Now, after some reading, I find it easy to recognise why Catholic teaching is correct and Protestant is not. Matters get much more intricate, however, when it comes to Orthodox teaching. How do we defend Catholic doctrines, such as Filioque or Petrine Primacy? Preferably in a simple and straightforward way.
I know these are all Wikipedia, but I think they do a good job.
One thing that I always find interesting is why did God allow the Catholic Faith to spread all over the world and have over 1 billion people? The Patriarch of Constantinople was originally charged with over site of the unchurched lands, but it was the Latin Church who sent missions to the Americas, to Africa, to Asia, etc… I also find it interesting that one of the EO’s issue with us is that our theologians are scholarly men, while they rely on mystics only.
I also find it interesting that most of the EO’s issues with us are viewed as different expressions of the same truth or semantical/translational differences. For example, what we call purgatory (which is really a state not a place) and the reason the Orthodox pray for the dead. Their theology sounds exactly like purgatory to me. They simply say the sinners are in a part of Hell (Abraham’s Bosom) and then go to Heaven once enough souls have prayed for them. Catholics don’t imply that Purgatory is specifically a different place, but rather more of a state. We don’t know for sure if Purgatory is the exact same thing as Abraham’s Bosom or not, but we acknowledge it could be.
We are convinced from our own study that the Eastern and Western theological traditions have been in substantial agreement, since the patristic period, on a number of fundamental affirmations about the Holy Trinity that bear on the Filioque debate:
*]both traditions clearly affirm that the Holy Spirit is a distinct hypostasis or person within the divine Mystery, equal in status to the Father and the Son, and is not simply a creature or a way of talking about God’s action in creatures;
*]although the Creed of 381 does not state it explicitly, both traditions confess the Holy Spirit to be God, of the same divine substance (homoousios) as Father and Son;
*]both traditions also clearly affirm that the Father is the primordial source (arch‘) and ultimate cause (aitia) of the divine being, and thus of all God’s operations: the “spring” from which both Son and Spirit flow, the “root” of their being and fruitfulness, the “sun” from which their existence and their activity radiates; ]both traditions affirm that the three hypostases or persons in God are constituted in their hypostatic existence and distinguished from one another solely by their relationships of origin, and not by any other characteristics or activities;
*]accordingly, both traditions affirm that all the operations of God - the activities by which God summons created reality into being, and forms that reality, for its well-being, into a unified and ordered cosmos centered on the human creature, who is made in God’s image – are the common work of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, even though each of them plays a distinctive role within those operations that is determined by their relationships to one another.
Nevertheless, the Eastern and Western traditions of reflection on the Mystery of God have clearly developed categories and conceptions that differ in substantial ways from one another. These differences cannot simply be explained away, or be made to seem equivalent by facile argument. We might summarize our differences as follows:
The Substantive Issues: one theological, in the strict sense, and one ecclesiological.
As to the Petrine Primacy: The Orthodox do recognize the primacy of Peter. Not the immediate supreme and universal jurisdiction. We finally expanded on this on Pope Gregory VII: Dictatus Papae ~1090
Among other things:
*]That the Roman pontiff alone can with right be called universal.
*]That he alone can depose or reinstate bishops.
*]That, in a council his legate, even if a lower grade, is above all bishops, and can pass sentence of deposition against them.
*]That he himself may be judged by no one.
I am yet to find support for this position in the consensus of the Early Church.
The separation of Catholic and Orthodox is one of Tradition and Doctrinal Development. In that the East and the West each developed differently through time. As much as some posters want to say that one left the other. That is not the case. There are also political and ecclesiastical matters besides the theological ones. There are compelling arguments from both sides.
The separation of Catholic and Protestant is one of Distrust. In that Protestants left the Catholic Church because of distrust to the Church leadership at the time. It is, at its root, an act of dissension.
Well, I have no time to investigate beliefs of all 30 000 Protestant denominations, nor do I think it would be particularly profitable for my faith. My conclusion came from reading the Bible, CCC, these forums and meditation on the subject. I do not want to elaborate on this off-topic point, so I am just saying that I find the sola scriptura doctrine, which is to my way of thinking common to all Protestants, rather unconvincing and erroneous.
Also, thank you all for your replies. These are very informative.
I recall, not too long after I graduated from college, back in the nineties, thinking pretty much what you just said. (If there were some kind of brain-transfusion procedure available I could probably save you a lot of trouble.:D)
You seem to be overlooking the whole issue of the Turkic-Arabic Muslim empires there. The Orthodox Church within Islamic states operated much like the original Christian Church under pagan Rome. When western Europe discovered the Americas, it was the colonising states, especially Spain and Portugal, who carried their version of the religion there, while the Ottoman Turks were hardly going to sponsor an Orthodox ship crossing the Atlantic.
… I also find it interesting that one of the EO’s issue with us is that our theologians are scholarly men, while they rely on mystics only.
While the Orthodox do have a traditional dislike of western scholastic definition of details, this does rather sound like a disregard for the scholarly skills of Orthodox theologians, a misconception which could be very easily corrected by reading the Philokalia.
I also find it interesting that most of the EO’s issues with us are viewed as different expressions of the same truth or semantical/translational differences. For example, what we call purgatory (which is really a state not a place) and the reason the Orthodox pray for the dead.
IIRC, belief in Purgatory is not forbidden among the Orthodox: it is just not defined doctrine.
As for other things, the difference produced by translation can be dramatic (q.v. Ancestral Sin versus Original Sin).
Interesting since Rome supposedly had universal jurisdiction why was Constantinople given jurisdiction over the barbarian lands? Of course the reason the EO didn’t evangelize the New World is because all of the Ancient Patriarchates were under Muslim domination during the Age of Exploration. Orthodox then had a very different cross to bear.
No on to the numbers game. There are 2.08 billion Muslims world wide. Perhaps they are the one’s who have God’s favor and not you?
The problem with purgatory is the definition that it is pain and punishment. Of course we believe in an intermediate state, we just don’t accept the idea of purgatorial fire. Although in the grand scheme of things this is an issue that could be worked out very easily.
I wished people would stop using this ‘bowing before big numbers’ (to quote the early science fiction writer Olaf Stapledon) attempt to prove Catholicism true. It’s cringeworthy and easily disproved. Also it should be pointed out for those contending the Orthodox did not send missionaries out look again history carefully and you will find that whenever they could they most certainly did.
Mark 4:30-32 New International Version (NIV)
30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes** the largest of all garden plants**, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
You’ve rather cherry picked haven’t you by isolating the ‘largest of all garden plants’ part but ignoring the following line which sets a wider context. Also quote mining is something I inherently dislike when it comes to the scriptures.
30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
So, what have I missed in the next line? :shrug:
As for “quote mining”, there is nothing inherently wrong with quoting scripture accurately and in context as I have done here. Perhaps what you dislike is simply being proven wrong.
As you have not done that nor succeeded in your interactions with other members of our Church or members of the Orthodox Church who oppose the ludicrous premise that something is true because a large number of people believe I raise a wry eyebrow and say, ‘fascinating’ In return.