Saturday, April 25, 2015

Catholicism vs. Anglicanism

And I'm not really talking about modern controversies, though they have their part in this debate. A recently ordained Continuing Realignment clergyman but a conservative Christian brother I've known online for years (I think his background is free-church evangelical; he's not an ex-Episcopalian) wrote yesterday on Facebook he had to "unfriend" someone, something to do with a churlish comment by this person, who happens to be Eastern Orthodox (both this deacon and I passed through Orthodoxy at some point; sometimes for conservative Western Christians things seem like "any port in a storm"; I'd bet you a couple of rubles the jerk's a convert), laughing at Rick Warren's son committing suicide. Horrible, as any decent person will agree.

Actually the proximate cause of the FB dumping: he deleted a perfectly irenic comment of mine saying that we'll have to continue to agree to disagree re: his contempt for the English Reformation.

Some commentary from an observer:
As much as the Orthodox insist that Western Christians worship a wrathful God, some of them seem to be making up for the wrath they believe God is lacking...
The deacon:
Just so it's clear, it's not my intent to indict the Orthodox Church because of the bad behavior of some of her sons. But her theology of human volition, which accounts for her traditional view of the suicide, looms large among the reasons I departed from that church to return to a theological tradition that manifests a sound Pauline and Augustinian anthropology.
So the deacon's blaming traditional Christianity (which here happens to be Orthodoxy) for the rudeness.

Another observer: I do notice EOs do get defensive of Pelagius. Somebody else noticed! They try so hard to deny they're really Catholic that they end up Pelagian about original sin and Lutheran about the Eucharist. Probably a complete surprise to real folk Orthodox lighting candles to their favorite saints, just like folk Western Catholics. (Orthodox liturgy in its pure form is medieval Catholic: the service is sung for hours while the people walk and or/tune in and out as they please.)

Off I go, not meaning to get into a Catholic/Protestant slugfest but that's what it became:

I hate the "Reformation" too but as far as I know am not a troll. As Fr. Anthony Chadwick has wonderfully explained, there's a difference between negative comments and troll comments. A troll has an "I know what you did last summer and I'm going to destroy you" tone. I publish negative comments on my blog but as soon as I detect the troll tone, all your comments will be deleted unread.
After Orange II, theological controversy in the Western church lurched back and forth between its modified Augustinianism and the Pelagianizing bent (and sometimes outright Pelagianism). The Reformation in large part represents the triumph of the Augustinian school, which unfortunately led to schism and fragmentation. Just prior to the Reformation and in response to what some scholars call "Neo-Pelagianism", Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Bradwardine forcefully opposed the movement in his De causa Dei contra Pelagium et de virtute causarum. The English Reformation, though not influenced directly by Bradwardine, nonetheless carried his torch. It's what Articles IX, X and XVII are all about.
Well-meant but wrong. There is only one church and that church has always defended God, Christ, the Trinity, the hypostatic union, the Mother of God, bishops, the Mass, and the option of using images. Anything that breaks with those and with the church, no matter how well meant, is wrong. We Catholics who know history feel for Martin Luther; as I like to say, if I'm as Christ-centered as the Missouri Synod, I'm doing it right. But still.
Forgive me, John, but talk to the hand.
(I underestimated this fellow's hostility to the church.)

That I'm not a Protestant isn't exactly news.

(Even when I was just a born Episcopalian, I didn't want to be a Protestant!)
My brother John Beeler is a member of the One-nest and Truest of the Two One True Churches. ;)
(Pretty close to what I believe.) Actually there are at least four one true churches! (Four ancient apostolic "Catholic" churches.) Us, the Orthodox, the Monophysites (old-school), and the Nestorians (old-school). As William Tighe explains, every ancient church claims that. Five one true churches counting the confessional Lutherans. Seven counting the Churches of Christ and the Pentecostals.
John, as that Melkite bishop said, "we're all schismatics now." ;)
That Melkite bishop was talking nonsense ( = no church). (The "Orthodox in communion with Rome" who teach and counsel online should be excommunicated. They are a plague, in but not of the church.)

Do you agree with Fr. Jonathan Mitchican's (an Episcopal priest) take on classic Anglicanism? He says they claimed to be the true church in the sense of being the best of the ancient churches thanks to being "reformed" (Protestant) too. Sort of like the confessional Lutherans. To such Anglicans, we're a church with real bishops but in grave error.
Yes, I track with Fr. Jonathan. John, since you're a pretty trad RC, tell us: is there any forgiveness for the one who commits suicide?
Regarding suicide, with any mortal sin there are three criteria: grave matter (which suicide is), sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will. The church says oftentimes suicides are mentally ill so the second and third criteria aren't met. So the short answer is yes.
And how long, pray tell, has the Church of Rome been giving this answer?
I think I see where you're trying to go and am not buying. The church has always defended the essentials I listed. The Orthodox are wrong because they disown us despite both of us holding those same essentials; they're basically a group of tribal/nationalist cults. I respect Fr. Jonathan too even though of course I don't agree with him.

Being blunt, the difference between you and the Episcopal Church is one of degree, not kind. They are a logical conclusion of the English "Reformation."
Where I'm trying to "go" is to elicit your answer on when the Church of Rome changed its mind on the subject. Any answer on when the Roman Catholic Church liberalized its teaching on suicide?
I'm not taking the bait, Deacon. If I did, I might as well believe in women priests and gay weddings. Anyway, where do you get off attacking the Catholic Church because some Eastern Orthodox mocked a Protestant who committed suicide?
Anglicanism is a valid branch of the Two One True Churches, but we also make certain accommodations for Protestant churches with a different ecclesiology. Rome — always shifting, but happily in the right direction — now says that these communions are outside her canonical boundaries and therefore not in the "church" but can be called "ecclesial communities." They don't bother to explain that "ecclesia" means "church."

Well, John, you're the one who jumped in here wielding the flaming sword of the One-nest and Truest of the Two One True Churches. What did you expect me to do? Any word on when the Church of Rome liberalized its teaching on suicide?
I don't like the gobbledygook euphemism "ecclesial community" but its real meaning is fine: "group of Christians sort of like a church but not a church." A church has bishops we recognize so it has the Mass: the Orthodox, for example.

Anyway, I think a common misunderstanding is that the church, in not having funerals for suicides, is giving them a ticket to hell. That's not what that or excommunication means. Nobody in the church is denying that suicide is "grave matter." We can't and don't pronounce on who is in hell or going there.
"Anyway, I think a common misunderstanding is that the church, in not having funerals for suicides, is giving them a ticket to hell." That's exactly what it meant at one point in history. Right?

You may not like the word "ecclesial community", but that is the term now employed by your Magisterium. So, unless you're ready to go SSPX or something, you're stuck with it.
Very funny. You claim we're untrustworthy because we allegedly renege on our teachings, but the real Anglicans now have women priests and gay weddings. From claiming the Pope claims too much power to wielding a power the Pope never dared to. The only other option is Orthodoxy, which both of us tried and found wanting.
John, are you going to answer the question?
Fine. The Romanists are a bunch of untrustworthy wops. I'm going to be received back into the Episcopal Church tomorrow, by a lesbian priest. Happy?

I'm not going to say what you want to hear, that the Catholic Church changes its teachings so the only option is Anglicanism as envisioned by its framers. I grew up Episcopal; as far as I know, you didn't. I've been to the Catholic martyrs' shrines in England. I'm glad you're a brother conservative Christian but I still say no to Anglicanism.
I'm simply asking you to answer the question of when Rome liberalized its view on suicide.
Not taking the bait. The church has always taught that suicide is grave matter. Some churchmen may have thought all suicides go to hell, like Fr. Leonard Feeney thought all non-Catholics do, but that's not doctrine. Like limbo's not doctrine. Thanks; play again. Seriously, I didn't come here to bash conservative Anglicanism so I'd appreciate it if you'd lay off the Catholic-bashing.
John, I submit the reason you're not "taking the bait" (i.e., not answering a question though you've been asked several times to do so), is because you and I both know what the answer is. Feeney and his fellow ultra-trads are simply taking the old view, which Rome has happily liberalized. But indeed it used to teach that all suicides go to hell. Do you disagree?
I think you're confusing grave matter with mortal sin. The Pope CAN'T teach that suicide isn't grave matter any more than he could approve women priests, abortion, or gay marriage. Turning Fr. Feeney, for example, into a strawman for the whole Catholic Church is something I'd expect from an Episcopalian arguing for gay marriage. I'm as horrified that some Eastern Orthodox mocked Rick Warren's son as you are, so why attack me or Catholicism on this?
Sigh. I'm not attacking you or the Catholic Church. I am happy that on this issue the Church of Rome has moved to a more liberal position that is in accordance with both what we know about mental illness and its historic Augustinianism. I just want you to admit that this is in fact what happened; the church changed its mind. The Orthodox Church lags far behind, though there does seem to be some movement by some clerics and theologians in the right direction. The guy I unfriended is a representative of Orthodoxy's traditional view.
OK, now I think I understand you. We agree about suicide and mental illness. Great! No need for you to use Catholicism as a punching bag. You think I'm bad about Anglicanism? I have a Catholic friend online who, though never an Anglican, is angrier at them than I was (and I have an excuse: women's ordination and the rest felt like sucker punches 35+ years ago). He literally writes "Fakedy fake fake!" every time I mention the Anglicans.

"I just want you to admit that this is in fact what happened; the church changed its mind." That's the Episcopal line.
I think I've done about all I can do here.
An observer:
Pastor Rick is a terrific servant of God. I attended Saddleback for 8 months when I lived in Cali. My experience with one of my Episcopal colleagues in Cali was to criticize Warren inspite of the huge difference he is making. Ironically, this priest had a dying church and was hardy making a difference at all except in the area of polarizing people.
Yep. The mainline, even when it's pretty in a high-church way, is going down the drain while evangelicalism's doing pretty well.

The Episcopal Church has become sort of the Edsel of denominations. It's as if a marketing team had surveys and focus groups to come up with a church to please as many people as possible ("Catholic... but cool and open-minded too!"), but it flopped.

I think I understand liberal high church's appeal. It's just that it's obviously not from God (the church fathers and the councils wouldn't recognize its fallible, fungible church) and besides it doesn't appeal to many anyway.

Interestingly I understand that while many/most lay Episcopalians, in that WASPiest of the WASPs denominations (it's English!), identify as Protestants of course, most Episcopal priests now don't, which doesn't mean they're would-be Catholics like I was; rather, they equate "Protestant" with evangelicals like Rick Warren, whom they look down on as ignorant and dangerous.

Also, the more liberal and "diverse" the Episcopalians try to be, the richer and whiter they get. Blue-collar folk who want to follow Jesus aren't comfortable with them.

Almost everything I liked about the Episcopal Church was at one point illegal in it.

Update: Continuum: At first, American Anglo-Catholics saying yes to the Catholic faith (as they saw it) and thus no to the Sixties. Realignment: Credally orthodox but Episcopalianism before Teh Gay. Slightly less liberal Protestantism; the Episcopal Church 20 years ago. They have women priests. Globally, most conservative Anglicanism is low-church, classically Protestant, not would-be Catholic.

46 comments:

  1. "The Orthodox are wrong because they disown us despite both of us holding those same essentials; they're basically a group of tribal/nationalist cults."

    Orthodoxy condemns Catholicism because she disagrees with doctrines, which Rome treats as essential dogmas (e.g. Immaculate Conception and Papal infallibility), but Orthodoxy does not see reflected in the ancient Church. In short, it is Rome's addition of dogmas (or "essentials"), which has led to the Orthodox condemning her, not a stubborn refusal to see that she shares essential dogmas with Rome.

    Also, the charge that Orthodoxy is a collection of tribal cults has little currency in a world where Orthodoxy is the only Church remaining, which has any meaningful fasting disciplines, preserves an universally celebrated ancient Liturgy, retains the canonical discipline of the ancient Church, and maintains the ancient boundaries of the Church (e.g. no sacraments for non-members of the Church and no technical permission to pray with heretics).

    The millennium of changes in Western Christianity has given new life and meaning to "Orthodoxy," transforming it from being viewed as an esoteric collection of geographic churches to being the last bastion of ancient, patristic Christianity. This fact has caused many well-meaning non-Orthodox people to reassess the identity of Orthodoxy and to wonder if the Orthodox Church is more than a tribal cult, after all. In fact, given the apostasy and innovation of so much of Western Christianity, this reassessment is essential and inevitable for every serious Christian.

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    1. Eastern Orthodoxy makes no sense on divorce and remarriage ("sometimes adultery is OK"?!) and has sold out on contraception. The church remains what she has always been.

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    2. "Orthodoxy is the only Church remaining, which has any meaningful fasting disciplines, preserves an universally celebrated ancient Liturgy, retains the canonical discipline of the ancient Church, and maintains the ancient boundaries of the Church (e.g. no sacraments for non-members of the Church and no technical permission to pray with heretics)."

      Nope, the very same thing is true of the Oriental Orthodox (miaphysite anti-Chalcedonians); as also is this (at least as regards the Armenian OOs):

      "... and has sold out on contraception."

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    3. William, I was about to make the same comment. Also, selling out on contraception pales in comparison to the Ecumenical Patriarch's open support of abortion rights.

      One also needs to ask, what about Palamism, can that be found in the ancient Church and councils? I think not. So even in Byzantium there is a development of doctrine as well.

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    4. “One also needs to ask, what about Palamism, can that be found in the ancient Church and councils? I think not.”

      If the distinction between the essence and energies of God is not to be found in the ancient Church, patristic teaching on the deification by grace of the Christian would be an ancient variant on Mormonism’s vision of deification (“exaltation”), which makes one a partaker of the essence of God, co-equal heirs of God the Father. If Christians may be deified, they are deified through partaking of the divine nature (cf: 2 Peter 1:4) in such a manner that they cannot penetrate the essence of God (thus the “essence” vs. “energies” distinction). If you deny this, how do you consequently accept the ancient Christian (and Orthodox) doctrine of deification, while avoiding falling into the error of Mormonism’s erroneous conception of deification by way of attaining co-equality with God?

      “So even in Byzantium there is a development of doctrine as well.”

      Why would you want to be a purveyor of the “development of doctrine,” which is a euphemistic term for rabid theological innovation, which reduces the Church from the “pillar and ground of the truth” (a Church cannot be practically grounded in and defend truths, which she has yet to discern from the Deposit of Faith) to a student, dependent upon the newest insights of ecclesial scholars, and increasingly unable to demand allegiance to a Faith in perpetual explication?

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    5. Why would you want to be a purveyor of the “development of doctrine,” which is a euphemistic term for rabid theological innovation

      So much ignorance and bigotry. So little time.

      Don;t y'all get tired of repeating the same falsehoods over and over and over again? Or do you figure that, by asserting them repeatedly, you will convince someone that they're true?

      Assertion is not proof. It is not even evidence.

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    6. Not many do, just a spike in the stats about 20 years ago, but why would somebody not born into one of those empires and/or ethnicities bother to buy their crap? (You don't need to for the great liturgy: go to the Melkites or the Russian Catholics, for example.) A look across the Web is telling: some people with emotional problems do.

      (Less pointed: "Catholicism minus the Pope," the same appeal Anglicanism used to have for Protestants slowly discovering the church. I understand but of course disagree.)

      Many/most don't stick around, though. Like Gerard Bugge they get tired of the anti-Westernism. A few born Protestants pass through, figure it out, and become Catholic. A reader of this blog recently did after just over a decade in Orthodoxy.

      Ethnodox: Face it. You're Catholic.

      Ex-Catholics: In your hearts you know the church is right. Come home.

      Ex-Protestant Orthodox: We heard you the first time you preached this anti-Catholic stuff. It's no more true now, even though you now have the Mass. (I don't read their boards or blogs anymore.)

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    7. "If the distinction between the essence and energies of God is not to be found in the ancient Church, patristic teaching on the deification by grace of the Christian would be an ancient variant on Mormonism’s vision of deification (“exaltation”), which makes one a partaker of the essence of God, co-equal heirs of God the Father. If Christians may be deified, they are deified through partaking of the divine nature (cf: 2 Peter 1:4) in such a manner that they cannot penetrate the essence of God (thus the “essence” vs. “energies” distinction). If you deny this, how do you consequently accept the ancient Christian (and Orthodox) doctrine of deification, while avoiding falling into the error of Mormonism’s erroneous conception of deification by way of attaining co-equality with God?"

      What a bunch of drivel. The question was, and is, where can this be found in any of the ecumenical councils or the early Church? It can't.

      One should also mention that none of the Oriental Orthodox have embraced this modern doctrine. Period.

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    8. "What a bunch of drivel. The question was, and is, where can this be found in any of the ecumenical councils or the early Church? It can't."

      You're dodging and weaving, Dale. Present a viable interpretation of Christian deification that contradicts the Palamite distinctions without violating either the patristic understanding of deification or falling into Mormonism's "exaltation" heresy or admit that your theory regarding the late development of the Palamite distinctions is faulty.* If you are correct, the ancient Church did not believe in the distinction between the energies and the essence of God. If this is correct, there is no viable way that this same ancient Church could hold to an orthodox teaching of Christian deification.

      *Of course, nobody denies that the language of "energies" vs. "essence" is a development and will be reflected in neither the ecumenical councils, early Fathers, or among the Oriental Orthodox. The focus is on the historic Christian nature of the teaching, not the language used to express this teaching.

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    9. Well, at least you are finally willing to admit that the Byzantines have had dogmatic change and continue to do so and are not the ancient Church or even the church of the seven councils...since Palamism cannot be found in either. And to think taht not too long ago you were declaring that the Oriental Orthodox, who also know nothing of this novel and modern doctrine, were the same as the Byzantines.

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    10. The development of new language to express ancient truths (such as the Holy Trinity, the nature of Christ, or the nature of God) is not a dogmatic change, and because it is not, it has no bearing on Orthodoxy's claim to be the ancient Church.

      I mentioned the development of dogmatic language not because I am willing to admit a new truth (which is not possible for those who profess the ancient Christian faith), but to clarify what the Orthodox position has always been regarding truth and the nature of dogmatic and/or generally developed doctrinal definitions. Orthodoxy does not interpret the development of dogmatic language as the "development of doctrine," since expressing the same Faith in clearer language is not the same as transforming unknown or debated opinions into dogmatic teachings. For this reason, it is thoroughly nonsensical to argue that the addition of clarifying language is equivalent to an alteration in doctrine since no change of belief occurs through such linguistic development.

      Finally, dogmatic change entails the development of truths, which were unknown in the ancient Church. This does not and cannot apply to the belief in the distinction between the energies and essence of God, which was an integral part of the Church's understanding of Christian deification from her origin.

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    11. Simply point out where this doctrine is to be found in the Councils...that is all I am asking for; not this pseudo-scholastic song-and-dance.

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    12. "Simply point out where this doctrine is to be found in the Councils...that is all I am asking for; not this pseudo-scholastic song-and-dance."

      There is a strange misunderstanding of the nature of ecumenical councils here.

      Dale, an ecumenical council is a reactive, not a proactive, organ of church teaching. In other words, ecumenical councils normally address only the doctrinal issues that are under attack at the time of their convening and do not provide an exhaustive account of Church teaching. One can no more find explicit teaching on the nature of Christian deification (in which a distinction of the essence/energy distinction would be located) in the ecumenical councils than one can find detailed discussions of justification in the same. Again, ecumenical councils primarily treat particular doctrines, which need defense, not provide a comprehensive summary of Church teaching.

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  2. Sadly, the Copts seem even more accepting of the use of contraception than the Eastern Orthodox:

    http://www.suscopts.org/q&a/index.php?qid=1128&catid=567

    http://www.suscopts.org/q&a/index.php?qid=1355&catid=567

    Anthony

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  3. I agree that Bishop Elias Zoghby of the Melkite Church who made that comment about us being all schismatics is completely wrong. The Catholic Church is the One True Church that Christ founded 2000 years ago. You're right, if we are all schismatics we wouldn't have any Church to look to as being true. People quote that line thinking it is cool, when it is really just ridiculous

    Anthony

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  4. "Eastern Orthodoxy makes no sense on divorce and remarriage ('sometimes adultery is OK'?!) and has sold out on contraception. The church remains what she has always been."

    There is something fundamentally flawed in the ecclesial consciousness of the Western Church, which enables Roman Catholics to ignore the massive contraction of the ancient Faith in the Western Church, and to focus only on divorce and remarriage and the use of artificial contraception. As a member of a Church that claims apostolic succession and essential continuity with the ancient Church, you have commitments, which, while including marital and sexual ethics, also encompass canonical, liturgical, sacramental, ecclesial, and general ancient Christian commitments, as well. Neither Catholics nor Orthodox can skirt their commitments to the ancient Faith on any of these issues if they wish to be taken seriously in their claim to be a faithful continuation of the Church of the first millennium, with all the effects that this claim carries with it.

    The Western Church has systematically abandoned and changed almost all of the ancient Church's external form and has developed dogmas that were once highly debated opinions in one section of the Church. It is worth considering that during his or her lifetime, the faithful Roman Catholic may never be exposed to the writings or importance of the Holy Fathers, believe that most of the Old Testament and its venerable prophets and saints were myths, never worship in an ancient Christian form, approve of their non-Catholic neighbors receiving Holy Communion in some circumstances, believe that the Apocalypse is non-literal and are thus ill-prepared for end-times deception, and finally submit their bodies to burning in cremation upon death - all with complete papal approval (Eastern Catholicism is not a viable alternative to this innovation since it is duty-bound to approve of these innovations by virtue of its union with the Latin Church – this union makes these innovations equally viable alternatives to the Eastern practices). This experience, which is that of the faithful mainstream of the Western Church and is only a small snapshot of the changes in Catholicism, is a sad testimony that, no, the Western Church has not remained what she has always been, much to the spiritual hunger and need of her children. One must look to Holy Orthodoxy to fill the hunger caused by the above innovations with the fullness of ancient Christianity.

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    1. Nonsense.

      We didn't cave on contraception. The Christian East has: just like Protestants.

      We have the second oldest anaphora in Christendom still in use. Beating us both: the Nestorians.

      You are in a sect, albeit one with bishops and the Mass, not the church.

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    2. "We didn't cave on contraception. The Christian East has: just like Protestants."

      General consensus establishes faith and morals in Protestantism. This is not possible in Orthodoxy, where general consensus stands or falls in relation to its conformity to Holy Tradition. The only possible way to doctrinally bind the Orthodox Church is through a change in her doctrinal or canonical legislation. This has not happened, and will never happen, regarding the use of artificial contraception. Officially, the teaching of the Orthodox Church is unaltered on this issue just as the teaching of Catholicism is unaltered on this teaching. While perfect fidelity to this teaching in both Churches is lacking, neither Church has compromised the ancient Faith on this point due to the innovation of individual and collective members of either Church, since both Orthodoxy and Catholicism determine truth in a manner different from the general consensus of Protestantism.

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    3. John, time to re-post the interesting photos from Greece, with a bishop celebrating in front of the ikonostasis and facing the people.

      And once again, the Ecumenical Patriarch has already supported a "woman's right to choose an abortion" and that it is not the business of the church to interfere. But he does mention that Orthodoxy (meaning Byzantium) is "generally" pro-life. Whatever that means.

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    4. "John, time to re-post the interesting photos from Greece, with a bishop celebrating in front of the ikonostasis and facing the people."

      You should be aware that celebrating the divine services "facing the people" is in violation of the Orthodox discipline of always celebrating while facing geographic east. Unlike in the Western Church, where no such stipulations have been in place since at least the 16th century, Orthodox clerics are not free to innovate in their liturgical posture based on new cultural sensibilities.

      While there are always going to be certain exceptions, which result in an occasional celebration that does not face geographic east, any normative celebration "facing the people" (or due to Orthodox architecture - "facing west") would be a gross violation of Orthodox discipline.

      If such abuse regularly occurs, I am not aware of it. And if it has occurred or is occurring, you know from where it has derived.

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    5. Here's a link to an article (and photograph) of that liturgy to which reference is made above:

      http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/06/the-divine-liturgy-of-serapion.html

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    6. Thanks William, it would appear that our Byzantine friend is unaware of much that happens in his denomination.

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    7. "If such abuse regularly occurs, I am not aware of it. And if it has occurred or is occurring, you know from where it has derived. "

      I dunno, the Byzantine Orthodox, for some very strange reason, have been very, very supportive of the novus ordo in the Roman Catholic Church because it has a few Byzantine bits and pieces added. Dean Hallam, Antiochian Dean of Great Britain, has publicly stated that if there is to be a western rite in the Byzantine Orthodox Church it should not be the ancient Roman liturgy, but the novus ordo.

      When the Episcopalians produced their horrible 1979 BCP von Schmemann and von Meyenndorf both praised it as superior to the 1928 BCP. So yes, we do know where so much of this tripe has come from.

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    8. Dale,

      It is surprising that you do not see the difference between liturgical modernization as an official church policy and occasional individual lapses into liturgical modernist ideas. The former turns liturgical modernization into a banner and becomes a missionary for its application throughout Christianity and undoubtedly gives rise to the latter in Churches outside of her fold.

      For example, the 1979 Book of Common Prayer was inspired by the Novus Ordo (note the presence of different Eucharistic Rites and Contemporary versions of the Collects in the '79 BCP) and the adoption of the multi-year lectionary throughout Protestantism was developed on the heels of the new lectionary in Catholicism. These evidences of change (which are a small snapshot of a legion of changes) prove that that there is a clear, substantial difference between the official Roman Catholic purveyors of liturgical modernization, and the unofficial Orthodox Christians who have been individually convinced to follow its principles. The first leads to the loss of all liturgical tradition in Christianity, the second is a brief anomaly, which was no success in altering the official, ancient tradition of Holy Orthodoxy.

      Finally, it is not new knowledge that there have been liturgical liberals in Orthodoxy. We know from Holy Scripture that there will be wheat mixed with tares until the return of Christ. Orthodox Christians only affirm that the Orthodox Church has preserved its liturgical tradition and, by doing so, has strengthened its claim to be the Church of the Holy Fathers. The more pressing question is - why has Orthodoxy been able to preserve the ancient liturgical tradition, while the Western Church has been unable to do so? Why has a "tribe" or "ethnic empire," in schism from the Church been able to still convey to modern man the fullness of Christian liturgical worship, while the repository of the truth has conformed her worship to the world? Is this not an inconsistency?

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  5. Regarding contraception, the Orthodox Church has not violated the patristic and ancient Church’s condemnation of the use of birth control in either her dogmas, doctrine, worship, or canonical discipline. The neglect of this traditional ban by individual or collective bodies of Orthodox Christians has no power to bind the Orthodox Church to this moral deviation, any more than the neglect of this ban by individual or collective bodies of Roman Catholics has the power to bind the Roman Catholic Church.

    You should also be aware that there are Orthodox Christians who continue to oppose the moral deviation of contraception (ref. Fr. Josiah Trenham’s book, “Marriage and Virginity According to St. John Chrysostom” and the book, “Orthodox Christian Parenting,” being but two recently published texts, which maintain the traditional Orthodox stance on the use of contraception).

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    1. From what I've seen, the Orthodox who try to have a moral theology like the church's, saying no to contraception, end up in cults that not only reject us but reject other Orthodox.

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    2. "From what I've seen, the Orthodox who try to have a moral theology like the church's, saying no to contraception, end up in cults that not only reject us but reject other Orthodox."

      This is hardly true of the texts that I mentioned above, one of which has a forward by Bishop BASIL of the Antiochian Archdiocese (Fr. Trenham's work), and the other features the counsels of Greek spiritual fathers, who share the authors' rejection of birth control.

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  6. Dr. Tighe,

    I was including the Oriental Orthodox Churches within my designation of Orthodoxy since I tend to believe that their separation from Eastern Orthodoxy is based more on misunderstanding than heresy. I may be wrong in that understanding, but it does explain my comment. Regardless of whether this appraisal is correct, this massive body of patristic witness can hardly be ignored by the Western Church. What justification has the Patriarchate of Rome to deviate so widely and recklessly from her historically sister patriarchates? Is this not a problem, which demands immediate attention for the sake of the integrity of her own claim to be part of the Church of Christ?

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    1. Including the Oriental churches as Orthodox is very recent.

      If God meant to limit the church to Eastern Orthodoxy, let alone Oriental Orthodoxy (which, like all the ancient "Catholic" churches including ours, has long claimed to be the true church; they thought you were a graceless heretic), damning millions of Westerners who hold the same essentials but aren't part of an Eastern empire, then he's one sick f*ck unworthy of my love or worship.

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    2. Blogger, concerning your opinion of the Oriental Orthodox,this can only be considered as a personal opinion and you have indeed falling into the trap of Byzantine rite Protestantism; where everything is fundamentally nothing more than personal opinion or feelings. Your attitude towards the Oriental Orthodoxy, whilst perhaps noteworthy, is not that of official Byzantine Orthodoxy, especially the Serbs who receive Oriental Orthodox in the same manner that they receive other heretics, including Roman Catholics.

      I would be careful in playing the western verses eastern game as well, besides being tiresome, the Oriental Orthodox and the Assyrians consider Byzantium to be part of the western church.

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    3. “Byzantine-rite Protestantism” is best applied to Eastern Catholicism, which is full of the “we are all schismatic” attitude of the the Melkite archbishop, Elias Zoghby, often treat the full extent of Roman Catholic ecumenical councils as purely western councils that do not dogmatically bind them, and feel free to contradict whichever Western teaching that they feel is “too Latin” for their perceived Eastern patrimony. In addition, much like Protestantism, mileage varies on whether any particular Eastern Catholic parish will truly offer the normative divine services of its rite. This is true “Byzantine-rite Protestantism,” which has more in common with Protestant theological and disciplinary individuality than with the ancient Faith, and like Protestantism, is dying on the vine. You may not agree with Orthodoxy, but charging the Orthodox Church with a toleration of theological diversity and a typicon more influenced by the choice of the celebrant than the tradition of the Church is a form of reverse-psychology, which sees the predominant vices of Catholicism (both Eastern and Western) in Orthodoxy, where it remains rightly condemned.

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    4. Except Eastern Catholicism isn't full of those traitors. The latter are a convert Internet phenomenon, rather like ex-Protestant Orthodox full of beans are different from real Greeks and Russians, who are more like the estranged Catholics they really are. I think the only reason the church hasn't swatted the Archbishop Elias crowd is they're so small. We're not a cult; we don't micromanage. If "Orthodoxy in communion with Rome" (which isn't really Orthodoxy either) ever seriously became a threat, then you'd see the excommunications those people deserve.

      My line to such putative Catholics, in but not of the church, preaching and counseling online: since you have arrogated to yourselves the responsibilities of a professor or priest, you should take the consequences of a professor or a priest. If that's what you really believe, you should go somewhere else. Unless/until you come back to the teachings of the church, we can't give you Communion. Your choice. (Just like Catholic liberals, cool liturgy notwithstanding.)

      I have no idea how Eastern Catholicism is doing in its homelands; in America, just like ethnic Orthodoxy, it fades away after three generations.

      Anyway, most such are Slavs (mostly from the western Ukraine) who are happy being Catholic; they don't attack the teachings of the church.

      Regular readers know my line: since it's better than the Novus Ordo, I'd love it if the majority in American Catholicism was Byzantine, but it isn't happening. By circumstances, not by design.

      My experience of online Eastern Catholicism in a nutshell: snotty converts on their way to Orthodoxy, fetishizing this wonderful rite. They look down on traditionalist Roman Riters just like Catholic liberals do, and if you don't buy that and their anti-Westernism, no matter how Eastern you make yourself, you're not in the club. They can keep their club; I don't want it.

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  7. "damning millions of Westerners who hold the same essentials"

    Catholicism and Orthodoxy do not share the same essentials. In historically Christian language, "essentials" are "dogmas," since dogmatic truths are the technically "essential" parts of the Christian Faith. Unless you are willing to affirm that Catholicism and Orthodoxy share the same dogmas, it is grossly inaccurate to affirm that they share the same essentials.

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    1. Actually we do. Your only defined doctrine is the first seven councils, which come from us.

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    2. Do you only accept the first seven ecumenical councils? The problem is that Orthodoxy does not share the dogmas of Rome, which were established after the Great Schism. Do you not consider the teachings of the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility with Universal Jurisdiction to be dogmatic? If you do so and acknowledge that Orthodoxy does not share these dogmas, you cannot affirm that both Churches share the same essentials.

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    3. But you've never defined an un-Catholic doctrine rejecting our post-schism definitions. So you get the benefit of the doubt from us. You're not Protestants; you're estranged Catholics.

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    4. But blogger, the Oriental Orthodox, whom you simply dump into your Byzantine orbit do not accept the latter three "Ecumenical" councils, declaring that since they only represented the Western Church (Rome and Byzantium) they cannot be considered ecumenical in nature. You do do a lot of song-and-dancing.

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    5. "do not accept the latter three "Ecumenical" councils"

      Surely, Dale, you should have written "four" rather than "three."

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    6. "But you've never defined an un-Catholic doctrine rejecting our post-schism definitions. So you get the benefit of the doubt from us. You're not Protestants; you're estranged Catholics."

      I cannot control how you choose to perceive the Orthodox Church. However, saying that another Church agrees with your Church's dogmas despite protestations to the contrary is little more than an ecclesial version of telling another woman who rejects your advances that she really wants you, even if she doesn't know it yet. Needless to say, Orthodox belles and gents are not amused by this insinuation.

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    7. Yes, William you are correct. Was in a hurry; and the unattainable positions taken by Blogger are so bizarre that one answers too quickly.

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    8. I'm confused - why do bizarre positions make you answer too quickly? Usually, bizarre positions require people to take *more* time to understand the other person's argument and provide a reasonable response.

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    9. The "Assyrians" accept, of course, only the first two, although they appear to accept the Chalcedonian definition without accepting as ecumenical the Council of Chalcedon itself.

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    10. Blogger, perhaps only in your own world...not especially mine. But I did indeed enjoy your pseudo-scholastic attempt at justifying Palamism as part of the ancient Church; quite funny actually.

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    11. Dr. Tighe,

      Your statement regarding the Assyrians confirms that the issue of the ecclesial status of various "Oriental Orthodox" (broadly defined) is more complicated that is often assumed. This gives one grounds for hope that this "schism," may one day been seen as a misunderstanding.

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  8. BTW, only our friend Blogger could turn a thread about Catholicism and Anglicanism into an exercise in Anti-Catholic/Anti-Western Orthodox Shopworn Polemical Bashing of Catholicism. LOL.

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