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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: the primacy of the Pope and the Papacy
El Greco
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A few days ago I read an opinion expressed by Pope Benedict the 16th concerning the institution of the Papacy.

He said:

quote:
Pope Benedict XVI (the then Cardinal Ratzinger) view on achieving East - West unity.

"Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium. When the Patriarch Athenagoras, on July 25, 1967, on the occasion of the Pope's visit to Phanar, designated him as the successor of St. Peter, as the most esteemed among us, as one also presides in charity, this great Church leader was expressing the essential content of the doctrine of primacy as it was known in the first millennium. Rome need not ask for more. Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while, on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox and legitimate in the form she has always had.

Ratzinger, Joseph: PRINCIPLES OF CATHOLIC THEOLOGY, Ignatius, 1988, page 199-200

It has been also said that:

quote:
http://www.georgetown.edu/centers/woodstock/reese/ec/ec-6komonch.htm

Comments by Fr. Joseph Komanchak, professor CUA, and member of the North American Commission of Orthodox and Roman Catholics. (SCOBA / NCCB) .

Joseph Ratzinger, for example, pointed out the need to disentangle the confusion between the patriarchal and primatial roles of the bishop of Rome and to break up the Latin patriarchate, replacing it with a number of "patriarchal areas," that is, regions with an autonomy similar to that of the ancient patriarchates, but under the direction of the episcopal conferences.

In an essay entitled "Primacy and Episcopacy," Ratzinger developed the theme at greater length:

"The image of a centralized state which the Catholic church presented right up to the council does not flow only from the Petrine office, but from its strict amalgamation with the patriarchal function which grew ever stronger in the course of history and which fell to the bishop of Rome for the whole of Latin Christendom. The uniform canon law, the uniform liturgy, the uniform appointment of bishops by the Roman center: all these are things which are not necessarily part of the primacy but result from the close union of the two offices. For that reason, the task to consider for the future will be to distinguish again and more clearly between the proper function of the successor of Peter and the patriarchal office and, where necessary, to create new patriarchates and to detach them from the Latin church. To embrace unity with the pope would then no longer mean being incorporated into a uniform administration, but only being inserted into a unity of faith and communio, in which the pope is acknowledged to have the power to give binding interpretations of the revelation given in Christ whose authority is accepted whenever it is given in definitive form."

After exploring the ecumenical implications of this vision, Ratzinger concluded: "Finally, in the not too distant future one could consider whether the churches of Asia and Africa, like those of the East, should not present their own forms as autonomous "patriarchates" or "great churches" or whatever such ecclesiae in the Ecclesia might be called in the future."

I understand the historical reasons for the Patriarch of Rome to create a centralized authority for the people in the West.

Can we go beyond what divided the two Churches? I know that what the Pope proposed cannot be accepted as is by the Orthodox. However, I find it a step in the right direction. What do you think?

[ 06. April 2006, 09:18: Message edited by: Duo Seraphim ]

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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Alogon
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Very interesting. I've long felt that as, a historical development of long standing, the Bishop of Rome deserves some stature as Patriarch of the West even though one rejects infallibility or even supremacy.

Do I read him correctly to infer: (1) The concept of patriarchs is still relevant, but (2) The historic territories are subject to adjustment with changing circumstances, e.g. the territory of the Patriarch of the West has come to encompass most of the world and might be rearranged. (3) Various practices and theological emphases or nuances are to be expected in the various patriarchates. "The uniform canon law, the uniform liturgy, the uniform appointment of bishops by the Roman center: all these are things which are not necessarily part of the primacy...To embrace unity with the pope would then no longer mean being incorporated into a uniform administration."

He still assumes, however, that the purviews of the patriarchs must be defined geographically, with the natural result that a usage acceptable in one region is unacceptable in another. Why must this be? Is this geographical assumption necessary, or even very astute, in an age characterized by mobility, globe-trotting, and cosmopolitan intermingling of peoples?

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Patriarchy (n.): A belief in original sin unaccompanied by a belief in God.

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Father Gregory

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It is a step in the right direction ... but does he still believe the same things now?

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Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
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Adrian1
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Well tomorrow is the feast of the Chair of Peter...

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The Parson's Handbook contains much excellent advice, which, if it were more generally followed, would bring some order and reasonableness into the amazing vagaries of Anglican Ritualism. Adrian Fortescue

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Triple Tiara

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Very good point Fr Gregory. Was it Pio Nono who reputedly said: "Before we were pope we believed in infallibility. Now we are pope, we feel it". ?

I think Alogon your point is equally good. But remember the date - 1988. There was, I would argue, even such short a time ago, less consciousness of globalisation and the free migration of peoples. So geographical definitions still came easiest.

But also beware and do not read too much into what Ratzinger is saying: look carefully and papal infallibility and primacy remain embedded in the Ratzinger model.

I wonder at our Orthodox brethren being so quick to say it's a move in the right direction, though, because it seems to me he is simply enunciating the principles by which those disparagingly referred to as "uniates" are operating now: own liturgy, own canon law, own customs, bishops confirmed rather than appointed by Rome....

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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Father Gregory

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Dear Triple Tiara

ANYTHING that moderates the ongoing suction toward the Centre is welcome. I didn't say adequate!

[ 21. February 2006, 20:51: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]

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Fr. Gregory
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Triple Tiara

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Well yes - I think many in the West say the same thing! But that's another matter ....

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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Well, that also is encouraging. Frankly there is nothing I would welcome more in respect of ecumenism than a return in the west to the characteristic papacy of the first millennium then we can sort out a new viable reunion which would truly embrace the whole of both churches. That wouldn't mean a slavish copying but an implementation of the same spirit in new clothing.

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Fr. Gregory
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Triple Tiara

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Hee hee I read that as slarve-ish copying. Made me think of the nickname JPII had in some Curial circles in Rome: "Superslav" [Snigger]

JPII's "Ut Unum Sint" invited reflections on these things. Problem was when some of our own lot took him up on this they were firmly slapped down. I don't think that was a very encouraging sign for our ecumenical partners, but the irony of this curial heavy-handedness seemed to be lost on those very curial officials.

I'm not sure we are going to go very far with it though as the ultra-montanist principle has been strongly at work of late in our Church. This may be regarded as a pity if one looks at it from certain angles, and it does produce some seriously disordered approaches to Church: the parody of Dalek Ratzinger going around saying "excommunicate" refers! This has never been accurate of him, of course, but entirely accurate of the attitude of some of our more extreme contingents. See here for an example.

But Rome has also been the only way in which some completely loopy stuff has been held in check. For me personally, Rome and the curia is an essential aspect of a universal church. I cannot see how the primacy can exist without it. Because I think one needs a Primate with teeth if one is going to have one! Rottweiler teeth if necessary. I think "primacy of honour" is a get-out clause concept which ultimately lets one down. Primacy is not about honour but about ministry, as today's Gospel in the Roman Rite makes clear. By and large Rome's interventions are very limited and usually absolutely necessary. Contrary to some pundits, they do not micro-manage the universal Church.

So, how do you envisage a decentralised church operating, Fr G? How does one deal with the complexities of a global religion?

More thoughts to follow if we sustain this thread. Hopefully not just a re-hash of the Petrine Primacy of some months ago.

And happy Feast of the Chair of Peter, 22 Feb.

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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IngoB

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I think Cardinal Ratzinger has already answered your question, Triple Tiara, from above:
quote:
To embrace unity with the pope would then no longer mean being incorporated into a uniform administration, but only being inserted into a unity of faith and communio, in which the pope is acknowledged to have the power to give binding interpretations of the revelation given in Christ whose authority is accepted whenever it is given in definitive form.
Indeed, concerning administration, the pope would then have no teeth, other than in his own patriarchate. And as we've read above, his own patriarchate would presumably be significantly reduced in size. If Africa and Asia are on the cards, then so must be the Americas. The pope's power would be "presiding in charity" among the other patriarchs, who have the necessary administrative teeth for their flock. Basically, St Peter's voice would be the one that binds the patriarchs through their union in charity, not through administrative powers. I would imagine that in practice we would see regular patriarchal meetings to coordinate policy, with the pope presiding both in the sense of formalities and in the sense of leadership.

Further, the pope never can lose the powers given to St Peter by Jesus, he can give binding interpretations of revelation concerning faith and morals. That means he has another power lever. Let's say the pope infallibly declares that there can be no ordination of women (if he hasn't already done so, never mind that discussion...). The future patriarch of North America, for example, can then not simply ordain women even though the pope does not have administrative means of stopping him. He would simply lose the unity with St Peter if he did so.

I would be quite happy with a re-organisation like that. I think it's quite important to rediscover the good of "unity in charity" as more important than "unity in administration". When all is said and done, the pope is a kingly shepherd, not a shepherdly king.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Triple Tiara

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Yes, but .....

In some ways that is already what happens, except we do not use the term "Patriarch" apart from the ancient Sees. The local Church is largely autonomous. It's only when there are implications for the Universal Church that Rome becomes involved.

And do we really want a replication of curias? [Eek!] I would have thought not. One curia is about as much as I can cope with!

This reminds me a bit of my own diocese, and the model used in some others. I think of Chicago as an example. Under Cardinal Hume, the Archdiocese of Westminster was carved up into 5 "Pastoral Areas". Each had an "Area Bishop" who had his own administrative set-up, his own advisers, deans, departments etc. But then they all had to meet up to discuss what went on out in the other areas and arrive at agreed common policies and codes of practice for the whole diocese. It seemed to go on endlessly. And the number of meetings! Jaysus wept! "God so loved the world he didn't send a committee".

When Cormac Murphy-O'C came along he undid all that because he felt the integrity and unity of the diocese had been compromised. The central budget was significantly lowered and suddenly things happened in unison throughout the diocese again. The auxiliary bishops got on with pastoral work rather than presiding over replicated bureaucracies. Most of us think that was a good move - it's all that little bit more efficient again.

One of the big issues, I think, is management style. Our current curial style is just way too Italian. I have been to conferences and consultations in Rome and I can tell you:

[Overused] [Roll Eyes] [Snore] [brick wall] [Disappointed] [Killing me] [Yipee]


It's all of those things. By turns comic and awe-inspiring; dull and inspirational and so on. Bella figura is the rule - and one goes to a consultation to listen, not to contribute! And since the ministry of the pope is today exercised and dressed up in an Italian idiom, that's what we get ... Italian.

But then I like all that and would hate to see it go. I love all things Italian too!!! So I get caught in a quandary on this one. I don't think it's that broke personally so there's not much need for fixing.

And, by the way, I hear very few of our bishops throughout the world regularly complaining about Rome interfering.

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
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Frankly, if the price to be paid for a re-union with the Orthodox is an inefficient bureaucracy - at least at first - then so be it. That sort of stuff can all be fixed later if everyone agrees that it needs to be fixed. But given the rather limited enthusiasm for unity and the enormous chip on the shoulder with regards to history on the Orthodox side, I think grand symbolic gestures will be absolutely required of Rome. Saying that the bishops are fairly free as is in the Roman hierarchy simply won't be enough.

It's all a fairly pointless discussion anyway. I see no signs whatsoever that the Orthodox are moving on the minimal conditions of the West: acceptance of the RCC's post-schism development as orthodox (or at least as non-heretical) and acceptance of the infallibility of the pope's decisions on faith and morals under specific circumstances.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Cod
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TT,

What precisely is the problem with Italian management styles?

(not a trap - I'm genuinely curious).

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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You will be surprised IngoB what can happen when the shackles of intransigency begin to loosen ... on both sides. A Christian has to be a person of vigorous hope.

Dear Triple Tiara

In response to your question ... the Orthodox manage coherence and faithfulness by an incredibly strong sense of what Orthodoxy is at all levels. I understand the need for Rome to crack the whip sometimes in the context of you structures and ethos ... but it ain't the only way. We manage faithfulness without such mechanisms.

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Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
You will be surprised IngoB what can happen when the shackles of intransigency begin to loosen ... on both sides. A Christian has to be a person of vigorous hope.

I will start believing that when I see that you are revising your many articles according to the new motto "Western - and in particular Augustinian - doctrine, rightly understood, is compatible with Orthodoxy". [Biased] When the convert's shackles of needing to prove the rightness of their choice begin to loosen, union will be imminent - or perhaps the Second Coming. [Razz]

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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FreeJack
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
... I see no signs whatsoever that the Orthodox are moving on the minimal conditions of the West: acceptance of the RCC's post-schism development as orthodox (or at least as non-heretical) and acceptance of the infallibility of the pope's decisions on faith and morals under specific circumstances.

The Orthodox are never going to agree to Papal infallibility. Which perhaps shows that the Roman Catholic Church would rather have schism even if there were no other theological differences than them not allowed to be Top Dog.
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Divine Outlaw
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Does it occur to you that RCs might believe papal infallibility to be a divinely given truth which they are not free to dispense with at will? That might be a more charitable reading than one which sees it as all about them being Top Dog.

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FreeJack
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quote:
Originally posted by Divine Outlaw Dwarf:
Does it occur to you that RCs might believe papal infallibility to be a divinely given truth which they are not free to dispense with at will? That might be a more charitable reading than one which sees it as all about them being Top Dog.

Yes of course. But the Orthodox don't believe that, and it wasn't the belief of the pre-schism or pre-reformation Church. So it remains an absolute obstacle to church unity.
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Divine Outlaw
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No disagreement there!

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Father Gregory

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Dear IngoB

I did say BOTH sides. You have things about which you are as equally intransigent as ourselves. This isn't a competition as to who can be the least or the most intransigent. Progress is made by a genuine desire on both sides to seek God's will and apply oneself to the difficult task of convergence around that will and that truth.

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Fr. Gregory
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Ian Climacus

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
I see no signs whatsoever that the Orthodox are moving on the minimal conditions of the West: acceptance of the RCC's post-schism development as orthodox (or at least as non-heretical) and acceptance of the infallibility of the pope's decisions on faith and morals under specific circumstances.

As a simple layperson, I could see some hope for some of the first [though I think you've got some work to do on energies and essences [Biased] ], but I fear the second will be the sticking point. Everything I've read about Orthodoxy places importance on conciliar decisions rather than those of the Bishop of Rome.

But I pray for unity. And pray. And pray. [Votive]

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Divine Outlaw
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I wonder if a recognition that the charism of infallibility is characteristically and most properly excerised through an ecumenical council could provide any sort of way forward.

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Triple Tiara

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The the words of 1870 by which the doctrine was defined is obviously not pre-Reformation or Pre-Schism.

But our contention is that this was simply a codification of what was already accepted in Patristic times. "What you bind on earth" and all that; "Roma locuta est, causa finita est" according to Augustine; "Peter has spoken through Leo" according to the Council of Chalcedon etc etc

Our big Achilles heel is that we are ROMAN - strongly inclined towards a legal and contractual frameworks for everything, and an irresistable urge to codify. Had Vatican I not codified what was meant, the truth would still have been the same - Peter is at the helm and what he says goes.

(Problem is lots of little Vatican monsignori forget that they are just stokers in the engine room of the barque of Peter, they are not Peter himself!)

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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Nunc Dimittis
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quote:
(Problem is lots of little Vatican monsignori forget that they are just stokers in the engine room of the barque of Peter, they are not Peter himself!)
Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, Pot.
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El Greco
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Nunc Dimittis, what do you mean?

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
Had Vatican I not codified what was meant, the truth would still have been the same - Peter is at the helm and what he says goes.

This is where I think V1 didn't go far enough in its explanation of what had been believed, actually.

If a Pope pronounced something ex cathedra yet 99% of Catholic bishops stood up and said "actually, with all due respect, that's complete bollocks, contradicts several Councils and is basically heretical" then I'd probably be considering rather strongly the possibility of us having an anti-Pope rather than a particularly prophetic voice.

IngoB's tried to argue a few times that infallibility doesn't add anything to a doctrinal claim that's either true or false, but it puts an awful lot of pressure on the person making the claim to get it right. I think he's correct.

While I'm on this tack, could the Orthodox contingent please explain to me how one identifies an Ecumenical Council as opposed to merely a global council of bishops that got the answers wrong?

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Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
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quote:
Originally posted by Nunc Dimittis:
quote:
(Problem is lots of little Vatican monsignori forget that they are just stokers in the engine room of the barque of Peter, they are not Peter himself!)
Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, Pot.
[Confused] [Confused] [Confused]

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I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

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El Greco
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# 9313

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Maximos the Confessor's reply (and indeed what I have been taught in school as the Orthodox position) is that when everything gets done by the book, then the council is binding (be it either local or ecumenical).

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Ξέρω εγώ κάτι που μπορούσε, Καίσαρ, να σας σώσει.

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
Maximos the Confessor's reply (and indeed what I have been taught in school as the Orthodox position) is that when everything gets done by the book, then the council is binding (be it either local or ecumenical).

Which book and who wrote it? I'm asking what the rules are that would allow us to say in advance of a council that if a certain list of conditions were satisfied, the results would be infallible.
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El Greco
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Mate, we are discussing about sex in Hell, and you want to talk about how a(n ecumenical) council is done? [Yipee] [Yipee] [Yipee]

I have quoted what the Saint said in another thread a few months ago. Perhaps later I could translate it again for you. In a nutshell the Saint says that the Church accepts as authoritative the councils where the members were called according to the Church order, where letters of recomendation were written for the members of the council, where those above in Church administration approved the members from the area they take care of, where all opinions have been heard, etc.

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Triple Tiara

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[Killing me] very nice first line andreas!

So, why is Maximos so authoritative and why should we obey his rules? Who gave him power to make the rules?

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GreyFace
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So what was wrong with Florence again?
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Ian Climacus

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[massive cross-post: sorry, I'm a slow typer!]

quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
While I'm on this tack, could the Orthodox contingent please explain to me how one identifies an Ecumenical Council as opposed to merely a global council of bishops that got the answers wrong?

+Kallistos discusses this in The Orthodox Church, 2nd Ed. paperback, pp 252-254.

He states this is a difficuly question to answer and goes through variosu thoughts.

Current thinking, according to +Kallistos, is that of the Russian theologian Khomiakov and his school: it must be acclaimed by the whole Church to be ecumenical [+Kallistos raised the question of Chalcedon and Syria and Egypt] and, importantly, acclaimed by all people of God, including the laity.

It doesn't seem to give specific answers, though the Orthodox tend to be more cautious in this [at least in what I've read], but +Kallistos says
quote:
the bishops recognise what the truth is and proclaim it; this proclamation is then verified by the assent of the whole Christian people, an asssent which is not, as a rule, expressed formally and explicitly, but lived.

...

The ecumenicity of a counsil cannot be determined by outward criteria alone: 'Truth can have no external criterion, for it manifest of itself and made inwardly plain.'

Not sure how much that helps. I generally don't dwell on it. [Biased]

[ 22. February 2006, 11:56: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

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Ian Climacus

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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
So what was wrong with Florence again?

It wasn't accepted by the Eastern Church at large.

All but one, St Mark of Ephesus, may have signed it there: but they revoked it when they got back and when the people were rather upset at what they'd signed.

[ 22. February 2006, 12:00: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

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El Greco
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Maximos does not express his opinion on the matter. I quoted him, because I happen to have the book with his discussion with the Patriarch Pyrrhos. Pyrrhos asks him in one place "why don't you agree with the council that took place when I was a patriarch" (or something like that) and Maximos replies "you call that a council??? Dear God! None of the canons of the church about councils was followed." (something like that) He goes on repeating the order of the Church about councils, and in the end, Pyrrhos is convinced and he rejects that council too.

The same applies for Florence. You call that a council??? The Patriarch died suddenly, and then, as by a miracle, a "written will" has been found, where he predicted his death and said that he agrees with all the Romans say. Right...

(It's not only that... plenty of other issues as well. I just used it as an example.)

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GreyFace
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Andreas, who wrote the canons concerning Councils then?

Ian, I've read +Kallistos' writing on this subject several times and it seems that (as he recognises) Chalcedon is the weak point in both the consensus of bishops present, and the acceptance of the laity arguments.

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
Andreas, who wrote the canons concerning Councils then?

I'm not sure you understand. This is how the Church works. We can't change that. There is a certain order in the Church that has to be followed. The delegates are chosen by those higher in hierarchy, they are given letters of recommendation etc.

For example, councils that have been made by their members who all believe in one thing to reject what the others believe are invalid.

You can take a look at ecclesiastical history and see how councils were done, both the valid ones and the invalid ones. You can also take a look at the canons of the ecumenical (or local) councils that have to do with how councils are done.

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
You can also take a look at the canons of the ecumenical (or local) councils that have to do with how councils are done.

You can't appeal to the authority of an ecumenical council's canons in order to define the rules used to determine whether a council is ecumenical or not. It's circular reasoning.

It's like those who argue that the Bible is authoritative because it says it is. You're saying a council is authoritative if it meets the conditions it wrote down itself.

So you must have a higher standard that determines whether a council is real or not. It might be the mind of the majority of Christians, but then people will mention Athanasius. If you can play the numbers game then the Roman Catholics are authoritative in a way Orthodoxy is not because they outnumber you seven to one or so, so I don't think this is it for Orthodoxy. On the other hand you could attempt to identify orthodoxy from looking at what the early Church believed, but if so you'd have a lot of Protestants grinning smugly.

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El Greco
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An ecumenical council would not involve either the Roman Catholics or the Protestants. I'm not sure I understand what you are saying here...

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Triple Tiara

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[Smile]

No, it would not involve schismatics, apostates and heretics.

Which is why some have not been at ALL of the 21 ecumenical councils to date. The Holy Spirit has not been on holiday since the 10th century.

Just so we all know what we are talking about here. [Biased]

[ 22. February 2006, 12:59: Message edited by: Triple Tiara ]

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El Greco
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Dear Triple Tiara, the fact that no great heresies arose in the East in the past 1000 years does not mean that the Holy Spirit was on holidays (in Rome, presumably). Quite the contrary!

[ETA] TT, how old are you? I'm curious...

[ 22. February 2006, 13:07: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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I'll try again, Andreas.

Try and put yourself in the shoes of someone not brought up to believe Orthodoxy to be the One Church and all other church-like groupings of Christians heretical, just for the sake of argument.

There are many differing opinions on many issues to do with the Faith, amongst those groups self-identifying as Christians. Either one individually attempts to identify the truth of each matter without reference to any particular authority in the Church (and please remember, for my purposes here I am not identifying the Orthodox Church with the whole Church) - which is what Protestants are frequently accused of - or one attempts to identify a legitimate source of authority.

Now, you can't say an ecumenical council has the authority to define which councils are ecumenical because it's just like me writing a book that begins "everything that follows is true." So the authority of a council must rest on something higher than circular reasoning. If that authority is the assent of the people of God then you have a big problem countering the Catholics when they assent to something en masse, and if that authority is reasoning from Scripture and the ECFs against the mind of the broader Church, then you're doing what Protestants are accused of doing.

Note that you can't cite the authority of the Orthodox Church here because you can't identify orthodoxy with Orthodoxy unless you invoke obedience to councils, or individual assessment of where the true Church is to be found.

None of that is to say that the Orthodox Church is not the One True Church, just that I don't see a logical argument that does not rest on the individual's ability to identify orthodoxy separately from the current teaching of the hierarchy of the day, which is what Luther tried to do. One might well go down that line of thinking and deduce Orthodoxy is the true(st) Church but that is, it seems to me, a very Protestant approach - not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

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El Greco
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But there should be no separation between orthodoxy and what the hierarchy thinks, because of the close relation between the hierarch and the church. Without a hierarch, there is no church.

OK, if I understood right what you are saying, then my reply would be that one should read about the history of the church. Read as much as possible, from the acts of the councils, be it either local or ecumenical, read what the ancient Saints confessed as the faith they received from those that were before them, and you can reach to the understanding you are seeking for. I think.

So, historical consistence is my argument.

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Triple Tiara

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But only from one perspective - and that perspective exists in order to justify a position. There are other perspectives which equally logically and honestly arrive at other conclusions. It's all a bit like St Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God.

And, by the way, if nothing ill ever possibly comes out of the East, why do Orthodox patriarchs and bishops keep excommunicating each other?

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Triple Tiara

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Oh, and by the way andreas, the Holy Spirit has not been on holiday in Rome - Rome is where he lives. [Biased]

TT - 40

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El Greco
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quote:
Triple Tiara wrote:
And, by the way, if nothing ill ever possibly comes out of the East, why do Orthodox patriarchs and bishops keep excommunicating each other?

I beg your pardon?

[ 22. February 2006, 13:39: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
So, historical consistence is my argument.

I agree as an indicator but the Coptic Church has been as consistent as the Orthodox, and as far as I can tell, Rome was consistently truer to orthodoxy in the first millennium than the East.
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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
I agree as an indicator but the Coptic Church has been as consistent as the Orthodox

I don't understand what you mean. Are you saying that monophysitism is historical more consistent with what the Apostles believed in than diphysitism?


quote:
and as far as I can tell, Rome was consistently truer to orthodoxy in the first millennium than the East.
You are forgeting the monothelite controversy... But even if that was the case, I would say that the question is not what they believed in during the first millenium, but what they believe in now.

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
I agree as an indicator but the Coptic Church has been as consistent as the Orthodox

I don't understand what you mean. Are you saying that monophysitism is historical more consistent with what the Apostles believed in than diphysitism?
No, I'm saying that historical consistency does not come into it without my judgement that monophysitism is untrue, and that I don't have an original Apostle handy to ask for a ruling.

Furthermore the Council did not come to a consensus - the majority just outlawed the minority - and the views of the laity regarding the issue can only be taken into account by playing the numbers game or by identifying the correct position by non-conciliar means.

quote:
quote:
and as far as I can tell, Rome was consistently truer to orthodoxy in the first millennium than the East.
You are forgeting the monothelite controversy...
Not so. Honorius held the position for a short time. The East fell into heretical positions (Arian and Iconoclast spring to mind) repeatedly, as I understand it.

quote:
But even if that was the case, I would say that the question is not what they believed in during the first millenium, but what they believe in now.
Quite, as the Protestants argue with a different timescale. So you're arguing that the truth is to be discerned by reasoned argument, not by the special guidance of the Spirit when a group of Bishops come together and satisfy a list of conditions?
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El Greco
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I don't see a contradiction between the two.

This is the way I see it, in a summary:

Heresies have not been with the Church from the Apostles. They have started after the Lord and the Apostles passed their kerygma to the faithful. The gospel of Christ was given by Christ to the Apostles, and by the Apostles to the rest of the faithful.

Now, what was given cannot change. Therefore, we can judge what someone says using as a measure what we have been taught by those before us.

This means that a heresy does not come out of the church not having made her mind on an issue, and then, she makes a council, and makes her mind.

Take the arians for example. Arios didn't say "I think that Christ was man, you think He is God, let's discuss about it". The way I see it it was more like "we were brought up to believe that Christ is God, but I think that this is wrong. Let's dicsuss about it."

This is why for example Anthony the Great, a man living in the desert, left the desert and went to Alexandria to talk to the entire church, when some arians said that he agreed with them. He went on and refuted them, based on the faith he has received from those before him.

Of course, this faith is not illogical. This means that we can use logical arguments to talk about it with others. But the fact remains that it is the faith that we got from those before us, that they got from those before them, and so on, until we get to the Apostles and Christ himself.

So, the answer to the question what the gospel is, is the faith we received from our fathers. Hence historical consistency.

The bishops don't gather around and then they suddenly "see the light" and then disclose the hidden truth!

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