I wish the Greek Orthodox would reunite with us

  1. I was editing my post at the same time you quoted me. Please review the revised edition.

  2. There are areas where Catholicism (indeed Christianity in general) has faded dramatically; however, saying that Catholicism is no longer a thriving force in those regions does not diminish the fact that at one time, Catholicism had made disciples of those nations…a fulfillment of the Great Commission which Orthodoxy has never achieved.

  3. The REASON I quoted the article concerning the Greek Orthodox Church in America becoming moribund was because of the implicit acknowledgment of the very real geographic and ethnic boundaries of Orthodoxy’s reach which supports my belief that Orthodoxy cannot be the one true church (as is claimed by its adherents) precisely because it is constrained by those features of its membership.

  4. I’m sorry that you feel I am a poor witness for Catholicism. I am simply stating (dispassionately, btw) the obvious reasons why those who believe the Pope is not the visible head of the universal Church on earth established by Jesus are in error and need to return to full communion with Rome. What is your personal opinion concerning the role of the Pope in Jesus’ Church, Jharek?

I’m off to bed a chara. I’ll leave you to confirm your biases.

Well said. There was sin on both sides. Denying our share of it only serves to prolong the misery of separation.

Jesus said that we must be “one” so that the world will believe that He was sent by the Father (John 17:21). I truly believe that the present secularism in the world and the rise of Islam is the fault of us, the Christian faithful who are too proud to set aside our differences and unite against evil and its twin, apathy. Because of us, the world does not believe.

We will have to answer for all of the souls who might have been saved…

BTW, the guy who owns the little convenience store down the block is a Coptic Christian from Egypt - a very sweet man. We have several times commiserated together about the dreadful separation that blinds the world to the Gospel and reflected on how the world would be changed if 2/3 of all the Christians in the world (Catholics and Orthodox) would unite. We agree, he and I, that we could save the world and even stem the tide of Islam.

What is wrong with us that we cannot accomplish this one thing?

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)

So does it not stand to reason that the Orthodox in America have similar experience with Western Christianity in general? It is only natural for less well-read parishioners to ask what differs between Orthodoxy and say Lutheranism or what differs between Latin Christianity and Orthodoxy, and it falls to the priests to have answers readily available. In Greece or Russia, discussions over differences in doctrine are more of an academic luxury, whereas in America, they are a matter of pastoral necessity. It has nothing to do with “little brother syndrome” or any such drivel and everything to do with pastoral need.

Frankly, this has not been my experience. American Roman Catholics love to talk about Protestantism and her errors, often to excess. Just look at this very discussion forum. So if some Orthodox Christians are themselves guilty of this, is it really so tenable for you to assert that Orthodox Christians live constantly feeling the weight of Latin Christianity “EVERY DAY” or some such similarly ridiculous assertion? In fact, Latin Christianity has very little weight upon us, because one need only attend our liturgies, hear the scriptures, listen to our liturgical texts, and hear patristic homilies (none of which mention Latin Christianity, aside from mentions in the synaxaria of Orthodox Christians martyred by Latins) in order to acquire the phronema of the Church. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that there is no true theology without liturgy and no theoria without right worship; lex orandi, lex credendi holds in Orthodoxy as a general principle. One need only be taught how we differ from other forms of Christianity in order to reduce the risk of being led astray by them.

Still taking this untenable course, I see. People have been predicting that Orthodoxy would go “moribund” in the states for generations, but they have heretofore not been correct. In fact, the Antiochians have achieved rather good rates of growth over the last few decades.

Not necessarily in an entirely negative fashion. The growth of Evangelicalism often signals a rise in religious sentiment in general.

That is certainly not the impression I’ve gotten of the Charismatic movement. Many of my friends who received degrees in either theology or philosophy from a local Catholic university do not have positive opinions of the Charismatic movement, believing that some of its tenets are at odds with Catholic teaching. I certainly find the emphasis on attempting to revive gifts of the Spirit which the New Testament said would cease in the future (like tongues) to be quite troubling.

No, because while Catholics are in the minority in some places, the Catholic Church is not at risk of becoming “moribund” in the US any time soon. Now, if you wish to argue about the experience of post-Christian Europe or some other part of the world, we can do so, but to what advantage? Has Orthodoxy exploded and displaced Catholicism in Britain? In North Africa? No, my Christian brother, in those areas where you might seek to highlight the twilight of Catholicism, the danger for us both is the rise of militant Islam and Atheism. And that is a different kettle of fish.

Frankly, this has not been my experience. American Roman Catholics love to talk about Protestantism and her errors, often to excess. Just look at this very discussion forum. So if some Orthodox Christians are themselves guilty of this, is it really so tenable for you to assert that Orthodox Christians live constantly feeling the weight of Latin Christianity “EVERY DAY” or some such similarly ridiculous assertion? In fact, Latin Christianity has very little weight upon us, because one need only attend our liturgies, hear the scriptures, listen to our liturgical texts, and hear patristic homilies (none of which mention Latin Christianity, aside from mentions in the synaxaria of Orthodox Christians martyred by Latins) in order to acquire the phronema of the Church. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that there is no true theology without liturgy and no theoria without right worship; lex orandi, lex credendi holds in Orthodoxy as a general principle. One need only be taught how we differ from other forms of Christianity in order to reduce the risk of being led astray by them.

Well, of course in this forum. It’s an apologetics forum designed for such discussions. However, I don’t think you’ll find many articles on official Catholic websites comparing and contrasting our current situation with Orthodoxy. The fact that Orthodoxy feels compelled to make such comparisons makes my case.

Still taking this untenable course, I see. People have been predicting that Orthodoxy would go “moribund” in the states for generations, but they have heretofore not been correct. In fact, the Antiochians have achieved rather good rates of growth over the last few decades.

Maybe so. Still, it *was *an official website sounding the alarm…odd, dontcha think?

Not necessarily in an entirely negative fashion. The growth of Evangelicalism often signals a rise in religious sentiment in general.

And in an increasingly hostile world, we Christians should be grateful for any growth in faith, yes? But my point was that sheep are being stolen from both our flocks by “bible” Christians.

That is certainly not the impression I’ve gotten of the Charismatic movement. Many of my friends who received degrees in either theology or philosophy from a local Catholic university do not have positive opinions of the Charismatic movement, believing that some of its tenets are at odds with Catholic teaching. I certainly find the emphasis on attempting to revive gifts of the Spirit which the New Testament said would cease in the future (like tongues) to be quite troubling.

I was a member of one of the nation’s largest Catholic Charismatic communities for 15 years. I think you are in error here, but let’s not get side-tracked on this. :slight_smile:

What should we make of places like Georgia and Russia, where Latin Christianity never made any inroads? What about the Russian mission to the Aleuts, a people that the Latins did not evangelize?

Now you are simply being inconsistent, and you are definitely not interpreting the article correctly. Firstly, the article noted that the tendency was for interfaith marriages to cause issues with attrition. But as you yourself admitted, this is also true of Roman Catholicism. I quote:

The article does not focus on inter-ethnicity marriages (as you mistakenly seem to interpret it) because ethnicity is not a constraint upon membership in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. One need not be Greek to be a parishioner or clergyman within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

So what? Those people are too brown to matter.

If I may I would hasten to add that (without accepting relativism) we really need to get away from the zero-sum-game anything-goes-war mentality that we have had in the past and cooperate more with each other.

Except that this “risk” is largely hyperbole. People have said that for generations.

Secularization is a sad reality of this age. This is why I am glad that many traditional Orthodox societies are rejecting this trend. I can only hope that Greece, Romania, and other similar nations can escape from the orbit of the EU before the EU manages to poison them with secularism.

What about the Baltimore Catechism No. 3, or the Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism (also known as the Baltimore Catechism No. 4)? Have these ceased to be Roman Catholic documents simply because it has become unfashionable to post them on websites?

For example, here are some terse statements concerning Protestants:Q. 571. How do you show that Protestant Churches have not the marks of
the true Church?
A. Protestant Churches have not the marks of the true Church, because:

(1) They are not one either in government or faith; for they have no chief head, and they profess different beliefs; (2) They are not holy, because their doctrines are founded on error and lead to evil consequences; (3) They are not catholic or universal in time, place or doctrine. They have not existed in all ages nor in all places, and their doctrines do not suit all classes; (4) They are not apostolic, for they were not established for hundreds of years after the Apostles, and they do not teach the doctrines of the Apostles.

Baltimore Catechism No. 3, 12

Here, then, is how Luther got many to follow him. He told greedy princes that if they came with him they could become rich by seizing the property of all the churches, and the greedy princes, glad of an excuse, went with him. Then he told the people—the bad Catholics—that fasting was too severe; going to confession too hard; hearing Mass every Sunday too difficult; and if they renounced their faith and embraced his new religion he would do away with all these things: so they also followed him.

Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism 12, Q132

Those attending the Protestant churches in our times are generally rich and refined people, but you must not think that the first Protestants of three hundred years ago were just like them. No. Many of them were from the lowest and worst—I do not say poorest—classes in society…

Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism 12, Q132

Not really, no. It is a guest writer, whose article was posted on a department of the archdiocese, one that probably runs with very little oversight. The author, as I said, is extrapolating. It is true that there are many Greeks in America who have apostatized, but there are many things which led to this, especially the pressure to assimilate into the predominantly Protestant culture of America (a conversion to Protestantism in America could bring much in terms of material benefits considering the discrimination Greeks faced just 60 years ago, just as a conversion to Islam could do the same under the Ottomans). This is also why the Greek Orthodox in America have done weird things in the past, like introducing four part choir music replete with choirs dressed in choir robes (like any Western Christian parish in the 1930s might have had) into their worship, which is traditionally all chanted, as it still is in Greece and the Levant (thankfully, this trend is reversing).

Another pressure which likely led to this present situation is that there was an enormous influx of Greek immigration in the 1920s which was promptly curtailed by the American Government in the 30s. The Greeks in America were essentially stranded in a foreign land, without a stable connection to their homeland and sometimes rather irregular ministrations outside of large urban areas (by the way, much of this would apply to the Syrians and Russians who immigrated to America in the early 20th century as well).

Today, these social pressures are not quite so grave. Greeks are not subject to discrimination any longer, and hence there are few material or social benefits to be had for abandoning the Orthodox faith. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is also now better equipped to minister to Orthodox Christians across the US (and if not the GOA, others such as the Antiochians or ROCOR are likely to be present), and the Greeks today, owing to increasing wealth and new immigration from Greece, have a better connection to their Orthodox homeland. The biggest pressures now would be the increasing secularization of our society (a force which is causing a widespread battle against attrition for all of Christianity in the US), and interfaith marriage (a force, which as the article recognizes, is also a source of attrition for the Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike). But we have no real way of predicting how these forces will play out. Indeed, some also worried about the future of the Antiochian Archdiocese decades ago, but now the Antiochians are doing very well for themselves.

That kind of makes my point, does it not, that there is a need for us to speak of why Orthodox Christianity is different from heterodoxy, even to do so in an official capacity. It is not having a “little brother syndrome” or “feeling the weight of” heterodoxy every day to do so. It is simply a pastoral necessity to educate the flock, and to tell them that we are not all the same religion, and that they cannot freely go outside of the Orthodox Church to receive the ministrations of heterodox ministers.

I seem to recall a certain road…paved with good intentions. :wink:

I think the challenge for the Orthodox in America is one of jurisdiction. I think the confusion started with immigration, and the natural tendency for national / linguistic affiliation which was the same for Catholics.

The difference as things developed I think is that the centrality of Rome enabled one Bishop to be installed over a whole metropolitan area, where the decentralized nature of EO has resulted in a plethora of overlapping jurisdictions.

I am just gleaning this from listening to Ancient Faith radio so perhaps my Orthodox brethren will correct me if I have misunderstood?

Initially the Russian church was the first to come evangelize and set up a hierarchy. There were priests of other nationalities to minister to non-Russian immigrant communities but they ultimately rolled up to the single Russian hierarchy. When communism took over Russia, the head of the Russian church decreed that if for political reasons communication with the Russian church became difficult or impossible, a temporary hierarchy should be set up for however long it was needed. Different groups received independent hierarchies from different mother churches and the situation remains to this day.

More info: orthodoxinfo.com/general/amer_jur.aspx

Yes, having a supreme, centralized hierarchy such as the Pope/Curia would indeed help straighten things out quickly, but it could also introduce problems in other areas.

You haven’t misunderstood. The good news is the issue of multiple jurisdictions is being addressed at the upcoming council. They will soon be a thing of the past.

We should understand that while Catholicism has accomplished much, there is still work to be done. And that Catholics might have evangelized those regions even more if not for the opposition from the Russian Orthodox Church which would obviously be threatened and by the presence of the Communist Party in the Soviet Empire.

Finally, I have never claimed that the Catholic Church HAS successfully completed the task of making disciples of all nations. Surely there are some tribes in the Amazon that we have not discovered yet, for example. Does their existence prove that Catholicism is not the one, true Church? :nope:

But clearly, Catholicism has accomplished far more than any other Christian community thus far. There is a divinely ordained reason for that…namely, that HE is the builder of the Church founded upon Peter, the rock.

Now you are simply being inconsistent, and you are definitely not interpreting the article correctly. Firstly, the article noted that the tendency was for interfaith marriages to cause issues with attrition. But as you yourself admitted, this is also true of Roman Catholicism. I quote:

The article does not focus on inter-ethnicity marriages (as you mistakenly seem to interpret it) because ethnicity is not a constraint upon membership in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. One need not be Greek to be a parishioner or clergyman within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

Yes, I am aware that non-Greeks may become Greek Orthodox. I am also aware of the anecdotal reports that non-Greeks who have visited Greek parishes have not found them to be very welcoming of non-Greeks whom they tend to regard with some suspicion. To be fair, these reports may be isolated incidents and must be viewed with some caution, but as you know from reading these threads, the complaint is a common one.

Now, perhaps I missed this if you addressed the issue previously, but could you please give me your opinion as to WHY the article suggests that the Greek Orthodox Church in America is in danger of disappearing in the very near future? :shrug:

[UPDATE: You may have answered this in post #225. Please advise.]

Thanks.

Are these comparisons of Catholicism with Protestantism? Or simply explanations of why Protestantism is in error?

If you know that everyone around you has the flu, you would be wise to take precautions to avoid getting sick yourself. A little bit of knowledge regarding Protestantism and Orthodoxy is a wonderful prophylactic.

Indeed and such knowledge regarding Orthodoxy has been singularly lacking at times in this thread and the substitute of arrogance and assumptions has been present.

I don’t remember which thread I asked this question of you, but I have not seen your reply, so I ask again: Is it your opinion that the Bishop of Rome, as the successor of Peter, is the vicarious shepherd of the visible, universal Church on Earth?

Yes or no?

Why or why not?

Thanks.

I don’t answer questions posed in that format because you are using the old wife beater logicall fallacy. Nor do I see the relevance of the question.

I’m just trying to understand where you’re coming from…nothing more.

You’re Irish Catholic, I believe? Am I right?

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