Attending Orthodox Services


You, friend, are completely at odds with the mind of the Church. The living Magisterium takes precedence over your personal interpretation of documents of a bygone era. Truth, as you said, does not change, but the Church’s understanding of the nature of the Orthodox Churches, and her approach towards them, has indeed changed.

Your history is also wrong. There certainly was a Byzantine Church governed by its own Patriarch and synod long before the Schism… yes it was in full communion with Rome and yes it recognized Rome’s primacy, but no new Church arose after the Schism. The same local Church continued and continues to this day…

Father was right to correct you, even if you have decided not to heed his words.


Let us be clear: Again to emphasise the seriousness of the error of your statement concerning the Orthodox, the following quote is from Father Grondin, who is an apologist with Catholic Answers. Forum Rules demand that one can not argue with the answer of one of Catholic Answers Apologists – you are obliged to accept it without argument. Father Grondin writes:


"Yes, the Orthodox Churches are considered to have valid Apostolic Succession.

"In spite of a difference in their appreciation of the office of Peter, the Catholic Church, the Orthodox church, and the other churches that have retained the reality of apostolic succession are at one in sharing a basic understanding of the sacramentality of the Church, which developed from the New Testament and through the Fathers, notably through Irenaeus. These churches hold that the sacramental entry into the ministry comes about through the imposition of hands with the invocation of the Holy Spirit, and that this is the indispensable form for the transmission of the apostolic succession, which alone enables the Church to remain constant in its doctrine and communion ( Catholic Teaching on Apostolic Succession , International Theological Commission, 1973)

The encyclical of Pope Pius XI is relevant only as a historical artifact that has been superseded. It is not a documents guiding the Catholic Church in the ecumenical movement of the modern era. Rather, the documents guiding ecumenical endeavours and inter-religious dialogue include:

  1. The Decree on Ecumenism by the Pope and College of Bishops assembled at Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio:

  2. The Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions by the Pope and College of Bishops assembled at Vatican II, Nostra Aetate:

  3. The Encyclical of Pope Saint John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint:

  4. The Holy See’s dispositive Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, promulgated by the Saint of God, Pope John Paul II:


You keep referencing documents or actions from many centuries ago that are simply no longer relevant. These books’ contents no longer accord with the Church’s thought or action in the ecumenical movement. Pope Benedict of the error of attempting to apply the words of Saint Cyprian to contemporary controversies. The attempt, he said, is not valid and is disrespectful to the saint. The place to look for answers is with the Church’s contemporary Magisterium.

Monsignor Van Noort’s writings are superceded by the determinations of the Council Fathers and the writings of the Popes during and after Vatican II.

Any respect for Monsignor you may have must be surpassed by deference and obedience for the Church’s living Magisterium – for the Council Fathers and for the Popes of Vatican II and its aftermath. After all, three of these Popes are to be venerated as canonized saints of the Church.

Having worked on the initiatives of the Second Vatican Council throughout my priestly life, frankly my interactions with any Catholic who does not fully embrace the Council and assent unconditionally to its teachings is limited – limited to saying that is their duty to do so.


How do you define the “living magisterium”? Many toss the term around on CAF as if it’s a justification for claiming that Church teaching can change. The role of the “living magisterium” is to re-affirm Christ’s teachings for all time, not to change them over time.

As for what @Bobby87 is saying, can you at least agree that 1) the Orthodox Churches are in an objective state of schism, and 2) while the Orthodox have valid sacraments, their institution, as a whole, is not of Apostolic origin?

Christ established one Church and one Church only.


Just curious, how does it make sense to say that a church can have valid sacraments, but not Apostolic succession?


The Orthodox do have Apostolic succession; I never disputed this point. What I meant is that from the moment of the schism onward, the Orthodox Churches became their own entity separate from the Catholic Church. Those who left the Church created a man-made institution which is not the Apostolic Church which Christ founded. (This is why, incidentally, we do not say Orthodox bishops are part of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy.) That’s what I meant by “Apostolic origin”, which does not concern the issue of Apostolic succession with regard to the power of Holy Orders. The Orthodox Churches were founded by men in 1054, not in the first century by Our Lord.


Pope Saint John Paul II greeting to the Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and Primate of Greece answers your question:

  1. I wish first of all to express to you the affection and regard of the Church of Rome. Together we share the apostolic faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour; we have in common the apostolic heritage

Of course they are apostolic in origin. They are successors to the apostles.


Please see my response to Father @edward_george1 on the issue. I’m not questioning the fact that Orthodox bishops have valid Apostolic Succession. What I am saying is that the Orthodox Church, as an institution distinct from the Catholic Church, was not founded until over 1000 years after Christ’s first coming; it was not founded in the Apostolic era. I’m simply speaking of time periods, which is a topic distinct from Pope St. John Paul’s comments on the similarities between Catholic and Orthodox beliefs.


The one who is not grasping what the Church teaches in these matters is not TWF…it is you.


There is a state of schism, yes, but by virtue of their apostolic succession, they are in an “imperfect”, but still real, communion with the Catholic Church. There can be no apostolic succession nor sacraments outside of the Catholic Church, thus they logically are still, imperfectly, Catholic.

Regarding their origin, the apostles and their immediate successors established many local churches. Some of these are now Orthodox Churches.

By the living Magisterium we mean the reigning (and recent) popes (some who are saints), the most recent ecumenical Council, and the universally binding Catechism. All this trumps the personal interpretation of individuals as to what constitutes “unchanging tradition”.


I saw it.

Your thesis is incorrect.

The Churches of the Orthodoxy did not become churches founded by men at the time of the schism. They were what they had been from their founding…Churches founded by the apostles which went on to found other Churches.

Communion between various particular Churches was lost by some and maintained by others. As the Popes since the Council have reiterated, the fault from this tragedy lies with men on both sides…and was exacerbated by both sides.

Now we are arrived to a phase of healing, thanks in large part to the initiative of the Saint of God, Pope Paul VI. It is difficult to overstate just how great a saint he actually is. In just over 50 years, we are arrived to the moment when very little prevents us from a common celebration of the Eucharist.

The tragedy is that if the Church of 1000 was what the Church of 2018 is, the schism would have not happened.


Given the implicit disrespect to the Magisterium, whose servant I am as both priest and theologian, that comment is unworthy of response.


With all respect I have to ask this question?

What would be the main differences between the year 1000 and now. And also, can the question not also be asked " have the Catholic Church not be the Church of the 1500’s", would the Reformation not have happened?


Back for one last post…

The 38th condemned proposition of the Syllabus of Errors, released as recently as 1864, states the following:

The Roman pontiffs have, by their too arbitrary conduct, contributed to the division of the Church into Eastern and Western. — Apostolic Letter “Ad Apostolicae,” Aug. 22, 1851.

Now, back to muting…


I think that question was very ably answered by the Joint Commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation that was just concluded by Catholics and Lutherans.


Please refer me to a document about that.


From Conflict to Communion


This is a pretty lengthy document. I will most definitely make some time to go through it but I may miss your point

I am personally very of the opinion that if the Catholic Church of the 1500’s were the Church of today that the Reformation would not have happened. ( I mean let’s be honest.) That is why your post about the 1054 schism intrigued me.


This is extremely disrespectful and irreverent, and certainly not a productive way to discuss anything.




I have no words. The key to a fruitful discussion is respect.

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