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#60070 05/08/06 03:57 PM
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Originally posted by MizByz1974:
Of course, with the Western Church being in such a state of decay, and considering that the bishops are largely responsible, calling for more collegiality there now would probably make things worse...
That is a real dilemma.

Somehow the system has broken down. One would think with all of the control in place nothing but the best and brightest would be bishops and it should be easy to hand over more responsibility to such men.

But look at it, the commen laity are terrified of the prospect. Many people blame their bishops for making a mess of things, and these men were choices of the Vatican apparatus.

So to RC laity collegiality looks like a dangerous concept. To me centralized Vatican authority looks like a failed experiment.

I don't know how to resolve this.

One thing I will give the RC bishops credit for: they are generally able organizational administrators. Any one of them should do reasonably well in corporate management.

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Michael

#60071 05/08/06 06:56 PM
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Originally posted by acolytejim:

I enjoyed reading your posts Karen

Thank you! I'm glad someone does...

and I feel you have a valid argument. If the Church was to have one head then Jesus would have "ordained" just one apostle. But in fact He "ordained" 12 special apostles to carry on the ministry. Peter was of course "first among equals." But that's just it, first among equals, not first 'above' equals. The Papacy seems to have changed into a quasi-monarchy when the rest of Europe did. It had to in order to survive. I am Catholic but have serious problems with the steps the Popes have taken. Papal infallibility is a curse to the Church rather than a teaching device. The Church will make these grand pronouncements and then have to backpeddle and make up loopholes for doctrines to still be valid. They paint themselves into a corner. I like the whole unity thing and that's why I linger in the Church, but it is wrong for me to do so at the expense of my personal convictions.

This is exactly how I feel!

Peter was 'not' infallible. Also, Peter was married. How can we expect people to be celibate to be the Pope when our first Pope and 38 others were married?

While I don't reject papal infallibility, I think that it's a superfluous dogma. If the Church is infallible, then why is it necessary to dogmatize that her earthly head is? All papal infallibility means is that the Holy Spirit won't allow the Pope to officially teach error in faith in morals when he's speaking in his official capacity as head of the Church.

Re married popes, I have no problem with celibacy for bishops. Both the Catholic and Orthodox churches require bishops to be unmarried (though the Orthodox ordain married men to the priesthood). We should keep in mind that celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine, and its purpose is a practical one: to leave the bishop or priest free to devote his entire life to God without having the responsibilies of a family in addition.

Some people think Peter was a widower, but I doubt that-- if his wife weren't alive, his mother-in-law sure as heck wouldn't have been living in his house! biggrin

God bless,

Karen

#60072 05/08/06 11:10 PM
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Originally posted by MizByz1974:

While I don't reject papal infallibility, I think that it's a superfluous dogma. If the Church is infallible, then why is it necessary to dogmatize that her earthly head is? All papal infallibility means is that the Holy Spirit won't allow the Pope to officially teach error in faith in morals when he's speaking in his official capacity as head of the Church.
I think the reason this is dogma so important is Universal Jurisdiction.

Logically the universal authority comes first. Once you have a man with total responsibility for the entire church from doorkeepers in Manchester to Archbishops in Melbourne the infallibility of the church becomes synonymous with infallibility of the Pope, no difference.

In a sense one could say the infallibility of the church in general becomes superfluous by this power, not the other way around.

Chapter 3 Vatican Council of 1870

And so, supported by the clear witness of holy scripture, and adhering to the manifest and explicit decrees both of our predecessors the Roman pontiffs and of general councils, we promulgate anew the definition of the ecumenical council of Florence, which must be believed by all faithful Christians, namely that the apostolic see and the Roman pontiff hold a world-wide primacy, and that the Roman pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christ, head of the whole church and father and teacher of all christian people.

To him, in blessed Peter, full power has been given by our lord Jesus Christ to tend, rule and govern the universal church.

All this is to be found in the acts of the ecumenical councils and the sacred canons.

Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman pontiff is both episcopal and immediate.

Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the church throughout the world.

(emphasis mine)

This is why Papal infallibility is important, at the root of all church authority is Papal authority.

+T+
Michael

#60073 05/08/06 11:50 PM
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And I think this is THE problem.

How are we going to get the Orthodox and the Catholics to agree on this one? I think that all of the other differences can be resolved actually easily. But this teaching cannot. Is there a middle ground?

#60074 05/09/06 09:23 PM
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Originally posted by Hesychios:
(referring to Vatican One teachings on papal authority)
This is why Papal infallibility is important, at the root of all church authority is Papal authority.
People go to the Catholic Church to worship Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the "root" of all authority for the Catholic Church, not the pope.

People --at least, most ordinary Catholic people-- don't go to Catholic Mass or Catholic Divine Liturgy because of (or in spite of) the pope. For most Catholics, in everyday life, the papacy is just a non-issue. Most Catholics don't think about what the pope said, taught or did. However, most Catholics think about Jesus Christ and what He said, taught and did. They're Christian because of Jesus Christ; they're Catholic (Eastern or Western) because of the Eucharist; and the rest of the religion (including the pope) is, in ordinary life, not the main motivation or basis for practicing their religion.

As for the difference between Eastern and Western notions of Church authority, what else should we expect given the situation of the last 1000 years ? The Church got a divorce. Mom and Dad --Christian East and Christian West-- split; and each says that it is right and the other is wrong. In reality, both are half of a whole. Each complements and completes the other. And when the two are apart, each functions worse as a result.

I wish that Mom and Dad --Christian East and Christian West-- were reconciled. I hope and pray that they will reconcile, one day. But, I'm not holding my breath till that happens. I'm just pleased and amazed that both have dropped some of their pride recently so that they actually *talk* with each other.

In the meantime, I have to pick which parent to live with. Each parent --Christian East and Christian West-- has its tradition with much that is good and much that is stubborn pride, but neither alone has the fullness of a united family. There is part of the cross to carry for anyone who loves both parents of Christendom: it *still* isn't a united Church. But Christ is the ultimate unity of the Church, and I trust in Him.

-- John

#60075 05/09/06 09:32 PM
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Originally posted by Dr. Eric:
And I think this [Catholic teaching on papal authority) is [b]THE problem.

How are we going to get the Orthodox and the Catholics to agree on this one? I think that all of the other differences can be resolved actually easily. But this teaching cannot. Is there a middle ground? [/b]
At the risk of sounding naive, I don't this problem will be worked out by intellectual or political efforts alone. I think the unity of the Church will be restored only by humility and holiness. Specifically, I think the unity of the Church will be restored by Christians recognizing and loving and serving Jesus Christ in each other... even in people from different churches. Jesus Himself washed the feet of *all* the apostles, and He did so *before* the Eucharistic communion. Christians will have to relearn that lesson before we can restore full Eucharistic communion among us all.

just my 2 cents' worth...

-- John

#60076 05/09/06 11:09 PM
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John,

You made several good points that are right on the mark. However, regarding your statement that "neither alone has the fullness of a united family," did you mean that neither church has the fullness of faith? If so, I must respectfully disagree.

The teachings of the Orthodox and Catholic churches are mutually exclusive. As a Greek Orthodox Christian, I believe that the fullness of the Christian faith can be found in the Orthodox Church. That is a teaching of my Church. My understanding is that the Catholic Church teaches that the fullness of the Christian faith can be found in the Catholic Church. Thus, one of these churches must possess the fullness of the Christian faith to the exclusion of the other. (That being said, as I learn more about the Eastern Catholic Churches, I am starting to believe that the Eastern Catholic Churches, as Orthodox Churches in Communion with Rome, possess the fullness of the Christian faith, with just a few additions.)

If by your statement, you mean that we, as Christians, are harmed by the divisions among Christians, you are absolutely right. However, that harm cannot extend to the fullness of faith. The fullness of faith, as truth, cannot be harmed by the divisions among Christians. Of course, our divisions undermine our ability to reach non-Christians, but that is another post.

Harmonica

#60077 05/10/06 12:25 AM
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Originally posted by Harmonica:
regarding your statement that "neither alone has the fullness of a united family," did you mean that neither church has the fullness of faith?
Harmonica,

I meant more tradition than revealed truth. Christ is the Truth, and what He revealed is Truth. But our tradition of living out the Truth is sadly sundered, in my opinion, by the disunity of Christianity.

-- John

#60078 05/10/06 12:50 AM
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Hi John!
Quote
Originally posted by harmon3110:
Quote
Originally posted by Hesychios:
[b] (referring to Vatican One teachings on papal authority)
This is why Papal infallibility is important, at the root of all church authority is Papal authority.
People go to the Catholic Church to worship Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the "root" of all authority for the Catholic Church, not the pope. [/b]
Perhaps I should clarify my statement.

The root of all hierchical jurisdiction is the Pope. The church says so. I have even seen it claimed that the authority of the Patriarch of Antioch derives from the papacy, as if by delegation (I wish I could remember the document or the circumstances).

In Orthodoxy that resides in the bishop and not dependent upon another bishop. Every bishop in Orthodoxy has the same hierarchical authority in his diocese that the Pope may exercise in his own diocese, no more or less - no different.

Quote
Originally posted by harmon3110:
People --at least, most ordinary Catholic people-- don't go to Catholic Mass or Catholic Divine Liturgy because of (or in spite of) the pope. For most Catholics, in everyday life, the papacy is just a non-issue. Most Catholics don't think about what the pope said, taught or did. However, most Catholics think about Jesus Christ and what He said, taught and did. They're Christian because of Jesus Christ; they're Catholic (Eastern or Western) because of the Eucharist; and the rest of the religion (including the pope) is, in ordinary life, not the main motivation or basis for practicing their religion.
I don't disagree with this, it has been my experience as well. Of course Jesus Christ is the reason, not the bishop!

Quote
Originally posted by harmon3110:
As for the difference between Eastern and Western notions of Church authority, what else should we expect given the situation of the last 1000 years ?
I would not necessarily have expected these kinds of differences merely from a loss of contact with each other. But what we have is something a bit different than just a separation or alienation. These differences manifested themselves before the split, and basically caused the split.

Sadly however, the differences have been exaggerated over time. I see Roma as having been on a long trajectory, interrupted only briefly by the Great three-way Western Schism and the Council of Constance.

I don't really think that the East and West are incomplete without each other. I used to think that, but not any longer. My apologies to anyone who may think that this is a harsh statement, it is not intended to be that way.

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Michael

#60079 05/10/06 01:06 AM
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Hesychios, I'm not sure if this is what you were thinking of, but this appeared in the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops [vatican.va] a few years back.

Quote
H.B. Gr�goire III LAHAM, B.S., Patriarch of Antioch for the Greek-Melchites, Syria

It is incorrect to include the Patriarchal Synod under the title of Episcopal Conferences. It is a completely distinct organism. The Patriarchal Synod is the supreme instance of the Eastern Church. It can legislate, elect bishops and Patriarchs, cut off those who differ.

In No. 75, a "particular honor" given to Patriarchs is mentioned. I would like to mention that this diminishes the traditional role of the Patriarch, as well as speaking about the honor and privileges of the Patriarchs in ecclesiastical documents.

It is not a question of honor, of privileges, of concessions. The patriarchal institution is a specific entity unique in Eastern ecclesiology.

With all respect due to the Petrine ministry, the Patriarchal ministry is equal to it, "servatis servandis", in Eastern ecclesiology.

Until this is taken into consideration by the Roman ecclesiology, no progress will be made in ecumenical dialogue.

Furthermore, the Patriarchal ministry is not a Roman creation, it is not the fruit of privileges, conceded or granted by Rome.

Such a concept can but ruin any possible understanding with Orthodoxy.

We claim this also for our Patriarchal Melkite Church and for all our Eastern Catholic Churches.

We have waited too long to apply the decrees of Vatican Council II and the Encyclicals and letters by the Popes, and notably by Pope John Paul II.

Because of this the good will of the Church of Rome loses credibility regarding ecumenical dialogue.

We can see the opposite occurring: the CCEO has ratified uses absolutely contrary to Eastern tradition and ecclesiology!
In the Roman model bishops derive their validity by being in communion with the Roman bishop. What I think the Patriarch is pointing out is that in Eastern ecclesiology, bishops are valid by the nature of being in communion with their own apostolic sees. I think he is complaining that the role of the EC Patriarchs is not only denigrated by this aspect of the Roman model, but they are further subverted in their status by being subordinated to the Roman Curia of which they simply form a department of.

I saw him echo similar comments in a recent 30 Days article. When he says

"Such a concept can but ruin any possible understanding with Orthodoxy."

I must say that is absolutely spot on, and I have seen nothing to show that this is in fact changing for the better. The reqlinquishing of the Pope's title of Patriarch of the West I think was a definite step in the wrong direction.

Andrew

#60080 05/10/06 02:21 AM
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Hello Andrew!

Thank you, yes this is one of the items I was thinking of. I had wondered if I should ever see this quotation again! As you say, his comments are "spot on".

The Melkites should be immensely proud of their Patriarchs. If I were a Melkite I would have this statement framed.

As stated above there is a dangerous tendency to equate a Patriarchal synod with a local episcopal conference. Latin episcopal conferences have the potential of becoming like synods some day perhaps, but they are not. Making such a comparison is a way of diminishing the patriarchal synod in the minds of the faithful, and ultimately subordinating whole churches.

I feel bad for the Ruthenians, never to have an independent voice like the Melkites and Ukrainians. No Patriarch (not even a major-Archbishop), no patriarchal synod, just the Pope and the curia to turn to. No wonder they are the very last to ordain a married man, and that is technically an exception according to their own particular law. The church has no independence, and does not represent a suitable model for Orthodoxy. The very kind of thing His Beatitude Gr�goire warned against.

+T+
Michael

#60081 05/10/06 03:04 AM
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Have you ever read the excerpt "Vatican I - A Pseudo-Council?" from a book by Melkite Bishop Zoghby? He doesn't really pull any punches. He traces the origin of the subordination of patriarchs under the Cardinals to the meeting that took place at Florence and the Bull Non Mediocri of Eugene IV that came out after it.

Andrew

#60082 05/10/06 03:11 AM
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Hi Andrew,
No, I don't believe I have, but thanks for the heads up. It sounds like that could put a lot of this into historical context. I will look for it.

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Michael

#60083 05/18/06 05:11 AM
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What has been posted about this topic I am not able to understand easily, since I have limited knowledge of history. I think it's important to remember that the Patriarch of Constantinople had a very nice palace with many servants before 1453. I also think it's humbling to wonder what would have happened if the turks had conquered Rome soon after Constantinople. I personally blame politics and society alone for creating the division of The Great Church. It's only because most of the politics are gone that we are at such a high point in dialogue. I do think the Ruthenians should have had their own patriarch, but since they don't have one now it may be easier for them to fold into the Orthodox in the future. The Cardinals role must become lower than the Patriarchs role. Perhaps even the priests and people of Rome should be the ones to elect the Bishop of Rome. I visit the Melkite "Catholic" Church most frequently because they do have their own patriarch in communion with Rome. And just as Archbishop Zogbhy said, I say the same:

�I believe in everything which Eastern Orthodoxy teaches;

�I am in communion with the Bishop of Rome, in the limits recognized to the first among the bishops by the holy fathers of the East during the first millennium, before the separation.�

#60084 05/19/06 10:06 PM
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The one thing many object to is the reaction one gets to those whose rabid Papism, and yes, it's an "ism" is just that. It's not Christian, or Catholic, but cultic, and most here have experenced it. That be as it is, I for one recognise the Bishop of Rome for who he is, and the authority given by Christ God, and I am EO. Thank you very much, Mikhail S Bohom

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