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Craig,

Off topic, but ...

I'd welcome you to the forum, but I see that you've been here a year and just escaped my notice until now (despite some very interesting posts). Just wanted to say hello to someone from the northern province (my sister and family live in Derry).

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Thank you very much, Neil - my wife's family is from Kilrea, Co Derry; anywhere near your folks (or are they in Derry city)?

Craig

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Craig,

They're in the city. Quite a few cousins there as well, and some just across the border in Donegal.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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I am gratified by the charity extended by the members of this forum. Yes, there are differences between us, but there is also more areas that we share in common.

Because of the wide variance of beliefs among Protestant Christians, the Church must be aware of what is true and what is heretical among us. I am acutely aware of the errors expressed and practiced by certain "mainline" denominations.

It is for this reason that the Church must preserve truth as it has been given by our Lord and the early Fathers of the Church. At the same time, I am always grateful to pray with my Roman Catholic brethern and share the Gospel at ecumenical services.

I believe that all must approach the King of Glory with awe, humility and love.

God's Peace!

Preachy Dad

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Welcome to Byzcath Pastor Preachy Dad smile

I look forward to your input here , giving us another slant on things .

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I believe that all must approach the King of Glory with awe, humility and love.

hear hear !!

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This is truly a wonderful place to be. Speaking of Ecumenical Services....

I was invited to participate in city-wide celebration of the "Lady in Blue" (Sor Maria de Jesus de Agreda).

Though bi-location, this 17th century nun miraculously evangelized the Jumano Indians. I don't try to explain how God works through His creation. I gess it's enough for me to know that His ways are wonderful and very, very good!

To learn more, please visit

http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/2009/jun/20/mission-ongoing-for-jumano-indians/

Pastor Art
http://zoarcommunitychurch.org


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Originally Posted by Altar Server
How appropriate are ecumenical prayer services with Protestants, were people we don't believe have apostolic succession or valid orders take an active part on the altar ?


From the POV of a conservative Orthodox Christian...

Both the Fathers and the canons of the Church severely frown on ("forbid" is probably the more honest term) worshiping with the non-Orthodox. That said in the modern world a certain amount of flexibility on this point has come to be tolerated. Speaking from an admittedly conservative perspective; I think such things should be avoided in so far as possible, especially with Protestants with whom we have very little in common. The Lord's Prayer is probably the only prayer that I think could be recited in common without causing scandal in the classical sense of the term. Active participation in any kind of sacramental service should be out of the question.

Attendance at heterodox services when necessitated by common courtesy (weddings, funerals and the like) should be characterized by polite silence.

In ICXC
John

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"Both the Fathers and the canons of the Church severely frown on ("forbid" is probably the more honest term) worshiping with the non-Orthodox."

Of course, back then the "non-Orthodox" basically mean the heretics, whether Arians or gnostics or whatever. By the time of the schism, there were efforts to include the Latins as well, but as the repeated injunctions against worshiping with them show, this was largely ignored (as were similar Latin injunctions against worshiping with the Orthodox).

As a general rule, today Catholics and Orthodox worship together at the Liturgy of the Hours, the Akathistos, Paraclesis, and Molebens--just about everything, in fact, that does not involve the Eucharist.

And I ought to know, having been an altar server for many such services, where the main celebrants were either Orthodox or Catholic or both together (generally the case with the paraliturgical services such as the Akathistos. If Orthodox bishops in good standing have no problem with the practice, then neither should you.

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StuartK,
My comments were primarily directed at joint worship with Protestants. Recognizing that a greater degree of commonality with Roman Catholics, I am a bit less reserved, though even there I think we have been going too far in some cases. I mean isn't it a bit odd to be holding joint services with people who have anathematized us?

As for bishops having no problems with all of this, I guess that depends on which bishops you are referring to. Are we referring to the Antiochians or the bishops of the Russian Church Abroad? What do the monks of the Holy Mountain think of all this? The simple truth is that the Orthodox world is not of one mind on how far we should be going in ecumenical dialogue with Rome. And while I certainly respect the right of a bishop to act according to the dictates of his conscience (within the Faith), I do tend to get leery when people tell me to ignore canons of the church.

Until such time as the matter is resolved authoritatively I presume that I am at liberty to hold and express my own opinions on the subject.

In ICXC
John (the anathematized)

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"I mean isn't it a bit odd to be holding joint services with people who have anathematized us?"

Enumerate these anathemas, please. Be specific.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
"I mean isn't it a bit odd to be holding joint services with people who have anathematized us?"

Enumerate these anathemas, please. Be specific.

So, then, if anyone says that the Roman pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.

- Decrees of the First Vatican Council, Session 4, Chapter 3.


And...

Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.

So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.

Decrees of the First Vatican Council, Session 4, Chapter 4.


Ignoring the many issues which divide east from west for the moment these two will suffice. They are carved in stone dogmas of the Roman Church. Their wording leaves no wiggle room. And I know of not a single Orthodox bishop priest or layman who could give their assent to these decrees. If they have been repealed or amended in any way, I missed the memo.

Under the mercy,
John (the anathematized)

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Well, there are dogmas and there are dogmas. Anathema places one outside of the Church; it makes one a heretic tout court. So Vatican I says that those who don't accept Pastor Aeternus are heretics, and the sacraments of heretics are not valid, nor can heretics be part of the Church.

Yet, Vatican II's Lumen Gentium and Unitatis Redintegratio both identify the Orthodox as true Churches with a true Eucharist and valid sacraments. The Catholic Church allows the Orthodox to receive the Eucharist from its ministers without renunciation of the Orthodox faith. It allows Catholics to receive the Eucharist from Orthodox ministers without prejudice.

If, as Vatican I states, those who do not concur with Pastor Aeternus are outside the Church, its current policies are sacrilegious and place the souls of its own adherents at risk. It would take a pretty cynical view of the Church of Rome to think it capable of such an act.

The alternative explanation is Pastor Aeternus is not really a dogma at all, but rather a particular doctrinal expression of the Latin Church, conditioned by the time and place of its composition, and thus subject to reinterpretation by the Latin Church in accordance with other elements of its doctrine. In this case, it is quite obvious, all ultramontane protestation not withstanding, that Vatican II contradicts and supersedes the anathemas of Vatican I.

The same, of course, goes for all the various anathemas that the Latin Church pronounced in the second millennium that were really nothing more than elevation of its own particular usage. Since none of these apply to the Eastern Catholic Churches (certainly in the eyes of two of the most important Churches, the Greek Catholic Churches of Kyiv and Antioch), they can hardly apply to the Orthodox.

It is a common error on the part of many to take a literal and legalistic reading of Roman documents, rather than to see how the Roman Church itself has applied them at specific times and circumstances.

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Stuart,

The Catholic Church absolutely does not teach that Sacraments of heretics are invalid. You're building up straw men and knocking them down.

What the two Councils say fits perfectly. Those who do not accept the abovementioned dogmas about the Pope are anathema, yet they can still (and do) have valid Sacraments.

We're not Cyprianic.

Although, this does raise a (to my mind, far more interesting) question: this position seems to necessitate an Augustinian view of sacramental validity, for all Catholics (not just Roman Catholics). What do others have to say about this? I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Not that I'm against a necessarily Augustinian view for the entire Church...but I'd assume many here would be.

Alexis

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Sorry, don't buy it. A true dogma is a belief necessary for salvation. Obviously, papal infallibility doesn't count. And, inter alia, for pretty close to a 800 years, the Catholic Church did teach that the sacraments of the Orthodox Church were not valid.

The real problem is, during the second millennium, the Latin Church got really sloppy about how it used the term "dogma" to apply to just about anything, and not merely to the central facts of the mystery of salvation. As a concomitant, it also had the nasty tendency to label any divergence from Latin theology, spirituality and doctrine as heresy and pronouncing anathema on those who disagreed.

Really, there is no need for the Catholic Church to be right all of the time, Not in the cold light of history.

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Logos-Alexis,
Thank you for your comment. It is awkward for a non-Catholic to inform a professed Catholic that he/she is gravely mistaken regarding the teachings of their own church. On to the question you posed...

Generally speaking the Orthodox Church is not much enamored of Blessed Augustine's views on grace and the dual nature of the Church. Cyprian's views are almost universally the accepted position of the Orthodox Church. All of this said, we do not presume to always know with certainty the exact boundary lines on one side of which lies The Church and the grace of Orthodox sacraments, and on the other those outside the Church whose sacraments are empty of grace. We also understand (as does Rome) that there are degrees of error.

For instance, Rome's preservation of at least the external forms of Apostolic Succession and a generally Orthodox understanding of the Holy Mysteries has made it possible through oikonomia to frequently receive converts without baptizing them. And in Rome's case the Russian Church even extends this to Holy Orders (something not done with any others save the non-Chalcedonians). However, it is still done by economy. Even the Russian Church has expressly stated that its policies regarding reception of converts in no way implies acceptance of the grace of non-Orthodox sacraments.

In ICXC
John (the still anathematized)

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