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mardukm #363557 04/24/11 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mardukm
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Finally, it is important to remember that communism itself was another Western European idea imported into Russia, which was harshly grafted on to Russian civil society by the Bolsheviks, and of course one of its primary goals was the eradication of Orthodoxy.
And Catholicism. Moreso Catholicism, in fact (if the forcible liquidation of Byzantine Catholic Churches, and forcible "conversion" to Eastern Orthodoxy, during the Communist period is any indication), because while Eastern Orthodoxy was amenable to caeseropapism, Catholicism was not.

Blessings,
Marduk
There have been forceful "liquidations" of Eastern Catholic Churches and forceful creations of Eastern Catholic Churches throughout history. Such is life in geographical regions that are a crossroads between two competing religious systems.

The Roman Church has been as amenable to caesaropapism as the East. Let's not whitewash the ecclesial imperialism of the popes.

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Guys, you are using the term caesaropapism in a very sloppy, imprecise manner. Suggest you revisit the definition of the word before continuing.

StuartK #363579 04/25/11 12:32 PM
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Stuart,

Perhaps you can define what you mean by caesaropapism. One of the things I have discovered is that the definition of the word seems to be influenced by a person's political or religious views. Roman Catholics often use the term as a way to polemically attack the Eastern Orthodox, but those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Personally, I think symphonia between Church and state represents the standard for the East, a standard which admittedly has not always lived, but it remains the standard nonetheless. Perfection in human affairs will only exist in the eschaton.

Todd

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Caesaropapism refers to a situation in which the state dominates the Church, to the extent that the Church is a de facto arm of the government. The classic proof of Caesaropapism would be the ability of the state to define Church doctrine or direct the Church to make decisions relating to spiritual matters in line with state policy. Throughout the Byzantine period, there were times when the Emperors did indeed try to do this, and even enjoyed a degree of temporary success--but ultimately, the Church asserted successfully its primacy in that realm. Whether the issue was Arianism or monophysitism or monothelism or iconclasm, at the end of the day, the Church had its way. This is most obviously demonstrated at the very end of the Byzantine period, when the imperial policy of unity with Rome was repudiated by the Church despite strong wooing by the state.

Conversely, we find periods in the history of the Church of Rome when it was dominated by various temporal powers--whether the Goths, the Lombards or the Carolingian Franks, the Valois or the Hapsburgs, there were times when some foreign power held the Papacy in captivity and made the Pope dance its tune. For that matter, from the fourth to the ninth centuries, no Pope could be enthroned without the approval of the Roman Emperor in Constantinople. Granted, ratification of the papal election was usually a formality, and was often done ex post facto because of interruptions of communications, but it was a matter of civil and canon law, making the Pope no different in that respect than the Archbishops of Constantinople, Antioch or Alexandria.

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Christ is risen!
Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
The Latin West had to develop a way for the Church to play a pivitol role in defending Christendom and in advancing the faith.
You are conviently forgetting that North Africa was the core of the Latin West-the first Latin Father Tertullian, and the first bishop of Rome to introduce Latin into the Divine Liturgy, St. Victor, came from there, along with SS. Cyprian, Augustine, etc. Yet the North African Church was perhaps the first Apostolic Church to become extinct.

Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
The East tended to give much of that authority by choice or necessity to the Emperor. A a result the West was able to successfully evangelize their attackers or to resist them. The East, not so much.
Forgetting about the Bulgarians, Rus' and other Slavs.

Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
What effect do you think this has had on the present church(es)? Do you think our emphasis made it more possible for Islam to overrun the East and more possible for the West to resist it? Do you think our emphasis upon tiny little churches both at the local and eparchial level is a result of our tendency to let someone else evangelize for us?
Islam seems to have done well enough obliterating the Latin Church in North Africa. And who was "someone else"? The Emperor was the First Son of the Church-or, as for instance the Iconoclast and "Unionist" Emperors found out, they were soon on their own. And I don't recall SS. Gregory, Nina, Cyril, Methodius, etc. ever sitting on the throne in Constantinople.

mardukm #363598 04/25/11 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mardukm
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Finally, it is important to remember that communism itself was another Western European idea imported into Russia, which was harshly grafted on to Russian civil society by the Bolsheviks, and of course one of its primary goals was the eradication of Orthodoxy.
And Catholicism. Moreso Catholicism, in fact (if the forcible liquidation of Byzantine Catholic Churches, and forcible "conversion" to Eastern Orthodoxy, during the Communist period is any indication), because while Eastern Orthodoxy was amenable to caeseropapism, Catholicism was not.

Blessings,
Marduk
It was the Germanic Emperor who ordered the filioque's insertion at Rome, after centuries of Roman refusal, a position imortalized by Pope Leo III's placques of silver on St. Peter's and St. Paul's with the Orthdoox, original Creed, with the inscription «HAEC LEO POSUI AMORE ET CAUTELA ORTHODOXAE FIDEI» (I, Leo, put here for love and protection of the Orthodox Faith).

StuartK #363628 04/26/11 01:33 AM
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Stuart's completely right here. All recent scholarship has debunked the idea of "caesaropapism" as tendentious rubbish.

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re: the OP, I'm sorry Carson, but the opening statements on the role of popes and emperors would be completely indefensible in even a 101 graduate level course on Late Antique/Early Medieval history. Stuart's already hit the main points, but again even if the emperors could influence bishops, the church is not the bishop. Also, the role that the popes assumed over secular power during the "investiture controversy" almost inevitably set the papacy in conflict with the Eastern Empire.

Why Latin Christianity was (is?) better able to "evangelize" since then is an interesting question, but misattributed causes won't help answer the question.

For that matter, what does "evangelize" mean? Mailing "come to our church" flyers? Going door to door? Welcoming visitors? Systematically setting up vibrant and attractive programs for the care and feeding of souls (which was definitely a part of the great Western Christian pastoral programs that sprung from the 1200s and the reformation/counterreformation)? Setting up schools and giving preferences to those who convert? Conquering peoples and using state power to encourage conversion?

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Or that the Franks and Normans had no intention to destroy the entire Byzantine civilization and that they didn't care much about what's going on in the Nicene empire and its neighbors.

I'm sorry, but this is also false. The Norman invasion of southern Italy in the 1000s had the (long run) effect of almost completely wiping out "Greek" Christianity in the area, mainly because the Normans ended up favoring Latin Christianity to maintain their rule. Also, the Norman invasion of the Balkans later that century - with the clear intention of taking Constantinople - was probably as destructive to the Eastern Empire as the near-contemporary defeat at Manzikert. The presence of Normans and probably justified suspicion of their good intent in the First Crusade was a - perhaps the - major factor leading to friction between the Empire and the crusaders.

Finally, while most "Catholic" histories of the crusades will say how bad the Fourth Crusade was and how it deviated from the Pope Innocent III's plan - what they don't mention is that he rejoiced over the fact that the crusaders had caused the "schismatics" to submit, that he and many later popes authorized crusades and military force to keep the Latin Empire going against the efforts of "schismatics" to reconquer Constantinople, that under Latin rule Greek clergy were generally treated as second class clergy, and that after reconquest on of the Emperor's main foreign policy objectives was to placate the reigning Pope so he wouldn't authorize another crusade against Constantinople.

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MarkosC #363658 04/26/11 03:05 PM
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^Christ is Risen! Thanks Markos! It is always tough when facts get in the way of a feel-good emotional argument.

There have been enough sins and mistakes committed by the political and spiritual leaders of both the west and the east throughout history that 'keeping score' is counterproductive to our own spiritual health. Let's leave the 'score keeping'to those in a 'higher pay grade' than us mere mortals!

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Ok, I'm full of crap when it comes to history. I don't agree but I'll leave it at that. I'll try one more time to ask the questions I really want answered and then I'll let it go. Why don't we evangelize better than we do? Why are we shrinking?

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Why don't we evangelize better than we do?

I think the canonical structure currently in place hampers us as Eastern Catholics. How can we evangelize when a majority of potential Eastern Tradition seekers are from non-Catholic western Christian backgrounds and would be canonically Roman if they were received in our Eastern Catholic Churches? Why would a potential convert want to join a Church but then be told, you actually belong to the Latin Church, which had nothing to do with his/her conversion to Catholicism? The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches is a problem for our evangelization efforts, IMHO.

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Why are we shrinking?

Good question. I would say that many parishes (both Orthodox and E.C) hold onto strong Ethnic ties and associate Orthodoxy or Eastern Catholicism with being Greek, Arab, Russian, Ukrainian, ect. Evangelization is secondary to being “Greek.” This scares away potential inquires.

Yet, I think in our Ruthenian Church we have gone to the opposite extreme. The idea of being an American Byzantine Catholic Church is wonderful and partly why I choose to attend a Ruthenian Byzantine Church but we have thrown out much of what is good about our ancestral Churches Traditions in an effort to be more “American.” The RDL is a good example, IMHO, of trying to be more American. American’s like things short and sweet so we see the subtraction of certain parts of the Liturgy. I thank God for my parish because our pastor is committed fully to Authentic Byzantine Traditions. A good Orthodox example is the appearance of organs in some Greek parishes. What would Church be in America without musical instruments?
I also think that we [Ruthenian Church] are shrinking because we haven’t embraced all of our Orthodox Traditions. Would fully embracing all that Greek Catholicism has to offer help our parishes grow? I believe so!

We have a shortage of priests, which hurts our parishes growing spiritually because some priests are pastors of more than one parish. If current members are not growing spiritually then how can we expect them to stay or for new members to come?

I have often heard that one can tell the health of a Church by the number of Monasteries it has. How many does our Ruthenian Church have? We have some that belong to Religious Orders, which, IMHO, are foreign to Eastern Christianity and is a Latinization. We need to plant new monasteries for both men and woman and encourage vocations to the Traditional Eastern Monastic life. Bishop John of Parma has blessed a Convent that is trying to do this in his Eparchy and wants to start a Traditional Eastern men’s monastery in the future. This is a positive sign and I think it will help our Church.

We need to reach our college age youth more. I am the Young Adults Director of my Parish. We have a very active YAG, thank God but I believe this is an area that our Church needs to work on at an Archeparchial level. We have our ByzanTEENS program but what happens to our youth when they go to college? Are there Byzantine Catholic groups on campus? How about Orthodox groups? The answer to the former is more than likely no. The latter is more likely to be a yes. But how many of our Young Adults simply join Roman Catholic groups and eventually start going to Mass instead of the Divine Liturgy? Would they go to the Orthodox group? I would hope they would. This would be important information to look into.

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Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
Ok, I'm full of crap when it comes to history. I don't agree but I'll leave it at that. I'll try one more time to ask the questions I really want answered and then I'll let it go. Why don't we evangelize better than we do? Why are we shrinking?
For one thing, America was held to be Latin Church territory and Eastern Catholics were not supposed to evangelize in the United States. Add to that the minority status of the Eastern Catholic Churches and the prejudice against them by many members (especially among the hierarchy) of the Latin Church in the past, and you have the perfect environment for the development of an insular mindset within the majority of Eastern Catholic parishes that tries to simply maintain what they have in as unobtrusive a way as possible.

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Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
Ok, I'm full of crap when it comes to history. I don't agree but I'll leave it at that. I'll try one more time to ask the questions I really want answered and then I'll let it go. Why don't we evangelize better than we do? Why are we shrinking?
Byzantine Catholics are dying because, as a whole, we don't believe we are worth very much. For several centuries Byzantine Catholics were taught that they must be Catholic first and Byzantine second. The lesson stuck. Many of our bishops and clergy believe that we are second class Catholics. Roman Catholic theology and liturgy are the measuring stick and example of what it means to be Catholic. Latinization (copying the Latins, who are the elephants in the room) has been the result (the RDL is just the latest example). Orthodoxy (anything authentically Byzantine) became unacceptable. But our Liturgy and customs are all Orthodox. So who we are is unacceptable, and many chose to embrace what amounts to a Slavic Roman Catholic mindset. When you dislike yourself to the point that you hide who you are no one else will like you, either. [Interestingly, when you get past the externals, many of the older laity and even some of the clergy have a far more Byzantine mindset than many of our middle age clergy and laity.]

The only way forward is for Byzantines to embrace Byzantium. Byzantine equals Catholic just as much as Latin equals Catholic. Unfortunately, I don't see it happening with the current generation of leaders. But the Lord controls the future, so the future may be bright.

So in the end even though many might wish to evangelize Christ they cannot help but evangelize their own self-dislike. People who meet them probably don't understand, but they don't find it attractive and stay away.

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Why don't we evangelize better than we do? Why are we shrinking?

Eastern Catholics do not evangelize better because it has been beaten into us that evangelization is for the RC (Real Catholic) Church. We are supposed to look after our own, and tug at the forelock whenever a Latin bishop passed us by. If you get treated like a serf long enough, you begin to act like a serf.

As to why we are shrinking, we invested too much in ethnicity. After three generations, people stop thinking of themselves as Rusyn or Russians or Greeks or even Ukrainians, and start thinking of themselves as Americans. If all we stand for is kielbasa and pieroghis, that's not going to be enough to keep people in a church that is, to be honest, terribly inconvenient.

Worse, in our desire to be "good Catholics" we diluted the content of our Tradition, so that the distinctions between us and the Latin Church became blurry. We adopted the mindset that "Catholic is Catholic" (often heard repeated in this forum), so why should one drive an hour each way and sit through an hour and change of liturgy, when you could go to the RC parish down the block, five Masses every Sunday (and one on Saturday evening), none of which lasts as long as an hour?

Then there are those of us who drank the Cool Aid and believe we are truly supposed to be Orthodox Christians in communion with Rome, and then get pounded by our fellow Greek Catholics (including some of the clergy) when we try to do so. Contrary to what someone said just recently, it is not, as a rule, possible to live in accordance to the traditions of the Christian East in most Greek Catholic parishes. Some of us finally give up trying and become Orthodox, where, at least, we don't have to deal with mixed messages and identity confusion.

If we want to grow, then there are only two ways to go about it:

1. Live fully in the Tradition, excising all latinizations and eliminating as many distinctions between ourselves and our Orthodox brethren as possible.

2. Live the Great Commission, not forgetting our ethnic heritage, but definitely relegating it to a supporting not starring role.

3. Opening our hearts and our pockets to those who need us.

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A few quick thoughts after reading Nelson's and the Admin's post.

Our parishes, both Ukrainian and Ruthenian, are shrinking for several reasons (and these are based on personal experience and observations):

-People who seek authentic Eastern liturgy, spirituality, externals, etc., eventually find that that Eastern Catholics don't "do it" enough, so they become Orthodox.

-I live three blocks from an RC parish and 5 minutes from the closest Orthodox parish. It would be much easier for me to walk to Mass then drive 20+ minutes each way to my Eastern Catholic parish. I think the vast majority of people who should be in our parishes-- the kids, grandkids, former parishioners, mixed married-- opt out for the convenient and close RC church. I am the rare exception.

-Our parishes are generally small and hence the people become close and anyone who is unfamiliar that walks through the door gets glared at. We all know this happens. Our parishes, both Ruthenian and Ukrainian, are pretty unwelcoming from my personal experiences. Ironically, I have always been more welcomed in Orthodox parishes I have attended.

-If our parishes, parishioners, priests were as welcoming as any large Protestant parish is, then after 15 minutes of talking to the visitor, their head would be spinning with the well-intentioned person trying to explain any of the following: Yes, we are Catholic, our crazy and tragic history, we are ethnic but are trying not to be but we still kind of are, or lastly, people encounter hostility to the Roman Church or Orthodox Church or to non-ethnics in general.

-Western culture is too tempting and people fall away and get lost in the world. This happens to people regardless of jurisdiction or religion. God is no longer the number one priority.

-Poorly managed parishes. Most parishes I am familiar with are administrational disasters and cannot afford an outreach program, or if they could, they wouldn't.

-And lastly, and "us vs. them" mentality. I have visited parishes where I played stupid and acted like I was a first-time visitor. It basically came down to everything Roman Catholic (including the pope, Filioque, etc)=bad, everything not in "our" tradition=bad, and we're exiles or we're persecuted, etc.

I am going to say this as a blanket generality, so it may not be applicable to all of our collective parishes, but we generally torpedo any progress with evangelization with our own mentality and often times we don't even realize it.

I wonder sometimes if there will be parishes still around outside of areas of new immigration...


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