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Todd,

I read your paper, and while it is interesting, it makes the fundamental error of assuming that the Latin Church still stands by the decrees of Florence (it does not) and still relies exclusively on scholastic theological methods and categories (ditto). In short, you have successfully butchered a straw man. What I do not understand was the point of the exercise.

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Stuart,

What decrees of Florence are you talking about? All of them, or specifically some disciplinary decrees, or ones doctrinal in nature?

By the way, where did your questions to me go? I can't seem to locate them.

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Todd,

Could you elaborate on your views on divinity being found in relics of the saints? Since they are deified, is that why their relics would "have divinity in them"? But why wouldn't simply their souls "have divinity in them"? Does it tie into the notion of Christ's Incarnation as being an event whereby all of nature is deified (or have I got that wrong)?

By the way, Mike Liccione, in the article I referenced (and that you already read), takes pains to explain that sometimes, among many quarters of the Latin Church, the language used to describe the grace of God got sloppy, and was extended to the means by which the grace is poured out/given to humans.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
Todd,

I read your paper, and while it is interesting, it makes the fundamental error of assuming that the Latin Church still stands by the decrees of Florence (it does not) and still relies exclusively on scholastic theological methods and categories (ditto). In short, you have successfully butchered a straw man. What I do not understand was the point of the exercise.
The paper as a whole concerns the theology of St. Gregory Palamas, while the uploaded section concerns only the filioque, so the point of the "exercise" was broader than simply that particular issue.

Nevertheless, as far as butchering a straw man is concerned, I doubt my professors at Franciscan University would agree with you on that, since they – except for one man – hold the Florentine decrees as ecumenical and binding on all Catholics. And even the one who was open to the idea that Eastern Catholics are no longer bound to hold the teaching of Florence as truly ecumenical still believed that he – as a Latin Catholic – was bound by its decrees.

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Originally Posted by Logos - Alexis
Could you elaborate on your views on divinity being found in relics of the saints? Since they are deified, is that why their relics would "have divinity in them"? But why wouldn't simply their souls "have divinity in them"?
Theosis involves the whole man, body and soul. That is why the relics (bones, etc.) of the saints are holy, because the bodies of the saints have been divinized along with their souls.

Originally Posted by Logos - Alexis
Does it tie into the notion of Christ's Incarnation as being an event whereby all of nature is deified (or have I got that wrong)?
Yes, it is connected to that idea (i.e., the idea that the whole cosmic order is brought into union with God through the incarnation and paschal mystery), but it is even more closely connected to the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, for as St. Irenaeus points out . . . a man is not simply his soul, nor is he simply his body; instead, he is both body and soul together, with the addition of the spirit of God animating him to everlasting life, as a single living being (see St. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, Book V, Chapter 6).

Originally Posted by Logos - Alexis
By the way, Mike Liccione, in the article I referenced (and that you already read), takes pains to explain that sometimes, among many quarters of the Latin Church, the language used to describe the grace of God got sloppy, and was extended to the means by which the grace is poured out/given to humans.
Yes, the book that I referred to in an earlier post makes that same claim, but from my perspective "created" grace – even when explained in a less inaccurate or offensive manner – is really unnecessary. The doctrine of energies makes "created" grace pointless.

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Some of the decrees of Florence are of serious interest; others (such as the decree for the Armenians) are often misunderstood.

A couple of decades ago there was a worth-while scholarly conference somewhere in northern Italy about the Council of Florence. I think the papers were published in Louvain.

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Originally Posted by Administrator
Originally Posted by asianpilgrim
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With all due respect, did you read what I actually wrote?

I was reacting to an exchange between Stuart (Greek Catholic) and Serge the young fogey (Orthodox). My response to the exchange has NOTHING to do with the relationship between Latin and Eastern theology! So I don't see why you are suddenly lecturing me on the relationship between the two.

I am sorry to see that you severely misunderstood my super-simple reaction. At least, Stuart's response to my post ("Some people don't like to share") evidently got it.
Yes. I read what you wrote. It is clear you don't understand the Christian East! Sorry if that is offensive to you.

Perhaps what I "don't understand" is the highly idiosyncratic and far from common view of the Christian East that you and Stuart K propose, and which is rejected by so many Orthodox and Eastern Catholics in this forum and outside it.

By the way, there is a big difference between "agreement" and "understanding." I understand what you are saying, but I don't agree that your or Stuart's presentation of the "facts" is accurate.

Unfortunately -- and I know that I am speaking for some other lurkers here in saying this -- there seems to be a tendency now to accuse of "lack of understanding" those who merely disagree with what you or Stuart say.

That is the last that I will say on this topic, which is really getting tiresome and unproductive.

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Nevertheless, as far as butchering a straw man is concerned, I doubt my professors at Franciscan University would agree with you on that, since they – except for one man – hold the Florentine decrees as ecumenical and binding on all Catholics. And even the one who was open to the idea that Eastern Catholics are no longer bound to hold the teaching of Florence as truly ecumenical still believed that he – as a Latin Catholic – was bound by its decrees.

Steubie U is a funny place (back in their charismatic phase, I found many of its graduates rather scary) but hardly representative of Catholic scholarship. You would have been far better to look at what the Church does, rather than what one small group of academics says. The fact remains, regardless of Florence, that the Latin Church has conceded the matter of the Filioque to the Orthodox and is merely looking for a face-saving way of eliminating it from the Creed (already done in official Vatican documents, as well as in celebrations of the Roman rite when Eastern hierarchs are present). In addition, with Palamas firmly established in the roll of the saints of the universal Church and in the Lenten Triodion for the Second Sunday in Lent, hesychia and Palamism are accepted forms of spirituality and theology in the Catholic Church, as are Thomism, neo-Scholasticism, and h dozen other schools of theology. I have no issue with the Latins doing theology their way, as long as we are free to do theology our way. I see no attempt on the part of the Catholic Church to interfere with our unique theology, even if individual Latins think they should. I see far more of that, in fact, from Greek Catholics who insist that we adhere to Latin forms and categories, against the wishes of the Holy See.


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Could you elaborate on your views on divinity being found in relics of the saints? Since they are deified, is that why their relics would "have divinity in them"? But why wouldn't simply their souls "have divinity in them"? Does it tie into the notion of Christ's Incarnation as being an event whereby all of nature is deified (or have I got that wrong)?

I think Todd's attempt to apply Palamite energist theoria to the theology of sacred images is confusing, a bit of a stretch, and goes beyond anything said by the Seventh Ecumenical Council, John Damascene or Theodore Studites on the matter. Icons can be venerated because, in patristic thought, image and reality are interpenetrated; each participates in the reality of the other so that honor offered to the image is transferred to the prototype. The Christological rationale for images is even simpler: Christ appeared on earth as a man, who could be seen, touched and represented iconographically. Icons are an affirmation of the reality of the incarnation; conversely, to deny icons is to deny the incarnation, a form of docetism. I fail to see why Palamism has to be brought into the matter at all.

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The fact that icons are filled with divine energy is in perfect conformity with the teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, with St. Photios, and St. Gregory Palamas.

I am not saying anything controversial, and for confirmation of my position I recommend reading Ambrosios Giakalis' book "Images of the Divine: The Theology of Icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council" and Fr. Casimir Kucharek's book entitled "Byzantine Slav Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom", since both books confirm my position with liturgical and patristical citations.

That said, I do agree that image and reality are interpenetrated; in fact, they are interpenetrated with divine energy, and by extension with the created energies of the saint depicted in the icon.

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The fact that icons are filled with divine energy is in perfect conformity with the teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, with St. Photios, and St. Gregory Palamas.


Maybe. Yet it is not necessary to accept this in order to understand and accept the theology of sacred images as espoused by the Fathers and the Council. If you wish to explain it this way, I see it as an acceptable theologumenon, but not an official teaching of the Church (by which I mean all the Churches of the Byzantine Tradition, whether Catholic or Orthodox). This is why I find it puzzling that you would choose to raise this to a "dogmatic" issue. Since nobody in authority denies the legitimacy of Palamism, what precisely is your beef? Why pick fights where there is no issue?

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Divinity (i.e., divine energy) is present in all the holy mysteries (icons included), for that is how God communicates His uncreated life and glory to us, as St. John Damascene and St. Theodore Studite taught, to name just two illustrious Fathers.

By the way, I do not accept the idea that there is such a thing as "Palamism"; instead, there is simply Orthodoxy, which has always made a distinction between essence, energy, and hypostasis in God. And of course, only energy is communicable as St. Basil, and the other Fathers, taught.


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By the way, I do not accept the idea that there is such a thing as "Palamism"; instead, there is simply Orthodoxy, which has always made a distinction between essence, energy, and hypostasis in God. And of course, only energy is communicable as St. Basil, and the other Fathers, taught.

So, are you saying you reject any theology that is not explicitly Byzantine, and Byzantine of a particular sort, at that?

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I am saying that the doctrine of energies is a biblical and patristical truth.

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Fine. Are you saying explicit acceptance of this doctrine and its particular mode of expression is mandatory for all Christians? If so, the answer to my question is "yes".

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