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While conceding that plenty of Roman Catholics tend to overdo it when it comes to seeking a single answer for "every single" theological question that comes up, you in turn, DMD, would have to concede there are essential components of the faith and non-essential components, right? And that every Christian is bound to assent in faith to those components of the faith which are, indeed, essential?

Given this, how could there fail to exist a universal catechism for a reunited Orthodox Catholic Church, delineating both those truths which are essential to the faith and the variations in perspective and practice when and where they validly occur? In what sense could this possibly be problematic - indeed, anything but necessary?

The catechism of which I've been speaking is not a "Roman Catholic" catechism, but a universal Catholic catechism, one that speaks for the whole Church on essentials and which specifies legitimate differences between East and West when and where appropriate and valid.

Peace be with you, brother.

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Talon:

Christ is in our midst!!

YOu seem to come from a Latin background and have assumed many things that the Latin Church has developed in the second millemium. But what you fail to understand is that this is the very problem with any return to full communion coming to pass.

Let's begin by assuming that the very fact of "a universal Catholic catechism" is an affront to our brethren in the Eastern Churches because by titling it thus it is, from their point of view, rank arrogance. Western assumptions, Western categories, Western defintions all fail when they are used as a starting point to the path of full communion. And no, there is not a specific need to define "essential components of the faith . . . that every Christian is bound to assent (to)." There is Tradition: Scripture, the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the lesser councils, the collection of canons, the liturgical books from which theology comes, the Fathers and their exegesis, and the holy icons. Tradition is the life of the Holy Spirit acting in the Church.

If you read some of the threads on this forum, you will find that there are many things that the Latin Church has defined that do not fit Orthodox theology and never will. Beyond that, it is offensive on its face for Rome to define anything by herself outside of an Ecumenical Council, form their point of view.

As far as the point of "an indelible mark" on the soul brought about by ordination, you might ask Neil to help you find his excellent thread that outlines the two very basic approaches to how the West and East view the effects of this Mystery. St. Augustine's theology speaks of this "mark," while the Cyprianic theology--accepted by the entire East--does not hold that this is the case at all. In fact, a conflict between the Chaldean Catholic Church and her sister, The Church of the East, has thrown much work done toward eventual communion into a limbo.

So, no, DMD doesn't need to concede anything. The very idea of "components" where everything is broken down into small parts which, in turn, can become bargaining chips is antithetical to the Christian East. The East lives the Mystery without trying to take it apart and making "components" out it. Your assumptions don't help at all.

As far as a universal catechism for a reunited Church goes, my humble opinion is that it would take more than a millenium to come up with one. And it would be a non-starter if Rome broached the subject first. That's the fruit of the last millenium and some time before that.

Bob

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Originally Posted by Talon
Are you speaking from an Orthodox or Eastern Catholic perspective?

To be clear, it's obvious the three are distinct "states of office", and I don't doubt that the wording of the ordination rite for each is different. It would have to be. Three different "degrees of separation", yes, but one single "order", the final of which, the episcopate, is its fullest expression, according to the Catechism.

I'm not a theologian, and I have absolutely no desire to "split hairs" or engage in any sort of "saber rattling", for the record. wink Just asserting what I see the Catechism saying in an attempt to achieve a more precise understanding of the truth, to the degree that it's possible here.

Incidentally, whence the idea that three distinct indelible marks are received (by someone ordained to the episcopate), rather than just one? (Open-ended question.)

I'm Eastern Catholic. The Orthodox, as has been pointed out, do not believe that ordination imparts an indelible character on the soul.

Holy Orders is one sacrament, in that, to use Latin categories, the matter (a baptized male) and the form (the laying on of hands) are the same, whether it is ordination as deacon, priest, or bishop. However, I think it is highly problematic to say that there is one single order or one ordination, particularly considering that there are many deacons who will never be elevated to the presbyterate, and the overwhelming majority of priests will never be elevated to the episcopate. Furthermore, priests receive in ordination powers not granted to deacons, while bishops receive in ordination powers not granted priests. Finally, if you accept the Catholic theology of the indelible mark, how can you not believe that a bishop has received three indelible marks, unless you deny that an indelible mark is granted to deacons and priests when they are ordained?

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Hi Bob,

Originally Posted by theophan
Christ is in our midst!!

Indeed! (Sorry, still working on familiarizing myself with the proper greetings and responses.)

My apologies for the length of this particular message, but I am seeking understanding, not any sort of "tit for tat" quarrel. Please know that as you read.

I have to confess to both very much appreciating and being rather vexed by your response at the same time. smile I would sum up my vexation by suggesting that you yourself are, to some extent, guilty of the very thing you are "condemning" in me - presumption.

For starters, yes, I come from a Latin background, but have a deep love for eastern prerogative (however limited my current grasp of that prerogative may be), and have no desire to superimpose a specifically Latin lens either upon the East, or upon things that are universal.

In fact, it's precisely for this reason that I've been trying to take something of a "secular" approach to this discussion in the last few posts (by "secular" in this case, I basically mean objective), employing terminology that I didn't think was particular to the West or East. Perhaps I was mistaken.

Originally Posted by Theophan
Let's begin by assuming that the very fact of "a universal Catholic catechism" is an affront to our brethren in the Eastern Churches because by titling it thus it is, from their point of view, rank arrogance.

Which, currently, makes no sense to me. (But then maybe that's precisely the point.) Please say more...

Originally Posted by Theophan
Western assumptions, Western categories, Western defintions all fail when they are used as a starting point to the path of full communion.

I'm going to take this particular portion of the conversation "sideways" for a moment and ask you if, from the eastern Orthodox perspective, the West has anything to offer the Church? That is to say, are eastern and western perspectives complementary or simply opposed to each other - one orthodox and the other heterodox?

Originally Posted by Theophan
And no, there is not a specific need to define "essential components of the faith . . . that every Christian is bound to assent (to)." There is Tradition: Scripture, the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the lesser councils, the collection of canons, the liturgical books from which theology comes, the Fathers and their exegesis, and the holy icons. Tradition is the life of the Holy Spirit acting in the Church.

Let's step out of the East-West paradigm here for a moment.

Having done so, as a hypothetical student of the Christian faith, I am looking at the religion and see lots of things about it I like, but a number of things that I don't. Let's say two of the things I don't particularly like are bringing items (i.e. food) to church to have them blessed and the whole concept of the Trinity. I'm ok with the notion of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all being three different manifestations of the same Person maybe, but three different persons...I can't wrap my mind around it, so I have to dismiss it as untrue.

Clearly, from as objective a vantage point as I can muster here, I would suggest that one of my two dislikes is "more critical" than the other. In fact, I would specify that one of them is critical and and the other is not. If I consciously decide to never bring items to church to have them blessed, my chances of obtaining Beatitude at the end of my life remain high, all other things being equal. No? Whereas, if I consciously and willfully decide that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three different "modes" of the same Person, I place myself outside of communion with the Holy Trinity (at least on an objective level) insofar as I have (again, objectively speaking) committed a serious sin against faith. Right?

Believe me, I'll be one of the first ones to confess the West's problem with "verbal diarrhea." That's one of the many things about the East that I appreciate - its appreciation for mystery and symbol...and just plain "shutting up" every once in a while in respect for the aforementioned. smile But to flatly refuse to ever differentiate at all between "essential" aspects of Christianity (or anything else) and non-essential (or whatever else the preferred descriptor might be) aspects in a "secular" conversation may work for the East from a subjective stand point. But from an objective one, it seems terribly...hm, what's the right word...well, unhelpful for starters when evangelizing someone with a western mindset??

Originally Posted by Theophan
If you read some of the threads on this forum, you will find that there are many things that the Latin Church has defined that do not fit Orthodox theology and never will.


Which, I have to confess, (at the risk of sounding condescending, which I have no desire at all to do) I find somewhat amusing. I know that "Purgatory" is one of those things. Ask an Orthodox individual if they believe in Purgatory and the answer is an emphatic "NO!" But then ask them if they believe that one's soul goes either straight to Heaven or straight to hell in every case after death, and the answer, in essence, is also no. When asked for clarification, you'll hear of reference to praying for the souls of those who have departed so that they can be released from their sins and have full Beatitude and other characteristics that, don't look now, strongly (dare I say identically) mimic the West's concept of "Purgatory."

"So, you DO believe in Purgatory?" says the westerner. "No! There is no such thing as Purgatory!" comes the eastern reply, and it begins all over again. lol

I understand that a good portion of the problem devolves around the very defining or naming of the belief in and of itself, and, as I've said before, I do appreciate the East's "preference for silence", if you will. But you have to recognize how silly it is to have the following exchange with someone from the West:

Easterner: "It walks like a duck and it talks like a duck --"
Westerner: "And, therefore, IS a duck."
Easterner: "No! We don't believe in ducks..."

cool eek confused

Originally Posted by Theophan
So, no, DMD doesn't need to concede anything. The very idea of "components" where everything is broken down into small parts which, in turn, can become bargaining chips is antithetical to the Christian East. The East lives the Mystery without trying to take it apart and making "components" out it. Your assumptions don't help at all.


Speaking of assumptions, lol...I don't really understand this concept of "bargaining chips" as you're employing it here.

Additionally, if the East lives the Mystery without any verbal articulation at all, then what were the ecumenical councils for? Why didn't the Church just continue "living the mystery"?

Originally Posted by Theophan
As far as a universal catechism for a reunited Church goes, my humble opinion is that it would take more than a millenium to come up with one.

It would take the Orthodox Catholic Church (or Catholic Orthodox Church, however you prefer to say it...or prefer to not say it... wink ) a THOUSAND YEARS to say, "Here is what we universally hold to be true..."??? shocked

Blessings.

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Originally Posted by Athanasius The L
I think it is highly problematic to say that there is one single order or one ordination, particularly considering that there are many deacons who will never be elevated to the presbyterate, and the overwhelming majority of priests will never be elevated to the episcopate. Furthermore, priests receive in ordination powers not granted to deacons, while bishops receive in ordination powers not granted priests.
Greetings, brother.

Why is that a problem?

Originally Posted by Athanasius
Finally, if you accept the Catholic theology of the indelible mark, how can you not believe that a bishop has received three indelible marks, unless you deny that an indelible mark is granted to deacons and priests when they are ordained?
...I suppose this all devolves around the nature of the "imprinted character." What is the nature of that character? Do we know? When someone introduces the phrase "indelible mark", in my pedantic western mind, what comes immediately to mind is something akin to the colored spot made by a Crayola permanent coloring pen. I highly doubt that's anything like what the Church means here at all, although, I do recall reading somewhere that the character is visible in some way in the spiritual realm? That it does make the soul "look different" after receiving it?

So, then the question becomes is the character different for the priesthood than it is for the deaconate, and different still for the episcopate, or is the character for this one office the same at all three levels...?

Something that has probably not been defined authoritatively and, therefore, we're allowed to hold differing opinions on at this point... *glances around to see if Theophan is watching this exchange* grin

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Originally Posted by Pasisozi
\\I would, however, disagree with Pasisozi if, as it appears, he is suggesting that "ordination" isn't acceptable in the East, to describe a priest's elevation to the episcopate.\\

I said and meant the exact opposite.

Apologies, my brother! On careful re-reading, I see that I misunderstood your post.

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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Talon:

Christ is Risen!!

The "indelible mark" on the soul is part of St. Augustine's theology and has been held by the West ever since. You mayfind the reference to it in the CCC at paragraphs 1121 and 1582.

The point Athanasius The L brings up simply points to the problem this brings up when East and West begin to discuss what are the implications of ordination--one of many issues.

Bob

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Talon:

Christ is Risen!!

First of all, I am a Latin Catholic. My difference with you is that, rather than approach the Eastern Churches with my own background and prejudices, I undertook a lengthy study of the Eastern Churches using their sources, authors, and materials, assuming nothing. At one of the first Byzantine Divine Liturgies that I attended, I looked around and noticed something that hit me as very profound. These people lived and believed the Apostolic Faith of the first millenium and (more)--they don't need reference to Rome or me or anything Western. A big shock for someone who'd been schooled in the standard stuff that all roads lead to Rome and all truth comes back out from her.

My understanding of a "universal catechism" as you put it isn't necessary for the Christian East, especially those not in communion with Rome. Why? Do you know why there was a felt need to develop and publish this tome?

After the Vatican Council, there was--and in some quarters continues to be--a struggle over exactly what is the Catholic Faith. I remember those years because I lived through them. For every doctrine and practice I had been taught, there was a sermon or article written that denied they were necessary any longer. The clergy had as many opinions as one could find members to ask questions of. By the time Pope St. John Paul II came along, there was a felt need to again define what it is that the Catholic Church stood for. And there was a great deal of resistance to the CCC when it finally came along. (Last I heard it still hasn't been translated into one national language due to the resistance of the country's bishops.) The same has held true for liturgy, but that is another discussion.

You say you have "a deep love for eastern prerogative." Well, Rome doesn't. If you doubt that, read some of the threads about the Eastern Catholic Churches trying to re-establish their legitimate customs and faith life, esepcially in the area of ordaining married men. That's an issue that is a flash point in ecumenism among others. And Rome doesn't seem to "get it" when you read about a gathering of Eastern Catholic bishops who presented this issue to the Roman authorities in the Oriental Congregation--the Romans were surprised that this was so much of an issue.

You pose an idea of disliking or liking doctrines or practices. That seems to be a great deal like Protestantism IMHO. As one pastor put it to me many years ago, if you don't like what the Church teaches, you take your Bible, find verses to justify what you want to believe, put a cross on your garage and form you own church. It's not about that.

You challenged our brother, DMD, to "concede." That word is from the language of debate and negotiation. It's really out of place in any ecumenical dialogue. I think you might profit from going to Town Hall where I moderate and read "Who We Are." This is no place for people to bring Latin or Western assumptions and think they need to teach or enlighten the Eastern Churches. They've already had enough of that over the last millenium. We are here to learn about the Eastern Churches, their liturgy, their theology, their history--from their own point of view--and their practices in living out the first three.

Quote
I'm going to take this particular portion of the conversation "sideways" for a moment and ask you if, from the eastern Orthodox perspective, the West has anything to offer the Church? That is to say, are eastern and western perspectives complementary or simply opposed to each other

IMHO, that's an open question. From the Latin side--again, IMHO--there seems to be a continous attitude that the Eastern Churches are in desperate need of Rome and the Oriental Congregation's guidance. Not so, not so. There is a short clip on YouTube comparing little parts of our two liturgical practices, for example. I, for one, am appalled that the liturgical abuses shown as Catholic practice are still extant, but the video is very recent and it includes a bishop serving.

Beyond that, nothing of the Christian Faith is about what I or anyone else likes or doesn't like. This is not about me or the individual. It's about the Faith Deposit given to us on loan as the property of the next generation. Our commitment must be to guard it, live it, and pass it along.

Bob

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Hi Bob,

Happy Resurrection Sunday. I love that the East calls this "Bright Week." So apropos.

You're still presuming too much, my friend. You are several years older than I am. You grew up in a Roman Catholic Church that was far more uniform than it is today. I, on the other hand, was born 10 years after the close of the Council, and raised in a much more "open" Roman culture - sometimes for better, often for worse actually. (A culture that is so open that it sometimes doesn't really stand for anything.) A culture that is far more ignorant of Eastern belief and praxis than it is opposed to it. The concept that "all roads lead to Rome", if I am perceiving the phrase in the way I think you are intending to convey it, is quite antiquated in the minds of many a Roman Catholic today.

I not only am open to the idea that the East can have its own patrimony that is equally as valid as that of the West, I prefer eastern patrimony (at least in general terms at this point) to the extent that I am strongly considering transferring rites. So, if you could please desist from the notion that I am here to "conquer", convert, or otherwise subjugate the East to a western mindset, I would be much obliged and the conversation, as a consequence, will probably go much more smoothly that way as well. wink

If there have been things that I have said or asked thus far that seem to suggest that I do not fully respect the East, there is a good chance that it's just because I am not yet sufficiently conversant with eastern terminology/praxis/"philosophy" to avoid making a fool of myself by wording things in a much less "partisan" manner.

I'm curious to know what you mean by suggesting that "Rome" does not (today) have a deep love for the East. Who in Rome are you referring to specifically? While I am well aware of what happened back in the 20's regarding the mandated celibacy of all eastern priests in the U.S., as one example among an unfortunate number, that particular problem is well on its way out the door at this point. John Paul II's 1995 "Orientale Lumen" comes to mind, as do a small handful of other initiatives (including talk in Rome of dropping the filioque from the Creed) that make it hard for me to grasp who/what it is you're speaking of when you say that "Rome" does not fully respect the East. You've touched on some of what you're talking about in your last post, but if you could expound further for me...

Originally Posted by Theophan
You pose an idea of disliking or liking doctrines or practices. That seems to be a great deal like Protestantism IMHO. As one pastor put it to me many years ago, if you don't like what the Church teaches, you take your Bible, find verses to justify what you want to believe, put a cross on your garage and form you own church. It's not about that.

Let me give you some additional (hypothetical) examples - I don't really have any desire to ever pray the rosary. I don't truly believe that Jesus is "substantially" present in the Eucharist. And, as a woman (I'm a guy for the record, but for the purposes of this example), I see all the other women at church wearing veils, but I don't really want to. The classic "secular" phrase "Which one of these is not like the other?" comes to mind.

It's all well and good to speak in general terms of "not picking and choosing." But when laid out more specifically in the way I've done so above, the need for specificity and distinction becomes more clear.

Originally Posted by Theophan
Beyond that, nothing of the Christian Faith is about what I or anyone else likes or doesn't like. This is not about me or the individual. It's about the Faith Deposit given to us on loan as the property of the next generation. Our commitment must be to guard it, live it, and pass it along.

Right. But that's precisely the point. For those who would seek to safeguard and live that deposit of faith out faithfully, what all is included in that "it" (the deposit), and what is not, is the crucial question. It's all very well and good to tell someone to "just do it." And to some extent, certainly, what it is they are supposed to do can be ascertained directly through watching the practice of others who are already doing it. It doesn't all have to be (nor should it all be) verbalized. But neither can it all be left to non-verbal observation.

Words explain and clarify action while actions "substantiate" otherwise empty words. That's the beauty of having a proper East-West balance.

Peace.

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Incidentally, from the "Who we are" thread:

Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
The point of my original post, which Bob quoted, was to make clear that this forum is open to, welcoming of, and inclusive of, those who wish to learn about, explore, discuss, and even debate, matters related to Eastern and Oriental Christianity, regardless of their own particular religious affiliation, in an environment that is non-polemic and non-judgmental.
I did not employ the word "concede" in quite the aggressive manner that you seemed to have interpreted it. But, whatever the case, just thought I'd give this a quick nod.

smile

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Ok, so, where were we...lol.

If anyone is still around... "Fr. Deacon."

As I'm sure most of you know, in the West, it's one or the other. "Father" is a title reserved only for priests. If one is a deacon, one is not called "father" also. In the East, is this not so? Are deacons regularly called "Father Deacon", or does this denote some other position that has no western equivalent?

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Originally Posted by Talon
Ok, so, where were we...lol.

If anyone is still around... "Fr. Deacon."

As I'm sure most of you know, in the West, it's one or the other. "Father" is a title reserved only for priests. If one is a deacon, one is not called "father" also. In the East, is this not so? Are deacons regularly called "Father Deacon", or does this denote some other position that has no western equivalent?
In the East, we use "Father Deacon."

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Not only are Eastern deacons addressed as "Fr. Deacon," but tonsured monks, even if not in orders are addressed as Father, and tonsured nuns are all addressed as Mother.

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Athanasius - All the time, or is it used "back and forth" with just "deacon"?

Pasisozi - Yeah, it makes sense to do that since they are spiritual fathers and mothers...

Thanks to you both.

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Originally Posted by Talon
Athanasius - All the time, or is it used "back and forth" with just "deacon"?

Pasisozi - Yeah, it makes sense to do that since they are spiritual fathers and mothers...

Thanks to you both.
I'm not sure about how this is traditionally done, since at my parish, most people don't use "Fr. Deacon," but just "Deacon."

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