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JohnS. #312422 02/12/09 12:55 PM
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Father Loya has often said that we must die before we can live. We must tear this old structure down so we can rebuild an authentic BC Church. I believe he's right or I wouldn't keep coming. Perhaps that death is part of God's plan for the eventual resurrection. I pray often to have the level of hope and faith that he has. I can't imagine being anything but BC. I plan to exhaust myself supporting the vision of a truly renewed BC.

CDL

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A few things come to mind reading this thread. The first being my own recent frustrations in the BC. The genesis of the frustrations is difficult to pinpoint. It feels at times that we are a failed experiment – Balamand didn’t help in that regard. On the one hand we are told to read Orthodox sources for theology/spirituality, and our seminary bookstore stocks works from Orthodox writes such as Lossky, Schmemann, etc. These writers show that the eastern approach to theology does not fit easily, if at all with Roman Catholic developments after the separation. Which takes us to the issue of the post-schism councils – what is their status? Every RC source I’ve looked at lists them as ecumenical. So where does that leave us in terms of our valid theological approach? Is it enough to simply not deny what the councils said, or must we believe what they defined as dogma? My RC friends seem to think we must, but I fail to see how we can and still remain eastern. Further compounding the problem is the message we have been receiving from Rome. Rome seems to want us to return to a more authentic eastern expression, but doesn’t tell us how we can do that if we are required to follow their doctrines. If we are not “required,” to do so then are the councils truly ecumenical? It seems unfair to our RC brethren to say that they not, when that is part of their beliefs, and if they are they should be part of ours as well.
I have been wondering, especially in light of the RDL, what benefit do we derive from union with Rome? The RDL is not in keeping with the instructions on Liturgical reform given by Rome, but we have it anyway. Rome has not intervened, even though it would have been legitimate if it had done so. We don’t evangelize, and I think that is because of an identity crisis. People interested in becoming Catholic join the RC, those interested in the east typically become Orthodox. I think that the BC, at least in this country, never was in the position of having to evangelize, and not only lacks the knowledge but also lacks the will to do it now. Most of the parishes in my area tend to be older folks who are second/ third generation BC’s who have a certain comfort level being a mix of Latin and Greek. Thus, going back to a more authentic eastern approach isn’t always warmly received, which is sort of understandable. They have been worshipping a certain way their entire lives. This post is probably all over the place, but to answer the question what I’d do if we were suddenly dissolved, I would probably become Orthodox.

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ByzBob #312426 02/12/09 02:16 PM
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ByzBob,

You are stating many things that continually rumble around in my mind as well. Annunciation does some evangelization but I believe we would be doing a good deal more and more effectively if we weren't struggling with an identity crisis. Does that same crisis effect our hierarchs as well?

CDL

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Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
What's frustrating is there seems less and less hope that the Orthodox and Catholics will ever unite and Islam and Secularism continue to expand their nets. Maybe if it gets really bad the two groups (whatever they are to be called) will finally take reunion seriously. In the interim we seem to be content to die.

CDL

Solovyov wrote in his book on the Antichrist that it would take the reign of the Abomination of Desolation to unite all Christians together.

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I think so. An example, from the Metroplia of Pittsburgh, would be the lack of desire to ordain married men to the priesthood. I see no reason for hesitation in this area other than an identity crisis.

ByzBob #312448 02/12/09 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ByzBob
... On the one hand we are told to read Orthodox sources for theology/spirituality, and our seminary bookstore stocks works from Orthodox writes such as Lossky, Schmemann, etc. These writers show that the eastern approach to theology does not fit easily, if at all with Roman Catholic developments after the separation. Which takes us to the issue of the post-schism councils – what is their status? Every RC source I’ve looked at lists them as ecumenical. So where does that leave us in terms of our valid theological approach? ... Further compounding the problem is the message we have been receiving from Rome. Rome seems to want us to return to a more authentic eastern expression, but doesn’t tell us how we can do that if we are required to follow their doctrines... The RDL is not in keeping with the instructions on Liturgical reform given by Rome, but we have it anyway... We don’t evangelize,...
There is nothing wrong with the basic theologies of Lossky, Schmemann, Meyendorf, Zizioulas etc., from a Catholic viewpoint, but don't expect them to endorse or explain (Latin/Roman/Westen) Catholic theology -- they're Orthodox! That's not their calling, that's OUR, Eastern Catholic, BBC responsibility. They are going to be critical of Catholic theology when they can, often because they don't understand or because they base conclusions on their own false caricatures, e.g. the evil scholastic boogeyman --- and we simply believe them? We don't do the job; I repeat myself here:

Quote
A Failure of our Church ?

To effectively articulate why, as eastern, orthodox Christians we are, and why one should be Catholic – we, who are living (though perhaps rather imperfectly) the desired unity.

Hence confusion. Rather than advancing an East/West synthesis as we should be able to on the basis of our Eastern church union with the Western church -- our lived experience -- we instead estrange ourselves from both East and West, often by equivocation.

Rome's Liturgical Instruction to the Eastern Churches was for the most part on the mark. We should have been able to product such a document ourselves, even a better, more informed one. Instead we produced the RDL.

Of course we don't evangelize in the usual sense; we need first to evangelize ourselves.


ajk #312456 02/12/09 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ajk
There is nothing wrong with the basic theologies of Lossky, Schmemann, Meyendorf, Zizioulas etc., from a Catholic viewpoint, but don't expect them to endorse or explain (Latin/Roman/Westen) Catholic theology -- they're Orthodox! That's not their calling, that's OUR, Eastern Catholic, BBC responsibility. They are going to be critical of Catholic theology when they can, often because they don't understand or because they base conclusions on their own false caricatures, e.g. the evil scholastic boogeyman --- and we simply believe them?
We are left to either believe them, or to deduce that they don't know eastern or western theology well enough to be an authority. If we say they know eastern theology they should likewise know what views are incompatible with it.
If that is the case why are we told to read them at all? Why don't we have our own authors who can better synthesize the eastern and western views? The efforts I have seen at this have been well intended, but leave more questions than they answer. For instance on the question of the councils after Nicea II. We would seem to want to downplay them, but the RC holds them up as ecumenical councils. At least two, Lyons and Florence were “reunion,” councils, and should hold significance for us. Yet I haven’t found anything written from a BCC perspective on either one. RC’s are fond of telling me, however, that I must follow their understanding of purgatory, indulgences, the filioque, etc., because of the councils. If, however, we believe that the liturgy is pedagogical then liturgically speaking we don’t understand these issues in the same way. I think that is a legitimate that we don’t, but I haven’t had this confirmed by an authority within the Church.
Originally Posted by ajk
A Failure of our Church ?
To effectively articulate why, as eastern, orthodox Christians we are, and why one should be Catholic – we, who are living (though perhaps rather imperfectly) the desired unity.
Hence confusion. Rather than advancing an East/West synthesis as we should be able to on the basis of our Eastern church union with the Western church -- our lived experience -- we instead estrange ourselves from both East and West, often by equivocation.
Rome's Liturgical Instruction to the Eastern Churches was for the most part on the mark. We should have been able to product such a document ourselves, even a better, more informed one. Instead we produced the RDL.
Of course we don't evangelize in the usual sense; we need first to evangelize ourselves.
I’m not sure there is enough time to evangelize ourselves before we can began outreach. Thanks for your thoughts.

ByzBob #312463 02/12/09 07:13 PM
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ByzBob said: People interested in becoming Catholic join the RC, those interested in the east typically become Orthodox.

Are there none out there who perhaps want Byzantine worship and theology but feel that union with Rome is the imperative of all Christians?

Alexis

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5. Other

We are the Church. We need to reach out in all directions and make use of all the spiritual resources available. There are many who have an inadequate Christian education. There are many who have a "not invented here" point of view.

The UGCC is moving to develop its resources to form better priests and to do better pastoral work. Some of this seems to involve bridging of East and West. The following are recent stories from the UGCC website.
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Bishop Ken Nowakowski, Head of Patriarchal Commission, chairs meeting of rectors and spiritual directors of Seminaries of North & South America in Brazil

http://www.ugcc.org.ua/news_single.0.html?&L=2&tx_ttnews[pS]=1229278679&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=570&tx_ttnews[backPid]=2&cHash=02f01801a7
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With the blessing of His Excellency Ihor (Voznyak), Archbishop of Lviv ... seminar’s aim is to gather active young people of the Lviv Archeparchy and acquaint them with the preventive system of education of Saint John Bosco.


St. John Bosco is an Italian Saint who was noted for establishing vocation schools and work-study programs for Italian youths. His ideas have been spread around the world by the Salesians.

http://www.ugcc.org.ua/news_single.0.html?&L=2&tx_ttnews[pS]=1229278679&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=586&tx_ttnews[backPid]=2&cHash=1d6730e772
...............................................................

A disk with a sign-language recording of the Liturgy was prepared in Lviv

http://www.ugcc.org.ua/news_single.0.html?&L=2&tx_ttnews[pS]=1229278679&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=566&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=4b4aa40378
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I think the following hs been posted elsewhere on the forum. I hope it will be made available on DVD in English.

Excerpts from the first audio book of His Beatitude Lubomyr, "The way to one’s self," can be seen on YouTube

.................................................
.................................................

Not all Eastern Catholics are trying or willing to disappear.

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Originally Posted by Logos - Alexis
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ByzBob said: People interested in becoming Catholic join the RC, those interested in the east typically become Orthodox.

Are there none out there who perhaps want Byzantine worship and theology but feel that union with Rome is the imperative of all Christians?

Alexis

That is clearly my desire. The Pope is content with that or at least the more recent ones are so it is hoped that we will not be crushed again as we have in the past by outrageous demands.

I was reading again Article II of section on the Proofs for the existence of God in St. Thomas' Summa. I note again that the second objection to being able to have such proofs was set forth by St. John of Damascus "that the subject matter of demonstration is that something exists, but in the case of God we cannot know what exists, but only what does not, as Damascenus says (Of the Orthodox Faith, I., 4.) Hence that we cannot demonstrate God's existence." This is classic Eastern thought characterized as the via negativa. I realized as I read this that while I love our mystical theology that I believe St. Thomas. I do believe that it is possible to know God or at least know with certainty that He exists. Apparently St. John's argument is based upon Hebrews 11 that an article of faith obviates any evidence that we might have. Yet, the entire chapter is set forth as evidence of the existence of God and then there is St. Paul's argument in Romans 1:19-20.

Now it could very well be that St. Thomas has misconstrued St. John's argument but whether he has or not I find St. Thomas' position very compelling.

I deduce from this that at least to some degree I have internalized a Byzantine Theology that that neither simply Eastern or Western but a synthesis of both.

Furthermore, as I examine the Catechism of the Catholic Church I note that there are numerous articles about Theosis which shows to me that even in Roman Catholicism there is a serious recognition as St. Cyril of Alexandria set forth that confession is not simply for repentance but vision.

CDL

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Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
...I deduce from this that at least to some degree I have internalized a Byzantine Theology that that neither simply Eastern or Western but a synthesis of both.

Furthermore, as I examine the Catechism of the Catholic Church I note that there are numerous articles about Theosis ...

These are very good examples, a witnessing, of the needed synthesis that I have mentioned. Thank you.


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Originally Posted by Logos - Alexis
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ByzBob said: People interested in becoming Catholic join the RC, those interested in the east typically become Orthodox.

Are there none out there who perhaps want Byzantine worship and theology but feel that union with Rome is the imperative of all Christians?

Alexis

Alexis, let me give you my soulful feelings, at the risk of offending my brothers and sisters. Eastern spirituality should be Pneumatological, that is, guided by the Holy Spirit, more so than by ecclesiological theology (Magisterium led). This is the basic strength of Eastern Christianity. It is guided by Tradition and the Early Church Fathers, but not limited by them. This is theoretical "perfection," as much as is humanly possible.

The Western Church, led by what I call Ecclesiological Theology, is nourished by the Holy Spirit and has the ability to constantly evolve to human society. So you see a more dynamic Church, even at the expense of dramatically modifying (to the point of reversing) its rules, recommendations, whatever you choose to call them. For example, fasting, rituals, regulations regarding Sacraments (age of First Communion, Chrismation).
This dynamism is the strength of the Western Church and because of its (most times) positive changes. This makes me spiritually joyful that as a Byzantine Catholic I am a part of the Eastern Lung of the Universal Catholic Church.

The WEAKNESS of the Western Magisterium is the inability to create various EQUAL Churches within the Catholic Church. For example, I see no reason why the fastest growing region (Black Africa) doesn't have its own Rite and rituals. I can imagine Saint Paul blasting the Magisterium for its rigidity, the same as he did to Saint Peter. Until the Roman Catholic Church can break this inability to accept diverse ritual under a common basic theology I don't see a reunion of East and West. The West will simply dominate the East and re-create a new schism.

The weakness of Eastern (Orthodoxy)Christianity is that they are not just ancient Churches, they do not know how to be responsive to the Holy Spirit on a universal level. The Churches are too splintered and .... I apologize for being offensive to my beloved Orthodox brothers... too politicized, nationalized and stubborn... to change as the Spirit moves them.

As I read through this thread I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly that the BCC doesn't have any apologists other than Patriarch Sheptynsky, St Josaphat, and Bishop Olsavsky. Archmandrite Taft is our most renowned speaker and writer, yet he speak on an Eastern Christian plane, not a an Eastern CATHOLIC. I haven't seen a defense or justification of Union from him.

The most formative articles that I have read are by Msgr Basil Sheregy, where he fits Greek Catholicism in the context of a Universal Catholicism. His articles are not PC right now and are probably not available.

Until we have new authors and apologists who are willing to have eastern and western "stones" cast at them we will continue to seek our "identity." I personally have no problem with my identity of a Eastern Christian within the Universal Catholic Church.

Fr Deacon Paul

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I was reading again Article II of section on the Proofs for the existence of God in St. Thomas' Summa. I note again that the second objection to being able to have such proofs was set forth by St. John of Damascus "that the subject matter of demonstration is that something exists, but in the case of God we cannot know what exists, but only what does not, as Damascenus says (Of the Orthodox Faith, I., 4.) Hence that we cannot demonstrate God's existence." This is classic Eastern thought characterized as the via negativa. I realized as I read this that while I love our mystical theology that I believe St. Thomas. I do believe that it is possible to know God or at least know with certainty that He exists. Apparently St. John's argument is based upon Hebrews 11 that an article of faith obviates any evidence that we might have. Yet, the entire chapter is set forth as evidence of the existence of God and then there is St. Paul's argument in Romans 1:19-20.

Now it could very well be that St. Thomas has misconstrued St. John's argument but whether he has or not I find St. Thomas' position very compelling.

I don't want to derail this thread too much, but I think for everyone's edification it's worth pointing out that St. John does argue that the existence of God can be proven, and St. Thomas was well aware of this. His statement of the "Objection" is not to refute St. John of Damascus (who actually uses many of the same proofs that St. Thomas does, such as the contingency of natural existence, to show that there must be a God), but to show how people might twist St. John's words to make an argument that he himself never put forward.

This is an important point because you mention that you like St. Thomas' arguments; if that's the case then I recommend reading St. John of Damascus, because he was the popularizer of systematic theology. St. Thomas Aquinas was simply following in his footsteps, and said as much himself. Systematic theology, like that of Aquinas, originated in the Byzantine East and was quite popular there until recently, so you're not breaking with the Byzantine tradition at all (in fact, St. Thomas Aquinas was lauded by many in the East as being the greatest theologian in those areas where East and West agree). grin

Peace and God bless!

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Paul B #312479 02/12/09 08:54 PM
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Gentlemen,

Perhaps it is time to stir up the embers of the Spirit within each of us and start writing, not just here on this board, but well beyond it. Let us not waste time complaining about what is not. Let us write what is.

CDL


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Ghosty,

Thank you so much. All I have of St. john is his "Three Treatises on the Divine Images". What else do you recommend?

CDL

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