Eastern Catholics really Catholic in beliefs?

I have recently been reading a lot of books about Eastern Catholicism and more particuarily Orthodox theology and spirituality. I find it most attractive, and I hope to check out a Ruthenian Catholic church near me, when my dad is away for the weekend (since he is already angry that my mom and sister have left the Latin Rite and the Catholic Church altogether.)

Anyhow, I am curious: do the Byzantine Catholic churches have the same or very similiar theological traditions as the Orthodox Church? Also, do they agree full heartedly with certain beliefs established by the Western Theology of the Western Church–beliefs such as Purgatory, filioque, the Augustinian understanding of original sin, etc.? If the Eastern Catholic churches do in fact believe in these Western articles of faith, then how do these churches reconcile their Eastern theology with these Western articles of faith?

I would imagine that the Eastern theological traditions are at times completely different from those in the West, so I’m very curious to hear what Eastern Catholics have to say about this. :yup:

While I will leave a more in depth answer to those who know better, I will give this quick insight.

Each of the 20+ Churches in the Catholic Church has their own Canon Law, but they all share the same Catechism. So pick up your Catechism and read it. Everything in there is the shared beliefs of all the Churches. Where there are differences (such as who performs the sacrament of matrimony), the Catechism addresses them.

[quote=Madaglan]I have recently been reading a lot of books about Eastern Catholicism and more particuarily Orthodox theology and spirituality. I find it most attractive, and I hope to check out a Ruthenian Catholic church near me, when my dad is away for the weekend (since he is already angry that my mom and sister have left the Latin Rite and the Catholic Church altogether.)

Anyhow, I am curious: do the Byzantine Catholic churches have the same or very similiar theological traditions as the Orthodox Church? Also, do they agree full heartedly with certain beliefs established by the Western Theology of the Western Church–beliefs such as Purgatory, filioque, the Augustinian understanding of original sin, etc.? If the Eastern Catholic churches do in fact believe in these Western articles of faith, then how do these churches reconcile their Eastern theology with these Western articles of faith?

I would imagine that the Eastern theological traditions are at times completely different from those in the West, so I’m very curious to hear what Eastern Catholics have to say about this. :yup:
[/quote]

My understanding is that in terms of those three things which you mentioned there isn’t a consistent Eastern position. I know from reading Timothy Ware’s (a convert to one of the Orthodox churches) book The Orthodox Church that some Eastern theologians don’t have any theological problems with the filioque, but simply contend that the West had no authority to add it, since it was done outside the context of a council.

Hi Madaglan,

Let’s be careful to make distinctions. There are Eastern Catholics. They believe absolutely the same as the Latin Rite Catholics. They accept the supreme authority of the Holy Father.

Then there are Orthodox Christians, divided into many patriarchates. They have differences in doctrine with the Catholic Church, and they do not accept the supreme authority of the Holy Father, whom they only recognize as one of the patriarchs.

If you wish to become acquainted with the Eastern Churches, it would be best to stick with the Catholics.

It’s very offensive to both Eastern Catholics and Orthodox Christians to be confused. Eastern Catholics also do not like to be called “Roman” Catholics, as this confuses them with the main division of the Latin Rite, which is the Roman Rite.

Verbum

[quote=Verbum]Hi Madaglan,

Let’s be careful to make distinctions. There are Eastern Catholics. They believe absolutely the same as the Latin Rite Catholics.
[/quote]

I would be careful about using the word “absolute”. They are in union with Rome, but their theology is going to tend more to the mysitical than the logical, and their statements theologically could be presumed to be at odds with Rome to one who is not particualrly trained in theology and its nuances. For example, a quick, non-detailed look at their sacramental theology might cause concern because their emphasis would be different. The basics are the same; their explanation comes from a different viewpoint.

[quote=verbum]They accept the supreme authority of the Holy Father.
[/quote]

That is correct.

[quote=verbum]Then there are Orthodox Christians, divided into many patriarchates. They have differences in doctrine with the Catholic Church, and they do not accept the supreme authority of the Holy Father, whom they only recognize as one of the patriarchs.
[/quote]

Given that there has been almost 1000 years since the split between Rome and the East, and that there is not a unified authority amongst the Orthodox, it is possible that there are differences in doctrine that have acreted over the years. However, with the majority of the Orthodox Churchs (which generally split along the lines of countries), the majority of their doctrines are consistent with the Catholic Church. The thing to keep in mind is that it is the Catholic Church, not the Roman Catholic Church (which is a rite of the universal Catholic Church; the largest, but hardly the only; I believe there are 21 other recognized rites).

[quote=verbum]If you wish to become acquainted with the Eastern Churches, it would be best to stick with the Catholics.

It’s very offensive to both Eastern Catholics and Orthodox Christians to be confused. Eastern Catholics also do not like to be called “Roman” Catholics, as this confuses them with the main division of the Latin Rite, which is the Roman Rite.

Verbum
[/quote]

Excellent idea; it keeps the confusion down to a low roar.

Thanks for your answers. I do not believe I have confused the Eastern Catholics with the Orthodox. I recognize that they are two separate entities, even though it seems that the Eastern Catholic churches in general maintain an Eastern rather than Latin theology.

I am very much interested in what otm said concerning how the products of Eastern Catholic theology may to non-theologians appear at odds with the beliefs of the Western Church. I am not yet an expert in theology, but from what I know so far, it would seem that the Eastern Catholic theology (if it is indeed similiar to that of the Orthodox) is at odds with certain Western beliefs. The theology of the Orthodox Church is mostly apophatic, whereas that of the Catholic Church is much more of a synthesis between cataphatic and apophatic, an approach that is demonstrated by St. Thomas Aquinas. I imagine this basic difference between the two Churches causes some difficulties in reconciling Eastern theology with Latin beliefs.

Besides the basic foundational differences in how each Church approaches theology, most prominent in my mind is how Eastern Church views original sin much differently than does the Western Church. The Orthodox Church, from what I have read, does not believe that the guilt of original sin is transferred to progeny through the procreative act. If the Eastern Catholics hold to this Orthodox tradition, then baptism, particuarily infant baptism, means something different than the Latin Rite baptism.

I suppose this leads me to another question: Is the theology of the Eastern Catholic churches comparable to that of the Orthodox? Or, is the Eastern Catholic theology more of a hodge podge of Latin and Eastern theological approaches?

Hey Madaglan,

You are correct - coming from a western tradition and now relocating to an eastern one - I have noticed that the implications that the differing theology of Original Sin creates.

[quote=Facing East]Hey Madaglan,

You are correct - coming from a western tradition and now relocating to an eastern one - I have noticed that the implications that the differing theology of Original Sin creates.
[/quote]

Facing East:
FIrst of all, welcome to the Forums!

I returned to my baptismal rite of Byzantine just over 2 years ago. Before that, Iwas raised Latin.
One statement that was mentioned in an above thread wondered who developed into who.
The Catholc Church at one time WAS One Church. Even by the 4th. century the distinctions of culture and expression of the Liturgy was changing and moving in two directions (hence East and West).
By 1054, the politics and the problems with authority split the Church. There were NO Eastern Catholics at this time. Just the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

Along the time of the 16th and 17th. centure, an areas of Eatern Europe wanted to return BACK to the authority of the West.
THESE ARE part of the Eastern Catholics, hence Byzantine. HOWEVER returning, we were able to keep the same Liturgy Practices and tradition, even now Pope John Paul II has expressed the fact that we should restore our traditions (small t). His Holiness even has stated that our unique look at spirituality is something that the Latin West can learn from.

One thing as an Eastern Catholic is offended by IS the fact when people talk about ‘Catholics’, and tend not to think about the East and Only look towards the West when the term is mentioned.
I consider myself “Catholic” and my practicing identification IS Byzantine.

I hope this brief history thumbnail sketch is helpful.

God Is with Us!
Edwin

[quote=Edwin1961]Facing East:
F
The Catholc Church at one time WAS One Church. Even by the 4th. century the distinctions of culture and expression of the Liturgy was changing and moving in two directions (hence East and West).
By 1054, the politics and the problems with authority split the Church. There were NO Eastern Catholics at this time. Just the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.
[/quote]

I believe that is not entirely correct, as it is my understanding that the Maronite rite never broke off; there may be one or two more.

and they should be further offended by some of the treatment they have received at the hands of the Roman rite since they returned.

[quote=Madaglan]Thanks for your answers. I do not believe I have confused the Eastern Catholics with the Orthodox. I recognize that they are two separate entities, even though it seems that the Eastern Catholic churches in general maintain an Eastern rather than Latin theology.

I am very much interested in what otm said concerning how the products of Eastern Catholic theology may to non-theologians appear at odds with the beliefs of the Western Church. I am not yet an expert in theology, but from what I know so far, it would seem that the Eastern Catholic theology (if it is indeed similiar to that of the Orthodox) is at odds with certain Western beliefs. The theology of the Orthodox Church is mostly apophatic, whereas that of the Catholic Church is much more of a synthesis between cataphatic and apophatic, an approach that is demonstrated by St. Thomas Aquinas. I imagine this basic difference between the two Churches causes some difficulties in reconciling Eastern theology with Latin beliefs.

Besides the basic foundational differences in how each Church approaches theology, most prominent in my mind is how Eastern Church views original sin much differently than does the Western Church. The Orthodox Church, from what I have read, does not believe that the guilt of original sin is transferred to progeny through the procreative act. If the Eastern Catholics hold to this Orthodox tradition, then baptism, particuarily infant baptism, means something different than the Latin Rite baptism.

I suppose this leads me to another question: Is the theology of the Eastern Catholic churches comparable to that of the Orthodox? Or, is the Eastern Catholic theology more of a hodge podge of Latin and Eastern theological approaches?
[/quote]

(sigh) :o OK, where’s my dictionary?

Bottom line to your answer: they are in union with Rome; they are not second rate, or bastard children; they are Catholic. How the theological differences get worked out is beyond my ken, but it is obvious if they are in union with Rome that they are not in heresy.

Where’s Jimmy Akin when we need him?

[quote=Madaglan]I have recently been reading a lot of books about Eastern Catholicism and more particuarily Orthodox theology and spirituality. I find it most attractive, and I hope to check out a Ruthenian Catholic church near me, when my dad is away for the weekend (since he is already angry that my mom and sister have left the Latin Rite and the Catholic Church altogether.)

Anyhow, I am curious: do the Byzantine Catholic churches have the same or very similiar theological traditions as the Orthodox Church? Also, do they agree full heartedly with certain beliefs established by the Western Theology of the Western Church–beliefs such as Purgatory, filioque, the Augustinian understanding of original sin, etc.? If the Eastern Catholic churches do in fact believe in these Western articles of faith, then how do these churches reconcile their Eastern theology with these Western articles of faith?

I would imagine that the Eastern theological traditions are at times completely different from those in the West, so I’m very curious to hear what Eastern Catholics have to say about this. :yup:
[/quote]

The Latin Rite does not teach a purely Augustinian view of Original Sin. They teach more along the lines of what Aquinas blieved. Original Sin is simply the loss of Original Justice and the loss of Original Holyness.

[quote=Madaglan]Thanks for your answers. I do not believe I have confused the Eastern Catholics with the Orthodox. I recognize that they are two separate entities, even though it seems that the Eastern Catholic churches in general maintain an Eastern rather than Latin theology.

I am very much interested in what otm said concerning how the products of Eastern Catholic theology may to non-theologians appear at odds with the beliefs of the Western Church. I am not yet an expert in theology, but from what I know so far, it would seem that the Eastern Catholic theology (if it is indeed similiar to that of the Orthodox) is at odds with certain Western beliefs. The theology of the Orthodox Church is mostly apophatic, whereas that of the Catholic Church is much more of a synthesis between cataphatic and apophatic, an approach that is demonstrated by St. Thomas Aquinas. I imagine this basic difference between the two Churches causes some difficulties in reconciling Eastern theology with Latin beliefs.

Besides the basic foundational differences in how each Church approaches theology, most prominent in my mind is how Eastern Church views original sin much differently than does the Western Church. The Orthodox Church, from what I have read, does not believe that the guilt of original sin is transferred to progeny through the procreative act. If the Eastern Catholics hold to this Orthodox tradition, then baptism, particuarily infant baptism, means something different than the Latin Rite baptism.

I suppose this leads me to another question: Is the theology of the Eastern Catholic churches comparable to that of the Orthodox? Or, is the Eastern Catholic theology more of a hodge podge of Latin and Eastern theological approaches?
[/quote]

The eastern Catholics do not have to take on a latin perspective of things. It is better that they maintain there own tradition because that is the way they have always understood things. The teachings are the same basicly.

I think you mean churches . The number of rites is far less.

[quote=jimmy]The Latin Rite does not teach a purely Augustinian view of Original Sin. They teach more along the lines of what Aquinas blieved. Original Sin is simply the loss of Original Justice and the loss of Original Holyness.
[/quote]

Your absolutely right. The Orthodox accuse us of going to the extreme of Augustine’s view of original sin. We don’t. In truth we don’t follow any one church father true Augustine is very influential in the latin rite is a gian among the fathers but he is not THE father THE Doctor he is one father one doctor of the church.
And yes the church algins itslef closer to Aquinas view of original sin than Augustine.
Of course the Orthodox don’t like either guy just because their western despite the fact Aquinas regulary quotes the eastern fathers throughout his works.

If it helps any, Byzantine Catholics (I will stick to the easterns I know best) routinely refer to Orthodox theological works for instruction. There just aren’t enough materials written by Catholic authors, although they would be in agreement with the Orthodox on almost all points.

When I first joined a Byzantine Catholic parish the first book recommended to me (by one of the deacons) was the Orthodox Way by bishop Kallistos Ware (Orthodox). Later I was referred to the Face of God by Archbishop Joseph Raya (who happens to be Catholic). There is no fundamental difference in the theological teachings of either author.

So there is only one important (very important) difference between the Orthodox and the Byzantine Catholics, one church will share communion with the Pope and the other will not. But theologically they will teach the same things.

+T+

Now there is a big, stupendous abyss between the Orthodox and the Byzantine Catholics: Orthodox generally think the Pope and all who embrace certain latin theological constructs are heretics and may not share communion with anyone who affirms these doctrines. The Byzantine Catholics have gone over this issue before and decided some time ago to overlook the differences and share communion for the sake of Christian unity. It hasn’t always worked out for the best, and that is one reason why the Eastern Catholic churches are so small compared to the corresponding Orthodox churches.

Nevertheless, I believe that we can learn from the mistakes of the past, and Byzantine Catholic churches have a marvelous liturgy which inspires visitors who first encounter it. If one pays attention, the entire theology of the Faith is played out in the liturgy, like a living catechism. If taken it on it’s own terms, this Faith tradition would be attractive to a lot of people.

+T+
Michael

Originally Quoted by Maccabees:

And yes the church algins itslef closer to Aquinas view of original sin than Augustine.
Of course the Orthodox don’t like either guy just because their western despite the fact Aquinas regulary quotes the eastern fathers throughout his works.

I have no doubt that the Catholic Church aligns itself more closely to Aquinas’ view of original sin. I think, however, it is fair to say that Aquinas retains many of Augustine’s unique views on original sin.

I think it is wrong to say that the Orthodox do not like Augustine. They recognize him as a saint, even though they are at times more than a bit wary of his interpretations, since Augustine himself is not the most pellucid of Church Fathers.

What I am trying to understand is what the Eastern bishops thought of Augustine’s writings when they first received them. I also wonder if his writings even made it to the East during his lifetime. Perhaps Fr. Ambrose or another Orthodox poster knows a little more about this.

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