The Papal Claims


#138

Dear brother Milliardo,

I can see where you are coming from since I used to be outside of the Catholic Communion. On that side of the Tiber, I thought the Pope could do anything he wants, whenever he wants, wherever he wants, as he pleases. Thus, any perceived lessening of such an excessive position (and excessively misunderstood, I might add) would seem like a victory for Orthodoxy. After reading commentaries from the Fathers of the Vatican Council themselves, though, I finally dispensed myself of such misconceptions about the papacy and came into Catholic communion (though certainly not for that reason alone).

Initially, I thought your post was triumphalistic, but then I realized that Orthodox really do have a different understanding of the papacy than the Catholic Church itself has. I think that is sad (for it perpetuates the disunity). I believe what will happen eventually is that the Orthodox will dispel their MISconceptions about the papacy, and that will lead to reunion. But if the Orthodox interpret the hoped-for common understanding as Rome changing its position (instead of the Orthodox finally accepting the papacy for what it ACTUALLY is, and not their own misconception of it), then I say let them have their day.

Blessings,
Marduk


#139

OOPS! I think that sounded triumphalistic.:o Sorry! I meant to say, “that is OK with me.”


#140

Well, coming from the opposite direction (former Catholic and now Orthodox), I never had that notion, then or now. I understand the limitations of the bishop of Rome–that it does not necessarily mean he can do whatever he wants, etc. IMO I don’t think this is also the view of Orthodoxy as well, in that it does not see that the Pope can do whatever he wants. Reactionaries within the Orthodox Church seem to have that view, which is not necessarily the view of Orthodoxy as a whole.

But if the Orthodox interpret the hoped-for common understanding as Rome changing its position (instead of the Orthodox finally accepting the papacy for what it ACTUALLY is, and not their own misconception of it), then I say let them have their day.

Reading Ravenna, and rereading it (to make sure I understand what the commission is actually saying), it seems to be heading more towards the view of Orthodoxy than it does the Catholic Church. The tone of the various points (especially at the juncture on the Universal Church) shows a very favourable view for Orthodoxy, but leaves quite sizable questions on the role of the bishop of Rome, which it states it will address in coming meetings.


#141

May I please have a link to the Ravenna document? Thanks.

BTW, I’m glad you don’t have that common misconception of the papacy.:tiphat: We’ve had to deal with polemicists here who always make that assumption. I am looking forward to having an intelligent conversation with you ---- but it wil have to wait till this weekend, for I have much to do in the real world (and I have an obligation to another member to find some information he requested - which will take some time).

Blessings,
Marduk


#142

Johhnykins posted the link to the Ravenna document on the thread I linked to: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=221510&page=8 Top of page 8. I quoted him there and from his quote is the link to the Ravenna document.


#143

Dear brother Milliardo,

Thank you for the link, and forgive me for my blindness (I read your link earlier but did not notice the extra link in it). From my reading of it, I do not see anything that is particularly leaning towards Orthodoxy. What I see instead is mutual understanding.

A lot of people here often say “what do the Catholics have to give up?” or “what do the Orthodox have to give up?” But what if the solution is not about giving up anything? I have NEVER read it suggested (except by me, and one or two others, to be honest) that the solution can be simply one of mutual UNDERSTANDING.

I am interested to know, what do you see in the document as leading towards Orthodoxy (as noted, my perception of the document is one of understanding, not leaning towards one position or another)?

One thing I always bring up in discussions of this nature is the Vatican DOGMATIC statement that it is the responsibility of the Pope to uphold the ordinary and immediate authority of his brother bishops. Numerous fears are always expressed that the dogmatic text on the primacy gives the Pope absolute authority. But neither the non-Catholic polemicists nor the uber-ultra montanist Catholic polemicists who make the same claim have ever answered me when I ask them, “how is it possible for the Pope to fulfill his DIVINE RESPONSIBILITY of upholding and defending the ordinary and immediate authority of his brother bishops if you claim that he can exercise his prerogatives anytime, anywhere, and anyhow he chooses without heeding his brother bishops?” Obviously, an interpretation of Vatican I that makes the Pope an absolute ruler, or even a ruler outside the context of collegiatity, is simply out of the question for the orthodox Catholic. I know most other Catholics here share my point of view (as evidenced in the old “Papal Prerogatives” thread/poll). And I know that the Fathers of the first Vatican Council also share my point of view, judging from their commentaries on the prerogatives of the Pope.

As I stated, I believe the solution is not a partial giving up of each others’ respective ecclesiologies, but a MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING of each others’ ecclesiologies.

Anyway, I look forward to an intelligent conversation with you. I may be able to respond one or two more times before my offline responsibilites kick in.

Blessings,
Marduk


Who just needs greater understanding?
Why is the Eastern Orthodox Church false?
JAMES LIKOUDIS apologetics
#144

I think the commission’s work is not merely towards a mutual understanding, or else the talk of unity would then simply be nothing more than rhetoric. The questions it left (proposition 45) hints at further talks, though the questions raised do not seem to indicate as well any hint of simply arriving at some mutual understanding. Its emphasis on Counciliarity also hints on a lean towards the Orthodox stance; this emphasis could not be neglected nor relegated to non-relevance as this forms a sizable part of the document.

I am interested to know, what do you see in the document as leading towards Orthodoxy (as noted, my perception of the document is one of understanding, not leaning towards one position or another)?

I have outlined it above.


#145

If the Pope has the authority to make definitive doctrinal judgments, then those judgments must be infallible. That is, if the Church is bound to follow one pastor, then that one pastor must be led by the Holy Spirit (In fact, even the separated eastren Churches do not cling to any definitive proclamations that were done in communion with Rome and with the approval of the bishop of Rome). As St. Francis de Sales explained:

But he cannot err when he is *in cathedra *, that is, when he intends to make an instruction and decree for the guidance of the whole Church, when he means to confirm his brethren as supreme pastor, and to conduct them into the pastures of the faith. For then it is not so much man who determines, resolves, and defines as it is the Blessed Holy Spirit by man, which Spirit, according to the promise made by Our Lord to the Apostles, teaches all truth to the Church, and, as the Greek says and the Church seems to understand in a collect of Pentecost, conducts and directs his Church into all truth: *But when that Spirit of truth shall come, he will teach you all truth *or, will lead you into all truth (John xvi. 13). And how does the Holy Spirit lead the Church except by the ministry and office of preachers and pastors? But if the pastors have pastors they must also follow them, as all must follow him who is the supreme pastor, by whose ministry Our God wills to lead not only the lambs and little sheep, but the sheep and mothers of lambs; that is, not the people only but also the other pastors: he succeeds S. Peter, who received this charge: Feed my sheep. Thus it is that God leads his Church into the pastures of his Holy Word, and in the exposition of this he who seeks the truth under other leading loses it. The Holy Spirit is the leader of the Church, he leads it by its pastor, he therefore who follows not the pastor follows not the Holy Spirit.

But the great Cardinal of Toledo remarks most appositely on this place that it is not said *he shall carry the Church into all truth, *but he shall lead; to show that though the Holy Spirit enlightens the Church, he wills at the same that she should use the diligence which is required for keeping the true way, as the Apostles did, who, having to give an answer to an important question, debated, comparing the Holy Scriptures together; and when they had diligently done this they concluded by the: It hath seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us; that is, the Holy Spirit has enlightened us and we have walked, he has guided us and we have followed him, up to this truth. The ordinary means must be employed to discover the truth, and yet in this must be acknowledged the drawing and presence of the Holy Spirit. Thus is the Christian flock led,-by the Holy Spirit but under the charge and guidance of its Pastor, who however does not walk at hazard, but according to necessity convokes the other pastors, either partially or universally, carefully regards the track of his predecessors, considers the *Urim *and *Thummim *of the Word of God, enters before his God by his prayers and invocations, and, having thus diligently sought out the true way, boldly puts himself on his voyage and courageously sets sail. Happy the man who follows him and puts himself under the discipline of his crook! Happy the man who embarks in his boat, for he shall feed on truth, and shall arrive at the port of holy doctrine !

Thus he never gives a general command to the whole Church in necessary things except with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, who, as he is not wanting in necessary things even to second causes, because he has established them, will not be more wanting to Christianity in what is necessary for its life and perfection. And how would the Church be one and holy, as the Scriptures and .Creeds describe her? -for if she followed a pastor, and the pastor erred, how would she be holy; if she followed him not, how would she be one? And what confusion would be seen in Christendom, while the one party should consider a law good the others bad, and while the sheep, instead of feeding and fattening in the pasture of Scripture and the Holy Word, should occupy themselves in controlling the decision of their superior?


#146

Dear brother Milliardo

Did the official agreement in Christology between the Oriental Orthodox and Catholic Churches come about by “giving something up” or by “mutual understanding?” It certainly was not the former, and the fruits of it was certainly not merely rhetoric. Correct? So mutual understanding is indeed a palpable goal.

[quote=]The questions it left (proposition 45) hints at further talks, though the questions raised do not seem to indicate as well any hint of simply arriving at some mutual understanding.
[/quote]

Yes, further talks can lead to further understanding. I don’t see anything that automatically implies “giving something up.”

What are these other indications you speak of?

[quote=]Its emphasis on Counciliarity also hints on a lean towards the Orthodox stance; this emphasis could not be neglected nor relegated to non-relevance as this forms a sizable part of the document.
[/quote]

Actually, concilarity IS the normative practice in the Catholic Church. (Even St. Francis DeSales in his apology for the papacy given be brother Genesis315 above states that for the Apostles to gather together and discuss important matters is the ordinary way to go about such things). So I don’t see how this is particularly “Orthodox.” Please explain why you think it is, I think admission that the Pope being the head bishop of the Ecumenical Council as stated in proposition 42 tends towards a more Catholic paradigm, especially in light of the several EO polemicists who have stated here in the past that a head bishop does not even exist or need to exist! But I am not claiming that this is particularly a Catholic understanding - only that there are elements within the EO that deny it.

There IS a special circumstance that exists in the Catholic Church that does not seem to be recognized by the EOC - namely, the concept of collegiality. In short, Catholics believe official teaching or dogma can be determined by the college of bishops even outside the FORMAL body of a Council. Certainly, Apostolic Canon 34 does not dictate that the relationship of the head bishop to his brother bishops exists only within the context of a Council. According to the Canon, the head bishop is head bishop at all times.

But perhaps the EOC DO recognize this. I am sure this is one of those things that will be clarified in future talks.

Blessings,
Marduk


#147

I think that if mutual understanding is the only goal, then the status quo is more than enough now. Mutual understanding is a palpable goal; however, the objective is not to merely stop there.

Actually, concilarity IS the normative practice in the Catholic Church.

This would be more Orthodox since the role of the bishop of Rome is taken up collectively by the Patriarchs there, and they decide collegially, acting in such a way that they are in equal standing. This is not how it has come to be in the West, wherein there is no other counterpart for the Pope when defining faith and morals. There we can see the difference with the growth of the Church in the East and West.

I think admission that the Pope being the head bishop of the Ecumenical Council as stated in proposition 42 tends towards a more Catholic paradigm

Reading Proposition 42, it shows us what role the bishop of Rome has. It notes that the Pope did not convene nor presided the ancient Councils–already there bing head bishop of the said Councils would be questionable. It does note that he is active in their decision making; but so do the other Patriarchs and bishops, acting collegially, not individually. So there the Proposition again leans more towards an Orthodox understanding of how the Church is.


#148

Actually, JJR1453, I think there’s a big flaw in your argument. Yes, the Orthodox do not at this time claim to have held any Ecumenical Councils since 787. But consider …

As of the beginning of the 15th century, Catholics did not claim to have held any Ecumenical Councils since the 9th century – that’s about five-and-a-half “empty” centuries.

But in the 16th century, some Catholics (I want to say it was St. Robert Bellarmine specifically?) proposed that there had been several Ecumenical Councils in those 5 “empty” centuries after all, and these proposed Councils were soon added to the standard list.

Clearly, you’re argument breaks down on this point. I mean, how can you possibly know that there won’t come a time when Orthodox say “You know, there were some Ecumenical Councils during the second millennium, after all”? (Actually, some Orthodox have already proposed some possible candidates, such as the the Blachernae Council (1285).)


#149

WOW IT LOOKS LIKE YOU KNOW ALOT. SAY CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE SCHISM OF 867 SOME ORTHODOX SAID THAT POPE NICHOLAS STARTED THE SCHISM BECAUSE HE DIDNT WANT PHOTIUS AS PATRIARCH? I ALWAYS TOUGHT IT WAS PHOTIUS THAT STARTED TH SCHISM ANYWAY HOPE YOU COULD HELP ME OUT


#150

Dear brother Ivan,

I would love to answer your question, but the topic does not belong in this thread. If you would like to start another thread, I or others wou’d be happy to discuss it there with you.

Blessings,
Marduk


#151

WOULD YOU PREFER IF I SENT YOU A MESSAGE?


#152

Whichever way you are comfortable with. Consider that your topic is interesting and relevant to this forum, so do we really want to keep it private? At the same time, you should also consider if you would be interested to discuss a potentially hot-button issue in public. Weigh the pros and cons. Either way, I would not be able to respond until next week, so if you want a response right away, it should be done in the public forum where other knowledgeable posters can contribute…

In any case, if you want to pursue the topic in the public forum, please do so in a new thread.

Blessings,
Marduk


#153

I could not agree more. Others, such as Mardukm, are gifted with far more knowledge ( and praise be to God for their knowledge), than I am, but I also believe his statement to be true.

This is not really theology , but reflection, as I see this in a very similar way to marriage, especially my own. When my wife and I are in disagreement, we have always found, 100% of the time, that the way to reconcile to each other has been to actively listen to the other, and to try to understand the other person. We then communicate what we are hearing, to see if it is what is being said.

And every time we come to a common understanding where we know the other’s thoughts and feelings, we have always been able to get past that argument / disagreement and we fall in love all over again. It isn’t about one side winning, or one side having to give in. It is about loving the other enough to listen and understand.

And I suspect that Church is just like a marriage. When the Churches listen and communicate, they will “fall in love” again and realize that we are One and that we have One bridegroom who waits for us to be together again, reunion will occur.
(and my wild hunch is that this will happen in all of the Apostolic Churches just before the second coming).

Just my humble little theological reflection on the matter.


#154

Dan-Man and Mardukm,

What you’re saying sounds really good. But the difficult part then becomes figuring out which churches make the list and which ones don’t. In other words, if we say What we need is not to give up our respective eccesiologies, but rather to mutually understand each other better, then who is the “we” in that statement? Is it only the [Roman] Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches? Or does it also include others like the PNCC, the Assyrian Church of the East, and Continuing Anglican groups?


#155

Given that the ACE are in (limited) communion with the Maronite Catholics, that alone is a major step towards unity: acknowledgement of cross-validity and the freedom of the faithful to participate on either side of the now narrowed divide.

The TAC has requested Sui Iuris admission. We’ll have to wait and see how that pans out.

The EO and the OO need time, understanding, and a whole lot of learning, on both sides.

And the EC’s need to be allowed to continue or rejoin their separated brethren when the reunification comes, as each church chooses.


#156

Dear brother Peter,

I believe it is natural to include in the group those who have a claim to the Apostolic Succession in terms of hierarchical ecclesiology, because it is only in that context that our ecclesiological agreement can bear fruit.

Discussing the matter with those who do not believe in Apostolic Succession and the inherent ecclesiological structure that is handed down within it would be fruitless.

But those within the Apostolic Succession (in ALL its meaning -not just an apostolic succession of doctrine as the Lutherans other Protestants believe), have a real basis for agreement in the area.

Blessings,
Marduk


#157

Dear brother Milliardo,

If communion comes about through mutual understanding, why does it need to go further?

[quote=]This would be more Orthodox since the role of the bishop of Rome is taken up collectively by the Patriarchs there, and they decide collegially, acting in such a way that they are in equal standing. This is not how it has come to be in the West, wherein there is no other counterpart for the Pope when defining faith and morals. There we can see the difference with the growth of the Church in the East and West.
[/quote]

How can it be “more Orthodox” if it is ALREADY NORMATIVE in the Catholic Church. And everything the Pope does, even ex cathedra pronouncements, are formed collegially with the input of his brother bishops. Catholicism lives and breathes collegiality. Orthodox just need to be made more aware of it. I would call the collegial reality within Catholicism simply patristic, not “more Orthodox,” But like I said, if you feel a need to make it seem like the Catholic Church is becoming “more Orthodox” in order for you to accept the agreement, then that is fine by me.

[quote=]Reading Proposition 42, it shows us what role the bishop of Rome has. It notes that the Pope did not convene nor presided the ancient Councils–already there bing head bishop of the said Councils would be questionable.
[/quote]

Ummm…Did you miss the part about the bishop of Rome being the protos of the Patriarchs?:confused: That’s the head bishop, brother. BTW, it does not say the Pope did not preside over the ancient Councils. It says that he did not preside over them PERSONALLY. But the fact is, the Pope DID preside through legates over at least three (IIRC) of the Ecumenical Councils. and even though he never convened them personally, he was instrumental in having at least four of them called by the Emperor. I’m sure the Commission was careful in choosing their words, not denying the true history of the Church in the process.

[quote=]It does note that he is active in their decision making; but so do the other Patriarchs and bishops, acting collegially, not individually. So there the Proposition again leans more towards an Orthodox understanding of how the Church is.
[/quote]

Once, again, this is already normative in the Catholic Church, and it has never changed. The General Councils of the Catholic Church - even after the Great Schism - have ALWAYS worked that way. so I don’t see it as being peculiarly “more Orthodox.” But if you feel the need to view it that way, that’s OK too.

Blessings,
Marduk


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