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mardukm #348004 05/12/10 12:40 PM
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Of course, a similar set of "proofs" from Tradition can be presented supporting the opposite view, which is why this approach has not worked in the past and rapidly becomes polemical. More fruitful is looking at what the Church did, and why. This gives insight into how the Church understood the various conciliar and patristic documents being cited, as well as the reasons behind that understanding.

StuartK #348008 05/12/10 03:03 PM
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2. What impact does it have on a Council when all the bishops who disagree with the dogma as proposed leave town before the vote. I realize this was done out of respect for the Pope, but it seems to me that it could call into question the definition of the dogma especially since the vote had to be unanimous in order to pass. Does anyone know if there is a precedent for such things?

There is indeed precedent in at least the 4th Ecumenical Council. The Coptic delegation left without voting, with the blessing of the Council, because they needed to elect a new Patriarch before anything could be confirmed or denied. Their eventual vote against the decrees of the Council got them kicked out of the Communion (along with the other Oriental Orthodox Churches).

So, if the 4th Ecumenical Council is accepted as indeed being Ecumenical, it stands to reason that not everyone needs to be represented, even entire Patriarchal Churches, for a Council or decree to be declared Ecumenical and binding.

Peace and God bless!

StuartK #348010 05/12/10 03:35 PM
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How the Church understood the various conciliar documents being cited and the reasons behind that understanding within the first millennium is precisely the question that needs to be answered, isn't it? There seems to more documented support for a "high" Petrine (as Marduk calls it} ecclesiology within the first millennium than for its opposite IMHO and there are many, both east and west, who share that opinion. Is that polemics? How can we ever arrive at common ground unless we take a hard, honest look at the evidence we have? No one is trying to read into documents and deeds of the first thousand years current views of ecclesiology. On the other hand, we do not live in vacuums, and it's hard not to be aware of our biases. Are you aware of yours?

mardukm #348021 05/12/10 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mardukm
[quote=Apotheoun]
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All bishops are sacramentally equal as successors of all the Apostles, even if one takes into account historical successions that go back to specific individuals. In other words, I reject the idea that there can be "super" or "universal" bishops.
Agreed. And once you offer proof that this is what the head bishop is, and not merely a bishop distinguished by a greater responsibility for the unity of the Church, and all that entails in order to fulfill that function, then I'll concede your point.

As a great Latin archbishop once said, "there are not 100 people who hate the Catholic Church for what she is, but for what they think she is" (I'm not saying you hate the Catholic Church, but I've found his wisdom to be applicable to practically all instances when faced with criticisms of the Catholic Church)

Blessings,
Marduk


Brother Mardukm. I think you may be thinking of Archbishop Fulton Sheen here.

My take on this thread is that some people have engrained positions. Your logic/perspective is wonderful for God's Church.

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Dear brother Scott,

Thank you for your questions. Unfortunately, I am very, very busy right now, so I'll just address this part of your question for now:

Originally Posted by Melkite Convert
1. Mardukm, you keep saying that the role of the Pope of Rome as defined by Vatican I is not a "revealed truth". However, isn't that what a dogma is? Isn't a dogma a codification of a revealed truth? It seems to me that the Fathers of Vatican I were saying that their understanding of the role of the Bishop of Rome in the Church has been revealed by the Holy Spirit and belongs to the Deposit of Faith. Obviously, they have to say that it was there from the beginning but did not reach full flowering until 1868, but it's hard to get around their not saying it is a revealed truth. Could you clarify a little more your definition of dogma, and how a dogma cannot be a revealed truth?
Actually, dogma is not always “divinely revealed truth.” There are some dogmas that the Church regards as having come directly from God, some to have come from the Apostles, and others to have come from the Church. Only the first kind obtains the appellation “divinely revealed truth.” Does that help?

BTW, brother Ghosty gave a good preliminary answer to your second question. I will elaborate on the matter, as well as respond to other points in your post before the end of the week.

Blessings,
Marduk

StuartK #348024 05/12/10 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
Of course, a similar set of "proofs" from Tradition can be presented
Before 325 A.D.? We can easily expect tensions in interpretation after 325 A.D. because the State involved itself in the Church's ecclesiastical order. But before that time, the headship of the bishop of Rome is clear and undiluted. I've given 9 evidences of the primacy of the bishop of Rome in this pristine period. The only examples naysayers can give are two Fathers who opposed the bishop of Rome because they were in error. Not only is that weak proof for the Low Petrine enthusiasts, but it is rather telling.

Blessings

mardukm #348025 05/12/10 10:18 PM
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Anachronistic at best, and requiring a particular reading of some key documents, out of their specific context, and isolated from actual ecclesiological structures and actions.

StuartK #348027 05/13/10 12:55 AM
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If I recall correctly, there was a thread some time ago about an Evangelical divine making the same accusation with regard to the Catholic and Orthodox belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist - anachronistic eisigesis. Cannot one say the same thing about many aspects of the developed sacramentology of the Church; that we are lifting out of context and reading into ancient patristic and biblical texts current doctrine and practice?

Utroque #348030 05/13/10 02:23 AM
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Dear brother Laka,

I offered the following response earlier, but it got included in the "quote" section, so no one saw it. Here it is for your consideration:

Originally Posted by Laka
All polemics aside, in context, I don't recall a complete denial of St. Peter as a head Apostle. More like a denial of his biblical headship as seen through the lens of Roman Catholic dogma. Even still, everyone is entitled to their opinions I suppose. So undoubtedly some Orthodox Christians can be wrong in their assessment of St. Peter.
I agree, but the problem is that the "lens of Roman Catholic dogma" is perverted through the lens of non-Catholic exaggerated misconceptions. Just two of the numerous examples of these exaggerated misconceptions:
(1) The dogma states that an Ecumenical Council has no authority without the agreement of the Pope. Orthodox polemicists immediately complain, "This makes the Pope out to be an absolute monarch." But the fact is, that is a simple restatement of Apostolic Canon 34/35 which states that any body of bishops must necessarily have the agreement of their head in matters of plenary importance.
(2) The dogma states that the Pope can exercise his prerogatives unhindered. Orthodox polemicists immediately complain, "This means the Pope can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, whereever he wants." But the fact is, the word "unhindered" everywhere in Catholic Canon law simply means "having the use of free will/ uncoerced."

So I hope you'll understand that I must maintain that, effectively speaking, to say that "St. Peter is not head of the Apostles as seen through the lens of the Roman understanding of primacy" is simply equivalent to "St. Peter is not head of the Apostles."

Blessings

StuartK #348031 05/13/10 02:30 AM
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Dear brother Stuart,

Originally Posted by StuartK
Anachronistic at best, and requiring a particular reading of some key documents, out of their specific context, and isolated from actual ecclesiological structures and actions.
If you have the time, I'd be interested to read the basis of your claims.

Blessings

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Dear brother Christopher,

Originally Posted by Chirstopher
Brother Mardukm. I think you may be thinking of Archbishop Fulton Sheen here.

My take on this thread is that some people have engrained positions. Your logic/perspective is wonderful for God's Church.
Thank you for the information.

You humble me with your complement. Thank you for that, as well.

Blessings

mardukm #348056 05/14/10 10:30 AM
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Dear brother Scott,

Thank you for your patience.

First, let me further explain my earlier answer to your first question. In a general sense, all dogma is “divine” since its ultimate source is the Holy Spirit. But the Church distinguishes between “divine revelation” (which ended with the last Apostle), and other types of dogma that have come to the Church through the aid of the Holy Spirit. Concerning our topic of primacy, Petrine primacy would be considered “divinely revealed” dogma, while papal primacy would be regarded as apostolic and ecclesiastical dogma.

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2. What impact does it have on a Council when all the bishops who disagree with the dogma as proposed leave town before the vote. I realize this was done out of respect for the Pope, but it seems to me that it could call into question the definition of the dogma especially since the vote had to be unanimous in order to pass. Does anyone know if there is a precedent for such things?
There are two underlying issues that we need to consider before answering your question: First, when one speaks of “unanimity,” are we speaking of unanimity of the Council itself, or unanimity of all the bishops of the world, even those who are not at the Council? I believe the latter is the actual definition of “unanimity,” for two reasons: (1) Apostolic Canon 34/35 does not insist that unanimity must be in a conciliar context; (2) It cannot be doubted that not all the bishops of the world attended the Ecumenical Councils – certain Patriarchates often and simply sent representatives or legates. So the absence of certain bishops does not necessarily call the dogma into question. The real litmus test is the second underlying issue.

Second, when one speaks of “unanimity” are we speaking of numerical/absolute unanimity, or moral unanimity? From the evidence of the 7 Ecumenical Councils, we can only conclude moral unanimity, for none of the 7 Ecumenical Councils obtained numerical/absolute unanimity.

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In reading the Canons of the Council, it seems hard not to get an Absolutist understanding of the Papacy.
I would agree. But to get the true story, to understand what they really mean, one has to read the canons in the context of the apostolic constitutions attached to the canons (or, rather, the canons are attached to the apostolic constitutions), as well as the debates and explanations of the Fathers of the Council “behind the scenes.” I made a presentation on this matter at CAF. If you’re interested in reading it, I will give you a link.

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After all, if that were not the case, why would the Melkite Patriarch and the Melkite Synod of Bishops feel the need to accept Pastor Aeternus with the disclaimer of the Council of Florence? It seems to me that there was a limited acceptance of the teachings of Vatican I by the Melkite bishops.
Some interesting notes on the Eastern and Oriental bishops at Vatican 1. Patriarch Yussef was himself one of the 26 members of the Congregation de postulatis, which was responsible for accepting from the bishops and approving which topics to be discussed at the Council. Here Patriarch Yussef expressed his own belief in papal infallibility, but insisted that it should not be dogmatized, as it would be the greatest deterrent to reunion with the Eastern Orthodox. The Armenian Patriarch Hassoun voted for the definition. Of the seven non-Latin bishops who remained for the final voting, two who previously voted against it voted for the definition at the final session.

It should be noted that several changes to Pastor Aeternus to meet the concerns of the Minority Party were made after many Eastern and Oriental bishops had already left the Council. Who knows how many other of our bishops would have voted placet if they stayed and were witness to the changes.

It’s important to point out, as well, that no Eastern or Oriental Catholic bishop initiated or participated in any schism after Vatican 1. In fact, no Catholic bishop initiated or participated in any schism after Vatican 1. Interestingly, perhaps the strongest extra-conciliar opponent of V1, Dollinger, broke with his party for he himself did not want to participate in schism.

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Everything about the understanding of infallibility screams that the Pope can act alone without having to consult anyone else,

How so? This is where my earlier advice – about reading the canons of V1 in the context of the Apostolic Constitutions and the “behind-the-scenes” debates and comments of the V1 Fathers – becomes indispensable. In fact, three important changes took place in the Decree on infallibility:
1) The title of the Decree was changed from “The Infallibility of the Pope” to “The Infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pope.” This was done in response to concerns that it made papal infallibility separate from the infallibility of the Church.

2) A historical preamble was added explaining how papal infallibility was exercised in the Sacred Tradition of the Church. The relevant excerpt runs: “Therefore, the bishops of the world, sometimes singly, sometimes assembled in councils, following the long-standing custom of the churches and the form of the ancient rule, reported to this Apostolic See those dangers especially which came up in matters of faith, so that here where the faith can suffer no diminution, the harm suffered by the faith may be repaired. However, the Roman Pontiffs on their part, according as the conditions of the times and the circumstances dictated, sometimes calling together ecumenical councils, or sounding out the mind of the Church throughout the world, sometimes through regional councils, or sometimes by using other helps which Divine Providence supplied, have, with the help of God, defined as to be held such matters as they had found consonant with the Holy Scripture and with the apostolic tradition. This was done in response to the very concern you have expressed here. The addition of this text ensured that papal infallibility is normatively exercised in a collegial manner, and exercised singularly only in extreme circumstances.

3) The following text was added to the original draft of the Decree: “The reason for this is that the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of St. Peter not that they might make known new doctrine by his revelation, but rather, that with His assistance they might religiously guard and faithfully explain the revelation or deposit of faith that was handed down through the Apostles.” This was done in response to concerns that the Pope has the authority to create new doctrine, as well as to ensure that the purpose of infallibility is limited to guarding those things divinely revealed, and not other subject matters (as some papalists were wont to believe).

It should be noted that papalists at the Council objected vociferously to the additions of the texts quoted above.

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that he is not subordinate to an Ecumenical Council,

An Ecumenical Council and Pope are equal. They are both the object of supreme authority in the Church. According to Apostolic Canon 34/35, a body of bishops cannot act without its head. Why should this bother you?

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and that he has universal and direct jurisdiction over the entire Church.

Again, this is another instance where my earlier advice becomes indispensable. V2 meets the standards of the Eastern and Oriental bishops (its Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops passed by a landslide of 2,319 placets to 2 non placets – I suspect Archbishop Lefebre may have been one of the two). People think this is the first time that the Catholic Church expressed a collegial ecclesiology, while V1 was purely papal. It is a shame that V1 was prorogated due to impending war, and was not able to express its collegial intent more fully. In fact, much of the ecclesiology of V2 was extant at V1. The theologians at V1 actually prepared a schema for a chapter entitled de episcopis, with the following preamble:

Bishops hold the highest grade in the divinely instituted hierarchy, and so great is their dignity that in Holy Scripture they are decorated with the title of “angels.” For, being placed by the Holy Ghost to rule the Church of God, they are higher than priests; in the place of the Apostles, to whom they have succeeded in the episcopacy, they exercise a vicarship for Christ. Hence, it pertains to them to feed the flock of Christ, to guard the deposit of Faith, and out of the plenitude of the priesthood, which they enjoy, to ordain the ministers of the Church. So great being the height of the episcopal order, let all, laity and especially clergy, yield to them all rightful honor, reverence, and obedience.

Unfortunately, like other schemas that expressed the collegiality of the Church hierarchy, there was no time to put it to a vote. But one can very well see the truths in this preamble expressed fully at V2.

Further the Decree on the Primacy itself contains the following:
This power of the Supreme Pontiff is far from standing in the way of the power of ordinary and immediate episcopal jurisdiction by which bishops who, under appointment of the Holy Spirit, succeeded in the place of the apostles, feed and rule individually, as true shepherds, the particular flock assigned to them. Rather this latter power is asserted, confirmed, and vindicated by the same supreme and universal shepherd in the words of St. Gregory the Great: “My honor is the honor of the whole Church. My honor is the solid strength of my brothers. I am truly honored when due honor is paid to each and every one.

I have debated both papalist and anti-papal controversialists who are silenced whenever I have brought up that excerpt above from the Decree on the Primacy. Polemicists on both sides of the issue so very often focus on the canons, eisegetically ignoring the full context wherein those canons are placed. They argue that universal jurisdiction means the Pope can neglect a local bishop’s authority, and interfere anywhere, anytime, and for any reason. But that is simply false, and they can never bring up any actual example of such a laissez-faire exercise of papal authority. In truth, anti-papal rhetoric is nothing more than fearmongering.

Btw, can you please explain your concerns about the fact that the Pope has universal and direct jurisdiction over the entire Church, or have I addressed them?

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However, nonetheless, the written Canons are there, and what is to stop a Pope in the future from calling on those to act unilaterally. In one word, nothing. It's almost a provision that would allow the Pope to impose "martial law" on the Church if needed.
Again, read those Canons in their proper context.

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This touches on the related issue of what happens if the Bishop of Rome were ever to fall into heresy, but I will leave that for another day.
And what Tradition can one appeal to that would justify removal? There is no precedence in the early Church for an orthodox Council to remove the Pope as head. Not even the Fifth Ecumenical Council dared depose Pope Vigilius. Though the Pope cannot be judged, he can be corrected, and if worse comes to worst, bishops can put pressure on the Pope to abdicate.

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It seems to me that this is what frightens the Orthodox. No matter how many assurances they receive from Rome that the Pope will not impose his will on them and that he will respect their rights as patriarchal churches, Vatican I and Pastor Aeternus will always be in the back of their minds.
If they read it contextually, instead of picking out little snippets for convenient polemics, I really don’t believe they should have anything to fear.

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If the Pope does not need to consult other bishops or convoke a Council to define a dogma of the Faith, then what is to stop him from trying to impose his will on them. It is hard to be in a communion of love with someone whom you fear could turn on you at any moment.
I hope my presentation above will help you explain the matter to our non-Catholic brethren more clearly in order to help assuage their concerns.

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For example, regarding the "filioque", many Eastern Orthodox will say that it's meaningless that Rome does not require Eastern Catholics to add it to the Creed because the Pope could change that whenever he wanted to. The Orthodox would be worried that something like this could happen.
I seriously don’t know what the Easterns are worried about. Rome never imposed filioque on the Easterns. It made its way into the Eastern Creed because of the Easterns themselves who felt pressured to be more like the Latins.

On the other hand, filioque was imposed on some Oriental Churches as a test of our orthodoxy. While I do think that was an abuse of authority (i.e., the Pope did not have to impose such a change in order to ensure our orthodoxy), I do accept the principle behind it – namely, that in doctrinal matters, the Pope has a greater responsibility than any other bishop for the preservation of the Faith. Accordingly, great praises were heaped upon Pope St. Martin when he deposed heterodox bishops in the East.

It would be well at this point to investigate the difference between the circumstances of Pope St. Leo and that of Pope St. Martin. As we all know, Pope St. Leo deposed Pope St. Dioscorus, and the Fathers of the 4th Ecum did not immediately concede to his deposition without a trial. Why is it, we must ask, that the Church East and West conceded to and in fact praised the actions of Pope St. Martin, while the Fathers at the 4th Ecum Council delayed in accepting the deposition of Pope St. Dioscorus?

As the Catholic Church teaches, there are two Supreme authorities in the Catholic Church – (1) the Pope and (2) the College of Bishops. The situation of the incident with Pope St. Leo was within the setting of an Ecumenical Council. In such a circumstance, the highest authority is a collegial authority; the Pope does not and cannot act unilaterally, for the Holy Spirit leads in a special way the entire Council, and not just the Pope. It was right and proper for the entire Council to give judgment on Pope St. Dioscorus, not the Pope of Rome alone (of course, I’m speaking of proper procedure, not that I believe that Pope Dioscorus was rightly deposed :)). On the other hand, Pope St. Martin exercised his supreme authority in very different circumstances – i.e., when many bishops, including the Emperor, gave in to the Monothelite heresy, and there was no practical way to summon an Ecumenical Council (the same circumstance Popes St. Julius and Liberius found themselves in during the Arian controversies).

This should serve as a lesson to those who think the Pope can act non-collegially of his own choosing (Absolutist Petrine view), and not rather by necessity, as well as to those who think that head bishops have a mere primacy of honor (Low Petrine view), and not true plenary authority and jurisdiction.

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I agree that the Pope has a primacy; however, the only thing that is going to make a difference to the Orthodox and aid the cause of reunion in this matter is a clear example of collegiality and synodality from the Popes of Rome. As they say, "Actions speak louder than words".
What has the Pope done that has not been collegial?

Sadly, I suspect that when reunion occurs, the two groups who share a common misconception on the matter (the Absolutist and Low Petrine advocates) will schism and just continue their bickering.

Blessings,
Marduk

mardukm #348069 05/14/10 05:49 PM
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What has the Pope done that has not been collegial?
The indults for the continued use of the '62 Roman missal.

The V II council was clear it was insufficient for the full needs of the Roman Church. It was sacramentally sufficient, but not sufficient in the non-sacramental liturgical needs (of which instruction of the faithful is one).

The council said more readings were needed, more participation by the laity was needed, and concelebration was needed.

By permitting unchanged use, the popes have nullified the counciliar call for reforms of that missal.

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Originally Posted by aramis
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What has the Pope done that has not been collegial?
The indults for the continued use of the '62 Roman missal.

The V II council was clear it was insufficient for the full needs of the Roman Church. It was sacramentally sufficient, but not sufficient in the non-sacramental liturgical needs (of which instruction of the faithful is one).

The council said more readings were needed, more participation by the laity was needed, and concelebration was needed.

By permitting unchanged use, the popes have nullified the counciliar call for reforms of that missal.

The fact is that the Tridentine Rite hasn't been reformed at all. A failed attempt of reform was the rite of 1965, which was colegially rejected, so further actions were taken unilaterally by the Pope. The development and enforcement of the Pauline Missal and effective abandoning of the old missal, contrary to general opposition was very non-collegial.

But it doesn't mean nullifying the call. It's just not a good time to do it.

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Dear brothers Aramis and Peter,

The internal affairs of the Latin Church is not my forte, but wasn't the acceptance of the new Mass left up to the local episcopal conferences? That seems pretty collegial, no?

Blessings

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