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One of the complaints sometimes voiced by Orthodox with respect to the movement for the restoration of communion between Rome and Orthodoxy is that, despite the advances achieved theologically by the ecumenical commissions, Rome has done not a single thing to implement any of them and so demonstrate its good will to take its own perspectives delineated in Vatican II and since seriously at all.

I've often thought that one thing Rome could have done long ago was to return to the original Nicene Creed of the first millennium without the Filioque - that big sticking point.

RC's, on the other hand, nervously wonder what such a move will be seen as. Does it mean that Rome was wrong on the Filioque to begin with? Does this assail the pope's infallibility prerogratives? If so, what ELSE has Rome been wrong about?

Rome seems to have spent a lot of time and effort adapting to what some observers understand as "cultural/spiritual Protestantism." IF this is true, why does Rome appear to have done very little, by comparison, with respect to the Orthodox East (if this is true as well)?

Do the old battle-lines between Rome and Orthodoxy remain where they have been, commissions and warm encounters notwithstanding?

Alex

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I personally vacillate between seeing the filioque as a real dogmatic problem and seeing it just as a linguistic hiccup about an obscure theological question that no one really can pretend to understand anyway. I think Rome was certainly wrong to insert it and try to impose it, but I wonder if the eastern arguments against it are overblown.

Papal supremacy, in my mind, is the biggest problem. If it were merely a question of church polity, it wouldn't be a big deal- I don't have any fundamental objection to one bishop having supreme jurisdiction- but the dogmatization of this, which flies in the face of Church history, is a serious error and our churches will not be able to unite without a plain retraction of this dogma by Rome.

Edit: I know many on this forum will disagree with me about Papal supremacy, and I am not trying to start a debate about it here- plenty of other threads for that. Just pointing out that this is a salient disagreement which I don't think there can be compromise on.

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Alex:

Christ is in our midst!!

I think there are many things that Rome needs to do in addressing these issues. In #403750, I posted some points that the Orthodox seem to think need to be stated beyond the issue of the filioque.

On the other hand, there is a Vatican source on the official website that details the dialogue with the Lutherans. Some of the points there seem to suggest that Rome is moving farther away from the points made in the dialogue with the Orthodox.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/p...013_dal-conflitto-alla-comunione_en.html

It seems to me that Rome needs to step back and figure out where she is on many of these points. In other words, in what direction is Rome moving? Some of the points about the ministerial priesthood on that site seem to be ones that the Orthodox would never accept. In addition, Rome seems to have forgotten Pope St John Paul II's instruction about the priesthood being restricted to men alone in the dialogue with the Lutherans. How can a mutual recognition of orders take place when one side accepts the ordination of women and the other is on record as saying that it can never happen?

That might also be a point for the Eastern Catholic Churches to address. If they are to be part of the reconciliation with the Orthodox Churches, where does this put them?

Bob

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This is all fascinating!

Bob, where do you see Rome moving away from Orthodoxy in what you've sourced? I'm asking, of course, not telling . . .

And Swan (may I call you "Lebed?" :)), I agree with you.

But, to get back to the original point of the thread, as I understand it (am I sounding like a moderator? Years ago, I turned down the Administrator's invitation (was it?) to be a moderator - and now I'm sorry I did . . . it would have been fun . . .).

What specifically direct action could Rome now take/make in light of the RC/Orthodox ecumenical agreements (is there name Legion?) and on a unilateral basis to demonstrate to Orthodoxy that it is serious about ultimate reunion?

Perhaps we could put this in a particular paradigm here, namely, that IF the guiding principle for such reunion to ever take place is a return to the Tradition and praxis of the first millennium, then can both Rome and Orthodoxy be, today, assessed in accordance with such a "standard" - assuming everyone can agree on what exactly that standard constitutes.

If they can agree on that, then how may Rome address issues like the "14 later Latin Councils" which the Orthodox don't accept because they weren't, for the most part, present at them (in the case of the union councils of Lyons and Florence, while the Greek reps did sign the documents, they were later repudiated by the Churches in question);

OR, as our Swan has so eloquently put it, the issue of infallibility - infallibility of one bishop (the Pope) versus the infallibility/indefectibility of an Ecumenical Council representing the whole Church;

OR, a number of other issues.

Again, this question relates ONLY to what Rome could unilaterally due in advance of any union council (although such actions undertaken by Rome could certainly pave the way to such a future council).

So if YOU were the Pope, what would YOU do as such to help bring the faith and praxis of Roman Catholicism closer to that of Orthodoxy, WITHOUT, at the same time, compromising the that faith and praxis (any more than it seems to have been compromised by documents such as the one Bob/Theophan/Moderator Extraordinaire has brought forward above?

Alex

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Following, intensely. But, I'll throw this out there: My friend (Orthodox parish choir director, who came to Orthodoxy through St. John Paul II..) said something to the effect the Protestant milieu is the child of Rome, so you'd tend to your kids, first.

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A lot of high-level ecumenical business is alienating to people in the pew (or standing in the narthex).
The filioque is pretty a marginal issue now in the West, except for the apologetics set, which plays the mouse that roared sometimess.
Any removal of the filioque could be perceived as mere cosmetics to the Orthodox unless backed up by something more substantive.
Maybe a lot of things that are not doctrinal could be altered...like celibacy, which is a discipline, but is an item Orthodox apologists focus on as if it is a perceived Latin dogma.
More important than changes in wordings of things are: what do you think of Christ and the practice of Christian charity. As someone with Orthodox leanings, I think the Roman Catholic Church really goes the extra mile in showing charity.

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
So if YOU were the Pope, what would YOU do as such to help bring the faith and praxis of Roman Catholicism closer to that of Orthodoxy, WITHOUT, at the same time, compromising the that faith and praxis (any more than it seems to have been compromised by documents such as the one Bob/Theophan/Moderator Extraordinaire has brought forward above?


I don't think it can be done. Papal supremacy is so dogmatically ingrained in the Catholic Church now that the only way back to Orthodoxy is a flat renunciation of it- and that would certainly be a compromise of the RC faith as it stands. Other issues (azymes, clerical celibacy, etc.) can be easily settled as local traditions. Like I said above, I'm not sure what to make of the filioque issue. But Papal supremacy seems to me an insoluble issue short of a complete and unambiguous renunciation. The connected dogma of infallibility actually bothers me less because it is basically meaningless, but of course that would have to go too.

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Originally Posted by Mark R
A lot of high-level ecumenical business is alienating to people in the pew (or standing in the narthex).
The filioque is pretty a marginal issue now in the West, except for the apologetics set, which plays the mouse that roared sometimess.
Any removal of the filioque could be perceived as mere cosmetics to the Orthodox unless backed up by something more substantive.
I don't, by any means, want to suggest that dropping the filioque (from the recitation of the creed) would be some kind of cure-all, but to dismiss it as mere cosmetics seems absurd.

On a side note, I've suggested before that the Orthodox too could do with a more precise translation than currently used. E.g. In English texts "proceeds eternally" would be more precise than simply "proceeds".

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The filioque could even be retained, IMO, so long as it is understood the way St. Maximus accepted it, and not according to the teaching of Lyons, Florence, etc.

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Alex:

Christ is in our midst!!

Paragraph #176 asks whether Rome "can recognize the ministry of the Lutheran churches." It mentions that the ordination of women is part of that. I know of many in the Catholic Church who have been pushing this issue despite the document that Pope St. John Paul II promulgated in 1994. It seems to me that this paragraph suggests that reconciliation would make such a recognition necessary. Of course, that would mean further denial of women's ordination in the Catholic Church would be impossible. But there are Orthodox statements that mirror the Pope's 1994 declaration.

Quote
Lutheran–Catholic dialogue on ministry

176. Catholic-Lutheran dialogue has identified numerous commonalities as well as differences in the theology and institutional form of ordained offices, among them the ordination of women, now practiced by many Lutheran churches. One of the remaining questions is whether the Catholic Church can recognize the ministry of the Lutheran churches. Together Lutherans and Catholics can work out the relationship between the responsibility for the proclamation of the Word and the administration of the sacraments and the office of those ordained for this work. Together they can develop the distinctions among such tasks as episkopé and local and more regional offices.

Quote
APOSTOLIC LETTER ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS OF JOHN PAUL II
TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON RESERVING PRIESTLY ORDINATION TO MEN ALONE

http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-p...apl_19940522_ordinatio-sacerdotalis.html


So the question becomes where does the ecumenical effort go and what are the implications for the Catholic/Orthodox reconciliation.

I guess it comes down to the question of what a Christian return to full communion of all the Churches and ecclesial communities can contain. I see it as the idea that a healthy body cannot accept everything. There will always be things that it cannot accept--opposing statements of theology and practice.

Bob

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Ecumenism went from being a Protestant idea ridiculed by Catholics to a notion much-cherished by Catholics. What makes it so great?
I forgot, Happy Feast Day, whatever your calendar.

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I think the best thing Rome can do is recover a truly patristic mindset and patristic reference point for spirituality. Authentic spiritual praxis needs to made a priority instead of social/political issues. Recovering authentic teaching on prayer and asceticism rooted in the fathers. At this point, Roman Catholicism is looking more and more like a mere socio-political organization. It's disturbing and depressing.

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Originally Posted by desertman
I think the best thing Rome can do is recover a truly patristic mindset and patristic reference point for spirituality. Authentic spiritual praxis needs to made a priority instead of social/political issues. Recovering authentic teaching on prayer and asceticism rooted in the fathers. At this point, Roman Catholicism is looking more and more like a mere socio-political organization. It's disturbing and depressing.


This needs to be said a little more often, and more visibly. I think you've hit the nail on the head. I may be idealistic, or optimistic, but I don't much is lost as it's more of a piling on of stuff. As I noted in social media, it's up to the Latin Church to get its identity together. You can still have diversity, as long as there is coherence in place. At this time, it doesn't appear to be the case, on the surface. I can always stand to be corrected, of course.

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All good points!

However, it is good for the Church to reach out and touch the poor and dispossessed, privately by way of good works and also publicly via policy - this is also very Patristic.

The great Cappadocian Fathers and others would often criticize the wealthy of their day during droughts and famines. Great lights like St Paisius Velichkovsky would dedicate their monastery kitchens to feeding the poor during times of crisis.

As for Pope Francis and his Roman Catholic Church, I've met so many people who either expressed a desire to look at the Catholic Church more seriously because of him or else who have returned to regular participation in Church life as a result.

This is not to say that Orthodoxy does't do social outreach - I support a local Orthodox soup kitchen and am proud to be able to do so.

Recently, we were at a Shrine Church up here where I saw many young Catholics do a 150 mile pilgrim walk (could have been more) over the span of a week. Devotional life is like it has never been before in our once devotionally weak Latin parishes here.

All good!

Alex

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.

Well, if by some set of circumstances I was made Pope ("Alexander VII Romanus" to make up for the badness of my"namesake predecessor . . .), this is what "We" would do:

Remove the Filioque from the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds after some solid catechetics as to why the one true Roman Church was returning to the earlier version - just as it returned to the early version of the Liturgy wink

Then "We" would place St Photios the Great into the universal Roman calendar of saints (sic) together with some others, formerly suspected of both heresy and schismatic tendencies.

"We" would then move to have the Latin Church and the World Council of Churches follow the Orthodox Paschalion with respect to the celebration of Easter.

Following these largely symbolic acts, "We" would bring together a theological commission with the most traditionalist Orthodox theologians that could be found.

This commission would then proceed to develop an agreed statement with respect to issues like the "14 later Latin Councils," the Marian dogmas, Purgatory, Original Sin etc.

Once the work of this commission would be completed, We would call a special meeting of the Cardinals to see if a papal declaration could be made to implement the conclusions of the committee.

This would not, as yet, touch the issue of the papacy. But then "We" would move to distinguish between the immediate jurisdictional powers of the papacy within the universal Roman Church and a renewed emphasis on the right of the Eastern Catholic Particular Churches to govern themselves in the SAME way as their Orthodox sister-Churches do.

This means that "We" would abolish the Congregation for the Eastern Churches (probably in advance of our papal coronation date). Ancient rights of the Eastern churches in communion with "Us" would include the right to glorify their own saints for veneration in their own Churches (without the need for the tedious distinctions re: "Blessed" and what-not).

"We" would reserve the right to canonize such Saints for the universal Roman Church and, just so Latin Episcopal Conferences don't get "their" noses out of joint, let them do likewise (they have always had the right to canonize their own miraculous images).

We (the parentheses are getting to be rather tedious) would reserve the right of all Eastern Church primates to be present at all future conclaves whether or not they are Cardinals.

We would also ensure that all matters of internal jurisdictional governance touching the Eastern Churches would be their own sole administrative responsibility without having to report in any way to Us here in the Apostolic See of Rome.

Then, and only then, would We move to convene a union Council with Orthodoxy, to which the Oriental Orthodox and the Assyrians would be invited, with the view to finally unify us within a dynamic model of ecclesial inter-communion that respects our diverse traditions and Particular identities, with a renewed Petrine Primacy of service in love.

+ Alexandrus PP VII Romanus
Given under my hand in the city of Rome

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