is it worth all the fuss to maintain communion? On the other hand it is unlikely that the Holy See today would require such strict adherence, but none the less it is "on the books," so to speak.


Personally, I think I would start by making sure that the person asking the question knew that I've always been in communion with Rome. Well, not literally always, of course, only since I was a couple months old. But you see my point: it's different than if I entered into full communion with Rome as an adult.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/06/11 02:50 AM

Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
Could you tell us more? I've never heard EWTN refer to the Melkite Church as "schismatic" and "dissident."


See Melkites Are Misunderstood on the Archeparchy's own website.

Quote
Our role is made more difficult by well meaning, if uninformed members of our own Catholic Church. The following sadly inaccurate and misleading statement was issued by the most prominent American Catholic broadcasting network. This sad misstatement is being shared here at the urging of Father Rod McRae - not to belittle the original writer or embarrass the broadcasting company - but rather so such misinformation can be publicly corrected. The reply was written by Father John Mowatt, a Russian Catholic priest. Both the original statement and Father Mowatt's reply have been printed side-by-side for better analysis.


I think there is only one "most prominent American Catholic broadcasting network"--how many people can name even one other? Some of the tendentious statements made on that network:


Yes, EWTN is the network in question:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/LITURGY/EASTRITE.TXT

Although I note some difference in wording. Perhaps the page on the EWTN website has been revised since it was quoted by melkite.org. For example, note that it doesn't say

Quote
The current patriarch prior has even permitted the marriage of ordained men, the tradition among them (as with the Orthodox) is to permit the ordaining of men who have already been married, although they favor a celibate episcopate.


but rather

Quote
The current patriarch provides them with strong leadership in
objecting to what they see as Rome's violations of the terms of the Union.
Chief among these is the ordaining of married men. While no Eastern Rite
permits or has ever permitted the marriage of ordained men, the tradition
among them (as with the Orthodox) is to permit the ordaining of men who
have already been married, although they favor a celibate episcopate.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/06/11 02:56 AM

Originally Posted by StuartK
On the other hand, Patriarch Lyubomir appeared in a special on the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church that aired on EWTN, in which he said there were no theological differences between the Orthodox and the Greek Catholics.


It might be that this comment went "under the radar", inasmuch as many Catholics simply aren't very familiar with Orthodoxy.
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/06/11 03:06 AM

Fr. Deacon Tony,

Are you saying that the only interpretation is that Peter alone received the keys?

Fr. Laurent also gives that as a possible interpretation (p. 266).

Where does Fr. Laurent deny Peter's headship or that he is the coryphaeus?

Quote
It seems that too often Orthodox in their zeal to deny papal claims question the plain words of scripture, even beyond the accepted liturgical expression that some maintain is the essence of primary theology.


Where do you mean?
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/06/11 03:57 AM

Quote
Yes, EWTN is the network in question:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/LITURGY/EASTRITE.TXT


Thanks for finding that. I'm wondering where the text for this file came from? It looks like something from the early 90s.

Surprising how it explains the apparent audacity of the "Eastern Rite" folks thinking they should be allowed to bring their married clergy tradition outside of their "homelands":

Quote
While no Eastern Rite permits or has ever permitted the marriage of ordained men, the tradition among them (as with the Orthodox) is to permit the ordaining of men who have already been married, although they favor a celibate episcopate. (The marriage of ordained clergy appears to have been a Protestant innovation in Christendom.) Rome understands her acquiescence in this tradition to apply
only in the homeland of the Rite; most Eastern Rite Catholics rather expected to be allowed to carry all their traditions, including this one, to the lands to which they were immigrating. Disputes among the indigenous clergy and the immigrant Byzantine clergy have often resulted in whole
parishes leaving the Catholic communion to be received back into Orthodox folds.
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/06/11 04:42 AM

Just reading further from Melkites Are Often Misunderstood .

The EWTN file states:

Quote
Other sources of disagreement are the Immaculate Conception, Papal Supremacy and Infallibility, Pugatory, and the Filioque, and to a lesser extend remarriage after divorce; in short all the matters that remain primary points of disagreement between Orthodox and Catholics.


The Melkite page response:

Quote
The author mentions "other sources of disagreement" but this seems to be a figment of a flawed imagination. There are no disagreements in matters of faith and morals. How could there be? There are, however, different legitimate ways of explanation or interpretation.


This approach seems to differ from some of the statements from the first post in this thread. I think Roman Rite Catholics would more likely accept this approach but are less likely to accept the approach from this thread.
Posted By: Economos Roman V. Russo

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/06/11 11:53 AM

The current practice of the Armenian Apostolic Church is routinely to allow the marriage of deacons. In the wake of the genocide there was a time when ordained priests were allowed to marry. I have personally met (and respect) two of them!
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/06/11 12:21 PM

Originally Posted by DTBrown
Just reading further from Melkites Are Often Misunderstood ...

The Melkite page response:

Quote
The author mentions "other sources of disagreement" but this seems to be a figment of a flawed imagination. There are no disagreements in matters of faith and morals. How could there be? There are, however, different legitimate ways of explanation or interpretation.


This approach seems to differ from some of the statements from the first post in this thread. I think Roman Rite Catholics would more likely accept this approach but are less likely to accept the approach from this thread.


The above "Quote:" is from the official site, Eparchy of Newton. It is responding to:

Quote
Other sources of disagreement are the Immaculate Conception, Papal Supremacy and Infallibility, Pugatory[sic], and the Filioque, and to a lesser extend remarriage after divorce; in short all the matters that remain primary points of disagreement between Orthodox and Catholics.


A possible source of confusion might be other, unofficial sites that have a lot of visibility and information and come across quite convincingly as telling it like it is. One such, for instance, which even speaks of/for "Byzantine Catholic" beliefs in general has this to say, for instance, about the Immaculate Conception:

Quote
This feast is not a Great Feast.

This feast is not one of the 12 Great Feasts.
We truly believe in that the Theotokos is "pure, spotless, stainless, immaculate". But, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church does not make this event dogma because it is not essential for salvation, that is this event is not seen as specifically bearing on the life and mission of Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Latin Catholic Church

This privilege of the Theotokos, accepted throughout the centuries, was officially proclaimed as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in the year 1854. In the West, this Feast is called the Immaculate Conception and is celebrated on 8 Dec.
Pius IX's unilateral declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was considered imprudent by Byzantine Catholics.

Since the Byzantine Catholics and the Orthodox do not understand Original Sin in the same way as the Latins, the concept of the Immaculate Conception makes no sense in Eastern theology
The Byzantine Catholics and the Orthodox believe that only an Ecumenical Council can declare dogma.

link

Might this confuse a western Catholic? I'm even confused by the line of argument. And even more so when the same site has:
Quote
Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center
Twentieth Ecumenical Council also named Council of Vatican I in 1869-1870
link

Or is it as in the initial post of this thread:
Originally Posted by Matt
Melkite Answers to Common Question

I find that I am asked many of the same questions. Thus, I have created the below list of (oversimplified) common questions and answers. Feel free to add or critique as needed.

Q: How many ecumenical councils?
A: Seven

Q: Do you believe in papal infallibility?
A: No

...


Or is it ...????
Posted By: Iason

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/06/11 07:18 PM

Originally Posted by DTBrown
The Melkite page response:

Quote
The author mentions "other sources of disagreement" but this seems to be a figment of a flawed imagination. There are no disagreements in matters of faith and morals. How could there be? There are, however, different legitimate ways of explanation or interpretation.


This approach seems to differ from some of the statements from the first post in this thread.

I agree with what you're saying here completely. As far as I can understand it, the quote from the Melkite source is saying that there are no disagreements about the doctrinal contents expressed by statements of "the Immaculate Conception, Papal Supremacy and Infallibility, Purgatory, and the Filioque," even if there are different ways of explaining or interpreting the statements of those doctrinal contents themselves.

Even leaving aside how to properly understand what that particular source is saying, though, here's something else to consider along the very same lines. I was really struck by an apparent total difference of opinion between something said by the first poster (and apparently endorsed by some of the others here?) and what has been said by the Melkite hierarchy, particularly past Patriarchs and Bishops. The first poster writes:

Quote
Q: Do you believe in papal infallibility?
A: No

However, the Melkite Holy Synod, presided over by Patriarch Maximos IV and including Archbishop Elias Zoghby, said the following at Vatican II (bolding added at most relevant spots):

Quote
The foundation of papal infallibility: The pope is infallible only because he is the head of the apostolic college and the spokesman of the infallibility of this college and of the whole Church. When thus clarified, infallibility becomes comprehensible. It is no longer an honorary privilege. The pope does not proclaim infallible dogmas without reason, without foundation, without reference to Scripture, to Tradition, and to the Church, needlessly, just to show that he is pope. Infallibility is a charism granted to him for the general welfare and stemming from his ministry. . . . it is true that the definitions of the pope are irreformable and without appeal, but we think that a clarification should be added, namely, that the definitions of the pope cannot contradict the faith of the Church and of the episcopal college.

These clarifications are generally accepted today. It is appropriate to insert them, so that Vatican II may bring new light to this doctrine of papal infallibility."


Quote
The First Vatican Council defined the dogma of the primacy of the Roman pontiff. This definition gave rise here and there to abusive interpretations that disfigured it, making the primacy, which is a charism granted by Christ to his Church, an obstacle to Christian unity. Now, we are convinced that the obstacle to union is not the doctrine of the primacy itself, clearly inscribed in Holy Scripture and in the Tradition of the Church . . . It must be stressed that the universal power of the Roman pontiff, total as it is, and remaining within its own mandate, is given to him essentially inasmuch as he is the head of the entire hierarchy and precisely for the purpose of fulfilling this primatial service. . . . There is therefore need of another formulation of the immutable dogma of the primacy and infallibility of the successor of Peter, and this formulation must also conform to Eastern patristic tradition.

These quotes clearly show that the Melkite hierarchy affirmed that the pope is infallible, that his definitions are irreformable and without appeal, and that this is a doctrine and immutable (unchangeable) dogma. What gives? (It is true that the Melkite hierarchy pushed very strongly to have the council recognize the rights and prerogatives of bishops in light of a more nuanced understanding of papal primacy/infallibility, etc., but they still clearly accepted that dogma.)

The source for those two quotes is a book by Archimandrite Robert Taft, titled The Melkite Church at the Council, available in its entirety and for free here: http://www.melkite.org/xcouncil/CouncilIntro.htm
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/06/11 09:55 PM

The previous post provides an important resource. Thanks for finding and providing it.
Posted By: Iason

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/06/11 11:46 PM

Originally Posted by ajk
The previous post provides an important resource. Thanks for finding and providing it.

No problem. Thanks for your help in getting the formatting fixed. I'm not sure why it didn't come out properly from the get-go (it did on my preview of the post!).

Since the book that I linked to in my last post is rather large, I thought I should also add that the specific chapter from which I drew the preceding quotes from the Melkites is Chapter 5, "The Constitution of the Church."
Posted By: jjp

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 12:25 AM

It's an important distinction they make. The "infallibility" of the Pope in this sense is such only so long as he is articulating things which are already considered infallible. Things do not *become* infallible because of anything the pope does. You did not bold the most important part:

*only* because he is the head of the apostolic college and the spokesman of the infallibility of this college and of the whole Church. *emphasis* mine

So, whoever is the spokesman of the infallibility of the apostolic college and of the whole Church is infallible when articulating the already infallible beliefs thereof. Since that is the Pope, then he is infallible when he is articulating the infallible beliefs of the Church, whatever those may be.

That is a pretty strict set of parameters that many Catholics - Roman or otherwise - probably would not think of as typical or normative of the understanding of papal infallibility. It makes it almost inconsequential.

So, "Is the pope infallible, Yes or No?" as it was presented in the original Q&A is perhaps too simplistic.

But as many noted Eastern Catholics have suggested, "Clarification is needed."
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 12:49 AM

Originally Posted by jjp
So, whoever is the spokesman of the infallibility of the apostolic college and of the whole Church is infallible when articulating the already infallible beliefs thereof. Since that is the Pope, then he is infallible when he is articulating the infallible beliefs of the Church, whatever those may be.

That is a pretty strict set of parameters that many Catholics - Roman or otherwise - probably would not think of as typical or normative of the understanding of papal infallibility. It makes it almost inconsequential.

So, "Is the pope infallible, Yes or No?" as it was presented in the original Q&A is perhaps too simplistic.

But as many noted Eastern Catholics have suggested, "Clarification is needed."


Well, that's the traditional Catholic view as well. The Catholic Church does not teach that the Pope can create an infallible teaching. According to Catholic theology, as I understand it, the Pope may define what is already an infallible teaching.

Orthodox have problems with the idea that one Bishop (no matter how important he may be) can, without the consent of the Church, bind the consciences of the faithful.
Posted By: jjp

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 01:46 AM

Would they not already have been bound?
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 01:50 AM

I'm reminded of something Cardinal Newman said regarding papal infallibility:

"the proposition defined will be without any claim to be considered binding on the belief of Catholics, unless it is referable to the Apostolic depositum"

And also:

"10. And in like manner, as regards the precepts concerning moral duties, it is not in every such precept that the Pope is infallible [Note 5]. As a definition of faith must be {331} drawn from the Apostolic depositum of doctrine, in order that it may be considered an exercise of infallibility, whether in the Pope or a Council, so too a precept of morals, if it is to be accepted as from an infallible voice, must be drawn from the Moral law, that primary revelation to us from God."
Posted By: Iason

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 02:30 AM

Originally Posted by jjp
It's an important distinction they make. The "infallibility" of the Pope in this sense is such only so long as he is articulating things which are already considered infallible. Things do not *become* infallible because of anything the pope does. You did not bold the most important part:

*only* because he is the head of the apostolic college and the spokesman of the infallibility of this college and of the whole Church. *emphasis* mine

So, whoever is the spokesman of the infallibility of the apostolic college and of the whole Church is infallible when articulating the already infallible beliefs thereof. Since that is the Pope, then he is infallible when he is articulating the infallible beliefs of the Church, whatever those may be.

That is a pretty strict set of parameters that many Catholics - Roman or otherwise - probably would not think of as typical or normative of the understanding of papal infallibility. It makes it almost inconsequential.

It's important to note such details, so thank you for that. I bolded the specific parts that I bolded only for their relevance to the first post in this thread, to which I was responding, and not for any other reason.

About what you suggest concerning these details, I have just a few comments.

First, immediately following the part that you have bolded above ("The pope is infallible only because he is the head of the apostolic college and the spokesman of the infallibility of this college and of the whole Church"), the Melkite hierarchs themselves explain exactly what they mean by this comment, in relation to infallibility. They say, "When thus clarified, infallibility . . . is no longer an honorary privilege. The pope does not proclaim infallible dogmas without reason, without foundation, without reference to Scripture, to Tradition, and to the Church, needlessly, just to show that he is pope. Infallibility is a charism granted to him for the general welfare and stemming from his ministry." In other words, all they seem to be saying here is what, as DTBrown has noted (and Peter J seems to note with his Newman citations), is apparently the traditional Catholic view that the pope does not arbitrarily make declarations or "create" teachings without reference to what has (in at least some sense) already been taught in Scripture and Tradition. Vatican I, for example, had already said this:

Quote
5. The Roman pontiffs, too, as the circumstances of the time or the state of affairs suggested, sometimes by summoning ecumenical councils or consulting the opinion of the Churches scattered throughout the world, sometimes by special synods, sometimes by taking advantage of other useful means afforded by divine providence, defined as doctrines to be held those things which, by God's help, they knew to be in keeping with Sacred Scripture and the apostolic traditions.

6. For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.

Indeed, the Melkites themselves note, "These clarifications are generally accepted today." In other words, they don't seem to take themselves to be drastically curtailing papal infallibility so as to make it "almost inconsequential," if that is what you're suggesting.

Second, the way you've phrased your comment risks making it sound as though you take the idea of the Melkite Synod to be that the pope only "just happens" to be infallible when and because he happens to be saying what the Church already says infallibly (so that anyone, even me, could likewise be "infallible," just by happening to repeat what the Church says). This doesn't quite seem to capture the whole idea, though. It's true that the pope is regarded by the Melkites as something like the spokesman for the apostolic college and the Church, who is infallible *only because* he is the spokesman for the college and the Church. But it's not as though he just happens to be infallible because he just reiterates whatever the Church already says, just like I might do. Instead, the Melkites say that he is also the *head* of the apostolic college, and they remark,

Quote
And yet the apostolic college has a 'primate,' Peter, who continues to live in his successor. He too, if he speaks under the requisite conditions of manifest information, freedom, and presidency, in his capacity as primate of the apostolic episcopate, and, committing his full authority to it, formulates an indisputable affirmation 'ex sese' [of himself]. Just as the college of bishops did not need the canonical consent of the clerics and faithful to formulate their real faith in all clarity, drawing them out of the labyrinth of actual or possible controversies, neither does the pope need the canonical consent of the bishops and the faithful to be infallible. He is united as one with them. He proclaims—in the exercise of his office—their faith and his own. His formulation cannot contradict what the Church—the bishops and the faithful—has believed and believes as a whole, even if only very implicitly until then.

and,

Quote
The Bishop of Rome operates as the center of unity of the body, from which he receives at all times suggestions, advice, reminders, which may go so far, as in the case of Paul with Peter at Antioch, and so many Fathers of the Church with the popes of Rome, as respectful but vigorous objections. "When Cephas came to Antioch," says Paul, "I opposed him to his face, for he was clearly wrong" (Galatians 2:11). Without doubt the pope reserves for himself the right to judge as a last resort, discerning what in the wishes of his brothers comes or does not come from the Holy Spirit. It is his responsibility to affix his definitive seal on what has been decided by the unanimity, at least moral, among his brothers of the episcopal college.

They also affirm what they take to be taught at Vatican I. The picture painted overall thus seems to be of a papacy that is more than a mere transmission device that happens to broadcast what the apostolic college has already spoken; it is a papacy that formulates indisputable affirmations of itself (not requiring the consent of the college or others), that at times judges and either rejects or approves what the rest of the college says, and that may give the first explicit statement of what has only been very implicit until then. (Still, yes, the pope in some sense only speaks what has already been believed. It is important to give all of these details emphasis.)

Sorry for the somewhat excessive length here. And by the way, I wanted to add, for what it's worth, that I'm Melkite.
Posted By: ByzBob

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 01:49 PM

I find the synod's answer to the question somewhat dissatisfying. While I can appreciate the attempt to curtail the impact of Vatican I, and understand the historical context of these remarks, still I am struck by the lack of concern as to pragmatic considerations. The practical question of when the church would know that the Pope has made such a declaration remains unanswered. For instance, would the Melkites at the council accept that the Immaculate Conception was such a definition? Probably not. So even if this understanding was adopted it would be objectionable to the Orthodox, and still would not address the practical problems associated with the doctrine. Since there is such ambiguity surrounding the doctrine, which enjoys no patristic consensus, why is it needed?
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 03:24 PM

Originally Posted by jjp
It's an important distinction they make. The "infallibility" of the Pope in this sense is such only so long as he is articulating things which are already considered infallible. Things do not *become* infallible because of anything the pope does. You did not bold the most important part:

*only* because he is the head of the apostolic college and the spokesman of the infallibility of this college and of the whole Church. *emphasis* mine

So, whoever is the spokesman of the infallibility of the apostolic college and of the whole Church is infallible when articulating the already infallible beliefs thereof. Since that is the Pope, then he is infallible when he is articulating the infallible beliefs of the Church, whatever those may be.
"*only* because" in the sense of precisely because. No one else can be or has claimed to be the unique "spokesman" except the Pope. And though only the Pope can act thus, i.e. solely, he nevertheless never acts alone.
Quote
the infallibility claimed for the pope is the same in its nature, scope, and extent as that which the Church as a whole possesses; his ex cathedra teaching does not have to be ratified by the Church's in order to be infallible.
link

"Things" do not become infallible, period. Things are true or not.
Quote
Infallibility, from Latin origin ('in', not + 'fallere', to deceive), is a term with a variety of meanings related to knowing truth with certainty...

In Roman Catholic theology, only the actual 'act of teaching' is properly called "infallible". For example, according to Roman Catholic dogma, Pope Pius IX's teaching regarding the Immaculate Conception was infallible; it is grammatically incorrect to say or to write "the Immaculate Conception is infallible".
link

Despite notions to the contrary, neither the Pope nor the Church became infallible as a result of the definition of Vatican I. As Newman observed “the Vatican Council left the Pope just as it found him.” Where before, however, there was uncertainty or doubt there now is conviction and certitude
Posted By: Nelson Chase

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 04:44 PM

Quote
Since there is such ambiguity surrounding the doctrine, which enjoys no patristic consensus, why is it needed?


My sentiments exactly. I have never read a Father of the Church who implicitly or explicitly said that the Bishop of Rome was infallible. (now the Primacy is something different- I fully believe in a primacy of the Bishop of Rome. Primacy doesn't equal infallibility)

Why is it needed? The Church did just fine without it for 1800 plus years and ever since its proclamation it has just added a further division between East and West that was totally unnecessary.
Posted By: jjp

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 04:56 PM

Originally Posted by Iason
In other words, all they seem to be saying here is what, as DTBrown has noted (and Peter J seems to note with his Newman citations), is apparently the traditional Catholic view that the pope does not arbitrarily make declarations or "create" teachings without reference to what has (in at least some sense) already been taught in Scripture and Tradition.


I don't see how that squares with:

Originally Posted by DTBrown

Orthodox have problems with the idea that one Bishop (no matter how important he may be) can, without the consent of the Church, bind the consciences of the faithful.


I can understand papal infallibility as it seems to me the Melkite definition cited above does, in the sense of "voicing something that is already infallible within the Church". It doesn't seem to be particularly helpful or important of a thing and clearly is impractical in terms of the divisiveness and misunderstanding that comes as a result, but it seems harmless (aside from those very troubling aspects) otherwise.

For instance, when the Pope says "Christ died and was resurrected in body" is this truth infallible because it is infallible, or because the Pope said it is?

The agency of infallibility seems to be the question, which unless I misunderstood, the Melkite citation above attempted to clarify.
Posted By: jjp

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 05:01 PM

For reference, this is the full quote without redactions:

12) The foundation of papal infallibility: The pope is infallible only because he is the head of the apostolic college and the spokesman of the infallibility of this college and of the whole Church. When thus clarified, infallibility becomes comprehensible. It is no longer an honorary privilege. The pope does not proclaim infallible dogmas without reason, without foundation, without reference to Scripture, to Tradition, and to the Church, needlessly, just to show that he is pope. Infallibility is a charism granted to him for the general welfare and stemming from his ministry. These clarifications are absolutely essential and indispensable for anyone who wants to work for the union of the Churches, for they have not been sufficiently taken into account until now.

The text of the schema literally reproduces the definition of infallibility given by Vatican I. But this definition has in fact given rise to misinterpretations and regrettable exaggerations. It is therefore fitting that Vatican II should clarify this notion and make it more easily understandable. Thus the “ex sese” (by himself) is clarified by saying: “ex officio suo” (by his office); the “non ex consensu Ecclesiae” (not by the consensus of the Church) is clarified by saying: “non ex delegatione, nec ex canonica, etsi implicita, confirmatione” (not by delegation, nor by canonical collegial confirmation, even if it is implicit).

In the second place, it is true that the definitions of the pope are irreformable and without appeal, but we think that a clarification should be added, namely, that the definitions of the pope cannot contradict the faith of the Church and of the episcopal college.

These clarifications are generally accepted today. It is appropriate to insert them, so that Vatican II may bring new light to this doctrine of papal infallibility.
Posted By: Iason

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 05:05 PM

Originally Posted by ByzBob
The practical question of when the church would know that the Pope has made such a declaration remains unanswered. For instance, would the Melkites at the council accept that the Immaculate Conception was such a definition? Probably not.

About the last part of this comment, I'm not so sure. In fact, I think the total evidence may suggest that they would accept that this was such a definition. The Melkite Synod's comments at Vatican II indicate that the Synod accepted much more from the "Latin" side of things than what earlier posters in this thread have suggested. For example, in Chapter 15, while discussing the indissolubility of marriage with reference to Eastern and Western practice, Patriarch Maximos IV declares:

Quote
The indissolubility of marriage has been solemnly defined by the Council of Trent. It is an object of faith for every Catholic and closes the door to all discussion. Period.

I think that many Melkites will find this shocking, but there it is (see http://www.melkite.org/xcouncil/Council-15.htm). In addition, others have provided quotes from Melkite sources saying that there are "no disagreements" concerning doctrines like the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, etc. (see http://www.melkite.org/misunder.htm). Bishop John Elya of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton has said on more than one occasion that we must accept these teachings; at one point he says (see http://www.melkite.org/Questions/R-6.htm),

Quote
We hold that the Pope of Rome is infallible in important matters of faith and morality, when he speaks "ex cathedra", in his position as the visible head of the Catholic Church. We may interpret these dogmas in "Eastern" terms; however, we are not allowed to deny their truth without breaking the bond of unity with the Pope of Rome, the successor of St. Peter the Rock.

I find this all quite strongly suggesting that Melkites are to assent to much more than what other posters here have suggested.

Now, I'm aware of Archbishop Zoghby's 1995 Profession of Faith, which was accepted by the vast majority (24 out of 26) of the bishops constituting the Holy Synod that year, and which reads as follows:

Quote
I. I believe everything Eastern Orthodoxy teaches.
II. I am in communion with the Bishop of Rome as the first among the bishops, according to the limits recognized by the Holy Fathers of the East during the first millennium before the separation.

About this, I can only say that the first clause can be understood as referring to what Eastern Orthodoxy teaches as a matter of irreformable dogma (i.e., the teachings of the 7 Ecumenical Councils, essentially), and does not say, "I believe only what Eastern Orthodoxy teaches and nothing more." Even a Roman Catholic could affirm this, though, so I'm not exactly sure how to take it. The second clause mentions "the limits recognized . . . during the first millennium," but what those limits were is a matter of huge debate and is open to various interpretations, no particular one of which is endorsed in the profession itself. Given this lack of specificity, it is hard to tell exactly what is being intended (furthermore, the profession of faith could essentially just be voicing the thought that post-schism teachings in the Catholic communion are, properly understood, compatible with what Orthodoxy teaches and with what was believed in the first millennium, thus not calling those post-schism teachings into question at all, but instead implicitly reaffirming them). So, I find myself experiencing a bit of a cognitive dissonance as a Melkite, but as ultimately thinking that I have some rather clear, detailed, and lengthy statements from various members of the hierarchy on the one hand, and this brief, unspecific statement on the other (the latter of which has also been received not-so-warmly by both Roman Catholics and Orthodox). That at least gives me pause.

(About the rest of your post -- the difficulty of answering the practical question concerning when the pope has actually spoken ex cathedra -- I can just say that I feel the difficulty, and that it is a difficulty that Roman Catholics also sometimes feel.)
Posted By: Iason

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 05:11 PM

By the way, I would love to hear more from some of the other posters here (particularly Matt, the original poster in this thread, and StuartK, who seems to share his sympathies) concerning the material that we've been citing and discussing in the last two pages, perhaps particularly regarding Patriarch Maximos's comment on the Council of Trent. It might help to resolve some of the cognitive dissonance I mentioned!
Posted By: jjp

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 06:22 PM

Originally Posted by Iason

About this, I can only say that the first clause can be understood as referring to what Eastern Orthodoxy teaches as a matter of irreformable dogma (i.e., the teachings of the 7 Ecumenical Councils, essentially), and does not say, "I believe only what Eastern Orthodoxy teaches and nothing more."


Well, what it does say is, "I believe everything Eastern Orthodoxy teaches."

So by everything, I think what they mean is... everything. Part 2 of the statement stems from part 1.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 06:26 PM

Originally Posted by ByzBob
I find the synod's answer to the question somewhat dissatisfying. While I can appreciate the attempt to curtail the impact of Vatican I, and understand the historical context of these remarks, still I am struck by the lack of concern as to pragmatic considerations. The practical question of when the church would know that the Pope has made such a declaration remains unanswered. For instance, would the Melkites at the council accept that the Immaculate Conception was such a definition? Probably not. So even if this understanding was adopted it would be objectionable to the Orthodox, and still would not address the practical problems associated with the doctrine. Since there is such ambiguity surrounding the doctrine, which enjoys no patristic consensus, why is it needed?

Originally Posted by Nelson Chase
Quote
Since there is such ambiguity surrounding the doctrine, which enjoys no patristic consensus, why is it needed?


My sentiments exactly. I have never read a Father of the Church who implicitly or explicitly said that the Bishop of Rome was infallible. (now the Primacy is something different- I fully believe in a primacy of the Bishop of Rome. Primacy doesn't equal infallibility)

Why is it needed? The Church did just fine without it for 1800 plus years and ever since its proclamation it has just added a further division between East and West that was totally unnecessary.
You (pl) are demonstrating the need in your response above.

Regarding the IC for instance, what do you make of these Melkites and their belief? They seem to have a clear understanding.

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CHURCH

There one finds a fairly detailed "meditation" which begins:

Quote

THE WAY TO AN ADULT FAITH

(My weekly meditation)

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (1)

"We declare , pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful". ("Ineffabilis Deus", Apostolic Constitution issued by Pope Pius IX on December 1854)...

With the declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, faith prevailed over all those currents of philosophy in which reason appeared to contradict faith.
Posted By: Nelson Chase

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 07:23 PM

Quote
You (pl) are demonstrating the need in your response above.


I fail to see what you mean.
Posted By: Iason

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 07:36 PM

Originally Posted by jjp
Well, what it does say is, "I believe everything Eastern Orthodoxy teaches."

So by everything, I think what they mean is... everything. Part 2 of the statement stems from part 1.

Yes, but my point was this. I believe everything that my mathematics textbook teaches. Does that mean that I believe nothing else? No; I believe other things as well. Furthermore, suppose that my mathematics textbook says toward the front that it was printed in Chicago. There's a sense in which that isn't part of what the mathematics book teaches; while it does say in the book that it was printed in Chicago, the mathematics book doesn't teach that it was printed in Chicago -- it teaches math, and that's it! So, the statement, "I believe everything that X teaches," means just that. It doesn't mean that I don't believe additional things, and it doesn't mean that I believe things asserted by X but not part of what X teaches. In the case of the Zoghby Profession, then, it needs to be clarified whether there are any extra things believed, and also what counts as being "taught" by Orthodoxy.

About the second of those matters, there is some good reason to think that all that is included in clause 1 of the Zoghby Profession of Faith as "taught by Orthodoxy" is the teaching of the seven ecumenical councils. When the Melkite Holy Synod issued its document about reunification with the Antiochian Patriarchate, this is (part of) what it said (http://www.melkite.org/sa3.htm):

Quote
4.The Joint Commission will discuss one point further, that is, the role of the Bishop of Rome in the church and in the ecumenical councils. On this subject the Fathers of the Synod adopt what was stated in the Second Vatican Council: to give due consideration to the character of the relations which obtained between them and the Roman See before separation (Decree on Ecumenism #14); and also what His Holiness Pope John Paul II said in his encyclical That All May Be One - Ut Unum Sint (#61): The Catholic Church desires nothing less than full communion between East and West. She finds inspiration for this in the experience of the first millennium. Concerning the primacy of the Bishop of Rome the Fathers declare that they are inspired by the understanding in which East and West lived in the first millennium in the light of the teachings of the seven ecumenical councils, and they see that there is no reason for the separation to continue because of that primacy.

5.Based on that unity in the essence of the faith [that existed in the first millennium], the Fathers of the Holy Synod that the communicatio in sacris is possible today, and that they accept it, leaving the ways and means of its application to the joint decisions of the two church synods - Melkite Greek Catholic and Greek Orthodox.

Here it is clear that the Holy Synod thinks intercommunion is possible because there is "unity in the essence of faith," where "that unity" appears to refer to the unity in belief concerning the teachings of the seven ecumenical councils, as it existed in the first millennium. They do not regard unity to be established conclusively with respect to the Bishop of Rome, apparently, because that is a subject that remains open to further discussion. So, this is some indication that the Synod understood themselves to "believe everything that Eastern Orthodox teaches" in the sense that they have unity in the essence of the faith, i.e., the authoritative teachings of Eastern Orthodoxy, i.e., the teachings of the seven ecumenical councils.

Patriarch Gregory III, the current Melkite Patriarch, made comments to the Orientale Lumen conference in 2002 that are also suggestive of this understanding (www.mliles.com/melkite/patriarchol2002.doc). He said (emphases added):

Quote
We Melkites have almost everything in common with the Orthodox; the history, the geography, the Creed (without the Filioque), the seven Ecumenical Councils (we are all Chalcedonians), the Divine Liturgy, and all liturgical books and prayers, liturgical uses, the calendar of feasts and saints. . . . On the other hand, we are in full communion with Rome. Rome does not ask us to change our Creed. Even when it comes to the two new dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Theotokos, we still keep our own Eastern vision about them, as they appear in the liturgical texts. . . . If I am in full communion with Rome, and I have nothing to change in my Creed, in my Liturgy, which are the same ones as in Orthodoxy, why am I not in communion with the Orthodox Church, and why is the Orthodox Church not in communion with Rome? I am an Orthodox, with a plus: I am in communion with Rome.

This quote suggests again that the ground for communion ought to be the shared Creed, Liturgy, seven ecumenical councils, etc. It doesn't seem to suggest that there is agreement with Eastern Orthodoxy about absolutely everything, for it indicates that there are "two new dogmas," those of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, that are accepted by Melkites, albeit with their own "Eastern vision about them." The Patriarch says "almost everything" is shared in common.

Later, he adds this:

Quote
Patriarch Gregory II Youssef Sayour (died in 1897), was an eminent representative of Eastern ecclesiology at the first Vatican Council. . . . he insisted on the extreme importance of conforming to the decisions of the Council of Florence.

Now, the Patriarch is presumably talking about the part of the council that says that the other bishops retain their own rights and privileges even despite the pope's primacy. But still, there is reliance here on the decisions of a post-schism council not accepted by Eastern Orthodoxy.

The above two quotes appear in a paper by the current Melkite Patriarch in which he is discussing the Zoghby Initiative, among other things. He seems to be saying, ultimately, that the disagreement over primacy is not a "theological" difference," and that, in his view, the ecclesiology of Rome is reconcilable with Orthodox ecclesiology. Meanwhile, the essence of the faith is shared in common, in such a way that intercommunion ought to be hoped for right now. This does not mean that he rejects the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, or the decisions of the Council of Florence. Overall, then, all of this seems to suggest that the Zoghby Initiative was not understood as something allowing Melkites to not accept post-schism, "Latin" doctrinal definitions and disregard post-schism councils; instead, the main point seems to have been that Orthodoxy and Catholicism are compatible even with these post-schism developments -- the ecclesiologies are reconcilable, and, "in light of the teachings of the seven ecumenical councils . . . [there is] unity in the essence of the faith." That's all, from what I can tell.
Posted By: jjp

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 08:02 PM

Originally Posted by Iason

Here it is clear that the Holy Synod thinks intercommunion is possible because there is "unity in the essence of faith," where "that unity" appears to refer to the unity in belief concerning the teachings of the seven ecumenical councils, as it existed in the first millennium. They do not regard unity to be established conclusively with respect to the Bishop of Rome, apparently, because that is a subject that remains open to further discussion. So, this is some indication that the Synod understood themselves to "believe everything that Eastern Orthodox teaches" in the sense that they have unity in the essence of the faith, i.e., the authoritative teachings of Eastern Orthodoxy, i.e., the teachings of the seven ecumenical councils.


Okay, but I think you may have just thrown out papal infallibility with the bathwater, as it is not a part of the Creed nor the Seven Ecumenical Councils. If that is all that the Eastern Orthodox Church teaches, it is also all that the Roman Catholic Church teaches. The rest is, as you say, "printed in Chicago."
Posted By: Nelson Chase

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 08:09 PM

Here are some words to ponder from the Melkite Patriarch that seem to indicate his postion.

Quote
But we must not forget that the official theological position of Rome does not represent the position of all Western Catholics. As it was recently underlined by Archbishop John Raphael Quinn, there are Roman Catholic theologians who do not completely and fully accept the ecclesiology of the First and Second Vatican Councils.


Also, on the issue of Infallibily and later councils

Quote
We must explain and clarify the topics that are obstacles to our full communion: Primacy of the Pope of Rome, Western Councils which cannot be recognized as Ecumenical Councils (as it has been admitted by highly qualified Western theologians since Pope Paul VI), theological dogmas formulated in Western vocabulary and concepts (Immaculate Conception and Assumption of the Theotokos, infallibility of the Pope of Rome).[/b]
According to his Beatitude the teachings of these councils are not binding on Eastern Catholics as they are only Local Councils of the Western Church. They are not set in stone and need to be clarified.

http://www.mliles.com/melkite/patholyapostles.pdf
Posted By: Iason

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 08:32 PM

Originally Posted by jjp
Okay, but I think you may have just thrown out papal infallibility with the bathwater, as it is not a part of the Creed nor the Seven Ecumenical Councils. If that is all that the Eastern Orthodox Church teaches, it is also all that the Roman Catholic Church teaches. The rest is, as you say, "printed in Chicago."

Sorry, the idea that I was trying to express was that the Roman Catholic Church (and the Eastern Catholic Churches) endorse the Creed, the seven ecumenical councils, etc., plus additional things that the Orthodox apparently do not. The Orthodox, though, endorse the Creed, the seven ecumenical councils, etc. All share that.
Posted By: Iason

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 09:03 PM

Originally Posted by Nelson Chase
Here are some words to ponder from the Melkite Patriarch that seem to indicate his postion.

Also, on the issue of Infallibily and later councils

According to his Beatitude the teachings of these councils are not binding on Eastern Catholics as they are only Local Councils of the Western Church. They are not set in stone and need to be clarified.

http://www.mliles.com/melkite/patholyapostles.pdf

I'm glad that you mentioned this document. I'm not at all inclined to think that it ought to be understood the way that you suggest in your glosses, though (in fact, I think it probably shouldn't be understood that way at all). I'll say why.

The first quote requires some larger context. Here it is:

Quote
The ecclesiological dimension has the leading role in the ecumenical movement in the world. But why is the ecumenical movement now in deep crisis, quite in agony? After the meeting in Balamand, the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches met once in the United States (in Baltimore), without any result, and since then has not met any more.

All these things are urging us to go ahead in our prophetical role, in the line of my predecessors Gregorios II and Maximos IV.

But we must not forget that the official theological position of Rome does not represent the position of all Western Catholics. As it was recently underlined by Archbishop John Raphael Quinn, there are Roman Catholic theologians who do not completely and fully accept the ecclesiology of the First and Second Vatican Councils. This is why our firm decision to achieve our initiative will let us get into the arena of the international ecumenical movement and work.

Now, the train of thought here seems to go like this: The ecumenical movement is in crisis; Catholics and Orthodox have stopped talking. This urges us to take up the cause in our own prophetical role. But (notice: the "but" is stating an apparent opposition to the Melkites taking up their proper role) some Roman Catholics don't fully accept the ecclesiology of Vatican I and Vatican II. This is why we can and must get into the ecumenical arena and work.

Now, given the word "but," which appears to make it sound as if the fact that some Roman Catholics don't fully accept the ecclesiology of Vatican I and II is an opposition to the Melkites playing a role in ecumenism, how are we to understand this? Well, there are at least two ways in which some Roman Catholics don't fully accept the ecclesiology of Vatican I and II. Some might deny that the pope is infallible, true. But why would that be opposed to the Melkites taking up their role in the ecumenical movement? It doesn't seem that it would. On the other hand, some Roman Catholics might not fully accept Vatican I and II because they might not be accepting of the not purely monarchical, non-exaggerated, non-ultramontane view of the pope (expressed particularly in Vatican II, but also to some degree in Vatican I) in which other bishops, including Eastern bishops and patriarchs, have true rights and privileges from Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit rather than as mere "delegates" of the pope, and in which the pope's infallibility is presented as a corollary of the Church's infallibility. In other words, they might have much too strong views about the pope, and much too limited views about the rights and privileges of the bishops (particularly the Eastern bishops), in opposition to what is actually taught at Vatican II in particular. That would be an obvious obstacle to Melkite involvement in the ecumenical movement between Rome and Orthodoxy. In fact, this is precisely the misunderstanding of Vatican I that Patriarch Maximos IV warned about at Vatican II:

Quote
The supporters of this extremist opinion [are] aware that Tradition is not on their side . . . With this method [of reasoning] it can also be claimed that ordinary priests obtain their canonical mission from the pope, but indirectly, through the intermediary of their bishops. Following this train of thought, we can ask ourselves what, in the Church, does not issue from the pope! The very excesses of these deductions show that the method is scientifically condemnable and that the deductions are unjustified.

5. The supporters of the opinion that we are opposing have recourse to another deduction. They claim that their opinion is a logical conclusion of the dogma of Roman primacy. Therefore, they say, according to the definition of Vatican Council I, the pope possesses an ordinary, episcopal, and immediate power over the pastors and the faithful, and the bishops obtain their power over their respective dioceses only through the pope's mandate. To this we reply: the definition of Vatican Council I does not in any way include a statement that the pope is the ultimate and sole source of all power in the Church. Someone can have authority over another without being the source of all authority for this other person. The two things are distinct. To pass from one to the other is to surreptitiously desire the Church to accept a new dogma that Vatican Council I in no way defined, even though it could have done so.

So, to put the point shortly, your first quote appears to be best understood as saying that some people don't fully accept Vatican II and the proper understanding of Vatican I according to which the bishops, including the Eastern Catholic bishops, have full rights and privileges by virtue of their office and are not as mere delegates of the ultramontane pope. That could prevent Melkites from taking up their prophetical role in the ecumenical movement. But it is also precisely why Melkites must take initiative and work to play a real, assertive role. On this understanding, there is no (even implicit) denial of the dogma of Vatican I or Vatican II to be found in this quote at all.

The second quote you cite says only that we must "explain and clarify" topics that are obstacles to full communion with the Orthodox. Yes, these include the primacy of the pope, Western councils, and other theological dogmas (note: the quote says that they are theological dogmas). Nothing said in this quote says what you assert, namely that, "the teachings of these councils are not binding on Eastern Catholics as they are only Local Councils of the Western Church." It only says that those councils were not all ecumenical, which is obviously true, and that the topics must be explained and clarified (not denied, as in the first post that started this thread). It is still possible for non-ecumenical, local councils to produce infallible declarations of dogma, insofar as they may include infallible declarations of the pope. This seems to be the case with Trent, for example, about which Patriarch Maximos IV said (I quote again):

Quote
The indissolubility of marriage has been solemnly defined by the Council of Trent. It is an object of faith for every Catholic and closes the door to all discussion. Period.

That contradicts your way of glossing the quote. Again, then, given the total evidence (including also previous quotes I've provided from Melkite hierarchs about the infallibility of the pope and the authority of Vatican I), the best way to understand what you've quoted seems to be to understand it as saying that there are post-schism dogmas that we must accept, but that must be explained and clarified to our Orthodox brethren and said not to be the result of truly ecumenical councils. They can still be binding, even so.

In summary, these appear to be two not-entirely-clear quotations that do not really challenge the position I've been speaking on behalf of here, and in fact seem best explained by that position. The overall evidence still seems to suggest to me that Melkites are to accept post-schism "Latin" dogma as authoritative, though it is permissible to give them a more Eastern interpretation.
Posted By: Iason

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 09:31 PM

I just want to clarify a portion of what I said, but my time to edit the post has expired.

I said, "On the other hand, some Roman Catholics might not fully accept Vatican I and II because they might not be accepting of the not purely monarchical, non-exaggerated, non-ultramontane view of the pope (expressed particularly in Vatican II, but also to some degree in Vatican I) in which other bishops, including Eastern bishops and patriarchs, have true rights and privileges from Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit rather than as mere "delegates" of the pope, and in which the pope's infallibility is presented as a corollary of the Church's infallibility."

I find that a bit hard to parse, so, in case there's trouble, I'd rephrase it to say, "On the other hand, some Roman Catholics might not fully accept Vatican I and II because they might not be accepting of the view that the pope is not the purely monarchical source of all power in the Church, i.e., the view expressed at Vatican II and I according to which other bishops, including Eastern bishops and patriarchs, have true rights and privileges from Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit rather than as mere "delegates" of the pope, and according to which the pope's infallibility is a corollary of the Church's infallibility."

If a moderator wants to go ahead and change my original post (and delete this one), that'd be fine with me!
Posted By: Otsheylnik

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 10:59 PM

There seems to be a supposition in posts in this thread that what the Orthodox believe can easily be defined in first millennium terms (seven councils, no infallibility, etc.).

I think it is worth making the point that this situation is not so simple - there are many trends and movements and phases in Orthodoxy that are not taken into account in this definition. For example, the "aerial toll houses" are rapidly becoming dogmatised (mainstream or consensus Orthodox opinion)in some sections of Orthodoxy. There was a period where the Immaculate Conception was mainstream Orthodox opinion as well. Orthodoxy is a living Church, and it is a mistake to try and define what it believes based solely on some checklist based primarily on its pre-schism state.
Posted By: Nelson Chase

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/07/11 11:11 PM

Quote

There seems to be a supposition in posts in this thread that what the Orthodox believe can easily be defined in first millennium terms (seven councils, no infallibility, etc.).

I think it is worth making the point that this situation is not so simple - there are many trends and movements and phases in Orthodoxy that are not taken into account in this definition. For example, the "aerial toll houses" are rapidly becoming dogmatised (mainstream or consensus Orthodox opinion)in some sections of Orthodoxy. There was a period where the Immaculate Conception was mainstream Orthodox opinion as well. Orthodoxy is a living Church, and it is a mistake to try and define what it believes based solely on some checklist based primarily on its pre-schism state.



Excellent points.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/08/11 01:08 AM

Answering some old questions:
Originally Posted by DTBrown
Are you saying that the only interpretation is that Peter alone received the keys?
No; rather the exegetical point is that scripture only attests that Peter was given the keys by Christ.

Originally Posted by DTBrown
Fr. Laurent also gives that as a possible interpretation (p. 266).

Where does Fr. Laurent deny Peter's headship or that he is the coryphaeus?
Nowhere, but I did not say that. Regarding the clarity of his scriptural interpretations, however...

Originally Posted by DTBrown
Originally Posted by ajk
It seems that too often Orthodox in their zeal to deny papal claims question the plain words of scripture, even beyond the accepted liturgical expression that some maintain is the essence of primary theology.


Where do you mean?
For instance, the bottom of p266 to p267 where he brings the keys into Mat 18 and John 20; his (strawman) Sola Scriptura characterization as dogmatizing apart from Tradition and the Fathers on p 268.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/08/11 02:17 AM

Originally Posted by Nelson Chase
Quote
You (pl) are demonstrating the need in your response above.


I fail to see what you mean.
How is one to interpret your (pl) "why is it needed?", the "it" being the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and, in particular, the dogma of Papal Infallibility? For the latter should be seen as a service to the Church, giving the mercy of peace and assurance of certitude rather than the burden of having to ask or object, "why is it needed?"
Posted By: Economos Roman V. Russo

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/08/11 11:14 AM

The Jesuits of Civilta` Cattolica told Pope Pius IX, "Define a dogma, ANY dogma. Define it alone: we need this for infallibility." As Holy Writ has it in another place but in similar circumstances, "What further need have we of witnesses?" INDEED!!!
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/08/11 01:43 PM

The Fathers were not so much interested in certitude as they were truth. The whole demand for certitude is pretty much a product of the Reformation. As we never experienced the Reformation, we do not have that demand, nor feel its need.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/08/11 03:31 PM

Originally Posted by Ot'ets Nastoiatel'
The Jesuits of Civilta` Cattolica told Pope Pius IX, "Define a dogma, ANY dogma. Define it alone: we need this for infallibility." As Holy Writ has it in another place but in similar circumstances, "What further need have we of witnesses?" INDEED!!!
"What further need have we of witnesses?" Yes, the words of Caiaphas, indeed. A reference is always nice to insure that what those "Jesuits" said is conveyed by the English. I wonder what the "Jesuits of Civilta` Cattolica" would be saying of this today. And what are the "similar circumstances"?

Anyway, what further need do you have of witnesses after the undocumented words of the "Jesuits of Civilta` Cattolica" have suggested something?

There are the words of a primary source, of course. In part (emphasis added):


**************************************************
Ineffabilis Deus

Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius IX on the Immaculate Conception (December 8, 1854)

PREPARATION FOR THE DEFINITION
...
That we might proceed with great prudence, we established a special congregation of our venerable brethren, the cardinals of the holy Roman Church, illustrious for their piety, wisdom, and knowledge of the sacred scriptures. We also selected priests, both secular and regular, well trained in the theological sciences, that they should most carefully consider all matters pertaining to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin and make known to us their opinion.

THE MIND OF THE BISHOPS

Although we knew the mind of the bishops from the petitions which we had received from them, namely, that the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin be finally defined, nevertheless, on February 2, 1849,[27] we sent an Encyclical Letter from Gaeta to all our venerable brethren, the bishops of the Catholic world, that they should offer prayers to God and then tell us in writing what the piety and devotion of their faithful was in regard to the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. We likewise inquired what the bishops themselves thought about defining this doctrine and what their wishes were in regard to making known with all possible solemnity our supreme judgment.

We were certainly filled with the greatest consolation when the replies of our venerable brethren came to us. For, replying to us with a most enthusiastic joy, exultation and zeal, they not only again confirmed their own singular piety toward the Immaculate Conception of the most Blessed Virgin, and that of the secular and religious clergy and of the faithful, but with one voice they even entreated us to define our supreme judgment and authority the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin. In the meantime we were indeed filled with no less joy when, after a diligent examination, our venerable brethren, the cardinals of the special congregation and the theologians chosen by us as counselors (whom we mentioned above), asked with the same enthusiasm and fervor for the definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God.

Consequently, following the examples of our predecessors, and desiring to proceed in the traditional manner, we announced and held a consistory, in which we addressed our brethren,
the cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. It was the greatest spiritual joy for us when we heard them ask us to promulgate the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mother of God.[28]

Therefore, having full trust in the Lord that the opportune time had come for defining the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, which Holy Scripture, venerable Tradition, the constant mind of the Church, the desire of Catholic bishops and the faithful, and the memorable Acts and Constitutions of our predecessors, wonderfully illustrate and proclaim, and having most diligently considered all things, as we poured forth to God ceaseless and fervent prayers, we concluded that we should no longer delay in decreeing and defining by our supreme authority the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. And thus, we can satisfy the most holy desire of the Catholic world as well as our own devotion toward the most holy Virgin, and at the same time honor more and more the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord through his holy Mother -- since whatever honor and praise are bestowed on the Mother redound to the Son.

THE DEFINITION

Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete. Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own:

We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.

[Declaramus, pronuntiamus et definimus doctrinam quae tenet beatissimam Virginem Mariam in primo instanti suae conceptionis fuisse singulari Omnipotentis Dei gratia et privilegio, intuitu meritorum Christi Jesu Salvatoris humani generis, ab omni originalis culpae labe praeservatam immunem, esse a Deo revelatam, atque idcirco ab omnibus fidelibus firmiter constanterque credendam.]


**************************************************

He was not in conformity with those Jesuits here, nor did he conform after Vatican I.


Posted By: ByzBob

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/08/11 03:46 PM

What is objectionable about Ineffabilis Deus is the anathema for not following the definition. Really, as this is a secondary matter no anathema should be given. Obviously, Rome has the right to its theological assumptions, but she needs to keep in mind that her way isn't everyone's way.

Quote
Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.
Posted By: ajk

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/08/11 03:52 PM

Originally Posted by StuartK
The Fathers were not so much interested in certitude as they were truth. The whole demand for certitude is pretty much a product of the Reformation. As we never experienced the Reformation, we do not have that demand, nor feel its need.
I would trust that the Fathers and most everyone would understand that certitude is correlative to truth.

I do not understand the basis for the theological isolationism expressed, nor do I think it wise in today's world of mass communication, nor is it historically accurate in the absolute manner stated. And the need may not be felt by some but it is amply demonstrated.
Posted By: Systratiotes

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/08/11 05:25 PM

Originally Posted by StuartK
The Fathers were not so much interested in certitude as they were truth. The whole demand for certitude is pretty much a product of the Reformation. As we never experienced the Reformation, we do not have that demand, nor feel its need.

With no disrespect intended, and not seeking a rude colloquy; while also realizing this is clearly off-topic, I feel compelled to respectfully disagree with StuartK's statement as framed.

Certainly truth is absolute and universal and thus exclusive of all fallacy. Therefore knowing truth gives us certitude to stand firm against the avalanche of falseness which characterizes this evil age. To say we need no certitude is to imply that we may be satisfied with a mere subjective, uncertain perception or fuzzy feeling. No doubt some so stand, but I know of no deliniation of Christians operating without certitude.

I submit that certitude produces the very demominations we see today. It is certitude which causes likeminded persons to form fellowships whether they be Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant or otherwise. Certitude binds together like minds and drives minds that differ to separate. If we say we have the "mind of Christ" as did the Apostle Paul, then we are forced to adopt the same certitude that charicterized the Apostle's walk.

That said, I must confess, having arrived at certitude regarding truth and the ways of God, concience forces me to depart the subjective elements of Christendom to seek a simple way according to the primitive teachings of Paul in the spirit of Heb.13:13. I have not yet arrived. Nevertheless I am judged an heretic by the Church of my fathers because I eschew their elevation of men, systematic ritual and empty pagentry. I am judged an heretic by Protestants because I give scriptural authority to the Greek Seventy of the Apostles, not the Rabbi's 10th century Masoretic rescension which they prefer.

Such are the results of this certitude. So, from this "outside" perspective much within the Church indeed seems to hang on certitude variously held. Certainly, no group long remains cohesive without it.


μιχαηλ ο αιρετικον
Posted By: Iason

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/08/11 06:31 PM

StuartK, I just want to reiterate that I would love to hear some of your comments about the material that I've recently posted in this thread. Given that you've indicated that, in your view and in what you apparently take to be the view of the Melkite hierarchy, the decisions of post-schism "Latin" councils are non-binding, and Bishop John Elya's stance concerning them and other papal definitions is a fringe view, I'd like to hear what you think of the statements of the Melkite Holy Synod to Vatican II. Just to distill a few particular statements, we have them saying:

1. "[T]he pope is infallible . . . it is true that the definitions of the pope are irreformable and without appeal"

2. The "primacy and infallibility of the successor of Peter" is "immutable dogma"

3. The pope "formulates an indisputable affirmation 'ex sese' [of himself] . . . neither does the pope need the canonical consent of the bishops and the faithful to be infallible"

4. The pope "reserves for himself the right to judge as a last resort, discerning what in the wishes of his brothers comes or does not come from the Holy Spirit"

5. "The indissolubility of marriage has been solemnly defined by the Council of Trent. It is an object of faith for every Catholic and closes the door to all discussion. Period."

What do you think about what the Synod (including Patriarch Maximos IV and Archbishop Elias Zoghby) said in these cases?
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/09/11 02:23 AM

Quote
Certainly truth is absolute and universal and thus exclusive of all fallacy. Therefore knowing truth gives us certitude to stand firm against the avalanche of falseness which characterizes this evil age.


The Fathers were also smart enough to know that some things are beyond the ability of human reason and human language to describe or define, and thus were willing to let them without explanation. Since God is, by His nature, ineffable, indescribable, ever-existing and ever the same, any human attempt to circumscribe God is bound to fail, and any attempt to define the divine mysteries will be approximate, analogical, incomplete, and to some extent, inaccurate.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/09/11 02:24 AM

Bishop John is a very nice man and a good pastor, but his thinking is not, and has never been in accord with the rest of the Synod. Let's leave it at that.
Posted By: Economos Roman V. Russo

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/10/11 01:52 PM

Though he and Archbishop Michel of Montreal originally declined to sign the Zoghby Initiative, Bishop John did align himself with the entire hierarchy of the Melkite Church in endorsing it eventually. It seems that a similar initiative was launched by (former) Ukrainian Patriarch Lyubomir (Husar).
Posted By: Apotheoun

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/10/11 09:39 PM

Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
Certainly truth is absolute and universal and thus exclusive of all fallacy. Therefore knowing truth gives us certitude to stand firm against the avalanche of falseness which characterizes this evil age.

The Fathers were also smart enough to know that some things are beyond the ability of human reason and human language to describe or define, and thus were willing to let them without explanation. Since God is, by His nature, ineffable, indescribable, ever-existing and ever the same, any human attempt to circumscribe God is bound to fail, and any attempt to define the divine mysteries will be approximate, analogical, incomplete, and to some extent, inaccurate.

I agree.

In fact that is why St. Hilary said: ". . . the errors of heretics and blasphemers force us to deal with unlawful matters, to scale perilous heights, to speak unutterable words, to trespass on forbidden ground. Faith ought in silence to fulfill the commandments, worshipping the Father, reverencing with Him the Son, abounding in the Holy Ghost, but we must strain the poor resources of our language to express thoughts too great for words. The error of others compels us to err in daring to embody in human terms truths which ought to be hidden in the silent veneration of the heart."
Posted By: griego catolico

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/10/11 10:51 PM

Originally Posted by Ot'ets Nastoiatel'
Though he and Archbishop Michel of Montreal originally declined to sign the Zoghby Initiative, Bishop John did align himself with the entire hierarchy of the Melkite Church in endorsing it eventually.


Interesting. When did he sign on to the Zoghby Initiative?

Quote
It seems that a similar initiative was launched by (former) Ukrainian Patriarch Lyubomir (Husar).


What happened to this initiative?
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/10/11 11:36 PM

I am not familiar with the Ukrainian initiative, unless it refers to the work of the Kyivan Church Studies Group--which was quite different in its aims from the Zoghby Initiative.
Posted By: Apotheoun

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/11/11 03:08 AM

Originally Posted by StuartK
I am not familiar with the Ukrainian initiative, unless it refers to the work of the Kyivan Church Studies Group--which was quite different in its aims from the Zoghby Initiative.

I thought Archbishop Husar proposed some kind of "dual communion" idea, which would involve the unification of all the Ukrainian Churches into one Church that would be in communion with Rome and the Orthodox East at the same time.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/11/11 03:33 PM

If he did, good for him. I'm sure it went over like the proverbial fart in church in both Rome and Moscow.
Posted By: Iason

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/11/11 05:53 PM

Apotheoun, I would also be very interested to hear your perspective on the material that I've quoted from the Melkite Holy Synod at Vatican II. What do you think of it? Is it not in tension with some of the views that you have expressed concerning papal infallibility, the teachings of post-schism "Latin" councils (e.g., Trent), etc.? (For a partial summary, see this post.)

(I honestly don't ask this question to "bait" you or anyone else into debate. I'm interested in the opinions of other Eastern Catholics whom I respect.)
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/12/11 01:14 PM

Vatican II was some fifty years ago, and should be considered the starting point of a discussion between Rome and the Eastern Catholic Churches. All we really want, when push comes to shove, is for Rome to treat us in the manner they say they will treat the Orthodox when communion is restored.

Of course, the Orthodox cannot be faulted for viewing those statements as empty promises, when they look at how Rome treats the Eastern Churches already in communion with it. In fact, they might be justified in saying Rome was being either cynical or disingenuous.

Since we have to believe that is not the case, the only thing we, as Eastern Catholics can do, is hold Rome's feet to the fire by demanding that it respect the fullness of our Tradition in all its respects, and not just when it is convenient for Rome to do so.
Posted By: Herbigny

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/14/11 04:43 AM


Yes, I do recall that sometime Patriarch Lubomyr did float the idea of a "dual Communion".

Even more than having Rome treat us like true Autonomous Churches of the Catholic Communion, we ourselves have to think, feel, and esp. ACT as autonomous Churches (in theology, spirituality, liturgy, discipine, and governance & polity)! I think that is the 1st step. So long as we think and act like a "rite" of the Roman Catholic Church, then we will remain half-napiw uniates.


Posted By: Peter J

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/14/11 02:40 PM

Can someone clarify, are you guys talking about this, or something more recent?

Cardinal Husar denounces Uniatism and urges to establish a one Orthodox-Catholic Church in Ukraine
Posted By: Herbigny

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/14/11 05:26 PM


Dear Peter:

It is a related idea. At one point the sometime Patriarch floated the idea that the UGCC would re-establish our unity with a united Orthodox Church of Ukraine - but without breaking Communion with the Catholic Churches.
cf. the reference in
http://risu.org.ua/en/index/expert_thought/webconf_archive/25537/
This was back in 2008
And then somehow it got reported that the Ecumenical Patriarch supported this idea (which spread like wildfire {but it was mis-reported})
eg:
http://catholicism.about.com/b/2008/06/22/a-new-communion-for-catholics-and-orthodox.htm

we had lots of discussion here when it happened
http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/292707/1
and then
http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/294507/1
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/14/11 07:36 PM

Given that the Kyivan bishops who proposed the Treaty of Brest did not intend to sever their communion with the Orthodox Church when they reopened their communion with the Church of Rome, and that several Metropolitans of Kyiv were actually in communion with Rome before the Treaty of Brest, this is just a continuation of a long-cherished aspect of Kyivan Church history.
Posted By: Herbigny

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/14/11 07:42 PM

I had not heard "that several Metropolitans of Kyiv were actually in communion with Rome before the Treaty of Brest"!
Can you tell us more?
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/14/11 10:10 PM

I'll have to dig out Fr. Borys Gudziak's book Crisis and Reform: The Kyivan Metropolitanate, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Genesis of the Union of Brest. From the time of the Union of Florence through the end of the 16th century, there were several Kyivan Metropolitans who either openly or privately accepted the Union.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/15/11 11:34 AM

Originally Posted by Herbigny

Dear Peter:

It is a related idea. At one point the sometime Patriarch floated the idea that the UGCC would re-establish our unity with a united Orthodox Church of Ukraine - but without breaking Communion with the Catholic Churches.
cf. the reference in
http://risu.org.ua/en/index/expert_thought/webconf_archive/25537/
This was back in 2008


Thanks, Herbigny. They refer to 'the letter of Cardinal Husar concerning his idea of a "double unity" of Greek Catholics with Rome and Constantinople at the same time'. Do you know whether the text of that letter can be found online?
Posted By: Herbigny

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/16/11 03:03 AM

I too would be interested if anyone out there can find the letter of "Patriarch Lubomyr" (hate when they call him "Cardinal" {no offense to the real RC Cardinals}) floating his great idea of "double unity". He had a few really great ideas that he floated - like an exploration of the role of something like a College of Patriarchs in the Catholic Communion.

These initiatives continue to float and I believe at some point must land, take root, and bear fruit. I would say this especially about the Zogby Initiative. The mere fact that the Latin Church (or more accurately, the bureaucrats of the Patriarchal dicasteries did not agree) does not end the matter. In the Catholic Communion, the Churches can disagree (even about some very serious matters) and still remain "family", i.e. without breaking Communion. We continue to commemorate each other in the diptychs. We continue to care for each other, work with each other, etc. These cases are not appeals to Rome, nor are they matters within the Latin Patriarchate, so the principle of "Roma dixit, causa finis" does not apply.
Posted By: Herbigny

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 06/16/11 06:00 PM

These initiatives of Patriarch Lubomyr & esp. Bishop Elias (Zogby) continue to float and I believe at some point must land, take root, and bear fruit. The mere fact that the Latin Church (or more accurately, the bureaucrats of the Patriarchal dicasteries did not agree) does not end the matter at all at all.

(sorry about the repetition, I meant to do it in 2 parts, but messed it up)

As far as I know the Melkite Holy Synod did not recant their position. The Vatican dicastery did not demand a recantation. The Vatican dicastery did not break Communion. The Vatican dicastery did not threaten to break Communion. The Vatican dicastery did not invoke any censures or threaten any censures against the Synod Fathers. They just disagreed. Voila.

In the Catholic Communion, the Churches can disagree (even about some very serious matters) and still remain "family", i.e. without breaking Communion. We continue to commemorate each other in the diptychs. We continue to care for each other, work with each other, etc. These cases are not appeals to Rome, nor are they matters within the Latin Patriarchate, so the principle of "Roma dixit, causa finis" does not apply.

These issues and initiatives are still alive and the causa finis non est (if you will excuse my bad latin).

ps take the case ordinations of married men to the presbyterate in Canada in the early days. They were ordained. (Certain individual(s) of the local church, whose name(s) & position(s) I shall not mention, were highly offended and these few (or 1) complained to the Vatican.) The Vatican suspended the priests. The Eparch appealed the suspension. While the appeal was under consideration the Eparch directed the priests to continue to function. And so it remains up to today. As far as I know, there never was a definitive resolution. In many such cases, that dictum: "it's complicated" really applies. That is to say it is not as straightforward as the CCEO or Pastor Aeternus (vis a vis the Eastern Catholic Churches) might seem to suggest. Of course now the issue of married priests (while not officially nor publically approved of by the Vatican dicasteries) is a total non-issue (at least in the UGCC, and I believe in the Melkite GCC too).
Posted By: Father Deacon Ed

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 07/20/11 05:52 AM

The interesting point here is that neither Rome nor the Orthodox disagreed with the gist of Bishop Elias's assertions. Their primary response was that we're not ready for this. Like many things, however, this initiative is already and not yet. Much of it already happens in the Middle East with full knowledge.

Fr, Deacon Ed
Posted By: Anatolius

Re: Melkite Answers to Common Questions - 07/21/11 08:09 PM

Wow, very interesting discussion. How many battles we have in Ukraine on this topics. I have not read all answers - too much letters he-he. But the first topic is very interesting...
© 2020 The Byzantine Forum