Feeling drawn towards Orthodoxy


#166

On the contrary, its referral is quite relevant. The Christian East, before and after the Schism, never held the Second Council of Orange in any high regard.

The east never even knew about it. That’s why they said nothing. It was a synod of the West. Hundreds of synods were held and most weren’t popular or know ln about apart from their regions. Only a few are well known. It’s partristic authority is proven by the authority it held amongst those it was relevant to and was known by. The west upheld it completely. And in the event the east knew about it, more importantly, the east never denied. Not once.. The way if the church is to repudiate heretical councils. Silence is to accept its decisions.

No ecumenical Council overruled nor any papal act. The west upheld it and brought it back to light to call on its authority later as you have mentioned proving its church approval.

And the fact that it only became popular during the latter half of the ninth century adds weight to any cautious approach to its teachings. The teachings of a local synod, just as those of any individual Father, are not infallible.

Lol I didn’t claim it was Infallible of itself ever. I said it was a true because it is the only church ruling on this matter and the final word. It was the tradition of the church retaught to refute an error. It’s the ordinary magisterium in our modern jargon and that is infallible.

As for the rest, I’m going to just leave the subject. I’m currently translating excerpts of St. Faustus’ work in anticipation of a blog post.

All the best with your transalation sincerely. Send me a link to the blog post.


#167

You think you are so smart and read, maybe you should go be a priest in the RCC. You need to teach them since they clearly have moved on from their views of predestination and ideas that fed Calvinism.

Straw man evidenced by common Eastern Orthodox misunderstanding and unfamiliarity with catholic theology.

And the context I was referring to was the paragraph and the part you did not bold.
"increasing that which He Himself implanted"
This shows that God begins all means of holiness and salvation. Plus a quote was mentioned earlier that clearly showed that St. John Cassion believed this same understanding of God being the initiator of faith.

No it doesn’t because you clearly show you don’t understand the quote. He said :
He Himself implanted OR which He sees to have arisen from our own efforts.

Showing that St John believed that in some instances men can make and act of good faith without grace of God. Pelagiansim 101

Im done arguing with a historian, scholar, Augustinian because this is not healthy for your spiritual state nor mine. I don’t even know why you went on this long trip to insult St. John Cassian. You worry about me thinking he is Orthodox? I doubt you care anything about me the way you write.
Lord have mercy on us.

It’s not an insult. But his theology was condemned by the church in this matter that’s a fact. In all other things a holy man. Many saints slipped into one error or another. Only Mother church is spotless.

Lord have mercy indeed.
Amen


#168

Wandile, the fact that you are writing your responses prefaced with “LOL” among other derisions you’ve displayed, particularly that of current scholarship on what Pelagius’ actual teachings were, gives a poor impression.

I’m well aware of the concept of prevenient grace and its place at the Council of Trent. Now I’d like to push you further, where and when is prevenient grace implanted?


#169

Oh and I am not aware of any explicit condemnation of semi-pelagianism or massilianism in the East. However , “semi-pelagianism” is just a name. What we need to consider is the teaching - namely, the idea that man can move toward God on his own without divine Grace. In that light, it’s has come to my attention that the Eastern Church did in fact condemn semi-Pelagiansim ,twice.

First, at the Fourth Ecum Council, then at the Synod of Trullo. The Fourth Ecum and the Synod of Trullo condemned semi-Pelagianism by their explicit acceptance of the canons of the Council of Carthage of 419.

Canon 62 of Trullo (63 in the Greek rendition)

”It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justificiation was given to us only that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our free will; as though if grace was not given, although not easily, we could even without grace fulfill the divine commandments, let him be anathema. For the Lord spake: “Without me ye can do nothing,” and not “Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.”


#170

Wandile, the fact that you are writing your responses prefaced with “LOL” among other derisions you’ve displayed, particularly that of current scholarship on what Pelagius’ actual teachings were, gives a poor impression.

I won’t use such expressions again. I apologize for the disrespect I have shown. It was not my intention at all.

I’m well aware of the concept of prevenient grace and its place at the Council of Trent. Now I’d like to push you further, where and when is prevenient grace implanted?

As per the Thomistic and Catholic position it precedes the act. So for example let’s say that you pray for grace, and in response, God grants you grace. Before you prayed, God gave you grace to say that prayer. This prevenient grace goes before any cooperation with grace by us. Any good act in which we cooperate with grace was always without exception preceded by operating grace by God acting first in a free and undeserved, unearned, gift of grace. Operating grace is also called ‘prevenient’ grace, because it occurs first.

Now let me push you. Do you say it is possible for man to make an act of good faith… that is to confess Christ as God without grace?


#171

You need to quit reading into it your preconceived ideas. It is very clear by the part that I quoted earlier that he implants a good will. Only a RCC that follows heterodox ideas of predestination would think that this does not happen for every single human being. The next part about increasing the good will based on our efforts is taught by Holy Scripture and every Saint of the Holy Church. Only someone who knows nothing of the spiritual life would see the “or” as a division between two types of people and not simply two different stages in our growth. I hope other Catholics will see your lack of wisdom and hateful views of Orthodoxy. You should probably refrain from speaking about things you know nothing about.


#172

Wandile

This is from the same conference 13, so how can you not see your reading out of context of the other quote?

Do you really believe that you are not Holy because God has not given the grace to be Holy? You don’t think your lack of effort has anything to do with it?


#173

You need to quit reading into it your preconceived ideas.

Ironically it is you who is doing this, not me.

It is very clear by the part that I quoted earlier that he implants a good will.
I never disagreed with this
But I did point out that he acknowledged in many places not just that quote that some good will arises from our own efforts without grace hence he contrasts both the good will implanted by God and that which has arisen apart from God which will later be assisted by grace in a cooperative manner.

Only a RCC that follows heterodox ideas of predestination would think that this does not happen for every single human being.

This is not even predestination and the fact that you can’t see what preveinevet grace is, is another problem in and of its own.

I think , as Catholic does, that all goodwill arises from grace implanted by God. St John however, did not and that is why his critics corrected virulently and finally the will of God triumphed at the Council of Orange which ruled on the matter.

The next part about increasing the good will based on our efforts is taught by Holy Scripture and every Saint of the Holy Church.

What you miss is not the teaching of subsequent grace. He is talking about the beginnings of good will and then the subsequent accompaniment of said good will. The issue with him is the orginins of The initial good will. He says once God sees in us Good will , which can arise through his implantation or our own effort, then God subsequently accompanies it. The first is Orthodox the latter is heterodox. All good will is implanted by God through prevenient grace.


#174

Again in another part he says

“But what good is it to have desired the blessing of health, unless God, who grants us the enjoyments of life itself, grant also vigorous and sound health? But that it may be still clearer that through the excellence of nature which is granted by the goodness of the Creator, sometimes first beginnings of a good will arise, which however cannot attain to the complete performance of what is good unless it is guided by the Lord

This is where Eastern Orthodox get confused. Here again he shows goodwill arises apart from God and then I subsequently accompanied by God through grace. But you guys get confused because St. Cassian in some places indeed states that all our actions are of Grace. But what these modern EO gloss over is the fact that the reason St. Cassian can say this is because he regards our free will itself as “of Grace.” Of course, even Pelagius could say that our free will is “of Grace” since our whole being is a creation of God, but that does not mean that our free will by itself without some “other” Grace from God is sufficient on its own to move towards God.

This other grace is what was and is at contention. The Pelagaians openly denied it. St John denies it too partly allowing for good will to arise from man himself seeing as he doesn’t see the human will corrupted and not completely fallen. That is to say that the flesh wills evil due to its fallen nature and it is precedent grave that restores the will to its rightful order allowing for th occasion if he will to chose good or evil. This is were subsequent grace comes in

Only someone who knows nothing of the spiritual life would see the “or” as a division between two types of people and not simply two different stages in our growth.

Only someone who clearly desires to read something in the text which it simply doesn’t not say will not be able to comprehend simple literary meanin of the word “or”. Or juxtaposes to options. It never means both. Nvermind that St John Cassian openly says

“arisen FROM OUR OWN EFFORTS”

I hope other Catholics will see your lack of wisdom and hateful views of Orthodoxy. You should probably refrain from speaking about things you know nothing about.

I hope other Catholics will agree with me and keep the teachings of the church on the his matter.

I don’t hate Orthodoxy at all. It’s just that you are taking something personal that ought not to be. It is an established fact St John Cassian held a middle view of St Augustine and Pelagaius and had his opinion condemned by the Church at Orange. His contemporaries also condemned his views and these included heavy weights like St. Augustine, St. Prosper, St. Fulgentius and Caesarius of Arles.

Further St John Cassians views received subsequent condemnations by Pope St Celestine, Pope St Gelasius who denounced the books of Faustus and Cassian, and finally by the Second Council of Orange which had the special approbation of Pope Boniface II.


#175

This is from the same conference 13, so how can you not see your reading out of context of the other quote?

Actually that quote is taken out of context. I explained how pelagians and St John can admit grace in things via creation. Many EO fail to see this. Even Pelagius saw it this way. That is not what is being discussed by us here. It’s is the implantation of another grace, prevenient grace that is.

St Cassian shows in many places how he sees the first act of faith, the desire of God, has to he be of our own act alone and then God accompanies it

In fact he dogmatically confesses this in thes ame 13th conference saying :

“Grace and free will certainly concur in the matter of salvation to the extent that the initial good will and pious disposition to believe, that is, the first step toward salvation, is ordinarily from man alone, and not from God, although in exceptional cases the beginning of salvation and good will comes from God, as in the vocations of St. Matthew and St. Paul.”

The Catholic Church disagrees with this.

Do you really believe that you are not Holy because God has not given the grace to be Holy? You don’t think your lack of effort has anything to do with it?

I am not holy because only God is holy. It has everything to do with my lack of effort but this shows you misunderstand again.

We are not speaking of the lack of effort towards reacting to and embracing subsequent grace. What we are speaking of is mans predisposition towards evil through his fallen nature. That is why we are not holy and without grace we would always choose evil as a nature is corrupted. We need grace to fix our fallen nature inclined to evil which is sanctifying grace received through baptism and the othe sacraments. However to even have an inclination to receive these graces another grace must be imparted to have us desire God and his salvation. That is prevenient grace. It is only with God that man can be justified. Man does not justify himself even in the smallest detail. That is pelagiansim

As the catechism eloquently teaches

“without God’s grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God’s sight”


#176

From Session 13 Ch 6:

“And therefore though in many things, indeed in everything, it can be shown that men always have need of God’s help, and that human weakness cannot accomplish anything that has to do with salvation by itself alone, i.e., without the aid of God, yet in nothing is this more clearly shown than in the acquisition and preservation of chastity.”

and from Ch 7:

“For if He wills not that one of His little ones should perish, how can we imagine without grievous blasphemy that He does not generally will all men, but only some instead of all to be saved? Those then who perish, perish against His will”

Sounds exactly like St. John Cassian, the man you seem to like to insult.

The difference you keep talking about shows the heresy of the west, that thankfully has been corrected by recent Popes like Benedict xvi, and John Paul II, who appreciated the Eastern Fathers very much. You think that the graces in which God creates a man do not count in this prevenient grace, while the Holy Scripture and Fathers of the Church clearly teach there is no point in separating the two. That God would create a sinful being (without any good) would mean that He is responsible for our sin. You should probably reread ch 11 and 12 in the conference, because I think you misquoted the Saint and clearly did not see what he was referring to. The graces that a Christian receives are of course greater and more beneficial than those that a pagan receives, but to deny that the pagan is created without a conscience that guides him in the right paths of Good is to contradict the Scripture.


#177

Oh no no no no no

St John Cassian is not speaking about the first act when he speaks of the God accompanying us. That is a misunderstanding. When he says we cannot accomplish anything. He does not consider the act of willing the first act of salvation but rather the step before it. Everything subsequent to this first act (which he explicitly says is done without God) is done with Gods grace. Or in his words regarding the first act :

“that is, the first step toward salvation, is ordinarily from MAN ALONE, AND NOT FROM GOD

That is his theology. You need to read the thirteenth conference in its entirety Pacloc. This is the very issue Orange and his contemporaries had with St Johns writings.

The Church has always seen as the initial act of wanting faith as part of salvation and not the final step before it. That is why prevenient grace is a necessity because all that pertains to salvation is done by the grace of God. Hence even the first act to desire God is done by his grace. This St John said was done by Man alone.

Secondly the Catholic Church hasn’t changed it’s teaching at all on this matter. The catechism of the Catholic Church blatantly affirms prevenient grace. The popes cannot and have not changed it as it was defined infallibly by the council of Trent and the catechism of the Catholic Church ,compiled during the reign of Pope St John Paul II under the supervision and approved of by the then Prefect of the Congregation of the doctrine of faith Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Later Pope Benedict XVI),
explicitly taught prevenient grace and sourced all its teaching on grace , free will and salvation from the council of Trent, St augustine and St Thomas Aquinas.


#178

You seemed to have missed the point of my previous post. He clearly teaches that when God creates us, each one of us, he gives us this prevenient grace that draws us to holiness. That is why I quoted from Ch7 and mentioned Ch11 and 12 which clearly discuss what he means about being created good. You seem to think when St. John Cassian says that it is us that take the fist step toward salvation, that he is not including the way in which we are created. You would make the holy man contradict his own statements. You have to conclude what he means is that with this grace that each and every man has, some choose to take steps toward God while others do not. This choice cannot be God because that would make him guilty of why some do and some do not take steps toward salvation. This is the beginnings of heterodox predestination. Obviously the only reason one can take steps toward salvation, is because he has received the grace from God, but the person that does not take the steps toward salvation have received the same grace from God. The difference is purely the man that rejects that grace.


#179

You seemed to have missed the point of my previous post. He clearly teaches that when God creates us, each one of us, he gives us this prevenient grace that draws us to holiness.

No this clearly shows your ignorance on this matter. Saint John and his supporters in Marseille criticised and virulently disagreed with Saint Augustine and St Prosper on the necessity of prevenient grace for all men. That is the very reason why he says Men in most cases make the act of faith on their own without God but some men, from the beginning had Gods input to make the act of faith like The apostles :

” initial good will and pious disposition to believe, that is, the first step toward salvation, is ordinarily from man alone, and not from God, although in exceptional cases the beginning of salvation and good will comes from God, as in the vocations of St. Matthew and St. Paul.”

It is impossible to reconcile The statement of without God and everything being done by God because if prevenient grace is acknowledged by him at all times in all men he could never say the act wanting God could be done without God under any circumstance. That is a contradiction of epic proportions. St John does not contradict himself but it is rather your misunderstanding of him that leads to this. And just sing by what you are saying it is clear you have fallen into the same mistake many Eastern Orthodox fall into when dealing with his writings.

I will reiterate that EO get confused because St. Cassian in some places indeed states that all our actions are of Grace. But what these modern EO gloss over is the fact that the reason St. Cassian can say this is because he regards our free will itself as “of Grace.” Of course, even Pelagius could say that our free will is “of Grace” since our whole being is a creation of God, but that does not mean that our free will by itself without some “other” Grace from God is sufficient on its own to move towards God.

Finally for the very reasons I listed above St Augustine, St Proper, St Caesarius of Arles and St Fulgentius all had an issue with him and he and his supporters disagreed with them that they were wrong, not that they had misunderstood him. Further it is the reason why St John Cassians views received subsequent condemnations by Pope St Celestine and why Pope St Gelasius denounced the books of Faustus and Cassian.

Lastly it’s is the reason why the Council of Orange was convened to reiterate the necessity of prevenient grace against the Masellians (the sect who followed St Johns teaching) who denied its necessity in all men and who’s popularity was growing.


#180

You are very foolish in continuing to argue about this when you clearly know that St. John Cassian states that all of our actions are of Grace. This includes our free will. The idea that condemned Pelagius is that man’s being itself is good enough to enter into Heaven. St. Cassian makes it very clear that the sin of Adam affects us and that we are in need of salvation. The point that St. Cassian makes is that while we are fallen, God continues to give us grace even from the point of creation. And to battle against the heresy that it seems that you are partial to, he makes it clear that the difference between those that respond to the grace that is implanted in us in creation and given continually throughout our life in proportion to our effort, and those that reject it, is completely Man’s doing, not some predestination. The part about Matthew and Paul, that I still think you are misquoting by the way (could you please provide a link to the translation you are using), is to explain that in God’s foreknowledge, He can give vocations to man to further His Kingdom in a manner that normally would be a slower progression. The Holy Virgin Mary is an example of this of course, by seeing how God in His foreknowledge knowing of her future holiness, guided her and protected her from any trace of sin, in mind or deed.


#181

I also was clear that I don’t know much or care to know much about St. Augustine’s views of original sin and predestination. So if there is some strange idea that God must actively give grace the very moment before we will to do good, and that there are some people that God does not give this grace to and it is the very reason why they do not do good, you should be clear that this is his teaching. It seems like this is what you are almost saying without ever explaining it clearly. This of course is what Thomas Aquinas taught. I have read some of his writings and was made sick at his warped views of this matter. If you claim that the Catholic Church still teaches this, all I can say is that I am glad to be Home and away from such terrible heresy.


#182

Wow pacloc you completely misunderstand St John Cassian and what I’m getting at.

I’m not, nor has the church, accused him of pelagiansim but rather semi-pelagiansim. Can you define what semi-pelagiansim/Masselianism is?


#183

The church teaches what I’m saying not St Augustine alone. The fathers like St Ceasereus of Arsles, St Fulgentius or Ruspe, St Propsper, the fathers of Orange , Pope St Gelaisus and Pope St Celestine

The teachings of these men codified by the church at Orange have never been disputed but always upheld. Till this day not even the EO have disputed this council

Btw I’m using two sources for the thirteenth conference. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/350813.htm

And

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf211.iv.v.iv.viii.html


#184

Here is a concise definition of Semi-pelagaisnism for those who are interested :

The Semi-Pelagian doctrine taught by John Cassian (d. 440) admits that divine grace (assistance) is necessary to enable a sinner to return unto God and live, yet holds that, from the nature of the human will, man may first spontaneously, of himself, desire and attempt to choose and obey God. They deny the necessity of prevenient but admit the necessity of cooperative grace and conceive regeneration as the product of this cooperative grace." A.A. Hodge

B.B. Warfield :
“But Pelagianism did not so die as not to leave a legacy behind it. “Remainders of Pelagianism” soon showed themselves in Southern Gaul, where a body of monastic leaders attempted to find a middle ground on which they could stand, by allowing the Augustineian doctrine of assisting grace, but retaining the Pelagian conception of our self-determination to good. We first hear of them in 428, through letters from two laymen, Prosper and Hilary, to Augustine, as men who accepted original sin and the necessity of grace, but asserted that men began their turning to God, and God helped their beginning. They taught that all men are sinners, and that they derive their sin from Adam; that they can by no means save themselves, but need God’s assisting grace; and that this grace is gratuitous in the sense that men cannot really deserve it, and yet that it is not irresistible, nor given always without the occasion of its gift having been determined by men’s attitude towards God; so that, though not given on account of the merits of men, it is given according to those merits, actual or foreseen. The leader of this new movement was John Cassian, a pupil of Chrysostom (to whom he attributed all that was good in his life and will), and the fountain-head of Gallic monasticism; and its chief champion at a somewhat later day was Faustus of Rhegium (Riez).”

Simply put St John Cassian taught that though a sickness is inherited through Adam’s sin, human free will has not been corrupted properly. Divine grace is indispensable for salvation, but it does not necessarily need to precede a free human choice, because, despite the weakness of human volition, the will takes the initiative toward God. In other words, divine grace and human free will must work together in salvation


#185

I don’t think I misunderstand Him, seeing as the Church sees his writings as necessary for a solid understanding of the Christian Faith. I misspoke earlier when I said that I have not read much of his writings, because I was thinking of His major works, which I have not read thoroughly. I have read quite a bit of his words in the Evergetinos, which uses his writings extensively. The Evergetinos is one of the sets of writings that all Saints that have died in the last few hundred years recommend to read if you are to understand how to live as a Christian.

I don’t think that St. John Cassian is any more semi-Pelagian than any other of the Greek Fathers of the Church, so I must conclude that either all are not semi-Pelagian or that they all are. I’ll stick with the fact that they are not, while you can stick with the opposite.


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