Do Byz rite Catholics have different teachings?


#1

ByzCath said this:

I would add, sort of off topic, that the “Just War” doctrine is a western thing, we do not have such a thing in the Byzantine Tradition. For us all war is bad becuase people are killed, but that does not mean that it is not necessary at times.

I find this odd. Could you elaborate? Any other teachings in the Latin rite that Byzantines don’t have?

Scott


#2

The Byzantine church does not teach Purgatory.

The Byzantine church has a slightly different understanding of Original Sin, although the CCC seems to give almost equal consideration to the Eastern understanding on this matter and there may be some kind of convergence there.

The Byzantine church has a Greek understanding of the Trinity, in all of these examples the Byzantine church follows the teachings of the mother church.

In other words the Byzantine rite churches in communion with Rome have an Orthodox understanding of theology.

“Just War” theories and the like are (I believe) derived from Western scholasticism. I am sure Aquinas has something to say on the topic but that has no bearing on the Eastern church.


#3

What is the Greek understanding of the Trinity and how does it differ from that articulated in the Latin tradition?


#4

The Greeks and Eastern rite Catholics do not accept the west concept of the filioque.

According to the Treaty of Brest:

1.—Since there is a quarrel between the Romans and Greeks about the procession of the Holy Spirit, which greatly impede unity really for no other reason than that we do not wish to understand one another—we ask that we should not be compelled to any other creed but that we should remain with that which was handed down to us in the Holy Scriptures, in the Gospel, and in the writings of the holy Greek Doctors, that is, that the Holy Spirit proceeds, not from two sources and not by a double procession, but from one origin, from the Father through the Son.

ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/TREATBR.HTM


#5

Two (maybe two and a half) differences, off the top of my head (which, with my pitiful knowledge of our Byzantine brethren, is all I’m likely to come up with):

[list]
*]Matrimony – The Latin Church teaches that the man and woman administer this sacrament to one another. The Byzantine Church teaches that the priest is the minister of this sacrament.
*]Confirmation/Chrismation and initiation – The Latin Church teaches that the bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation. The Byzantine Church teaches that the priest is the ordinary minister. The Byzantine Church also, of course, has the administration of all three sacraments of initiation upon infants.
[/list]
Personally, I think it is wonderful and mysterious that the two lungs of the Church have developed such rich, diverse, and of course equally valid, sacramentology.

tee
who apologizes if he has misrepresented the teachings of his beloved Byzantine brethren


#6

Oh, and another:

The acceptance of leavened vs unleavened bread as valid matter for the Eucharist.

God is good to give us two ways of understanding!
tee


#7

During Eucharist: Invocation of the Holy Spirit instead of prayer of consecration. I believe that’s what I’ve read at least.

Allowance of a secular clergy (married men can be priests).

3-times immersion baptism = common, as opposed to sprinkling or pouring.

Different calendars (Julian v. Gregorian).

Different canons(???) (The Orthodox have even more books in their Bible than do Western Catholics. Include all of the LXX books, even those “appendix” books).

Scripture subsists in Tradition, rather than the Western belief that Scripture and Tradition are two separate sources of faith (At least that’s the Eastern view, from what I understand).

Divorce allowed in cases of infidelity, the only case in which Jesus allowed for divorce.

Also, this is not really major, but I think that many Eastern clergy tend to have beards, unlike in the West in which most priests are clean-shaven.

Those are for the most part different disciplinary teachings.


#8

I think there has been a little confusion here. Eastern Catholics, no matter what rite, believe EVERYTHING the Catholic Church teaches because they ARE the Church with everyone of us.

Eastern Theology, both Catholic and Orthodox, has a different emphasis on various subjects. Its methods have not been influenced by scholaticism and thomism, which is the case in the West.

Verbum


#9

[quote=Hesychios]The Byzantine church does not teach Purgatory.
[/quote]

Purgatory is a dogma. I don’t think you can reject dogmas and still be Catholic.


#10

Originally Quoted by Verbum:

I think there has been a little confusion here. Eastern Catholics, no matter what rite, believe EVERYTHING the Catholic Church teaches because they ARE the Church with everyone of us.

Eastern Theology, both Catholic and Orthodox, has a different emphasis on various subjects. Its methods have not been influenced by scholaticism and thomism, which is the case in the West.

Verbum

Yes, I know that the Eastern Catholics claim to believe in EVERYTHING which the Catholic Church teaches. However, I don’t understand how the Eastern Catholics can hold onto Orthodox beliefs while still proclaiming that they believe everything the Latin Rite believes. A few weeks ago I sent an email to the Byzantine Catholic Archdiocese of Pittsburg. I inquired in the email about Byzantine Catholic beliefs and if Greek Catholics believed everything listed in the CCC. According to the email I received, Byzantine Cathoilcs believe 100% of the CCC and still maintain their “Orthodox” traditions. I asked specifically if Byzantine Catholics hold onto certain Orthodox positions, and I received a “yes” for every question I asked.

With this in mind, I see problems with the differing views on original sin (especially concerning the guilt), the Immaculate Conception, Christ’s atoning sacrafice, Trinitarian understanding, and the canon. Also, the fact that the Byzantine Catholics recognize as saints individuals who lived in the period between 1054 and whenever the Byzantines came back into communion with the Church (somewhere around the late 16th, early 17th century) poses problems. Are these individuals really in heaven if they were not part of the Roman communion at the time of their deaths? Can a Catholic ask them for prayer? I’m sure that there are additional differences, many of greater consequence than those I have listed.

The idea of Purgatory, from what I have read, is the direct result of scholastic thinking. Sure, the idea of a “purgation” after death is seen even in passages of Tertullian’s writings, but it does not truly become a “place” distinct from heaven and hell until scholastic times. While I am not saying that there is no Purgatory, I think it is important to recognize that Purgatory is not completely revealed in Scriptures, and that its growth into a “place” is the direct result of scholastic thinking.

If Eastern Catholics accept Purgatory, they must, I think, necessarily accept it according to the scholastic proofs.

Also, I wonder: The Catholic Church teaches (or at least used to teach) that in order to attain salvation, one must accept ALL the beliefs of the Catholic Church. If an Eastern Catholic decides to reject the Immaculate Conception because of his understanding of Original Sin, is that person in danger of hell by not accepting ALL the beliefs of the Catholic Church?

Something doesn’t seem right… Either Eastern Catholics have sacraficed their Eastern identity for a Latin one and have kept only an Eastern facade, or Eastern Catholics do not believe in everything that the Catholic Church claims to have always taught, in which case Eastern Catholics supposedly are denied the salvation that only comes through accepting everything the Church teaches.

Don’t mean to sound polemical. I am just flabbergasted by what I have read so far about the Eastern Catholics and their relationship with the Latin Rite. You either agree that one is born with the guilt of Original Sin (Western view), or you believe that one is not born with the guilt of Original Sin (Orthodox view). If the Eastern Catholic chooses the former, he compromises his Eastern tradition; if he chooses the latter, I don’t fully understand how he can accept the Immaculate Conception, which operates on the presupposition that the guilt of Original Sin is present in every newborn.

I very much would appreciate the insight of an Eastern Catholic.


#11

Perhaps you are looking at it backwards…do Latin rite Catholics accept everything that the Catholic Church teaches? Or are they risking their immortal souls by believing in Original Sin, the Filioque, Purgatory, the Immaculate Conception, worshipping western saints canonized between 1054 and the Union of Brest?

And a side note: what does the Eastern Trinitarian views do to the “Theology of the Body” argument developed by JPII and Christopher West?

Adam


#12

I don’t understand how they can reject certain dogmas and remain in communion with Rome. Are we sure we’re not talking about the Eastern Orthodox here? The Eastern rite Catholics would have to believe in all the dogmas, right?


#13

[quote=amarischuk]Perhaps you are looking at it backwards…do Latin rite Catholics accept everything that the Catholic Church teaches? Or are they risking their immortal souls by believing in Original Sin, the Filioque, Purgatory, the Immaculate Conception, worshipping western saints canonized between 1054 and the Union of Brest?

And a side note: what does the Eastern Trinitarian views do to the “Theology of the Body” argument developed by JPII and Christopher West?

Adam
[/quote]

The Church cannot teach error. These things were defined infallibly.


#14

Glory to Jesus Christ!
Well, this topic has been covered before on this board in spades. First Sin does not have guilt attached to it. Many Roman Catholics have also said so on this board. First Sin is something more like a handicap, a defect of sorts, that makes us unable to do the good we aught to. It amounts to a defect in our nature, which we strive to overcome. We must get back to our original nature, as God intended, we must be deified.

To quote the CCC:**
398** In that sin man *preferred *himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully “divinized” by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to “be like God”, but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God”.279

405 Although it is proper to each individual,295 original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

Now it is no secret that the idea of guilt associated with Original Sin is common in the West. This does have the effect of making Mary’s Immaculate nature appear even more remarkable.

The Byzantine church has always understood the Theotokos as being Immaculate, and did not need a Papal pronouncement in order to believe that. Likewise, if a Pope were to retract the dogma, the Byzantine church would still believe that Mary is Immaculate. We believe that she was born without sin, and committed no sins.

She did die however, she shared our weakened nature in that respect.


#15

[quote=Genesis315]I don’t understand how they can reject certain dogmas and remain in communion with Rome. Are we sure we’re not talking about the Eastern Orthodox here? The Eastern rite Catholics would have to believe in all the dogmas, right?
[/quote]

The problem is not that Eastern Catholics disbelieve anything, it is that the understanding is different.

Many members of the Latin church like to think that their spirituality/theology is the only true way. They misunderstand that out of 23 Sui Iuris churches in the Catholic Communion, only one uses scholastic, or Thomistic means of describing what they believe. Likewise Augustine had little to no influence on the East.

All 22 of the other churches use another way of describing theology. It was not heretical in the first millenium and is not heretical today.

+T+


#16

Originally Quoted by amrischuk:

Perhaps you are looking at it backwards…do Latin rite Catholics accept everything that the Catholic Church teaches? Or are they risking their immortal souls by believing in Original Sin, the Filioque, Purgatory, the Immaculate Conception, worshipping western saints canonized between 1054 and the Union of Brest?

And a side note: what does the Eastern Trinitarian views do to the “Theology of the Body” argument developed by JPII and Christopher West?

Yes, that’s another way of looking at it. However, The Western Church emphasizes that “Rome never errs,” and so there is a belief that true doctrine comes out of Rome (i.e. the pope). The Eastern Catholics attach themselves to this Church and reocgnize the pope as having infallibility and authority over all other bishops.

Of course, I suppose that the Byzantine Catholics might believe themselves to be the true Church which at the Brest-Livosk treaty took into its communion the Latin Church, while kicking the Orthodox Churches out of the Catholic communion. In other words, they might believe that, at the treaty of Brest-Livosk, the Orthodox Churches, hitherto part of the Catholic Church, broke away from the Catholic Church, whereas The Latin Rite, renegade since 1054, came back into the Catholic Church.

But then again, the fact that Byzantine Catholics declare that the pope is and has always been infallible does complicate the matter.

Good points. :yup:


#17

Yes

Can a Catholic ask them for prayer?

Yes

The idea of Purgatory, from what I have read, is the direct result of scholastic thinking. Sure, the idea of a “purgation” after death is seen even in passages of Tertullian’s writings, but it does not truly become a “place” distinct from heaven and hell until scholastic times. While I am not saying that there is no Purgatory, I think it is important to recognize that Purgatory is not completely revealed in Scriptures, and that its growth into a “place” is the direct result of scholastic thinking.

True

If Eastern Catholics accept Purgatory, they must, I think, necessarily accept it according to the scholastic proofs.

Some do, some don’t. The Eastern churches went through a process we sadly call ‘latinization’. Many Eastern Catholics were compelled to adopt western theological constructs. Some were taught from the Baltimore Catechism of all things. We are now free to chuck 'em if we want.

My church doesn’t teach Purgatory.

Also, I wonder: The Catholic Church teaches (or at least used to teach) that in order to attain salvation, one must accept ALL the beliefs of the Catholic Church. If an Eastern Catholic decides to reject the Immaculate Conception because of his understanding of Original Sin, is that person in danger of hell by not accepting ALL the beliefs of the Catholic Church?

The short answer is yes…er, no…hmmm, yes!..uh NO!

I am just being facetious. If Eastern Catholics believe everything their Sui Iuris church teaches them, they are in no greater or less danger of perdition than anyone else.

Just so you know, Orthodox are not considered to be outside of the church. Their churches have valid sacraments and are a means of Grace, they have the fullness of Truth. Sadly, we are separated for the time being.

The problem is, they think we are heretics, not the other way around.

Something doesn’t seem right… Either Eastern Catholics have sacraficed their Eastern identity for a Latin one and have kept only an Eastern facade,

Yes, that has happened. Some Eastern Catholics were compelled to adopt Latin notions of the Faith (see my note above). The prayers of the liturgy did not match up with what the faithful were being taught. We are in the process of correcting that now, we are casting off the latinizations.

or Eastern Catholics do not believe in everything that the Catholic Church claims to have always taught, in which case Eastern Catholics supposedly are denied the salvation that only comes through accepting everything the Church teaches.

It does not follow, you seem to assume that Orthodox are heretics. As I noted above, the Orthodox churches are not in any great danger of losing their salvation. Eastern Catholics are (in one way) Orthodox in Communion with Rome. We are supposed to be the model for future unity, so far it hasn’t been going all that well, that’s why the Holy Father has said that the church must learn to breathe with both lungs. This is part of the process, I recover my traditions and you get to learn about it.

Please understand that his Holiness the Pope is working very hard to reconcile the Eastern and Western churches. You can be sure that there is no way to “convert” them. We will have to take them as they are, warts and all.

Our challenge is to get them to accept us.

+T+
Michael


#18

[quote=serendipity]What is the Greek understanding of the Trinity and how does it differ from that articulated in the Latin tradition?
[/quote]

Amarischuk gave a pretty good answer when referring to the filioque, I would like to point out thet the filioque ‘controversy’ is actually a symptom of the differences in perspective, not the main point of contention.

Nothing I can write could be an exhaustive explanation. There have been other threads on the subject, one must wade through a lot of polemic to get to the core of what is being taught, and some people want to minimise the differences.

I am not really up to the task myself, this post will not be sufficient but I believe the question deserves an answer.

Realizing that the True Nature of the Holy Trinity is probably beyond us, we tend to use analogies that are totally inadequate, but the best we can do. We cannot actually find human terms that will explain God because of our own very human limitations.

I quote the Reverend Casimir Kucharek:
“How are we to understand this truth of the Trinity? Truly, we cannot. There are many three-in-one signs, apparent symbols of the Trinity: -fire- with it’s flame, heat and light; -the shamrock- or three-leaf clover dear to St Patrick; -three matchsticks- held together producing a single flame, a delightful demonstration for children in catechism class. Faced with the truly awesome mystery of the Holy Trinity, all of us, doctors of theology or not, are truly children. It is as it should be; God would have made it clearer if it were necessary for our salvations.”

Some sources have pointed out that the Latin understanding starts with the Unity of our One God and the necessary proofs tend to focus on differentiating the Persons of God, while the Greek understanding uses as a basis the Three Persons of God and the necessary proofs consist of demonstrating how they are One. I know that doesn’t help much.

Add to this the fact that the Latin West usually uses cataphatic terminology and the Greek almost always uses an apophatic approach.

The Greeks see the Three Persons as co-eternal, co-equal and mutually indwelling. There is a perfect balance and symmetry. The monarchy of the Father is fundamental, the origin of the Divinity with the Son and the Spirit. The Son (Wisdom - the Word) is begotten of the Father; the Spirit proceeds from the Father; the Father is unbegotten and unproceeding. Together they are the Triune God, of which we cannot know the essence.

Adding anything to that breaks the symmetry, and implies an unequalness/uneveness. The Fathers of the church crafted the words of the Nicea-Constantinopolitan creed with great care with these concerns in mind; better to say less than to risk a poorer understanding.

No discussion about the Trinity is complete without a mention of the Divine Essence and the Uncreated Energies, yet the subject is usually ommitted. We know God only through what has been revealed and through God’s uncreated energies (a concept not generally taught in the West, the concept is parallel to an understanding of Grace) It is through the uncreated energies that we are divinized ( a notion relatively unknown in the West). Divinization is also called Theosis.

I hope that this helps.

+T+
Michael


#19

I have learned much from this thread. Thanks!!!


#20

[quote=Genesis315]I don’t understand how they can reject certain dogmas and remain in communion with Rome. Are we sure we’re not talking about the Eastern Orthodox here? The Eastern rite Catholics would have to believe in all the dogmas, right?
[/quote]

Michael addressed this partially in post #15 but I must say this.

Genesis315, can you tell me one dogma that we Eastern Catholics reject?

The “Just War Doctrine” is not dogma.

I do not even believe that Purgatory is an actual dogma. Now that we undergo a purgative process after death is what I believe the actual dogma is and that is held by Eastern Catholics.

As for the Immaculate Conception, we have never had this Holy Day, we celebrate the Conception of St Anne. Our view of Original Sin does not make this dogma necessary, so we have always believed that Mary was sinless and was concieved so.


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