Feeling drawn towards Orthodoxy


#81

Why do you want to attend the Divine Liturgy?

Forgive me, I was sucked into the side discussions here that I didn’t address you directly.

Why? My advice would be to reflect on that question first.

You say our Liturgy and Spirituality are “amazing.” Why do you say that?

I am not trying to make you feel bad brother/sister, but it is very very important to discern carefully.

If you are nourished by the Catholic Mass, why seek elsewhere? If you are not, that is probably a good starting point.


#82

I’m familiar with it. Written as a knee-jerk reaction to Pius IX’s encyclical to the Orthodox, calling them to resume communion with Rome.

But most importantly, you seem to have deliberately left out the second half of my sentence there. I’ll paste it: “and 2. meets their own standards as genuinely ecumenical (and thus authoritatively binding on the whole of Orthodoxy).”

As such, the point remains intact. It was binding only upon the signatories and not the Orthodox Church at-large; an age-old problem in Orthodox doctrinal methodology.


#83

Oh come now. You might have a presentable argument that Petrine headship may have died with Peter (even as that doesn’t particularly make sense), but the reality of Petrine headship over the original apostles is a historical fact that is assented to by legions of Orthodox theologians throughout history and the present. Should you require citations, I have them at the ready.

I’m happy to entertain any argument that perhaps the Petrine bishop enjoys more power than his office originally demanded. But very, very often I find that the Catholic understanding of papal supremacy is much more limited than the views of non-Catholics on the topic. Straw-men are easy to come by, here.

Arguments from absence are poor arguments. I don’t hear the “Orthodox Church in America” specifically affirmed, so by that errant standard they are also out of communion, then?

You could not possibly be more meaninglessly vague here. I’m very, very much a “Vatican II” Catholic. Go Papa Francesco!

As over half of all the Christians on this planet are Catholic, I’d say the Lord has blessed the Holy Roman Catholic Church in abundance as well.


#84

No, he can’t.

Any Church that wishes to continue the extraordinary form is free to do so, as I understand it. Just as there was a time before the Tridentine, there will be a time after it. Do you think Chrysostom’s liturgy, as you experience it now, is identical to the one used in the 6th century? Of course it isn’t…

If they are his organizations, then sure. Is there a specific example you’d like to discuss where you felt that this was unjust?

A pope is powerless to change the deposit of faith. It’s an old link, but one I’ve referenced several times over the years.

Limitations to the Power of the Pope

The majority of the Orthodox in 1970s America probably couldn’t have cared less about the immediate after-shocks of a revolution that had happened two full generations prior…

Yours here is a canned, “band-aid” reply taught to many American Orthodox in order to keep the money flowing across the Atlantic. And Orthodoxy in America will continue to suffer until it is remedied…

Oh yes. Yes it does.


#85

“Oh come now. You might have a presentable argument that Petrine headship may have died with Peter (even as that doesn’t particularly make sense), but the reality of Petrine headship over the original apostles is a historical fact that is assented to by legions of Orthodox theologians throughout history and the present. Should you require citations, I have them at the ready.”

My Reply: No citations necessary. I think we have very different ideas of what “headship” means and the implications of that understanding.

“I’m happy to entertain any argument that perhaps the Petrine bishop enjoys more power than his office originally demanded. But very, very often I find that the Catholic understanding of papal supremacy is much more limited than the views of non-Catholics on the topic. Straw-men are easy to come by, here.”

My Reply: Will answer in separate post

“Arguments from absence are poor arguments. I don’t hear the “Orthodox Church in America” specifically affirmed, so by that errant standard they are also out of communion, then?”

My Reply: The OCA are still viewed as the Metropolia under Moscow. Patriarch Kyrill is commemorated. Not recognizing a questionable autocephalous claim is not the same as broken Communion.

“You could not possibly be more meaninglessly vague here. I’m very, very much a “Vatican II” Catholic. Go Papa Francesco!”

My Reply: Meaninglessly vague? Go over to the Dubia thread in the Catholic news section, read the anguish of your brothers and sisters and then continue with this reply.

“As over half of all the Christians on this planet are Catholic, I’d say the Lord has blessed the Holy Roman Catholic Church in abundance as well”

My Reply: The numbers game is a losing one. By that criteria Muslims have it made.


#86

“No, he can’t.”

My Reply: So you’re saying he can’t change the Canons and never has?

“Any Church that wishes to continue the extraordinary form is free to do so, as I understand it. Just as there was a time before the Tridentine, there will be a time after it. Do you think Chrysostom’s liturgy, as you experience it now, is identical to the one used in the 6th century? Of course it isn’t…”

My Reply: It is available now, after years of suppression and bitterness (to say it was never abrogated is disingenuous when the reality said otherwise). Liturgies change, yes…but there is a difference between organic change and scrapping it to go back to the drawing board. The unilateral change to the Liturgy is to us the biggest example of Papal overreach.

“If they are his organizations, then sure. Is there a specific example you’d like to discuss where you felt that this was unjust?”

My Reply: You are missing the point.

“A pope is powerless to change the deposit of faith. It’s an old link, but one I’ve referenced several times over the years.
Limitations to the Power of the Pope1”

My Reply: “The Deposit of Faith.” As vague as Infallibility. Which statements are Ex Cathedra? The debate never ends.

“The majority of the Orthodox in 1970s America probably couldn’t have cared less about the immediate after-shocks of a revolution that had happened two full generations prior…

Yours here is a canned, “band-aid” reply taught to many American Orthodox in order to keep the money flowing across the Atlantic. And Orthodoxy in America will continue to suffer until it is remedied…

My Reply: Says you.


#87

I think you’re right. But I also think that we have different ideas as to how WE THINK the other party understands it, as well.

My only point there was that the liturgy makes no specific references to specific Orthodox. As such, arguments from silence are worthless.

You and I assume, reasonably, what groups it includes. But I’m sure we also agree that there are groups out there that disagree, or think they’re included and aren’t by the views of some Orthodox.

The Orthodox share schismatic borders with more than just the Catholics, I’m sure we agree.

In the same vein, read the other posts by folks like my self that were absolutely elated by “the breath of fresh air”.

Whenever there is change, no matter how minute, there will always be people unhappy with it. Such is life.

No numbers game played. Just pointing out how richly and unambiguously the Lord has blessed His Church. That’s all.


#88

He can’t change the deposit of faith.

Again, if you go to a parish that want to be “All Tridentine, all the Time”, no one is going to stop you. No one is going to stop the parish. So I’m not super-sure what your problem is, here.

And calling the NO as fresh from the drawing board is objectively wrong. Any detached anthropologist that looks at the two would be able to identify the myriad of similarities and conclude that the differences pertain exclusively to form rather than function.

Calling them radically different is just mind-blowingly incorrect.

No, I think you’re making a point that can’t really be made in that particular case.

Since the canonization of papal infallibility 150 years ago, I know of two; both pertaining to relatively innocuous Marian dogma.

His reach just isn’t as large as you pretend it to be. If it were, Vatican II would have never happened. The pope would have made his decrees and that would have been it. But Vatican II DID happen, even after the declaration of papal infallibility. So how do you interpret that?

Look, the overwhelming majority of American Greek Orthodox aren’t Greek. The majority of the Russians aren’t Russian. Same goes with virtually any other nationalist Orthodox Church in America.

This is a problem and you know it. It holds Orthodoxy back in America as “the immigrant Church”.

In the 1970’s, the Russian Orthodox Church took some very gallant steps to right this. Constantinople (and every other OC that stood to lose serious American money) slapped it down.


#89

Many feel drawn to the beauty of the Orthodox liturgy and chanting.


#90

I’m referring to the text I italicized above. Orthodoxy has the similar issues as the Catholic Church. The Orthodox are just better at hiding it. After Vatican II (really after World War II), Catholic clergy and laity became more open about airing the dirty laundry.

I know many Orthodox lay people who are “Orthodox in name only,” meaning they hold on to the tradition but are not very well evangelized. It’s no different from the Catholic Church.

Rest assured, if Orthodoxy had a council where they were encouraged to talk about any issue without fear of punishment, the dissents would start going crazy with that freedom.

NOTE: I do not have any ill will towards the Orthodox. I honestly feel that Catholics and Orthodox should be more united in joint defense against communism, secularism, Islam, and Protestantism.


#91

“I think you’re right. But I also think that we have different ideas as to how WE THINK the other party understands it, as well.”

My Reply: You could be right. However, my general point still stands, as does my question: What are Orthodox supposed to think about the perogatives that the Pope claims for himself? You can talk about the “limitations” on Papal power all you like, but the fact is that there is no mechanism to correct a Pope or remove a bad one. How does this not make the subordinate bishops into mere suffragans or auxilaries? They can be removed or installed by the Pope at will. The Eastern Catholics are another sad example. Why do their practices “require” Papal approval? It is only in the last century that they finally began to receive the official respect they deserved. Even now they are still viewed in some Catholic circles as crypto-Orthodox and with suspicion. This is no small thing.

"My only point there was that the liturgy makes no specific references to specific Orthodox. As such, arguments from silence are worthless.

You and I assume, reasonably, what groups it includes. But I’m sure we also agree that there are groups out there that disagree, or think they’re included and aren’t by the views of some Orthodox.

The Orthodox share schismatic borders with more than just the Catholics, I’m sure we agree."

My Reply: Patriarchs commemorate each other, Metropolitans commemorate their Patriarch, priests commemorate their Bishop. As far as the OCA is concerned, they are not excluded from anything. They just aren’t treated as an Autocephalous Church. If they attend any Pan-Orthodox events, they are grouped with the Russian Church and treated as clerics under Moscow.

Yes, there are schismatic groups. In the Russian Church there are the Old Believers and in the Greek Churches you have the Old Calendarists. They are a small group, and on the fringes. Both Moscow and Constantinople (Athens as well) has attempted to reconcile these groups. What they think is irrelevant to who is Canonical and who is not. The Ukrainian “Patriarchate” is in communion with NO ONE and is viewed universally as an uncanonical fringe group (although they have some sympathizers among anti-Moscow partisans). We don’t need a Council to declare them (or you for that matter) outside the fold. They are not commemorated, and their clerics are excluded from any Liturgical celebrations, which for us Orthodox is THE marker of Unity. I think this is another instance where Orthodox and Catholic have very different mindsets when it comes to what exactly constitutes “Unity” and how that “Unity” manifests itself.

"In the same vein, read the other posts by folks like my self that were absolutely elated by “the breath of fresh air”.

Whenever there is change, no matter how minute, there will always be people unhappy with it. Such is life."

My Reply: This goes beyond mere “unhappiness.” “Breath of fresh air?” What does that even mean?

“No numbers game played. Just pointing out how richly and unambiguously the Lord has blessed His Church. That’s all.”

My Reply: Why bring up size at all?


#92

“He can’t change the deposit of faith.”

My Reply: There is that again. “The Deposit of Faith.” What does that even mean? What are the boundaries of the “Deposit of Faith?” What is in the Creed? The first seven Ecumenical councils? (Which we also hold to).

“Again, if you go to a parish that want to be “All Tridentine, all the Time”, no one is going to stop you. No one is going to stop the parish. So I’m not super-sure what your problem is, here.”

My Reply: My problem, from the Orthodox POV is how one bishop decided to unilaterally change your Liturgy. For us, The Liturgy is the heart and center of Christian practice and worship. EVERYTHING flows from this. In our tradition, it is said a Christian lives from “Sunday to Sunday” as every Sunday is a “mini-Pascha” (Easter). Your traditionalists are not wrong when they say that changing the Liturgy changed everything, because as I pointed out:

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. The changing of the Liturgy in the way that you all did is, from our POV a horror, something to cause one to rend their garments like the Jews of old.

"And calling the NO as fresh from the drawing board is objectively wrong. Any detached anthropologist that looks at the two would be able to identify the myriad of similarities and conclude that the differences pertain exclusively to form rather than function.

Calling them radically different is just mind-blowingly incorrect."

My Reply: I never said they were radically different. My point is that treating your Liturgy in that way is from our POV offensive. Ironically, Vatican II was purposed to bring you closer to us, but in reality it pushed you further away.

“No, I think you’re making a point that can’t really be made in that particular case.”

My Reply: One bishop was never meant to have this power in our belief. This is the heart of the matter.


#93

"Since the canonization of papal infallibility 150 years ago, I know of two; both pertaining to relatively innocuous Marian dogma.

His reach just isn’t as large as you pretend it to be. If it were, Vatican II would have never happened. The pope would have made his decrees and that would have been it. But Vatican II DID happen, even after the declaration of papal infallibility. So how do you interpret that?"

My Reply: And yet there are endless debates in your church about what is “infallible.” Is Humanae Vitae “infallible” teaching? It is headache inducing, the back and forth.

Vatican II happened because the Pope wished it. If he wanted to, he could have rejected every document that came out of the council and the only thing your bishops could do is acquiece in silence (and perhaps hope the Pope allowed another round). Humanae Vitae was the result of a Pope rejecting what he heard and putting out what he wanted (Catholics would argue that was a good thing, but again, he has this power to do so unilaterally).

Also, reading a history of Vatican I (the treatment of the Eastern Catholics in particular) does not shine a favorable light on the process as a whole.

"Look, the overwhelming majority of American Greek Orthodox aren’t Greek. The majority of the Russians aren’t Russian. Same goes with virtually any other nationalist Orthodox Church in America.

This is a problem and you know it. It holds Orthodoxy back in America as “the immigrant Church”.

In the 1970’s, the Russian Orthodox Church took some very gallant steps to right this. Constantinople (and every other OC that stood to lose serious American money) slapped it down."

My Reply: I never said it wasn’t a problem. To say it was about money is not the whole picture. Yes, the financial support of the Old World is a factor, but also there is the other factor of the maturity of the Church in America. To be candid, I strongly support the continued ties to the Old World, because those ties serve as a strong check on some problematic tendencies you find in America.


#94

It is absolutely true that Modernism has been an issue with both of us. St. John Chrysostom was complaining about lukewarm Christians in his day. There truly is nothing new under the sun. What is different is how we reacted to this crisis.

“Rest assured, if Orthodoxy had a council where they were encouraged to talk about any issue without fear of punishment, the dissents would start going crazy with that freedom.”

There probably would be some of that, but the difference is that because of our decentralized structure, such a thing could be contained and not imposed from one Patriarchate. Any offending Bishops could be deposed, any offending priests defrocked, and if a whole Church defected, Communion would be severed and they would be cut off from Canonical Orthodoxy. Just another schism in the sad history of schisms in Christendom.

There were Orthodox observers at your Second Vatican Council. We learned the lessons of the aftermath very well, which is why our Council in Crete turned out the way it did.


#95

Well, for starters, I’m not aware of any power the pope has that isn’t also echoed in council. So as it pertains to any specific papal power that you dissent from, I know there is an ocean of literature written by excellent Catholic minds on the issue. You’re always free to reject, obviously, but it’s still there which testifies to the difficulty of objective refutation.

Additionally, the Catholic model fits the same model God has always used for his people in providing consistent leadership. In the Age of Patriarchs, there was the eldest first-born heir of Adam. Then Melchizedek (who was probably Shem of that same holy line) established a priesthood that employed a high priest. Then Christ came and appointed Peter as head of the apostles.

It’s the Orthodox that get a little weird when they claim that a meaningful headship ended there, for some inexplicable reason. Adam’s Heir, the High Priest and Peter were certainly not merely “primus inter pares”.

Because it’s not possible for one to exist that could actually damage the deposit of faith. They come to be through the power of the Holy Spirit. Now they’re all men capable of sin, just like you and me. But they are preserved from destructive error just like the Apostles through the power of the Spirit.

So consider: What mechanism did you see put in place to remove an apostle (other than death)? I never saw one… (I did see Paul seek confirmation from Peter, though).

Wait… I thought you didn’t like playing the numbers game?

Any notion you hold that the Catholic Church behaves in a substantially different way on this matter is purely arbitrary. Almost comically so.

It’s a reference to a quote from Pope John XXIII, the pope that opened Vatican II, talking ABOUT Vatican II… :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

You were stating the the Lord has blessed the Orthodox Church. I was merely stating He’s clearly blessed the Catholic Church too.

I can’t help but mention you played the same game above. :sweat:


#96

“Well, for starters, I’m not aware of any power the pope has that isn’t also echoed in council. So as it pertains to any specific papal power that you dissent from, I know there is an ocean of literature written by excellent Catholic minds on the issue. You’re always free to reject, obviously, but it’s still there which testifies to the difficulty of objective refutation.”

My Reply: And there is literature written by Orthodox minds offering rebuttals. I am content to let people check them out and discern for themselves.

“Additionally, the Catholic model fits the same model God has always used for his people in providing consistent leadership. In the Age of Patriarchs, there was the eldest first-born heir of Adam. Then Melchizedek (who was probably Shem of that same holy line) established a priesthood that employed a high priest. Then Christ came and appointed Peter as head of the apostles.”

My Reply: Again, we have different ideas of what this “headship” means.

“It’s the Orthodox that get a little weird when they claim that a meaningful headship ended there, for some inexplicable reason. Adam’s Heir, the High Priest and Peter were certainly not merely “primus inter pares”.”

My Reply: Your use of the word “meaningful” is key here. We have very different ideas of what a “meaningful” headship is. And nothing is “merely” in our practice.

“Because it’s not possible for one to exist that could actually damage the deposit of faith. They come to be through the power of the Holy Spirit. Now they’re all men capable of sin, just like you and me. But they are preserved from destructive error just like the Apostles through the power of the Spirit.”

My Reply: There it is again. “The Deposit of Faith.” What does that mean? What are the boundaries?

“So consider: What mechanism did you see put in place to remove an apostle (other than death)? I never saw one… (I did see Paul seek confirmation from Peter, though).”

My Reply: The 12 were unique. Since there was a mechanism for replacing one, it stands to reason that one could be removed as well if the need arose (This never happened, however).

“Wait… I thought you didn’t like playing the numbers game?”

My Reply: I’m not. Using them as some kind of proof is like me pointing to the SSPX, Old Catholics or Polish Catholics. It is irrelevant.

“Any notion you hold that the Catholic Church behaves in a substantially different way on this matter is purely arbitrary. Almost comically so.”

My Reply: But it is different. The Roman Pope is THE point of unity for you. As long as one pays lip service to the Pope’s authority or actually submits to it, the Nuns on the Bus and the FSSP can come to the same altar rail. This is mystifying.

“It’s a reference to a quote from Pope John XXIII, the pope that opened Vatican II, talking ABOUT Vatican II… :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

My Reply: I know where the quote came from. Unfortunately when you opened the window you let all kinds of other stuff in.

“You were stating the the Lord has blessed the Orthodox Church. I was merely stating He’s clearly blessed the Catholic Church too.”

My Reply: Very well.


#97

It’s also an irrelevant discussion. It requires the submission of the will just like any other Catholic teaching. The question of “infallibility” pertains to whether it can be changed or not. We don’t really know; we’re thinking about it - which is an answer any Orthodox should accept with intimate understanding.

A reasonable Orthodox analogue is the power of the Patriarch of Constantinople outside the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Did he actually have the authority to call for the sack the Patriarch of Jerusalem 10 years ago? The most exact answer you can give is “In this case, I guess? Even though it would have been better if a synod of Jerusalem’s bishops did it instead…” That seems to be what the Russians were saying, anyway. And what exactly did it mean when he signed the Ravenna Document? So the Bishop in Rome is now “Primus” again? Was there a council that declared he wasn’t in the first place? Was that council binding on all Orthodox, or just the signatories (the classic and quintessential flaw in Orthodoxy often disguised as “taking their time”)? Can the Roman bishop now call for the sacking of the next Patriarch of Jerusalem?

Makes my head spin too. :crazy_face:

A classic non-answer, as it perfectly lacks any real observable way to know when the American Church ever meets the imagined standard - I’m sure by design.

But we agree, money is a very pertinent factor in the debate.

So continues the “immigrant Church”…

Do you really think a historically Greek parish would cease all support of its mother simply because of autocephaly?


#98

It’s perfectly analogous to the Orthodox concept of “Holy Tradition”.

“Vladimir Lossky has famously described the Tradition as “the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church.” It is dynamic in application, yet unchanging in dogma. It is growing in expression, yet ever the same in essence.” (from the wiki)

The pope’s unique.

No he isn’t.

CCC 813 The Church is one because of her source: "the highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit."259 The Church is one because of her founder: for "the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity of all in one people and one body."260 The Church is one because of her “soul”: "It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church’s unity."261 Unity is of the essence of the Church:

Such as? Where is the error we created in V2?


#99

“It’s also an irrelevant discussion. It requires the submission of the will just like any other Catholic teaching. The question of “infallibility” pertains to whether it can be changed or not. We don’t really know; we’re thinking about it - which is an answer any Orthodox should accept with intimate understanding.”

My Reply: You don’t know what can be changed and what can’t? I thought it was part of “The Deposit of Faith” that a Pope can’t change?

"A reasonable Orthodox analogue is the power of the Patriarch of Constantinople outside the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Did he actually have the authority to call for the sack the Patriarch of Jerusalem 10 years ago? The most exact answer you can give is “In this case, I guess? Even though it would have been better if a synod of Jerusalem’s bishops did it instead…” That seems to be what the Russians were saying, anyway. And what exactly did it mean when he signed the Ravenna Document? So the Bishop in Rome is now “Primus” again? Was there a council that declared he wasn’t in the first place? Was that council binding on all Orthodox, or just the signatories (the classic and quintessential flaw in Orthodoxy often disguised as “taking their time”)? Can the Roman bishop now call for the sacking of the next Patriarch of Jerusalem?

Makes my head spin too. :crazy_face:

My Reply: The situation of the Jeruselem Patriarchate is a sad one. It was a situation that called for the Ecumenical Patriarch’s involvement. As you say, it could have turned out better. How does that compare to what we are talking about? The Ravenna Document is much like any other “joint statement.” Well see what happens with it.

“A classic non-answer, as it perfectly lacks any real observable way to know when the American Church ever meets the imagined standard - I’m sure by design.”

My Reply: Perhaps the answer will reveal itself in time.

"So continues the “immigrant Church”…

Do you really think a historically Greek parish would cease all support of its mother simply because of autocephaly?"

My Reply: Which makes money a side issue. A big one, but a side issue nonetheless. The truth is, that the Western churches have a very bad habit of being infected with Modernism, even Orthodoxy here is not immune. The ties to the Old World provide a strong check against such tendencies.


#100

sigh

And around and around we go. I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere here. There are Orthodox writers much more eloquent than myself who can explain things better. I don’t see any positive reason to continue this tit for tat, do you? Let people do the homework and pray about it. The answer will come to them.

I ask forgiveness for any lack of charity I may have displayed.


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