Rorate Caeli

Stating the obvious

Teofilo de Jesus of the blog "Vivificat" has posted his thoughts on the recently leaked outline for the Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue on Petrine Primacy. (The leakage of the draft text by Sandro Magister has been deplored by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.)

An excerpt:

Let me focus and simplify the question a bit: would the notion of papal authority as expressed during the First Vatican Council be compatible with the view of the Roman Primacy as exercised during the first millennium?

At this moment I don't see an answer that will satisfy both sides. If communion is restored on the basis of first millennium doctrines and canonical discipline, it will be logical to discard 1000 years of Latin self-understanding, dogmatics, and all of the ecumenical councils called for by the Pope - directly or indirectly, as in the case of Constance - that came to be after the schism. All those councils would be demoted to General Councils of Latin Christianity with no relevance to the East. The identity of the Catholic Church centered in Rome to be the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ will be undermined, and what our Church has adopted as dogmatic truths regarding ecclessiology would become open questions to be solved again with Eastern input.

If you think that the Lefevbrerist schism has been inopportune and bad enough, just imagine what will happen if the Latin Church approves reunion with the East under this terms.

I think that our side expects that an in depth study of the "development of dogma" will prove, if not beyond reasonable doubt, then to a degree of moral certainty, that the papacy as conceived in Vatican I is a true, positive development of Patristic Christianity. I can see the Orthodox already saying "no" to such a proposal. If they were to agree to such a proposal, their own claim to be Christ's One, Holy, Catholic, Church will be undermined, followed by their own identity crisis. I can tell you that the monks of Mt. Athos will not go along, and that integrist, non-canonical jurisdictions already existing in the Orthodox Church like the Greek Old Calendarists and the Russian Old Believers will see their ranks swell.

Once again, I want to temper down all the expectations that this agreement may give rise to. We're all hopeful of eventual reunion and I'm gratified that dialogue on very substantive questions has begun. But we're not any closer to reunion and, barring a miracle, I still don't expect to see it any time soon.

51 comments:

  1. Miracles do happen and there are precedents!

    For nothing is impossible for God.

    Example: Who would think that with the ecumenical roadblocks between Anglicans and Catholics would a way be found in Anglicanorum Coetibus? Recall that before Rome and Canterbury played the ecumenical two step but never entertained the idea that Anglicanism can exist within Roman Catholicism?

    But as the Lord willed it, it did happen.

    The restoration of full communion between the Orthodox and Roman Churches will happen.

    We look forward to the day that Roman Catholics will call themselves Orthodox and the Orthodox would call themselves Catholic/

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  2. Anonymous6:41 PM

    I'm not hoping for a miracle, I'm counting on it!

    There is a precedent for a miracle as shown in the following recent events:

    1. Previous reunifications with parts of the East
    2. Summorum Pontificum
    3. SSXP Rosary Crusade and aftermath
    4. Anglicanorum Coetibus

    -pax

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  3. Anonymous6:46 PM

    Well, the question is whether such union would be permanent. We had a few East-West schisms before 1054 and we had a few reconciliations after 1054 (like Council of Florence).

    "We look forward to the day that Roman Catholics will call themselves Orthodox and the Orthodox would call themselves Catholic"

    The pre-schism terminology was "Catholic Church" that believed an "orthodox faith". "Orthodox Church" and "Catholic faith" are post-schism.

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  4. The thing which slightly worries me about orthodox reunion will be the fact that they do have married priests, How will we resolve that one? I say this because there are perfectly fine orthordox latin rite priests who were cheesed off when former anglican ministers with families were ordained their thinking goes like this I sacrificed any chance of a family for the priesthood and now mr johnny come lately with a family is ordained and he has the best of both worlds.

    It seems to me that we will need one rule that applies to everyone, either married men will be ordained but never raised to the episcopate or only single men will be ordained but those who were married when they were ordained by the Eastern Bishop will be allowed to continue in their ministry.

    I say this because if reunion occurs it will mean that roughly 1/3 of Catholics will be East of the Agean sea and presumably 1/3 of priests as well, I don't believe it is such a contentious issue at the moment if only because Eastern Rite Catholics are almost unknown in the West.

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  5. Anonymous7:17 PM

    The Glory of the Olive!

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  6. We would resolve it the same way we resolved it when we effected reunion agreements with the Byzantines, the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, the Melkites, etc.,etc. We let them continue their longstanding discipline of married priests. If even in the Latin Church exceptions can be made for married priests, there couldn't be any problem with Eastern Christians having married priests.

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  7. Anonymous8:02 PM

    "their thinking goes like this I sacrificed any chance of a family for the priesthood and now mr johnny come lately with a family is ordained and he has the best of both worlds."

    This means that he will most probably spend his life as a parish priest. Forget career in the Church. This is also some kind of sacrifice.

    Priest's family should be a model of piety for the whole parish, priest's wife also takes part in the life of the parish. You can say she has a specific vocation and ministry. This is another sacrifice.

    And for some mysterious reason (envy?) priests don't earn much, and they have to support their family nevertheless.

    Life ain't that easy.

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  8. To say the Catholic Church's claim to be the One True Church would be undermined by such an agreement is an understatement in the extreme - in short, it would prove that in fact the Church is NOT the True Church, since it would be declaring that heretofore required dogmas of the Faith no longer apply. It would be the same as the Church disavowing belief in the Holy Trinity.

    It's never going to happen, but in the hypothetical that it does, you can be sure you were in the wrong Church, anyway.

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  9. I don't see a problem with their married clergy - the Eastern Catholics have it already, and the Orthodox, if brought back to union with Rome, wouold become... you guessed it: Eastern Catholics. There's no problem to solve on thet issue.

    The real issue is the theoretical and practical authority of the Pope and the post-schism Ecumenical Councils. It's okay for the Catholic Church to admit that it was unwise to summon Councils and to have the Pope declare things ex cathedra without waiting for input from the Eastern Patriarchs, but a whole other thing to call them invalid.

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  10. Anonymous8:32 PM

    A revival in spirit of the patristic Tradition is what the Church needs. This would help to get rid of the post-Scholastic neurotic fear of committing a mortal sin and feeling of being constrained and punished by a sadistic God, and a few other scary things that keep people away from the Church on one hand, and the liberal "I'm okay, you're okay so let us pray" for social justice, global warming, peace and paradise on Earth and other superstitions on the other, as they're equally repellent.

    All the holy Church Fathers of the First Millenium, pray for us!

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  11. Ogard9:22 PM

    The Teofilo de Jesus’ “Magisterium” is certainly not infallible. The draft is about “The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium”, which is an attempt to reach agreement about the facts. I am sure the topic was motivated by what Cardinal Ratzinger says in his book Principles of Catholic Theology: “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” (p.199, English edition 1987). To establish what was going on during the first millennium, it is necessary to have recourse to historical documents, which should be analysed objectively and without doctrinal prejudices. No one of us may presume that his own knowledge of these facts is accurate, and judge the value of the draft through his own spectacles. If both sides are really interested in establishing the truth, they will help one another in doing it regardless of doctrinal implications, because any doctrine that is not based on facts and yet claims to be based on facts if plainly – false doctrine, however “infallibly” it has been promulgated (in the mind of an individual who claims to be Catholic).

    Our friend Teofilo will – in this context – familiarize himself with the original languages in which the historical documents were written, learn about the whole historical context in which the documents were produced, verify their authenticity etc. So, he has quite a job to do and we all wish him good luck. In the end he may contribute to the work of the Commission which – I am sure will be welcomed.

    For a guide as to what is a serious study he may consider obtaining the book His Broken Body by the American Orthodox theologian Laurent A.Cleenewerk. He doesn’t have to agree with what the author claims to be the facts, but in that case he will take a recourse to the original documents, not to second hand data, and rebut the claims in a scientific-historical way. Perhaps armed with knowledge he will be able to assess the value of the final document of the Commission – who knows?

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  12. Anonymous9:45 PM

    "The real issue is the theoretical and practical authority of the Pope and the post-schism Ecumenical Councils."

    And the pre-Schism that only the Orthodox accept, like Council in Trullo.

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  13. Anonymous10:05 PM

    The Orthodox consider the West barbaric, primitive, engaged in vain legalist talmudist speculations, down-to-earth, stripped of spirituality. There's long tradition of contempt and despise.

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  14. Mark my word.

    When the Lord arrive the second time, there will be Orthodox and Protestant. And surely, they will be judged severely.

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  15. John McFarland10:18 PM

    Anonymous 20:32,

    Fear of mortal sin is fear of Hell. Are you claiming that the Fathers weren't concerned with imparting that fear to the faithful? I am no patrologist, but that doesn't sound very plausible.

    The virtue of the theological and catechetical tradition of the West is that it made clearer the doctrines of the Church, and so was able to clarify -- and where necessary, correct -- what went before.

    A very substantial part of back-to-the-Fathers sentiment is of liberal provenance, and stems from the fact that clarity is their enemy.

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  16. Anonymous 20.32,

    I think you are correct. I find it strange, but so heartening, to see someone else on this site thinking these thoughts. Seeking for the comforts of overdefinition and oversystematisation has been the besetting sin of the Western Church - although, of course, I believe strongly that the promulgations of Infallibility, and the Marian Doctrines were both necessary and Providential, and thank God for them. A lack of unifying authority has been a disaster for the Eastern churches, leaving it prey to secular political tropes, like ethnic nationalism. Unity under Peter championing tradition is the answer, of course. Pray for the pope, pray that he live long and that he may remain strong.

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  17. Anonymous11:22 PM

    On a related subject:

    Over at Anglo-Catholic, they have posted the response of the TAC Primate, Abp. John Hepworth, to the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Cœtibus". My guess? You'll definitely want to publish it here ....

    P.K.T.P.

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  18. Worrying about the question of the Eastern Orthodox having married clergy is like swatting at a gnat while a tiger chews off your leg.

    What is at stake is 1000 years of Church councils and dogmas. Is Christian unity to be pursued at the expense of the very identity of the Catholic Church? No it will not.

    An overly optimistic approach risks a denial of the real differences that keep us apart. To ignore those differences would be uncharitable in as much as we refuse to convey the Truth with which we have been entrusted.

    As beng pointed out, there's no guarantee that at the Parousia Christ will find Christian unity.

    Luke 18:8 - "But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?"

    The very question indicates the very real possibility He will not, at least among a portion of those who remain.

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  19. I don't think it will be a problem if papal authority is exercised vis a vis the East as it was in the First Millennium.

    It doesn't mean revoking what the First Vatican Council said "theoretically"...but the Pope's maximum hypothetical use of authority...is not the same as what he needs to use in practice.

    Obviously, he wasn't using it that way in the First Millennium. There is no reason he has to use it that way in the Third, especially as regards the East. He could be very "hands off" if he wanted.

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  20. The Pope's role and conduct in the Acacian Schism certainly doesn't conform with the later Orthodox theory that the Pope is merely primus inter pares. The papacy in the Acacian Schism looks a lot more like the papacy described by Vatican I than it does anything else.

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  21. And why shouldnt it? The Pope has those "reserve powers," we might call them, and I'm not surprised there are examples of their use in the First Millennium. But they could be just as rare in the Third.

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  22. They weren't all that rare in the first millennium, and there is no chance of the Church reverting to the way she was in the first millennium, any more than I could revert to the way I was 20 years ago. Doctrinal development in the Church only runs one way -- it doesn't run backwards.

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  23. "Doctrinal development in the Church only runs one way -- it doesn't run backwards."

    I think that's a sort of "reverse entropy" mindset that we are going to have to get past.

    Not that we will believe that doctrine can be "undeveloped"...but we must remember that doctrinal definitions do not create new dogma.

    The deposit of faith has been the same since the Apostles, and what was valid in the First Millennium cannot become invalid now.

    To use a metaphor, the Apostle's Creed remains valid even in the face of the Nicene Creed.

    In a similar vein, the Eastern Catholics are not required to put the filioque in the Creed, though they don't "reject" it either.

    If you're imagining that the Church of the First Millennium was an ultramontane centralized bureaucracy, that's intellectually dishonest.

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  24. Over at Anglo-Catholic, they have posted the response of the TAC Primate, Abp. John Hepworth, to the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Cœtibus". My guess? You'll definitely want to publish it here ....

    Yes indeed. We were already working on a blog post about it. Thanks, Mr. Perkins.

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  25. I think that's a sort of "reverse entropy" mindset that we are going to have to get past.

    On the contrary, if we ever "get past" that "mindset," we will separate ourselves from the Holy Catholic Faith. The Faith is only unfolded and explored and clarified -- it cannot be "de-developed."

    Thus, unless the Orthodox accept and submit to the dogmatic definition of Pastor Aeternus, they will never be restored to Catholic unity and the fullness of truth.

    Not that we will believe that doctrine can be "undeveloped"...but we must remember that doctrinal definitions do not create new dogma.

    What do you mean by that? Certainly the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption, and Papal Infallibility were not dogmas until they had been dogmatically defined.

    The deposit of faith has been the same since the Apostles,

    Yes and no. It is the same in the sense that a mature oak tree is the same as a sapling oak.

    and what was valid in the First Millennium cannot become invalid now.

    Sure -- but what was valid in the first millennium is now invalid if isolated from subsequent authentic developments.

    If you're imagining that the Church of the First Millennium was an ultramontane centralized bureaucracy, that's intellectually dishonest.

    And if you're imagining that the Papacy will ever, should ever, or could ever revert to any fantasised first millennium state, that's not only intellectually dishonest but also a pipe dream.

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  26. Steve5:07 AM

    "Doctrinal development in the Church only runs one way -- it doesn't run backwards."

    Using your tree and sapling analogy; the doctrine of the Church will always be substantially the same as the sapling of the first 1000 years. If the Orthodox accept the sapling then they accept in substance the same full grown tree. They might have a different emphesis and manner of defining doctrine. But substantially they are one and the same.

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  27. The debate is interesting, the possibilities are, instead, very remote.
    Underestimate our differences is simplistic, of course. But this issue has a bigger concern for Roman Catholics than for us.
    We are just not concerned at all.
    I mean this with no disrespect.

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  28. Anonymous5:58 AM

    Jordanes,

    Your rebuttal of the Sinner, was very good.

    The mindset that sees the necessity of a redefinitin of terms or a change in categories of mental abstraction to achieve progress, is one which has despaired of true progress of the kind which Christ preach, with the very first words of his public ministry.

    REPENT AND BELIEVE!

    The only way to unity in any Christian sense of the term begins there: and if Christ's promise to be with His Church means anything, it must mean that one side of the union has been principally in the right, and that the other side has be principally wrong; even if on both sides members have done good and bad.

    JP II ephasized a lot of the good and bad, but the preconciliar popes had the true courage and virtue to say who was in the right.

    A "church" which identifies itself with principles which differ from the Catholic Church,is a body cut off from Christ and which leads its members to damanation, inevitably, intrinsically, and eternally.

    For Christ is Truth, and all who would be united to Him in Truth, that is in the Church, must adhere to truth.

    Politiking is not going to do it, folks.

    Br. Alexis Bugnolo

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  29. Anonymous7:10 AM

    "their thinking goes like this I sacrificed any chance of a family for the priesthood and now mr johnny come lately with a family is ordained and he has the best of both worlds."
    WHat a self-centred, and therefore, un-Christ-like, outlook!!

    It bespeaks volumes with all the other problems concerning the orthodox, you (being somewhat Jansenistic??) focus on this non-issue.

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  30. “The papacy in the Acacian Schism looks a lot more like the papacy described by Vatican I than it does anything else.” So, what?

    Supposing that the original historical documents, not the second hand information, can confirm that the “papacy in the Acacian Schism” was indeed as conceived by the contributor, it would still have to be proved that the acts of the papacy under consideration were either infallible definitions, or that they were in continuity with the episcopate, inclusive of papacy, of the preceding centuries; and that all that was in continuity with the papacy and episcopate of subsequent centuries until the end of the millennium – which is the subject addressed by the present Orthodox-Catholic Commission.

    Otherwise, it would have been no more than attitude of the papacy during the Acacian Schism.

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  31. Demetrius11:49 AM

    Mr. McFarland,

    there's pious "fear" of God, that actually isn't an emotion, and a satanic fear of offending God by everything you do, which in effect just keeps you away from the Church, as no man can stand it indefinitely. This fear often comes together with fear of other people, so for the affected it's very hard to go to confession (personally I think this may stand behind the nearly total extinction of confession in Western Europe).

    If you're not a psychologist and if your personality is sane you probably can't imagine or understand that, but for the affected it's death of spiritual life with all its consequences. Reading Luther and Calvin makes clear that they were suffering from emotional problems. You know how they ended up. Their heresies were coined to relieve fear, even if there were other reasons. Nowadays this fear often affects people that have grown up in broken post-industrial families, where fathers are childish and effeminate and don't want to take responsibility for their families, and mothers are always angry, selfish and interested more in pursuing their career than in their children. Add divorce to that and you have total disaster.

    My experience is that most grandchildren (and to a lesser extent children) of the post-WWII generation are more or less affected by this kind of problems, as your perception of God is strongly affected by the situation in your family when you were a child. Now when such people read "detraction in itself is a mortal sin" they're afraid to receive Holy Communion after saying a bad word about Hitler (I'm serious). Of course this is a grave, nearly caricatural (but real) case of such emotional problems, but bear in mind that also priests come from dysfunctional families and they spread their problems on their faithful. How may times you heard about somebody who has lost his faith because the priest yelled at him in confessional or had given an advice impossible to follow?

    The Church Fathers, particularly the Greek Fathers were no fans of hyperrational legalism that the West has fallen into. The Western examination of conscience looks like going through a checklist of sins, a table with list of sins on the left and category venial/mortal on the right (I'm exaggerating of course, but just a little). It has nothing to do with life in Christ, with the real love, faith, charity, hope, it is a judaization, an abandonment of Christian spirit. Our Lord know that, and that's why he had given us the revelation of the Sacred Heart a few hundred years ago and the revelation of Divine Mercy recently, when things have gotten even worse.

    An illustration: the East knows no concept of dispensation. The East knows principle of economy. So, some things can be tolerated, for example by custom (like breaking fast during St. Patricks Day), but there's no possibility of a positive legal act allowing all people on a certain territory to break fast on St. Patrick's Day. If you're a young man from a disfunctional family (and how many good families there are?) who can't lead a serious life in love of Christ everything ends up to you as a law. "There's no dispensation, darn, I can't go out with my friends on St. Patrick's day because this breaks a commandment so I'll be burning in hell for the whole eternity if I die before confession, to hell with that evil God and his religion full of constraints, let's enjoy life." This may sound silly for the emotionally sane, but for the affected it is not. I encounter such people every day. And atheist propaganda knows the flaws of the generation they have created and exploits it ruthlessly (see the billboards in London subway).

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  32. Demetrius11:50 AM

    --continued

    People often confuse theology with study of religion. Of course faith is not contrary to reason and we have to use reason, but it's not a rational speculation per se. What was the last time we had a saintly theologian? Was it St. Robert Bellarmine 300 years ago? If you're not a holy man who teaches the faith he lives, like the Church Fathers did, you're just a hyper-rational flat scholar studying religion, you can be an atheist, it doesn't matter. The effects of your "development" can't be fruitful, because you don't know what you're talking about.

    The scholastic concept of "mortal sin" as we know it was unknown to the Fathers. Sins that separated from communion were adultery, murder and a few more. All were impossible to commit without absolutely undoubtly full deliberation, and were severely punished (like begging in front of the church for 10 years). Of course the Father admitted the possibility that minor offense may sometimes be grave, but this was not talmudized and speculated about too much, because sin is no abstraction. There was more trust in God. That's why St. Augustine confessed only once in his life.

    I'm no enemy of scholastic methods, but these methods applied to theology brought bad fruits in the long run. The effect was gradual decline in frequent communion (why bother if you either sin gravely so often or live in permanent tension). Personally I think this had also devastating impact when Lutheranism appeared. People wanted the opportunity to live in Christ without too much fear, so Luther said "Fear not, when you believe you're justified". And he got them. St. Pius X fortunately understood the disastrous impact of abandoning the powerful aid of the Body of Christ, which is the best protection against sin and best aid in sanctification, but he just made the first steps.

    St. Thomas Aquinas did a tremendously great job in many aspects, his rational arguments for the existence of God and for the Catholic Church effected in many conversions (including mine) especially in modern, rational times, but his view is not the only legitimate, he's not infallible, much less are his followers. Scholastic theology is by no means the one and only way of expressing the mysteries of faith. And what the scholastics say about sin is not substantially identical with sin, as this is spiritual reality ultimately too deep to be understood totally by weak human reason, and scholastics was not revealed by God nor declared dogmatic by Church. It is just speculation, one of the developments, which may be (partially or not) abandoned any time in favor of another legitimate view ("development") which will be more pastorally efective. My opinion is that the patristic view would be pastorally more effective nowadays.

    Second Vatican Council was supposed to be renewal, but actually it was "change". There was a "renewal" in modernist, emotional spirit. If previously you were feeling bad, now feel good and be nice. This is just untrue, too flat and silly, stripped of mystery, it's utter nonsense so no wonder that people fled from the Church. I understand your concern, Mr. McFarland but I can assure you that there was no significant attempt at renewing the Church in the patristic spirit after the Council. If you're no patrologist, I encourage you to read the Fathers, AND PRAY TO THE FATHERS YOU READ for help in understanding them. It's like reading them in their presence, a touch of the eternity and the Eternal Truth which is Jesus Christ. You'll discover a different world of men of very strong faith, living fully in Christ, light years away from the weak modernist buffoons and by no means miserable rational clerks. It's a breath of fresh air.

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  33. Anonymous12:28 PM

    "And if you're imagining that the Papacy will ever, should ever, or could ever revert to any fantasised first millennium state, that's not only intellectually dishonest but also a pipe dream."

    Never say never. If you would have told an average Catholic in the 1950s how the Church will look like in 20 years, he wouldn't believe. There can't be any reunion without some kind of concession on our side.

    "but what was valid in the first millennium is now invalid if isolated from subsequent authentic developments."

    History of the Uniates shows that they were obliged to accept only the development at highest dogmatic level.

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  34. If the Orthodox accept the sapling then they accept in substance the same full grown tree. They might have a different emphesis and manner of defining doctrine. But substantially they are one and the same.

    For a while then-Cardinal Ratzinger toyed with that approach, but he came to see that it isn't an adequate basis for full and genuine reunion -- because the Church isn't in its "sapling" stage any more, and will never be again. Switching metaphors, the faithful ought to all be on the same page, or as close to it as possible -- not with most on one page and another large group still 15 chapters behind and refusing to read any further.

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  35. Ogard said: Supposing that the original historical documents, not the second hand information, can confirm that the “papacy in the Acacian Schism” was indeed as conceived by the contributor, . . .

    Your words betray the fact that you are not familiar with what history tells us about the Acacian Schism. You should read up on it first, and then comment on it. The Proverbs have something to say about the person who answers a matter before he hears it.

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  36. Never say never. If you would have told an average Catholic in the 1950s how the Church will look like in 20 years, he wouldn't believe.

    Nevertheless the Church today does not "look like" the Church prior to A.D. 1000, nor is the modern papacy functioning today as it did during those centuries -- not that there is that great a difference between the modern papacy's place in the Church and its powers and prerogatives and the earlier papacy's place, powers, and prerogatives.

    There can't be any reunion without some kind of concession on our side.

    Any concession will not be in matters of dogma or doctrine. Unity that is not founded in the truth is spurious, a mockery of unity.

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  37. Anonymous3:45 PM

    "Nevertheless the Church today does not "look like" the Church prior to A.D. 1000, nor is the modern papacy functioning today as it did during those centuries"

    John Paul II wrote somewhere (probably in one of his encyclicals) that there's no need for the papacy to operate in a broader extent than was exercised before AD 1000. So he admitted the possibility of self-restriction.

    "Any concession will not be in matters of dogma or doctrine. Unity that is not founded in the truth is spurious, a mockery of unity."

    What do you think about Council of Florence in that context?

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  38. Demetrius, it seems like you are speaking evil of that which you do not understand -- Thomism, Scholasticism, consciousness of the seriousness of sin, examination of conscience, dispensation, the Catholic Church's distinction between mortal and venial sins. I don't think you know what you're talking about, and my impression is that you've imbibed too greatly of Orthodox stereotypes and tropes of Catholic, particularly Western Catholic, doctrine, theology, and tradition.

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  39. Anonymous4:34 PM

    @Stefan: the ecumenical movement had a very strong Orthodox involvement long before the Catholics have joined after Vaticanum Secundum.

    --Stan

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  40. John Paul II wrote somewhere (probably in one of his encyclicals) that there's no need for the papacy to operate in a broader extent than was exercised before AD 1000. So he admitted the possibility of self-restriction.

    That may have been his opinion, but he wasn't infallible on that point. Anyway, a "self-restricted" papacy is not the sort of papacy the Church knew back then. A papacy that deliberately hamstrings itself is not a papacy faithful to its divine commission.

    "Any concession will not be in matters of dogma or doctrine. Unity that is not founded in the truth is spurious, a mockery of unity."

    What do you think about Council of Florence in that context?


    What area of doctrine or dogma are you suggesting the Council of Florence compromised or betrayed?

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  41. Anonymous5:46 PM

    "Anyway, a "self-restricted" papacy is not the sort of papacy the Church knew back then. A papacy that deliberately hamstrings itself is not a papacy faithful to its divine commission."

    Prudence sometimes demands self-restriction. That's why we shouldn't expect revocation of the Novus Ordo. This may be the price for keeping the Orthodox in the Church, just like today we pay the price for keeping liberals in the Church.

    "What area of doctrine or dogma are you suggesting the Council of Florence compromised or betrayed?"

    My intention was to emphasize that:

    1. The Greeks have accepted what was really needed, no more, no less. They have retained their traditions. You can call this an agreement "founded in the truth".

    2. Nevertheless they soon fell back into schism.

    So it seems that truth is not enough. They should be "latinized" first, because our traditions are contradictory. Or maybe this agreement was not founded in the truth? Truth can't be contradictory.

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  42. Prudence sometimes demands self-restriction. That's why we shouldn't expect revocation of the Novus Ordo.

    Neither should we expect the Vatican to restrict itself from revising the liturgy.

    This may be the price for keeping the Orthodox in the Church,

    It won't work. The Orthodox aren't interested in a Vatican I papacy that merely chooses not to exercise the powers delineated in Vatican I. The Orthodox want the Church to renounce Vatican I and abandon what Jesus has revealed about Petrine Primacy and Papal Infallibility.

    just like today we pay the price for keeping liberals in the Church.

    One must question the prudence of that . . .

    1. The Greeks have accepted what was really needed, no more, no less. They have retained their traditions. You can call this an agreement "founded in the truth".

    That's because that's what it was.

    2. Nevertheless they soon fell back into schism.

    There were a number of reasons for that, among them the Ottoman conquest of the East.

    So it seems that truth is not enough.

    Yes. Unity can't happen without grace wooing the hearts of those who are separated so that they desire to attain and preserve the unity found in the Catholic Church.

    They should be "latinized" first, because our traditions are contradictory.

    No, there's no need that they be thoroughly Latinised. They need only be thoroughly Catholicised.

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  43. Demetrius, I liked your post very much. It's objective, thoughtful, charitable, balanced, large-minded, deep in the water, and an oasis of refreshment in this thread's desert of glib, partisan legalism. No surprise it got jumped all over.

    In one sense though, I'm in perfect agreement with Jordanes (though nowadays I'd see his crystaline ouevre to be as unrelated to the Faith of the Fishermen as any other ingenious, ideological construct): If Pastor Aeternus is true, shout it from the rooftops; if Catholic teaching entails assent to the proposition that the Nicene Fathers, and all others subsequently, understood themselves, however dimly and inchoately, to be engaged in "dogmatic development" (as opposed to revolting from any such suggestion in utter horror), then embrace "dogmatic development". Man up! More is more! Bigger is better! Forget the Orthodox, miserable primitives who have nothing you need (and want nothing of yours in any case). Onwards and upwards!

    At some point in the future, perhaps (I suspect it might follow quite rapidly the departure of the venerable and saintly old scholar in the Vatican, but that's just a private hunch) events will render these glittering abstractions and vainglorious narratives insufficent to insulate you from the dire reality of your situation. Then, when like Peter you will be carried ineluctably where you would not go, it will be time to talk again - perhaps. Meanwhile, pray; fast a little; remember the poor.

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  44. Kathleen9:35 PM

    Time to step up the prayer and fasting.

    Yes, it'll require a miracle.

    But just maybe that's one of the central points He wants our age to learn.

    That He really did mean it when He said we could do nothing without Him.

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  45. Anonymous2:59 AM

    Moretben,

    You seem to believe that the use of reason to understand the same faith more accurately is a threat to the faith of the Fisherman, who asked questions and got both rebukes and praises from the One Master...in this you show that you yourself have never thought about and put into practice his faith.

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  46. Steve7:06 AM

    " If Pastor Aeternus is true, shout it from the rooftops; if Catholic teaching entails assent to the proposition that the Nicene Fathers, and all others subsequently, understood themselves, however dimly and inchoately, to be engaged in "dogmatic development" (as opposed to revolting from any such suggestion in utter horror), then embrace "dogmatic development"."

    Could it also be true that with the Orthodox we could develop doctrinally beyond scholasticism? Just as some seem to be suggesting that we have developed beyond the Patristic understanding and view it as "dim." Now I don't like saying this, because I really like Scholasticism, but if that's the kind of "development" that is being proposed here (saying it's impossible to go back) then we would have to hold that it's also a possibility to do the same with scholasticism. No?

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  47. Anonymous9:20 AM

    Ben Vellejo writes:

    "Example: Who would think that with the ecumenical roadblocks between Anglicans and Catholics would a way be found in Anglicanorum Coetibus? Recall that before Rome and Canterbury played the ecumenical two step but never entertained the idea that Anglicanism can exist within Roman Catholicism?"

    It's not a miracle at all. There were always forces within Anglicanism impelling it to unity with Rome, and the TAC Anglicans broke with the Canterbury Communion more than thirty years ago. What caused unity with us, in the long run, was the abandonment of basic Christian principles by the Anglican Communion. The Easterners Orthodox have followed no such abandonment and are completely true to the characater they have always had.

    P.K.T.P.

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  48. Anonymous9:22 AM

    "I say this because if reunion occurs it will mean that roughly 1/3 of Catholics will be East of the Agean sea and presumably 1/3 of priests as well,"

    What????

    Catholics outnumber Easterners Orthodox 10:1, not 3:1, and Eastern Catholics have married priests.

    P.K.T.P.

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  49. Anonymous9:33 AM

    My two cents:

    We are not now and nor have we been recently even remotely close to unity with the Easterners Orthodox. Nevertheless, their steadfastness in the truth, where they do have it, has been impressive. There are ways they can work with us to oppose a growing secularism of society & culture. But this is not, in fact, the time to dream of unity; it is the time to pray for it and to trust in divine Providence, as always.

    There is a much better chance of unity with the Assyrian Church of the East (once Nestorian). It has now accepted all Roman dogma and is only holding out for political reasons. There is a more distant hope of reunion with the Armenians Apostolic.

    It is in Eternal Rome, Mater et Magistra, that the Mystical Bride of Christ resides, not in Constantinople and in any schism.

    The Easterners Orthodox are impressive in their spirituality largely because it is close to the true spirituality of the Holy Catholic Church, even if so many Cathlolics have discarded that.

    P.K.T.P.

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  50. Anonymous11:13 AM

    "We are not now and nor have we been recently even remotely close to unity with the Easterners Orthodox."

    There's no "Orthodox Church", but dozens of independent churches in communion with each other. I can't imagine how unity could take place if they can't agree with each other to solve their problem of overlapping jurisdictions.

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  51. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Steve you wrote:

    "Could it also be true that with the Orthodox we could develop doctrinally beyond scholasticism? Just as some seem to be suggesting that we have developed beyond the Patristic understanding and view it as "dim." Now I don't like saying this, because I really like Scholasticism, but if that's the kind of "development" that is being proposed here (saying it's impossible to go back) then we would have to hold that it's also a possibility to do the same with scholasticism. No?"

    Steve you hypothetical speculation here gets impaled on some non negotiable realities:

    1) Human reaon work through syllogisms
    2) Scholasticism arises from an attempt to sythensize harmonize seemingly disparate patristic texts, without sacrificing the truths contained in them.

    This is why Scholasticism is not a theology which can be surpassed because it attained a truly scientific method whereby it accepted the deposit of the faith as it was accepted by the Fathers, but analyzed it to derive therefrom insights into a more accurate expression of the same.

    Thus it is eminently orthodox in the non ecclesialogical sense of that word, and catholic, in the non political sense of that word.

    Even the manualists of the post tridentine period never came close to the insight of the Scholastics.

    Whether you read Bellarmine or Alphonsus, who are both brilliant theologians, you will pick up more insight into the funamentals of theological discourse and understanding by reading Thomas and Bonaventure.

    We do not need to develop a better theology, because the method of Scholasticism is perfect. The weaknesses associasted with it, are rather the faults of post 1350 writers who did not always advance the science with the level of understanding of the founders thereof.

    There are so, so many writers on Scholastic theology, who by not understanding their latin well, can see the tree in the forest, or understand what is similar or different among them.

    Scholarship, scholarship, scholarship...you cannot do without, if you want to be a theologian, but not the phoney scholarship of the "I know it alls" of the kind like Rhaner, who can write thousands of pages without quoting anyone...no, with the scholarship of the Scholastics who are always quoting and never stepping far from any saintly authority, out of both the respect they have and the fear they entertain, for the source of all true wisdom: found only in God, revealed to the world only in holiness.

    For this reason, schismatics by their very spirit render their own minds incapable of the intellectual approach of scholasticism, which requires first of all, peace and unity with God in His true Church.

    There shall ever be an enless war between those who reject such a spirit of theological research and those who accept it, because like Pope Sixtus V and Bonaventure declare, the wisdom of the Holy Ghost is behind Scholasticism, and that wisdom passed from the Greeks to the Latins when the former in their pride separated themselves from Rome.


    Br. Alexis Bugnolo

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