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Originally Posted by desertman
Forgive me if I offended you,...

I will only respond that the criticisms I put forth are not my own extreme opinions but that of a number of Orthodox saints like Justin Popovich and respected theologians like Dumitru Staniloae, Met. Heirotheos, etc.
Then they are misinforming you. I've read Staniloae; he did not resonate with me (I'm being kind) as did Lossky and Zizioulas. You do not offend me but I am saddened and troubled by what Orthodoxy has instilled in you

Originally Posted by desertman
I would also have to say that the issue of receiving converts by Baptism or Chrismation is not at all comparable to the issues I presented, since both ways are traditional means of receiving converts. Neither is an innovation or departure from traditional practice.
Quite the contrary and I say that emphatically; baptism is a sacrament/mystery. It is not comparable only because it so far exceeds those issues. It is THE ontological encounter with Christ uniting all Christians. It is the epitome for doctrine and praxis needing to exhibit a unified and unequivocal belief since it marks (sphragis; seal) the person as one who has "put on Christ."

Check your theological priorities.

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Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
The more deeply I got into historical studies for the book I was writing, the more I saw Roman Catholicism as having drifted into error and away from the teaching of the Apostolic Fathers. (Dear RC friend, if you dispute this, all you have to do is show me quotes from men like St. Ignatius or St. Irenaeus which support the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, Indulgences, Papal Infallibility, Papal Supremacy, withholding the Eucharist from infant children, baptism by sprinkling as a norm, etc.)


What is your book about? Title?

I would think your dear RC friend would enlighten you by asking you for quotes from St. Ignatius(A.D. 140) or St. Irenaeus (A.D. 202) on the developed dogma of the Trinity as in the the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (A.D. 381).


I'm not sure what the development of the Trinity has to do with the creation of Indulgences, the Immaculate Conception, etc. Perhaps you could enlighten me?

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Edward - this is very interesting. I'm also in tune with you on this subject, I've been with a lay group of men and women who's mission it is to return those who've left the Apostolic Churches based in India - many who've gone to Pentecostalism - back to the Apostolic Churches, Catholic and Orthodox. Would you be interested in speaking about your book with us? There are several hundred people who regularly listen and join in the conversation across the world, many in India, and others in the Gulf, EU/UK, US/Canada and Australia. Many in the group were pastors of Pentecostal churches for many decades before returning back to their mother Churches.

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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by desertman
Forgive me if I offended you,...

I will only respond that the criticisms I put forth are not my own extreme opinions but that of a number of Orthodox saints like Justin Popovich and respected theologians like Dumitru Staniloae, Met. Heirotheos, etc.
Then they are misinforming you. I've read Staniloae; he did not resonate with me (I'm being kind) as did Lossky and Zizioulas. You do not offend me but I am saddened and troubled by what Orthodoxy has instilled in you

Originally Posted by desertman
I would also have to say that the issue of receiving converts by Baptism or Chrismation is not at all comparable to the issues I presented, since both ways are traditional means of receiving converts. Neither is an innovation or departure from traditional practice.
Quite the contrary and I say that emphatically; baptism is a sacrament/mystery. It is not comparable only because it so far exceeds those issues. It is THE ontological encounter with Christ uniting all Christians. It is the epitome for doctrine and praxis needing to exhibit a unified and unequivocal belief since it marks (sphragis; seal) the person as one who has "put on Christ."

Check your theological priorities.
With all due respect, you know nothing about me or my priorities. Saddened and troubled? Clearly I've caused an emotional reaction here, which is the last thing I intended to do. That should be my cue to move on now. I'm not here to convince you of anything. If you're happy being Catholic, more power to you. I was only offering words of support for those considering Orthodoxy. I'll say no more.

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Originally Posted by desertman
With all due respect, you know nothing about me or my priorities. Saddened and troubled? Clearly I've caused an emotional reaction here, which is the last thing I intended to do. That should be my cue to move on now. I'm not here to convince you of anything. If you're happy being Catholic, more power to you. I was only offering words of support for those considering Orthodoxy. I'll say no more.
I don't know you but I know you got it wrong big time about baptism relative to those grab-bag issues (the priorities) by your own words. I accept the "saddened and troubled" as one aspect of the reality of being divided, and so I participate in the forum freely; it is for me an intellectual and spiritual catharsis.

Words of support are ok but they have to ring true.

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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by desertman
With all due respect, you know nothing about me or my priorities. Saddened and troubled? Clearly I've caused an emotional reaction here, which is the last thing I intended to do. That should be my cue to move on now. I'm not here to convince you of anything. If you're happy being Catholic, more power to you. I was only offering words of support for those considering Orthodoxy. I'll say no more.
I don't know you but I know you got it wrong big time about baptism relative to those grab-bag issues (the priorities) by your own words. I accept the "saddened and troubled" as one aspect of the reality of being divided, and so I participate in the forum freely; it is for me an intellectual and spiritual catharsis.

Words of support are ok but they have to ring true.
You are trying awfully hard to produce a gotcha moment using a false equivalence. No one ever said Orthodoxy has zero problems or issues to be settled. But our issues are not even remotely similar to the existential crisis that is modern Catholicism. I am not trying to say that to make you angry or start an argument. It is just a simple fact that many Catholics who are trying to be faithful to their church are suffering incredible levels of cognitive dissonance trying to reconcile contradictions that can't be reconciled. That is what should sadden you. What saddens me are Eastern Catholics like Irish Ruthenian who spend years wanting to be Orthodox, but feel forced to remain in this perpetual state of cognitive dissonance. That's the only reason I responded here, to discuss with those whose hearts are open to Orthodoxy. Judging by your comments, I'd say your heart is not open, therefore no amount of apologetic effort is going to change your mind and I really have no interest in long, pointless online debates.

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Originally Posted by desertman
You are trying awfully hard to produce a gotcha moment using a false equivalence... What saddens me are Eastern Catholics like Irish Ruthenian who spend years wanting to be Orthodox, but feel forced to remain in this perpetual state of cognitive dissonance. That's the only reason I responded here, to discuss with those whose hearts are open to Orthodoxy...
Not trying at all, just responding to your words which, being so wrong on such a fundamental of theology as the preeminence of a sacrament/mystery, baptism, I must question the quality of some of your other characterizations. Your spiritual journey is to be respected but, as you suggest of others, the "...years wanting to be Orthodox...forced to remain...discuss with those whose hearts are open to Orthodoxy..." the word that popped in my head was proselytizing. Or from the Orthodox point of view, as the one true Church, is that something that should be done since it is, rather, just evangeliziation?

As to a confusion of doctrine and/with praxis, consider Orthodoxy's calendar debate.

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Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
The more deeply I got into historical studies for the book I was writing, the more I saw Roman Catholicism as having drifted into error and away from the teaching of the Apostolic Fathers. (Dear RC friend, if you dispute this, all you have to do is show me quotes from men like St. Ignatius or St. Irenaeus which support the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, Indulgences, Papal Infallibility, Papal Supremacy, withholding the Eucharist from infant children, baptism by sprinkling as a norm, etc.)


What is your book about? Title?

I would think your dear RC friend would enlighten you by asking you for quotes from St. Ignatius(A.D. 140) or St. Irenaeus (A.D. 202) on the developed dogma of the Trinity as in the the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (A.D. 381).


I'm not sure what the development of the Trinity has to do with the creation of Indulgences, the Immaculate Conception, etc. Perhaps you could enlighten me?

[Linked Image from images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com]

Edward - this is very interesting. I'm also in tune with you on this subject, I've been with a lay group of men and women who's mission it is to return those who've left the Apostolic Churches based in India - many who've gone to Pentecostalism - back to the Apostolic Churches, Catholic and Orthodox. Would you be interested in speaking about your book with us? There are several hundred people who regularly listen and join in the conversation across the world, many in India, and others in the Gulf, EU/UK, US/Canada and Australia. Many in the group were pastors of Pentecostal churches for many decades before returning back to their mother Churches.

I would be very interested as long as you and all people understand that I am far from being an expert. That is why I named the book A LAYMAN INVESTIGATES UNIVERSAL SALVATION. Here is the introduction to the book so you can get a feel for where I am coming from:

Introduction
Journey to an Unknown Land


You are invited to go on a journey. It is a journey of investigation and discovery. When first presented with the idea of God saving all, I was at initially intrigued, then joyful, then troubled. Especially troubled. What was this new idea of which I had never heard? When I tried to discuss this concept, the reaction of people was negative. Some were quite disturbed.

The genesis of this book was a forty-page paper, presented to me by a friend who appeared quite troubled when I made certain statements wondering about God saving all. A month later, I was offered a nicely bound presentation, filled with commonly accepted reasons telling me why I must believe in eternal hell. What I intended as a short response, based on my initial limited knowledge of the subject, became an intense search, and is now this book. I felt my friend deserved concise answers rather than throwing out a quick Bible verse or philosophical reply. To respond, I had to go to places I had never heard of before, to a land which had been hidden from me by every pastor and priest to whom I had listened. It was necessary to sort through many facets of this controversy, including Christian history, people involved in the controversy, both past and present, and study of the original Greek Bible texts, using as source material scholars far more advanced than I am. To them I am indebted.

It is a monumental act of hubris on my part, a mere layman, lacking in higher educational degrees, to present such a book to the public. Theologians and linguists such as Dr. David Bentley Hart, Dr. Illaria Ramelli, Thomas Talbot, Brad Jersak, and Fr. Aidan Kimel have written quite thoroughly on this subject. The problem is that some of the books by these apologists are written on a doctorate level–difficult to unintelligible to the average lay person. In working through Dr. Hart’s latest book, That All Shall Be Saved, I found it necessary to go back and slowly re-read pages several times to get my mind around what he was saying. As reflected in his writing, he is an immense intellect. My hope is to answer my friend’s objections in a voice not requiring a PhD to understand. What you will discover in the following pages is a layman doing his own due diligence to try to understand this subject.

These are strictly my own thoughts and opinions, based on my journey of personal study. I have neither the ecclesial authority nor deep scholastic training to make authoritative pronouncements. This is not as a scholastic book. If you desire doctoral level writing, I recommend Dr. David Bentley Hart, Dr. Illaria Ramelli, Eric Reitan, and John Kronen. I write as an ordinary layman sharing with others the things I found and my conclusions. This book is intended as a beginner’s level tool for understanding the basis of belief in Universal Salvation. Perhaps it shall be of help to you. I hope you will go to the authors, websites, and blogs I have referenced and follow up with your own investigation. There are links to men whose writings are much more learned than I will ever be on my best day. Read, study, meditate. Above all, pray.


In other words, the way I would approach any discussion would be like this: "Here is what I found. Let's discuss it."

I am still learning.

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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by desertman
You are trying awfully hard to produce a gotcha moment using a false equivalence... What saddens me are Eastern Catholics like Irish Ruthenian who spend years wanting to be Orthodox, but feel forced to remain in this perpetual state of cognitive dissonance. That's the only reason I responded here, to discuss with those whose hearts are open to Orthodoxy...
Not trying at all, just responding to your words which, being so wrong on such a fundamental of theology as the preeminence of a sacrament/mystery, baptism, I must question the quality of some of your other characterizations. Your spiritual journey is to be respected but, as you suggest of others, the "...years wanting to be Orthodox...forced to remain...discuss with those whose hearts are open to Orthodoxy..." the word that popped in my head was proselytizing. Or from the Orthodox point of view, as the one true Church, is that something that should be done since it is, rather, just evangeliziation?

As to a confusion of doctrine and/with praxis, consider Orthodoxy's calendar debate.

Christian charity, along with a desire not to be banned from this forum nor go to an embarrassing Confession, keeps me from saying what I feel about your posts.

When I think about it, I am more than a little appalled at how I was deceived by being given a highly selective history of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as no information regarding the major differences in anthropology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology which exist between East and West. This was a sad oversight on the part of the Orthodox priest who watched me come to Saturday night Vespers and assumed (wrongly) that my conversion was just around the corner. I can't help but think (perhaps uncharitably) that it was a more deliberate hiding of the facts from the Church which thinks that it is the "True Church" and will not openly discuss the fact that none of the particulars which separate it from Orthodoxy can be found in the writings of the Early Fathers.

For instance, the Filioque Clause. I see Roman Catholic apologists online write terribly long and windy apologia for the Filioque Clause, cherry picking what they can find and taking out of context quotes from the Fathers. All this sounds very enlightened and highly intelligent but misses a simple fact: IT WASN'T IN THE ORIGINAL CREED!! For someone who is interested in honest debate, that should end the discussion. Add to that the history of the Filioque, that it was added by the baptized pagans of the North, the Frankish bishops, that the Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical councils both declared anathema on anyone changing previous councils, and that Pope Leo III had the Creed engraved on silver plates and mounted in the basilica of Rome - well, for an HONEST inquirer - case over!

But not with Rome nor her apologists.

I do not want to get into a spitting match, and as was said earlier, if you are happy being in Rome, more power to you. I have no doubt that there are many fine Roman Church people whose lives are exemplary and who love Jesus much more than I do. I want to be friends with all my Roman Catholic contacts and hopefully remain friends with those who will see me leaving the RC church. But the sense I get from your posts is that anyone who has done what I have done and made a decision based on the facts I have found is A.) ignorant B.) deceived C.) possibly a heretic.

If you want to know what I found, I encourage you to buy my book and read it. You will probably not like what I discovered, but it is there for those who are willing to dig into history and see the many missteps which the church at Rome has taken.

As for me, the thought that I could have been Orthodox for the last 20 years is something that leaves me shaking my head. Orthodox priests need to do better work in enlightening non-Orthodox people and seekers as to the real differences between East and West. The ecumenical spirit I see online and elsewhere keeps downplaying these things, but if truth is important, then they need serious and substantial discussion.

I wish you all of God's blessings. I would just ask that you not downplay those of us who have made a painful transition in our thinking and the decisions we have had to come to.

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That's perfect Edward.. I'll send you an email address for future zoom link on direct message

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Sorry if I sound rude, but I believe it was the union of Uzhhorod that made the Rusyn church, Brest was the Ukrainian church

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Originally Posted by JohnFromRuthenia
Sorry if I sound rude, but I believe it was the union of Uzhhorod that made the Rusyn church, Brest was the Ukrainian church
Not rude at all but correct: Union of Uzhorod . The Ukrainians at Brest entered as a church -- hierarchy, bishops; the Rusyns,at Užhorod did not.

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Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
... well, for an HONEST inquirer - case over!
Hardly; not the "HONEST inquirer " but the SUPERFICIAL inquirer .

Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
But not with Rome nor her apologists.
What did you expect from apologists? That you and other former Catholics now embrace Orthodoxy is one thing; that you post generalizations and accusations on a forum where others are wanting clarification is a disservice. Having failed to inform yourself with a mature inquiry of Catholic theology -- and the cop-out that it was a "deliberate hiding of the facts from the Church" -- you have aligned yourself with an approach that is polemical, an Orthodoxy that must present itself in terms of being in opposition to Catholicism,

So what are you really saying? What do the "many missteps which the church at Rome has taken" amount to? Heresy?

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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
... well, for an HONEST inquirer - case over!
Hardly; not the "HONEST inquirer " but the SUPERFICIAL inquirer.

Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
But not with Rome nor her apologists.
What did you expect from apologists? That you and other former Catholics now embrace Orthodoxy is one thing; that you post generalizations and accusations on a forum where others are wanting clarification is a disservice. Having failed to inform yourself with a mature inquiry of Catholic theology -- and the cop-out that it was a "deliberate hiding of the facts from the Church" -- you have aligned yourself with an approach that is polemical, an Orthodoxy that must present itself in terms of being in opposition to Catholicism,

So what are you really saying? What do the "many missteps which the church at Rome has taken" amount to? Heresy?

You don't get it, do you? You cannot have two "truths" that oppose each other.

Immaculate Conception. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Indulgences. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Papal Supremacy. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Papal Infallibility. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Filioque Clause. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Purgatory. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.

The word "heresy," as I understand it, simply means "personal opinion which contradicts the accepted teaching of the Church." Here is another more defined definition.

"Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religious teachings but is also used of views strongly opposed to any generally accepted ideas."

The Church - and I am speaking of the united Church before Rome left - NEVER taught these things. They were made up out of thin air without the approval of an ecumenical council. This is what happens when you start digging deep into history rather than accepting what the preacher or priest says. In addition, there are non-doctrinal practices which have been elevated to almost the level of dogma, such as celibate priests, non-leavened bread in the Eucharist, making children wait for the Eucharist, etc.

In addition, looking at the idea of an "indefectible" Church, I almost spit my coffee all over the monitor one morning. The Roman Catholic Church has been anything but indefectible. When I started my historic research regarding Apokatastasis, I discovered a church in Rome that mangled the interpretation of the Greek Scriptures in order to come up with the idea of a burning hell of torment. The "indefectible church" has made serious errors in the interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures. The "indefectible church" has mangled their own Liturgy.

I found a church that accepted Augustine's wretched (and false) ideas about anthropology, soteriology, and eschatology and instead of calling a council to discuss these theological novums, just ran with them. When the Orthodox Fathers in Constantinople finally got a translation of Augustine's works, they were horrified at some of the ideas he set forth, yet Rome blithely accepted them without so much as a whimper of protest.

Finally, I found a church that morphed from being an ecclesial body to being a political body with an organized religion to support it. That started in earnest with Justinian and got a full head of steam going with the Papal Reformation of the eleventh century and "Saint" Peter Damian, a man who not only practiced self-flagellation, but went around preaching the same an insisting that others do the same. At least one abbot told him that he needed to mind his own business.

Orthodoxy may not be perfect, as we see from the current problems going on in Russia and Constantinople, but for someone who is looking to worship and believe as the first Church did, it is the only choice.

Your turn - show me the writings of the Early Fathers which support the dogmas of Rome. These are not generalizations. These are facts I discovered as I did my due diligence for my book. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
... well, for an HONEST inquirer - case over!
Hardly; not the "HONEST inquirer " but the SUPERFICIAL inquirer.

Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
But not with Rome nor her apologists.
What did you expect from apologists? That you and other former Catholics now embrace Orthodoxy is one thing; that you post generalizations and accusations on a forum where others are wanting clarification is a disservice. Having failed to inform yourself with a mature inquiry of Catholic theology -- and the cop-out that it was a "deliberate hiding of the facts from the Church" -- you have aligned yourself with an approach that is polemical, an Orthodoxy that must present itself in terms of being in opposition to Catholicism,

So what are you really saying? What do the "many missteps which the church at Rome has taken" amount to? Heresy?

You don't get it, do you? You cannot have two "truths" that oppose each other.

Immaculate Conception. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Indulgences. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Papal Supremacy. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Papal Infallibility. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Filioque Clause. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Purgatory. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.

So, answer your own questions already. And is your answer, if you have one, what is taught by the the Orthodox church[es]? I say again, it's your call (you brought up the topics), your ball: "... show me the writings of the Early Fathers which support" your answer. And then I will probably say to you -- well, I'll wait first for any reply you may have.

Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
... there are non-doctrinal practices which have been elevated to almost the level of dogma, such as celibate priests, non-leavened bread in the Eucharist, making children wait for the Eucharist, etc.
You are out of control; how am I to take you seriously? I appreciate that you have become somewhat more refined and have dropped the "dead bread" (Post: my comments on "dead bread" etc.) pejorative.

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Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
You don't get it, do you? You cannot have two "truths" that oppose each other.

Immaculate Conception. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Indulgences. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Papal Supremacy. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Papal Infallibility. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Filioque Clause. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.
Purgatory. True (Catholic) or False (Orthodox)? It cannot be both.




“Et macula originalis non est in te!” Cries the beautiful hymn to Mary, “Tota Pulchra es Maria”
Can you tell me how the Orthodox churches understand Panagia? Even if the anthropologies of east and west are a bit different, does not the title Theotokos imply that she is most special, and even conceived without sin? Duns Scotus thought so.

Are not “Indulgences” but an application of the Church’s Economia and are they not a beautiful application of the Communion of Saints? Forgiveness itself is an indulgence. Just because the Orthodox have not indulged in this particular aspect of soteriology does not mean the Roman application of such is “false”.

The Orthodox churches, among themselves, assert Primacy all the time. Isn’t the controversy between Moscow and Constantinople really about this issue? Why can they not assert this of the First among Equals (Bishop of Rome) who they continue to separate themselves from even though they acknowledge the primacy of this church?

The Church is infallible. The Bishop of Rome is but an unfailing guarantee of that infallibility. He possesses that infallibility that belongs to the Church regarding what is essential for belief. I think St. Maximos, Confessor, a reliable Father of the East had some choice words regarding both the primacy and doctrinal trustworthiness of this preeminent church. No? Who, among the Orthodox, is a guarantee?

The original wording of the Creed has always been acknowledged and honored by the Church of Rome. The “Filioque” clause was added, not to change the substance of the Creed, but to clarify that Father and Son are coequal in terms of their divinity as They are, together with the Holy Spirit, adored and glorified.

Purgatory? Well, I guess both Orthodox and Catholics pray for the deceased for some reason, if ancient Roman catacomb inscriptions and modern practice testifies. Perhaps Purgation is just a way to understand, in our very limited, and prone to the material and temporal kind-of-way, what goes on between our physical demise and the Final Judgment. How can you consider this an heretical concept?

As far as the use of “dead bread” is concerned, I believe the use of azymes is a very ancient practice that predates the Constantinian church, being used by the Church of Rome, and, as wel,l by the Armenians. The liturgical reforms that were instituted for the Latin rite after the Second Vatican Council follow the extremely ancient norms of that Autocephalous church’s tradition which is equally as valid and orthodox as anything in the east! The cant of “Trads” is historical and ecclesiastical nonsense. If the “Novus Ordo” seems too Protestant, it is only because Rome has finally heard the justifiable cry of the Reformers for a comprehensible language for the Laicos.

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