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Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish Ruthenian)
I cannot begin to tell you how many BCC parishes I have attended which are filled with Latinizations and Roman practices such as praying the Rosary. When I first came to Annunciation, there were Stations of the Cross on the walls instead of the icons which are there now. The whole artwork of the parish suggested Roman Catholicism. For me, whose wish has been to be Orthodox since my conversion from Protestantism, this became an untenable situation, and it has only become worse over the last three years.

I do not belong at Annunciation parish because...
Tell me about Annunciation. Where is it located? Who is the priest? What seminary did you attend?
Your book is a defense of apocatastasis. How does apocatastasis play out in the OCA?


I would rather keep the information on my former parish to myself.
That is your prerogative. You are, however, very outspoken on selective issues, so then, your call your ball. I asked only because of your description of the Ruthenian/BCC "Annunciation parish."

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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Tadhg
ajk - if you don't mind me asking, are you RC? Do you have any wisdom to offer some of my concerns?

As to "wisdom," you should be the judge. I have strong opinions, the latest expressions in Post421302 and Post421324 and other posts in that thread.

Since 2003 I am a Deacon of the Eparchy of Passaic with direct experience of the pre and post VCII western church. With hindsight I'd say that the following from 2009 is something of a mission statement for many (perhaps all) my forum posts:

A Failure of our [BCC] Church: To effectively articulate why, as eastern, orthodox Christians we are, and why one should be Catholic – we, who are living (though perhaps rather imperfectly) the desired unity.

I do think that in general an adequate Eastern Catholic articulation of the Catholic faith, which I profess to be orthodox, is lacking.

Thank you for your reply. Don't worry.. I never take anyone's word for it when it comes to wisdom, haha.

Is your pre-VCII experience due to your age, or do you/did you reject VCII? Just to clarify, for context, that you are currently in communion with Pope Francis?

Do you have resources that communicate your mission statement of effectively articulating why one should be BCC vs. EO? I have only been turning over these rocks in the past 2 or 3 years, but it seems like as an Eastern Rite Catholic you have to accept so much of what RC has defined (not explicitly RC definitions, but by virtue of it being the vast majority of the Catholic Church, and the rite with virtually all of the decision making power). So, at that point, in my mind, I may as well be RC which would feel more like the heart of Catholicism... other than for the liturgical beauty and tradition you can experience in other rites (which of course, is not insignificant). Am I wrong?

By the way, I am seeking truth as best I'm able, I intend for all of this to communicate respect and charity. I'm not intending to demean anyone's beliefs here.

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I thought apokatastasis was condemned by the 5th Ecumenical Council, along with the idea that all hypostases and the numbers and the bodies will cease, all being united in one. At any rate, Justinian condemned the notion that all punishment hereafter is necessarily temporary, and this would be a part or Orthodox canon law. I don't have a copy of the Rudder to verify, though. At any rate, if apokatastasis is OK by Orthodox standards, I would like to see something showing that written between 400 AD and 1860, that would be great. I mean, my understanding that the rejection of Purgatory is rooted in it seeming to be espousing apokatastasis...

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ajk -

My apologies for muddying up the water. Annunciation is UCC. It was the Ruthenian metropolia that tossed me out of the seminary after I complained about a priest who was violating the Liturgicon.

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Originally Posted by akemner
I thought apokatastasis was condemned by the 5th Ecumenical Council, along with the idea that all hypostases and the numbers and the bodies will cease, all being united in one. At any rate, Justinian condemned the notion that all punishment hereafter is necessarily temporary, and this would be a part or Orthodox canon law. I don't have a copy of the Rudder to verify, though. At any rate, if apokatastasis is OK by Orthodox standards, I would like to see something showing that written between 400 AD and 1860, that would be great. I mean, my understanding that the rejection of Purgatory is rooted in it seeming to be espousing apokatastasis...

Here is a link to the Canons of Constantinople II for you to look at. You will see that in them there is no mention of Apokatastasis at all. The provided link is from Norman Tanner's work on the councils, which is considered to be the premier work on these councils.

Constantinople II [papalencyclicals.net]

Justinian is not a bishop, and his word is not church law. At best, being charitable, you can say that this is his personal theologoumenon, however, it has neither weight nor authority in the Church. Justinian could have taken a bit of advice from St. Osius of Cordoba in his rebuke to the heretic Constantius:

When St. Constantine’s son Constantius apostasized from Orthodoxy and converted to the Arian heresy, believing that Christ was not the pre-eternal God and Creator but a created being, St. Athanasius, who had previously addressed him as “very pious”, a “worshipper of God”, “beloved of God” and a successor of David and Solomon, now denounced him as “patron of impiety and Emperor of heresy,… godless, unholy... this modern Ahab, this second Belshazzar”, like Pharaoh, worse than Pilate and a forerunner of the Antichrist.

Again, St. Hilary of Poitiers wrote to Constantius: “You are fighting against God, you are raging against the Church, you are persecuting the saints, you hate the preachers of Christ, you are annulling religion; you are a tyrant no longer only in the human, but in the divine sphere… You lyingly declare yourself a Christian but are a new enemy of Christ. You are a precursor of Antichrist, and you work the mysteries of his secrets.”

Constantius’ heretical cast of mind made it easier for him to assume the place of Christ as head of the Church. Thus at the Council of Milan in 355, he said: “My will is law”. To which St. Osius of Cordoba, replied: “Stop, I beseech you. Remember that you are a mortal man, fear the Day of Judgement, preserve yourself pure for that. Do not interfere in matters that are essentially ecclesiastical and do not give us orders about them, but rather accept teaching from us. God has entrusted you with the Empire, and to us He has entrusted the affairs of the Church. And just as one who seizes for himself your power contradicts the institution of God, so fear lest you, in taking into your own hands the affairs of the Church, do not become guilty of a serious offence. As it is written, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. We are not permitted to exercise an earthly role; and you, Sire, are not authorised to burn incense.


Like too many emperors before and after him, Justinian's raging pride made him intrude into matters which were not of his authority.

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Originally Posted by Tadhg
Is your pre-VCII experience due to your age, or do you/did you reject VCII? Just to clarify, for context, that you are currently in communion with Pope Francis?
My age and RC school and parish involvement. I do not reject VCII and affirm it; my bishop is +Kurt who is in communion with Pope Francis (the Ambiguous). Just to provide context: I believe that the Church is being used and abused by a hostile media and culture, and that our bishops are enabling that by their lack of situational awareness as demonstrated, for instance, by their inadequate resolve at the November USCCB meeting regarding Catholic politicians (in particular) who speak and act and vote contrary to the faith.
Originally Posted by Tadhg
Do you have resources that communicate your mission statement of effectively articulating why one should be BCC vs. EO?
I do not know of one such dedicated resource. A majority of my posts on this forum are my attempt to balance legitimate Orthodox concerns or refute Orthodox polemics, especially when voiced by eastern and western Catholics.

Originally Posted by Tadhg
I have only been turning over these rocks in the past 2 or 3 years, but it seems like as an Eastern Rite Catholic you have to accept so much of what RC has defined (not explicitly RC definitions, but by virtue of it being the vast majority of the Catholic Church, and the rite with virtually all of the decision making power). So, at that point, in my mind, I may as well be RC which would feel more like the heart of Catholicism... other than for the liturgical beauty and tradition you can experience in other rites (which of course, is not insignificant). Am I wrong?
On various theological concerns I see Newman's difficulties (see reference in Post #421302) but have no doubts. Changing either way, Catholic<=>Orthodox is ultimately a statement, a belief about ecclesiology, and what it means to be the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church: see Catholic ecclesiology

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Originally Posted by ajk
My age and RC school and parish involvement. I do not reject VCII and affirm it; my bishop is +Kurt who is in communion with Pope Francis (the Ambiguous).
(emphasis added)

Deacon Tony,

You are free to criticize, voice dislike, or disagree with clergy or hierarchs; however, it has been a long-standing policy of this forum that belittling, disparaging, or derogatory descriptors of clergy or hierachs of any Church.is not permitted.

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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Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
Originally Posted by ajk
My age and RC school and parish involvement. I do not reject VCII and affirm it; my bishop is +Kurt who is in communion with Pope Francis (the Ambiguous).
(emphasis added)

Deacon Tony,

You are free to criticize, voice dislike, or disagree with clergy or hierarchs; however, it has been a long-standing policy of this forum that belittling, disparaging, or derogatory descriptors of clergy or hierachs of any Church.is not permitted.

Many years,

Neil

Neil, alas, you have read a whole lot that isn't there into my words; see the "context." -- DT

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Originally Posted by Tadhg
I am a cradle Roman Catholic, but have been exploring Eastern Rite Catholicism and the EO church in the last few years to help reconcile some theological issues I've struggled with. Things I've been struggling with like: post-enlightenment understanding on hell, Marian apparitions where a very Latin Mary (apparitions being also a post-schism thing) tells people to pray the rosary (also post-schism) to avoid God's wrath which will land them in a Dante-esque hell, also legalism, scapulars, indulgences, more progressed ideas of sin and confession mortal/venial, kind/number confession, natural theology, age of reason (delaying children's participation in full sacramental life), etc.

My question is: Can I reject these things and still call myself a Catholic, and would I be more at home in an Eastern Rite? Or have I theologically crossed a line into EO?

Thank you sincerely

I am also a Roman Catholic struggling with the same things you describe. However, I don't see how any of these are theological, much less lines that you have crossed.

"Post-enlightenment understanding on hell": I'm not completely sure what you mean by this, but if you mean something like a very vivid, almost comic book description of hell as a place with flames and torches, into which people are thrown by God against their will to be physically tortured forever, then I suspect this is a Protestantized image of hell along the lines of Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" that has seeped into our understanding through cultural assimilation. However, this is all imagery rather than doctrine. We know that hell exists, but we don't know what it's like. While I definitely take issue with the Edwardian understanding of hell, all descriptions and imagery will be flawed. No description using ordinary human language can adequately describe either hell or Heaven. This should not be a deal-breaker for remaining Catholic. If you struggle with the imagery that is commonly used (as I do as well), then drop it.

"Marian apparitions...": We are not required to believe in any apparitions or private revelation. The farthest that the Church will ever go is declare an apparition worthy of belief. It is not part of the deposit of faith, and you do not have to believe them to remain Catholic. While I do believe that some are genuine, the character and expression that they take will obviously be related to the culture of the person who received it. For somebody who has grown up in a western, Latinized church, we should not be surprised or scandalized that the Blessed Virgin Mary would emphasize western, Latin devotions and images when speaking to them. If you struggle to incorporate these into your spiritual life, then that is okay. The Church does not require anyone to pray the rosary. The point here is that Mary points to her Son always, and whether you find the rosary or an eastern Akathist hymn to the Theotokos more helpful in your spiritual life is not a reason to break communion. Again, this is a matter of cultural expression rather than dogma.

"legalism, scapulars, indulgences, more progressed ideas of sin and confession mortal/venial, kind/number confession": This is my biggest difficulty. As someone who struggles mightily with scrupulosity, I have had a hard time with western spirituality when it tends toward a rigid, overly-defined, legalistic spiritual life. I've often despaired of ever being loved or lovable by God, and I do not see a way out of that with this type of legalism. I believe part of its origin is the turmoil in Western Europe, which caused the Church to respond to lots of different heresies, and I believe this caused an excessive tendency towards definition. The Black Death in the 14th century certainly caused a hyper focus on the afterlife and being prepared for death, and in turn, sin and its expiation. This did not happen in the east, because the plague did not have the massive effect on those regions that it did in western Europe. But I think this type of legalism and over-definition is a warped understanding of the spiritual life that the Church asks of us, and not something which necessitates leaving communion. Again, like the other issues you discuss, if it is unhelpful, then you are free to drop it and do not have to leave the Church to do so.

I want to emphasize that I have had the same struggles that you have, and nearly went Orthodox, but could not do so. The problem for me is Christ's prayer "that they may be one" in John 17. Despite my struggles, I think that unity is too massively important and the schism too tragic to perpetuate. I do not see enough cause for leaving in any of my issues. None of my struggles are with anything that the Church teaches as dogma; they are with cultural and spiritual practices that have developed over time that I find unhelpful or difficult to incorporate. I believe that all the spirituality of the eastern churches is more beneficial for me, and the eastern Catholic churches are a way to live this spirituality in a community, without contributing to the disunity that Christ prayed against.

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Christ is in our midst!!

Joseph S,

Welcome to the forum. We hope your time here with us is spiritually nurishing.

Bob
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Christ is in our midst!!

There is a YouTube talk about 8 1/2 minutes long by a Father Spyridon, a priest-monk of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. It gave me some food for thought. He makes the point that where Heaven will make our humanity complete and more than is possible here, Hell makes the opposite of us.

Bob

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Originally Posted by ajk
I do not know of one such dedicated resource. A majority of my posts on this forum are my attempt to balance legitimate Orthodox concerns or refute Orthodox polemics, especially when voiced by eastern and western Catholics.

Somewhat of an aside to this thread, but as a lurker of this forum who only recently started posting here, your posts, ajk, have been incredibly helpful at doing exactly this: both addressing my difficulties with western spirituality (many of which are identical to the OP's) while also balancing against the Orthodox polemics that misrepresent it or go too far. I really appreciate your approach and wanted to thank you personally. I agree that an Eastern Catholic articulation of the faith is sorely needed.

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Originally Posted by JosephS
Originally Posted by ajk
I do not know of one such dedicated resource. A majority of my posts on this forum are my attempt to balance legitimate Orthodox concerns or refute Orthodox polemics, especially when voiced by eastern and western Catholics.

Somewhat of an aside to this thread, but as a lurker of this forum who only recently started posting here, your posts, ajk, have been incredibly helpful at doing exactly this: both addressing my difficulties with western spirituality (many of which are identical to the OP's) while also balancing against the Orthodox polemics that misrepresent it or go too far. I really appreciate your approach and wanted to thank you personally. I agree that an Eastern Catholic articulation of the faith is sorely needed.

Thank you JosephS for your kind and encouraging words. Prior to reading this post of yours, I read in your previous post:
Originally Posted by JosephS
I am also a Roman Catholic struggling with the same things you [Tadhg] describe. However, I don't see how any of these are theological, much less lines that you have crossed...
I want to emphasize that I have had the same struggles that you have, and nearly went Orthodox, but could not do so. The problem for me is Christ's prayer "that they may be one" in John 17. Despite my struggles, I think that unity is too massively important and the schism too tragic to perpetuate. I do not see enough cause for leaving in any of my issues. None of my struggles are with anything that the Church teaches as dogma; they are with cultural and spiritual practices that have developed over time that I find unhelpful or difficult to incorporate. I believe that all the spirituality of the eastern churches is more beneficial for me, and the eastern Catholic churches are a way to live this spirituality in a community, without contributing to the disunity that Christ prayed against.

I was going to comment (and do so now) that this is the type of testimonial that "effectively articulate[s] why, as eastern, orthodox Christians we are, and why one should be Catholic – we, who are living (though perhaps rather imperfectly) the desired unity."

“Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt, as I understand the subject; difficulty and doubt are incommensurate.” ― John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua

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Originally Posted by JosephS
I am also a Roman Catholic struggling with the same things you describe. However, I don't see how any of these are theological, much less lines that you have crossed.

"Post-enlightenment understanding on hell": I'm not completely sure what you mean by this, but if you mean something like a very vivid, almost comic book description of hell as a place with flames and torches, into which people are thrown by God against their will to be physically tortured forever, then I suspect this is a Protestantized image of hell along the lines of Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" that has seeped into our understanding through cultural assimilation. However, this is all imagery rather than doctrine. We know that hell exists, but we don't know what it's like. While I definitely take issue with the Edwardian understanding of hell, all descriptions and imagery will be flawed. No description using ordinary human language can adequately describe either hell or Heaven. This should not be a deal-breaker for remaining Catholic. If you struggle with the imagery that is commonly used (as I do as well), then drop it.

As I understand it, the EO position is much more open to mystery and conscience vs Catholicism (eg. apokatastasis being -potentially?- a legitimate belief) and 2) is seen as a state-of-being in relation to God, vs. in Catholicism where is seems (at least according to the CCC) to be a metaphysical location that souls inhabit. For what it's worth I suppose, as a Catholic I can hope in universal salvation (Von Balthasar).

Originally Posted by JosephS
"Marian apparitions...": We are not required to believe in any apparitions or private revelation. The farthest that the Church will ever go is declare an apparition worthy of belief. It is not part of the deposit of faith, and you do not have to believe them to remain Catholic. While I do believe that some are genuine, the character and expression that they take will obviously be related to the culture of the person who received it. For somebody who has grown up in a western, Latinized church, we should not be surprised or scandalized that the Blessed Virgin Mary would emphasize western, Latin devotions and images when speaking to them. If you struggle to incorporate these into your spiritual life, then that is okay. The Church does not require anyone to pray the rosary. The point here is that Mary points to her Son always, and whether you find the rosary or an eastern Akathist hymn to the Theotokos more helpful in your spiritual life is not a reason to break communion. Again, this is a matter of cultural expression rather than dogma.

While I'm not required to believe in any apparitions, as you said, I do need to believe that Mother Church has deemed some 'worthy of belief'. Many of these apparitions have theologically concerning messages to me.This ties into the Sensus Fidelium too - I am trying to answer 'What is the heart of the Church?'

Originally Posted by JosephS
"legalism, scapulars, indulgences, more progressed ideas of sin and confession mortal/venial, kind/number confession": This is my biggest difficulty. As someone who struggles mightily with scrupulosity, I have had a hard time with western spirituality when it tends toward a rigid, overly-defined, legalistic spiritual life. I've often despaired of ever being loved or lovable by God, and I do not see a way out of that with this type of legalism. I believe part of its origin is the turmoil in Western Europe, which caused the Church to respond to lots of different heresies, and I believe this caused an excessive tendency towards definition. The Black Death in the 14th century certainly caused a hyper focus on the afterlife and being prepared for death, and in turn, sin and its expiation. This did not happen in the east, because the plague did not have the massive effect on those regions that it did in western Europe. But I think this type of legalism and over-definition is a warped understanding of the spiritual life that the Church asks of us, and not something which necessitates leaving communion. Again, like the other issues you discuss, if it is unhelpful, then you are free to drop it and do not have to leave the Church to do so.


I resonate. While it doesn't necessitate leaving communion, it calls into question why the intuition of the vast majority of the communion has, at best, a pastorally problematic mind on confession and sin. (Again, Sensus Fidelium comes into play).

Originally Posted by JosephS
I want to emphasize that I have had the same struggles that you have, and nearly went Orthodox, but could not do so. The problem for me is Christ's prayer "that they may be one" in John 17. Despite my struggles, I think that unity is too massively important and the schism too tragic to perpetuate. I do not see enough cause for leaving in any of my issues. None of my struggles are with anything that the Church teaches as dogma; they are with cultural and spiritual practices that have developed over time that I find unhelpful or difficult to incorporate. I believe that all the spirituality of the eastern churches is more beneficial for me, and the eastern Catholic churches are a way to live this spirituality in a community, without contributing to the disunity that Christ prayed against.

Thank you for your thoughts Joseph, I appreciate your reply. Are you in the process of leaving the Latin rite for Eastern rite Catholicism? May God bless you!

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Are there any apparitions in particular that you find theologically concerning? To be honest, I'm not really into that sort of thing, but I'm curious about what it is that you find problematic.

Originally Posted by Tadhg
While it doesn't necessitate leaving communion, it calls into question why the intuition of the vast majority of the communion has, at best, a pastorally problematic mind on confession and sin.

I don't think it's problematic for everybody--this probably is dependent on the psychology of the individual. I also think the problem with it happens at the extremes, not when it's presented in a measured way. I do believe that there is truth in the western approach, but the problem for me is more my own predispositions toward scrupulosity and my tendency toward despair that causes me to jump to those extremes in western spirituality in an unhealthy way. It's possible that there are people for whom the mystery of eastern spirituality would be problematic too. They may fall into a relativism where they end up believing that everything is a gray area--a shapeless, jellyfish Christianity without a backbone.

Originally Posted by Tadhg
Thank you for your thoughts Joseph, I appreciate your reply. Are you in the process of leaving the Latin rite for Eastern rite Catholicism? May God bless you!

I'm struggling hard. Really hard. I honestly have no idea what I'm doing, or what I'm going to do. I feel like a lost child trying to find my parents. I feel a strong pull towards the east and find that the eastern fathers I am reading really speak to me, but I don't know where I'd go or what to do. Ruthenian? Melkite? Ukrainian? The parishes near me are very ethnic, and I feel like a fish out of water there. Mainly though I'm terrified of being led by my own ego, or that my desire for a reverent liturgy ends up being a worship of worship, rather than a worship of God. I still have yet to actually visit an eastern Catholic church. At the moment, I'm mainly trying to find a Roman Catholic parish with a reverent liturgy where I am spiritually nourished, and then if I still feel a call eastward, I would be less inclined to think that this is a running away and more of a running to.

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